Hints & Tips

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget is a blog post which is part of a 3 part series, make sure to scroll down to read the post below this, and stay tuned to read the last blog posts to follow this one. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, organic food is expensive and it’s not a realistic goal for everyone. However, just because you’re living on a budget does not mean you have to live off the McDonald’s dollar menu. Read below for a few of my favorite cost saving, and healthy, tips!

  1. Fruits and vegetables fluctuate in price, depending on the climate and growing season. Buying produce when it’s  ‘in season’ will result in the best tasting and cheapest product. When buying in season isn’t an option, there’s nothing wrong with frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruit is great for a smoothie or with some yogurt. Frozen veggies are often just as nutritious as fresh veggies as long as they are frozen at the peak of freshness. (In other words, the freezer does NOT destroy any vitamins and minerals.) If you are going the canned route, look for low sodium or no added salt versions. Also, rinse your canned veggies in a colander to remove excess sodium. Unfortunately, the canning process does destroy some nutrients, and the longer they sit in the packing water, the more nutrients that leave the veggies. And if you like fruit cups or applesauce look for versions with no added sugar and that are canned in their own natural juices. Stay away from fruit canned in syrup.
  2. Consider going meatless a few nights a week. When I look at my grocery bills, it’s always the meat that seems to increase my bill. There’s plenty of other ways to get protein by adding beans, cheese/dairy, and some grains (brown rice and quinoa come to my mind when I think about grains with protein!) In general, Americans are consuming well over the recommended amount of protein daily, so you don’t have to worry that skipping your beef or chicken a few nights of week will lead to a deficiency.
  3. Designate one night a week for “kitchen sink” night— in other words, time to use up all the odd ends and bits in your fridge. Stir-fry and soup work great for this. Use leftovers, and add any vegetables you didn’t get to in the week. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, google recipes containing “x and x” to find new ideas to put your leftover food to good use. (You’d be surprised how many recipes will come up when you try this!) Whatever creation you create will be way healthier than going out, without a doubt!

Also, don’t forget to make a shopping list! Research shows this sames you time and money when going to the grocery store, which is definitely a win-win.

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Hints & Tips

Eating Healthy On The Go

Eating Healthy on The Go is a blog post which is part of a 3 part series, make sure to stay tuned to read the next 2 blog posts to follow this one. 

I think one of the most common difficulties we all face is letting our nutrition slack when we get busy. For me, it’s hard enough to make it somewhere on time– never mind trying to pack a bag full of snacks and be somewhere on time. Below see some of my biggest tips, and favorite products, to continue eating healthy when you’re on the go.

  1. Package snacks sure are convenient, but are they healthy? I like to keep granola bars on hand for my especially busy days. Almost anything packaged is going to have some form preservatives on the ingredient list so that’s why I don’t like to eat these on a regular basis. But when you’re scrambling for something to bring with you look for granola bars with less than 10 grams of sugar and at least 2 grams of fiber per bar. Other packaged foods that I use as my “go-to”? Raisins and other dried fruit, Kind Bars, 100 calorie nut packs, cheese sticks, and greek yogurt.
  2. Fruits and Veggies often come in their own natural package meaning there’s no prep involved. Items like apples, bananas, carrots and snap-peas don’t need to be cut. Just rinse and toss into a plastic bag. Aside from being minimal prep, they are full of fiber which will help hold you over until you’re home for a real meal. Consider buying individual tubs of peanut butter, hummus, or guacamole to dip your fruit and veggies in to– all of which provide a dose of healthy fat to increase satiety.
  3. Looking for a meal on the go? Left overs always make great grab and go meals. If you make a little extra at dinner, which is essentially going to take you the same time to prep since all the ingredients are already out, you can save leftovers and take to work the next day. Freezer meals are going to be high in fat and sodium, so I recommend avoiding those. And also remember a couple of snacks can equate to a meal. Use MyPlate as your guide and try to pick several snacks from different food groups such as veggies + hummus + cheese stick + whole grain crackers OR cut fruit + greek yogurt + handful of nuts.

Do you need more ideas for grab-and-go meals and snacks? Shoot me an email or comment below! Make sure to check back soon for my next Eating Healthy blog post series!

