Five Healthy Swaps for Summer

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Where I live, in the beautiful Finger Lakes of New York State, Memorial Day marks summer more so than the earth’s tilt toward the sun. With the summer season starting up this weekend, I have been thinking about my favorite summer swaps. Here we go!

Swap Fruit Juice and Seltzer for Soda. Did you know that 16 ounces of soda has more than 10 teaspoons of sugar? And diet soda isn’t the answer either; researchers have discovered that diet sodas though calorie-free can make you gain weight. I tell my clients to satisfy soda cravings by mixing a mere three ounces of fruit juice with 12 ounces of seltzer water.

Swap Grilled Portobello Mushrooms for Hamburgers. Red meat is okay to consume on occasion, but consuming it regularly can lead to high cholesterol, weight gain, and in the long-term, heart disease. A recent study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University found that replacing high-density foods like red meat with low density foods like mushrooms could fight obesity. Grilled Portobello mushrooms have a delicious meaty taste. If I can get my meat-loving clients to devour a Portobello burger, they must be scrumptious!

Swap Ice Cream for Banana Soft Serve. Summer for many means ice cream, especially on hot, humid days. Try to change it up sometimes with a healthier option: Banana Soft Serve. Chop and freeze several bananas. Whenever you get an ice cream craving, throw a handful of chopped frozen bananas in the food processor and blend them with some almond milk of coconut milk. Pineapple added in is a delicious treat as well!

Reduce the Mayo for Greek yogurt. Whether it’s potato salad or macaroni salad, most people I know make these popular summer salads with globs of mayo. Swap ¾ of the mayo with Greek yogurt—you will cut the calories yet boost the nutrition and keep the satisfying taste!

Go Mini with your Desserts. You don’t have to totally deny desserts! If you want to make cupcakes, make the mini ones and create a pact with yourself to only have one.  Cut your brownies very small and make the same pact. Really savor the sweetness!

I wish you all an awesome Memorial Day weekend! Let me know if these swaps helped you!

 

 

 

 

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When in Italy…Eat like the Italians

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We all know of the Italian grandmother who makes you eat and eat and eat. What if you ate like that and lost weight?! Guess what? You can!

Recently, I traveled to Italy and it was oh-so-amazing! The contrast between the way they eat and the way (most) Americans do, has really inspired me to keep ardently educating people about the importance of eating fresh, wholesome food, like the Italians do!

Let me tell you about what I ate in Italy—I indulged to say the least!

Our trip to Italy started in Florence….can you say gelato? There were gelato stands about every 50 feet and it was the most delicious thing you have ever tasted! My favorite was the Nutella flavor.

As we walked through the beautiful city, we stopped and had freshly cut prosciutto with buffalo mozzarella and perfect cherry tomatoes with the absolutely best house wine!IMG_1805

We then ventured down to Siena where we had margarita pizza, octopus, and gnocchi. We also had more phenomenal wine called Brunello. It is grown in Italy and was so delicious.

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Lastly, we went to Cinque Terre (five villages on the sea). As we got off the train, we smelled something astounding! It was fresh calamari, shrimp, fish, and crab being served at a beach stand. Unbelievable! So good, so simple, and so fresh!

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The most shocking thing was that with all that food and wine, my boyfriend and I both lost weight!

You see, when you eat food that is fresh, there are no preservatives. There is no junk to quite literally weigh you down.

And then of course we walked 8 to 14 miles a day. I know that it is not realistic to walk that much in your everyday life and you probably shouldn’t gorge even on fresh food every day. However, I do encourage you to choose fresh food like I did in Italy for most of your food and truly savor it. Don’t count calories. Often low-calorie food is so junky and will not satisfy you!

Opt for the homemade ice cream from your local ice cream stand, not the chemical-induced soft-serve ice cream from the ice cream truck! If you live in the Finger Lakes like me, try some of our local wines and not wine that has traveled from across the world. Buy free-range eggs from a local farmer. When it’s taco night, make your own corn tortillas (they’re actually easy). Skip the frozen meals and make your own (Google “easy fresh meals;” you’ll find tons of five-ingredient recipes from popular publications like Bon Appetit and Cooking Light).

Choose fresh whenever you can and try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day! Your body will thank you today and for years to come. Fresh food isn’t great for weight loss alone; it’s great for helping to prevent the chronic illnesses that plague so many people throughout o

How to Breakup with Salt in your Home Cooking

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Did you know that May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month? One of the biggest culprits of high blood pressure is sodium. And sodium abounds in almost every packaged food on the grocery store shelves and almost every dish you order at a restaurant.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. What can you do to reduce your salt intake?

