Healthy Summer Snacks

I love summer. Lazy and carefree days by the pool, late evening walks while the sun sets, and the smell of summer bbqs all make me wish that summer could last forever. Lots of summer activities, like anything else, usually involve eating. It can be so easy to snack out of a bag of chips while sitting by the pool or to consume a big bowl of ice-cream after a game of sand volleyball. Both choices that are convenient but not so healthy. When making a snack for Carli I try to include healthy components of each major nutrient much like I would when making a meal, but of course in much smaller quantities. That would include a healthy fat, a nutrient dense carb (fruit, vegetable or whole grain) and protein. Some of my favorite snack combinations have all three nutrients, some have just two. I encourage people to avoid having snacks that are purely carbohydrate. Here are some of our family’s favorite summer snacks, all nutritious AND delicious.

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  1. Avocado pudding– our FAVORITE! I usually serve this with a banana. It surprisingly tastes just like chocolate pudding. For some it may not be sweet enough, just add a little more honey if this is the case for you. All you have to do is blend 1 ripe avocado, 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tbsp honey or agave nectar and 6 tbsp almond milk.
  2. Carrot fries– I have shared this recipe with so many people and they love it! I serve this with apple slices and peanut butter or with Horizon brand cheese sticks. Just take a bag of ridged carrot chips or snack-sized carrot sticks, toss with a little olive oil and salt and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Chocolate chip and chia energy balls– another hit with a lot of our friends. Carli calls them her “cookies.” This snack has protein, grains and healthy fats. They are great to freeze and take on outings. These are our favorite to take to the pool and to places like the zoo or the park. All you have to do is whisk together 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup honey. Then add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 cups oats, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup flax seed meal and 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
  4. Banana pops– these tend to be messy but kids find them really fun to eat. Just cover a banana with peanut butter and roll in granola or oats and chocolate chips.
  5. Crackers and hummus– Our favorite crackers to dip in hummus is a toss up between the Back to Nature brand whole wheat crackers and any of the Blue Diamond brand nut thins crackers (a great option for gluten free families).
  6. Yogurt with chia seeds and fruit added– Carli would eat yogurt for every meal and snack if I let her so we usually have this at least once per day. We do Annie’s brand whole milk yogurt (we also like the Stoneyfield organic whole milk yogurt squeezies for on the go). I eat this snack quite a bit myself but with a lower fat yogurt- I typically choose Greek yogurt for extra protein. The chia seeds add some extra healthy fats and the fruit we add is usually some sort of berry. We’ve been doing lot of strawberry and blueberry picking this summer, so we have an abundant supply for our yogurt!
  7. Avocado and pear pops– much healthier than the typical sugary popsicle and a great choice to cool down on those hot summer days. Just puree 2 avocadoes and 2 pears (skin removed) and place them into popsicle molds. Great for teething babies as well!
  8. Smoothies– another great cool-down snack. A great replacement for a milkshake! I make my smoothies with a handful of spinach, a mixture of fruit, almond milk, plus a tbsp of chia or flax seed. Sometimes I add PB2 depending on what fruits I add- banana plus PB2 is a great combo!

Here are my favorite fruit combos

  • Strawberry, blueberry and raspberry
  • Peach, banana, and strawberry
  • Mango and banana
  • Banana and blueberry

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Cheers to a happy and healthy summer!

Raising Our Kids to Eat Healthy

I think a lot of moms would agree that they want their kids to eat healthy. I have a pretty big circle of mom friends and I see a lot of different struggles- some are picky eaters, others won’t eat at all, some may want to eat all the time, others hate vegetables but will eat fruit all day long, some have only 2 foods in their diet they will eat- there is a long list of feeding issues that are commonly seen in kids. Fortunately, when they are young they can be molded to appreciate healthy foods. It gets much harder when they get to be adults (trust me, I spent the first 4 years of my career trying to get adults to change their eating habits). The fascinating thing is, a child’s food preferences are actually already starting to form when they are in utero. The foods that a pregnant mother eats make up the flavor of the amniotic fluid that the baby gets. Hmmm….no wonder Carli loves cupcakes so much. In all honesty (and sympathy) for my pregnant mamas out there, I know how hard it can be to eat a super healthy diet while pregnant. My first trimester I couldn’t even look at vegetables and only wanted cheese pizza (deep dish) and mashed potatoes. Luckily by my second trimester I wasn’t so sick and enjoyed healthy foods again.

