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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Simple Summertime Swaps to Freshen Up Your Picnic

Freshen Up Your Summer Picnic

simple summertime swaps
 
 
Snacks:
Dips make a perfect appetizer. Try one of these light and flavorful treats for a quick snack.
  • Combine diced peaches, cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, basil, red onion and lime juice for a sweet and tangy salsa.
  • Pair low-fat Greek yogurt with chopped spinach, pesto and black pepper for a creamy Spinach Pesto Dip.
  • Blend black beans, fat-free salsa, fat-free Greek yogurt and cumin. Garnish with cilantro for a crowd-pleasing dip. Add diced jalapeño peppers if you like it spicy.
  • Add crunch by pairing with whole grain crackers/chips or crisp raw veggies for dipping.

Main Dish:
Hamburgers and hot dogs are American staples that ranks as favorites among all ages. Try these fresh and tasty toppings to take them to the next level.

Hamburgers:
  • Avocado with mango salsa or grilled pineapple with cilantro
  • Extra virgin olive oil, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil
  • Crumbled feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, red onion
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, goat cheese

Hot dogs:
  • Mango salsa, grilled onions, jerk seasoning
  • Sweet corn, pickle relish, jalapeño peppers
  • Shredded cucumber, tomato, onion, feta, olives and oregano

Sides:
What’s a picnic without sides? Try our twist on these mouthwatering favorites.
  • Just 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise can have 180 calories and 20 grams of fat. For your salads and slaws, swap mayonnaise for low-fat Greek yogurt, which has 110 calories and 3.5g fat per container.
  • Lighten up dressings on salads by using zesty vinaigrettes or olive oil.
  • Infuse corn on the cob with flavor by adding fresh lime juice, cayenne pepper and Parmesan cheese
Drinks:
Nothing cools you off and quenches your thirst like water. Create your own gourmet, refreshing, fruit-infused drinks.
  • Cucumber Quencher: mint, cucumber, lime
  • Strawberry Basil Blast: strawberries, lemon, basil
  • Citrus Sensation: lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange
  • Raspberry Rosemary Zinger: rosemary, raspberries, lemon

Or, add some unexpected flavor to these other summer stand-bys:
  • Unsweetened teas with fresh lemon, lime or mint
  • Iced coffee mixed with fresh mint, vanilla extract or cinnamon

Sweets:
Did you know that eating fruit may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers? Train your taste buds to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit.
  • Grilling caramelizes fruit and brings out its natural sweetness – try grilled watermelon, pineapple, peaches or bananas.
  • Pair grilled watermelon with arugula and balsamic dressing for a juicy fruit salad.
  • Brighten up your plate with colorful fruit skewers made with strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi and blueberries.
  • Mix your favorite diced fruit with honey and mint for a fresh and sweet summer treat.
I hope these simple summertime swaps can help you stay a little healthier and a little more refreshed!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

You Are Only As Old As You Feel

Yep, this is 30 folks.  Last Monday I turned 30 and I am not even upset about it.  Why? Because you're only as old as you feel.  And... why stress out about it? The stress will only age me!  So I just continue my normal 5 step routine : 
1. Drinking plenty of water-
I personally drink about 2 liters per day but everyone is different and everyone requires a different amount each day depending on their height, weight, activity level and also taking into account medical history.  I give myself goals throughout the day to make sure that I reach my 2 liters.  By lunch I want to have at least 64 ounces, I drink with meals, during exercise and also sip on water throughout the day in between meals.  I also will sip on green or black tea to help get more antioxidants and some research shows that it can "rev up your metabolism".  I enjoy the taste and love the hot beverage in my hand on cold days!
2. Take Multivitamins-
I still take my prenatal vitamins since I'm still in the "baby making" stage of my life but for most adults a simple Centrum multivitamin will help you ensure all your vitamins and minerals each day.  What your body can't use- you'll just get rid of it by going to the bathroom, sweating it out..etc.
3. Eat healthy and balanced-
fruits/vegetables, lean meats, beans, healthy fats and only sweets on occasions for moderation (keep up with my blog for health tips)
4. Get enough sleep-
With a little 2 year old in the house it sometimes has been hard to get my 7-8 hours of sleep but the older she gets the better my sleep has been!  PHEWWW!  Getting enough sleep is definitely important for keeping your energy levels high throughout the day, reducing stress and helping to improve overall appearance and feelings of youth!
5. Exercise routinely-
Make exercise apart of your daily schedules.  I try to get moderate to intense exercise 4-5 times/week for at least 1 hour.  I'm that mom that doesn't like to miss a second with my daughter if I'm not working-- so I wake up extra early on the weekdays to get my workout in before she wakes up for the day.  Make sure to include cardio and weights in your routines to be able to strength train and build up your endurance and heart rate.


Well I keep it simple and so far it's been working for me. What do you do to help keep your youth?  I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Boosting Immune Health with Good Nutrition



Immunity SneezingGood nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, which may offer protection from seasonal illness, such as the flu, as well as other health problems including arthritis, allergies, abnormal cell development and cancers.  
Help protect yourself against infection and boost your immunity by including these nutrients in your eating plan.
Protein is part of the body’s defense mechanism. Eat a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protects you from infections by keeping skin and tissues in your mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get this immune-boosting vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or foods labeled vitamin-A fortified, such as milk or cereal.
Vitamin C protects you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity. Include more of this healthy vitamin in your diet with citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some cereals.
Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals and may improve immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts, peanut butter or spinach.
Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans and nuts.
Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, also may influence immune response.

'Tis the season for the sneezin'!  Now you know how to keep yourself healthy throughout this season!  Good Luck!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread

This is the best Fall pumpkin chocolate chip bread recipe!!  It's so moist and just addictive! Watch out it goes fast... My husband is already asking for batch number two!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips* (I always add more..)
  • A handful of Chia Seeds
  • Directions:

    Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much too soon. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, and orange juice. Pour these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. There will be a few lumps. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
    Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be before or after 60-65 minutes depending on your oven, so begin checking every 5 minutes at the 55 minute mark or so.
    Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing. The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container (it tastes better on day 2!) at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. But it won't last that long.
    FREEZING: Baked bread may be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
    *You may use 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice instead of these spices. 
    *Try using milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, or even pecans/walnuts instead of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
    *This recipe makes incredible pumpkin chocolate chip muffins too – about 17-18 minutes in the oven, same oven temperature.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fresh Berry Zucchini Bread Recipe

Let's be honest-- I never follow recipes. I like to add a little of this and that.. it's just more fun and more inventive! So as you get started, I encourage you to do some this and that inventions also-- and please share!
  Please note this recipe is rich in:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C, E, B-6
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Antioxidants
Remember to eat in moderation though since it does have sugar! ;)


Berry Zucchini Bread Recipe
Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar 
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 
  • 5 pinches of flax seed- ground flakes 
  • 5 pinches of bran flakes 
  • 2 cups frozen wild berries 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease loaf pans. I had enough batter for 2 loaves and 24 mini muffins (my daughter and husband will enjoy popping those minis)!
Enjoy! Remember... Keep up with the Dietitian!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Get Healthy, Lose Weight & Keep It Off

Let me start by saying that I have tried almost every diet out there, low fat, low carb, no sugar, gluten free, grain free, weight watchers, you name it! Every diet I had some success, but never long term. I felt deprived of something on all of them. I got so tired of counting calories, counting points, counting fat grams. It’s hard enough to be a mom of 4 kids without also stressing about how much I was working out or how much I was eating. I decided I needed to find a better way. I have learned so much in my lifetime and have researched to finally find what works for me. I’m not a medical professional, just sharing what I have learned in the hope it will help someone else who might be as frustrated as I was. 1. Change your mindset. Are you eating to be thin, or eating to be healthy? What matters most is long term health and long term weight loss success. I never found this in any of the fad diets out there. Even if I only lose 1/2 pound a week, if I’m getting healthy in the process and keeping that weight off, I count that as a huge success! Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? 2. Eat real food, skip the diet food. Eat foods high in nutrients. My body is more satisfied and my cravings go way down when I eat meals packed with nutrients. When I buy products at the store, I always try to get those items that have been processed the least and avoid added ingredients whenever possible. Here’s one example: I avoid diet yogurt that is sweetened with artificial sweeteners like the plague. Instead I buy or make plain yogurt and sweeten it myself. My kids love it, it’s cheaper (70% less) and better for us. Everyone seems to be so obsessed with low fat or sugar free but most of the time those products are loaded with other ingredients that are just as bad or worse than what you’re trying to avoid. Instead if low fat, just stick to a moderate amount if HEALTHY fats. Instead of sugar free, find healthier alternatives. I like whole fruits and stevia or raw honey. 3. High fiber. High fruits and vegetables, lower whole grains. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I gained weight last week because I binged on the veggie tray and fruit salad.” Nope. On the other hand, as healthy as some whole grains can be, I gain weight quickly if I eat too many. I don’t eliminate them but I try and replace them with fruits and veggies as much as possible. I feel so much healthier when I do that. 4. Eat plenty of healthy protein. I buy lots of chicken, eggs, turkey, and fish. If I was rich I would buy it all organic and free range, but I have a super tight budget so I just do the best I can. 5. Drink LOTS of PURE water. I was amazed at how much my cravings went down just by drinking lots of water. I try and drink half my body weight in ounces, but I will warn you, if you’re not used to drinking that much water, be prepared to be in the bathroom ALOT till your body gets used to it. My mom always tells everyone that drinking plenty of water is the cheapest and best think you can do for your body. I believe it. It’s also a perfect habit to start with because it’s free and easy. I fill up my jug or bottles at the beginning of the day so I can physically see how much I still need to drink. 6. Do the majority of your shopping around the perimeter of the store. I always know I’ve done a good job shopping when my fridge is over flowing with fresh foods and my pantry shelves are sparse. 7. Balance it out. Like I said before, I have tried so many different diets that omit certain food groups. Low carb, gluten free, grain free, low fat, no sugar, no dairy, you name it! I have never been able to stick to any of them long term, and I would always feel like everyone around me was having a party and enjoying life while I was missing out. For instance, when I’ve gone “off sugar” every holiday, and social gathering I dread knowing I will be missing out since I “can’t have” this or that treat. When I’m eating whole, high nutrient foods, I don’t crave those sugary foods as much anyway so it’s no big deal to indulge now and then because I know I’m not gonna binge. I start my day with a walk and a huge green smoothie with a tablespoon of healthy oil. (I use cod liver) I find when I do this, then I don’t worry as much about what happens the rest of the day. If I go out to eat and eat a not so great meal, I think, “Well, it’s a good thing I got that walk and smoothie in already.” and then move on. Tomorrow is a new day for better choices and another opportunity to start again. When I was doing weight watchers, if I had a bad day, I would be so discouraged and feel like I sabotaged my whole week. 8. Be active. No matter where you are physically, any increase in movement is great. Start small, set goals, and increase at a pace you can handle. I hate working out in big groups but I love a walk with a friend or a walk outside by myself with some awesome tunes. Because of chronic back issues, I’m not a runner and I can’t stand boot camps but I can increase my speed walking and do weight training at home or at the gym. Just do what you feel comfortable with. If you hate it, you most likely won’t stick with it. I have to remind myself, I’m In this for life, not a week or several months, so whatever I do, I need to be able to do long term. 9. One step at a time. Don’t try to be the hare. I always compare the fad diets to the hare. I want to be the tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race! When I started, I mastered walking consistently. Then I added in a green smoothie every day. Always add positive routines instead of trying to “take away.” Eventually, I found the good habits take over the bad ones but when I focused on taking away all my bad habits I immediately panicked, felt deprived, or stressed. Just focus on adding good habits one at a time. 10. Pat yourself on the back. Enjoy your life and forgive yourself!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Welcome Happy & Healthy.. Welcome 2014!

It's almost the New Year and the holidays have past. That means it's time to gut your house of all those cakes, cookies and candies you have collected and made through the holiday season (if they're not gone already)! I know I woke up this morning and told my husband we needed a kitchen detox. Of course he was the one that had to trash all the goodies as I sadly watch it being disposed down the garbage disposal. I feel good about it though. Sweets are my weakness and if they're around, it's hard to say "no". The New Year is right around the corner and it is a great time to reflect on how the year went and think about the new changes and goals for the New Year! My New Years resolution is to make it a priority to go to the gym at least 3-4 times a week. Right now I'm going 1-2 times per week (usually the weekends). Since having my daughter, I have felt guilty in a way being away from her any longer than I need to be since I work outside of the home at least 30 hours per week. I still don't want to be away from her but if I can do shorter 45-60 minute work outs more often through the week than I can maintain my goals, be healthier and have more energy for mommy moments. Another goal I have is to start now on my half marathon training. Before having Avalyn I ran half marathons and was in great running shape pretty much year around. I just want to regain my running endurance like I had prior to having her. All these goals will only be able to be accomplished with a healthy eating regimen. Sometimes it's so easy to grab fast food or go out to dinner rather than making a meal at home. And by all means do it when you have reason to eat out. It is just much healthier to make a meal at home since you'll know and control all the ingredients that goes into the meal. Aim for 5-9 fruits and vegetables per day. And make your meats and protein choices lean and cooked by grilling, broiling, baking and less frying. Also try to not drink your calories. Eliminating sodas, teas and fruit drinks that have calories and sugar are a quick way to drop inches and pounds. Drink water or diet drinks without the calories and sugar instead. If you aren't a fan of drinking just plain water than add some fresh fruit to your glass like lemon, limes or berries. This is refreshing and beneficial for Vitamin C. These are just a few tips to help get you started for some New Years resolutions you have set for 2014. "Keep up with the dietitian" throughout the year for more healthy tips, recipes and healthy advice.