Summer Meal Idea

Last night I decided to make a dinner utilizing some ingredients we had around the house that were nearing their last leg. What resulted was basically a fish taco without the taco. This dish was made up of grilled tilapia, avocado relish, grilled squash and zucchini and brown rice. I seasoned the tilapia with fresh lime and lemon juice, olive oil, rice vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. The avocado relish had a similar dressing (minus the oil, vinegar and salt).

This meal was somewhat of an experiment, as I have never prepared these items all together, but fortunately, it turned out to be a flavor packed hit! Another bonus, it was full of many healthful nutrients. Specifically, the avocado relish was packed with healthy fats from the avocado, as well as the phytochemical lycopene from the fresh tomatoes (research suggests lycopene can help prevent cancer).

With all of the great flavors in this relish, I think it would also go great with omelets, tortillas and shrimp! Below you will find the recipe so you can try this relish in one of your meals this week!

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Avocado Relish

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado, cubed

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1/2 small onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 ears of fresh corn, corn removed from cob

1 T fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice from 2 fresh limes

Juice from 1 fresh lemon

Dash of pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into large bowl. Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes- 1 hour in order to let all of the flavors percolate.

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Easy to Make Guacamole

No need to buy the packaged guacamole from the grocery store anymore! While guacamole has some healthful qualities, when it’s pre-packaged, it’s often packed with added calories and fat, which takes away from the healthfulness. So next time you’re craving this tasty treat, try this recipe; it’s easy, quick and loaded with healthy fats. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

Juice from one lime

2 cloves of garlic

2 tsp fresh cilantro

Dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

Scoop out avocado into food processor and add juice from one lime.

Add 2 cloves of garlic and 2 tsp of fresh cilantro to the avocado.

   

Add a dash of salt and pepper. Blend mixture in food processor until desired consistency.

Yields 1 cup of guacamole.

This recipe is great served as a dip with carrots and cucumbers as well as a topping on tacos, burritos and salad!

Sneaky Salads

It may be surprising to some that salads are not always the healthiest option on the menu. Unfortunately, there is a misconception out there that just because it’s considered a “salad” it is low is calories and fat; however, that is not always the case. For example, salads topped with “crispy” chicken or shrimp are loaded with extra calories and fat. Additionally, salads with creamy dressings (ie. ranch, blue cheese) can be as much as 500 calories more than a salad with a more oil based dressing (balsamic vinaigrette, oil and vinegar).

Below is a link to some of the most unhealthy salads out there. However, if you find that one of your favorite salads has made the list, there are some strategies you can use to help make it a more healthful meal. For example, if you can’t do without that creamy dressing, make sure it’s on the side and dip your fork in it as you take a bite in order to decrease the amount you use. Also, ask for the meat to be grilled, instead of fried (ie. crispy). Lastly, if they have a smaller size available, try that. You may be surprised to find you are just as satisfied with the half portion.

The Worst Salads for Your Body – 12 Salads Worse than a Big Mac – Shape Magazine.

Quinoa (KEEN-wah)

More and more hype is surrounding quinoa, and it’s for a good reason. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a highly nutritious grain native to South Africa. It’s high in protein, iron and calcium, making it a great option for vegans and vegetarians. Another bonus, it’s gluten-free, making it safe for those with Celiac disease to consume!

Although quinoa is somewhat new to the grocery store scene, there is no reason to be intimidated. It’s very easy to prepare, and due to it’s neutral taste, it goes great with most any dish! Below is a quinoa “salad” I made the other night. It includes roasted vegetables (corn, red peppers and brussel sprouts) mixed with quinoa (available in most any grocery store next to the rice and pastas). Boxed quinoa usually takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare and you cook it the same way you would rice. Also, it’s very affordable!

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Try quinoa this week as a side dish or atop a fresh salad and see how you like it. It may become your new favorite food! For more information on this super food, visit http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442451737&terms=quinoa.

How to Lose Weight at Work 

If you work full-time, you are spending more than a quarter of your week at work; therefore, eating poorly while on the job can result in significant implications to your waistline and overall health. Unfortunately, many find it difficult to eat healthful while at work. Between the break room donuts and the pizza at that afternoon meeting, it’s no wonder why. Below are some great tips for sticking to your healthFUL lifestyle while working.

How to lose weight while chowing down at work – CBS News.

Yo-Yo Dieting

The world of nutrition today is packed with fad diets (ie. cabbage soup diet, cookie diet, HCG diet, etc.). Often-times, individuals find they achieve quick weight-loss success with these diets due to their very low calorie limits. However, soon after stopping the diet, they return to their normal weight, and possibly then some, leaving them feeling frustrated and defeated. This cycle is called yo-yo dieting, and it can get the best of us. Although these diets may work quickly, they are not only dangerous, but that can be counterproductive in your weight-loss journey. Most fad diets out there achieve their low calorie restrictions by eliminating one or more food groups, which if followed long term, results in a multitude of nutritional definiciencies. Fortunately, many cannot follow these diets for more than a few weeks due to their severe restrictions; however, once stopped, individuals are left with a reduced metabolism and extreme hunger. This combination is never good when looking to lose weight, and it is often what causes quick weight gain after stopping a diet.

