Snacking Happy!

The word “snack” typically has a negative association attached to it. Most people hear that word and think of it as what NOT to do- but not in a Dietitian’s world! To us, snacking is essential to keeping our metabolism and energy high!

But what does that mean? Grab a bag of chips from the vending machine? Steal a piece of candy off a co-worker’s desk? Nope. Snacks should be planned exactly the way meals should be. They should be a purposeful part of the day, and not a last minute “pick me up” or “hold me over” thing.

I have 3 rules for snacking.

#1: Use fresh and whole foods as much as possible

#2: Always include both protein and carbs

#3: Make sure the snack is both nourishing AND enjoyable!

The second rule is the most important if you want increased energy and metabolism, more willpower, better stress management, and more staying power- meaning you’re not starving by your next meal. When we eat a carb- any kind of carb, good or bad- our blood sugar spikes really high, really fast. Then it crashes just as quickly, but much lower than it started out. This causes an energy crash, low blood sugar, and overeating at the¬†next meal. When we eat a protein, our blood sugar doesn’t increase at all, again keeping us too hungry to control portions at our next meal, manage our stress, or increase our energy. But when the protein is eaten WITH the carb… now we’re on track! The protein molecules actually stick to the carbohydrate molecules, which makes the carb raise our blood sugar much more slowly AND prevents it from crashing back down.

So what kind of snacks include carbs and protein? Examples include fruit and nuts, apple/banana and peanut butter, fruit and cheese, and greek yogurt! Also try wheat thins or triscuits with cheese, peanut butter, hummus or even avocado. There are many other carb+protein snacks. You can also treat raw veggies as the carb and add hummus or cheese!

Some of my favorite variations are:

  • Pears + ricotta cheese + cinnamon (also try drizzling just a little honey!)
  • Apple + almond butter
  • Tomatoes + mozzarella cheese + balsamic vinegar
  • Carrots + hummus
  • Wheat thins + avocado/guacamole

Sorry I don’t have pics right now! I’ll try to take some pics in the future and put them up on social media.

Thanks everyone! Hope you have an amazing weekend ūüôā

Which Meal Subscription is Best for You?

I’m back! It’s been a crazy year between the new puppy, the new house, the business, and of course our first year of marriage! During these crazy times, I really wanted to¬†continue to cook fresh, healthy meals so I thought what a great time to try out those meal subscriptions I keep hearing about! Here’s my report, just in time for a last minute gift idea for the Holidays!… subscriptions make GREAT gifts!!

I tried 3 different services- Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Chef’d.¬†

Blue Apron was the first one I tried. I enjoyed cooking the recipes, and my husband enjoyed helping. I personally liked the type of recipes, although they were a little too adventurous for my husband. I thought the meals were very tasty, but a little too rich, or salty (or something!) for me. The cost was reasonable- 3 meals that serve 2 for $59.94. Some of the recipes were good enough portions that I could get 2 meals out of just my portion, but some of them weren’t filling enough and left me still hungry. Considering I was still hungry, I felt that the calorie level was very high, at least for me. We also did end up giving away a couple¬†of our recipes because while it says you can cook these quickly, trust me you cannot. It takes time, so we only would have enough time to cook them 2 days out of the week, not 3. Another good note that I actually didn’t realize at the time, is that you can choose your recipes out of a selection. Don’t quote me on this- it says on the website that you can choose based on dietary preferences, but since I didn’t know that, I don’t know exactly how that works.¬†Their 2 plans include a 2-Person and a Family. Bonus: They also have a wine subscription service ūüôā

Hello Fresh was the next one we tried. A little more expensive at $69 for their Classic Plan, and again the lowest option was still 3 meals per week, which is too much for our busy life. Maybe it’s just us, but I still always felt like it took us longer to cook than it says! I enjoyed these recipes a little more, and so did my husband. Calorie levels were about the same as Blue Apron, but I felt that they weren’t quite as salty. Plus they earned major bonus points with me for sending me a free Hello Fresh apron (see pic)! You can also choose your meals with Hello Fresh. I did know that this time, because they sent me an email asking me to choose. Nice and easy! And delicious! Also important to note, that they seem to
have a lot of deals and discounts, so that may make it less expensive. Their 3 plans include Classic, Vegetarian, and Family.