Acceptance for certain foods is also developed through the flavors an infant is exposed to through breastmilk. Babies who are breastfed are more likely to accept a variety of different foods into their diet at a young age because they are exposed to so many different flavors through their mother’s breastmilk. There is research to support this, but every child is different. I know of a couple babies who were breastfed until they were 2 and are very picky eaters (even as adults!). On the other hand, Carli is a poster child for this. I was able to breastfeed until she was 14 months old and she will eat anything you put in front of her. I’m not a picky eater either, and consumed a healthy diet with a variety of foods while I breastfed her. Does she like healthy foods and accept any food placed in front of her because I maintained a healthy diet while breastfeeding? I can’t say for sure, I guess we’ll find out with the next! I’m guessing that with the growing amount of evidence around this, it probably did play a role. image This doesn’t mean that it’s completely hopeless for your formula fed baby to accept a variety of healthy foods. It also doesn’t mean that if a mother who exclusively breastfeeds her baby and eats only potato chips and Chickfila during that time is going to have a kid that only prefers those foods. When kids start eating solid foods it’s our job as parents to guide them. This happens in a couple of ways. First, we need to be an example of what eating a healthy diet looks like. Kids who see their parents eat fast food for every meal aren’t going to miraculously prefer quinoa and Brussels sprouts over French fries. Kids learn by watching what their parents eat. It’s important to include kids at mealtime (eating together as a family) and provide a balanced meal to help our kids see what foods are included in a healthy diet. I encourage parents to have lots of color in the meal- brightly colored fruits and vegetables make the meal “pop” and can make it more fun for kids to eat. And bonus- the more color your kids are getting through fruits and vegetables, the more nutrition they are getting. Get them involved in the meal too. Help them pick the fruit (in my house fruit is dessert- it’s sweet!)- “Strawberries or pineapple tonight?” When kids get a choice in what they get to eat they are more likely to accept that food and eat it. After cutting up vegetables for a salad ask your child to place the chopped veggies in the salad and mix it. Ask their opinion on what color vegetable they would like to eat for supper that evening. If it won’t take years off your life, take your child(ren) grocery shopping and ask them to help you pick out healthy snacks and ingredients for meals that week. The more kids are involved in making these healthy choices, the more likely they are to accept them. image I understand that your child may be so picky that none of these tactics work. Be patient- it can take a child up to 10-15 exposures of a food for acceptance to occur. Each time you introduce a new food just ask them to take one bite. After that one bite is up, don’t fight it. Food battles can make the picky eating even worse. I advise to try putting unaccepted vegetables into some of their favorite dishes. Putting broccoli (chopped up very small is usually better accepted) into macaroni and cheese, adding finely shredded zucchini to spaghetti and putting red peppers on pizza are some ideas. Some kids may prefer raw veggies with a yogurt-based dip or hummus over steamed or roasted vegetables. Some kids may prefer the opposite- when roasting veggies in the oven with a little bit of Olive oil and spices they lose their sulfur taste and tend to become a bit sweeter. For kids that will absolutely not touch veggies no matter what you do- keep trying with the one bite rule. It took me probably 684 bites to finally accept broccoli- now it’s my favorite food! In addition to that I would use the good old hiding trick -aka squeezies- or pouches- or whatever you want to call them. Most kids who hate vegetables love these because they are essentially pureed vegetables with fruit. The sweetness of the fruit overpowers the bitterness of the vegetables. I’m not saying to go out and buy the pouches, you can just as easily make this at home in the form of a smoothie. Blend yogurt or milk (or both) with frozen fruit and vegetables. Vegetables that work best for this are spinach, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, cucumber, sweet potato and broccoli. I recommend to add more fruit than veggies, otherwise it will probably be rejected. Keep in mind that toddlers need about 1 cup of vegetables per day and school-aged kids need about 1.5-2.5 cups per day. Lastly, don’t get stressed out if your child loves and prefers calorie-laden foods. This is normal and we are born with a natural desire for these foods. Preparing your child to make healthy choices most of the time as an adult should be a goal, and demonstrating balance with foods high in sugar and empty calories will help your child learn how to have a healthy relationship with food. image

