Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen- Quinoa Salad


-Dressing: 4 cloves garlic, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ tsp basil, juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper to taste

-Salad: 4 cups cooked quinoa, 1 cup grated carrots, ½ cup chopped green onions, ½ cup chopped celery, ½ cup chopped mushrooms, ¼ cup sunflower seeds*, ¼ cup slivered almonds*

-Combine dressing ingredients and let stand for at least 10 minutes.
-Combine quinoa, veggies and seeds (omit for allergies and young children).  
-Toss with dressing and serve

*Children can help rinse the quinoa, measure the liquids and veggies and stir the salad.  Getting children involved in preparing food has shown to help them be more interested in trying new foods.  It is also a great opportunity for learning (math, science, etc) and additional quality time to spend together as a family! 

*seeds and nuts can be a choking hazard for young children.  Omit or substitute if any food allergies exist. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

BMI... What you need to know

One term we hear a lot about recently is "Body Mass Index", or BMI. It seems to be important, but many people are not sure what it is, what it means, or why they should be concerned about it.
What does BMI tell you?
Body mass index (BMI) is a number that evaluates an individual’s weight status in relation to his or her height. BMI generally is used as the first indicator in assessing body fat and has been the most common method of tracking weight problems and obesity among adults. Although this is an effective screening tool for children and adolescents, it is important to remember that it is not a diagnostic tool.  BMI provides a guideline based on weight and height to determine weight issues. As children grow, their body fat changes. BMI decreases during the preschool years, and then increases as the child grows older. This pattern is shown better on the BMI-for-age charts. 
How do you calculate BMI?
Two methods are used to calculate BMI – the metric formula and the English formula. Both provide the same information, and neither is more accurate than the other.
Metric Formula
BMI = Weight in kilograms / [Height in meters] x 2 
English Formula
BMI = [Weight in pounds / Height in inches 2] x 703
How do you calculate BMI for age?
The guidelines for interpreting BMI are listed below. It is critical that accurate measurements are obtained. It is common for caregivers to be concerned about their child’s weight and where he or she is on the growth chart.
  • Underweight BMI-for-age < 5th percentile 
  • At risk of overweight BMI-for-age > 85th percentile 
  • Overweight BMI-for-age > 95th percentile 
BMI is particularly helpful for identifying children and adolescents who are at risk for becoming significantly overweight as they get older. In older children and teens, there is a strong correlation between BMI and the amount of body fat. Those with high BMI readings - and probably high levels of fat – might be likely to have weight problems when they are older. If health care providers can identify these at-risk children early on, they can monitor their body fat more carefully and potentially prevent adult obesity through changes in eating and exercise habits.
BMI is not perfect by any means, it is a screening tool. For example, it's very common for kids to gain weight quickly and see the BMI go up during puberty. Your child's doctor can help you figure out whether this weight gain is a normal part of development or whether it's something to be concerned about. If you think your child may be gaining or losing weight too fast, talk to your child's doctor. A child can also have a high BMI because he or she has a large frame or a lot of muscle, not excess fat. By the same token, a person with a small frame may have a normal BMI but might have too much body fat.
Also, it's important to look at the BMI numbers as a trend instead of focusing on individual numbers. Any one measurement, taken out of context, might give you the wrong impression of your child's growth. The real value of BMI measurements lies in viewing them as a pattern over time. That allows both doctor and parents to watch the child's growth and determine whether it's normal compared with that of other children the same age. BMI is an important additional tool that can be used as an indicator that your child is growing and developing in a healthy way.  If you have concerns about your child's growth or eating, discuss it with their pediatrician and ask for a referral to a pediatric dietitian if it is warranted.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Importance of Protein

Everyday I tell clients about the importance of protein in their diets.  Not only does it help with blood sugar control but it helps regulate your feeling of fullness (get you full and keep you full longer).  A recent study found that a diet that had 15% protein compared to a diet with 10% protein resulted in an overall lower caloric intake and less snacking.  (Gosby et al, Testing Protein Leverage in Lean Humans: A Randomized Controlled Experimental Study. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (10)).

Try to these tips to help increase your protein intake:
- have a source of protein with each meal and each snack (vary the type... be creative)
- choose seafood twice a week
- make meat & poultry lean
- have eggs (they are good for you... if you have high cholesterol, limit the yolks and eat the whites where the protein is found)
- have nuts & seeds!!!  Try almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds...  the sky is the limit!  Definitely go with unsalted and try to have raw when possible.
- Eat plant protein foods more often: beans and peas (black, pinto, garbanzo, lentils, hummus, red beans, kidney beans- you name it), tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers
- Remember that you should still be watching your portions... If you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks that are well balanced (contain protein, fruit and/or veggie, whole grain and dairy) you will obtain all of the nutrients you need, eat small portions, feel satisfied and get to a healthy weight!