The last one I tried was Chef’d. This one was my favorite! There are 6¬†plans to choose from, meaning they definitely have something to meet your nutritional needs! The 6 plans are “Atkins, Weight Watchers, Tone It Up Fresh, American Diabetes Association, Spoon University, and New York Times Cooking. Chef’d teamed up with Atkins, Weight Watchers, and the ADA to ensure that their recipes fit the requirements for each of those diets. The Tone It Up Fresh is a new plan since we ordered it, and to be honest I’m not sure about the description because I had trouble viewing the video. I ordered the Weight Watchers plan for myself, simply because I was tired of cooking meals way higher than what my normal calorie range for weight maintenance is. I thought they were simple, delicious, and exactly what I would cook for myself without having to do the planning or shopping! Chef’d also had the most meals to choose from out of these 3 services, and you can swap their suggestions each week. ¬† ALSO….. you can choose as little as 1 meal per week!! Win Win Win ūüôā If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for someone, this may be it!

Winner of the¬†Healthiest Subscription service... Chef’d! At least out of these 3 services. Simply for the fact that they offer so many different options. Everyone is different and therefore we all have¬†different nutritional needs, but you’ll be sure to find your needs met at Chef’d! Especially because they partner¬†up with the respective organizations to ensure accuracy!

Least healthy: Sad to say I felt this was Blue Apron. They call for salt literally after every single step. I didn’t follow those steps, but my husband kept trying to ūüôā

Take a look at my Instagram for more pictures of the meals I tried, as well as some other recipes and products I love. My instagram name is @happilynourishedrd, or follow the link on the webpage.

I may go on to explore more services, and if I do, I’ll certainly report back!

Hope everyone has a great holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year! See you in 2017!

First Product Spotlight!

From time to time I will be posting a Product Spotlight. These Spotlights will be on my favorite health-food products and will include a description and run down of the nutrients along with ideas for how to incorporate the product into your diet. You can get more of these spotlights by signing up for Basic Nutrition Training, which will provide a weekly Product or Recipe Spotlight, a weekly Food Journal Review, and up to 2 questions per week answered via email. Click on the Services page for more information!

The first product I am spotlighting is my favorite yogurt, Siggi’s. Siggi’s Yogurt is not your typical greek yogurt. Technically, it’s Icelandic Skyr, which is similar to Greek yogurt. It’s thick like Greek yogurt and has loads of protein and other healthy nutrients, but it’s not nearly as tangy/sour tasting as greek yogurt. It’s creamier, AND it’s flavored naturally with much less sugar than many Greek yogurt brands.

The ingredients list alone says it all. Milk, Agave (natural plant-based sweetener), Vanilla, ¬†probiotics, and Vegetable Rennet (enzymes from certain vegetables that help with coagulation of milk). Completely natural, the way yogurt should be! The vanilla flavor is only 100cals for this container and it has 15g of protein and only 9g of sugar compared to another leading brand’s 13g of sugar. The strawberry Siggi’s has 11g of sugar, whereas the competitor’s version has 24g, plus a vague and longer ingredient list. Siggi’s strawberry has only milk, strawberries, pectin, and cane sugar.

Siggi’s Yogurt is a complete snack, containing just the right amount of carbohydrates and protein to keep you satisfied. It’s also great as a base for smoothies or yogurt parfaits for a complete breakfast! Plus, it is my favorite yogurt to use as a cooking ingredient. Just replace cream, milk, sour cream (or even cheese!) in any recipe with nonfat plain Siggi’s yogurt for a higher protein, lower fat meal. Take a look at their website¬† for recipe ideas or find any recipe that calls for greek yogurt. I once made a Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese using pureed butternut squash and Siggi’s yogurt, and my husband had NO idea that it wasn’t cheese :)¬† I’ll post that recipe when I make it again someday! In the meantime, for a quick high-protein vegetarian meal, try cooking 1 serving of whole wheat pasta (love Barilla!), drain the water and add low sodium canned black beans (approx 1/4-1/2c), and melt in 1 laughing cow light cheese wedge and 1/2c Siggi’s yogurt. I also add Sririachi sauce for some kick. Other optional ingredients are diced tomatoes, onions and garlic, black pepper, cumin. You can play around with the amounts of each ingredient according to your taste, and you can also make it without the black beans if you’re not a fan, but they’re a great addition for a little extra protein and fiber! One tip for using any greek yogurt for cooking is to add it last towards the end and on a low to low-medium heat or it may curdle.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite yogurt! I am always suggesting it to clients so I thought I’d continue to spread the word. Please comment with any questions or your own recipe ideas!

