Welcome whole grains



I know, I know, you are going to tell me that you are trying the ketogenic diet, or paleo, Atkins, South Beach, or some other diet that “bans” carbs! I think each diet has merit to some degree or another, but I am actually going to tell you why you would want whole grains!

First of all, let me set things straight. I am NOT advocating refined carbs like crackers, cookies, white bread, flour tortillas or even white rice. I am suggesting you welcome whole grains—grains that contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm (for example, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet, and popcorn).

Whole grains are filled with fiber and almost every person I know (even healthy eaters) do not get enough fiber in your diet. Fiber helps keep things moving in your digestion system, keeps you fuller longer (so yes, it can help with weight loss), and it also lowers your risk of getting heart disease.

Whole grains also loaded with important B vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are amazing for reducing stress levels and giving you energy.

Speaking of energy—if you experience major dips in your energy throughout the day, whole grains can help prevent that! Why? They help regulate your blood-sugar levels. Lulls in your energy level often indicate that your blood sugar levels are not remaining steady throughout the day. Fix that with whole grains!

Are you unsure about how to try incorporating whole grains into your diet? Here are just a few tips:

  • Use whole wheat pasta when you would normally use regular pasta.
  • Swap white bread for whole grain bread.
  • Eat oatmeal for breakfast!
  • Look for whole grain crackers!
  • Instead of white rice, try cooking with brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, or millet.

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Get your heart healthy with a smoothie bowl for breakfast


smoothie bowl

February is Heart Health Month and I’m going to tell you about how eating a smoothie bowl for breakfast can help reduce your risk of heart disease! Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women in the United States, so give this smoothie bowl a try!

Now, you may be wondering, what is a smoothie bowl? Aren’t smoothies supposed to be drunk from a glass? Smoothie bowls are simply smoothies you can eat with a spoon with lots of delicious toppings!

This smoothie was made with mixed berries, a frozen banana, plain Greek yogurt, and unsweetened cashew milk. It was topped with oranges, hemp seeds, and pomegranate!

Berries, oranges, and pomegranate are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, they are naturally low in calories and high in fiber and water! Fiber helps lower your cholesterol.

Bananas are a great source of potassium. Potassium can help manage high blood pressure by reducing the effects of excess sodium. When you eat more potassium, you lose more sodium in urine. Other foods rich in potassium are avocados, beans, potatoes, and more!

Greek yogurt and cashew milk are both fantastic sources of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that helps with muscle contraction!

And last but not least, hemp seeds are an excellent source of those healthy fats, omega-3 and rare omega-6 GLA. They are also packed with protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and riboflavin! It’s really important to limit saturated and trans fats as they can damage your arteries and lead to heart disease. Load up your diet with omega-3 rich foods like hemp seeds instead!

There are so many variations of smoothie bowls you can make, so I’m going to give you a base recipe and you can create your own!

Step 1: Choose your fruit. Frozen fruit works best in smoothies because it makes it nice and cold!

Step 2: Choose your yogurt. Any kind is fine, but if you want extra protein try Greek yogurt. Try to stay away from yogurts with a lot of added sugars to cut back on calories.

Step 3: Choose your milk. Any kind of milk is fine too! I always go for nut milk because it is a lot lower in calories. If you are trying nut milk, make sure it’s the unsweetened variety to decrease added sugars.

Step 4: Pick some optional add-ins: spinach, nuts, seeds, protein powders. Add-ins like spinach are very tasteless and give you an extra serving of vegetables!

Step 5: Pour into a bowl and load up with healthy toppings like sliced fruit, coconut flakes, granola, and extra dark chocolate!

Go to Kellyschoice.org to see this recipe and more that were created by Rosemary Squires.


Weighing in on Weight-Loss: Healthy Fats

Weight Loss

Weight Loss

I have a lot of clients who are on a weight-loss journey and so many of them have a “fat” phobia. They think if they eat fat, they will get fat, but that is not the case my friends when it comes to healthy fats. Let me clear up the conclusion.

Why You Need Fat:

Dietary fat provides you with energy, builds healthy cells, and regulates your hormones. Your brain needs fat in order to function properly—in fact, did you know that your brain is 60 percent fat? Studies have linked lack of dietary fat in one’s diet to depression as well as cognitive decline.

The Good Fats

Monounsaturated Fats: Known as MUFAs (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids), these fats actually help prevent belly fat. Even better, they help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. Good monounsaturated fats include: olive oil, cashews almonds or peanuts (this includes almond butter and peanut butter). I would recommend a quarter cup of the nut choices, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a dressing, or 2 Tablespoons of a nut butter on whole grain bread to get a nice daily serving of these good-for-you fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Like MUFAs, polyunsaturated fats(PUFAS) lower your LDL. And PUFAS are the specific fats that have shown amazing benefits to your brain from mood improvement to boosting brain function. In particular it is the Omega-3 form of polyunsaturated fats that your body needs most. Omega-3s are broken down into DHA, which is amazingly beneficial to your brain and EPA, which is known for its benefits you joint health and your skin. Both forms are excellent for heart health.

Omega-3s are found in fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring, as well as flaxseed and walnuts. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish a week. I would add that ground flaxseed in oatmeal is delicious (try it—a couple tablespoons a couple times a week). Like all nuts, a good serving of walnuts is one-quarter cup.

Omega-6s are also polyunsaturated fats that are found in oils like sesame oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, and safflower oil. Omega-6s benefits include the reduction of nerve pain, possibly helpful with ADHD, and they may ease Rheumatoid arthritis pain. However, too much Omega-6 compared to Omega-3 can cause inflammation and the Standard American Diet is inundated with Omega-6s because of the use of Omega-6 oils in processed food. If you reduce the amount of processed food that you consume, the safer you will be!

The Bad Fats

Saturated Fat: A high consumption of saturated fats will result in weight gain, not to mention that they raise your LDL cholesterol and can increase heart-disease risk. Saturated fat is found in most meat and in full-fat dairy like butter, milk, cream, cheese, etc. I recommend eating lean meat like chicken or turkey breast or leaner cuts of beef like sirloin. I also recommend eating low-fat cheese and drinking skim milk.

Trans Fat: Trans fat has gotten a lot of media attention the past decade ever since food companies were required to list the amount of trans fat in their foods starting in 2006. Trans fats are generally oils (partially hydrogenated soybean oil for example) that extend the shelf life of food. They raise your LDL, lower your HDL, and cause inflammation throughout the body, including weight gain.

The bottom line here is to read nutrition labels and look for 0 grams of trans fat and avoid fried food as much as possible because the majority of fried food has trans fat.

Now that you are clear on fat, make sure to include some good fats on your weight-loss journey.



Kelly’s Picks for 2018



Are you looking for some healthy foods to work into your repertoire this year—foods that are totally healthy and actually taste delicious? Well, I have some picks for you! I love these all equally and they are all becoming regular “participants” in my healthy lifestyle!

My first pick is Lifeway Kefir. Kefir is a fermented beverage that tastes like a yogurt drink only it is way more loaded with probiotics. Lifeway Kefir has 12 live and active cultures. These probiotics may help regulate digestion and boost immunity. Lifeway Kefir may help build your healthy gut bacteria, which has long-lasting positive effects like improving your metabolism. It contains bone-building calcium also! It’s high in protein, which is great for your muscles. I recommend kefir for breakfast!

My second food pick is what I reach for when I’m having a snack attack—PopCorners!  They’re like guilt-free chips! They are air-popped and so delicious! They come in sweet and spicy flavors, but my favorite flavor is the “Salt of the Earth” flavor. These have three simple ingredients: yellow corn, sunflower oil, and sea salt. Each serving only has 110 calories—plus PopCorners are gluten-free and GMO-free. I suggest keeping this healthy snack at your desk, a much better option than visiting the vending machine!

My third pick may take you aback a little bit. It’s cottage cheese—wait keep reading. Say goodbye to boring cottage cheese—there’s a new cottage cheese on the block and it’s Muuna Cottage Cheese. Muuna cottage cheese comes in handy single-serving cups. High in protein and so rich and creamy, Muuna cottage cheese has real pieces of orchard fruit in their variety of flavors like raspberry, strawberry, peach, and pineapple to name a few.

My fourth pick is another snack I recommend keeping at your desk—Setton Farm pistachios! Pistachios are heart healthy and provide your body with amazing nutrition. Filled with antioxidants, they’re also a great source of vitamin B6, protein, and fiber. Setton Farms has offers far more than the standard salty pistachios. One of my favorite choices they offer is their Salt & Pepper flavored pistachios. When I am craving something sweet, I happily reach for their dark-chocolate covered pistachios—they’re amazing!

My fifth pick is a beverage. Maybe like me, you are looking for something more than water to consume? I have added Sunsweet Amazin Prune Juice into my repertoire. This delicious juice is an excellent way to help maintain good digestive health and give you the fiber that you need. Their juice also comes in a light variety with a mere 100 calories and 8 grams of sugar per serving.

My last pick isn’t technically a food, but it is a supplement I recommend Just Thrive probiotics, not to replace healthy food, but to supplement a healthy diet—hence why they are called supplements! Probiotics keep your digestive tract functioning optimally and also help your immune system and reduce the inflammation that is a precursor to almost every disease. Just Thrive probiotics have a powerfully potent and effective strain that is patented—Bacillus Indicus HU36®.

So there you have it! My top picks for 2018! Try them out and add some healthy pizazz to your food routine,

For recipes and more information on Kelly’s Choice, check us out at www.kellyschoice.org.

Weighing in on Weight Loss: Inspiration



Happy New Year! How have your first couple weeks of 2018 been besides cold?! Like many of you I’m sure, I have several clients who are working on weight-loss goals.

Here are some thoughts I’d like to share to help guide and maybe even inspire some of those on a weight-loss journey. These are mindset recommendations. I’ll go into specific food recommendations throughout

Go gradually.

If you are looking to lose weight, don’t drastically reduce your calories and limit your food choices overnight. You will drive yourself crazy. I always tell my clients, “baby steps.”

Be realistic.

A lot of people set the bar too high. Just because your friend wants to lose 50 pounds doesn’t mean you should. If you are 45 and want to achieve the weight you were when you were 24 (when you starved yourself and exercised two hours a day to fit into your wedding dress) is not realistic either. Consulting a professional like a dietitian from Kelly’s Choice can help you determine what a realistic goal for yours is.

Savor; don’t deprive.

Deprivation can lead to depression—nobody wants to experience that. So savor what you love. If you are a chocoaholic like me, allow yourself a couple of pieces of dark chocolate—it’s high in antioxidants. Take tiny bites and truly delve into the flavor!

Don’t beat yourself up.

If you slip on following your healthy habits, that’s okay! As cliché as it sounds, tomorrow is a new day. Nobody is perfect. I slip from time to time—everybody does. We are only human. Smile at yourself and ease back into those healthy habits.

Allow for occasional indulgences.

What are your favorite indulgences? A divine glass of wine and a delicious slice of pepperoni pizza are two of mine. And guess what, I have not abandoned them. I will allow myself to indulge occasionally. You should too! It’s the healthy thing to do. Remember what I said about deprivation above—it will not help you, it will depress you. So please celebrate YOU from time to time with your favorite indulgence!

Stay tuned for my next Weighing in on Weight Loss Blog—I will weigh in on healthy fats!

Having a Happy & Healthy New Year’s (Eve)



15927636269_9e32ac8c31_oNew Year’s Eve parties are so fun, right? NYE is a time to have one last evening of holiday indulgences (fatty appetizers and desserts and addictive cocktails to name a few). But how awful does it feel to start a New Year with your tummy aching from the mixture of sugar, fat, and who knows what else you consumed? And being hungover on January 1 is not fun at all. Ugh-it’s just terrible! I’m here to help you feel AMAZING when that ball drops and your New Year begins. Here are 5 Tips to have a blast at that NYE party and ring in the New Year with greatness!

Tip # 1: Wake up on December 31 and do at least 30-45 minutes of your favorite cardiovascular exercise.

Start your day MOVING. It can mean hitting the gym, the pool, or even taking your dog for a walk. Morning exercise is a great way to boost your metabolism.

Tip # 2: Eat a large, hearty breakfast.

I say this all the time, I know, but seriously, get yourself some complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats for breakfast—it sets the foundation for healthy eating throughout the day.

Tip # 3: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate throughout the day!

It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, leading to mindless snacking that never satiates.

To make sure you’re staying hydrated, drink half your body weight in water. So if you weigh 160 pounds, aim for 80 ounces of water over the course of the day.

Pinch the skin on the back of your hand. Does it immediately fall back down? If so, that’s great—you’re hydrated! If not, then you are nearing dehydration. Not good!

Remember, fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water content so they help to hydrate you as well.

Tip # 4: Make plenty of healthy appetizers and treats and show the partiers that healthy treats can still be divine!

I love showing people that healthy appetizers and desserts can be delicious. Here are some of my secret swaps when I make dips and treats: ½ cup of applesauce can replace ½ cup of butter, 1 mashed avocado can replace 1 cup of mayonnaise, and 1 cup of Greek yogurt can replace 1 cup of sour cream.

Tip # 5: Alternate the bubbly or cocktails with sparking water.

On average most adults consume almost 100 calories a day from alcoholic beverages. This stat increases exponentially on NYE. Alternating between an alcoholic beverage and a zero-calorie sparkler can help you avoid pouring on the pounds. Plus sparkling water keeps things festive, and, bonus, you’ll avoid entering the hangover zone, a not-so-happy holiday tradition.

Try these tips, and aim to get dancing on the NYE party agenda and you will enter the New Year in a great state for sure!




How Not to Gain Weight this Holiday Season (Blog 2 of 2)



In my last blog, I gave you five extremely effective tips for not letting holiday parties add to your waistline. Did you try them yet? Well, guess what? I have five more! If you apply all 10 of my tips, there’s a high likelihood that you will breeze through the holiday season without gaining a pound! How’s that for a Christmas miracle? Here are my five final tips!

Tip #1: Don’t “Save Up” Calories

Fasting before a big meal can backfire. Low blood sugar from hunger increases cortisol levels, which leads to cravings for fatty, salty, and sugary foods.

Instead of saving up for the big meal, it’s better to snack on healthy goodies like raw veggies, nuts, and fruit throughout the day to avoid a full-blown indulgence where no crumb is left behind.

Tip #2: Eat Low to High

Are you thinking, “What on earth does that mean?” I’m talking about calories here. Start with a broth-based soup or salad, then move on to lean protein, and by the time you reach the double fudge brownies, a few bites will be all you need to feel satisfied.

Tip # 3: Veg out on the Veggies

Okay, so I have some tricks for you if you are the one preparing a holiday feast! Try swapping light pureed cauliflower for carb-heavy mashed potatoes and add side dishes with more vegetables, like ratatouille, to bolster the nutritional value of the meal and keep you satiated so you don’t overeat. Bonus: All that extra fiber will help keep you regular, even if you do overindulge a bit on the cheese platter.

Tip #4: Beware of the “Health Halo”

I just advocated veggies, but even with the world’s healthiest veggies, you still need to be careful. You can gain weight even if you eat healthy. You can overdo it with the veggies and dip or creamy asparagus soup, just like you can with ice cream—except with the ice cream at least you know it’s an indulgence. So make sure you’re not eating something based solely on its health-food aura and keep an eye on your portion sizes.

Tip #5: Change your Mindset around Holiday Treats

Most people eat particular foods like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or down cups of eggnog at a Christmas party because “that’s what we do during the holidays. Do you really even like pumpkin pie or eggnog? Or if you could have any treat, would you choose your favorite ice cream or hot cocoa instead? Just because it’s limited doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

The other thing to think about is the fact that holiday treats don’t need to be restricted to the holidays. Make pumpkin pie later in the winter; make “Christmas” cookies for Mother’s Day. This tactic will help prevent some of your “last chance” eating!

Here’s to you this holiday season! You can make it through without gaining a pound! What a great way to start the New Year, but wait there’s more! In my next blog, I will give you some tips for not sabotaging your success so far at the New Year’s Eve Party!