Boost your energy throughout the day with Breakfast

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So many people I know are in such a frenzy in the morning that they rush out the door with an empty stomach. They may have sipped a cup of Joe while getting ready or grabbed a handful of dry cereal on their way out, but that will not give them the sort of energy that their body and mind so desperately need.

The number one way to boost your energy level, your ability to concentrate and your overall productivity is to start your day with a hearty breakfast. You don’t need to prepare anything elaborate; simply, be sure that the meal combines complex carbohydrates with protein and fiber.

Here are some simple, hearty, breakfasts that you can prepare in five minutes or less:

  • Whole grain toast with almond butter. Add a half of sliced banana.
  • Greek yogurt with chopped apple and walnuts.
  • Scrambled egg with low-fat cheese, spinach and mushroom.
  • Oatmeal with ground flaxseed, dried fruit, and pumpkin seeds. For extra sweetness, add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
  • A PB&J smoothie: 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 cup of almond milk, ½ cup of Greek yogurt and 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter. Add up to ½ cup of water to get desired consistency.

Dr. John Ivy of the University of Texas, a top nutrition researcher, has stated “Breakfast is a critical meal because it influences practically every dimension of our being during the course of the day, including how we perform physically and mentally. Breakfast immediately raises the body’s energy level and restores the blood glucose level to normal after an overnight fast.”

I urge you to break your fast with a nourishing breakfast every day and I promise you that you will notice a remarkable improvement in your energy level and productivity.

 

 

 

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Get your heart healthy with a smoothie bowl for breakfast

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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.

 

How Not to Gain Weight this Holiday Season (Blog 1 of 2)

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31244465871_f343ce0d18_o.jpgPecan pie! Honey-glazed ham! Candy cane truffles! Holiday food can inspire anxiety or ecstasy—or both—depending on your mindset.

Here’s the good news: The average weight gain for the holiday season is just one pound. Now for the bad: While that might not sound like much, research shows we don’t lose it, and that one pound adds up year after year.

Sweet treats and rich meals can be landmines for health-conscious people, yet no one wants to feel deprived during the happiest season of all. No need to fear—there are sensible ways to navigate this territory. Here are some of my favorite tips that have helped clients (and myself) NOT gain weight during the holidays!

TIP # 1: Eat a healthy and hearty breakfast.

Eating a healthy breakfast sets the stage for the entire day. If you start your day off with a doughnut or leftover pie, you can trigger a relentless sweet tooth the rest of the day.

Don’t skip breakfast either, as that will leave you dragging through your morning and more likely to overeat later because you’re starving.

Start with something that has lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and some healthy fat to give you energy and keep you satisfied until your next meal.  Think oatmeal, with nuts and dried fruit or Greek yogurt with granola, or an omelet with veggies and a sprinkling of your favorite cheese. A super easy option is almond butter on whole grain toast and this is super delicious with sliced strawberries!

Tip #2: Go to social gatherings to gather (not to eat and drink).

You go to family gatherings, work parties, and other social events to see your friends and loved ones—so see them! Use these times to socialize and be present rather than rummaging for holiday treats, wine, and cocktails.

A good idea is to “pre-eat” something with protein and vegetables to stabilize your blood sugar.

Tip # 3: Savor what you love. Stay away from what you like.

Instead of piling your plate a mile high with things that don’t really tantalize your taste buds (fruit cake, we’re looking at you!), pick only the foods that give you true enjoyment. For your food favorites, take small servings and really savor each and every bite.  If something doesn’t make you swoon, leave it on the sideline.

Tip # 4: Stick to only splurging for one event a week.

The biggest mistake people make at the holidays is making Thanksgiving a four-day feast instead of a one-day indulgence. Then the holiday parties come, and all of a sudden you’re giving yourself an excuse to have treats nearly every day. Rather than letting your holiday feast roll into pie for breakfast, limit your splurges to one event per week.

Tip # 5: Nix the guilt!

Feeling guilty after eating foods you don’t usually allow yourself to eat can breed more unhealthy behaviors. So abandon those negative voices in your head, give yourself permission to enjoy the indulgence guilt-free, and then remember to get back on track with your normal eating routine the very next day.

I hope these tips help you and be sure to check my blog on Sunday because I will be sharing five more easy-to-follow tips to help you NOT gain weight this holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cranberries for Breakfast

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In my last blog, I wrote about how I learned so much from cranberries last month at the Cranberry Institute. You better believe I’ve been trying to incorporate amazing, high-in-antioxidant cranberries in a lot of my meals. I came up with this recipe for breakfast! I have oatmeal most days, especially in the winter. This has the same warming effect as oatmeal and it’s absolutely delicious!

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Millet

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup millet
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • Drizzle of honey or maple syrup (optional)

Directions: Toast dry millet and walnuts in a pot over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add all other ingredients and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes and you have a delicious breakfast! Drizzle with honey or maple syrup for some sweetness.

By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN

Nutrition Advice for the Sandwich Generation

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Each year, more adults face the difficulty of having to take care of their parents in addition to their children all within one household. This is known as the sandwich generation. How can you meet the varying nutritional needs of everyone without going crazy?! I’ve got you covered!

Focus on hydration for everyone. Water is the key to nutrient absorption. It flushes out toxins for the times when convenient meals like pizza “pop up” with your busy schedule. It increases energy and keeps the skin clear too (great for anti-aging and teen acne). Make water fun by infusing it with cucumbers, mint, lemon, lime, or strawberries!

Have a salad a day. Green veggies are so important for the health of all your family members! It’s not too hard to throw together a salad with greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and carrots. Hello antioxidants!

If the kiddos don’t like salads, slice up some of the cucumbers and carrots and let them dip them in ranch dressing or hummus. If you use cherry or grape tomatoes in your salads, those are easy for dipping too.