The Only New Year’s Resolution I’ll Make in 2016

So I promised I would write about making New Year’s Resolutions. The truth is that I don’t believe in them. They never work. Either you’re like me and think that you have the whole year to take care of it, and then never even start because ‘how could it be December already?’. Or you start hardcore on January 1st, and then it’s over by March or when life throws you a curveball, making us feel that we once again have failed. Doing this creates a cycle in which we end up fueling the negative relationship we have with food and with ourselves. We need to realize that we are all human and stop beating ourselves up for being less than perfect.

So how do we set a New Year Resolution that will take us out of this vicious cycle? Well, first… no more vague and unhelpful resolutions such as “lose 20 pounds this year” ¬†or “eat clean all year”. ¬†We want our goals to help us feel better about ourselves, not worse. Your resolution should never be about changing your body or who you are. It should be about feeling better both physically and emotionally.

Honestly, I haven’t set a resolution in several years. I usually just try to start the year with a fresh attitude. This year I’m doing something different and setting just one-¬†Be Happier With Myself In 2016″. I’m taking 3 steps to accomplish this resolution, and I encourage you to do the same! Here’s how to set your 3 goals/steps to a happier you in 2016:¬†

#1- Break one habit that makes you feel negative about yourself.¬† For me, it’ll be to stop letting house-hold chores pile up and to stay organized. I’m good at organizing. I’m just not great at staying organized. My plan is to spend the first few months of the year cleaning out and organizing my house. I also will have my husband remind me of things like not letting dishes pile up in the sink (and then try not to get mad at him for it!), and I will keep a daily and weekly list to remind myself (and my helpful hubby) what needs to get done.

Like me, you could choose a habit you have in your home or personal life, or it could be about your diet. ¬†No matter what it is, make it realistic and cut yourself some slack. Don’t just tell yourself you’ll stop the behavior. Come up with a plan to slowly break it. ¬†Remember that you are human and even after the habit is broken, you may still slip occasionally. It’s normal! When it happens, don’t dwell on it, or you’ll give that behavior more power to become a habit again. If you just move on from it and continue your plan, it’ll stay in the past.

#2 Begin one habit that would make you feel good about yourself. ¬† Mine is to maintain exercise at least 30 mins 4-6 days per week. I’m usually a fairly active person. But I do tend to get a little lazy in cold weather or too busy in warm weather and sometimes the exercise slips away. My goal this year is to keep it going most weeks because it makes me feel good to exercise on a regular basis, and my plan is to schedule it into each week.

When choosing a habit you want to start, you could choose something related to food or activity, or your home/personal life. Like me, you could choose to improve on something you already do, or you can start at zero.¬†The challenge level here should always be 1 step above what you’re already doing. ¬†Make sure to have a plan. Don’t just say you’re going to eat more fruits and vegetables. Add them to your shopping list. Write post-it reminders on your fridge. Don’t just say you’re going to exercise. Find an activity you’d enjoy and schedule it on your calendar. Remember that the point of this step is to make sure the habit you’re setting will make you feel good. Create a habit that will make you feel good about yourself whether or not you lose weight as a result. ¬†If life gets in the way for a day, a week, a month, just shake it off like Taylor Swift and get right back to it. No point in dwelling on the past!

#3-¬†Choose a Mantra or Positive Self-Reflection.¬† This one’s a little corny. But corny never hurt anyone. None of the goals we set are going to work until we learn to accept and love ourselves. I ‘m hoping most of you have at least 1 thing you like about yourselves (could be a physical or personality trait, or something about your life). Write them down. Stick them on your mirror. Repeat it to yourself every day. I bet that you’ll find you have more things to add to the list as time goes on.¬†Or instead of a list, choose an inspirational “mantra” to repeat to yourself daily, like “I am enough” or “I deserve the best life has to offer”. I told you this was corny goal. But it’s also the most important one. Our brains are telling us that in order to be happy with ourselves, we must change first. But this is backwards. The first step is always feeling positive about ourselves. If you aren’t happy now, then you won’t be happy at any weight. Nothing will be perfect enough to you, and that’s no way to go through life.

Even though this is kind of personal, I’m going to share my list with you anyway in hopes of motivating you to do the same for yourselves. Keep in mind that my list didn’t start out this long. I remind myself of these things and mentally add to it when I realize something new about myself— 1) I have pretty eyes. 2) I’m a great friend and would do anything for anyone. 3) I have a happy and loving relationship with my husband. 4) I get excited about little things. 5) I’m strong and balanced both physically and mentally. 6) I never let fear or obstacles stand in my way.

