It’s a new year, a new month, and it’s time to
get back to the business of maintaining your health. Despite popular belief,
dietitians go off the healthy eating and exercise wagon (especially the
exercise) once in a while too, whether due to a physical set-back, extra
projects at work, or family obligations. When they do this, they take their own advice and set some small goals. I polled dietitians from all over
the country to find out what they plan to do to get back on track with their
own fitness and nutrition goals, and here is what they had to say:
To get myself back into a routine and excited
about exercise, I hire a personal trainer. I will work with him a few
times per week throughout January to stay motivated and on track, and to get
some new ideas to keep my workouts fresh and exciting.
R Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Pittsburgh
The American Dietetic Association
Consultant, NutritionCheckUP, LLC
I like to buy new workout clothes to signal a
fresh start for fitness in the New Year and the good news is that they are on
sale this time of year! Especially good selections and prices at Marshalls and
TJ Maxx. This year I am buying purple which seems to be the 'in' color for work
O'Neil, MS RD, best-selling author and television personality; co-author The
Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!
I'm going to enroll in a cardio-basketball
class with my husband. My husband played pro in Israel and I was scouted to
play ball in a few University's so we figured we could spend quality time
together doing a sport we both really enjoy and get more cardio into our
Amidor, MS RD, New York
As a telecommuter, I spend most of my day on my
computer or phone. My goal is to spend at least 1/2 of my work-day with my
laptop on a waist high table, to avoid sitting so much.
Patenaude, RD, CLT, Director of Medical Nutrition, Signet Diagnostic
My goal is to play actively with my kids every
day - running races
around the house, playing "football"
(football with my 3-year old
means running and throwing ourselves on the
ground) or going outside
to play in the snow when time and weather
Horsman, MS, RD
I am going to shoot for more variety! I
love to shop, cook, and bake, but I have a tendency to often make the family’s
favorites most of the time. This year...new horizons with new recipes. I can
practically smell the aroma already!
Taub-Dix, MA,RD,CDN, New York City
BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC
Read It Before You Eat It (Plume)
My office is literally across the street from my
gym, and I often "waste" my lunch hour eating or even working
straight through it, so, my plan: At least two days a week, I'm going to put on
sneakers and walk on a treadmill during lunch to add two more workouts to my
weekly total! (It's cold here, or else I would do it outside!)
Jackson, RD CNCSD CDN, Buffalo, NY
My way to get back on track toward goals is to
write it down. I plan what I'm going to do for meals and exercise for
each day and write it in a journal. Then, at the end of the day, I check off
what I did and write in what I did differently. This helps me see what I
need to work on, what works well for me, etc.
M. Giblin, RD, LDN, Meadville area
Get rid of all the sweets and deserts
accumulated over the holidays by throwing them out or bringing them to the
Care of Oil City, PA
I am back to the Y for workouts! I used
to love my morning routine...until the holidays rearranged my routine. So
getting back on track is my goal!
Also...I need to drink more water. That seems
to be my resolution each year...so I will keep on trying until I get it
Luthringer, RD, LDN, Nutrition Consultant
Super Suppers Erie PA
I resolve to eat on a more regular
schedule by not letting my work get on the way. And, definitely, get more
sleep than my usual three to four hours most nights. Slow down and smell the
T. Mughal, PhD, RD, LD
Professor, College of Health Professions and Sciences
I vow to make water my primary choice of
beverage: a closet diet coke lover-have been trying to give it up
completely and choose tea, coffee, water and milk only.
Connelly, RD, Erie
I have a very weak spot for cookies and so find
it very hard to resist all the wonderful cookies this time of year and I don’t
resist. I will admit I enjoy many of my own cookies well into January . However
I somewhat balance the cookie frenzy in that I also love to walk; so I resolve
to keep up my walking through the winter months, and fit some skiing in too.
Schmidt, MS, RD, LDN, Oil City
After hand surgery to remove a cyst, I plan to go
through physical rehab for a few weeks and by month's end, I will get back into
my upper body weight training (can't wait-- it's been 7 months!), and I'll
start training to walk the More magazine
half marathon--my first-- on April 3.
Zied, MS, RD, CDN, Writer, Speaker, Nutrition Consultant Contributor, Author,
Nutrition At Your Fingertips (Alpha, Nov, 2009)
My gym is at my hospital, but haven't been
there in a while due to a lot of projects, etc. but no excuses...getting back
to my hospital gym at least twice a week is my new goal, switching to the
"power yoga" that truly "speaks" to me (hot vinyasa vs.
Bikram yoga), and getting back to one of my loves...Latin/ballroom dancing once
a week! I’m also going to work on getting more sleep!
M. Furtado, MS, RD, LDN, RYT
Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD
I learned this from a client years ago: for the
first 2 weeks of January I have no alcohol or sweets. My client did it for the
entire month, but to me two weeks is enough. I don't ban foods normally, and I
enjoy my sweets and alcohol in moderation for the most part, but I have more
than usual in late December, so that's how I balance it all out.
A. Rael, MS RD LD, Albuquerque, NM
Every January I take a week and measure the
amount of food I am eating. Like anyone else who eats out at restaurants
where plates hold enough food for 3 people, my eyes need an annual portion size
Kathleen McAllister, MS, RD, CDN, Albany New York
I plan to swim twice a week. I run regularly all
year round. My upper body stays in pretty good condition in the summer from
gardening, triathlons and other outdoor activities. However, by December my
arms have pretty much turned to mush. Time to get some strength and tone back
above the waist.
