Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One simple change to lose more weight

Memorial Day marks the start of poolside fun.  It also reminds us that it’s swimsuit season once again… 

Often people will react to the thought of being seen in a swimsuit by beginning yet another “diet.”  Instead, why not start incorporating some habits that yield a more permanent weight loss and a healthier lifestyle?  One simple habit to start with: eating breakfast.  My clients often ask, “But if I eat breakfast, that’s just more calories.  How can eating more result in more weight loss?”  Preliminary research done at the University of Missouri and published in the May 2011 issue of Obesity shows that eating breakfast reduces hunger cues throughout the day, so you’re less likely to reach for impulse snacks and overindulge at meals.  The study compared MRIs of adolescent girls who 1) skipped breakfast, 2) ate cereal and milk for breakfast (18 g protein) or 3) ate waffles made with protein powder accompanied by yogurt (50 g protein).  Both breakfast meals contained 500 calories.  According to surveys and MRI scans of participants, eating breakfast led to increased fullness and reductions in hunger throughout the morning.  The higher protein meal led to even greater changes in appetite and satiety (fullness).

This research supports similar studies done on the topic.  Breakfast counts!  According to the researchers, 60% of adolescent girls currently skip breakfast.  This indicates that breakfast-skipping could be a contributor to overeating and obesity.  It’s important to note, however, that breakfast must fit the goals of your otherwise healthy diet.  Sorry bacon, sausage and egg-eaters—this isn’t the go ahead to consume high-fat protein-rich breakfasts on a regular basis.  Get your protein from lean sources like low-fat dairy, nuts and peanut butter.  And even if it is just cereal and milk, eat your breakfast!  Read more about the study here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Anyone can cook delicious salmon!

Has your doctor told you to eat more omega-3s?  Omega-3s are powerful cholesterol-lowering nutrients, but are found in few food sources.  Salmon is one of them.  Many people are reluctant to cook salmon because they think it will be difficult—but they couldn’t be more wrong.  It’s actually one of the simplest entrees you could cook on a busy weeknight!  Lucky you, it also doubles as an impressive weekend dish for date night or guests.
I’m a big proponent of plain, frozen foods for their convenience and storage sustainability.  But not in this case.  Although frozen salmon will do the job, you just can’t beat this fish when it’s fresh.  A few simple additions let the natural flavor shine through: lemon juice, capers, salt, fresh ground pepper, parsley and, of course, garlic.  Wrap it in a tinfoil “packet” and toss it in the oven or on the grill.  Serve with your favorite starch, like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, potato or cous cous, and a vegetable of your choosing.  I’m particularly fond of roasted broccoli or stir fry with this one.  Bon app├ętit!
For more information about my recipes, meal-planning services or for help incorporating low-cholesterol diet guidelines into your lifestyle, please visit my website or email me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sweet inspiration!

Many of my recipe inspirations come from my mom, who I’m sure passed along my gene for creative cooking.  One of the most recent dishes I sampled from her fridge was roasted butternut squash with haricot vert.  It was so delish that I tried it as soon as I got home (with my own little spin of course).  I combined the cubed squash with ingredients I already had: thawed, frozen green beans and slivered, raw almonds.  I simply lined a cookie sheet with foil, spread my ingredients in a single layer, drizzled with olive oil and spices and let the oven do the rest of the work. The butternut squash is surprisingly sweet with a flavor similar to that of a sweet potato, but smoother.  I suppose we would call it buttery!  You won’t even need dessert. 

The gorgeous, bright orange color also means that it’s packed with nutrition.  Butternut squash is a starchy vegetable—but falls on the spectrum between potatoes and non-starchy veggies, like carrots—with only about 80 calories and 20 g carbohydrate per cup. 

And it couldn’t be easier to make!  It’s the perfect side dish for any type of meat and quick for weeknights when time is lacking.  If you’re looking for a meatless dish, try it on top of brown rice.  The hardest part was cutting the squash—so sharpen your knife and get ready to use your muscles.  This dish is definitely worth a try and easily palatable if you’re not very adventurous.  It tastes equally as great reheated, so save yourself some time later and make enough for leftovers!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Take the pledge!

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015, has launched a program called, “Together Counts.”  It’s terrific!  The program, sponsored in part by Coca-Cola, is a nationwide program inspiring active and healthy living.  The principle behind the program is Energy Balance--balancing the calories we consume with the calories we burn.  The motto: “Calories in, calories out.  It’s that simple.”   
“Together Counts” encourages families and community members to take the simple pledge: eat at least one meal and do at least one activity together every week.  Encouraging families to be healthy together.  What could be better than that?  And via the website, the fun begins!  Families can take the pledge, create their profile, get tips for being more active, track their progress and get points.  It’s really a unique and cool way to get families involved in being healthy together (especially those with a little competitive spirit).  I love it.
Take the pledge with your family at http://www.togethercounts.com/.  My advice?  Create a positive rewards system (sans food) to incentivize your progress.  My exercise reward: my favorite running shoesThey're awesome too.  After all, exercise is a whole lot easier when you're comfortable and stylin'!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The End of Overeating: Is it in Sight?

A major part of improving your lifestyle is learning to take charge of the behaviors involved.  It’s not just what we eat, but why we eat it and how much we eat.  Recently I’ve been looking for innovations in helping my clients to understand why we eat certain foods or certain amounts of foods when we know we’re full.  Perhaps if we understand the psychology behind the behavior, we can learn to control it.  And the insight can’t hurt my habits either – we’re all human :) 

There are several books on my reading list.  A couple weeks ago I purchased the audio book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, by Dr. David Kessler.  I bought it with plans to listen as I drive back to my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky later this month.  Since I’ll be making the trip alone this time, I thought it would be a great way to pass the time and finally get around to “reading” this book that I’ve wanted to pick up off the shelf for some time now.  However…I couldn’t wait.  I uploaded it to my iPod the other day and have already taken it jogging twice.  Oops!  I’m already through eighteen chapters (they’re fairly short) and enjoying the commentary so far.  I thought I'd better get this post up before I listen to the whole book!  I would love to form an online discussion group of sorts here on the blog.  If you’ve read the book or want to, please join me.  I’ll post comments throughout my reading; please post your comments too.  I guess I’ll have to get another book to listen to on my trip.

Just start with the cover- which would you pick: carrot or carrot cake?  How hard would it be to opt for the carrots instead of the cake?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Good food tastes good

Welcome to Good Food Tastes Good, or GoodFood for short, a resource for food lovers and those who want to learn more about what good nutrition really is.  And right off the bat I’ll give away the secret: it’s eating good food that tastes good and is good for you. 

Here I plan to share my passion for food, flavor and health, try new recipes, share and review cookbooks and more.  I’m enthused about the discussion that will be forthcoming!  You won’t find a push for the newest fad diet or a quick-fix approach to shedding the pounds.  That’s because I am a foodie at heart: a true lover of food in all its flavors and health-improving properties.  But all foods are not so good (as in good for you) these days.  In this world of convenience, we’ve lost sight of some very important priorities—and our waist lines as well as our health are suffering because of it.  More on that later… I also love the science of food and teaching others about it, which led to my career as a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator.  You can trust that the information you find here will be sound. 

On my blog I hope that you’ll discover ways to improve your health using good food as well as the motivation to make it happen.  And of course, I hope that I can inspire you to find that good food (again, as in good for you) can taste good and be practical in your busy lifestyle.  Enjoy!