 

Uncategorized

My Trip To The Nature Center

Last weekend my boyfriend and I ventured to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Florida. We love exploring different nature centers and walking trails so this was right up our alley. 

It’s a suggested admission donation of $5 per person. Once inside you have access to a Nature trail hike, a butterfly garden, and the sea turtle rehabilitation center. 


What I loved MOST about the sea turtle rehabilitation center was the description that was provided about each animal. They included information about where they found the sea turtle, what its current health status is, and how they are treating and healing the creature.


Look at this cute little guy with his cast.


What I thought was so interesting was that 70% of turtles develope these tumors on their body, than can effect their ability to survive depending on where they form and if they form internally or externally. But in my opinion 70% is a very high percentage! 

However, what I found even more interesting was that the information board said that if you want to help prevent these tumors from developing the best thing you can do is buy more organic products and less products using harsh chemicals. This was a major wake up call for me– if these chemicals are causing tumors in 70% of sea turtles, and these are the same products we are using on our skin, to clean our house, to wash our clothes, then is it any wonder why chronic disease is on the rise?!? 



Maybe organic is out of reach for many of us– it’s expensive, I know. But we can all make small changes to a more natural life style and we need to be aware of the effect that excess chemicals have our our planet, our environment, and our own health! Be healthy, be happy! 

Happy Posts

Things to Give Up, to Get Ahead

Ever feel like your spinning your wheels and getting no where? Right now, with my recent move, I’m so stressed out about finding an apartment, starting to see patients as a second job, still learning what to do at my first job and trying to figure out my health insurance (just to name a few stressors!)

Somehow this article just resonated with me. And I wanted to share it with you with hopes that it will do the same. 

“Happiness is seemingly always “someday” in the near-distant future - like once we finally land that promotion or find the right partner.” If that sentence speaks to you, please please please click the article and give it a read!

Let’s all make it our goal to have a HAPPY week! Being HEALTHY is great, but remember health is more than just physical– mental, social, spiritual, occupational, and environmental health all contribute to the overall term of HEALTH! This week, make it your goal to praise yourself more, drop the negativity, and forget about perfection. 

Article Link: http://www.businessinsider.com/11-mental-habits-to-give-up-if-you-want-to-succeed-2017-4?utm_content=bufferbaff3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer-bi

Recipes

Super Stuffed Peppers

Hey Friends! Here’s another recipe coming your way… although maybe I should say meal inspiration because I don’t have an exact recipe for you. I rarely use recipes when I cook– I personally enjoy tasting and seasoning as I got.

Anyway, a super easy one pan meal for you to try this week is stuffed peppers!


In mine, I put:

  • Ground Beef (grass fed)
  • Quinoa
  • Spinach
  • Onion
  • Feta Cheese

What you’ll want to do is:

  1. Gut the peppers. Place in an oven and let them start cooking while you prepare the filling.
  2. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. When cooked, add to your mixing bowl.
  3. Sauté ground beef (about 1 pound) until thoroughly cooked. Add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Sauté spinach and onions until tender. This is a great time to get creative and add whatever veggies you have that week.
  5. Add cooked veggies to the mixing bowl. Stir in feta cheese. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder.
  6. Pull out peppers and stuff with filling. Cook an additional 25 minutes, or until peppers are tender.


This recipe is great because it has your protein, grain, and vegetables all in one item. (Feel free to melt extra cheese on top of the peppers too!)

Quick question: Do you like to use recipes or do you tend to improvise as you cook? Although I look at recipes for inspiration, I am definitely a improviser and like to make my own substitutions as I go!

Hints & Tips

App Review: SWORKIT 

Awhile ago I was watching Shark Tank and someone came onto the show looking for funds to building their fitness app called SWORKIT. While I don’t know what happened with their business, I do know this is one app I like and would recommend for people in need of workout inspiration! 

First of all, it’s a free app for IPhones. (Can’t speak on behalf of Android– but if someone tries it out please let me know!) With this app you select what type of workout you want and how long you want to workout for. 

So in the free version you can choose between Strength, Cardio, Yoga, and Stretching. 