Lozicki, RD, Michigan
Zumba class at least 2 times a week keeps me
moving - and it sure doesn't seem like exercise. It's a lot more fun, but you
can feel the muscles working
S. Eck Mills, MBA, RD, LDN, FADA, Career and Life Coach, Speaker, Author
After a long day of SITTING in the office, I
often come home and SIT for more hours typing on the computer. As a gift to myself
I will work one hour less in the office, change into my work out clothes and
exercise in my home gym! I know I will still work on the computer in the
evening (as I do a great deal of writing and consulting). However, I always
think better (and feel, look and sleep better) when I work out. I've also
started to sit on an exercise ball in my office. It really helps my back!
Weiner, R.D., M.S, Certified Diabetes Educator, New York
I sign up for early spring races. You lose
fitness so quickly when you don't
Workout, so spring races force me to keep
running during the winter
months. Also, if you're a runner, having
the proper outdoor gear for winter
running is essential. Invest in good
quality outdoor gear to make running or walking outdoors enjoyable.
Mulligan, MS, RD, LDN Rhode Island
I am going to dance more with the Wii - Fun! Cant
wait till the next time they play Thriller - I have the moves (OK - not yet but
I signed up for a Half Marathon in May
- this keeps me focused on keeping my exercise and nutrition on
Bowhall, MBA, RD
I plan to get back into a regular routine of yoga
starting with a class on New Years Day.
Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD
Nutrition Services of Central NJ
Getting into gear for 2011 will be to take a walk
every day like I used to before I no longer had my dog who passed away last
August. I’m going to take the advice that I’ve given, walk as though you have a
dog. You do it daily for at least a little while. For me, it often has a bigger
emotional rather than physical impact. I get to clear my head.
Temptation over the holidays is hard to resist.
You feel stuffed, bloated, and tired, like I used to be when obese. Every
December holiday, I gain a few pounds. The first 3 weeks of January - no
treats! No cookies, chocolates, desserts, fried foods, lychee martinis, etc.
It's short-term deprivation, but I need to break the pattern and return to
healthy habits. This gives me plenty of room to eat nutritious foods, and the
energy to work out every day. I've maintained a healthy weight for 22 years
now. Not easy, but worth it.
Musk MS, MS, RD, RD, RD International Nutrition Counselor/Spokesperson/Speaker,
New York City
And me? Well, unlike Maye, I can’t quite
completely abstain from sweets, but I can reduce my intake significantly. (I’m
like a little kid – if you tell me I can’t have it, I won’t be able to stop
thinking about it.) I will also work on including vegetables at lunch, and more
fresh fruit back into my daily snacks. Getting back into my regular exercise
routine helps a lot too: 45 minutes of weight-lifting twice a week, and three
days of cardio (running, walking, elliptical, or cross-country skiing).
Here’s to a healthy, happy new year. Set two
small goals each week, and stick to it.
Merry Christmas! Please enjoy this recipe from our new book
for a quick spread this holiday season. The salmon provides some healthy
omega-3 fatty acids and the dip is yummy spread on miniature pumpernickel
bread, whole wheat crackers, or with raw vegetables. You can buy the book at a
bookstore near you or at Amazon.
A Recipe from The Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies®,
by Meri Raffetto and Rosanne Rust
block light cream cheese, softened
tsp fresh chopped dill
of 1/2 lemon (or 1 TB)
TB minced onion
oz smoked salmon
cups carrots, celery sticks, cucumber slices
Mix cream cheese, dill, lemon juice, and onion in food
processor until well blended. Add the salmon and pulse, just to mix. Put salmon
mixture into a small serving bowl, garnish with capers, serve with veggies.
November 22, 2010 Thanksgiving: Give Thanks for the Good Stuff
Thanksgiving is this week, and it rings in the holiday
season. Enjoy it all. What? you say. The dietitian is telling me to enjoy
eating everything on Thanksgiving? You bet.Enjoying what you eat and maintaining a healthy weight is
what I’m all about. The holidays are a time to enjoy precious little moments
with family and friends, and it’s okay that some of these moments revolve
around food, just make sure it’s good food.
By ‘good’ I mean real. For instance, here’s an idea of what
will be on my Thanksgiving table:
Fresh roasted turkey
Homemade gravy (made with some of the pan drippings, and
some low fat stock)
Sweet Potato Casserole (yes, I put mini marshmallows on it
because my kids love it and it’s full of fiber and vitamin A!)
Green beans (steamed, then olive oil, toasted pine nuts and
caramelized onions added.)
Sautéed Broccoli (both the beans and broccoli will come from
our summer garden to freezer to table)
Tossed Vinaigrette Salad (made with the remaining fresh
greens from garden)
Homemade dinner rolls (made with whole wheat and white
Homemade pumpkin and apple pie (made by my 85 year old mom-
everyone loves grandma’s pies. They are a must). Whipped cream and ice cream
Sparkling and Red wines
My mouth is watering already. This holiday season, be sure
to enjoy, sans guilt. Keep these tips in mind to make it healthy and balanced,
but pure enjoyment:
You’ll see the key word here is “homemade”. The holidays are
a great time to set aside some time to make things from scratch; even if it is
just one or two things.