One of the simplest ways to reduce salt intake is to cook more at home. This will help you control the salt that goes into your food. Soups for example are so easy to “throw together” and I promise you that almost every recipe will have less sodium than canned soup, many of which contain close to 40 percent of the amount of sodium you should have in a given day.

Here are some ways the American Heart Association recommends reducing salt when preparing food:

  • Use onions, garlic, herbs, spices, citrus juices and vinegars in place of some or all of the salt to add flavor to foods.
  • Drain and rinse canned beans (like chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.) and vegetables – this can cut the sodium by up to 40 percent.
  • Combine lower-sodium versions of food with regular versions. If you don’t like the taste of lower-sodium foods right now, try combining them in equal parts with a regular version of the same food. You’ll get less salt and probably won’t notice much difference in taste. This works especially well for broths, soups, and tomato-based pasta sauces.
  • Cook pasta, rice, and hot cereal without salt. You’re likely going to add other flavorful ingredients to these foods, so you won’t miss the salt.
  • Cook by grilling, braising, roasting, searing, and sautéing to bring out the natural flavors in foods – that will reduce the need to add salt.
  • Incorporate foods with potassium, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, greens, tomatoes and lower-sodium tomato sauce, white beans, kidney beans, nonfat yogurt, oranges, bananas and cantaloupe. Potassium helps counter the effects of sodium and may help lower your blood pressure.

You can learn more about ways to reduce salt at restaurants and even find recipes at the American Health Association’s Break up with Salt website.

Spring into Health: What in the World is Kohlrabi?

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I incessantly encourage my clients to eat more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy).  They are loaded with phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that can help with hormone balancing, cancer prevention, and heart disease prevention. Their natural anti-inflammatory properties can avert any form of inflammation.

If you dislike any of the aforementioned vegetables, no worries! There is an unfamiliar cruciferous vegetable that I love more than all of the above. It’s sweeter and more succulent. It’s called Kohlrabi–find one at a farmer’s market near you! Kohlrabi has more than 100% of your daily vitamin c needs and it is loaded with minerals as well as the cancer-fighting phytonutrients.

Try this recipe: kickin Kohlrabi Slaw.

Ingredients:

  • –          1 Kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
  • –          ½ cup plain yogurt
  • –          2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • –          3 Tablespoons of honey or agave nectar
  • –          2 shredded carrots
  • –          Handful of raisins
  • –          Sea salt to taste

Directions

Mix the yogurt, vinegar, and honey or agave nectar. Mix the kohlrabi and carrots. Pour yogurt mixture over the kohlrabi and carrots. Season with sea salt and toss in the raisins!

Enjoy the sunshine and fuel yourself with healthy choices like this! Two keys to vitality!

What I Mean by Real Food

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You know what my tagline is right? It’s, “We are real people who promote eating real food.”

I teach people how real food can prevent chronic conditions and I provide suggestions that work for the individual or family, sports team or corporation! This is not a diet! This is about building a healthy lifestyle. So what is real food, you ask. Here are some distinguishing facts about Real Food.

Real Foods have few ingredients,  are mostly unprocessed, and are nutritious.

There are several single-ingredient real foods. Think fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheese, lean chicken breast, plain Greek yogurt. There are so many healthy choices to choose from. There are some minimally processed real foods too, like whole grain bread or Kind bars for example. If a packaged food product has words on it you cannot pronounce, it is not real food!

The nutrition is what makes real food awesome. Whole, unprocessed foods are phenomenal for your health. Studies show again and again how these foods can prevent chronic illnesses and can help you to lose weight as well if you need to. A diet rich in nutrients helps weight loss by reducing nutritional deficiencies and preventing hunger.

Real Food is rich in protein.

Protein is absolutely essential as it is the building block to skin, cartilage, bones, and your blood. Eating a protein-rich diet helps you increase your metabolism, reduce hunger, and affects the production of hormones to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Real food sources of protein include lean meat, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and low-fat dairy.

Real Food is filled with fiber and antioxidants.

While I just promoted protein, do not misinterpret that as real food means avoiding carbs because real food carbs are good for you; in fact, they are imperative!

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, teff, millet, or even whole grain bread are fiber-rich. Whole grains have been shown to help reduce risk of Type II diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. The combination of fiber and antioxidants makes whole grains so powerful.

Fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds are also packed with fiber and antioxidants.

