Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quick [lunch & money saving] Tip!

Smart Snacker meets Football Stadium--

Remember this gal from my Navigation series? She's Back!

Over the weekend I went to a NFL game. As a certified Smart Snacker I am always looking for great ways to eat healthy but still live my life and have fun! I know some of the reasons we go to stadiums are for the food but this time I wanted to save some loot; I had recently gone grocery shopping and wasn't feeling the stadium grub. So, I decided to throw together some sandwiches for the football junkies!

Barney Butter and Crofters Jam Sandwiches on Great Harvet Honey Whole Wheat
And for those not too fond of the AB&J...Turkey and Cheese on rolls
By bringing sandwiches, we saved on money, knew exactly what was in our food (regarding preservatives, blaah) and it was healthier than the stadium eats.

Of course, my crowd still wanted to get some sort of snack (peanuts/ cracker jacks, etc) but thankfully they were the more wallet-friendly picks and everyone didn't need their own because believe it or not, the sandwiches made a dent!

I managed to have a blast and still keep my waist line in check!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yoplait Greek Nourish Your Inner Goddess Retreat

So why a yogurt parfait? besides the fact that their simply delicious? I was inspired!

On August 31st, Yoplait Greek yogurt, and actress/ TV host Maria Menounos hosted an exclusive Retreat at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. It was a day of relaxation; manicures, pedicures and tons of Greek yogurt- in more ways than one! A great way to make you look good and feel well.

Together, Menounos, Hollywood's very own 'Greek Goddess,' and Yoplait Greek celebrated today’s modern goddess [and Smart Snacker ;) ] , through the exclusive Yoplait Greek Nourish Your Inner Goddess Retreat.

Hollywood's dubbed 'Greek Goddess,' shares her red-carpet ready tips; “When I’m on the go I always find ways to stay active, but also take time to relax and choose nutritious foods like Yoplait Greek yogurt. With a delicious taste and two times the protein of the leading yogurt, Yoplait Greek really helps me get through my day.” My kinda gal- [she sounds like quite the Smart Snacker herself!]

Yoplait offered quite the royal feast to the retreat goddessess; check out the spread and the ladies in complete relaxation action...

Picture Courtesy: coneinc
Who wouldn't feel like a 'Greek Goddess' eating from this amazing spread? To me, this is the ideal breakfast- it's light but filling (that's key for us Smart Snacker's), kick starts your metabolism, has tons of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and fiber as well as, it tastes delicious! That's most important right?

So how can you incorporate more Yoplait Greek Yogurt in your life to feel like the ultimate 'Greek Goddess' like these ladies? Yoplait has shared some of their newest recipes-
check 'em out...

Dark Chocolate Mousse
Prep Time: 15 min
Start to Finish: 15 min
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Greek Fat Free honey vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cups frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

1. In small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup milk and chocolate chips. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended.

2. In medium bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups milk and pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is well blended and thickened; stir in yogurt.

3 Blend melted chocolate into pudding mixture; fold in whipped topping. Spoon into individual dessert dishes. Top each serving with additional whipped topping and raspberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. Store covered in refrigerator.
Picture Courtesy: coneinc
Greek Turkey Burgers With Tzatziki Sauce

Prep Time: 20 min
Start to Finish: 20 min
Tzatziki Sauce:
1 container (6 oz) Yoplait© Greek Fat Free plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed or1 teaspoon dried dill
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 oz)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 whole wheat burger buns, split
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1. In small bowl, mix 1/2 cup yogurt and remaining sauce ingredients; refrigerate until serving.

2. Heat gas or charcoal grill. In medium bowl, mix all burger ingredients and remaining yogurt. Shape mixture into 4 patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

3. Place patties on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 8 to 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes, until thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160°F. Place burgers in buns with tomato slices and sauce.
How-To Broil patties with tops about 6 inches from heat 4 minutes; turn patties. Cook 6 to 8 minutes longer or until meat thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160°F.
Substitution Finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese can be substituted for the feta cheese.
Picture Courtesy: coneinc

For more on Yoplait and their recipes visit

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Assembly Required

 So I give you [as promised] my Yoplait Greek Honey Vanilla breakfast parfait. With a little love and assembly required, I have managed to put together a rather tasty, satisfying, rib-sticking breakfast. Preparing it in the wine glass adds a little flare- it makes it feel like a true treat... who knew yogurt parfaits could be so classy?

In the glass?
- 1/3 cup of local granola (any locals? I got this at Fresh Market; I went with the "Chunky Monkey"'s okay, I like my Bear Naked Fit a little better)!
- Chopped strawberries
- Drizzle of agave

The Skinny: ~ 313 calories, 1 gm fat, 12 gm protein, 30% calcium, 20% vitamin D
This will vary depending on the type of granola you use and variations of serving sizes

So why the greek yogurt parfait? It makes me feel like a 'Greek Goddess!' Check back tomorrow for some additional 'Greek Goddess' recipes and hightlights from one of Yoplaits latest events!

Monday, September 27, 2010

2X Protein

I feel like it has been a while since I have dunked my spoon into a container of greek yogurt- next time remind me not to go so long! Man, have I missed this stuff! Not only was it like the greatest reunion between [wo]man and food but it was on sale at the local grocer!  Yoplait Greek is available nationwide for a suggested retail of about $1.19 per 6 oz cup which is comparable to other greek yogurt.

I tend to always meander back to yoplait; it's thick, creamy texture is loaded with nutrients at a cheap caloric cost! It is one of the only greek yogurts' that has both calcium and vitamin D in one cup! Calcium and vitamin D work best together in the body; with the help of eachother they are absorbed more readily and can be used more efficiently in your body!

With twice the protein and 0% fat it makes a filling snack, great yogurt parfait for breakfast, smoothie for a quick lunch, mixed into baked goods or dip! For some of Yoplait's greatest greek recipes click here!!! (You may even get a coupon to try your favorite flavor today)!

Check back tomorrow 'greek goddesses'...
I am making a Yoplait Greek Honey Vanilla breakfast parfait to start off my day and blogging about 'Yoplait's recent Greek Goddess event'!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reaching all Runners, Lesson 2: Goals

Goals are imperative in training- whether you are exercising for weight loss, sports or running. A goal will serve as accountability, a sense of encouragement and a measure of performance. Goals must be S.M.A.R.T, as I have mentioned before; they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Here are some things to think about when making your goals:

What are the athlete’s goals prior to exercise?
- if hydration only, water intake is sufficient
- if carbohydrate is needed, choose between a sports beverage (with 6% carbohydrates), carbohydrate gel and water, or food/water combo (listed here)

What are the athlete’s goals during exercise?
- If only fluid is needed, water may be sufficient
- If carbohydrate is also needed, choose between a sports beverage (with 6% carbohydrates), carbohydrate gel and water, or food/water combo (listed here)
-If sodium is also needed, choose a sodium-containing sports drink or sodium- containing food and water

What are the athlete’s goals after exercise?
- Replenish water, carbohydrate and sodium as needed with a combination of foods and beverages

Have you established your S.M.A.R.T goal?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reaching all Runners, Lesson 1: Hydration

Hi guys, hope you are enjoying your Sunday!  I sure am, this is the first Sunday of the summer that I haven't studied or done something for that RD exam! Ah, feels good :)

I have had a lot of requests lately on nutrition for running, particularly while training for races (5K, 10K, half- or full-marathons, etc) today I am going to be reaching all runners.

Recently, I have been coaching a couple of runners on nutrition while training for their half-and full-marathons. Some people may not realize it, but nutrition is a large part of the equation when it comes to performance, especially in run races. I have been able to work with these runners and some of them have already experienced a vast improvement in race times; this is most likely due to their training, what they eat to fuel themselves and of course, hydration (hence, Lesson 1: Hydration)! 

I always stress hydration before, during and after workouts. A lot of runners and exercise fanatics forget about hydrating and don't realize it can have a significant effect on your run. Often times, water is just not enough...carohydrates and sodium (electrolytes) are needed as well. When you are training for months carbohydrates are important to maintain high levels of muscle glycogen (energy). Adequate hydration and sodium will also help you to avoid muscle cramping!

Here are some tips on great water and carbohydrate combos to rehydrate with
(these are comparable to your sport drinks like gatorade):

  • 1 pct of GU plus 8 oz water: providing 8 oz water 100 kcal, 25 gm carb, 40 mg sodium, 35 mg potassium
  • 1 large orange: providing 5 oz water, 86 kcal, 22 gm carb, 0 mg sodium, 333 mg potassium
  • 7- to 8-in banana plus 8 oz of water: providing 8 oz water, 105 kcal, 27 gm carb, 5 mg sodium, 422 mg potassium
  • Sports drinks are a good choice too if you'd rather have that, look for one with 6% carbohydrates on the label
*More than two hours of continuous exercise typically marks the transition when the use of fluids that contain sodium and carbohydrate (G2) becomes appropriate (start to experiment during training to see what works best for you)
So, how much water is enough? the daily recommendation for fluids is 8-8 ounce glasses of caffiene free liquids, this would of course, increase if your are exercising frequently
General rule of thumb: for every pound [of sweat] lost during your workouts you must have an additional 2 cups of water. Factors that may increase your fluid intake: hot climate, humidity or altitude this may need adjustments.

Other hydration thoughts:
  • Each morning, athletes should evaluate 3 signs of inadequate hydration: 1. are you thirsty? 2. is your urine a dark yellow? And 3. Is your body weight noticeably lower than the previous morning - if you experience one of these you know you did not hydrate adequately post-workout
  • Pre-exercise fluid consumption should begin at least 4 hours prior to training or performance
  • This will take a lot of experimenting, so don't stress about following the numbers exactly...everyone is different, that's the beauty of nutrition and our bodies :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Smart Snacker, RD

That's right guys!! You are now reading the work of a Registered Dietitian!

So long books...

I never want to look at those binders again!!
I am sooo happy and kind of shocked that this chapter in my life is complete!
Now...thinking like the RD I am...on to the next endeavour

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oatmeal Banana Chip Cookies

Oh yes, I said it! Oatmeal Banana Chip Cookies...your probably thinking, all those awesome ingredients in the SAME cookie?! Oh yes! SO Sinful, right?
Think again! think your Smart Snacker would set you up for a diet sabotage? No way! I am on your side and that's why you have got to get in your kitchen and bake these tasty, healthlier treats that will satisfy your taste bud without undoing all your hard, healthy work!

Recipe adapted from
Makes approximately 25 cookies
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp canola oil
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350*F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well until batter is blended evenly.
  • Use a tablespoon to portion cookies on a greased baking sheet, approximately 1-2 inches apart.
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove cookies from baking sheet and allow to cool on wire rack.
  • Eat and enjoy!
The skinny: 78 calories a-pop, 2 gm fat, 2 gm fiber, 1 gm protein
 (Nutrition provided by my at home food processor)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Got a migraine?

Got a migraine? There may be more to it than a bad day and not enough caffeine! Research shows that many foods containing suflites and nitrites (commonly found in foods naturally and as additives) as well as, many other foods, that may be contributing to our unbearable migraines. Check your diet for these migraine causing culprits:

Aged cheese and other tyramine-containing foods: Tyramine is a substance found naturally in some foods. It is formed from the breakdown of protein as foods age. Generally, the longer a high-protein food ages, the greater the tyramine content. The amount of tyramine in cheeses differs. Some cheeses high in tyramine: Blue cheeses, Brie, Cheddar, Feta, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss, Processed cheese

Alcohol: Blood flow to your brain increases when you drink alcohol. Some scientists blame the headache on impurities in alcohol or by-products produced as your body metabolizes alcohol. Red wine, beer, whiskey, and champagne are the most commonly identified headache triggers.

Food additives: Preservatives (or additives) contained in certain foods can trigger headaches. The additives, such as nitrates, dilate blood vessels, causing headaches in some people.

Cold foods: Cold foods can cause headaches in some people. It's more likely to occur if you are over-heated from exercise or hot temperatures. More than 90% of migraine sufferers report sensitivity to ice cream and cold substances.

Other foods high in tyramine are: aged, canned, cured or processed meats, certain beans (fava, broad, garbanzo, lima, pinto), onions, olives, pickles, avocados, raisins, canned soups, and nuts.

What Are the Symptoms of Food Additive-Induced Headaches?
Most headache symptoms begin within 20-25 minutes after consuming these products. They include
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Tightening and pressure in the face
  • Burning sensation in the chest, neck, or shoulders
  • Facial flushing
  • Dizziness
  • Headache pain across the front or sides of the head
  • Abdominal discomfort

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Facts on Fish

Get the quick facts on fish here! Feel good about the healthy fish your eating but worried about the mercury levels? Well, stop wondering about mercury levels and check this out! Your one-stop shop on all the recommended servings and mercury levels of your favorite sea creatures.
AVOID Eating

Orange roughy
Mackerel (king)


Eat no more than three 6-oz servings per month  (pregnant women and small children should avoid these):
Bass saltwater


Tuna (canned, white albacore) See tuna chart below
Tuna (fresh bluefin, ahi)
Sea trout
Lobster (American/Maine)

Eat no more than six 6-oz servings per month

Mahi Mahi
Crab (dungeness)
Crab (blue)
Crab (snow)
Perch (freshwater)
Tuna (canned, chunk light)
Tuna (fresh Pacific albacore)


Enjoy two 6-oz servings per week


Calamari (squid)
Caviar (farmed)
Crab (king)
Perch (ocean)
Lobster (spiny/rock)
Craw fish/crayfish
Sturgeon (farmed)
Trout (freshwater) 
Chart obtained from the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC); data obtained by the FDA and the EPA.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Battle of the Nut Butters

Call me indecisive but I think it's totally necessary to have all different types of nut butters on hand! Right now, my cupboard has the Battle of the Nut Butters goin' on!

Jif Peanut Butter- for when you want a taste of the "reaaal" thing

Peanut Butter Co.- these are fun because they come in ALL different flavors. I chose Cinnamon Raisin Swirl for the simple fact that it says "good in oats" on the jar! That's my kind of nut butter.

Barney Butter- this is a new almond butter I am trying. So far, so gooood! I had it on a piece of toast with banana yesterday. The flavor is a little more subtle than Justin's and the texture is more smooth.

Justin's- I am a huge Justin's maple almond butter fan. It really tastes all natural and that's just the best part about it!

My favorite? well, Jif is definitely not it ; )