Do little bits whenever you have a small block of time. Use
your freezer to help out too. For instance, I baked the rolls on Sunday when I
had time and froze them for future use.
Include vegetables at your holiday tables, meals or cocktail
It’s okay to lighten up some recipes (use half the butter in
a spread for instance, or substitute light cream cheese in a dip), but don’t go
too overboard. Try to stick with real ingredients (as opposed to artificial
sweeteners and completely fat-free items) and just eat smaller portions of
Don’t skip exercise. Even if you are short on time, plan a
shorter workout over skipping. Add two 30-minute walks to your current routine,
just to balance out the extra snacking you do or portions you may have.
Drink plenty of water daily. This is the “runaround” time of
year. You are on the go, and you may become dehydrated (and sometimes your
thirst is disguised as hunger – so grab a water bottle).
If the thought of maintaining your weight loss program
stresses you out way too much during December, then back off. Focus on
maintaining instead of losing this month.
November is American Diabetes Month® so it’s a good time
to consider your risk for diabetes and figure out what you can do about it. Lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease is a smart way to manage your health. These two
diseases account for a large portion of our nations public health issues, as
well as health care costs. And the good news is: they are somewhat preventable.
Start with some simple steps toward reduced risk and better health:
is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for type 2
diabetes and heart disease. Healthy eating needs to be an ongoing goal. Choosing 'real' food at meals and at snacks (whole grains like oatmeal and whole wheat bread; fresh fruits and vegetables; low fat milk, yogurt and cheese; lean meats, eggs, nuts; and much less sugar and packaged foods). Work at
improving your eating habits every week. Seek support to help you set goals and
get on the right track.
Weight Control. This is perhaps the most important step you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes and the problems associated with it (heart disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol and lipid levels). If you already have diabetes and are overweight, losing weight is very important toward your goal to better manage blood glucose.
Blood Pressure.High blood
pressure raises the risk of heart disease and stroke. A healthy diet and body
weight can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure. If you already have
high blood pressure, be sure to check in with your doctor regularly, take
medication as prescribed, and continue to work at achieving or maintaining a
healthy weight. Along with weight loss, a diet high in fruits and vegetables,
and calcium, can help reduce blood pressure.
High Blood Sugar. Managing your blood glucose
(sugar) can help you prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. You do not have to
avoid all sugars in your diet when you have diabetes, but a diet low in sugar
is your best bet. Overall calorie control and carbohydrate management is key.
Well-managed blood sugars (blood sugars that are within normal range and
consistent most of the day) help prevent many of the additional health
complications that go along with long-term diabetes (heart disease, kidney
disease, nerve damage). Working with a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) can
help you understand your unique situation and lifestyle. Take advantage of
local group diabetes education classes in our area and at Meadville Medical Center.
just about what you eat, but how also much you move. Exercise and physical
activity help manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol and
lowers your risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (not to mention help you control weight).
Prioritize exercise and schedule it into your day; and then schedule your
priorities don’t prioritize your schedule. If you aren’t healthy, you won’t be
able to go to work, school, or have any fun with family or friends. Do it.
Small Changes Add Up. As we say at Real Living Nutrition Services: "Goodbye Diets, Hello Lifestyle Changes" In coaching our
clients at reallivingnutrition.com we encourage small changes, as they do add
up to big results. Often, people don’t know where to begin. Support can be
found in many places: Working
with a certified diabetes educator and a registered dietitian can help you
define small goals to get your diet and blood glucose management in check; working
with a personal trainer can help motivate you to get out the door to exercise,
and do so safely without injury; using a diet and exercise journal to work through
your eating and exercise plan can also help provide you with a clear picture of
your goals and progress. Check out the programs at http://www.reallivingnutrition.com and my book: Calorie Counter Journal for Dummies® to help you set goals and a vision for better health.
healthy and stay healthy. Do your part to prevent diabetes or control its
complications on future health.
October 4, 2010 Seeds are Good for You: Roast Your Pumpkin Seeds this Year
October and this means pumpkin shopping at area farms. If you are a parent of
young children, it’s likely that you will carve at least one pumpkin into a
Jack-O-Lantern this season. To make it an even more fun and educational
experience, save those gooey seeds!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
get them ready for roasting, first separate the seeds as best as you can from
the pulp. Use a strainer and run under cool water, using your hands to remove
as much pulp as you can. Place the clean seeds on a large cookie sheet spreading
to a single layer, and place into the oven to dry at low heat, about 175-200
degrees F, for 2-3 hours. Remove from oven, and dump into large bowl. Pour
about 3 TB vegetable oil over the seeds and toss to coat. Sprinkle with a pinch
roast, place oiled, salted seeds back onto cookie sheet and bake in 300 degree
F oven for 15 minutes.
70 calories per ¼ cup, 3 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fat
September 4, 2010 Back to School
It's back to school time and breakfast and lunch are important to keep students healthy and to keep them on task and doing their best work in school. Keep these tips in mind when sending your children off to school:
Don't skip breakfast, even if it's just a glass of low fat milk. Try adding a breakfast powder to add vitamins, minerals and a bit more protein.
