Tag: breakfast

Best Nutrition Advice: Eat More Vegetables

In all my years I have yet to hear anyone in the diet or nutrition field suggest we eat fewer vegetables. We might hear it’s best to eat more of the dark green leafy kind or choose based on all the colors of the rainbow. That’s all great advice but it may be best to take a simplistic view at times and focus our efforts on just eating more of them. There are times to use sheer will when doing so (baby carrots in hummus when you really feel like chips and salsa) but will-power can only get you so far. Let’s consider new possibilities…a vegetable upgrade if you will. Below are some new and hopefully tastier ways to get more vegetables in your day.

 

Breakfast Ideas:

Muffins: Look for a muffin recipe that incorporates shredded zucchini or carrot into the batter. “Morning Glory” muffin recipes are a good bet.

Egg Scramble: Throw in some diced onion, tomato, mushroom and spinach to your egg scramble.

Smoothie: Make a “green smoothie” by adding a handful of leafy greens to your normal smoothie. It won’t change the flavor just the color and texture.

Lunch Ideas:

Leftovers Add-Ins: Add some frozen vegetables like broccoli or brussel sprouts to your main dish leftovers in a microwavable glass container. They will defrost by the time you’re ready to microwave at work.

Raw Vegetable Dippers: Make a tuna fish salad and use fresh vegetables like baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery and mini-peppers along with some whole grain crackers as dippers.

Dinner Ideas:

“Hard” Salad: Salad doesn’t have to mean lettuce. Create a hard salad by cutting your favorite raw veggies into small pieces. Cauliflower, broccoli, red onion, bell pepper, snap peas, cucumber, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrot, cabbage, a bit of avocado all dressed with your favorite dressing or oil and vinegar. Try adding some dried herbs like Italian seasoning or dill for more flavor. The crunch of a hard salad is very complimentary to any meal. It’s especially satisfying if you enjoy salty crunchy foods.

Roasted Vegetables: You can roast any vegetable. Roasting vegetables sweetens them and creates a texture that’s anything but mushy. Just cut them up in a uniform size, spread them on a baking sheet, toss them with olive oil and salt and roast them for 10-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Make sure you don’t crowd the vegetables so they don’t steam. If you’re using an outdoor grill use some metal skewers to roast them. Some clients say they hate cauliflower but when they try roasted cauliflower they love it.

 

For even more ideas on getting vegetables in your diet (or any other kind of healthier food), please contact our Nutritionist, Kathryn Reed, MS at kreed@sacdt.com.

 

Vegetables 2.0

There are and will always be opposing viewpoints on what a healthy diet is. I’d rather focus on what we agree on, however. In all my years as a Nutritionist (and human being) I have yet to hear anyone say we should eat fewer vegetables. We might hear it’s best to eat more of the dark green leafy kind or choose based on all the colors of the rainbow. That’s all great advice but I’m here to remind you that we might benefit from simplicity and focus our efforts of just eating more of them. There are times to use sheer will when doing so (baby carrots in hummus when you really feel like chips and salsa) but will power can only get you so far. I’d like you to consider new possibilities a vegetable upgrade if you will. Below are some new and hopefully tastier ways to get more vegetables in your day.

Breakfast Ideas:
Muffins: Look for a muffin recipe that incorporates shredded zucchini or carrot into the batter. “Morning Glory” muffin recipes are a good bet.

Egg Scramble: Throw in some diced onion, tomato, mushroom and spinach to your egg scramble.

Smoothie: Make a “green smoothie” by adding a handful of leafy greens to your normal smoothie. It won’t change the flavor just the color and texture.

Lunch Ideas:
Leftovers Add-Ins: Add some frozen vegetables like broccoli or brussel sprouts to your main dish leftovers in a microwavable glass container. They will defrost by the time you’re ready to microwave at work.

Raw Vegetable Dippers: Make a tunafish salad and use fresh vegetables like baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery and mini-peppers along with some whole grain crackers as dippers.

Dinner Ideas:
“Hard” Salad: Salad doesn’t have to mean lettuce. Create a hard salad by cutting your favorite raw veggies into small pieces. Cauliflower, broccoli, red onion, bell pepper, snap peas, cucumber, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrot, cabbage, a bit of avocado all dressed with your favorite dressing or oil and vinegar. Try adding some dried herbs like Italian seasoning or dill for more flavor. The crunch of a hard salad is very complimentary to any meal. It’s especially satisfying if you enjoy salty crunchy foods.

