May 22, 2019
• 2 large eggs
• ½ cup chopped cilantro
• 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 cup chopped Nichols Farms California Pistachio Roasted Kernels
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
• ¼ teaspoon chili powder
• 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
• 4 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Dash of ground black pepper
• 1 pound of whitefish such as cod, haddock, tilapia, etc.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a small baking sheet or line the sheet with parchment paper
2. Whisk the egg, cilantro, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl
3. Chop the pistachio kernels in a mini food processor into fine pieces
4. Mix the pistachios, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl
5. Dip fish in egg mixture, coating well on both sides, then coat the fish with the pistachio breading. Place fish on the pan. Repeat this step with each piece of fish.
6. Bake fish in the oven for 15-20 minutes
Serve the fish with some wild rice and plenty of vegetables. Enjoy!!!
Lactose Intolerance and Whey Protein Powder
May 17, 2019
Millions of people struggle with lactose intolerance, and those undesirable side effects of diarrhea, bloating, cramps, and gas, often times isn’t worth that serving of ice cream, no matter how delicious it may look. However, how much is too much lactose?
The majority of people with lactose intolerance can handle one serving/day of yogurt or cheese, without any digestive issues. Do you enjoy protein shakes with whey protein powder, but your curious if whey contains lactose? Regular whey protein powder does contain some lactose, however, it’s a much smaller amount compared to yogurt, kefir, and milk.
Generally speaking, people with lactose intolerance should be able to enjoy whey protein powder in their diet, with minimal side effects. However, to be on the safe side, you can purchase a whey protein isolate powder, which eliminates lactose altogether. Soy protein, vegetable protein, and egg protein powders are also another way to go if you want to stay clear of lactose. Now go enjoy those protein shakes!!
Instant Pot Chicken Wings
February 3, 2019
Instant Pots are all the rage right now and with good reason…they’re awesome! I know a lot of people are a little intimidated by this kitchen appliance, so I’m going to dedicate some time this year educating people on all the easy and delicious foods/meals you can create using a time saving Instant Pot. Since it’s Super Bowl Sunday, I thought of nothing else but cooking up some chicken wings. If you like crispier wings, as I often do, this will require placing them in a broiler for 4 minutes after they are done cooking in the Instant Pot. Trust me…this simple, extra step is so worth it for the taste and texture of the finished product.
Instant Pot Chicken Wings
4lbs of frozen or thawed chicken wings
1 cup of water
Your favorite wing sauce for coating the wings
1. Place 1 cup of water at the bottom of your Instant Pot
2. Place the Instant Pot trivet basket with handles in the center of the pot
3. Add your fresh or frozen chicken wings to the Instant Pot. Make sure none of the wings fall into the water
4. Secure the lid and select the pressure cooker feature. You want to set the timer to 16 minutes for frozen wings, and 8 minutes for thawed wings
5. Set the oven to broil
6. While the wings are cooking, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. I generally spay the foil with olive oil spray to prevent sticking
7. Release pressure, remove the wings from the Instant Pot, and place on the aluminum lined cookie sheet
8. Broil in the oven for approximately 4 minutes. Flip once during broiling to ensure even browning
9. Toss with your favorite wing sauce
Total cook time is roughly 15-20 minutes, including time for the Instant Pot to preheat. This is a super easy and delicious way to enjoy chicken wings with minimal effort and time. Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone!!!
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!!!
Healthy Eating and Weight Gain. What Gives?
August 9, 2018
A client came to me last week and said, ”I’ve really changed my diet these past few months. I’ve incorporated more healthy foods and I’ve done really well at eliminating almost all of the “junk” foods. However, my weight has slowly continued to increase. What gives?
I encounter this situation far too often with clients, and while it can be quite frustrating and aggravating for one to experience weight gain, it does provide an excellent teaching opportunity about the importance of serving sizes and monitoring one’s overall calorie intake in achieving weight-related goals.
Foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive and avocado oils, dark chocolate, fatty fish, and red wine are often encouraged and promoted as “ the best foods to consume for overall health”. I’m not disputing the health benefits of these foods, as I know there’s a myriad of benefits why one should include them in their diet. However, if your goal is weight loss, then calories surely do matter.
Avocados…I mean, I just adore those delicious green fruits. Avocados are highly nutritious, easily transportable, and oh-so enjoyable in almost any type of cuisine from salads, soups, and sandwiches. While I would love to eat my weight in guacamole, and life would be even more amazing if avocados were suddenly calorie free, the unfortunate reality is far from this. Because avocados are relatively high in fat, they are also high in calories. Just 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of avocado is roughly 160 calories. Because avocados are relatively high in calories, it can be easy to eat too much without even realizing it. If you’re trying to lose weight, I often recommend people consume ¼-1/2 of an avocado per serving. This is roughly 1-2 ounces and about 50-100 additional calories that can be added to a salad or sandwich.
How many times do you open the container of nuts/seeds and you tell yourself…”I’m just going to grab a handful?” What’s a handful? Is it ¼ cup, ½, cup, or half the container? Nuts/seeds are sort of like potato chips. They’re high in fat which enhances mouth feel, they’re crunchy and salty to taste, and they’re relatively small in size which makes consuming too many, that much easier. A serving size of nuts/seeds is 1 ounce, which is approximately 2 tablespoons. If you find yourself unable to stick to this portion size, or if you simply don’t trust yourself around a large container of nuts/seeds, than I encourage you to make or buy individual snack bags of nuts/seeds and store them in your pantry. When something you love is already portioned controlled for you, it’s much easier to avoid overeating.
Olive oil and avocado oil are high monounsaturated oils that are great for low to medium heat cooking. Make a homemade salad dressing, sauté some vegetables, or drizzle on top of some bread, make no mistake about it; these oils are delicious and nutritious. All oils consist of 100% fat, which means it’s also high in calories. One tablespoon of olive and avocado oil is roughly 119 and 124 calories. Feel free to include these foods in your weight loss plan, but just remember to use a tablespoon for measuring to help you better quantify your calorie intake.
Dark chocolate…friend or foe? Health food or torture device? Dark chocolate has a lot of great health benefits such as a powerful source of antioxidants and the potential to reduce heart disease and lower blood pressure. However, dark chocolate, while healthy and nutritious in smaller amounts, can often be hard for people to control the portion size because it tastes so decadent. Brands such as Ghirardelli have created 86% and 92% cacao dark chocolate squares, which means that each square is only 14% and 8% sugar, with the rest coming from cacao, or in more traditional terms, cocoa. How can this help you control portions? Chocolate that tastes less sweet, but still tastes decadent, can help one enjoy the taste and flavor of chocolate, without the added sugar cravings. These Ghirardelli chocolate squares have really helped this girl control her sugar cravings, while still getting to enjoy chocolate. I encourage you to give them a try!
Red wine is often a crowd pleaser and it has been known to contain antioxidants and help reduce heart disease. However, if you’re abstaining from drinking alcohol for weight loss, or if you’re simply not a drinker, don’t worry about losing out on these health benefits. Drinking alcohol is not, nor ever will be, a necessity for good health. You can get the same benefits from drinking red wine when consuming foods such as dark chocolate, grapes, grape juice, blueberries, and cranberries. A serving of red wine is 5 ounces and is approximately 125 calories. Alcohol also can slow fat burning so it’s best to consume in moderation if trying to move the number on the scale.
If you’ve recently changed your diet and you’re eating healthier than ever before, BRAVO! It’s not easy changing one’s habits and you should feel proud and empowered by your efforts to improve your health. However, weight loss isn’t as simple as just “ eating healthier” or avoiding “junk foods”. It’s a systematic and consistent dedication to not only choosing healthier foods, but also committing to consuming less calories overall, so that with time you become a person who weighs less.