In order to lose weight successfully, research has found losing about 1-2 lbs/week is a good, realistic goal that allows for healthier, more long-term outcomes. Additionally, when losing weight it is important to still consume all of the food groups in the proper amounts. Any diet which eliminates a food group entirely can be very risky. Of course, it is always a good idea to consult a local dietitian when trying to lose weight, as they serve to provide reliable, evidence-based information as well as support you in your journey.

For further information on the risks of yo-yo dieting click here!

Going Gluten-Free

Recently, there has been a lot of hype surrounding gluten-free diets and weight loss. Many are adopting this lifestyle in hopes of shedding some pounds, yet, they often are unaware of what gluten is and why cutting it out of their diet may help them reach their weight loss goals. Gluten in a protein found in the wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Examples of gluten containing foods include cereals, pasta, cookies, cakes, and even some meats and marinades.  Gluten can often be hard for certain people to digest, namely, those with celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine, and when individuals with this disorder ingest something with gluten, they can become very ill. Common symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and anemia. You can be diagnosed with celiac disease by a few simple blood tests as well as a biopsy of the small intestine.

For those with celiac disease, research has found that the best treatment is to follow a strict gluten-free diet; however, in terms of weight loss, there is no sound evidence to support adopting this lifestyle. Although there are inherent benefits to avoiding gluten, such as consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables and possibly less processed foods, you don’t have to be strictly gluten-free to achieve this. Additionally, the gluten-free market is rapidly growing, causing more and more products to be made available, such as gluten-free waffles, breads and cookies. Just because these products are gluten-free, they are often not any lower in calories than the traditional product. In fact, they are often higher in fat and lower in fiber, which can inhibit weight loss.

If you are/thinking about following a gluten-free diet and you have not been diagnosed with celiacs, it is important to talk with an registered dietitian as well as your doctor in order to help guide you. Below is a link to an article recently made available at livestrong.com that can help answer any questions you may still have surrounding gluten, and of course, I am always available to help as well!

http://www.livestrong.com/article/384684-gluten-friend-or-foe/

Getting Help

So I’ve been receiving some messages recently from individuals who are struggling with their weight. Whether it be you eat too much or too little, having an unhealthy relationship with food can be very hard to overcome. Of course as an RD I can provide anyone information on what is healthy in terms of food for their height, weight, age, activity level, ect. However, I am not qualified to help individuals with any kind of eating disorder at this point in my career. In the case where you may be struggling with a disorder, it is always better to talk to a physiologist or psychiatrist, as this type of struggle goes beyond just food. Additionally, there are some RDs who have a disordered eating credential who would be more equipped to help anyone who is dealing with food and body image challenges. You can find an RD who specializes in disordered eating by visiting: http://www.eatright.org/iframe/findrd.aspx.

What I’m qualified to tell you is what a good goal weight may be for your height. Based on Hamwi’s ideal body weight formula, a woman’s ideal body weight is 100 lbs for their first 5 feet of height, and then you add 5 lbs for each inch over 5 foot (ie: if you’re a 5’3 female, your ideal body weight is 115 lbs). For men, the ideal body weight is 106 lbs for the first 5 feet, and 6 lbs every inch over 5 foot. Of course this is just a guideline and should not be thought of as law….it does depend on your body type and any other conditions you may have; however, being under or over your suggested ideal body weight can result in some serious health challenges.

Another aspect of eating I can help with is the promotion of a healthy diet made up mostly of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats. To see what your specific intake guidelines are visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

Again, whether you struggle with eating too much or too little, it is something that should be addressed with a combination of health care professionals. Also, know that you’re not alone if you find you are struggling, and know that there are people here to help you get to a more healthFUL life!!

Stay Hydrated!

With summer in full swing I thought it would be a good time to talk about staying hydrated. During these hot days it’s imperative you drink plenty of water throughout your day! How much you ask? Well, although the typical recommendation is 8 cups/day, this can change due to environment, age, gender, activity level, and medications. Below is a formula you can use to guide you, but keep in mind, everyone is different, and if you’re thirsty, make sure you drink up!

START: 11 cups
IF YOU’RE A MAN: Add 4.5 cups
EXERCISING FOR AN HOUR: Add 2 cups
IF PREGNANT: Add 1.25 cup
IF BREAST-FEEDING: Add 4.5 cups
Sickness, heat and other factors also can increase the amount of fluids you need. All sources can contribute to total water needs: beverages (including tea, coffee) and moisture found in foods (watermelon, celery). Moisture in food accounts for about 20 percent of total water intake.

**Follow your thirst and drink at meals


Sources: Institute of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, http://heraldnet.com/article/20120620/TWH0202/706209901/-1/NEWS01

Rethink Your Drink!

Although cutting calories from food is a helpful way to lose weight, cutting calories from your drinks could have more of an impact than you think. Unfortunately today, drinks are loaded with excess sugar, which equals more calories. Some common ingredients to look out for on the label include high fructose corn syrup, syrup, corn … Continue reading