Healthy Choices for a Hectic Life

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Should you go Keto? Paleo? Intermittent Fasting? My answer is none of these! There is so much false information swarming around out there about how to lose weight, boost energy and improve your health, but guess what? It doesn’t have to be so complicated!

There are a few simple rules to follow that will help take your health and nutrition to new levels!

Come to my FREE Healthy Choices for a Hectic Life presentation at Cayuga Community College’s Student Lounge on Monday April 1 at 7 p.m. You will leave with a lot of tangible tips and healthy food swaps you can implement right away to improve your family’s health. Click here to signup for this free event on the the Kelly’s Choice Facebook event page.

In this presentation, I will take you through a virtual tour of a grocery store.

In the produce department, one thing you will learn is that the more colors you eat, the more antioxidants you get.

You will learn that meat is a great source of protein, but many varieties are also high in fat.

In the seafood department, you will learn why fish is important for your heart and brain and you will also learn which types to avoid due to high mercury levels.

In the bread aisle, you will learn what ingredients assure that your bread is whole grain as opposed to refined.

In the dairy aisle, I will explain why you want to choose low-fat options.

Guess what? I will even take you through the snack aisle and reveal tips to make healthy choices there as well!

Come see me on April 1—this presentation will inspire you to take your health to a higher level. You deserve it and your family does too!

 

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Dark Chocolate Whatever you Want Bark

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Move over sugar-laden box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day!  I have a recipe that your sweetheart will swoon over! Dark Chocolate Whatever you Want Bark.

But first, let me tell you why you should fall in love with dark chocolate!

Did you know that chocolate actually comes from a plant? Crazy, right?! Chocolate is derived from that cacao plant. Cacao is rich in flavanols which can help lower your blood pressure and prevent blood clots. It’s also rich in antioxidants which helps the “bad” cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls.

To receive these benefits, it’s best to get cacao in its purest form. This includes cacao powder or cacao nibs. Cacao powder can be mixed in to milk or with your oatmeal to get a rich chocolate flavor. If that doesn’t quite curb that chocolate craving, the next best thing is dark chocolate. When you’re reaching for a chocolate bar, opt for ones that are at least 70% cacao. If you’re sticking to the dark chocolate, studies have shown that daily consumption can reduce the chance for nonfatal heart attacks and strokes for people with a higher risk for these problems.

Milk chocolates and other candies are usually processed much more than dark chocolate and much of the nutrients are lost in this process. In addition, there’ are a lot of added sugars and other additives mixed in. Sugar (processed sugar) is evil; remember my blog entry last week where i go into detail about how too much sugar in your diet leads to an elevated risk for heart disease.

Say goodbye to added sugar and enjoy this recipe that is super easy and quick to make!

Dark Chocolate Whatever You Want Bark

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Whatever toppings you want…Suggestions:
    • Goji berries
    • Almond/ peanut butter
    • Pomegranate seeds
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Shredded coconut
    • Chopped nuts

Instructions:

  • Melt chocolate and coconut oil in microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until completely melted
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Pour melted chocolate over sheet and spread to edges with a spatula
  • Add your toppings
  • Place in freezer for one hour
  • Take out and break into pieces

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensational Autumn Parfait

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Yes, it is still autumn amidst these snow flurries!

Parfait in French means “perfect.” It’s quite fitting because a parfait can be a perfect meal!

A parfait is simple, light, and delicious. You can have it for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert. It can be pretty much anything you want, but usually consists of yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola.

This is a meal I often have for breakfast because it’s quick and easy! It’s also satiating, which can help you deny those holiday treats that are flooding into your office this time of year!

I like to use Greek yogurt in my parfaits because it packs a ton of protein: about 20 grams per cup, as opposed to the 8 grams you get from a cup of milk.

To assemble your parfait, all you need are the three ingredients I listed above. You can use any kind of fruit and any type of granola, though I do recommend using a granola with a lower sugar content as many granola may seem healthy, but when you check the nutrition label they can be packed with sugar. Find a granola with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving! A great brand I use is Barley+ granola. It provides a high fiber content with low amounts of sugar per serving.

Try out this fall parfait for a yummy treat:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sweetener (maple syrup or honey)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup  granola
  • 1 apple cut into small chunks

Directions:

  1. Combine yogurt, sweetener, pumpkin, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  2. Spoon a few tablespoons of yogurt into you bowl or cup.
  3. Then add a layer of granola, followed by apples.
  4. Complete this until you’ve finished your supply of ingredients and enjoy!

 

Celebrate National Cheese Pizza Day

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Can you guess my favorite food? Hint: it’s not avocados, chia seeds, oatmeal or kefir. It’s PIZZA!!! There is really nothing better, in my opinion than a nice hot, crisp, and cheesy slice of pizza. This Wednesday, September 5th is National Cheese Pizza day so I will definitely be celebrating with my favorite food.

This may come as a surprise to many of you. As a nutritionist, I promote eating real food and healthy food. But many of my clients will tell you that I promote a balanced way of eating. I’m certainly not saying pizza should be an everyday food but having a slice of pizza every now and then won’t kill you or screw up your healthy lifestyle!

Our bodies recognize food for what it’s made of. When you eat a slice of pizza, your body recognizes the fat, protein, and energy content. Although many pizzas fall on the high end of fats, there is still an amount of protein that comes from your slice. Mozzarella cheese is, in fact, a source of protein, so while it’s not as good for you as a piece of chicken breast, there is still some nutritional value to it. The crust also provides you with a carb source. Your body will recognize this as a means of energy. So while pizza may not be the best choice always, it’s important to understand that it still is food that is able to be used by your body.

If you’re like me and really have that craving for pizza more often than not, I recommend finding some healthier ways of eating it. Try adding pizza toppings on a Portobello mushroom cap. You can also find cauliflower crusts at most grocery stores.

Feel free to top your pizza with whatever you like. Here you can also opt for a part skim mozzarella. If you really like the whole milk mozzarella, do a mix of the two and you won’t even notice the difference! Topping your pizza with your favorite roasted veggies also adds nutritious value and flavor to your pizza.

Hopefully these tips are helpful for all my fellow pizza lovers out there! But make sure you go out and celebrate National Cheese Pizza Day with your favorite slice!

Woohoo for Watermelon!

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Here in CNY, it may hit close to 100 degrees the next few days. What does that mean? Beat the heat by loading up on the watermelon. Here are five reasons I love watermelon and you should too.

Watermelon is hydrating

The heat increases your risk of becoming dehydrated and if you are like me, I can only drink so much water so I like to eat foods with a high content of water. Watermelon is comprised of 92 percent water, which makes it an ideal food to help prevent dehydration.

Watermelon can decease your risk of heart disease

Watermelon has a lot of lycopene, an amazing antioxidant that can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two risk factors for heart disease. Watermelon also contains citrulline, an amino acid, which increases nitric oxide in your blood and nitric oxide helps your blood vessels expand, lowering blood pressure.

Watermelon is good for your eyes

Lycopene is the star again! Several studies have found that lycopene can help prevent macular degeneration, which is a common eye problem in older adults that at times can cause blindness.

Watermelon is good for your skin and hair

Obviously in the heat, sunscreen is important! You can also help counteract the damage the sun does to your skin and hair by eating watermelon! Watermelon is high in vitamin C and A. Vitamin C increases collagen, a protein that keeps your skin smooth and your hair strong. Vitamin A repairs skin cells, preventing dry, flaky skin.

Watermelon is a win with the kids

I have never met a kid who doesn’t love watermelon. This is one of the healthiest summer treats to bring to your next cookout or picnic and it will be a hit with all of the kiddos!

Woohoo for watermelon! Oh so sweet—oh so delicious—and oh so healthy!

 

 

Don’t Fry Day

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Don’t Fry Day is a national health observance day—it is to be observed the Friday before Memorial Day to educate the public about skin cancer. As warm weather approaches, the risk of Ultraviolet rays damaging your skin increases. Skin cancer is a serious matter—more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. Sadly, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70 and every hour someone dies of skin cancer. What can we do to prevent these staggering statistics?

Here are some general tips to help prevent skin cancer, including nutrition tips!

  1. Wear long-sleeved clothing when sun is the strongest (between 10 a.m. p.m.). If you think it is too hot for long sleeve, linen clothes are very light-weight. Also consider athletic dry-wicking clothing. There are even clothes that have UV protection built in!
  2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses throughout summer.
  3. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher
  4. Get your vitamin D safely through a healthy diet. Dairy products, egg yolks and fatty fish are all good sources of vitamin D.
  5. Eat sun-protective food. Yes, some foods help, here are just a few:
  • Eat foods rich in lycopene, like watermelon, grapefruit, cooked tomatoes, tomato sauce, or chili powder. Studies show that lycopene helps protect against the sun!
  • Load up on broccoli. Broccoli, especially the florets, is a good source of sulforaphane, a compound that reduces the risk of skin cancer.
  • Eat pomegranates. Pomegranates are well known to contain tons of antioxidants and known as sun-protective. Some scientists say they can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Click here to learn how to prepare a pomegranate or drink pomegranate juice!
  • Fill up on flaxseed. Omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can protect your skin from sunburn, reduce additional inflammation if sunburn occurs, and fight against skin cancer. According to the National Institute of Health, flaxseed oil can protect your skin against UV rays and keep your skin moisturized so it won’t dry out, as well as fight against skin cancer. Make a salad dressing using the oil or add some in your morning smoothie!

Summer is the season of fun and we’re meant to enjoy the sun…just go about having fun in the sun smartly by applying the tips above. Don’t fry today or at all this summer!

 

10 Self-Care Tips for Moms

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Happy Mother’s Day!

For those of you that know my daily schedule, you are aware that it is jam packed…my morning begins helping my girls prepare for their school day and then I work out and then it’s usually a mix of private practice clients, teaching seminars, meetings, conference calls, and more. I always make it to my girls’ sports games when I’m not traveling for work and I prepare healthy meals for each meal of the day.

Some moms I know with comparable schedules feel frazzled or overwhelmed. I think I juggle my priorities well and part of the reason I do is because of radical self-care! If we don’t take care of ourselves how can we possibly be present to the important people in our lives? Here are some self-care tips I especially love.

  • Feed yourself well!

This is easy for me to say, right? After all, nutrition education is my passion?! Seriously though, keep healthy snacks on hand and choose healthy options for your meals. Junk food makes you feel junky.

  • Schedule “you” time.

Some moms do this every day by getting up early before the kids. Others are night owls. Just make sure that you have at least 20 minutes of just you time every day!

  • Indulge from time to time

Some women like to shop for clothes (or shoes—one of my guilty pleasures). Others like fancy cocktails or fine wine. It’s totally okay to indulge from time to time even if it means a brownie sundae. Yes, “unhealthy” food splurges are fine if they don’t become habitual. You deserve indulgences!

  • Girls’ Night Out and Date Night

Bond with your girlfriends regularly. They make you laugh, smile, and let loose. You need that! And don’t forget to bond with your partner regularly—intimacy is important too!

  • Write gratitude lists daily

Think of everything you are grateful for daily. You can do this during your “you” time. Some days are rough—these days it’s more important than ever to think of your blessings. It can be simple like the warm sun or your cat’s purring. There’s always something to be grateful for even when life throws lots of lemons your way!

  • Go for a walk just to walk

I get regular exercise by walking to do my errands, but sometimes I walk to “just walk.” This is a good way to take a break during your work day. It’s amazing how a little walk can spark energy and productivity.

  • Practice deep breathing

Feel yourself breathing as you read this. I bet you there is a bit of tightness in your chest. Now take some long slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. You feel way more relaxed, right?

  • Volunteer

You may be thinking, volunteer?! How can I possibly schedule time to do this?! Find the time—doing something kind for disadvantaged people makes YOU feel good!

  • Go un-plugged for a day

Our electronics make life so much easier, but go unplugged for a day—consider doing it as a family! Ironically, it’s an awesome way to recharge yourself!

  • Schedule a spa day

I love spas! You’re one awesome mama and you deserve a day of pampering! Even if you must plan it months in advance, do it!

I hope all you moms out there have a beautiful Mothers’ Day. Celebrate yourself every day by treating yourself as amazingly as you treat your kids!