Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hot off the Press

An important part of practicing dietetics is keeping up-to-snuff with current trends.
The newest to hit the American Dietetic Association's press release room on Tuesday, October 26th...

Polyunsaturated fats (Omega-3s), like fish oil, may reduce the risk of gum disease due to it's anti-inflammatory qualities! What does this mean for you? A 5-year long study following 9,000 adults and their dental examinations proves nutrition is at it again!

The study focused on polyunsaturated fats and their disease fighting qualities. The Omega-3 [in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)] intake was recorded by participants in dietary and/or supplemental form. There was an approximately 20% reduction in gum disease prevalence in those who consumed the highest amount of dietary DHA, closely followed by with EPA. The article concluded that there was no difference in dietary intake versus supplemental and no particular serving size or amount was suggested.

I would encourage dietary form over supplemental any day. It is better absorbed by the body. How to incoporate Omega-3s into your diet? eat foods like fatty fish (salmon), nuts and/or peanut butter. The current recommendation of fatty fish intake for benefits of omega-3 and other nutrients is 2 times per week.

For more information: Article: "n-3 Fatty Acids and Periodontitis in US Adults" by Asghar Z. Naqvi, MPH, MNS; Catherine Buettner, MD, MPH; Russell S. Phillips, MD; Roger B. Davis, ScD; and Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, MA.


Lucky for me...I just finished a healthy portion of fatty salmon this evening!

Do you like salmon? Any favorite ways to cook it?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reader's Choice

Looking to read something in particular? A review on a product, a nutrition tip or have a nutrition-related question? Shoot me an email (perfectportion@gmail.com) or leave a comment and let me know what you would like to see on Smart Snacker next!

Look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Reduce your Sugar Intake [and I don't mean just add Splenda]!

Reducing your daily intake of sugar can significantly reduce your overall daily intake of calories as well as, perk you up throughout the day. Now when I say reduce your sugar intake, I don't mean just add splenda [or your favorite artificial sweetener]. Although aspartame and it's counter-parts are deemed safe for human consumption some people would rather not use them or consuming them results in a negative side effect (ie. headaches). 

Let's try and learn to like things that are less sweet. If you think about it, the foods that most American's crave are donuts, cookies, cakes and all the other similar baked/ packaged foods. Why don't we crave fruits and vegetables? hhmm. Definite food for thought.
So how can you begin to reduce your sugar? Check out some of the Smart Snacker tips below:
Use Spices and Herbs
- Cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom to enhance flavors

Add Fresh Fruit
- Mix fresh fruit into unflavored oatmeal and yogurt, make your own toppings for pancakes and waffles by pureeing fresh fruit and adding a bit of water and vanilla extract

Consider honey or molasses
- These taste sweeter than table sugar and using them may help you reduce total sugar content of a recipe

Cook your fruits and vegetables
- This will sweeten them more so than if they were served raw

Eat bitter foods
- By adding bitter foods more frequently (arugula, endive, broccoli rabe, collards, kale and mustard greens) it will make your naturally sweet foods (fresh fruit) taste even sweeter

Catch some Zzz's
- Being tired and irritable causes people to crave sugary foods

Participate in frequent eatings
- Don't let more than 4 hours pass before you eat something; doing so will cause a fluctuation in your blood sugar and send you straight to the candy jar

Don't go cold turkey
- Try to limit your sugar gradually; if you cut cold turkey it could cause you to not feel well


So how much is too much? According to the most recent 2010 guidelines established by the American Heart Association, no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day for women and 37.5 grams for men

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Athletes & Exercise Guru's: Pre-Workout Nutrition

Nutrition is a key component to life but it is imperative in regards to exercise and athletic competitions or races.  As it is important to establish goals in life, you may want to think about some goals of nutrition before exercise.
  • Consume a carbohydrate-rich snack or meal before exercise. This will help prepare your muscle for competition or performance
  • Pair protein with your pre-exercise snack or meal. Protein helps build and repair muscle tissue meaning that it may even help reduce post-workout soreness
  • Steering clear of fatty and fiber filled foods will help with digestion
Pre-workout Meal ideas

(Ideal 3-4 hours prior to exercise):
  • Peanut butter and honey on toast + instant breakfast drink
  • Fruit and yogurt smoothie + handful of low fat cereal/granola
  • Oatmeal with almonds + skim milk + banana
  • Turkey and swiss sandwich + fruit + sports drink
  • Low fat tuna sandwich + fruit + fat-free yogurt
  • Low-fat cottage cheese + apple butter + crackers + fresh grapes
Pre-workout Snack ideas
(30-60 minutes before exercise):
  • Sports drink or water
  • Sports gels, beans or gummies, or sports bar (I really like the gels- particularly Clif Bloks)
  • Piece of fruit

Adapted from the American Dietetic Association, Nutrition Care Manual

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Coupon-clipper"

I have this new found love for coupons. I have never been a "Coupon-clipper" but I am inheriting the habits of one. I am still an amateur at this sport but I feel like I may go pro soon ;) It sure does take some patience, organization and willpower! I would consider myself a rather organized gal, so I thought I would catch on quickly.

Coupons are great for:
  • Keeping your shopping list to a minimum (the essentials)
  • Saving money (obviously)
  • Buying your favorite things at inexpensive prices
  • A great way to treat yourself for things that you wouldn't otherwise buy full price (see below)!
  • Paper products (paper towels, toilet paper) who EVER wants to spend full price for that kind of junk?
So, now that I am a frequent "Coupon-clipper," I went ahead and used my newest Dunkin' Donuts coupon this past weekend. I was reaaaally excited about this one because buying special coffee drinks, to me,  is kind of like liquid motivation; I don't know what it is but I associate them with making my day "better" or "more productive!" HA! I guess, it's more like a "treat," ya know?

Anyway, I needed some liquid motivation as I was on my way to work on a Sunday morning (blah)....


That day [like most days] I thought I'd go with a decaf, skinny pumpkin spice latte ("Fall in a cup").


The outcome? A mix up in my order; first they made it with whole milk (ugh), then the wrong size, then they charged me too much (didn't use the coupon) and ultimately, a disappointing experience. The most disappointing part? the coffee tasted burnt and was not drinkable.

I am totally a Starbucks groupie (See here, here, and here)! Sadly enough, I don't know if I'll make it back to DD to use the rest of the coupons...I wish Sbux had coupons ; )

Have you ever had a bad experience at your coffee shop?


Friday, October 15, 2010

Quick [Friday] Tip

Hey guys! I couldn't leave you hangin' but I won't lie- I am going to make it a quick tip because I am just so excited for my weekend to begin!

It's been a long week of work and I know I have not been getting the 8+ hours of sleep I need each night; so I thought, in light of my fatigue-ish feeling, I'd bring to you five foods that helped me combat my fatigue:
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Spinach
  • Beans
  • Nuts & Seeds
These foods have one or some of the following qualities that make it able to kick fatigue's butt! They're filled with fiber, loaded with great metabolism and energy boosting B vitamins, magnesium and potassium for muscle energy and of course, are super for satiety!

Try one today if your feeling a bit sluggish!


Enjoy the weekend Smart Snacker's!




 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nutrition in the News: Take 2

Hey guys! Great news coming your way [all the way] from NC!
So, remember back in March when I mentioned...
"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..."
What's more, my local, franchised Panera has taken the plunge- they've posted the nutrition information! Tonight was one of those night's where I just didn't feel like cooking; I had just left the gym and wanted to catch something, healthy but quick...so of course, I chose Panera (duh)!
I was more than pleased (I had a sly grin from ear-to-ear) to see this in effect in my town! I loved knowing that I was picking choices that were low in calories so I wasn't ruining all my hard work I had just completed at the gym! It definitely reminded me to make an informed dietary choice : )

Has your local Panera taken the plunge? Would seeing the caloric count of your favorite dishes sway your dinner decision?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Healthy Hostess

Hey guys! Hope your enjoying your weekend, as am I. I wanted to share this great dinner that I cooked for a friend and I. It was healthy, 90% locally grown, wallet-friendly and more importantly, waist friendly!

I used most of my Farmer's Market purchases from Thursday for this meal. I started with a simple salad:
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Romaine
Then for my other side I did a simple sauteed zucchini and squash:
  • 1 Tbsp of canola oil
  • Garlic
  • Florida Seasoned Pepper from Penzeys Spices (A salt free pepper and citrus blend)
The protein was a center cut pork chop that I marinated in:
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Mango Coconut Sauce (found in Fresh Market)
Served with my Farmer's Market Summer Mango Salsa (picture above)

Serves 3: ~$3.86 per serving
Grocery List
- Cucumber- $0.40
- Tomato- $1.00
- Romaine- $1.00

- 2 Squash/Zucchini: $1.20
- 3 Center Cut Pork Chops $2.99
- Marinades: $3.00
- Salsa: $5.00 for whole container (used 1/4)

Look at me with all my veggies : )