 

Remember that everyone has different goals. Make the goals specific to your needs as well as to what you enjoy, come up with a plan for each goal, and I know you’ll be successful. ¬†I’d love to hear what steps you’ll be taking! Leave it in the comments section if you want to share!

To Bread or Not to Bread

Good Morning! Well at least it was morning when I began this post. ¬†I’m having an annoyingamazing¬†day at the courthouse waiting to see if I’m selected for jury duty (I know, SO much fun!) so I figured now would be a good time for my first blog post.

A couple times in the past few weeks I’ve had to discuss with clients the common “health” trend of cutting out bread (strangers also LOVE to ask me about this), so I thought this might be a good starting topic.

Cutting out bread is a sort of “sub-diet” stemming from the ever-so trendy Low Carb/No Carb diet. The main thing that you need to remember when beginning this sort of plan is that a carbohydrate is a nutrient. This nutrient is 1 of only 3 nutrients from which we can obtain energy. Yes, energy in the form of the dreaded¬†calorie- don’t forget that without calories, we would quite literally be non-existant. The other 2 nutrients that supply energy are protein and fat. Our bodies require the proper balance of all 3 of these nutrients in order to function at its best and most efficient. The problem is that our society tends to over-eat on either carbs, fat, or both, and under-eat on protein, which is why the latest weight-loss diets recommend lowering your carbs and increasing your protein. For those who over-eat on carbohydrates, this is good advice, however your goal should be proper balance of all nutrients in the most whole food version possible (as opposed to processed/refined), not elimination of any one nutrient. Eliminating carbs completely can and will backfire, causing irratic blood sugars, extreme fatigue, eventual binge eating, and most likely giving up. It’s not sustainable, and you’ll gain all the weight back plus more.

A Little More on Carbohydrates: There are 3 main foods that are considered carbohydrates-Starch (breads, grains, pastas, potatoes, beans, etc), Fruits, and Vegetables. ¬†When talking balance, you should aim for your daily intake to include carbohydrates from all 3 of these foods. This ensures that your intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals is adequate. Other reasons for this include an efficient metabolism, steady blood sugar, and steady energy (remember about 30 seconds ago when I warned you against the elimination of carbs? It’s all related!). Your total carbohydrate intake from all 3 types of food should equal about half of your calories- which should be adjusted up or down depending on your physical activity level and weight management goals. ¬†To accomplish this, aim for 3-6 servings of starch, 2-3 servings of fruit, and 2-3 servings of vegetables per day in addition to protein and fat. I know those daily serving suggestions may sound absurdly high for someone expecting to cut down on carbs or watch their calories, but keep in mind that a serving size is much smaller than the general population believes and that vegetables have more water than carbs anyway. ¬†Exactly how much carbohydrate (and calories) you should consume daily is very individual, so if you’re unsure of whether or not you’re getting the proper amounts, you can use food logs like My Fitness Pal or Lose It to track your intake and help you figure out what your personal nutrition goals should be. Or even better, you can schedule a Nutrition Counseling appointment with me :)

Back to Cutting Out Bread: Since bread is only one source of starch, you can absolutely eliminate bread and still maintain a healthy diet. This being said, eliminating bread completely is not necessary for the maintenance of health or for weight loss.  If you are going to cut out bread, just be sure your day includes at least 3 servings of another starch, and try to incorporate whole grains. Examples of healthy non-bread starches and their serving sizes are:

  • 1/2c whole wheat pasta, cooked
  • 1/3c brown rice, cooked
  • 3 oz potato or sweet potato (approximately 1 small or 1/2 med sized)
  • 1/3c beans or legumes
  • 1/3c cooked whole grains (quinoa, wheatberry, farro, barley)
  • 1/2c corn or green peas
Based on American Dietetic Association Exchange Lists. http//www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/fd_exch.htm#7
If you do plan to include bread in your diet, be sure to buy 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain for the extra fiber and nutrition and to help avoid blood sugar spikes.  Serving sizes of bread products are:
  • 1 slice bread
  • 2 slices light bread (low calorie)
  • 1/2 english muffin
  • 1/4 bagel
  • 1 light waffle (not the large belgian style!)- I really like Vans Whole Grain Light Waffles
Based on American Dietetic Association Exchange Lists. http//www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/fd_exch.htm#7
Hope this helps clear things up for you! Please comment with any questions, or schedule an appointment for more in depth information  :)