Then you can further select what time of workout you want. For example, these are the options for cardio. 


Then you customize how long you want the workout to be. The options are in 5 minute intervals! 


And finally, just follow along with the image on the screen to enjoy your workout. The app provides an overall countdown on the top of the screen, and then a countdown for the individual exercise in the center of the screen. 


The app provides you with the appropriate amount of rest in between excercises so all-in-all it’s a no brainer! And, did I mention it’s free! 

If you’re new to exercise and need some ideas to get started check out this app and get started on your own healthy and happy adventure today! 

Recipes

Veggie ‘Lasagna’

I am a pasta lover, but sometimes eating pasta means having to skimp on the veggies because my plate is already filled with starch. (Remember, refer to MyPlate Guidelines and make half your plate (fruits and) vegetables!) 


With this meal, I don’t have to worry about missing my veggies because it’s basically all veggies! Just slice a variety of vegetables and layer as your would regular lasagna. Alternate layers of vegetables, with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. You could also include a layer of ground beef, ground turkey, or low sodium deli turkey if extra protein is desired. 


Although any vegetables will work, some of my favorites for this dish are: egg plant, zucchini, sweet potatoes, onions, and red peppers. 

Alternate layers of veggies, sauce, and cheese in an 8×8 baking dish. Pop into a preheated oven (375 degrees) and bake for about 45 minutes, or until all veggies are tender. 

Don’t forget to top with Parmesan cheese like me! Enjoy!

Recipes

Holy Guacamole

My boyfriend absolutely loves it when I make guacamole, and as I’m constantly reminding him, I have no problem making it because it’s a very healthy dip option!

Avocados, the main ingredient in guacamole, are very high in monounsaturated fats– which are the health healthy fats that may help normalize your lab values such as LDL cholesterol. Not to mention all the other fresh veggies we’re sneaking into this dip which add additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! Just remember, while monounsaturated fats are heart healthy, they are still very calorically dense so as with everything else, just make sure to keep your portions in check. 


Here’s my recipe:

2 ripe avocados

2 plum tomatoes, diced

1 jalapeño, diced

2 tsp minced garlic 

1/4 purple/red onion, diced

Juice of 1 lime

Salt & Pepper to taste

Scoop your avocado into a bowl and begin to mash. Add diced tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, and fresh garlic. Squeeze in fresh lime juice. Continue mashing until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy with some whole grain chips! 

Hints & Tips

Crazy for Tea!

As we approach the warm weather this summer, remember how important it is to stay hydrated. (Check out this previous blog post on hydration.) If you’re looking to amp up your drink choice this summer, consider switching to some refreshing UNSWEETENED ice tea!! Add lemon or fresh berries to give your drink some added flavor.

I am not a coffee drinker, but when I go to Dunkin Donuts I get unsweetened green ice tea with extra lemon. Read why this is my drink of choice in the article below from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Hints & Tips

Product Alert: Sandwich Thins

**This is not a paid endorsement. This is a product I frequently use in my own home**

Bread can be a pretty controversial topic these days. Some people swear by the ‘low-carb life style’ and others can’t get enough of the carbohydrates. As a Registered Dietitian, I want to remind you that almost anything, including bread, pasta, and potatoes (our typical carb containing foods) can be including in a balanced diet. The key is moderation.

Omitting a whole food group from your diet, can actually be very dangerous because you’re missing out on all the nutrients provided by that food group. The problem, especially in America, is we tend to go very heavy on starches and leave no room on our plate for veggies.

That’s why I like these Sandwich Thins. They taste like normal bread, it’s just that the portion has been altered to be more appropriate in size. They work great for sandwiches (bonus points if you sneak some vegetables onto your sandwich) and can also be used for toast in the morning.

As you can see below there are a few different types of Sandwich Thins you can buy. Just make sure to look for whole grains as the first ingredient.

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Sometimes, I make my boyfriend a Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwich using these sandwich thins. They hold up just fine with all the toppings, but it significantly lowers the calories when comparing it to a sandwich on a traditional bagel or croissant.

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In my family we even use these for hamburger buns. Give them a try next time you are at the grocery store and let me know what you think!