5 Ways to Decrease your Child’s Sweet Tooth

     Soda, juice, candy, and cookies, OH MY! Yes, these are all foods kids love to eat and drink. However, these foods have something else in common: SUGAR and lots of it! A recent article published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association draws conclusions from various studies looking at the intake of sugary sweetened beverages and weight gain/obesity among children. The research shows children who regularly consume sugary beverages ranging from juice to soda are at an increased risk for gaining weight and becoming obese.1

     America is currently in the middle of an obesity epidemic among adults as well as children. Statistics show that the number of 2-19 year old children suffering from being overweight or obese is nearly 17%. Obesity places children at increased risk for developing Type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol at young ages.  Additionally, the chances of these issues being carried into adulthood are staggering.  There is an 80% chance that an obese adolescent will become an obese adult2, thus increasing the risk of developing all the co-morbidities that adults are currently facing from being obese. 

     How can you help your child? For starters, start decreasing the foods with added sugars from your child’s daily diet. Sugar adds calories to food and an increase in calorie intake can lead to weight gain.  Children should be given healthy snacks to enjoy with sweet treats being given exactly as they are described, as treats, not to be consumed everyday. 

Below are 5 ways to decrease the sugar intake in your children’s diet

 1.      Wait to give them sugary foods when they are young

One of the biggest misconceptions parents have is that children should be drinking juice, given candy or soda under the age of two.  Sure, it tastes good but the moment you give your child sugar that is all he or she is going to want to eat or drink. Wait as long as possible to introduce your children to candy, sweets, cookies or juice.  Of course, we can’t keep them sheltered forever so . . .

2. Teach them moderation

Every child deserves to have an ice cream on a hot summer day or a piece of cake at a birthday party.  But, these are special occasions, not everyday occurrences and it is important to teach your child balance and moderation.  Children need limits and setting limits in regards to food is no different then setting a bedtime.

 3.      Read the label and ingredient list

How do you know if there is added sugar in a product you are giving your child. Read the label. Sugar’s can be hidden in the ingredient list and they might be listed under a code name besides “sugar”.  If you see the following in the ingredient list, “corn syrup”, “high fructose corn syrup”, “dextrose”, “fructose,” or “honey”, there is added sugar in the product. Also, ingredients on the label are listed from largest amount in the food to smallest.  So, if you see sugar as the first ingredient then there is a larger amount of sugar in that food compared with sugar being the last ingredient. 

 4.      Provide foods naturally sweet and which contain natural sugars. 

Many foods are both healthy and naturally sweet. For example, yogurt, fruit, and milk.  Fruits are some of the most wonderful foods children can eat.  Instead of adding sugar to their cereal or buying cereal already packed with sugar, add fruit.  Instead of sugary snacks provide a slice of watermelon or some cut up strawberries.  Introduce fruits from all colors of the rainbow for kids to try and eat. Additionally, try to encourage children to drink low fat milk instead of chocolate milk.  An 8 ounce glass of chocolate milk contains 25 grams of sugar vs. an 8 ounce glass of low fat white milk which contains 13 grams of sugar, nearly half the amount. 

 5.      Provide only 100% juice

Research shows that increased juice intake in children can lead to increased risk of childhood obesity.  So how much juice is too much? The recommended amount of 100% juice is 4-6 ounces a day.  100% juice is recommended because in moderation it provides vitamins, minerals and healthy nutrients without any added sugar.  Once again it is important to read the label.  If a juice drink contains only 10% juice then something else is making it sweet, added sugar.

      Lastly, please don’t forget that leading by example is one of the best ways to teach your child about healthy eating.  And the best part is that all these suggestions for helping your child decrease sugar intake are just as good for parents too!

References

  1. Kavey, R. How sweet it is: Sugar-Sweetened beverage consumption, obesity and cardiovascular risk in childhood. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:1456-1460.
  2. Buchanan-Adams, R. Using FITS to understand consumption patterns in a critical period for the development of childhood obesity. Pediatric Nutrition-A Building Block for Life. 2011;34:13-18.
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Bye Bye My Pyramid, Hello My Plate

     I can’t tell you how many times patients and other health care professionals have asked me how to use My Pyramid, the symbol of a healthy lifestyle the USDA has used for over the past few decades.  I always tried to keep my answer simple because understanding and implementing My Pyramid into a person’s everyday eating choices could be complicated, especially since it had changed a few times of the past 10 years.  I have a poster of My Pyramid hanging in my office but it is not what I use as a Registered Dietitian to teach my patients, healthy balanced eating.  I use what is known as the Plate method, a visual tool to teach patients moderation in eating and portion control with the goals of including more fruits and vegetables.