Whole grain cereals, oatmeal, toast, English muffins, or mini bagels are quick to prepare.
Try an egg sandwich: microwave one egg in a microwave-safe cup for 30 seconds. Place egg onto a toasted mini bagel for a quick out-the-door sandwich.
Make a quick, healthy breakfast treat by spreading a banana with peanut butter.
Make your own “lunch kit”:
Using toothpicks, skewer cherry
tomatoes, cheese cubes, or grapes, for a fun and easy to eat lunch for younger
Use tortillas for wrapping up
turkey, cheese, tuna salad, ham, etc. Add a light coating of mayonnaise, cream
cheese, or mustard, lettuce, pickles, or whatever your child favorite fillings and
Use cookie cutters to cut
sandwiches or cheese slices into fun shapes. If your child doesn’t like the
crust on breads, don’t make a big deal about it. Trim the crust ahead (just
barely shaving it off) and your child will most likely eat the whole sandwich
(as opposed to biting around the crust).
Pasta salads or
cold tortellini are hits with some kids.
Use leftovers. A chicken leg, or
turkey cubes are often a welcome change.
Try new veggies like cubed bed
bell peppers or sugar snap peas. Even if you child only tries a few bites, it’s
a start. Try mincing bell peppers into the spreads for the sandwich wraps.
Include milk every day at lunch.
Encouraging your child to drink milk at lunch ensures that he will get the
calcium and vitamin D he needs.
Include a fruit every day at lunch
(raisins, pears, applesauce, apples, grapes, berries, melon chunks).
Including a small treat (cookies,
chips, a cupcake) is okay. Encourage your child to eat most of his or her main
entrée, milk, and fruit before digging into the treat, but do allow something
fun to eat.
Children should have a say into what goes into their lunch
box.Include an element of fun in
eating. Some things may be non-negotiable (such as you must drink milk, eat
your sandwich or entrée, and have a fruit or vegetable), but if children can
pick out a special dessert or treat, they may be more willing to try the more
nutritious food that’s packed in their lunchbox. In addition, they are learning
a lot about balance and moderation, and how to manage their own healthy eating
habits (which can include cravings for certain foods that should be met with
moderation, but also acceptance). As a parent you can pack the “perfect lunch”
but if your child doesn’t eat it, it’s not so perfect.
Here’s to a healthy and happy
August 5, 2010 Tips for College Freshman
WHAT TO EAT IN THE DINING HALL
Eat breakfast. Whole-wheat toast, bagels,
English muffins, cereal with nonfat or low fat milk. Fruit juice. Eggs are
okay- don’t worry about having a couple a week. Bacon and sausage are
loaded with saturated fat though, so limit them.
Choose two pieces of fresh fruit every day, or
one piece and a glass of juice.
Take advantage of any bread available. If
nothing else is available you can build your meal around bread by adding
peanut butter, cheese or a salad. Include some whole wheat bread in your
When nothing else is appetizing make the salad
bar the main meal. Build you salad with greens and vegetables. Go easy on
any prepared, creamy salads. For protein, sprinkle with cheese, sunflower
seeds, chickpeas, nuts or eggs.
Try the low fat dressings. One ladle of regular
Ranch dressing has about 200 calories, so go lightly.
Pasta is a good choice with marinara sauce or
olive oil and garlic
Lunchmeats are okay- choose low fat varieties
(baked ham, turkey, lean roast beef). Salami, bologna, and other loaf
meats, are much higher in fat so limit those types.
Add vegetables to your sandwiches when
available- lettuce, tomato, green peppers
Baked chicken or baked fish are good choices
Skip the gravy or go easy on the sauce- they can
rack up the calories
Soups can be a meal- add bread and a salad
Dessert can be tempting. Limit items like cake,
pie, ice cream, to just once per week. Choose fat free muffins, nonfat
frozen yogurt or a small cookie to satisfy your sweet tooth.
More info? Check out the book: The College Student's Guide to Eating on Campus by Ann Litt.
Snacks are important,
especially when you are busy and active. Keeping some nutritious snacks on hand
when hunger strikes is a good way to ensure that you will be getting more of
the essential nutrients you need to stay energized and healthy.
Buy sandwich bags so you can pack snacks to go.
Snacks should be fairly low in fat and offer some
vitamins and minerals. “Empty calorie” snacks (those which are mostly sugar or
high in fat, without any significant vitamins or minerals) like soda pop,
potato chips, candy, snack-cakes, should be limited. It’s fine to consume these
kinds of snacks on occasion, but more nutritious choices should make up the
bulk of your snacking so you can stay healthy and energized!
Here are some quick and easy suggestions to keep in your dorm or apartment:
Have English muffins, mini Boboli or Triscuits
on hand to make quick pizza snacks. Just add a bit of tomato sauce,
shredded cheese, and pop into the toaster oven or microwave, and you have
a quick snack or meal.
Drink more low fat milk. Instead of grabbing a
150-calorie can of soda, or even a zero calorie diet soda, drink a carton
or glass of low fat milk. Chocolate milks is great.