My thoughts on dieting

Spring is here and everyone is wanting to fit into their bikinis by summer. After the holidays and a winter of hibernation, it’s easy to put on a few pounds. Then the snow melts, the flowers start to bloom and the panic sets in. “I need to lose 15 pounds by summer!” The quickest solution is often looked for- the latest diet fads are sought out and the fasting begins. Juicing, low carb, high protein, the latest Dr. Oz recommendation…but do they actually work? Of course they work! Anything that results in a dramatic decrease in caloric intake will result in weight loss. Will the weight stay off? Probably not. Can you maintain this diet for the rest of your life? I’m guessing no. The diet ends and you are hungry. REALLY hungry. So you eat all your favorite foods that you gave up for the past couple months. And the weight comes back, typically bringing more weight on along with it. After that the guilt and frustration set in the emotional eating starts which results in the number on the scale creeping up more and more. Finally you decide you’ve had enough and try another diet. The cycle continues.

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Extreme dieting almost never works long term. I’ve seen success in those who track calories and exercise, but that can lead to obsession with counting calories which can sometimes result in losing the ability to eat intuitively. Understanding the difference between high calorie food- especially those high in empty calories (soda, sweets, etc) and nutrient dense foods (“real food” high in nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals) is important to making healthy choices. As a registered dietitian, I teach people what this means and how to differentiate between the two. Once this concept is understood it’s important to find balance in your diet and high quality nutrient dense foods should make up 80% or more of what you eat. However, to be successful in stopping the diet cycle you need to dissociate yourself from any guilt you may feel when eating foods that aren’t in this category.

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I recommend to focus first on shifting the focus away from losing weight to taking care of yourself. The scale doesn’t define your self worth and much of the time this is what lead to the guilt associated with eating. I suggest to focus on the following to get your body and mind in a healthy state. Practicing these will result in life-long health and satisfaction, while dieting will only lead to short-term results.

  1. Get hydrated. Not with soda (even diet soda), juice or coffee but with water. Our bodies often mistake hunger for thirst.
  2. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with balanced portions of high quality carbohydrate, protein and fat at each meal.
  3. Listen to your body and don’t eat if you’re not hungry. However, make sure you don’t skip meals (even if you’re not particularly hungry at one meal- just eat light at that meal). Skipping meals will set you up for overeating later, and most likely the foods you are going to seek are nutrient-lacking foods
  4. Make time for exercise. This should be a priority. Exercise not only keeps our bodies functioning well but can also help to diminish food cravings. Movement releases brain reward chemicals (endorphins) that improve mood and help you sleep better.
  5. Go to bed! Being overtired leads to overeating and we are most likely to reach for sugary junk food to increase energy levels quickly
  6. Don’t aim for perfection. More than likely you will never eat perfectly. If you have an off-day or week (holidays, vacations are common culprits) learn from it and move on. The strive to eat perfectly will either lead to an eating disorder or frustration that fuels mindless eating.

On a side note, I was very happy with the results of the marathon I ran a few weeks ago. My finish time was 3:16:50 which was over a 3 minute PR for me! I finished 4th overall female and 1st in my age division. Next up is the Indianapolis mini marathon in May (this will by my 5th time running) and the Columbus Mill Race marathon in September. I have a lot of family in Columbus so I am really looking forward to that one!

 

 

 

Marathon Training- the importance of proper fueling, long runs and recovery. Part 2

Proper training is the key to running a successful marathon, and nutrition is included in that. The type of food consumed, the amount and timing all need to be considered. I’ve seen nutrition go both ways in those who are marathon training. Some may think that just because they are training for a marathon they can eat whatever they want. Yes, your body will need more calories to sustain your training but if you eat more calories than you are burning then you will gain weight. A lot of people tend to overestimate the calories they are burning and underestimate the calories they are consuming. The other end of the spectrum are those who want to be as lean as possible for their marathon and don’t consume enough calories while training. This can make you more susceptible to injuries, illness and less likely to train to your full potential because your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs to recover. I have been on both ends of the spectrum and finally found balance.

 

Nutrient Timing- how much, how often, and when?

To train to your full potential, your muscles need to be fueled with enough carbohydrate to provide energy for your entire run, with adequate nutrition provided after each workout for optimum recovery. Carbohydrate is stored in the form of glycogen and is used by the muscles during exercise. Your body has limited carbohydrate stores and when these stores get too low during exercise, you “hit the wall.” Anyone who has ever experienced this knows this feeling mostly consists of overwhelming fatigue and an urge to quit. I always get that feeling around mile 18-20 of my marathon and this is usually when I consume some sort of carbohydrate- usually a gel pack or chews.

Here is a 7- step plan for nutrient timing developed by Nancy Clark MS, RD, CSSD, one of my favorite sports dietitians who has had the great opportunity to counsel Olympic athletes and is a marathon runner herself:

1) Carbohydrate load daily to assure your muscles are always saturated with glycogen. By carbohydrate loading, I mean taking in 3-5gm carbs per lb body weight to prevent chronic glycogen depletion that can happen with low carbohydrate intake and intense training.

2) Taper your training- do your final hard training 3 weeks before the event and begin to taper at least 2 weeks out. This gives your muscles enough time to completely refuel with carbohydrate. This can be hard for most athletes- I’ll speak for myself on that one, I’m as hard headed as it gets when it comes to my training- but research proves that athletes perform better when they tapered for a least 2 weeks. Maintain your standard carb intake (3-5gm/lb), your body will use the excess calories to double your glycogen stores.

3) Eat enough protein- your body does use a small amount of protein for fuel and your muscles need the amino acids provided by protein to rebuild and repair muscle fibers. 0.6-07gm/lb body weight is sufficient. Most people get more than enough protein in their diet, and this generally is not an issue.

4). Choose fiber rich foods to promote regularity and keep everything in your GI tract running smoothly. If you carb load on white breads, fruit loops and jelly beans you will more than likely become constipated.

5). Plan your meals carefully. You know your own body- it may take some trial and error to figure out how to best fuel your body before a marathon. For example, if you have a jittery stomach you may need to eat a big lunch the day before a morning marathon and a smaller supper. You can carb load up to 2 days before the event to reap the benefits, this can allow you to eat a little less the day right before if you are worried about a nervous stomach.

6). Drink extra fluids- drink plenty of water and/or juice the day before the event and abstain from alcoholic beverages; they are poor sources of carbohydrate and can also be dehydrating- I learned this the hard way. Drink 2-3 glasses of water up to 2 hours before the event but refrain from drinking too much. Over-hydrating can be just as dangerous as under hydrating.

7) Eat breakfast on event day- carb loading is just part of your fueling plan, eating a good breakfast will prevent hunger during the event and help keep your blood sugar stable.

Eating before your runs

Eating before a workout is important for any exerciser. Just like you put gas in a car before taking it for a drive, you need to fuel your muscles before engaging in a workout.

Not eating before you run does you more harm than good. Some people have told me they don’t eat before they run so they can burn fat. It is true that your body will rely on fat as a secondary source of fuel if there is an inadequate amount of carbohydrate available. However, just because you burn through fat as an energy sources doesn’t mean that you will actually lose body fat- to do this you must create a calorie deficit. By eating a pre-exercise snack, you are giving your muscles the fuel to go longer and harder, which can create a higher energy deficit than you would have if you didn’t eat anything at all.

Pre-exercise fueling guidelines for running a marathon or fueling a training runs:

  1. Having a snack within an hour of exercise can help maintain normal blood glucose levels but does not allow enough time to replenish glycogen stores. Eating the recommended (3-5gm/lb body weight) amount of carbs every day will allow for you to perform at your best. Carbs are NOT the enemy!!

 

  1. Be sure to eat 60 minutes before the marathon or a long run with both carbohydrate and protein (such as a bagel with peanut butter or oatmeal made with milk). This will allow for sustained energy throughout the marathon as the protein will slow down the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrate.

 

  1. Before a short training run (lasting less than 60 minutes), consume carbohydrate 30-45 minutes before you run that will digest easily. Examples include a granola bar or crackers.

 

  1. Be cautious with foods high in simple sugar such as jelly beans and honey, syrups, and jelly. These foods have been known to cause rebound hypoglycemia in athletes (a spike in blood sugar followed by a sudden drop) which can lead to dizziness and early fatigue.

 

  1. Allow adequate time for digestion. If you are participating in a high-intensity workout, allow for additional digestion. Your muscles will require a stronger demand for blood flow which will have priority over the digestion that may be taking place in your stomach. Failure to do so will result in GI issues during your race or training run- never a fun experience!

 

Fueling During Training Runs and the Marathon

When running for longer than 60 minutes, you can greatly improve your stamina by consuming 100-250 calories of carbohydrate per hour during your workout. The best would be to mix up the source of carbohydrate during prolonged exercise to get in a variety (sports drink and a banana, sports gels plus a fruit). Different sugars use different transporters in absorption, so you can absorb more carbohydrate and provide your muscles with more fuel by having a couple different types of snacks on hand.