     Since I rely so heavily on the plate method for teaching my patients, I was excited and delighted to learn a few weeks ago that the USDA has replaced My Pyramid as the government’s symbol for healthy eating with My Plate, a healthy plate picture icon.  On Thursday, June 2nd the USDA along with First Lady Michele Obama released the My Plate as the new symbol for healthy eating and making better food choices. My Plate helps support the goals of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released in January of this year.1 

     How does My Plate help each of us eat healthier? One of the goals of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was weight management and balancing calorie intake by reducing portions sizes and calories at each meal. This is an important goal due to the obesity epidemic amongst American adults and children.  The new icon shows half of the plate made up of fruits and vegetables, two food groups that are loaded with healthy nutrients and low in calories. (For ways to include fruits and vegetables see blog post “10 ways to increase your fruits and vegetables”) After fruits and vegetables, the goal is to include lean proteins such as grilled chicken, broiled fish, beans, or lean turkey to take up a little less than a quarter of the plate.  Another way to measure the appropriate portion size of lean meat is by using the palm of your hand.  The last portion of the plate is made up of healthy whole grains, for example brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole grain pasta, or quinoa. Additionally, dairy, such as low fat milk, is included, providing an excellent source of calcium.

     My Plate is an excellent tool to help with weight loss and weight management.  No matter where you are or where you go visualize half your plate filled with fruits and vegetables.  Adding more fruits and vegetables to your plate helps decrease the amount of calories consumed at a meal.  Just think, if you are eating a half a plate of vegetables you are not eating a half of a plate of pasta or rice, foods that when consumed in large portions can add a lot of calories to a meal. 

     My Plate can be used as a guide for just about anybody, from someone trying to lose or maintain his or her weight to individuals with co-morbidities such as Type II Diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  For a more individualized eating plan consult with a Registered Dietitian. For more information and to learn how to apply My Plate to your daily meals to go http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

References

1. United States Department of Agriculture: Press Release. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/MyPlate/PressRelease.pdf

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The scoop on hidden sodium in chicken

I have to give credit where credit is due and the topic for this blog came after reading an article in the January 2011 issue of Cooking Light.1 I read this article and first thought, “I can’t believe I didn’t know about this.” My second thought was, “I need to share this with everybody I know.” So my fellow healthy eaters, I share with you the concept of enhanced poultry. 

I validated what I read in Cooking Light and found numerous articles specifically from the Center for Science in the Public Interest regarding enhanced poultry.  Apparently, poultry producers have been “enhancing” chickens by adding salt and water to a naturally low sodium, lean product.  Adding salt can increase the sodium content of 4 ounces of chicken to 400-500 mg of sodium, roughly 20% of the recommended 2300 mg daily intake. Increased amounts of sodium may be related to an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.  Additionally, if you are trying to lower your sodium intake, which has been recommended by countless doctors and medical experts recently, chicken might be the last food you would think has added sodium.

 Why are they adding this salt and water you might ask?  Well, for profit of course.  If you buy seven pounds of chicken breasts that is enhanced with 15% sodium and water then you really only bought 6 pounds of chicken meat but you paid for an extra pound that was really sodium and water.  According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest,

          “The practice of pumping up poultry with salt water is basically a hidden tax of up to 15 percent that extracts about $2 billion from American consumers each year. This isn’t about “enhancing” chicken, it’s about enhancing profits.”2

 So, how do you know if the chicken you are buying is “enhanced” with sodium or not? Read the fine print on the front on the label to make sure there are no added ingredients, sodium, or water.  Poultry producers are allowed to put “100% All Natural Products” even if it is “enhanced.” So, check the front label and the nutrition label to make sure a 4 ounce serving has less than 100 mg of sodium. 

 Our foods have enough sodium in them; we don’t need extra in products that are supposed to be low in it. And we shouldn’t have to pay more for it either. 

References:

  1. Helm, Janet. The Hidden Sodium in Chicken. Cooking Light January/February 2011. http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/sodium-in-chicken-00412000070041/
  2. Jacobson, Michael. Salt-Water-Soaked Chicken Not at all Natural, Says CSPI. Center for Science in the Public Interest. http://www.cspinet.org/new/201002241.html
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Healthy and fun recipes to make with kids

Recipe #1: Vegetable Pizza

 I made pizza for dinner last Sunday. It was quick, easy, fun to make and  on top of everything, was healthy.  I know what you are thinking; that there is no way homemade pizza is quick and easy and it is definitely not healthy. But, before you officially nominate me for the “best fiction” Pulitzer let me explain.