Low fat fruit yogurt
Pretzels or light microwave popcorn
Apple slices with chunks of cheese, or cheese sticks
Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread or on mini bagels
Make your own trail mix in a big jug or zipper
bag, then grab some every day to take on the go. (Mix mini pretzels, mini
graham bears, peanuts, chocolate chips and raisins)
Graham crackers with a glass of milk
Invest in a blender to make smoothies. Mix a
banana, fruit yogurt and blend with low fat or nonfat milk. Try frozen
strawberries blended with milk too.
Dry cereal- try Quaker Oat Squares, Multi Bran
Chex Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats. Take some with you or have it with
Cheesy tortilla- sprinkle some shredded cheese
on a flour tortilla, microwave 30 seconds.
Low fat granola bars or breakfast fruit and
July 14, 2010 Buffalo Chicken Burgers, Tomato-Cucumber-Orzo Salad
In case you read this week's Meadville Tribune column and wondered "where's the recipe that goes with this photo?", here is a recipe to try out!
A Tomato, Cucumber and Orzo Salad also follows.
Chicken Burgers, courtesy of Good Housekeeping
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) blue cheese, crumbled
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 pound ground chicken or turkey
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
3 TB (plus additional for serving) cayenne pepper sauce
Nonstick cooking spray
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
Carrot and celery sticks
Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling over
In small bowl, stir mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese,
vinegar, and Worcestershire until blended. Set blue cheese sauce aside.
Makes about 3/4 cup.
In medium bowl, combine chicken, celery, and cayenne pepper
sauce just until blended. Shape mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick burgers.
Spray both sides of burgers with nonstick spray.
Place burgers on hot grill rack; cook 12 to 14 minutes or
just until meat loses its pink color
throughout, turning over once. Burgers should reach an internal
temperature of 170 degrees F.
Serve burgers on buns with lettuce and some blue cheese
sauce. Serve remaining blue cheese sauce with carrot and celery sticks.
Pass additional cayenne pepper sauce to serve with burgers if you like.
Nutritional information is based on 1
burger without sauce
tablespoon blue cheese sauce: About 40 calories, 1 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate, 4 g total
fat (2 g saturated), 0 g fiber, 7 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium.
Cucumber, Tomato and Orzo Salad
I love this summer salad as an option to traditional potato or pasta salads. A great way to use garden cukes!
2 small fresh cucumbers, peeled, seeded, chopped
5 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
2-3 TB fresh parsley, chopped
3-4 TB chopped red onion
1 can Cannelloni or Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
5 oz (dry) orzo pasta [cook according to package, drain, rinse,
¼ tsp sea salt
1 TB sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
3 TB balsamic vinegar
Mix cucumber, tomato, onion and parsley in a medium bowl.
Add beans and cooked pasta. Toss.
Mix salt, sugar, olive oil, and vinegar in a glass measuring
cup. Whisk to blend.
Pour dressing over salad mixture, toss to coat. Chill for at
least one hour.
July 14, 2010 Sausage-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash
Ever wonder what the heck to do with Patty Pan Squash? Patty
Pan is a yellow summer squash that is shaped like a flower or sunburst. They
are mild in flavor, and great stuffed.
2 Patty Pan squash (about 6-inch in diameter)
7 ounces apricot chicken sausage (or any favorite chicken sausage,
I used the local Malady’s Meat Market sausage), casings removed
one small chopped onion
2 TB chopped green onion tops
½ tsp tumeric(or
another favorite spice)
½ tsp thyme sprigs
½ cup quick-cooking barley
2-3 TB grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1. Prepare squash by cooking in microwave. Place whole squash
on microwave-safe plate and cook for 3 minutes (you can also boil in water for
5 minutes). Once pre-cooked, slice top off squash and remove middle pulp and
seeds, forming a bowl (rim should be about an inch thick). Set aside.
2. Saute onion until clear, add sausage spices and herbs. Crumble
sausage as it cooks, and cook until browned. Add green onion and cook one minute longer.
3. Meanwhile cook barley according to package directions while sausage is cooking.
4. Add cooked barley to cooked sausage, mix well.
5. Add sausage and barley mixture to center of each squash. Sprinkle
6. Place squash in glass baking dish. Fill with an inch of water, and
bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until squash is tender.
July 13, 2010 Cooking is Your New Health Care Strategy
This really isn’t news to many, but cooking at home is good
for your health. Harvard Medical School brought medicine and menu planning
together to illustrate the benefits of a healthful diet recently in the
“Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” conference. The premise behind the conference
was to educate physicians about how important it is to be able to discuss
healthy eating and cooking with patients.
The conference focused on a few key points that lead to
§Consume ‘good carbs’ (limit refined sugar and
white flours, and add more whole grain carbohydrates: oats, barley, brown rice,
whole grain breads and cereals)
§Eat Mindfully (be aware of what, how much, and
when you are eating)
Even though this may not sound like news,
somehow, folks are reluctant to buy in to these simple tips. Let’s see if I can
make them more meaningful to you:
should taste good. If you think you do not like vegetables, it is probably
because you have never prepared them properly or have had them prepared
properly for you. Just steamed? Boring. Try grilling veggies this season, and
toss them into pasta (hot or cold) for a great side dish or meal. Slice
zucchini, onions, eggplant, and bell peppers and toss together in an oven safe
glass dish. Drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in
the oven for about an hour. The result: a sweet, tender, delicious taste
afraid to pan sauté. It may sound difficult, but it’s easy and a great-tasting
alternative to deep-frying, and it’s a way to add ‘good fat’ to a tasty meal. And it's quick, and won't heat up your kitchen. Try
breading thin cuts of chicken breast or pork loin. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive
or peanut oil in a six to ten inch sauté pan, place meat into hot oil and cook
until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes per side.
