5 Tips to Handle Events When You Don’t Have Control Over the Food Being Served

By: Suzanne Klaus RD, LD

It is so easy to go to a party, wedding, or work event and leave feeling stuffed, lethargic, and disappointed in how we handled our food choices. We have every intention of making healthy choices to support our goals, but that goes out the window after we have stuffed ourselves with appetizers. Suzanne discusses five tips that will help you navigate an event where you do not have a choice over the food being served.

It is important that you know WHY you want to make healthy choices at the event and beyond. If you have not thought about that, then it is very unlikely that any number of tips will help you through the event. But, if you have identified your driving force and follow Suzanne’s tips you will have a recipe for success!

Tell us about some events where you were successful. We would also love to hear questions. Maybe you have an upcoming event. Comment below and Suzanne would be happy to help!

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

If you haven’t tried cauliflower mashed potatoes, you are missing out! I received a Vitamix for Christmas from my wonderful husband and this was the first thing I tested out. They tasted amazing and the texture was so creamy and smooth. We had been using the Magic Bullet and it was doable, but the Vitamix made this so much easier.

Instead of using heavy cream or milk, I use coconut milk. This is a great way to get in some healthy fats and still get the creaminess that the dairy typically adds.

 

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

3 TBSP butter

1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Parley, for garnish

Directions

In a large pot that will accommodate a steamer basket, bring 3-4 inches of water to a boil. Place chopped cauliflower in a steamer basket. Once the water is boiling, place the steamer basket in the pot and cover with lid.

Let the cauliflower cook for about 15 minutes or until tender when stuck with a fork. Remove from heat.

In a blender, add the steamed cauliflower, butter, coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Make sure there is an opening in the lid. (There should be a plastic piece that is removable.)

Blend until smooth. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Five Tips to Stay Healthy this Summer

By: Suzanne Doerries RD, LD, CPT

Attend the summer BBQs, but leave the extra weight behind.

Attend the summer BBQs, but leave the extra weight behind.

BBQs, pool parties, bonfires, vacations, and trips to the local ice cream parlor can become quite frequent during the summer. All of these activities can make it easy to overeat or choose foods that will not help us reach our goals on a more frequent basis.

Listen to your Hunger Satisfaction Scale. I can’t emphasize how important this is. If you are in tune with your body’s hunger scale, you will know if you are physically hungry or if you want to eat out of boredom, stress, social pressure, happiness, sadness, or anger. This is a scale from one to 10. If you rate yourself a one that means you are starving. A 10 means you are stuffed and never want to think about food again. You are physically uncomfortable due to the amount of food consumed. Three is physically hungry. Six is physically satisfied. The bottom line is: eat when you are physically hungry and stop when you are physically satisfied. If you wait to eat until you are starving unhealthy food choices and overeating become common. Eating when you are physically hungry instead of starving will allow you to be more in control of your food choices. It will also allow you to pay more attention to your body and stop when you are physically satisfied verses stuffed. Use this all the time, but especially when put in social situations surrounding food.

Wait to go back for seconds. It takes your body 15-20 minutes to catch up to what you just put in it. If you go back for seconds immediately you will probably overeat. Eating slowly can give your body some time to catch up to what you are putting in it.

Make a plate. It never fails, when you are at a BBQ there is an overwhelming amount of food. It can be easy to stand at the appetizer table and take down a bowl of buffalo dip and chips. Before you know it you are stuffed, but still eat dinner and dessert. To avoid this, make a plate keeping your hunger signals in mind. Try to make half your plate veggies and a quarter protein. Sit at a table to enjoy your plate. If you decided you it is going to be a rare occasion where you indulge in a sweet treat or salty snack make it part of that part and keep your hunger signals in mind.

Drink water. If you are going to have an alcoholic beverage or beverage with added sugar, drink one glass of water before going to get a refill. This will help to decrease your alcohol intake and/or calories coming from beverages. These are empty calories that are not nourishing your body in a positive manner.

Don’t skip your workouts. With the nice weather and enticing pools, summer can be an easy time to put the gym on the back burner. However, one missed week can easily lead to a second missed week and so on. Set your schedule up for success. If you know you are not going to work out after work, schedule your training sessions for the morning or lunch time. If you are on vacation and you will not be active or walking countless miles around a new city ask your trainer to write you a workout that you can do in your hotel.

Which of these five tips are you already doing? Which one will you add to your next summer event?