When I was a kid, my best friend’s mom used to make English muffin pizzas every Friday night. I thought these mini pizzas were awesome. They were delicious, easy to make and nutritious, definitely healthier than ordering a large pie and probably cheaper. My grandmother used to help me make pizza too.  Although, she let me control the amount of cheese that went on the pizza so healthy went out the window.  My point is that even as a child, and the help of the adults in my life, I was able to make and eat something that tasted good and was good for me. The key is that it was fun!

Whenever I counsel families or if I am at an elementary school working with kids, I always provide a recipe or tell them how to make healthy pizza. I have never met a kid that doesn’t like pizza; their eyes light up as soon as I say the word! Everyone one of them loves the thought of making pizza thatt is healthy for them. (Well in my imagination they are happy about the healthy part) 

So, what makes pizza healthy? The caveat to this is the secret ingredient: Vegetables! If your child wants to make pizza, he or she has to pick at least one vegetable to put on it. Vegetable pizza is a simple, easy, and budget friendly way to get kids involved in cooking and to have them try new vegetables. An added bonus is that the more vegetables on the pizza, the less room there is for cheese, making it even healthier.

Below is the recipe I use to make pizza. The key is to let the kids pick the vegetables they want to put on their pizza. The vegetables can be whatever they choose but the pizza has to be colorful. My favorites are spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and peppers.  I change up the toppings every time so each pizza is different. This recipe can make one big pizza or the dough can be cut into 4 mini pizzas.  Can’t find dough, you can always use Whole Wheat English Muffins.  Happy cooking!!!!

Ingredients:

1) 1 package fresh whole-wheat pizza dough(you can usually find it in most supermarkets or ask you local pizza shop if you can buy some dough from them) cut into 4 wedges

2) All-Purpose Flour for dusting

3) 1 jar pizza sauce or 2 cups marinara sauce(either homemade or store bought)

4) 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese(separated into ¼ cup servings)

5) Fresh vegetables.  Kids can help cut up the vegetables with plastic knives and place each vegetable in a separate bowl.

6) 1 pizza stone(you can buy these online or in the store for as little as $10)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F
  2. Sprinkle a teaspoon of flour on hands and on rolling pin.  Roll out dough to desired thickness. It doesn’t have to be round, any shape works!
  3. Place dough on pizza stone and place in oven for 6-8min
  4. Remove stone and dough from oven(careful, it can be hot!)
  5. Cover top of dough with layer of sauce
  6. Thinly cover each pizza with ¼ cup cheese(save a little to put on top of the vegetables)
  7. Layer pizza with the vegetables. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top
  8. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until pizza is browned on bottom and vegetables cooked on the top.
  9. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. 
  10. Slice and enjoy!!!!!
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5 Steps to Healthier Kids

     “Where killing our kids,” is a quote that has been heard on various television shows over the past few years, most famously on the TLC show “Honey, where killing our kids” and more recently on the reality show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”. Harsh words for parents to hear but there may be some truth in them considering the rate at which childhood obesity has increased in America.  Recently, the topic of childhood obesity and its alarming consequences has been front and center in the news and media while also garnering attention from politicians, including the First Lady Michele Obama.  

It is imperative that parents start their children off eating right to instill in them healthy eating habits. Below are 5 ways to help your children start making healthy choices.

Do as I say AND as I do!
Parents need to set an example for their children, teaching them to eat healthy by eating healthy themselves. Parents who make healthy eating choices for themselves set positive examples for their children. Kids mimic adults so if they see Mommy eating an apple they are more likely to want to eat that apple too.

Explain why!
Children are very inquisitive. They want to know what food they are eating and why it is good or bad for them. Explaining this will make the food more or less appealing but remember to keep it simple when talking with them; for example “eating carrots will help your eyes” or “eating fewer cookies is healthy for your teeth.”  

Provide healthy foods daily!
One reason we are faced with a childhood obesity crisis is that children are eating more foods that are high in both fat and calories. Parents decide what to buy at the food store, not children, so take charge of your family’s health by buying and provided new healthy foods daily.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Switch from whole milk to 1% milk. After the age of two children no longer need the fat in whole milk. Low fat milk has the same amount of calcium and Vitamin D.
  2. Limit soda intake. Instead, provide water, 100% juice (limited to 4 oz per day) or low fat milk to drink.  
  3. Provide healthier snacks that incorporate fruits and vegetables after school.  For example, yogurt with fruit or peanut butter with celery.
  4. Send a healthy lunch with them to school and a healthy snack.  Then ask them what they ate when they come home to ensure they ate it.
  5. Do not force them to eat or “finish their meal.” Kids know when are full and when to stop eating.   