When you eat fiber-rich foods, you are filling yourself up too, which helps with weight-loss efforts.

Want to give real food a go? Do you already eat a lot of real food, but fall for unhealthy indulgences a little too often? Feel free to email me at kspringer@kellyschoice.com to learn more about how I can help you. Once it becomes routine, you will find a real food way of life to be fun and easy!

By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN

 

Spring into Health by Spicing it Up!

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I love spices because they are loaded with nutrition, low in calories, and they are a great alternative to salt, making my food tasty and healthy.  Best of all, spices come to the rescue when I don’t have much time to cook! Here are a few spices I recommend you try this spring and why!

Turmeric

Turmeric is my all-time favorite herb; it’s main component, curcumin, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Studies have shown that curcumin can even shrink cancerous tumors! It adds a yellowish/orangeish (very pretty) color to whatever you cook. Add it to veggies, eggs, soups, and rice. It’s taste is comparable to mustard but not as pungent.

Dill

Dill is a special herb because we can use the leaves and the seeds for seasonings! The leaves provide a sweet taste, while the seeds give a flavor of sweet, aromatic, but slightly bitter. Dill has been shown to be a natural anti-depressant. One study found that it was effective as some drugs prescribed for depression. And another neat thing about dill that comes in handy this time of year is that it is a natural bug repellant. Add it to salad. I also combine lemon juice, olive oil, and dill, and add it to meats that I bake.

Rosemary

Rosemary has a nice woody flavor. It is great to add to any grilled meat or a perfect addition to a soup for those spring days that are still a bit chilly. Studies suggest that regular consumption of rosemary can improve your memory and your ability to concentrate. It also is a natural anti-bacterial.

Cilantro

Cilantro is loaded with vitamin K (great for bones), but what I love about cilantro is that it can detox your body of heavy metals! It can also help balance blood-sugar levels! Bust those pesky sugar cravings! Combine a quarter cup chopped cilantro with the juice of a lime. Maybe add some garlic and spread on salmon—this is so good!

Ginger

Ginger is awesome because its unique flavor is both sweet and spicy. I love mincing it and adding t to salad or grilled meat. It has a compound called gingerol that has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a great tummy settler too. Eat too much at lunch. Calm down that tummy with ginger tea or grated ginger on a salad for dinner!

Spice it up this spring and boost your health so easily!

By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN

 

 

Spring into Health: Spring out of your Salad Rut

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Spring is th5778152162_c738cc70cd_oe perfect time for fresh salads, but I have found with many clients that they get into salad ruts…they get bored! Well do I have some pointers to you to prevent those salad ruts.

Aim for color!

The more colorful your salad, the better. You get more nutrients that way!  Toss in some red, yellow, green, and orange bell peppers for their crazy amount of carotenoids—thee are antioxidants that prevent chronic diseases! In addition to several vitamins and minerals, red onions contain quercetin, which is very protective against cancer and allergies, so toss in some red onions. You can add white with jicama; low in calories but high in a few vital nutrients, jicama provides one-quarter of what’s needed daily in fiber per serving. Toss in eggplant or purple cabbage for even more color; both are loaded with fiber and nutrients! Your bed of salad greens will give you fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C among other nutrients.

 Switch up your greens!

Speaking of greens, you can totally change a salad by changing the greens. Go for some crunch with some cabbage, a phenomenal cruciferous veggie that is protective against cancer. Kale falls into the cruciferous category too! For a zesty flavor, go for arugula! Spinach and Romaine are popular tasty choices too.

Sprout it up

Sprouts are one amazing way to boost the nutrition of your salad. The nutrients in sprouts are exponentially higher than their non-sprouted counterparts.  And there are such a great variety of sprouts available at the typical (alfalfa, clover, sunflower, lentil, etc.).

Power it up with protein!

Experiment with different ways to add protein to your salad. Beans, chickpeas, nuts, and seeds are great plant protein choices. You can add hard-boiled egg or low-fat cheese as well. Or, add some grilled chicken, tuna, or salmon! If you like your red meat, sirloin is a healthy choice too from time to time.

Fruit fever!

Fruits can add a lot of excitement to a salad. I love strawberries in my salads and they’re high in vitamin C! It’s just about berry season after all—you save when you buy them this time of year! Take advantage!

Dress it up!

A dressing can make or break a salad! There are so many easy ways to make healthy salad dressings. Click here for 50 dressings to try! And remember, a little dressing goes a long way!

I hope I have motivated you to stay satisfied with salads! How many different salads can you have this week?

 ~By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN