Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Smart Snacker meets Cocktail Party

Let me help you navigate your way through your next cocktail party. Cocktail parties are always exciting because you get to dress up, eat tons of good food, socialize and drink a favorite cocktail. Well, sometimes we may feel a little uneasy prior to the affair when the thought of “eating tons of good food” sets in. As you navigate through your party with the Smart Snacker, you will realize you can have tons of fun, indulge and that number [on the scale] will still remain the same.

-Don’t arrive with a monstrous appetite. Have a small snack consisting of a complex carbohydrate, lean protein and healthy fat (ie. banana with peanut butter) prior to the event. This will take the edge off and you’ll be less likely to scarf down all the food in sight

-Don’t skip meals. This is a rookie mistake. People think they are doing themselves a favor by saving up their calories from breakfast and lunch to splurge at dinner. It definitely doesn’t work like that. Please, for the love of not skip meals.

-Walking apps. Choose wisely, pick one and be done. Try to avoid the fried items (ie. coconut shrimp)

 -Factor in the liquid. All alcohol has carbohydrate and thus has calories. Stick with the lower calorie options; light beer or diet soda/soda water with vodka (vodka tends to be the lowest [liquor] in calories).Try drinking a sparkling water in between drinks to cut back as well. Daily Alcohol recommendations for moderation: no more than 2 drinks for men and no more than 1 for women (1 drink= 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine, 1.5 oz liquor) per day.

-Don’t set up camp by the food. In other words, don't be the person gaurding the chip bowl otherwise, you will keep putting your hand in the bowl (we’ve all done it). Instead make it more about socializing and catching up with friends. Out of sight, out of mind; that visual cue won’t be there to tempt you.

-Focus on the nutritious foods. Look for the healthier options; ie. Fresh vegetables, dishes containing vegetables, if there is fresh fruit eat that as your dessert.

-Plan. You know your coming to the party so mentally prepare. You have the will power, just put it into action...I know you can do it!

-When in doubt. Offer to bring something (I did that for this years superbowl party, check out my healthy contribution) That way you know you have at least that healthy option. Bring a light dip, veggie tray or fresh fruit dessert.

Remember, it only takes an extra 250 calories/day to lead to a ½ pound gain by the end of the week. You’ve worked so hard; don’t let this one event drag you down!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One door closes... door opens? After 1222 supervised practice hours and 10 million modules and projects all for my dietetic internship I am so ready to start practicing! I cannot believe I am done already, well I cannot believe the day has come. Next step my RDE than I sit for the RD exam! yikeees!

Obviously, a congratulations is in order. I decided what a better way to spend it other than happy hour (I love happy hour)!  
I ended up at Fleming's Steakhouse. It's a bit expensive and has a formal dining atmosphere however, the bar is hoppin' during after to work hours! I chose FS because a while back Mom, Dad and I went for this great happy hour deal "5-6-7" well ever since I went I have been itching to go I did just that (OH and I had a gift card that was burning a hole in my wallet)!
I enjoyed a glass of chardonnay (not one of my favorites) and split two servings of the tenderloin carpaccio and one serving of the Seared Ahi Tuna...heavenly!
Tonight I also celebrated by going to the gym (is that nerdy?); I hit my two favorite classes rpm and bodypump for a GREAT calorie burn :)
I'll be back tomorrow with more...promise!
I am still celebrating, although now with some R&R

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Navigation Series- Smart Snacker meets Camping Grounds

Hello readers! I had an eventful weekend in the VA mountains...I went camping with some friends this weekend in Martinsville, VA for the NASCAR race. I am not much of a camper (this was my first time) however, I was told by my fellow camp buddies that I was a natural :)

I didn't really know what to expect but I thought I would "just roll with it!" Being the Smart Snacker I am I knew I could contribute to the trip with healthy snack options. Of course camping out means burgers and hot dogs and I'm all about it...but some ways that I made sure I didn't over indulge and still enjoyed the camping experience...

-Keepin' it lean (We bought 93% lean burgers; I don't eat dogs but a dog here and there isn't unhealthy...moderation!)

-Packed fruit (I brought some apples and bananas; both are easy to eat and are easily packed)

-Watched my portions (I had a little bit of everything but just like I said...a little bit)

-White Cheddar Rice Cakes (excellent alternative for chips; 1 cake is 45 calories)

-It was a beer drinking affair (I had a couple of light beers but made sure I was drinking TONS of water in between and after)

-Dense foods with high nutrition (We snacked on trail mix; while trail mix may be high in sugar and dense (highly caloric), I made sure I only ate about a handful here and there. The nuts are a healthy fat and about 1 oz a day is adequate)

-Bars (I packed some clif bars incase of "hunger emergencies!" In the Speedway venue I may have gotten hungry, instead of going for some fat laden racing snack I would have this healthier alternative)

-I didn't revolve my camping experience around the food (bonfire and smores, drinking or constant snacking) instead I focused more on hanging with my company and making it a social event!

-I took advantage of the outdoors (We went for a ton of walks and "explored" the area. Enjoyed the scenery while burnin some cals...double whammy!).

Inspired by this trip I am going to start my
Smart Snackers Navigation Series
This will be a series of blog posts that contain tips about navigating your way through different events, social gatherings and vacations. How to live your life and have fun but snack smart while doing it; to help you realize you can lose weight/ maintain your weight doing the things you love!

Stay Tuned for the next Navigation Series post- Smart Snacker meets Cocktail Party

Friday, March 26, 2010


Latest question from
My fasting glucose number was 127. Does this sound like pre-diabetes or diabetes? What should I do to control by blood sugar?

According to the American Diabetes Association, two fasting glucose readings over 126 mg/dl is considered an immediate diabetes diagnosis. A third fasting glucose should be done in order to confirm this however, it more than likely implies diabetes. It is a good idea to consult your primary care physician about testing for confirmation.

If in fact confirmed, treatment options vary among all patients. Treatment can range from weight control, drug therapy, diet and exercise to regular blood glucose checks.

While determining the proper treatment, it is important to enroll yourself in a diabetes self-management program, seek education at your local health department or hospital or find a Certified Diabetes Educator or Registered Dietitian in your area to help guide you through this process.This will help you get the proper treatment [based on your personal needs] while taking control and continuing to live your life at the same time [because it is possible].

Image Source

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My real "quick fix"

Hey guys...I am only human too and so when this girl wants something sweet I WANT SOMETHING SWEET. Well, lately I have found that my sweet tooth is out-of-control. I obviously cannot indulge everyday (I just don't have the metabolism of a 13 year old anymore) so I had to find something to do the trick...and I have just the smart snacker trick!

My new real "quick fix" for that darn sweet tooth....ATOMIC FiReBaLLs!

Why is it the real deal? I have found that the combination of hot/spicy with sweet crunchy just works for me! Plus it takes so long to eat these little buggers that it takes my mind off anything else more detrimental [to my body] ie. cakes, cookies, chocolates, etc.  
On that note, minimal research suggests that spicy, cinnamon hard candies may curb your need for the sweet stuff!

The fire ball is a tiny hot ball of sugar BUT for 3 pieces it's only 60 calories and I can usually stop after 1 and call it quits (only 20 calories in)!  

For 3 it is also one carbohydrate choice (about 17 gm of carb) and 16 gm of sugar with no fat. Mainly composed of sucrose and no hydrogenated oils...yes! Double whammy!

What's your not so dangerous [sweet] satisfying treat? 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fight Your Battle with Weight Loss

If you don't remember anything about weight loss or find all the tips out there overwhelming, I want you to remember my "4 F's for weight loss." Their kinda like my "go to" weight loss tips when you need and want to know the basic foundation to your weight loss journey. This foundation of "F's" make the stepping stones to a successful journey.

Formulate your plan...figure out what your ultimate goal is and why? Planning also means for your meals

Freshen up your meals...with the exception of your favorite all natural bars (like my favorite Larabars) try and eat whole, FRESH foods. More fruits and veggies, less prepackaged, processed junkola

Fit...get fit that is! Make sure your getting some sort of physical activity in everyday; from taking the stairs to partaking in a vigorous sweat session in the gym. With physical activity and eating right...lbs should start melting off your body!

Find time for yourself. Time is always an issue and whether it's time for yourself at the gym or just to relax and read a book, "you time" is important and helps with your successes [in weight loss]. This will help you de-stress and fight stress hormones like cortisol which may induce hunger cues. It has been proven in research that weight loss may be inhibited by stress.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

From my Kitchen to Yours!

You know I am ALL ABOUT sneaking in veggies some HOW, some WAY (ie.  like here and here)! Well, I have mastered it this time folks! Check it out...

Like I said from my kitchen to yours...share this awesome recipe with your family and friends and get them eatin' their veggies :)

Inspired by a recipe "Clean-out-the-pantry Minestrone" who wouldn't want to eat this? 

I got this fabulous cookbook back in December from my Mom and I use it every time I want to create a masterpiece in my crock pot...simply "Set it and Forget it" right!?

In the POT:
2 (16 oz.) cans of beans (your choice; from my pantry I had a can of black and a can of pinto)- rinse the bean funk off 
1 can of corn and the juices
1 can of tomato and their juices
2 cups of chopped veggies (your choice; I cleared out my everlasting-bag of carrots, celery and some frozen brocc)
3 cups of chicken or veg broth
S & P to taste

What to do--> Simply pop the cans and toss it all in; remember to only rinse the bean funk and keep all other juices! Cook low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
I cooked on high for 4 hours! This yields 6-8 servings and then some! I STILL have leftovers...

SMART SNACKER TIP: Freeze leftovers and pull them out on a day you don't feel like cooking or find yourself in a bind for time!

The POT working it's magic!

Even my not-so-loving of veggies friend LOVED this :)
I witnessed her clear her bowl!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Which milk is the "best" milk?

I have been flipping channels lately and coming across tons of variations of MILK. Not too mention, my grocer's milk cooler has grown substantially. From cow's milk to skim and now almond and hazelnut milk! It can be confusing when deciphering which is best for you and your family.

Funny I was thinking this because so was the Today Show this morning. Check out this story by the Today Show's Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, Joy Bauer....she does a great job of summing up the truth behind all the different kinds of milk and tells you clearly which could be best for what your looking for (protein versus vitamin D/Calcium rich.

Quick Facts from your Smart Snacker:
-Cow's milk will carry the most protein (8 grams per 8 fl oz) and clearly more naturally occurring calcium and vitamin D.
-Soy milk is a plant-based milk so it won't have as much calcium and vitamin D but comes close in protein ( 6 grams per 8 fl oz) and because it is plant-based it naturally has less saturated fat  
(I like to drink light soy milk)
-Nut derived (almond and hazelnut) and rice milk are considerably lower in protein (That's why I tend to shy away from it; Although I have tasted almond milk and it is quite tasty)!
-Lactaid, Soy, Nut derived and rice milk are all great alternative for lactose-intolerant consumers

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Latest question from

Q: I have pre-diabetes and am trying to lose weight. How many servings of fruit and veggies should I have each day?

A: According to the United States Department of Agriculture, using the mypyramind guildines, daily recommendations for fruits and vegetables vary according to your sex and age.
Follow the links below to see where you fall...
Vegetable Servings
Fruit Servings
Keep in mind that different fruits and vegetables equal different serving sizes. For example, a 1 small apple= 1 serving of fruit and so does a 1/2 of a large (about 6'' long) banana.

Nutrition in the News

Congress is pushing for chain restaurants to post nutritional information on menu boards in order for patrons to make informed dietary choices at point of purchase. Similar laws have already taken place in states like California and New York...soon it will be nationally mandated.

Well, one of my favorite dining-out spots is taking it upon themselves to voluntarily post nutritional information on menu boards. Start looking for it, as all corporate-owned Panera's (585 stores) will have nutrition information up by March 24th, 2010.

Look at the nutrition wave we are already making!!

Panera to Post Calories at Corporate-Owned Stores

Saturday, March 20, 2010


What a better way to ring in the first day of spring?  

Our neighborhood Rita's was giving out FREE regular size Italian ice ALL DAY to celebrate! I thought I'd par-take! I got sugar-free (light; I figured it could help) cherry  :) 

CHEERS to SpRiNg and the beautiful 70 degree weather!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nutrients come a dime a dozen

Ever gone to the grocery store and looked at all the veggies you wish you would buy but then just don't know what to do with them or know they will just rot (sad!)? Well, I have that kind of relationship with cabbage. Growing up, my Mom wouldn't cook a lot of gaseous (cruciferious) veggies (cabbage, cauliflower particularly) because they would smell so bad when cooking.

Well, when I was in the grocery store I eyed the cabbage for about 10 minutes then the sale sign swayed me...a whole head of cabbage for only $0.40! Smelly or not...I'm buyin' it! Besides, it only seem fit, in honor of St. Patty's day and all. 
Cooking method: I satueed it in a pan over medium heat with a drizzle of canola oil, garlic and onion. I cooked it until it was a little browned.

Why cabbage? Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good source of fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Cabbage is also a good source of thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and protein. It may promote GI health and has a cleansing ability!
why not, right?

Did you know that your taste buds change about every 30 days? Mom maybe you should try cabbage again ;)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Gosh I am one of those people that LOVE granola. Problem is store bought granola can be overloaded with sugar and through-the-roof in calories! Not to mention, I bet there's some devious items hiding in the ingredient labels. Coming back to the importance of cooking and going homemade; YOU KNOW WHAT'S IN YOUR FOOD

So the only way the Smart Snacker could resolve the bake some! Now I can eat my granola and feel great about it too! It is something that CAN be healthy and serve as a great source of fuel. Providing protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates (whole grains) and no cholesterol.
Now it's purely GRAIN-ola [A wholesome, easy on the heart, fiberlicious snack].

I found this great recipe in my newest real simple mag (thanks to cait...she got me the subscription for my birthday last year!). Since you obviously can't read the fine print (and it's too new to be on the website) let me recap:

"Easy Granola" (they aren't lying!!)
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Makes 6 cups

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking) 
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
1/4 cup unsalted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried fruit (I used raisins because that's all I had...wishing I had craisins)

-Heat oven to 350. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the oats, almonds, coconut and pepitas with the maple syrup, oil and salt
-Bake, tossing once, until golden and crisp. 25-30 minutes (mine took a little longer)
-Add the dried fruit and toss to combine. Let cool.

Store in air tight container for up to 3 weeks (personally, mine won't make it that long ;) )

per 1/4 cup: 141 cals,6 g fat, 19 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar
4 g protein, 2 g fiber, 22 mg calcium, 0 mg cholesterol

Nutrition Information provided by real simple

Smart Snacker Modifications: I cut down on the oats to 2 cups (that seemed like plenty), you can add flaxmeal for additional nutrients (gooooomega 3s) and sugar-free maple syrup can be used as well (diabetics). If any modification is made, keep in mind it will alter the nutrition information.

Two things I love about real simple mag: great recipes (both healthy and affortable) and they provide you with all the nutritionals (even for funky beverages)! What's not to love?

See ya!! off to RPM soon!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Product Watch

Hey guys, funny story! The other day in the elevator (I only take the elevator to the 5th floor otherwise I do stairs...I knew that's what you were thinking) this woman got in and was drinking this funny looking drink. I guessed energy drink but I thought wrong...being the Smart Snacker I am I asked for her to turn the can so I could catch a glimpse of the label...

So here it is..."Fizz Ed." It's the newest carbonated fruit juice by Apple and Eve.
If you check out the link about it will show you all the flavors it comes in and the nutritional low down.

Your Smart Snacker weighs-in: First of all [as we just learned] we want our juices to be 100% fruit juice, second the sugar content is rather high. I'd almost just rather have some sparkling water with fresh lemon squeezed in it! How about you? On the up side, I can read all the ingredients in the label and actually pronounce them ;) Before I can say much more, I would have to try one.
I think Apple and Eve is using this in their School Nutrition line; so as opposed to soda, I'd say yay but whatever happened to milk or H2O?

Side note...the other funny thing about this story; the woman who was drinking it said she got this drink out of the hospitals "healthy vending machine." I'm sorry...I'm pretty sure I have never seen one of those before. Anything that can sit in a vending machine for months probably isn't all that "healthy," HELLO PRESERVATIVES!

Sorry for the quick post...came home a little early from the hospital today because I am feeling a bit under the weather. Going to fill up on fluids and rest for the remainder of the day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


My most recent question from

Q: I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last month. I’m having difficulty understanding how many carbs and sugar I can have each day. I’m finding that nearly everything contains carbs and sugar! Can you help me with this?

A: When diagnosed with diabetes it can definitely be overwhelming. I strongly advise you to see a Registered Dietitian (RD) and/or your primary care physician for additional information however, I can steer you in the right direction for now.

One that has diabetes must remember that you need carbohydrates just as much as someone without diabetes. For diabetics, it is important that you are evenly distributing your carbohydrates throughout the day. For instance, X amount of carbohydrate grams at breakfast, lunch and dinner and then a couple between meal times for snacks. This will help keep your blood sugars level all day and avoid the "roller coaster ride" and side effects associated with it. 

The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for the macronutrient, carbohydrates (glucose), is 130 grams per day. This is based on what you body needs to function properly. Depending on your height, weight, age and activity level will change this.  For now focus on carbohydrates coming from whole grains, fresh fruit, starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, etc) and some dairy instead of carbohydrates from cookies, cakes and donuts. These "healthier" carbohydrate sources will hit your blood stream slower and leave you feeling satisfied longer [as opposed to your cookies]. Again this will help you maintain optimal glucose readings and really just make you feel better all together.

Easy on the juice

Any fruit juice junkies out there? Thankfully I am not a huge juice fan but I will have an occasional OJ here and there; I almost  always go for the raw stuff first!

For all you juice lovers...juice can really pack on the liquid calories, carry tons of added sugars and be as sweet as a pack of skittles. 

If your going to drink the juice [because you don't fancy the real fruit] then keep these tips in mind when purchasing your favorite flavors:

-Make sure it is labeled with this little phrase, "Made of 100% fruit juice"
-Labels read, "No added sugar" (fruit is already sweet enough from it's naturally occurring sugars...we don't need any extra. It will just add more calories)
-If it says "Light," sometimes light can be a red flag (Most of the time if it is "light" it has been made with something extra [because it still needs flavor] usually it will be in the form of carbohydrates. Look at your labels!). Just go for the real 100% stuff and keep your portion down.

-A 4 oz glass is the serving size for a cup of fruit juice (think shot glass)!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fun-filled Friday

Long time no blogin'!
Sorry folks, I had to take a day off yesterday. I was having a non-stop kinda Friday! I interned at the hospital all day then went straight to the gym; came home and had just enough time to get ready to head to CHAPEL HILL! I went to visit some friends and get a taste of the night life! It was such a blast! We had SO much fun that we didn't get back until 1pm today! 

We stopped at Elmo's (a local diner) on our way out. You know I had to have a taste of Chapel Hill too!  We made it in time for brunch. This diner was in a town called Carrboro; it was a neat little town with tons of character. I really liked it; my favorite part was all the people out walking around and dining outdoors. The weather is beautiful today so it looked like everyone was getting some Vitamin D and exercise in. I felt like I fit right in :) 

For brunch I enjoyed one of their lox (smoked salmon) dishes! One of my favorite breakfast items. It is loaded with Omega-3s and other sorts of healthy nutrients! A great way to start the day.

This trip to Chapel Hill inspired this blog for two reasons: one of which is obvious...I had a blast and wanted to tell my bloggies all about it and second is because of G2.

So my dear friend Katie got all of her guests a gatorade to re-hydrate this morning [after our night on the town]. Well, she got everyone a regular gatorade but got me, the smart snacker, G2.

If your not familiar with G2, it is a newer product by Gatorade that has "1/2 the calories but all the G" -Gatorade. In other words, it is a wise choice (if drinking a sports drink) because it also has less carbohydrates in the form of sugars!

Regular Gatorade (8 fl oz): 50 calories, 14 gm of Carbohydrates and sugars
G2 (8 fl oz): 20 calories, 5 gm of carbohydrates and sugars

I still think H2O is your best way to hydrate but I like to drink G2 when I am doing strenuous/ vigorous exercise and/or when I will be at the gym for over an hour. I think it is beneficial to have the additional electrolytes for times such as these however, I do not drink G2 on a regular basis. Once in a while I will enjoy one like I did this morning :) I have had the orange and red flavors so far and smart snacker says...ORANGE is better!

 (The girls said they were ready for their debut on the blog;) )

Off to enjoy this 66 degree weather! Adios!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

It was an Upset

The challenge turned out good but started terribly for me! I went to take my butternut squash out of the container and it was GROWING MOLD! Can you believe it? It's not like I had it sitting for a while, I just bought it Tuesday night!
I was SO looking forward to this meal! 

So, I had to find something to take it's place...
thank goodness for my polenta----->

So here's what I came up with...
Same ingredients sans butternut squash!

Not too shabby, right?

We've got parmesan polenta, pan seared turkey burger and sauteed spinach with sun-dried tomato and onion.
Parmesan Polenta:
Bring water to boil, add polenta, stir vigorously (it's pretty much a workout in it's self!) and add in Parmesan once cooked.
Sauteed Spinach:
Splash pan with a little canola oil (not much because the sun-dried tomatoes are packed in oil too), brown onion, add sun-dried tomato and let them soak a bit. Add spinach and let it ride from there!
Turkey Burg:
My burger was frozen so I took it straight from freezer to pan. Cooked it for about 20 minutes total, flipping it every so often. I added some Worcestershire sauce for extra bang! 

This meal is coming in under 500 calories (approximately, from my good judgment and according to portions and product nutrition fact labels)

Let's Talk Tips!

Lately, I have been struggling with the clock. I am a big stickler when it comes to people saying they have "No time!" I hate that excuse and sadly, I have found myself thinking it lately. Everyone has time; we all have the same amount of hours in the day it's just called time management.
It's a huge part of success when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle! Finding time for yourself; to plan your meals or get to the gym, de-stress or enjoy a hobby.
Some tips for finding that time [especially for physical activity]...

- Break it up! If you have 10 minutes in the morning you can walk around the block, do a short exercise video or hop on your exercise machine, do it! 10 minutes is better than nothing!

- Add it up! 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, 10 minutes at night...and you've already done 30 minutes of physical activity for the day.

- Beat the clock! Go in the AM before work/school. This will guarantee a workout! So much happens during the day that something may come up (or you may decide to hit happy hour with some work buddies) and you can't make it that evening. If that means you may have to forgo your favorite prime time show because you need to get to bed earlier, then make it happen. Hello! That's why we have DVR these days :)

-Find time! Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away in the parking lot, you get the point ;)

No matter when it is and how much it just matters that it gets done!
A little bit can go a long way.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

RD Day

Happy Registered Dietitian (RD) day! 

It has become a social norm of the US to eat out several times a week; for celebrations, in a pinch for time or out of pure laziness. As a dietetic intern (soon-to-be RD) I have been trying to teach patients that eating healthy will start at home. Eating at home [and becoming your own chef] is the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am not saying to never eat out again (that would be silly) but just don't make a habit of it. Cooking at home can be beneficial for countless reasons. Some include: you know all the ingredients, their portions/measures, it can help you lose weight/ maintain weight and you can control your serving size. Most importantly, it can be fun, a great family bonding experience, stress reliever and nonetheless, a great way to introduce kids to healthy eating habits!
In honor of RD day we are going to have a smart snacker challenge! 

The challenge will require: 

-Your kitchen
-A cookbook or recipe collection

-A creative mind

The challenge is to test a recipe! Any recipe a new one, an old one or a made up one using a hodgepodge of ingredients! Let's start making it a habit to cook at home at least 4 times a week...starting with today [by testing a recipe].

Don't think this Smart Snacker won't join, I am always up for a challenge that involves my kitchen and food!
These are the ingredients I am going to test...

In the experiment:
-Frozen Jennie O Turkey Burgers

-Butternut Squash
-1 Sweet onion
-Jar of Sun-dried tomatoes
-Baby Spinach

My creative mind is telling me this:
A bun-less burger topped with sauteed spinach, sun-dried tomato and onion with a side of roasted butternut squash!

sounds so RDish of me, doesn't it? :) 

I will let you know how the challenge works for me so you do the same!

*Feel free to share any recipes! I always love trying something new!*


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Be your own food detective

Hi! We are getting straight to business tonight...

I know I have taught you some key tools (ie. label lingo, prepackaged meal labels) in label reading to help you in choosing your healthy, smart now it's time to put them to work. Yes, be your OWN food detetctive- decode your food label and figure out what heck it is that your eating!

Take this jar of pickles for instance...

Smart Snacker vs. Pickles

I like to pick at pickles here and there (who doesn't?) because they are low cal and delicious, of course! Well, the other day I was decoding the label and yes they are in fact low cal (2 spears or slices [in my case] = 10 calories)...
Smart Snacker- 1  Pickles- 0

Come to find out [if I glance down a couple rows and HOLY COW] the sodium reads 420 mg per serving! So yeah yeah do the math; you snack on 5 of those puppies in a sitting [or throughout the day] and how about you've racked up a whopping 2100 mg of sodium!

Smart Snacker- 1 Pickles-1

That smart snacker hates to have a tie :(

I have mentioned sodium quite a bit...check out some of the guidelines set by the American Heart Association to see where you should aim for your daily sodium intakes to be based on your personal needs and conditions.

Have you played detective and decoded a frightening find too? please share :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Smart Snacker blog-worthy find!

Yes, ladies and gents this is the newest blog-worthy find by your smart snacker! I bought this mouth-smackin' favorite at Trader Joes. It is a peanut butter alternative. "Better'n Peanut Butter.
-All Natural
-No Saturated Fat
-No Trans Fat
-Gluten and Dairy Free
-No cholesterol
-No preservatives
-Basically a nutrition junkies dream!!-

and drum roll please...

The Skinny: 2 Tbsp. 100 calories, 2 g fat, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 4 g protein
85% less fat and 40% less calories than regular peanut butter

This Better'n Peanut Butter would make a great snack with a banana!

Noteworthy: this banana (large) would be equal to two of your daily fruit servings.
(Diabetics!! That means...2 carbohydrate servings = 30 grams of carbohydrates = approx. 120 calories. Who ever said you can't just eat half and save the rest for later?).

Sunday, March 7, 2010


My most recent question...

Q: I am trying to find a class for our grandson. He is 19 and has a part-time job but no insurance. He just found out last week that he is a type 1 diabetes after losing a lot of weight and his blood sugar was 523. He is on insulin but needs to go to a class to manage is diabetes without going hungry. Where do we start? Any suggestions would help us a lot.

A: In my experience, I have found the best thing to do is contact your local health department. They will have information on local classes either within your community or at their department. Most of the time they will have a registered dietitian (RD) or certified diabetes educator (CDE) on staff that would be available for one-on-one counseling to assist your grandson. The second choice would be to talk to his primary care physician. More often than not, the physician is actively involved and immersed in the community and would know the best reference for you, in regards to diabetes self-management.
Best of luck to you and your family!

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Set it and forget it"

Oh my gosh do I love the crock pot! What a great invention and HELLO...time saver! Gather, wash and cut all the veggies and goodies the night before...pop it in, in the morning and RUN! Literally, just "set it and forget it..." simply genius!

Day off from the internship = today is for me time :) I started the morning getting my slow cooker ready for dinner [this evening] (put the baby on an 8 hour timer) then headed out! I hit the gym and Trader Joe's then finished with some errands. The best part's still only noon! 

I came home to a house smelling of delicious pot roast...check it out!

Only 3.5 hours in and it's already looking delicious!

What's Cookin'?

- 3 lbs. chuck roast
- 5 cups of veg (carrot, celery, onion and potato)
- 1 McCormick slow cooker seasoning pk
- 1 cup H2O

Seriously SO easy!
This is a great way to get in your daily vegetable servings while packin' in the protein!
You can share with friends, family or freeze and save leftovers for a hectic week night! 

