Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Did I mention how much I love breakfast?

When I have a client attempting to lose weight and the first thing they tell me is "I don't like breakfast" or "I don't have time to eat breakfast", I cringe! You have heard it before and I have already discussed it through my blog, but this topic is worth discussing again and again. EAT YOUR BREAKFAST!

In a study completed at Harvard Medical School, research suggested that those associated with eating breakfast were leaner than those that skipped breakfast! You can read about the study at 
Harvard Study on Weight Loss and Healthy Breakfast

It is best to choose a breakfast that is balanced in nutrients that will build the base energy level for your day! Breakfast should include vitamins and minerals, good sources of fiber, such as complex carbohydrates, and lean protein. I also do not like eating the same thing every morning, so I usually have homemade frozen whole wheat waffles or whole wheat pancakes for toasting in the freezer!

Here are a few breakfast recipes I came up with this week:
       Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake (modified from cooking light recipe)
  • ·         1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ·         1/2 cups all-purpose flour OR 1/2 cup oat flour
  • ·         1 cup sugar in the raw
  • ·         1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ·         2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ·         1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • ·         3/4 cup almond milk (or skim, 1% milk )
  • ·         2 tablespoons butter, melted 
  • ·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ·         1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • ·         1 cup diced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1 apple) 
  • ·         Cooking spray     
Streusel Ingredients:
  • ·         1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • ·         2 tablespoons wheat flour
  • ·         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ·         2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces 

1. Preheat oven to 350°. 
     2. To prepare cake, lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour (1 cup wheat and 1/2 cup white flour or oat flour) into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk, melted butter, vanilla, and egg, stirring with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in apple. Pour batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.

3. To prepare streusel, combine brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information: 
Amount per serving (serving size 4x4 inch square)
Calories: 197
Calories from fat: 21%
Fat: 4.6g
Saturated fat: 2.7g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.2g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.3g
Protein: 2.9g
Carbohydrate: 36.7g
Fat: 0.8g
Cholesterol: 28mg
Iron: 1.2mg
Sodium: 202mg
Calcium: 68mg

Green Tea Smoothie (serves 2-10 oz cups):

  • 2 bags of your favorite green tea
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar OR honey
  • 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 medium size banana
  • 3/4 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, soy milk, skim milk, or any other light milk you prefer
1. Place tea bags and agave nectar or honey in boiling water and brew for 1 1/2 minutes. Cool in fridge (I make this the night before, so its ready in the morning).

2. Mix tea, banana, milk, peanut butter, 3/4 cup ice in blender and blend well. 

3. Enjoy! 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cheesy Lentil Loaves

Tonight, I decided to try a new vegetarian meal, Cheesy Lentil Loaves. I modified a recipe I found on the internet:Cheesy Lentil Bake. It tasted similar to a quiche and surprisingly Liam loved it! The consistency was perfect for only having a few teeth!

 As I mentioned before, Lentils are high in fiber, a great source of protein, and inexpensive! Additionally, they are a great source of iron and essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that are necessary for good health but cannot be synthesized by the body, and therefor they must be consumed in the diet. 

 Also, when it comes to trying new foods and new recipes, similar to the Cheesy Lentil Loaves, don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try something new! Get the kids involved. I am sure they will love helping out in the kitchen and you may be very surprised about what new foods your children will try! I can't wait to see what Liam will come up with when he is older! 

Cheesy Lentil Loaves


¾ cup red lentils

12 oz low sodium vegetable stock 
¼ cup light cheddar cheese, grated
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
½ of green, red, or yellow bell pepper finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Dash of cinnamon 
1 tsp lemon juice
1 large egg3 tbsp light greek yogurt or light sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven 375F
2. Pick over the lentils for any sticks and stones. Rinse thoroughly and cook in a tightly covered pan with the water for 10-15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes in case you need to add more water. The mixture should cook to a stiff purée.
3. Sauté onion and bell pepper in olive oil on medium–high heat for about 5 minutes or until onions are opague.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the grated cheese, cooked onion, pepper, parsley, cayenne pepper, black pepper, dash of cinnamon, and lemon juice.
5. In a separate bowl lightly beat the egg, stir in the greek yogurt or sour cream and pour this mixture over the lentils. Mix well. 
6. Grease small loaf pans or a 1lb loaf tin and pour in lentil mixture. 
7. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden brown and the mixture feels firm to the touch.
8. If you are serving this loaf hot, let it stand for 10 minutes in the tin before turning it out.

 To balance the meal, I served it with steamed broccoli and roasted butternut squash! Enjoy! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Managing Your Weight While on Steroids

When most people think of steroids they envision bodybuilders and big muscles; however the most commonly prescribed steroid is Prednisone, of the corticosteroid family. Corticosteroids are also known as glucocorticoids or cortisone, and are synthetic (man-made) drugs designed to work similar to the body’s naturally occurring hormones produced by the adrenal glands, in particular cortisol. Corticosteroids work to decrease swelling, warmth, tenderness, and pain that are caused by inflammation.

One of the side effects happens to be increased weight gain caused by increased appetite and fluid retention. Since being diagnosed with lupus, I have been on and off prednisone (steroid) for the last 15 years. Prior to my knowledge of nutrition (about 16 years of age), I had a mooned shaped face and weighed 180 pounds! I knew that if I didn’t take control of the steroids, they would continue to take control of me and because of the increased weight gain, I would be at risk for further health complications. I was not about to let this happen! My mindset had to change. I had to learn to curb my cravings and make healthy food choices today, not tomorrow!

Here are some tips for managing your appetite and curbing your cravings to help maintain your weight while on steroids.

1. Keep healthy snacks available! I always have salad ingredients available, fresh fruit, low-fat Greek yogurt, or cut up raw veggies for snacks. Replace refined sugar products with natural fruits, vegetables and nuts. Try to snack twice daily with these low-calorie snacks to help reduce cravings for inappropriate foods and maintain metabolism.

2. PLAN out your healthy meal and snack times. With planned meals and snacks you are less likely to go to make unhealthy choices, such as high calorie/processed snacks or ‘fast food’ restaurants.

3. Stay busy! Keeping an active mind or on projects will help keep your mind off of food and odd cravings.

4. Portion control. Learn portion sizes and serve food on smaller plates to encourage appropriate-size portions and smaller meals. Stop eating when you feel full and remember you don't have to clean your plate at every meal!

5. Follow a low sodium diet to help reduce fluid retention! Avoid processed foods as much as possible and be diligent about reading food labels. Limit your sodium intake to less than 140 mg per serving size when reading food labels, and try to stay under 2,400 mg per day.

6. Keep the food away from the table at meal times! When the food is on the table, you are likely to go back for seconds! If you are still hungry, keep a salad and light salad dressing or some fresh fruit on table.

7. Increase your fiber intake with leafy green, raw vegetables and whole-wheat grain products. You will feel full faster and longer with high-fiber foods.

8. Increase the amount of water you drink daily. Squeeze a slice of fresh lemon into each glass to satisfy your taste buds. Drink water instead of caffeine drinks, alcohol or soda products!

Me on steroids before my knowledge of good nutrition

Me on steroids after I started practicing better nutrition habits and exercise

Monday, January 2, 2012

Achieving New Year's Resolutions

About 45% of Americans make News Year’s resolutions each year and only 8% of those people are successful in their new year’s resolutions. Those people who fail at keeping New Year's resolutions fail because their resolutions are 'too broad'. Some of the top ten new year’s resolutions include losing weight, exercising more, quit smoking, enjoy life more, spend more time with family and friends, get out of debt, learn something new, get organized, and start helping others.  As a dietitian I ask that my client’s goals be S.M.A.R.T.! Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely in order to ACCOMPLISH their goals. 

1. Specific:  Ask yourself the following questions: Who is involved? What exactly do you want to accomplish? When? Where will the action take place? Why do you want to accomplish this goal? What are the conditions needed in order to accomplish the goal? 

For example, "I want to eat healthier" is a general goal. "I will become more diligent about the foods I eat, by reading food labels, ingredients, and becoming aware of the foods I buy when I go to the grocery store or go out to eat" is more specific. 

2. Measurable: Goals should be measurable. You should be able to answer: How much? How many? How will I know when my goal is accomplished?  This will help you track your progress.  For example: I will work out for 45 minutes at least 3 times a week. You can measure your goal by marking your calendar! 

3. Attainable:  Each goal should be within reach. If you set the bar too high, you will set yourself up for failure. I also ask each one of my client that they make short term goals in order to reach the long term goal. For example, "I want to lose 30 lbs. in 6 months". Example of a short term/attainable goals: "I will cook a well-balanced meal 3 days out of the week", "I will walk 45 minutes on the treadmill or outside 3 times a week", or “I will switch out one of my cans of soda a day with 2-10 oz. glasses of water." 

4. Realistic: How much time do you have to devote to your goal? Do you have everything you need in order to reach your goal? Also, give your goals some flexibility. Understand that obstacles and other roadblocks happen, especially during the 'times' you can work out; know how to work around these roadblocks. If you give yourself some flexibility to accomplish your goals, you are likely to succeed and not set yourself up for disappointment. 

5. Timely: Each goal should have a start and a finish. You have to start somewhere and if you want to lose 30 lbs., then give yourself enough time to accomplish it! 

One last thing, enjoy the journey!! If you are miserable, adjust your goals to make them more enjoyable, but always remember, pain is temporary, pride is forever! The road is not always full of rainbows and sunshine, so learn how to enjoy the rain!