Cook together, THEN eat together!
Between shuttling the kids to and from school and activities, working, and taking care of life’s day-to-day chores, parents have less time than ever to put a healthy meal on the table. However, preparing a healthy meal does not have to take a long time and doesn’t need to come out of a package or a box.  All it takes is a little planning and a little extra help. By cooking together as a family the preparation work can be done quicker and the children can see their foods in all different stages, from raw ingredients to a finished meal. When eating, turn off the T.V and sit together as a family for dinner. This provides bonding time for parents with their children and a chance to catch up on the day’s activities.

Get moving as a family!
Doing activities together is the best and easiest way to spend time with the family while also promoting a healthier lifestyle. Have family time where you go for bike ride, play at the park, walk the dog, or jump rope in the backyard.  Start moving and encourage your children to move for 60 minutes a day.

Children are our future, which makes it vital that they are taught about healthy foods and exercise. Parents are on the front line of this battle and need to stand together to fight childhood obesity. Following these easy steps is the first step, and there is no better time to start the right now!

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5 Ways to stick to your New Year’s Resolution

          Another year has flown by and a new year has begun. As we enter into 2011, many people are asking themselves what their New Year’s resolution is going to be. The common resolutions are usually centered on being healthier, such as losing weight or exercising more. Both are excellent goals but as we all know they are not going to be achieved overnight or even over the course of a month. Reaching these goals takes time, dedication and the motivation to change unhealthy behaviors that have developed over years.  

     Therefore, this year instead of making a New Year’s resolution that only lasts a few months, make a lifetime resolution to change your lifestyle.  Resolve to lose those extra pounds that are bothering you. It may take 1 month, it may take 1 year, but it can be done and you will do it! Also, resolve that once you do lose the extra weight you are going to keep it off by continuing to lead your new, healthier life, not going back to your old habits.

  Below are 5 ways to turn your New Year’s Resolution into a new lifestyle resolution.

1. SET SPECIFIC GOALS:  If you just say, “I want to lose weight” it sounds like a huge goal and huge goals can be scary and seem impossible to achieve.  Instead, be specific. Set a specific amount of weight you want to lose and a specific amount of time you want to lose it in.  For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds in the next 6 months that can seem incredibly tough and really far away. It will be easy to lose focus and give up. However, healthy weight loss is one to two pounds per week, which is equivalent to about 4-8 pounds over a month. So, setting a smaller, short-term aim, such as losing 8 pounds this month gives you a more manageable goal to focus on. And achieving each small goal gives you motivation to keep going. If you slowly lose 8 pounds a month, you will have lost 48 pounds after 6 months! Additionally, set specific goals each week can help you reach your larger weight loss goals.  For example, drinking only 4 ounces of juice daily or having a piece of fruit at lunch.  Achieving small goals gives you motivation to keep going with your changes.

 2. KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL: According to the National Weight Control Registry, individuals who use self-monitoring techniques have the largest success with long-term weight loss.  The research findings show that, “98% of registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight” (1).  This includes keeping a food journal.  Keeping a food journal for one day or one week helps people to be more mindful about what and how much they are eating. Chances are if you have to write it down you will think twice before eating it.  To keep a food diary on-line check out www.myfooddiary.com.

 3. BE REALISTIC: I just had an 11 year old girl tell me her Aunt took her to McDonalds for her last meal before seeing the dietitian. Now, I understand her Aunt’s intention was to mark our appointment as the start of healthier eating but to think that this girl is never going to eat McDonald’s again is unrealistic.  I am sure there is a cheeseburger or two in her future.  The real question is how many cheeseburgers and how often? Being realistic about changes is one of the most important steps in achieving specific goals.  In moderation, realistically all the foods you love can be including in you daily diet. However, changes that make healthier foods into everyday choices and less healthy options into once in a while foods is the key to successful weight loss.  This year, strive to spend more time choosing the healthier, lower calories foods such as fruits and vegetables while having smaller portions of the higher fat, higher calorie foods. 

 4. DON’T STRIVE FOR PERFECTION: Nobody is perfect and nobody can eat healthy 100% of the time.  Not even a dietitian.  I confess that I ate onion rings the other night, and that they were delicious. The important thing is making sure that any unhealthy food, whether it is onion rings, pizza, fried foods, cookies, or any of your favorite treats are just that, treats! They are not something you should be eating everyday or even every week. When you do slip up and “treat yourself” to your guilt pleasure don’t let it derail your goals. Get back on track the very next meal and make a healthy choice!  Everybody has a set back now and then and “falls off the wagon.”  If you do, have a plan to get right back up and keep riding.