 

Recovery Foods and Fluids

Your #1 priority after ending a hard workout should be replenishing your body with fluids and electrolytes so that your body can return to normal water balance. By weighing yourself before and after exercise you will know how much water weight you lost- 1lb lost= 16oz of fluid. When exercising in extreme heat or for long bouts (60 minutes or greater), be sure to replenish electrolytes lost in sweat by opting for a sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade.

Your second priority should be to replenish the glycogen stores (energy stores) in your muscles. Aim for 0.5 grams of carbohydrate per lb of body weight taken at 30 minute intervals until your next meal.

 

My diet varies quite a bit, but this is typical when I’m training for marathons:

Breakfast (6:45 AM): oatmeal with granola and PB2 mixed in, 1 banana  or 1 egg scrambled with egg whites (probably about ½ cup) with fruit and Greek yogurt

After run: If I’m training in the summer I like to do a big smoothie with almond milk, frozen fruit, ground chia and a little bit of protein powder. This winter I’ve been grabbing a banana or orange and spreading some peanut butter on a couple crackers.

Lunch: salad with hummus for the dressing, chickpeas, avocado, handful of nuts, salmon or veggie patty on top.

Snack: I crave salty foods when I’m running a lot. I’m a grazer in the afternoon and try to eat whenever I get a chance- veggie sticks, pretzels, chips and salsa are typical choices. I make homemade sweet potato fries and carrot fries (recipe here) for Carli to snack on and reach for these as well.

Dinner: This meal varies the most but I always try to include in our family dinners a protein, grain or sweet potato, and lots of veggies. Our favorites are fish tacos, fajitas, chicken parmesan, chicken sausage with peppers, homemade veggie pizza. I always include lots of veggies and nutrient dense carbohydrate and aim to make the meal 25% protein. I add healthy fats in the form of oils, fatty fish and avocado.

Snack: typical choices would be a bowl of cereal, ice-cream, popcorn.

 

What our diets are lacking


The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines were released earlier this year and although I do think that Americans are becoming more conscious of improving their eating habits, we have a long way to go. Not surprisingly, the report concluded that Americans are:

  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
  • Consuming too many calories
  • Exceeding recommended intakes of salt, saturated fat and added sugars
  • Not consuming enough healthy fats and calcium rich foods

The consequences of under-consuming nutrient-dense foods and over-consuming foods high in empty calories usually lead to a variety of health conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension…just to name a few. What can we be doing differently and how can we make these adjustments in a fast-food world?

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I’ll start with fruits and vegetables. We all know they are good for us, but we don’t eat them often enough (shocking, I know). Why? I could write an entire post on the excuses people give me for not eating fruits and vegetables. They don’t taste good. They’re too expensive. I don’t have time to prepare them. Fruit is too high in sugar. I’m not a rabbit. The list goes on…however it is resulting in very poor intakes across Americans. Over 80% of the population isn’t getting the recommended amount of vegetables in their diet (2-4 cups per day for most adults, depending on caloric need). Vegetables play a huge role in overall health, including reduced risk of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and may even be protective against certain types of cancer. This is largely due to the phytochemicals vegetables contain, which are health promoting nutrients (in a nutshell). These beneficial nutrients are also found in fruits- another food group that is under-consumed by Americans. The only population that is currently meeting the recommended amount of fruits daily is young children- and sadly this is largely in the form of fruit juices. Although 100% fruit juice is considered a fruit, I don’t recommend it. Most juices are high in added sugars, not as filling as an actual piece of fruit, and lack the fiber and phytochemicals that whole fruit has. Yes, fruit has naturally-occurring sugars but eating fruit does not make you fat, nor is it unhealthy. The nutrients that are occurring in fruit are highly beneficial and if consumed in the recommended amount (1.5-2.5 cups per day based on caloric needs) can be helpful for weight loss (if they are replacing foods high in added sugars and calories).