don’t remove it from your diet. If the question is: “Are carbs bad?” The
answer is “No. Just not too many”. Frankly, I am getting tired of hearing about
“carbo-phobics”. If you think you are going to get fat, or stay fat, by eating
a bagel in the morning, or a roll with your salad, or a bowl of rice, stand
back, because I may just slap you (ouch). The idea that the bread/grain group
is evil is ridiculous. Sure whole grain breads offer more nutrients and fiber,
but eating a white roll isn’t going to undo your healthy eating or weight loss
plan. What will undo your weight loss plan is: junk food, candy, processed
cakes and cookies, sugary drinks, tubs of icing, too many granola bars, too
many rolls with your salad, and not moving your body enough.
§Do you even know what you ate today?
Were you hungry? Do you know how small or large your portion was? Did you count
the handful of candy you took from your coworker’s desk? Being aware of what
and how much you eat is important when it comes to changing behaviors for the
better. Consider keeping a food log (stay posted, I will have a food and exercise journal
published later this year).
Cooking doesn't have to take up a lot of your time either. Keep meals simple and use fresh ingredients (now is a great time to visit farmer's markets or your neighbor's garden). Use your grill both for meats, chicken, seafood, and vegetables. You can even grill fruit. Grilled peaches or pineapple make delicious accompaniments to meats.
Try this tasty salad to use as an accompaniment to your next BBQ or picnic:
CUCUMBER AND TOMATO SALAD WITH ORZO
1 cup orzo pasta
2 medium cucumbers, seeded, chopped
5 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 can Cannelloni or Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 TB balsamic or apple cider vinegar
1 TB sugar
¼ tsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain under
Combine vegetables (cucumber, tomato, onion) in medium bowl
and mix. Add beans and orzo, mix.
Combine parsley, oil, and vinegar and blend. Add sugar, salt
and pepper, and mix well.
Pour dressing over vegetable-bean-pasta mixture and toss
together. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
May 12, 2010 Find the Facts: The sweet science behind high fructose corn syrup
I attended a great lecture about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
at the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association Annual Meeting in April. Dr. Kristine
Clark, from Penn State, provided an excellent discussion about the science
behind HFCS, and confirmed all of my thoughts on the substance: There’s nothing
wrong with it.
HFCS closely resembles sucrose (table sugar), appears to
have no scientific link to causing obesity, and can be part of a diet in moderation,
just as other sweeteners (which, should be a very small part of any diet).
I have never bought into the media hype behind HFCS and it’s
link to obesity and other ailments, as it is just illogical to assume that this
one substance, especially this one, directly relates to our weight problem. In
some cases, health advocacy groups or individuals want to blame something as the cause for every health crisis we face as a nation.
So why not? HFCS did appear in the mass food market in the early 1980s, a time
when the nation was fairly normal weight, but consider the facts.
The research has shown that HFCS and
sucrose have similar metabolic responses in healthy weight women.Studies have shown no significant
difference in how HFCS affects plasma glucose, insulin, or appetite hormones (ghrelin,
leptin). So once sucrose and HFCS are absorbed into the bloodstream they
deliver the same sugars, at the same rations, to the same tissues, within the
same time frame.
So let’s take a look at some additional facts:
The composition of HFCS is not much different
than table sugar
Compositionally, HFCS 55 (the type used in our
food supply) is 55% fructose, and 42% glucose (the other 3% is ‘other’ sugars,
Sucrose (cane sugar, or ‘table sugar’) is 50%
fructose and 50% glucose
So you see, HFCS only has 5% more fructose than regular
table sugar, which comes from sugar cane, and has been consumed by humans for
hundreds of years. Yet the public seems to be wary of High Fructose Corn Syrup,
assuming it must be high in fructose because of the name; but in fact, HFCS is
not all that “high” in fructose.
More interesting, many of the
studies done that show adverse side affects on weight were done on rats
predisposed to obesity, and were done with high doses of pure fructose.
Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup are chemically two different things. Pure
fructose in the amounts provided in these studies, is not present in the human
diet, although we eat foods that contain larger amounts of fructose (fruit).
Here’s an example: Agave nectar
concentrate, recently being touted as a ‘health food’ (unfounded), is 74%
fructose, as is pear juice concentrate. Other foods that are in the same fructose
range (42-55%) as HFCS: Almonds, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cashews, cherries, Clementines,
sweet corn, cucumbers, currants, dates, figs, filberts,
Grapefruit, grapes, hazelnuts, honeydew,
melon, kiwi fruit, lentils, lettuce, lime juice, macadamias, nectarines, sweet
onions, navel oranges, peaches, peanuts, peas pecans, sweet peppers,
persimmons, pineapple, pistachios, raisins, summer squash, strawberries, sweet
potatoes, tomatoes, walnuts, cooked wild rice. Should you stop eating fruits,
vegetables and nuts because of their fructose content? Of course you should
Now, before I go on,
hear this loud and clear: I do not advocate eating high sugar foods with
abandon, I simply do not see a significant difference in the source of sugar,
be it HFCS or table sugar.