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Smart Snacker: 101

Looking to become a Smart Snacker? The one thing that will ensure smart snacking is planning. Planning will pretty much make or break you when it comes to food choices. Below are my snacks I have packed ahead of time to bring to work with me; this way I know I have two really great, satisfying, nutritious snacks incase I am...
1. craving something naughty, I can go ahead and "splurge" on my Luna Protein bar (Chocolate/Peanut Butter flavor always tickles my taste buds; just as sweet as a candy bar but 1/2 the sugar and 3x the protein)!,
2. hungry in a pinch and don't have time to take a real "lunch" and/or
3. I need an afternoon pick me up (this way I won't make way to the community candy jar; I know we have ALL been there)

Farmer's Market Fresh Cameo Apple (Sweet and Super Crunchy) & Luna Protein Bar

Whether it's meal or snack planning, planning your trip to the gym or planning an outing with friends, in order to be a successful Smart Snacker planning will be key! This is Smart Snacker: 101- if you plan, everything else will fall right into place : )

Do you have any planning tips? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Peppers, Squash and Apples, Oh My!

How else do you think a Smart Snacker would spend her day off? Of course, at a Farmer's Market!...it's only one of my favorite things to do :) Check out some of the seasonal offerings...and try not to drool while your at!
I ended up with some great stuff...
  • 4 tiny sweet potatoes (I think I'll make some roasted "disc's")
  • 2 Cuke's
  • 2 Field tomatoes
  • 2 of those neat looking squash (the yellow/green one's- they were described as nutty and sweet!?)
  • 3 cameo apples (I like sweet and crunchy)
  • Fresh romaine lettuce
  • The last of the Summer Mango Salsa
  • Peach Salsa
So, as a result...my lunch today was a heavenly bed of vegetables that were all North Carolina grown...
  • Fresh Romaine
  • Cuke's
  • Field Tomato
  • Chunky Summer Mango Salsa (the last week it's offered)!
*My new thing is putting salsa's on salads- it's low calorie, fat free and adds an extra serving of vegetables or fruit!

For my protein, on the side, I had a small dish of homemade chili with lean beef and kidney beans (This was not very photogenic ;) )

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Think Pink.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month- all the more reason to Think Pink.

Around this time of year it's a good idea to re-evaluate your diet and make your way towards adopting a new behavior modification...for example, I am adding more vegetables to my lunch.

Making behavior modifications like mine above, and following a healthy diet, while incorporating exercise, will promote a healthy lifestyle, optimal well being and may help protect against some cancers and other diseases.
Some quick tips?

- Maintain a healthy weight; avoiding excessive weight loss/ weight gain is ideal, the street name would be "yo-yo dieting," ugh makes me cringe!
- Try and incorporate fruits and vegetables at each meal; berries with breakfast, a salad and a banana with lunch and broccoli mixed with cauliflower with dinner
- Go for whole grains and whole wheat carbohydrates (breads, pastas, rice, etc)
- Get most of your fat from "healthy fat" (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) found in olive and canola oils, fatty fish like salmon and nuts
- Make sure your getting your share of Vitamin D and Calcium...remember that awesome yogurt? eat it!
- Limit red meats and processed meat/foods (think- pre-packaged)!
- Try and exercise at least 30 minutes everyday, even if it's taking the stairs all day at work instead of the elevator! It can all count : )



Saturday, October 2, 2010

Reminisce

Hey Guys! Can you believe it's already October, officially fall and no longer summer?! I feel like it was just May and I had just graduated from my dietetic practicuum! Talk about livin' in the past, haha! This year has been a BIG year making this summer an even more meaningful summer than ever- I finished my dietetic practicuum, scored my dream job, visited Napa Valley and Chesapeake City, rode over 1,000 miles in my spin classes and even passed my RD board exam!! WOW! This summer, not only brought on a lot of achievements but it also brought a lot of nutrition highlights and food favorites, remember these?....
What was your most memorable moment this summer?


The summer always reminds me of light, nutrient-dense (lots of nutrients for little calories and volume), bright colored foods, that fill you up but don't leave you feeling bloated (hello, bathing suit season)! 
Even though the summer has come to an end, I find that in the fall/winter months I try to keep my weight in-check and really enforce my smart snacking tips/ tricks. Nothing is worse than packing on the pounds during the winter that you spent so long working off over the summer! Let's keep working toward our goals and motivate eachother to stay successful throughout these next couple of months. Smart Snacker can help you stay motivated...Let's do it!

Enjoy your weekend!