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!

 

 

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

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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!

 

 

 

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!

Hydration during the No White Flour Challenge

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There is a powerful “ingredient” that will help you get through the No White Flour Challenge. It’s something most of you are not getting enough of—water!

Hydration is essential for your health; whereas white flour zaps your energy, water is an amazing energizer! That’s right; not coffee, not tea, but WATER. Let me tell you how!

Imagine you are a car for a moment. You have gasoline, but you are in major need of an oil change. Gasoline is your food. Oil is water. You are not going to perform optimally without water. This is the primary reason that mild dehydration is the number one cause of daytime fatigue. Sadly, what most people do when they feel this fatigue is they reach for something with sugar or caffeine, which will give them a temporary energy boost, but only dehydrates them more…for all of you taking my NO White Flour Challenge, THIS could instigate cravings for your favorite white flour “treat.”

Two thirds of your body weight is water. Water is critical to all the body’s systems, including the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and muscles. Water is necessary for your body to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients. It also detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and carries away waste from the body. Your brain is mostly water—drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted and your cravings for WHITE FLOUR dissolve, seriously!

So how much water should you be drinking? The general rule of thumb is to have half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, aim to have 90 ounces of water. Some people may need more than half their body weight in ounces, especially if they are active.

There are two easy ways you can tell if you are dehydrated. The first way is to check out your urine! A large amount of light colored, diluted urine probably means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated.

You can also use the pinch test! Dehydration often reduces skin elasticity, so doctors often use this skin test to quickly check for dehydration.The best part is that you can do it yourself: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and pull it upwards. Your skin should snap back rapidly. If your skin maintains its pinched shape for a few seconds and drops slowly, you may be dehydrated.

So, drink up my friends! Carry a water bottle around with you. Try to at least drink a big glass before breakfast; and finish another glass in between breakfast and lunch; go for another one in between lunch and dinner, and have another one after dinner (but not too close to bedtime)! Watch your energy soar and watch your cravings diminish!

 

 

Take the Five-Week No White Flour Challenge with Me!

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Like many of you, my schedule can get jam-packed. I love what I do, delving into nutrition education at corporations, in magazines, on TV, and with my individual clients, but sometimes I slip with my personal nutrition. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I feel awful! I had an epiphany this week about this.

After a busy day with clients and a big presentation, I had to eat my lunch quickly. I looked for the boxed Panera lunch that they gave us at the presentation. Included with the lunch was a great big Panera cookie. Ordinarily, I would not eat one of these, but it was packed for me and surely I wouldn’t want it to go to waste so I indulged. It tasted so good. The problem is that later that evening, I went to a pasta dinner fundraiser. When I returned home, my stomach was in knots and I had a splitting headache—I had eaten more processed carbs in one day than I usually have in a week!

And then I thought, “What if people who eat like this regularly feel awful all the time like how I feel right now? I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worst enemy!” So many people I have worked with change their dietary lifestyle to lose weight or to treat health ailments like diabetes, but it’s not too often that people want to work with me for the main reason of FEELING better!

Do you feel lethargic, unmotivated, stressed, and TIRED? Do you feel bloated, experience frequent stomach cramps or headaches? Boosting your nutrition and ditching processed carbs can make you FEEL WAY, WAY, WAY BETTER! I promise!

So, here’s what I dare you to do: JOIN MY FIVE-WEEK NO WHITE FLOUR nutrition challenge with me! I am going to be posting recipes, tips, and secrets to maintain this type of lifestyle.

It all boils down to choosing whole, fiber-full foods over processed foods and keeping yourself ultra hydrated. Are you ready to join the challenge? Follow this blog, my Facebook page, my Twitter feed, my Instagram feed, and my Pinterest page for support along the way.Also, check out awesome recipes on my website. Feel free to email me at kspringer@kellyschoice.org and let me know how it’s going!

Protecting your sweet heart when dining out on V Day

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Valentine’s Day is next week! Quick, how can we be heart-healthy with the dining out indulgences that come with Valentine’s Day? From choosing what to drink to ordering dessert (yes, I said the “D’” word), I will share with you my favorite heart-healthy tips.

Making a healthy beverage choice

Red wine is a great heart-healthy choice; it contains a heart-healthy flavonoid called resveratrol. Drink a lot of water as well; not only will this help prevent you from overeating, but also, hydration is important for heart-protection. Dehydration actually makes your heart work harder. Results from a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that drinking five or more glasses of water a day was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease than those who drank less water.

Making a wise appetizer and entrée selection

The foods that will hurt your health are those that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and sugar. The foods that your heart will love are those high in healthy fat, lean protein, and fiber.

It’s often hard to find a healthy appetizer. Avoid anything fried and dips as well. Some dips sound healthy (spinach artichoke for example), but they are loaded with saturated fat because of the high-fat cheese and cream used to prepare them. I tend to choose things like spring rolls (not fried) or guacamole, which is loaded with healthy fats and fiber.

For the entrée, fish is my first vote! Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association (AHA) states, “Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels and lowers blood pressure.” The AHA recommends at least two servings of fish a week. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

If you are not a fan of fish, choose lean meats like chicken or turkey breast. Red meat is not a wise choice when trying to protect your heart; the saturated fat has long been linked to heart diseases.

Overall, if you see the words sautéed, pan-seared, crispy, scalloped, or pan-fried, dodge them! They are loaded with fat. Instead, choose foods that are steamed, broiled, grilled, poached, baked, or roasted.

Fill up on fiber. Research shows that fiber lowers cholesterol. Look to your side dishes for fiber. Some of the best choices include: broccoli, leafy greens, peas, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and any type of bean. Whole grains are also an incredible source of fiber (think quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, barley, etc.).

Another thing to keep in mind when dining out is portion control. Restaurant portions are often double the size we should be eating. Eat half and save the rest for the next day’s lunch. This will allow room for dessert!

Split dessert with your date. If there happens to be dark chocolate molten cake or mousse on the menu, go for it. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. It’s good for the heart and circulation. A recent study found that dark chocolate helps prevent your arteries from clogging.  It has also been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of “good” cholesterol. Any dish with fruit is also a smart move because like veggies, fruit is a fabulous source of fiber.

Dining out is an American way of life; enjoying quality food is your right. Stick to the heart-healthy tips I’ve shared and you can dine out without regret.