Keep a fruit bowl. Kids, elderly adults, and busy working moms and dads get hungry at different times. Keep a colorful fruit bowl so everyone can help themselves to something healthy between meals. Include apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, and specific seasonal fruits (peaches and nectarines in summer months and pears in fall months).

Don’t skip breakfast! Mornings can be hectic for the sandwich generation. Breakfast is critical for setting the stage for a healthy day (and life really). And kids need breakfast to be able to concentrate in school. Several studies have proven that consistent breakfasts increase children’s academic performance and behavior in school. Keep easy breakfast options on hand. Greek yogurt with fruit and a low-sugar granola is an easy breakfast option. Whole grain toast with banana and nut butter is a yummy option as well.

Keep the meat lean! No offense against our parents’ generation, but many of them favor fatty meats like roasts, chicken thighs, burgers, and such. Get them hooked on lean meats! Use chicken breast and ground turkey often. Try to include fish as much as possible—fish consumption helps with heart health and may also help to combat Alzheimer’s Disease. Red meat is okay sometimes—just choose lean cuts like sirloin and with ground beef, your best option is 95/5, which means that 95 percent of the meat is lean.

Try to have sit-down family meals a couple times a week. It’s hard for everyone to eat together with busy schedules. Meals together keep family members connected and that’s so important with so many people under one roof. It lessens the stress and keeps everyone engaged!

Don’t let the sandwich generation stress you out! There are easy ways to stay healthy and happy. Take a deep breath and try implementing some of my suggestions. It will get easier, I promise!

 

 

Get your Engine Revin’ with Nutrition

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Yogurt I would have to say, weight-loss aside, the number one complaint I hear from my clients is tiredness. So many adults feel as though their energy is absolutely zapped. If you are sleep-deprived, of course you need to address that! Here are some nutrition-add-ons that can also help!

1.) Breakfast should be your heartiest meal of the day.

You have heard this time and time again; EAT BREAKFAST. When you have a breakfast that includes healthy fats, protein, and perhaps some complex carbs; this will help you sustain energy. It sets a great foundation for your day. Here are some ideas:

  • Omlette with some roasted potatoes (roast them the night before to save time)
  • Greek Yogurt with granola
  • Whole grain toast with avocado
  • Even pb + J on whole grain bread.

2.) Watch the sugar and caffeine consumption!

Keep an eye on how much sugar you intake. Sugar depletes nutrients and can result in low energy! Caffeine may increase your alertness, but definitely try to refrain from caffeine after 2:00 p.m. It can cause insomnia…and may even decrease REM sleep. In other words, it can affect your sleep even if you don’t realize it.

3.)Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

I can’t emphasize this enough. Water actually boosts your energy. It is crucial in the production of energy molecules. I often tell caffeine addicts to try a glass of water before reaching for their third cup of coffee of the day! If water bores you, consider infusing it with lemon, lime, or mint!

4.) Ditch the Diet.

Some people get confused hearing a dietitian advising not to diet. I’m all about eating REAL foods, NOT depriving yourself of foods. When you deprive yourself, your energy drops drastically and when your energy drops, guess what? Your body’s natural reaction is to grab something that will boost your energy rather quickly (sugary, refined foods usually) and those create a major dip in energy soon after…it’s a downward spiral!

5.)Beware of Booze!

Many people, myself included, like a nice glass of wine. For others, it may be a cocktail or a couple of beers. However, if you consume too much, it will cause fatigue. It can interfere with REM sleep just like caffeine. Alcohol also inhibits absorption of energy-boosting  B-vitamins.

Get some sleep, apply these tips, and watch your energy soar! When you feel more energetic and alive, everything in life seems brighter. Energy is essential in order to enjoy all life has to offer!

10 Hacks for a Healthy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is just over a week away! Are you prepared to resist temptation and refuse to overindulge? I think I am. I know it can be hard, but here are some tricks to make your Thanksgiving healthy, yet still incredibly satisfying.

  1. Don’t skip meals! I have worked with a lot of people who skip meals leading up to Thanksgiving to “save room” for a big meal they know that they have coming up. Thanksgiving is one of those meals. Let me tell you straight out—skipping meals backfires every time. When you get overly hungry, you will definitely overeat.
  2. Eat a big, hearty breakfast. Plan to eat a hearty breakfast on Thanksgiving. A wholesome breakfast, like my delicious overnight oats will keep you satisfied and will help prevent you from overeating at your Turkey Day feast.
  3. Stay hydrated. Sometimes when we are thirsty, our brain tells us we are hungry. Don’t confuse your brain; drink water throughout the day. Limit alcohol and choose water for your drink-of-choice during the feast as well!
  4. Move, move, move! Several areas host Turkey Trots and other organized races on Thanksgiving Day. Sign up for one and you will burn some calories! Make it a family affair!
  5. Try mashed cauliflower. Mashed potatoes are loaded with simple carbs (and often heavy cream, butter, and other forms of saturated fat). Try mashed cauliflower; season it with a little lemon pepper and wow, is it delicious!
  6. Don’t sweeten the sweet potatoes Sweet potatoes are a better choice than the white ones in terms of nutrition value; just please, don’t add brown sugar or marshmallows or anything else, they’re sweet enough on their own!
  7. Watch the butter! Did you know that one tablespoon of butter has over a hundred calories? You would have to walk for almost a half an hour to burn that off. So, go easy on the butter!
  8. Eat the white meat and avoid the skin.
  9. Make sure there are some steamed green veggies! Steamed green veggies are so delicious with minimal seasoning. They are filled with fiber and help you feel satisfied.
  10. Focus on the people! Thanksgiving is about family and friends. Talk and laugh and talk and laugh; this is the type of nourishment we all need!