Now then, from a food-processing standpoint, HFCS has many
advantages. The properties of HFCS are attractive to the food industry. HFCS is
more stable, delivers a sweetness that is comparable to sucrose, retains
moisture, resists crystallization, and has a lower freezing point. Sure you may
be thinking, “well, we shouldn’t use processed foods”, but there are many that
are quite convenient, or specialized. Let’s look at sports drinks. Do you think
athletes will give them up any time soon? I don’t, and I know they play a key
role in hydrating and replacing electrolytes. HFCS has been used in these
products because not only does it provide sweetness and needed carbohydrate,
but it allows the product to hold its color, and what young athlete doesn’t
have his or her favorite sports drink color? Of course the color of these
products are important to the marketing of them. One company has made the
switch to sucrose, due to public demand, but the public may not be pleased to
see their favorite sports drinks fading colors.
Many companies are quietly replacing the HFCS with sucrose
(table sugar) and calling it “natural”, but the point is: you shouldn’t consume
too much of any added sugar. Period. There is no question, that as a country,
we are consuming too much (an average of 605 calories more a day compared to
1970, but only 52 calories of that is from added sugars). However, which
sweetener you consume does not seem to have any significant impact on your body
weight or health, as long as it’s not too much.
Find the facts before you believe the hype, and keep it
Rust is a licensed, registered dietitian and
nutrition coach, a licensed
provider for Real Living Nutrition Services® and the author of The Calorie
Counter for Dummies®. You can order the book right here at the website hompage.
April 8, 2010 Eeat a Good Breakfast, Control Your Hunger
You may be thinking that skipping breakfast is saving you
calories, but think again. Usually this leaves you hungrier later in the
morning and later in the day, sabotaging your weight control efforts.
People who eat breakfast daily, lose weight, and keep it off, more successfully than breakfast-skippers.
To fuel up in the morning, try to include a bit of protein
with your carbohydrate. Also include fiber- whole grains and fresh fruit. If
you eat high-fiber, low-energy, dense foods – such as oatmeal with strawberries
and walnuts, or granola with low-fat yogurt - you can eat more and with fewer
calories. Try out these quick ideas:
§Cereal and milk – check portion size. Generally
it’s 1 cup with 4 ounces of low fat or nonfat milk
§English muffins have fewer calories than bagels.
Try a whole grain type, add 1 tsp peanut butter for protein
§One slice of pizza may work for some people
§A yogurt with ¼ cup of crunchy whole grain
cereal or low fat granola cereal
§Oatmeal with fruit and chopped nuts
§One ounce of cheese melted on whole grain toast
children and teens maintain healthy weights too:
Cereal is a
quick and easy way to fit breakfast in. A group of researchers analyzed data
that followed more than 2,000 young girls from ages 9 to 19. They found that
regular cereal eaters had fewer weight problems than infrequent cereal eaters.
Those who ate cereal only occasionally had a 13% higher risk of being
overweight compared to the regular cereal eaters.
Another study showed that the prevalence of obesity
decreased by number of daily meals. In other words, the more times per day a
child ate (meals and snacks) the less likely they were to be overweight or
obese. So children should also be eating breakfast daily, having a couple of
healthy snacks, and not skipping other meals either.
Getting something into your children and teenagers before
school is better than nothing. If they really don’t want to eat, at least make
sure they drink some milk or orange juice. Some “on-the-go” ideas, in addition to ready-to-eat cereal, for those
kids who can’t get out of bed on time:
§Quaker Breakfast Squares
§Instant Breakfast powder in 12 ounces of milk
§Packaged peanut butter crackers
March 23, 2010 March is National Nutrition Month
March is National Nutrition Month®: A great time to start healthy habits!
This year's theme is "Nutrition
From the Ground Up." National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education
and information campaign created annually in March by the American Dietetic
Association. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making
informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
Have you found yourself
slacking on those resolutions you set back in January? Well, National Nutrition
Month is a good time to get back on track, or even set some new goals.
Try these on for size:
Drink 4-6 ounces of orange juice each morning. Just a small cup of orange juice will provide your daily vitamin C, an essential antioxidant.
Ask for whole grain. The next time you order a sandwich out for lunch, ask for the whole grain bread. Eating more whole grain will help with weight control, lowering cholesterol, and keeping blood sugar in check if you have diabetes.
Spread lightly. That blob of butter you get on your pancakes, or side of toast? It's too much. Use less.
Grab an apple or pear mid day for a snack. It will fill you up, provide vitamins and fiber, and taste great!
Schedule your exercise with a friend. This will keep you on track, and it will be more fun!
Find out more at http://www.eatright.org/nnm/
February 26, 2010 Michael Pollan does not address one big part of the equation: Human Behavior
I had the pleasure of listening to Michael Pollan, author of
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, speak
last night at Allegheny College. He is an outstanding writer, and presented his
case about our country’s industrial agriculture’s affect on our environment,
our food choices, and our health, in a captivating manner. I agree with a lot
of his advice about how folks should change some of their eating habits. But
it’s not so simple.
