Success Without Sacrifice During Thanksgiving!!
November 21, 2018
Thanksgiving is a magical time of family, friends, and lots and lots of FOOD. To better help you reach your goals, below are my 5 tips for a successful Thanksgiving weekend.
1) ENJOY YOURSELF-Holidays are meant to be enjoyed and this includes enjoying the decadent menu that’s being served. I’ll encourage you to practice mindful eating to the best of your abilities, however, if you find yourself eating that second piece of pumpkin pie, please remember that it’s going to be okay.
2) NO SHAME OR GUILT ALLOWED-I want you to wake up the day after Thanksgiving saying ” What a great day! I had so much fun catching up with my loved ones and I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life”. Believe it or not, you cannot shame or guilt your way into better health habits. If you happen to overeat on Thanksgiving, remember that you’re not a failure, you’re not weak, and you’re not unsuccessful. You’re simply only human and that’s a wonderful and complicated thing.
3) DON'T FORGET YOUR GOALS-Being successful at reaching health goals requires one important concept….not forgetting about the goal. It’s easy to get sidetracked during the holidays as there are a lot of temptations to overeat and be sedentary. However, allowing yourself to enjoy special occasions while not letting your goals escape your memory is a surefire way to guarantee success.
4) THANKSGIVING IS ONLY ONE DAY, NOT FOUR-If you celebrate Thanksgiving over multiple days, maybe you only eat one plate of appetizers or one serving of dressing to balance out your calorie intake. One day of indulgence=no worries. However, 4 days of indulging=an unpleasant and miserable weighted down Monday.
5) BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR BODY. NOW USE IT! Move! Move! Move!. I can’t stress enough how exercising helps tremendously with managing weight and blood sugar control during the holidays. Go for a walk after big meals, organize a family football game, or attend a morning exercise class to help you burn extra calories and feel better after eating rich, decadent food.
Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!
Tips an Tricks for Helping with Halloween Indulgences
October 30, 2018
Halloween has arrived! The Jack Lanterns are lit, the kids are trick-or-treating, the witches are flying, and the ghosts and goblins are screaming “BOO” to anyone and everyone they meet. Yes, Halloween is a day filled with fun, games, costumes, frightened faces, and….lots and lots of CANDY! Forget about the ghosts and goblins scaring you, or that haunted house that left you trembling in fear. The real undeniable fear is the huge amount of sugar, fat, and calories buried deep inside your child’s Halloween bag, or in that candy bowl sitting next to you as you graze while waiting for the next adorable child to ring the bell saying “trick-or-treat”. When you stop and think about the implications and ramifications of all the candy, it’s not just scary, it’s downright terrifying!!
Now, I will be the first to admit, that as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I love candy. I have a deep deep love for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and I wish I could eat them whenever I wanted. During my college years, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were my go-to when studying for hard tests such as organic chemistry or microbiology. They also were a big reason why I struggled more with weight during those years than I do today. It’s not because I no longer enjoy eating Reese’s, far from it. It’s just that I’ve since learned about the power of food and the power of calories in weight management, and nowadays I think before indulging in empty calorie foods. And yes, Reese’s and any/all Halloween candy are empty calories.
The fact is, food is simply not just for fuel. In the logical sense, yes, food really is only needed for fuel. But on days like today, Halloween candy is eaten (in excessive amounts) because it’s what we do here in America. And as a nutritionist, I think that behavior is just fine….for TODAY and TODAY only. But what’s the plan for tomorrow and the next few months? How are you going to avoid eating candy daily with so many yummy Reese’s, Snickers, KitKats, Butterfingers, and M&M’s staring you in the face? On average, every Halloween sized candy contains in the order of 2 teaspoons of sugar and the calories of 2 Oreo cookies. And I bet on Halloween, most kids (and adults) are consuming 10 or more Halloween treats, which is 20 or more teaspoons of sugar. That’s the equivalent of calories and sugar in more than half an entire package of Oreos (there are 36 cookies in a package of Oreos).
So how are you and/or kids going to moderate your candy intake? Can you moderate it, or do you need to completely avoid it after Halloween’s over? I challenge each and every one of you to seriously think about what approach works best for you so you can better manage your weight and overall health. However, to help you with this process, I provided some strategies for a successful Halloween day- after-effect. Some of these strategies include:
1) Eat as much candy as you want on Halloween, and get rid of it the next day. Donate it, ship it to the soldiers overseas, bring it to the office, or throw it away, if necessary. Do what you need to do to be healthy!
2) Pick out your favorite pieces and put 2 pieces in a Zip lock snack bag. Each day tell yourself “Today, I’m only allowed to eat what’s in this bag”. This will help tremendously with portion control and it will be a huge calorie savings.
3) Put the candy in a place that’s difficult to reach or annoying to obtain. The very back of the closet, an outside shed or garage, behind a large heavy object that would need to be moved in order to grab a piece. Make the candy annoying and uncomfortable to obtain, and I promise you, you will eat less.
4) The average fun size piece of candy is roughly 80-120 calories. The average 150lb person burns roughly 100 calories for every mile of exercise. If you want a piece of candy, commit to doing at least 15-20 minutes of moderate cardio in order to eat a piece. This won’t burn off every calorie, but it will help out A LOT.
5) Avoid candy all together on Halloween and the proceeding days. Now, this is the most extreme option, and many will think I’m crazy for even suggesting such a thing. However, some people really do better with avoidance vs. moderation on trigger foods such as candy and sweets. Also, if you’re focused on losing weight and you don’t want anything inferring with your goals, you may decide to forgo eating any Halloween candy this year. Whatever you choose, that’s okay. Own your decision!
I admit I’m a stickler about too much exposure to indulgent foods such as candy and sweets. It’s not because I’m a boring or a “square” person. But rather a concerned nutritionist who wants to see people enjoy the holidays, but to also have a plan for how they’re going to continue moving forward with achieving and maintaining health. Halloween is the kick start of the holiday season, and if one doesn’t pay attention and monitor the “extras” such as candy, desserts, and sweets, it could lead to a significant impact on one’s health come January. So go ahead, eat all the Halloween candy you want, TODAY,….but don’t forget about a plan for tomorrow and the next few months. You and your health deserve this!!!
Happy Halloween Everyone!!!
Are Pumpkins and Gourds More Than Just Decoration?
October 1, 2018
As a decorative front porch ornament or a relaxing and homey fireplace mantel accent piece, pumpkins and gourds are more than just eye appeal. Yes, I’m talking about the edible benefits of adding some green, orange, and yellow colors into your diet. Feeling intrigued, yet?
Pumpkin and gourds are a type of winter squash that are a significant source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. This nutrient density better supports the immune system, as well as benefiting the heart. Pumpkin and gourds are also high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which supports eye health and helps to prevent the development of cancer. They're also low in calories (approximately 50 calories per serving), which can be a delicious addition to a weight management plan.
The types of pumpkins bred for Jack-O-Lanterns may be a little less flavorful and a bit stringier than pumpkins bred for pies, however any type of pumpkin or gourd is edible and usable for more than just decoration. If a pumpkin or gourd has been sitting on your porch but is still firm and intact with no evidence of insects or animal tampering, then these can be safely used for cooking. However, once a pumpkin has been carved, it needs to be discarded after use to avoid the potential for contracting food borne illness.
You’ve eaten pumpkin pie before, but what are some other fun recipes for you to try? Some recipe ideas for incorporating more pumpkin and gourds into your diet include:
Pumpkin chocolate Greek yogurt
Blueberry pumpkin oat muffins
Baked Parmesan pumpkin fries
Squash cheesecake bars
If you make or have made some delicious recipes with pumpkin or gourds, feel free to share your ideas below or comment on my Speaking of Nutrition Facebook page. Happy Decorating and Happy Cooking!!!
Low Carb Cinnamon Butter Cookies
December 14, 2017
Low Carb Cinnamon Butter Cookies
These cookies are simple and easy to make when you’re looking for something healthier and lower in sugar than traditional cookie recipes. It uses only 5 natural ingredients that are commonly found in the majority of grocery stores.
• 2 cups of blanched almond flour or almond meal flour
• 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
• ½ cup of erythritol or Swerve sweetener
• ½ cup melted salted butter or unrefined coconut oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the almond flour, cinnamon, and sweetener. Set aside
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly using a hand held mixer. Mix until smooth and that all visible lumps have disappeared
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly with the hand held mixer. Mix until smooth and that all visible lumps have disappeared.
5. Using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop, place cookies individually on the cookie sheets.
6. Place cookie sheets in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes at 300 degrees. About halfway, take the cookies out of the oven and press down gently with a fork on the center of the cookie. Place cookie sheets back into the oven.
7. Remove the cookies from the oven and place them individually on a cooking rack or parchment paper
8. Allow to cool before eating
9. Store cookies in an airtight container. Cookies can also be frozen for later use
Serving size: 1 cookie. Recipe makes approximately 20 cookies
Fat: 9.5 grams
Carbohydrate: 3.72 grams
Dietary fiber: 1.3 grams. Net carbs: 2.42 grams
Protein: 3.07 grams
Eggplant and Sage Stuffing
November 19, 2017
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Not only is it a time to give thanks and express gratitude for our blessings, but it’s also about enjoying good food while having entertaining conversations with family and friends. My favorite dish at Thanksgiving is the stuffing. Although I’m not that big of a ‘bread person’, my aunt Kathy has always made the most delicious stuffing. However, in my quest to improve my health and the health of Americans however, I’ve discovered a new and satisfying way to enjoy stuffing without all the sugar and carbohydrates. The key ingredient to this successful outcome is eggplant. Yes, this highly nutritious and versatile vegetable provides a fantastic alternative to traditional homemade stuffing in both flavor and texture. While I will always love eating my aunt’s homemade stuffing at Thanksgiving, I’m happy to know that healthier alternatives exist for those who are interested.
• 2 cups celery, chopped
• 1.5 cups onion, chopped
• 1 medium eggplant peeled and cubed, 4 cups
• 1 stick of salted butter
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 1/4 cup of ground sage
• 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
• 1 Tablespoon celery seed
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 2 eggs, beaten
• black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a medium size baking dish
2. In a large cast iron skillet, melt ½ of the stick of butter. Sauté the celery and onion until celery is tender and the onions are translucent.
3. Add in the eggplant and the remainder of the butter. Sauté about 4 minutes
4. Pour in the chicken broth. Simmer until some of the liquid has evaporated
5. Add the ground sage, dried rosemary, celery seed, and cumin to the mixture. Simmer a few extra minutes.
6. Remove half of the eggplant mixture from the skillet and transfer to a blender
7. Add the eggs to the blender and blend until smooth
8. Add the eggplant puree to the eggplant skillet mixture. Mix together
9. Stir in fresh ground pepper
10. Pour mixture into the greased baking dish and cover
11. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
This recipe can be made 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, heat the stuffing in the oven until warmed through.
Serving Size: ½ cup. Recipes makes approximately 10 servings
Fat: 1.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 6.37 grams
Fiber: 2.4 grams. Net carbs: 3.97 grams
Protein: 2.4 grams