10 Ways to Get More Veggies!

By: Suzanne Doerries RD, LD

VeggiesWe have all been told to eat our veggies as a child. Some may have heard, “No dessert until you eat your green beans.” For others, “Clean your plate. There are starving kids in China.” was more common. Well your parents may have been on to something! Veggies are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber! A higher intake of veggies (and fruit) has even been associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  A great goal is to make half your plate veggies at every meal. I am not talking about the giant plates that can be found today, but the smaller dinner plates that can be comparable to some salad plates. If you are having a dish that has veggies mixed it that works too. As long as those veggies would take up about half your plate if you separated them out, you are good to go!

Adding veggies to every meal can seem like a daunting task, but it can be pretty easy. When choosing your veggies for the week, try to include a variety of colors. This will insure you are getting a variety of nutrients. If you find it hard to get veggies with every meal try some of these tips below!

  1. Have veggies in your house. If you don’t buy them, you will not eat them. Buying veggies that are in season will help with price and they will also taste the best! See what veggies are in season.
  2. If you are purchasing veggies that do not have a long shelf life, eat those at the beginning of the week and save your carrots and celery for the end of the week. You could also go to the store twice a week. I find that this is what a majority of my clients like to do.
  3. Make sure the veggies you are going to eat are ready for consumption. If you are going to have sliced peppers and hummus, but the pepper still needs to be cut and washed the chances of you still having that will drastically decrease.
  4. Add veggies to your eggs. Peppers, onions, mushrooms, and spinach are quite tasty in eggs. If you missed the crustless quiche recipe a few weeks ago be sure to check it out.
  5. Add them to a smoothie. This works great with spinach and kale! Start with spinach; it blends right in and you probably won’t even taste it.
  6. Make them your staple side dish. Carrots, celery, or peppers with hummus is great! Celery with nut butter is another good one for packed lunches. Baked asparagus, roasted beets, kale salad, or fermented coleslaw are some great dinner options.
  7. Replace your chips with veggies. Peppers, carrots, beets, and other veggies will give your body more nutrients than chips. You can even try kale chips. They are easy to make and delicious!
  8. Replace the tortilla or bread with a lettuce, Swiss chard, or collard green leaf. If using a bitter leaf like the collard green blanch it first. This will take out the bitterness and create a nice texture for the wrap.
  9. When eating out, swap French fries for a side salad or veggie. I know it is tempting, but veggies give your body so many more nutrients than the French fries.
  10. Be adventurous and try a new veggie. You can even try ones you didn’t like as a child. Tastes change. In my opinion, canned veggies taste a lot different than fresh veggies. Who knows, you may find a new favorite food!

Which step are you going to take to increase your veggies? They can be easy to overlook, but are crucial to your health!

Three Fruits/Veggies to Try This Spring

By: Suzanne Doerries RD, LD

Spring is here! As a dietitian I always think about all the delicious fruits and vegetables that come with the warmer weather. Once summer hits berries, basil, apples and other tasty produce will be ready to enjoy. However, some people forget about the veggies that are in season during spring. I choose three items that I thought people might not make at home on a regular basis. I hope you will enjoy the info and recipes.

Artichokes

SelectArtichoke Cradled in Hands

Choose artichoke heads with tightly closed leaves. The artichoke should be heavy for its size

Store

Place artichokes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Eat

Roasted Artichoke with Lemon and Garlic

Grilled Artichokes

Health

Artichoke is a good source of vitamin C. magnesium, dietary fiber, and potassium. It also contains the flavonoid silymarin that is thought to help with cholesterol levels and promote liver health.

 

Asparagus

AsparagusSelect

Choose bright green asparagus with tips that are closed, compact, and firm.

Store

It is best to keep fresh asparagus moist until use. If you are not going to use it the same day you buy it, trim a little of the bottom off and store upright in a container with a little water. For longer storage, wrap the ends in a damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator. Asparagus will usually last 4-5 days in your refrigerator.

Eat

Strawberry Asparagus Salad (I skip the dressing from this recipe and just do balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It is a lot less sugar! I even use almonds that do not have sugar on them.)

Roasted Balsamic and Garlic Asparagus

Health

Asparagus is a great source of vitamin C, folic acid, B6 and thiamine. It is high in glutathione, an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage.

 

Kiwi

SelectKiwi

Choose kiwi, otherwise known as Chinese gooseberries that are unblemished a little fuzzy. Ripe kiwi should give slightly to pressure. If you purchase a kiwi that is firm you can ripen it in a brown paper bag on the counter. Be sure to check daily for ripeness.

Store

Kiwi can be stored for days on the counter or for up to six weeks in the refrigerator.