Roasted Vegetables: You can roast any vegetable. Roasting vegetables sweetens them and creates a texture that’s anything but mushy. Just cut them up in a uniform size, spread them on a baking sheet, toss them with olive oil and salt and roast them for 10-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Make sure you don’t crowd the vegetables so they don’t steam. If you’re using an outdoor grill use some metal skewers to roast them. Some clients say they hate cauliflower but when they try roasted cauliflower they love it.

For even more ideas on getting vegetables in your diet (or any other kind of healthier food) please contact our Nutritionist, Kathryn Reed, MS.

Super Bowl of Cereal

It’s National Nutrition Month so my word play is not quite as timely as I’d like it to be – but it’s a good time to talk about one of the most popular carbohydrates in the American diet, cereal, those processed flakes some of us wouldn’t readily admit we’ve eaten for dinner on occasion.  It’s certainly a popular breakfast and late night snack.  I remember waking up to the the familiar sounds of clanking spoon, slurp and crunch as my father ate his midnight bowl of cheerios before bed.

I’ve often talked to clients who’ve professed they’re “cereal addicts.”  I suppose anything can be addictive – and we do know that refined sugar is certainly so.  But these clients aren’t eating the likes of Fruit Loops or Captain Crunch.

The most popular varieties I see on food logs are Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Nut or regular Cheerios, Special K, Chex, Raisin Bran, etc.  While these don’t have a ton of sugar it’s certainly true that they’re processed and lack protein and fiber so they break down very fast in the bloodstream.  All highly processed carbohydrates do that.  Luckily, when we use dairy or soy milk we add some protein to the mix, but, unfortunately, beverages are digested quickly, too.  Bottom line is that any processed cereal digests quickly and can create a rise in blood sugar and for some a dopamine-induced pleasure response.  This can lead to an addictive response and cravings can escalate, which can certainly make it challenging to maintain or lose weight.

There are other reasons cereal can be alluring.  We usually have it around, and it’s easy.  The crunch of cereal before the unfortunate sog can also be highly rewarding as we seek to chew our way out of the day’s stress.

I’m writing all this not because cereal is “bad” and you should avoid it.  What is very bad is skipping a meal – having something is always better than nothing.

But, when confronted with your next bowl of processed flakes, consider adding some whole foods that carry a nutritional punch.  You’ll likely feel fuller longer and avoid some of the physiological responses that lead to being hungry sooner or craving more.  Try swapping half your bowl with the following add-ins:

    • Raw rolled oats (full of fiber and protein)

 

    • Dried fruit

 

    • Frozen blueberries (keeps the milk cold)

 

    • Sliced banana

 

  • Sliced almonds or chopped nuts (full of fiber, protein and healthy fat)

If you’d like to start with a higher protein cereal, try any of the Kashi Go Lean varieties or Special K Protein Plus.  (Kashi Go Lean also has added fiber.)  I still think the whole food add-ins listed above are better choices as their nutrients take longer to digest and enter the bloodstream.

So, my advice is to experiment with ways to make your cereal less flaky.  With half your bowl whole food add-ins you’ve turned your average bowl into a super bowl.

Break-FAST, Rev Up Your Fat Burning Machine!

You know the how the saying goes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” It’s true. Studies show that eating breakfast can dramatically help a person lose weight and/or maintain a slim figure. Now, this doesn’t mean you get to order that tasty pastry at Starbucks or eat a bowl full of sugary cereal. What you choose for breakfast will make a huge difference in your overall health and how your body will burn fat.

After fasting all night, breakfast will kick start your metabolism and give you long lasting energy if you choose the right foods such as whole grains, fruits, non-fat Greek yogurt, eggs, etc. Watch out for foods loaded with refined sugars! These foods offer little nutritional value and will cause your blood sugar to rise and fall very quickly. Leaving you feeling tired and hungry, and in my case, cranky. No bueno.

The sooner you eat, the sooner your body will become a fat burning machine. Yes please! Here is one of my favorite recipes for guys and gals who tell me you do not want to wake up 10 minutes early to prepare breakfast.

Oatmeal While You Sleep
This recipe uses steel cut oats and a slow cooker; assemble the ingredients before bed and breakfast will be waiting for you in the morning.

Ingredients
1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup chopped apple
4 cups water
½ cup non-fat or low-fat milk
¼ – ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds or pecans make a great addition)

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the nuts, in a slow cooker and set to low heat.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and let cook for 8-9 hours overnight.
  3. In the morning, stir the oatmeal and add the nuts.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

If you would like more ideas for a healthy, fat-burning breakfast, please contact personal fitness trainer Stephanie Weishaar.