Nutrition run down Per serving: Calories: 306, Fat: 9 g, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Cholesterol: 111 mg, Sodium: 493 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 39 g
Nutrition Information provided by McCormick

Make your pot today too!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March into National Nutrition Month

The American Dietetic Association is celebrating National Nutrition Month this year with a theme of “Nutrition from the ground up!” Celebrating healthy lifestyles, fresh, whole foods, sound nutrition information and guidance in making informed dietary choices! This March vow to yourself and Smart Snacker that you will adopt a new healthy behavior this month! What will it be…

-Drink more water
-Drink less soda (diet included)
-Add more veggies to your diet
-Adopt whole grains
-Workout 15-30 minutes longer or harder (or both)
-Try and make it a point to cook more at home
-Watch an hour less of television each night
-Pick up a new hobby

This Smart Snacker is trying to add more veggies during the lunch meal! I get plenty for dinner but I would like to have some for lunch. I feel like I am taking in excessive amounts of fruit (which could be too much sugar) so replacing my fruit at lunch or at my afternoon snack with a veggie!

Little choices like the examples listed above can add up and make a HUGE difference! Try it today!

For additional healthy behavior ideas or reliable nutrition information visit: ADA's Website!

Don't forget to check out the latest nutrient bite available to your right of the Smart Snacker daily posts!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let's Make Your Plan

Having trouble meeting your weight loss goals, maintaining your recent weight loss or just hitting a dreaded plateau?

If you answered "yes" to atleast one of the above...we must NEED to make you a plan. A plan that fits your lifestyle and helps you manage your weight all at the same time; cause let's face it...if it's not convenient, it's not going to happen!

So the Smart Snacker's guide to your ultimate PLAN:

1. Make your weight goal or 'ideal size' commitment. Set a realistic goal (check out how to set goals), write it down and have something to work towards. This should will motivate you.

2. Select the right food plan for you. If food diaries, or counting calories, trying to add more whole grains and veggies or just cutting back on your portions works best for you…plan for it! Let it fit your lifestyle, if you don’t have time with your rigid work schedule to eat 6 small meals and keep a diary, eat 3 conservative meals with a snack. Ideally, it should be flexible and not make you feel like you are “missing out.” Keep in mind that it has been proven in countless research studies that food diaries do work!

3. Plans need structure. Do you need a support group, gym buddy to keep you motivated and measuring cups to accurately portion your foods. Structure will help you stay on track.

4. Aim for fitness. Once you have gotten your nutrition on track, aim for some physical activity to help shake the weight.

You only have one life but also only ONE body to live it in!

Before making your plan discuss with your primary care physician and/or RD to determine your “ideal” weight goal and physical activity capabilities. This is meant to be used as a guide with ideas of ways that can help you embark and become successful in your weight loss/management journey! Bon voyage!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Flaxseed: 101

I thought it would be ideal to do a post on FLAXSEED. It is such a huge part of nutrition and nutrition research with all of it's healthy goodness in the way of omega-3s :) so what's better than a smart snacker flaxseed lesson...nothing!

As you have seen in plenty of my breakfasts I am adding flax. It is important to know that when you are sprinkling flax on oatmeal, cold cereals, yogurt, blending it in smoothies or whatever else you want to throw it in/on that it is in the form of  flaxseed meal.

Often times, flaxseed is sold in it's whole seed form...the problem with this form is that it is not digested in your just flows in one way and straight out the other = no absorption of your omega-3s! This flaxseed meal is digested by the body which in turn makes those omega-3s go to work!

You can find flaxseed meal in your local grocer...I like to use Bob's Red Mill

**Don't remember what an omega-3 is?
Let me help refresh your memory!

Have I mentioned how busy the hospital has got me!? yikes!
Forgive me for the far and in between posts, I'm trying to keep up bloggies!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Label Lingo

Hey Smart Snacker's in-training...ever read food labels?
Well, I hope so (trick question because you should be)! 
So, when studying your labels ( again, you should be...wishful thinking on my part ;) ) have you noticed the left-hand side that reads "% Daily Value (%DV)?"

Curious what those %'s even mean? Well, the trusty food industry is using this system to inform you of whether or not the particular nutrients found in that product are a good source of fat, carbohydrates and/or any vitamin/ mineral present?
Trick of the trade: This is also a good way to tally your daily cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium intakes (yikes!).

So, I'm here to help breakdown what you need to know...Smart Snackin' basics :)

If your %DV reads:
20% or higher: the food is a good source of that nutrient
10-20%: the food is a moderate source for that nutrient
less than 10%: the food is a low source for that nutrient

Nifty little system now isn't it?