Enjoy and be well...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beating the Bloat

Bloating... ugh, no one likes to feel bloated, but it happens to all of us.  Jeans don't fit, it's hard to sit down and you feel awful.  What to do??? 

Check out my segment on CBS 2 news for tips and tricks on beating the bloat.  I bet you didn't know that drinking from a straw can cause bloating or that if you feel bloated that it's best to go out for a walk rather than sit down... intrigued?  Click on the link! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fill half of your plate with fruits & veggies

How many apples or mushrooms or salads do you or your kids need to eat to get your 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day? Is it even 5 servings any more or is it more? So much seems to have changed which leaves many of you confused!!! A tool has been developed to help getting your fruits and veggies easier: fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal and try to snack on fruits and veggies too.

If you make fruits and vegetables a priority of every meal it will help you meet your goal each day— simple as that!

The new MyPlate icon (which has replaced the food guide pyramid) developed by the USDA supports this concept … fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables at every single meal! Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more details, recipes and lots of great interactive tools.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Write it down... the benefits of keeping a food journal

“I have NO idea what I ate yesterday” or “I really do not eat that much” or “I can’t understand why I am not losing weight” or “I don’t know what my child eats for snacks”.

How many of you have ever said this? Most of us are so busy with our everyday lives that we don’t pay detailed attention to what we eat. Our portions may be larger than we think or we may not be getting enough calcium, we may not be eating fruits and veggies, or we may even eat mindlessly at times during the day. Many people vastly underestimate the amount of food they are eating – sometimes by as much as 75% and recent studies have shown that those people who keep a food log can double their weight loss.

Keeping a food journal has many benefits including:

-Encourages mindful eating. – keeping a record of what you eat encourages you to think about what you are eating.

-Helps you make a connection between what you eat and how you feel. (This can be used in many ways, either to help with emotional eating or even to track symptoms of food allergy/intolerance).

-Helps you be sure you are getting enough of each food group to maintain a well balanced diet. It is important to eat a balanced diet. A food diary can provide clues as to what foods you have been neglecting and need to add to your diet.

So get your notebooks out or try one of the food log apps on your smart phone (try livestrong.com).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

DELISH Refrigerator Raisin Bran Muffins

These muffins are high in fiber and delicious!  Plus the batter can stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days so you can make hot muffins without the hassle in the morning.  Grab one with a glass of milk for a quick and easy breakfast or pack one for a healthy mid morning snack.


2 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice

2 beaten eggs

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup milk

1 cup raisins


In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and spice. Make a well in the center. Combine eggs, brown sugar, oil, and milk. Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in raisins.

Transfer batter to a tightly covered container. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To serve, line muffin cups with paper bake cups or spray with cooking spray. Without stirring batter, fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 14 to 16.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Avoiding the Freshman Fifteen

Research has shown that some, not all, of college freshman gain weight during their first year at school. College is a time of change, and the stress associated with these changes can lead to overeating. In addition, exercise levels often decrease during the first year away at college.

Why should you be concerned about the weight? Rapid weight gain caused by poor dietary and exercise habits in college can start teenagers on a path that can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and may increase risk for certain cancers (all associated with obesity).

The big question is, how can you avoid gaining the "Freshman 15"? Try the following strategies:

* Make it a rule to have time for eating and time for other activities. Avoid eating when watching TV, studying, or when stressed.

*. Make time for exercise a few times per week. do something that you enjoy!

* Slow down at meals. Put your fork (or sandwich) down between bites. Be mindful when you eat and enjoy your food.

* Eat 3 meals per day (and 1-2 healthful snacks).

* Limit empty calorie beverages (soda, lemonade) and drink water instead.
Lastly, don't freak out if you notice that you have started to gain a few pounds. Look at your intake and activity habits. Try to make small changes (an extra 125 calories per day can equal one pound weight gain per month). Start with small changes and take it day by day. You can do it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Boost Your Brainpower with BREAKFAST!

Back to school means getting back in the habit of an early breakfast to start the day.  Breakfast is an important part of a healthful diet, yet tends to be the meal that is most often neglected or skipped. Research has shown that children who eat breakfast perform better academically than children who do not eat breakfast. Why, you ask? Eating breakfast is very important for both the brain and the body first thing in the morning. Breakfast is the first time that the body has to replenish its stores of glucose (blood sugar- the brain's main source of fuel) after at least 8-10 hours of fasting! Having a meal in the morning jump starts your metabolism and gives your body the energy that it needs to start the day.
A super nutritious breakfast should have at least: one serving of whole grains, one serving of fruit and either one serving of a calcium rich food or a protein (or both). Try these healthful breakfasts to jump start the day:
-Whole grain cereal with nonfat milk and fruit
-Oatmeal with sliced almonds, fruit and milk
-Vegetable omelet with a slice of whole grain bread and fruit
-Whole grain toast or waffle with peanut butter (or soynut butter) and sliced bananas on top
-Breakfast quesadilla or burrito (whole grain tortillas filled with eggs and veggies)
-Smoothie (fresh fruit, yogurt, a teaspoon of wheatgerm or flaxseed oil blended together).