How can we make shifts to include more fruits and veggies in our diet? Including more veggies in combination dishes is a good start. I like to cut out half the required amount of protein and starch in a recipe and replace with more vegetables. Start serving side salads with dinner. Designate a day of the week (I usually do this the day I grocery shop) to cut up your veggies and place in containers in front of the fridge so they can be easily seen to grab as a snack. If you don’t like eating raw veggies plain try dipping in yogurt-based dressings or hummus. I personally love the frozen steamable vegetables, they are perfect for a busy weeknight! Fruits can be easily increased in the diet by having it replace dessert (try adding a little whipped cream or yogurt dipping sauce if the kids complain- strawberries with a light dark chocolate drizzle is a good option to try as well), blending in smoothie, or having for a snack.

I just can't get enough of Whole Foods salad bar!

I just can’t get enough of Whole Foods salad bar!

The second concern I mentioned is that Americans are consuming too many calories. Obviously this is an issue, otherwise we wouldn’t have the problem with obesity that we do now. My biggest concern is that this is becoming a problem in children as well…nearly 1/3 of children in the United States are either overweight or obese. I don’t like to classify children by their BMI percentile, and just because your child is in the overweight or obese percentile doesn’t necessarily mean they will be obese as an adult. If your child is overconsuming calories, especially in the form of added sugars and empty calorie foods, then it is very probable these habits will continue on into adulthood and weight (along with various other comorbidities) will be a concern. We need to make a shift to consume more foods that are naturally low in calories (such as fruits and vegetables) and less foods that calorically dense and not nutrient dense (candy, soda, french fries).

The foods we are eating most of are high in what we need less of…sugar, saturated fat and sodium. This is a result of eating too much processed foods, sweetened beverages and fast food. Most are getting their protein needs in the form of ground beef, chicken, pork and processed meats. Intakes of seafood and legumes are below recommended intakes. Animal proteins all have saturated fat, some more than others depending on the type (dark meats and red meat are highest). Getting more protein in the form of vegetable proteins (such as nuts, beans, soy) and fish will decrease saturated fat intake and increase fiber and healthy fat intake. Sodium is found in everything, but is in especially high amounts in processed food and fast food. Stick to those outer aisles when grocery shopping folks, it will save you thousands of milligrams of sodium per week (your heart will thank you too!).

Although we are eating too much saturated fat, we aren’t eating enough healthy fats. Oils shouldn’t be added to the diet but should REPLACE solid (saturated) fats. For example, cooking with canola oil instead of butter. Oils are found in commonly extracted from plants (olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, etc) but are also found naturally in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives and avocado. The fats in these are essential fatty acids and are beneficial to health. Too many people think these fats should be added to what they are already eating (for example eating an entire avocado for a snack, eating a cup full of nuts before bed) but this will only add an exorbitant amount of calories to your total daily intake- most likely resulting in weight gain. Instead, replace fried chicken with grilled salmon, ranch salad dressing with an oil based salad dressing, avocado for cheese when eating Mexican, or a couple tablespoons of nuts for a handful of chips.

And finally…dairy. There are a lot of mixed opinions on dairy, even from dietitians. Although some may not want to include dairy in their diet, whether it’s because they are lactose intolerant or think it’s unhealthy, we do need to consume more calcium-rich foods. Dairy foods do provide a lot of key nutrients that Americans are lacking (Vit A, Vit D, calcium, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin B12) but the recommended intakes of these nutrients can be met if you are consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables (especially if you are getting multiple colors of fruits and veggies each week), fish, meat, and whole grains. Calcium can be found in quantities similar to cow’s milk in soy, almond, coconut or rice milk, and can also be found in yogurt, cheese and in non-dairy foods such as collard greens, broccoli, kale and soybeans. Calcium intake is especially important for bone health and if milk or a milk-equivalent is consumed in the recommended amount (2-3 cups per day), it can prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Because osteoporosis is more prevalent in women, teenage girls need to be getting the recommended intakes to build and preserve bone health

Yes, there is dairy in your Starbucks latte or frap, but that comes with loads of sugar as well. Enjoy on occasion for a treat and try to get your calcium from healthier sources the rest of the time.

Yes, there is dairy in your Starbucks latte or frap, but that comes with loads of sugar as well. Enjoy on occasion for a treat and try to get your calcium from healthier sources the rest of the time.

Once we start filling our bodies with products of nature and not science, our nation will become much healthier. Unfortunately with all the added salt, sugar and fat that the food industry is putting into their products, real foods no longer stand a chance on the taste scale. Start with simple steps, such as adding more vegetables to your recipes or replacing dessert 3 times per week with a piece of fruit. Making a long term change is hard but can be done if you’re willing to set the short-term goals to get there.