Spring into Health by Spicing it Up!

Standard

33346076571_a4dfb2d12a_o

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

 

 

The Power of Processing: Local Family-Owned Dairy Farms + Innovation

Standard

 

Kelly-SpringerNothing is better than fresh, pure milk products (milk, cheese and yogurt). We all know the slogan, “Milk—it does a body good,” but do you know why?

A Nutritional Powerhouse

First, dairy is an amazing source of protein, which is an important building-block of healthy muscle, skin, tissues, and blood. Several studies have shown that consuming milk products helps to maintain a healthy weight, most likely because of the protein. Milk is also a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which is important for building strong bones.

And here’s a fact not many people know milk has an abundance of electrolytes—it makes a great recovery sports drink for this reason!

Local Love

Most of the milk products you love come from local farms! For folks like myself in Central New York, we are lucky to have dozens of local, family-owned dairy farms. Team these local farmers up to create Cayuga Milk Ingredients and you get the freshest, purest milk products imaginable. Allow me the honor to introduce you to Cayuga Milk Ingredients.

Cow to Carton

Cayuga Milk Ingredients (CMI) is a 108,000 square-foot milk-processing facility in Auburn, NY. Each day, 2.3 million pounds of milk comes through this facility, all from within a 25-mile radius of the plant. A range of high-quality milk products are produced expediently—from the time that the cow is milked, the finished product manufactured at CMI can take less than nine hours to produce!

Earlier this month, I had the amazing opportunity to tour the Cayuga Milk Ingredients manufacturing plant. This company, near my hometown in Central New York is the ideal representation of how to produce fresh milk products.

As I arrived at the plant, a truck load of milk from a nearby dairy farm came in. The milk is tested for antibiotics and bacteria before it even enters the plant! This assures that the milk is wholesome and clean when it enters the facility, so that contamination is not possible. The importance of hygiene in this plant was very apparent—the facility was immaculate.

Cleanliness is King

Kevin Ellis, the CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients, an operation with 70 dedicated employees, gave me the tour. His and his employees’ attention to detail, cleanliness and high-quality products is off the charts! To ensure superior hygiene, employees and visitors wear booties, hair nets, a smock, and remove jewelry, and are required to wash their hands and change their booties no less than four times when they move deeper into the facility.  Each increasing level of hygiene is strictly adhered to ensuring CMI’s products are of the highest quality.

Innovation

The way that the milk is processed is very innovative. Much of the production is computer-assisted to help reduce bacterial contamination and human error.

Both dried milk protein and liquid milk products are tested for quality assurance in this facility. The dried milk protein is held in the facility for 8-10 days with constant testing and retesting of microorganisms to assure that the finished product is as high-quality as possible.

At any given time, there are 2.5 million pounds of finished products, which include milk powders (used for…), and various milk protein powders. I am particularly intrigued by a product known as liquid ultra-filtered milk, which is produced with a high- pressure membrane system. This all-natural low-fat milk has double the amount of protein of standard skim milk and half the sugar! How cool is that?

I loved the approach of CMI’s CEO, Kevin Ellis: “Our employees are our most important resource. We’re dedicated to producing high-quality milk ingredients from our farmer owners’ high-quality milk, while simultaneously improving the dairy industry by raising the bar for high standards. We’re confident you’ll see that the finest products come from the finest ingredients. We promise to not only meet your expectations, but exceed them!”

To me, it is awesome to know that ultra-high-quality, nutritious and pure milk products are being produced by CMI in such a way that family-owned farms, where cows are treated humanely are part of the process.

 By Kelly Springer, RD, MS. CDN

What to Do with the Leftover Easter Eggs

Standard

 

eggsAfter tomorrow’s Easter egg hunt, what do you do with those leftover eggs? I am definitely a proponent of hard-boiled eggs as a delicious, protein-rich snack for my girls, but they can only have so many hard-boiled eggs before they get bored with them. Here are some more exciting dishes I create with those left-over eggs:

Cobb Salad:

Who doesn’t love a Cobb salad for a quick and easy week-night dinner? I use romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, shredded carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, grilled chicken breast, and a tiny bit of crumbled blue cheese in my Cobb salads.

Breakfast for Dinner:

Chop those eggs and add them to small chopped roasted potatoes with onions and green and red bell peppers. Add a bit of hot sauce for adults or ketchup for kids. This is a favorite in my household!

Done-up Avocado Egg Salad:

You can go ahead and make egg salad, but try my healthy rendition. Mash two hard-boiled eggs with one avocado, and add 2 tablespoons of  Greek yogurt and a dash of lime juice and a small squeeze of mustard. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Pickled Eggs

I turned my girls onto pickled eggs, which were a favorite of mine as a little girl. Drop the peeled eggs whole into a sterilized glass jar, cover with leftover pickle juice and seal to make pickled eggs; chill and enjoy for up to two weeks.

A Healthier Macaroni Salad

Add two chopped up hard boiled eggs, a can of tunafish, 2 chopped celery stalks, and four cups of cooked whole wheat elbows (or try quinoa or corn elbows). Add a couple tablespoons of Greek yogurt and sea salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!! I hope you find these ideas helpful. And many of you may be thinking how long do Easter eggs last? Refrigerated, hard-boiled eggs are good for one week whether or not they are peeled or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help prevent cancer this New Year

Standard

vege-1-1

The scary “c” word is hard to think about. Chances are you have known someone diagnosed with cancer. In fact, 40 percent of all men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime! It’s a terrible, terrible disease, one that you wouldn’t wish upon even your worst enemy.

Unless the person has been previously diagnosed with cancer, it’s rare that I have a client who creates a New Year’s Resolution about developing a cancer prevention plan. In my series about New Year’s Resolutions, I am including this because I think it’s a great one for everyone to have! Here are my top tips to help prevent cancer through your food choices.

Tip # 1: Focus on eating mostly WHOLE foods.

You don’t have to become a vegetarian on my cancer prevention plan, rather, just eat food in their most original form. Eat potatoes, not potato chips or French fries. Aim to have half of your plate be vegetables and include dairy and a lean meat. Try to kick out most of the processed food in your diet.

Tip # 2: Get serious about increasing your fruit and veggie intake!

Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They contain minimal fat, sodium, and calories. These characteristics are what your immune system requires to protect against illness, including cancer! Try to get in at least five servings of veggies and fruit!

Tip # 3: Reduce your meat intake and increase your fiber!

While I mentioned that you don’t need to become a vegetarian on my cancer prevention plan, you should at least reduce your meat intake. Research does show that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to get diagnosed with cancer. The main reason for this is that meat lacks fiber, so reduce your meat intake and increase your fiber intake.

You will automatically increase your fiber intake by following tip # 2. Another way to increase your fiber is by consuming whole grains, which in part, is what tip # 1 includes. Have oatmeal for breakfast. Have whole-grain bread when you eat sandwiches. Have brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, or millet with your dinner.

When it comes to meat, pay special attention to reducing red meat and processed meats (deli meat, hotdogs, sausage, bacon, etc.). Reduce the portion sizes of meat. Consider adding it for flavor in a casserole instead of having a whole hunk of it as the main portion of your meal—see it more as a condiment!

Tip #4: Get 30 minutes of exercise a day!

Most people don’t associate exercise with cancer prevention, but there is a huge association! Physical activity decreases the risk of colon, endometrial and postmenopausal breast cancer. As fitness improves, aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate, or for 30 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity every day. Definitely be under a doctor’s guidance if you are not used to regular exercise.

I sincerely hope you follow these tips not just for the New Year, but as a lifestyle. Not only will they help lower your risk of cancer, they will help you live a healthier life for a long time!

 

Weight-loss Tips for the New Year!

Standard

Weight Loss

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! My next several blogs will relate to popular New Year’s Resolutions with tips I have to help you succeed.

The first NYR I will focus on is one of the most popular: to lose weight!  I wish I had a magic bullet for this one, but the truth of the matter is that to lose weight healthfully, a fad diet will not do the trick…you have to reconstruct the way you eat and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be depriving and you can even indulge a little. It takes dedication, but I promise you it’s not that hard once you get started!

Here are a few of my favorite tips to help you lose weight. These are not the typical tips you hear like stop eating fast food, eat more vegetables, stop snacking all the time, etc. Yes, those points are important to your weight-loss efforts, but these tips might make you think deeper or may even be something new for you.

Tip # 1: Go Slow and Steady!

Slow and steady wins the race. Aim to lose one to two pounds a week to ensure healthy weight loss. Losing weight too fast can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel sluggish, drained, and sick.   When you drop a lot of weight quickly, you’re actually losing mostly water and muscle, rather than fat.

Tip #2: Combine your favorite treats with something healthy.

You can still enjoy your favorite high-calorie treat, whether it’s ice cream, chips, cake, or chocolate. The key is to eat a smaller serving along with a lower-calorie option. For example, add strawberries to your ice cream or munch on carrot and celery sticks along with your chips and dip. By piling on the low-cal option, you can eat a diet-friendly portion of your favorite treat without feeling deprived.

 Tip # 3: Drink a lot of water!

You have probably heard this one before, but I want you to really think about this. You can HUGELY reduce your daily calorie intake by replacing soda, alcohol, or coffee with water. Thirst can also be confused with hunger, so by drinking water, you may avoid consuming extra calories. Do you get bored by drinking water? Try infusing it with lemon, lime, strawberries, watermelon, or mint!

Tip # 4; Get good sleep!

Lack of sleep has been shown to have a direct link to hunger, overeating, and weight gain. A few hormones regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. These hormone levels are affected by levels of sleep.  When you’re short on sleep your appetite is stimulated so you want more food than normal, and you won’t feel as satisfied as you normally would and will want to keep eating. This can lead to overeating and, ultimately, weight gain. To keep your diet on track, try to get about eight hours of quality sleep a night.

I hope these four little tips truly help you with your weight-loss goals! Feel free to contact my team if you need a professional helping you and cheerfully rooting for you!

 

10 Tips for a Healthy 2017

Standard

5123213312_85650c9efe_o

Each New Year comes with new goals to reach. The start of 2017 is the perfect opportunity for you to make some changes. You know that diet you keep putting off? The gym you keep telling yourself you’ll go too? That one snack you told yourself you’d stop eating the whole box of? Well, now is the time to finally start making those changes and start living a healthier life.. We have put together “10 Tips to a healthy 2017” to help make 2017 your healthiest year yet! From everyone at Kelly’s Choice, Happy New Year! We wish you nothing but health and happiness in 2017.

  1. Eat more veggies:

Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. As a dietitian I am always pushing veggies, whether they be frozen or fresh. Any way you can get them, eat more veggies!

  1. Eat more whole grains:

Half of your grains should be whole grains. Whole grains have vitamins, minerals, and lots of fiber, which are all beneficial to your health. Switch to whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta.

  1. Eat a variety of proteins:

When people think of protein, they usually just think of meat. Try focusing on eating a variety of protein like nuts, beans, soy products such as tofu, eggs, and seafood. If you eat a variety of protein, you get a variety of vitamins and minerals too.

  1. Plan out your meals for the week

Take the time to plan out your meals for the week. This can be fun—get your family involved, let each person pick a dinner to make, post the dinner menu in the kitchen so no one has to ask “What’s for dinner?”

  1. Meal prep

Pick a day to meal prep for the week so it’s easier to eat healthy on a busy schedule. Make all of your meals for the week ahead of time or just pre-package some snacks- anything helps!

  1. Drink more water

I am always encouraging everyone to drink more water! Carry a water bottle around with you at all times.  Staying hydrated is so important, especially for my athletes!

  1. Get more sleep

Make sure you’re aiming to get 8 hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep can be really detrimental to your health.

  1. Get more exercise

Start exercising more! Whether it be getting a gym membership or starting to take walks after dinner, get up and move more!

  1. Positive Mondays

Start every Monday with three new goals you have for the week. Be positive on Mondays to start the week off strong! A positive Monday makes for a more productive week.

  1. Strive for balance

Over the years, I’ve realized how important balance is. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while.

 

 

 

 

My Top 10 Hacks for Holiday Baking

Standard

Baking

My busy schedule doesn’t allow much time for baking, but I do love making sweet treats for my friends and family. Shhhh…little do they know that these sweet treats are actually healthy. Here are some tricks that I use:

  • I always replace sour cream with Greek yogurt. This cuts down the calories big-time; it’s especially delicious in coffee cake!
  • Replace oil with applesauce. For every 1 cup f oil the recipe calls for, use ¾ cups of applesauce. Make sure you use unsweetened apple sauce!
  • Decrease the sugar, increase the spice! I always decrease the sugar in holiday recipes and increase the cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg. Works like a charm to create amazing without being intolerably sweet!
  • If you insist on very sweet treats, at least use natural sugars like maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey.
  • Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour. Whole wheat flour doesn’t go through the crazy refining flour that white flour does; white flour is bleached too…ewwww! Whole wheat has more fiber and more nutrients.
  • Or try gluten-free flours. Many people are discovering that they can’t tolerate gluten so well so try some gluten-free whole grain flours like brown rice flour, millet flour or gluten-free oat flour.
  • Add nutrient-dense foods. I sometimes sneak in some ground flaxseeds or chia seeds to boost the healthy fat, fiber, and protein content of baked goods.
  • Use lower fat dairy products. I always use 2% milk instead of whole milk in my baking or “light” cream cheese instead of full-fat cheese and the difference isn’t even noticeable.
  • Baked banana-based cookies or muffins. Bananas are so nutritious and so sweet. I call them the “cake of fruit.” Most recipes that call for banana tend to be at least semi-healthy. If the recipe calls for unhealthy additional ingredients, use some of the hacks I described above.
  • Last, but definitely not least, if you do not have time for healthy baking and aren’t so precise with measuring, try a healthy mix. I recently fell in love with Among Friends Baking Mixes. Their cookie and brownie mixes are to-die for. Best of all, they’re healthy and are made with whole grains. There are several gluten-free mixes you can try too.

I hope these hacks help you.

 I close this blog with a giveaway! There are several ways you can get entries to win an alec-package-and-brownie-2Among Friends Baking holiday baking kit that we have put together.

The kit contains:

Here are the ways you can enter the giveaway.

  • Comment on this blog with your favorite holiday baking tip for two entries to the giveaway.
  • Like the giveaway on Facebook for one entry.
  • Share the giveaway on Facebook for one entry.
  • Comment on the giveaway on Facebook for one entry.
  • Retweet the giveaway for one entry.
  • Like the giveaway on Instagram for one entry.

All of these entries must be submitted by noon on Friday December 16. The winner will be announced later that evening!