My hand was raised during the Q & A that followed, but I
did not get picked to hold the microphone. This is my question: What about
Having twenty-four years of experience providing nutrition
counseling in both inpatient health care settings and on an outpatient basis, I
am keenly aware that behavior change is difficult. I am also keenly aware that
there are many different sorts of food habits among us. Individuals at risk for
disease, who eat very poor diets, must be counseled and educated about why they
need to change their ways, and given guidance on how they can begin making
changes.This however, doesn’t
mean they will do it. Registered dietitians are trained to provide such
behavior modification counseling. Most of us realize that this is not something
most people can do in a short period of time, or in a complete-overhaul
fashion. Many of us have also been exasperated in the disinterest many of our
clients have when posed with the idea of having to eat differently.
As a nutrition counselor, I take every client’s individual
health, situation and dietary history into consideration. I have heard for many
years the excuse: “Eating healthy is more expensive than not”. I’ve never
bought it, and still don’t. “Rice and beans are cheap,” I would at times tell
my clients. The case that Pollan provided during his presentation, in which a
family may have to choose between affording healthy foods and diabetes
medication, is one-sided. Being a child of depression-era parents, and turn of
the century immigrant grandparents, I find this dilemma hard to swallow. The
choice should simply be to take care of your health. This would include finding
ways to both eat well (and maybe less) and take any prescribed medication. We
also know that if the “eating well part” comes first, we can prevent the
“taking medication part”. In the case he showcased, it was too late. I’m sure
the individual was given warnings, as I have warned many overweight patients in
the past: “You need to lose weight and eat better, or you may develop
People make choices. They prioritize where their dollars go,
even if their budget is very small. If they change the way they value
nutritious foods, and understand the positive impact making these choices will
have on their overall health or disease, they may become motivated to
prioritize fresh produce over fast food meals, despite their sometimes (see
example below) slightly higher cost. People need to value healthy foods, and
make choices based on needs, not wants. My ancestors valued food. They grew it,
procured it, and spent time preparing it for family meals. They realized the
value of purchasing a twelve-dollar pear tree, which will yield bushels of
pears within three years, and then years to come.
So let’s put the cost of “healthy food” into perspective: Pollan
presented a slide that showed how many more calories per dollar one can
purchase in junk food (about 1200 per five dollars or so), over vegetables
(250). This is also a biased story. Two hundred and fifty calories in raw vegetables
for instance, would provide about ten cups of raw carrots or ten crowns of
broccoli. That’s a lot of vegetables, and could provide a family of four a
healthy snack or side dish for several days through the week. The junk food
calories, while providing immediate energy (in too many empty calories), will
not sustain appetite (therefore, the individual will keep eating more, gain too
much weight, and increase their risk for disease).
I’m not sure what the answer is for the future of our
nation’s health care, but I’m sure it will not come in the form of government
policy, but instead on a personal realization that your health depends on your
personal choices. Health care reform, like human behavior, needs to take baby
steps in the right direction. Neither the food industry, nor the farmer’s methods,
nor the health care system is responsible for your health. You can make the choice
to prioritize healthy foods for your family. Since when do you need to have the
food industry portion out 100-calorie packages for you? Sure, it seems easier,
but it doesn’t solve the problem: Learning how to eat just enough out of the box on your own, without gaining excess
I agree with Pollan’s message: “eat food, not too much,
mostly plants”, but we cannot oversimplify the complexity of the human behavior
factor which is involved in food choices and eating. Eat well and make time to
learn how to cook simple meals (it really doesn’t take that long) and don’t
wait for the easy street. If you already are making health-conscious,
environmentally sound food choices, continue doing so, but do realize that changing
others’ behavior is not going to be an overnight success story. Behavior change
is difficult and often requires professional support, but it is worth the
effort, and will have a huge impact on the eating habits of future generations.
Pollan commented that
a family could buy a fast food dinner for four for fourteen dollars. Here is an
estimated comparison of a simple home-cooked meal (buying weekly sale items) to
a $14 dollar fast food meal. Both feed a family of four, but the homemade meal
reduces your risk for obesity and disease:
Baked skinless chicken, 6 leg quarters (sale, $0.79/lb)$2.07
Baked potatoes, 4$1.20
Margarine for potatoes and biscuit$0.60
Green beans, canned, no salt added$1.00
6 Biscuits (made from mix)$1.50
1% milk, 8 ounces$0.21
TOTAL COST$6.58 ($1.65 per person)
CALORIES per serving = 650 (one pc chicken) to 850.
Good source of potassium, vitamin C, B, and fiber. About 25
grams of fat
$14.00 Fast Food Meal = 1000 calories per person
Very little vitamin A or C and fiber, about 40 grams of fat
February 3, 2010 February is Heart Month
February is Heart Month - Wear Red on Friday February 5th
February is National Heart Month and is kicking off on February 5th with National Wear Red Day. This is a day encouraging everyone to wear red (a shirt, a tie, a sweater) to bring awareness to not just heart disease, but the risks of heart disease in women.
Heart disease is still often thought of as a man's disease, but in fact it kills as many women. The difference: it occurs later in life than it does in the average man. In fact, one in four women in the U.S dies of heart disease compared to one in 30 who dies of breast cancer. About 80 percent of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Having one or more risk factors dramatically incrasese a womean's chance of develeoping heart disease.
Talk to your doctor about your risk. Keep in mind, these factors: