Fuel your energy with fiber, healthy fats and protein

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pistachio chewy bites

Depletion. Fatigue. Lack of motivation. These are three tell-tale signs that your nutrition needs a checkup. Let’s talk about three nutrients that can tackle these feelings: fiber, healthy fats, and protein. I will share examples of each. And for those of you with busy lifestyles, I will recommend a healthy treat with all three of these nutrition powerhouses that you can grab on-the-go.

Perk up because I promise you if you apply these recommendations, you will feel like a million bucks in no time!

Fiber

Only 10 percent of Americans are consuming enough fiber every day. Fiber is essential in achieving a healthy, vibrant lifestyle. It aids in weight loss, helps lower cholesterol levels, and keeps your blood sugar levels stable. Unstable blood-sugar levels will destroy your energy!

The American Heart Association eating plan suggests eating 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Great fiber choices include whole grains, nuts and seeds, apples, berries, peas, lentils, and beans.

Healthy Fats

Dietary fat provides you with energy, builds healthy cells, and regulates your hormones. Your brain needs fat 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 types of fat that are super for you are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. My favorite foods that have these types of fats include essentially all nuts; olive oil in my salads and cooking; salmon; tuna; and flaxseed or chia seeds added to my oatmeal or smoothies.

Protein

Proteins are considered a major nutrient for the body; it grows, maintain and replace tissues in our body, like our muscles. Protein makes up hemoglobin in our blood, which is what carries oxygen throughout our body. A low hemoglobin level will result in low energy levels. My favorite protein choices are eggs, nuts, seeds, lean meats like chicken breast and ground turkey.

A Powerful Nutritional Punch

If you want to pack all three of these nutrients together in a healthy snack, you must give Setton Farms’ Pistachio Blueberry Cranberry Infused Chewy Bites. These all-natural bite-sized bars packed with pistachios, antioxidant-rich cranberries, coconut, and a touch of maple brown rice syrup. They are filled with protein, potassium, and fiber and have ample healthy fats as well for that precious brain of yours! Pistachio Chewy Bites is the answer for those who need a convenient fiber/healthy fat/protein snack in between meals.

For more nutrition tips, visit www.kellyschoice.org and find Kelly’s Choice dietitians’ advice throughout social media. Click here for Facebook. Click here for instagram. Click here for Twitter, Click here for Linkedin.

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Weighing in on Weight-Loss: Healthy Fats

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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.

 

 

My New Favorite Treat: Setton Farms Blueberry-Flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites

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PCB BLUEBERRIES - IMG_5824-Edit-3

One of my favorite things about being in the nutrition business is that I get to try nutritious foods before they hit the market.  I am so excited about a nutrient-dense treat that hits the market TODAY: Setton Farms’ blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites. And I am going to GIVE AWAY three bags of them to one lucky reader! Keep reading to find out what you have to do to be a contender for this awesome prize!

First of all, let me get it straight about what it means for a treat to be nutrient-dense and then I will tell about how yummy these treats are, how they qualify as nutrient-dense, and I will also give you some scenarios where it would be PERFECT for you to have these treats on hand.

Nutrient-dense foods are food choices that are loaded with nutrients but relatively low in calories, saturated fat, and trans fat. It’s often difficult to find nutrient-dense snacks. Virtually all fruit and veggies would be considered nutrient-dense as would raw nuts and seeds.

But what about packaged food? Sometimes you just crave a candy bar, right?

When examining a nutrition label, some markers of a good, nutrient-dense selection in my opinion are: less than 250 calories per serving, less than 4 grams of saturated fat, at least 5 grams of unsaturated fat (these fats are GOOD for you), at least 3 grams of fiber, and at least 4 grams of protein.

I can’t think of a candy bar that qualifies as nutrient-dense, but Setton Farms’ brand-new blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites are the perfect alternative. They’re so sweet and yummy. Made with pistachios, blueberry-infused dried cranberries, maple brown-PCB BLUEBERRIES - IMG_5843-Edit-2rice syrup, and coconut, you cannot go wrong with this treat. And here are some markers of their nutrient density!

Each serving (2 chewy bites) has:

  • 200 calories
  • ZERO trans fats
  • Only 2 grams of saturated fat
  • 9 grams of unsaturated fat
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 5 grams of protein

Here are some scenarios where these treats would be great to have on hand:

  • Great to have in your desk drawer at work for that 3:00 dip in energy.
  • Keep them in your purse for when you are out and about longer than planned and need something to hold you over before your next meal.
  • Attention athletes! These are the perfect fueling snack and can also work effectively as a recovery snack!
  • Got kiddos? These are a great choice to add to their lunches! My girls even asked for them for dessert one night!
  • These are also perfect to pass around as an appetizer at a dinner party!

In the comments below, by Friday June 9 at 8:00 PM EST, tell me why YOU would love to try these tasty snacks for a chance to win three bags (9 servings) of Setton Farms’ blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chew Bites. I will announce the winner over the weekend!