There is no rule that you have to have breakfast foods at breakfast. If you or your child's taste buds crave other types of foods in the morning try: A toasted whole grain English muffin with turkey or ham and a piece of fruit, Vegetable pizza (on a whole grain English muffin or pita bread), Rice and beans and a fruit, or anything that appeals to your tastes (and is healthful)! 


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's National Watermelon Day- August 3rd 2011

In case you needed another reason to enjoy a juicy, delicious slice of watermelon, now you have one: today is National Watermelon Day. Ice-cold watermelon is a wonderful and nutritious treat on a hot summer day. It is over 90 percent water, so it's a smart snack choice on a hot summer day.

The watermelon is related to the cantaloupe, squash and pumpkin, other plants that also grow on vines on the ground. Watermelons can be round, oblong or spherical in shape and have thick green rinds that are often spotted or striped. They vary in size from a few pounds to greater than ninety pounds.

Watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse!! Two cups of watermelon provide just 80 calories, 30 percent of your vitamin A for the day and 25 percent of your vitamin C. Watermelon also has the highest concentration of lycopene (that's right, its watermelon, not tomatoes)... the cancer fighting antioxidant.

With more than 200 varieties grown in the U.S. and Mexico, there has to be a variety out there for you. Pick up a watermelon for a healthy nutritious snack and enjoy a nice cold slice today.

Enjoy some crisp, cold watermelon today… we had some for breakfast this morning, DELISH!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Staying active in the Summer HEAT!!!

The summer is a great time to get moving and active. Try to get moving for at least 30 minutes each day and have your children move for at least 60 minutes on most days. Staying active can be fun and fit into your daily routine. It doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym or jump on a treadmill. Here are some fun ways to make saying active fun for your entire family. If you have ways that you stay active with your family please feel free to share them on the NutritionWise Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NutritionWise).

• Play hopscotch
• Go fruit picking or visit a farmer’s market
• Work in a garden (either your own or a community garden)
• Visit the beach… look for sea shells, make a sand castle, play football or volleyball
• Plan a “wash day”- tricycles, scooters, outdoor toys, etc. It’s a great way to be productive and stay cool!
• Go on a nature hike- look for flowers, rocks, butterflies, birds and other amazing things.

Summer Safety Tips:
It’s always important to be aware of some specific safety tips for summer activity. Since it is usually very hot (and humid, depending on what part of the country you live in), make sure to stay hydrated, because you lose your body’s water in the form of sweat, even if you are swimming! Protect your child’s skin and your skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA/UVB) and wear a hat, even if it’s cloudy. Make sure their equipment is safe- tricycles, playground, etc. Never take eyes off if they are in or near a body of water.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fruits and Veggies... What's in Season in the Summer?

What’s in season for the summer (June, July, August)???

Remember, you can enjoy the taste of any fruit or vegetable year-round.
Fresh, frozen, dried, and 100% juice (no more than 1 serving of juice per day) - it all counts! Try to get 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies daily for maximum health benefits.

Asian Pear
Black Currants
Bell Peppers
Butter Lettuce
Casaba Melon
Champagne Grapes
Chayote Squash
Cherries, Sour
Crenshaw Melon
Crookneck Squash
Green Beans
Green Soybeans (Edamame)
Honeydew Melons
Jalapeno Peppers
Key Limes
Lima Beans
Manoa Lettuce
Passion Fruit
Persian Melon
Sugar Apple
Sugar Snap Peas
Summer Squash
Yukon Gold Potatoes

This list was developed with the help of the amazing wesite www.fruitsandveggiesmorematter.org Visit it for great recipes, info, tips and all things fruits and veggies!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Delicious Anytime Marinade

Summer is in full swing and that means... its time to get grilling!!! Marinating with lemon & olive oil decreases HCA's by 71% according to research in the Journal of Food Science!*

HCA's= Heterocyclic Amines- chemicals produced by the grilling of meat. HCA's are on the NIH's list of "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens".

Marinade Ingredients:
Juice of 1 lemon
grated lemon rind
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1-2 garlic gloves, crushed
1 tbsp honey
optional- saffron

Mix all of the ingredients togther. Get the kids involved! Kids can help turn the pepper mill, stir the ingredients, squeeze the lemon, etc.

Use marinade on chicken, fish, tofu, or whatever you dream up!

*Other ways to decrease HCA's- grill veggies (no HCA's at all); limit meat consumption, avoid burning/charring meat, opt for beef or fish on the grill (chicken has been shown to produce 2-7 times the amount of HCA's).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Be a Smart Shopper...