Eat

Great in fruit salads, also try the recipes below:

Kiwi and Cucumber Salad

Charred Jalopeno, Kiwi, & Cucumber Salsa (Great with kale chips)

Health

Kiwi is an excellent source of vitamin C, in fact it is thought to have the highest vitamin C content of any fruit. It is also a great source of vitamin E, potassium, and dietary fiber.

Five Nutrition Habits to Health

By: Suzanne Doerries RD, LD

???????????????????????????????????Spring is here and delicious fruits and veggies are beginning to be in season. This usually motivates people to eat healthier. In addition to good nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management play a huge role in health. However, today I want to focus on five habits to improve your nutrition and your health. How many of these do you do on a regular basis?

  1. Make half your plate veggies (and I don’t mean fries). Vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. They fill you up and give your body the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Be sure to include a variety of colors! Here are a few recipes to try Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots, Spinach Avocado Quinoa Power Salad, and Kale Chips.

 

  1. Have protein with every meal. Not only does protein help to keep you full, it is essential for immune and liver health, and it helps build/maintain muscle mass. Poultry, beef, pork, eggs, nuts, and nut butters are good sources of protein. Poultry, beef, and pork are the highest in protein per gram. Choosing the grass fed, pasture raised beef, chicken, pork, or eggs does make a difference. These items have more omega-3s than their counter part. I know from experience that breakfast is usually the hardest meal to get protein. Here are two recipes to help with the most important meal of the day Avocado Egg Bake and Muffin Tin Baked Eggs.

 

  1. Drink half your weight in ounces of water. This is a just a guideline. If you are more active you will need more water. Water helps to transport nutrients and oxygen that help grow and repair cells, messages from hormones, and cell waste. It helps to remove toxins from the body and plays a role in reactions in the body. In addition to lubricating the joints, digestive tract, and lungs, it helps pad your joints and spine. Adequate water also helps your skin to look good! If your body is dehydrated you automatically have a decrease in performance, you can confuse thirst or hunger, and you may experience “brain fog.” Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go to stay hydrated.

 

  1. Slow down when you eat. It takes about 15-20 minutes for your body to catch up to what you just put in it. If you shovel your food in, the chances of overeating are greater. Eating slower allows you to pay more attention to the way your food tastes creating greater satisfaction.

 

  1. Plan ahead. You have probably heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is especially true with food. If you do not know what you are going to eat how can you make sure it will be there for you? Know at least a day in advance what you will eat and prep accordingly. Making your protein (chicken, beef, pork…) ahead of time can make week night meals a lot more convenient.

If it seems overwhelming to do all five of these things at once, choose one to start with. Once you feel confident with that, add another habit. Which habit will you start with first?

What is the food label telling you?

The food label can be a confusing thing. However, looking at the nutrition facts and the ingredients can tell you a lot about a food.

Serving Size

The first thing under “Nutrition Facts” is the serving size. This is one of the most important things to notice. If you are not looking at this, the rest of the information is useless. Compare what you actually eat to the stated serving size. If you are eating more, more you will need to multiply the calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates and so on. If you are eating less, you will need to divide everything. For example, this label reads the serving size is 1 cup. If you eat 2 cups you would multiply everything by 2. If you eat ½ cup, you would divide everything by two. Some serving sizes can be really small. When you look at the calories, protein, fat, sodium… it may seem like a fine choice. But, if you look at the serving size and multiply to get the amount you are actually eating, you may be shocked.

Nutrition Facts Top Part

Servings Per Container

This tells you how many servings are in the container/box/jar. In this case, if you were to eat the whole container of broth you would have consumed 4, or 4 cups. To figure out how many calories, fat, protein and other nutrients you would consume multiply by 4!

Food Label WholeCalories

This is the number of calories in 1 serving of the food. When trying to lose, gain, or maintain weight the number of calories you are consuming is important. However, choosing calories that will nourish your body and listening to your body’s hunger are even more important for success.

Calories from Fat

This tells you the number of calories you will get from fat in one serving. These calories are already included in the calories; you do NOT need to add this number to calories.  It is really not that important to look at this number. The fat section will tell you more about the health of the food.

Total Fat

Total fat is the TOTAL amount of fat in one serving of the food or beverage. Typically you will see saturated fat and/or other fats listed below. Those fats are included in the total fat. Fat has 9 Calories per gram, unlike protein or carbohydrates which have 4 Calories per gram. This explains why foods that are higher in fat are also higher in calories.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat often gets a bad rap, but it is not a fat to avoid completely. Try to keep your saturated fat intake to about than 1/3 of your total fat intake.

Trans Fat

This is the one fat to try to avoid. It is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil in a process known as hydrogenation. Even if you look at the label and you see 0 grams next to trans fat, your food or beverage may still have this unhealthy fat. According to labeling laws, if a food has less than 0.5 grams of a fat in one serving, it can be listed as 0 grams. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you eat four servings you could be consuming one to two grams of trans fat. Looking at the ingredient list is a good way to see if they are telling the truth. If you see the words partially hydrogenated, hydrogenated, margarine, or shortening, it contains trans fat.

Total Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates, otherwise known as carbs, give your body energy. If you are not an active person you do not need as many carbs as an athlete. It is important to choose carbs that will fuel your body, not cause it to crash. Foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar are good choices. Oatmeal, fruits, veggies, and brown rice are a few choices.

Dietary Fiber

This is a number that you would like to see high! The average healthy female should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, while the average male should consume 38 grams per day. This is based on an Institute of Medicine equation that calculates 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories.

When you are increasing your fiber intake, do not make a huge increase all at once. If you drastically increase your fiber intake in one day your body will most likely hate you. You will probably experience bloating and gas. Try adding a little fiber one day and little more the next. Drinking plenty of water is also important when increasing your fiber! Oatmeal, fruits, and veggies are a few examples of foods that contain fiber.

Sugar

Contrary to fiber, you want the grams of sugar to be low number. Foods that are high in sugar and low in fiber will not keep you full very long and will have a bad effect on your blood sugar levels. Foods like white bread, candy, ice cream, and sodas great examples of sugary foods and beverages. Other names that basically mean sugar include agave nectar, barley malt, beet sugar, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, buttered sugar, cane juice crystals, cane juice, cane sugar, caramel, carob syrup, caster sugar, coconut sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystalline fructose, date sugar, demara sugar, dextran, diastatic malt, diatase, ethyl maltol, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, galactose, glucose, golden sugar, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert syrup, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, maple syrup, molasses syrup, muscovado sugar, organic raw sugar, oat syrup, panela, panocha, confectioner’s sugar, rice bran syrup, rice syrup, sorghum, sorghum sugar, sucrose, sugar, syrup, treacle, tapioca syrup, turbinado sugar, and yellow sugar. Yikes that is a lot of names!

Sodium

Your body needs some sodium to function, but too much is not good. If you have high blood pressure, watching your sodium intake is especially important. The average healthy person should try to limit their sodium intake to less than 2300mg per day. Soups, frozen dinners, deli meats, and canned veggies are foods that are high in sodium.  If an item says reduced sodium, that means the sodium content has been reduced by 25% of its original version. It may still be high in sodium though. Also, if a label says low sodium, it must have less than 140mg per serving. Remember to check the serving size and compare it to what you are actually eating.

Protein

Protein in your diet is a definite must. It helps to build muscle and is important to cell and organ function. It will also keep you fuller longer than just eating carbohydrates by themselves. Grass fed chicken, beef, and turkey, fish, nuts, nut butters, pastured/cage free eggs, quinoa, bone broth, Greek yogurt, and beans are all good sources of protein.

% Daily Value

If you look to the right of the grams listed, you will see percentages listed. This is the % Daily Value. This is the percent of a person’s daily needs they will consume from one serving if they are on a “2,000 calorie diet.” However, a majority of people do not need 2,000 calories a day. Some people will need more, while others will need less. Because of this, I typically focus more on the grams.

 Ingredient List

Ingredients

The ingredients are listed in order of predominance by weight. This means the food that is in there the most is listed first.

This is the place to catch any tricks food companies may try to play. As I mentioned before, you will be able to tell if there is any trans fat in your food by looking here. Also, if you want to make sure you are eating bread that is 100% whole grain, look to see if the ingredients following whole wheat are not enriched, bleached flour.

There is another thing to look out for here. If you are looking to make sure sugar is not one of the first few ingredients on the list, good for you! However, even though sugar might not be in the top three ingredients, a food or beverage can still have more sugar than you would think. Often times multiple sweeteners are used. Here’s the issue. If sugar is the only sweetener used in a product, it might be listed as the first or second ingredient. However, by using sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses. Sugar is now listed as the fifth ingredient and high fructose corn syrup and molasses, the sixth and seventh.

It is also important to look for other ingredients to avoid. Here are some to get you started artificial colors (yellow #5,red #40, blue #2), BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), polysorbate 60, MSG,  (Monosodium Glutamate), carrageenan, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, artificial sugar (sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin…), artificial flavors, tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), and BVO (Brominated Vegetable Oil).

Hopefully, this has answered some questions about what the food label is actually telling you. It can be a great tool to help you make healthy food choices.