Hot off the press! EWG just came out with their 2011 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce (Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen). You can download and print a copy of the pdf version of this guide. I keep a copy in my wallet and use it while in the grocery store to help make wise choices while I am shopping. www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Start Your Week with a Meatless Monday

My family has recently revived our Meatless Mondays to decrease our intake of animal proteins (for both health and environmental reasons). So far so good! All of my cooking attempts have been pretty well received and I plan to post some of our recipes here on Mondays!

Meatless Monday is a national health campaign that was started in September 2003. A Meatless Monday means starting each week with a day without any meat products and replacing them with other protein sources like beans, legumes, tofu, nuts, tempeh, and lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Its goal is to help Americans prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer- four of the leading causes of death in America, by reducing the amount of fat consumed in their diet. Research has indicated that diets high in saturated fat (mainly from meat and high-fat dairy products) increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Many of these diseases that lead to death are preventable by making lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity and decreasing saturated fat intake. Increasing fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption (hence increasing fiber and antioxidant intake) has been shown to be protective of diseases like heart disease and cancer. Try making your Mondays meatless… check out www.meatlessmonday.org and www.meatlessmonday.com for ideas on getting started. As with any lifestyle change, start with small steps. Try a vegetarian dinner on Monday nights if the idea of an entire meat-free day seems like a daunting task. Send your kids with an extra veggie to school or possibly rice and beans or a veggie wrap instead of an entree that contains meat to work towards this goal. Have fun with it!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Snacking on a Rainbow

Snacks are essential for both kids and adults to meet nutritional needs for growth & development (kids) and to maintain a healthy weight (adults). Snacks are also a great time to add an extra serving (or two) of colorful foods, which brings us back to the theme of NNM 2011 "Eat Right with Colors". Here are a few delicious snacks that all pack a coloful punch! When snacking, go for the "layered look" and include a fruit or vegetable with a protein (can be meat, nuts, beans, dairy, etc). Enjoy

-carrots or bell peppers with hummus
-apple or banana with nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower or soy)
-cherry tomatoes with lowfat cheese
-avocado with whole wheat crackers
-smoothie (frozn berries with nonfat milk or yogurt)
-dried fruit (apricots or prunes) with a small handful of almonds

If you have any great "layered snacks" that you love please let me know!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Eat Right with Color

That’s right, it’s March and you know what that means! Every year, since 1973, March has been designated as National Nutritional Month® (NNM). It started as a week long event but due to an overwhelming public interest, it became a month long observance in 1980. The theme for National Nutrition Month® 2011 is Eat Right with Color.

The theme this year is thrilling since I make it a point to stress colorful eating with my clients every day! (If you have been to see me in my office, you have heard me say “make have of your plate colorful!"). All of the colors indicate the presence of different nutrients and phytochemicals that are essential to keep your body strong and healthy.

So how do you "Eat Right with Color"? Simple! All you have to do is try to include foods of different colors on your plate and vary them day-to-day. Try some of these:

Red (strawberries, beef, tomatoes)
Orange (sweet potatoes, salmon, tangerines, carrots)
Yellow (pineapple, corn,)
Green (spinach, kale, broccoli, peas)
Blue (blackberries, blueberries)
Purple (eggplant, pomegranate, grapes)
White (onions, garlic, poultry, grains)
Brown (whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta)

Have a healthy and colorful day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart Healthy Bean Dip

1 can (15 ounces) white (cannellini) beans or 1 can garbanzo beans (or a combination of the two), rinsed and drained
8 garlic cloves, roasted**
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for roasting garlic)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a blender or food processor, add the beans, roasted garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

Serve with cut belle pepper stips or cut up carrots; pita chips or pita bread, on a sandwich or wrap... the sky's the limit!

**To roast garlic, cut off the tops of several heads of garlic exposing the cloves. Brush the tops generously with olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil also brushed with olive oil. Heat the oven to 350 F and roast about 30 minutes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Your Heart!

Did you know that February is American Heart Month? Every year since its congressional approval in 1963, the President has issued a proclamation to this effect, to help raise public awareness of heart disease. Even though most people associate heart disease with men, it's also the leading cause of death among women. To raise awareness about heart disease and women, the American Heart Association's Go Red campaign aims to help women take action against heart disease.

Here are some ideas to keep your heart in tip-top shape:
• Limit your intake of fat
• Choose heart-healthy fats (think avocado, olive oil and nuts) over saturated fats and trans fats (in processed and baked good, animal fat and dairy products)
• Limit your intake of sugars, especially refined sugar
• Limit your intake of sodium/salt
• Choose more whole grains, legumes, fresh produce and low fat dairy products
• Choose lean meat and poultry
• Include fish in your diet
• Control portions and moderate food choices
• Become physically active for 30 to 60 minutes a day
• Stop smoking
• Limit your intake of alcohol