 5. START TO EXERCISE NOW:  A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that individuals who started a lifestyle intervention program by exercising and changing their diet at the same time lost more weight over the first six months then individuals who delayed their exercise for six months. (2)  So, start exercising now! Today! Don’t wait!  Start small by walking at lunch or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Set a specific goal each week. For example, going to the gym two times a week. Then increase it to three times a week. Exercise with a friend or a family member and try new things to help you stay motivated and to keep it from getting boring. Most importantly find something you love to do, such as swimming or dancing to keep it exciting. If you love doing it, it is not exercise, it’s FUN!

 References

  1. The National Weight Control Registry. NWCR Facts. http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm
  2. Clinical Trials Demonstrate Weight-Loss Strategies. Today’s Dietitian. 2010: Volume 12, Number 12. pg 16
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10 ways to increase your fruits and vegetables

For decades, parents have been trying to find the answer to an age old question; “How do I get my kids to eat fruits and vegetables?” If you are my younger cousin (and by younger I mean in college), you hold your breath, pinch your nose and take a bite. As I watched him eat his vegetables at Christmas dinner, probably more closely then one person should watch another person eat, he told me he doesn’t like them but knows they are healthy. I guess he finally listened to his mom after all these years.

From the time we are kids, our parents try to get us to each fruits and vegetables as part of our daily diet. I am fairly certain they weren’t trying to torture us and that there was a method behind their madness.  Fruits and vegetables are a healthy part of our daily diet. They provide a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants that help to protect and prevent against various chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and the effects of aging. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol, decrease the risk of heart disease and maintain bowel regularity.  They are also low in calories and can help with weight loss and weight management.

The first step towards healthier eating habits is having a basic knowledge of serving sizes and daily intake recommendations.  Many of the parents and children I speak with at the clinics have the same questions regarding fruits and vegetables. I am listing them below along with the answers I give my patients.  

 How much is recommended?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans released in 2005 (the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have not been published yet) recommends a daily goal intake for fruit and vegetable intake between 2 and 6 1/2 cups which is equivalent to 4-13 servings. Exact recommendations are based on age, sex and physical activity level.  To find out how many servings of fruits and vegetables you need daily go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/index.html

Finding out how many servings you need daily is important because according to data obtained from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) released by the CDC, in 2009 only “32.5% of adults consumed fruit two or more times per day and 26.3% consumed vegetables three or more times per day” (1). This is well below the target goal. Therefore, over the past decade, various government funded programs have existed to promote eating fruits and vegetables among Americans. Past programs run by the CDC include 5 A Day for Better Health and Strive for 5.  A recent addition is Fruits and Veggies Matter.

 How much is a serving?

A serving size changes from one type of fruit or vegetable to another because some fruits such as an apple are eaten whole while vegetables can be measured in cups.  Therefore, one serving of fruit is equal to one small piece of fruit, such as an apple, ½ cup of juice, 17-20 grapes or 1 1/2 cups of strawberries.  Additionally, one serving of vegetables is equal to 1 cup of raw vegetables, such as romaine lettuce and ½ cup of cooked vegetables, such as spinach.

 How can I eat more fruits and vegetables?

One of the easiest ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into a daily diet is to eat for color.  A colorful plate of fruits and vegetables offers a greater variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Also, don’t be afraid to try a new kind of fruit or vegetable you have never seen before.

 10 ways to include more fruits and vegetables daily

1. Add fruit to cereal or yogurt in the morning

2. Add vegetables to an omelet

3. Snack on seasonal fruit in between meals

4. Add fruit to salads, like mandarin oranges or strawberries

5. Substitute a starch such as a potato or rice for an additional vegetable dish

6. Make a salad for lunch with extra vegetables

7. Snack on vegetables with low fat salad dressing or hummus

8. Have vegetable soup with lunch or dinner

9. Snack on peanut butter with an apple or banana

10. Make your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruit.

 

 

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State-Specific Trends in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults – United States, 2000-2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:59(35):1125-1130.
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8 Tips for maintaining your weight during the holiday season

How quickly the seasons change? The summer and long, warm days have passed, the leaves have fallen off the trees, and the holidays are upon us. With the holidays come stress, presents and lots of eating. Recent research has shown that the average person can gain approximately 1-2 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Years.  While this may not seem like much, it is more weight to have to lose over the course of the coming year, especially if have been trying to lose weight already.

However, weight gain during the holidays does not have to be a guarantee.  By making smart choices and watching what and how much you eat, you can escape the holiday season without a change in weight.  And if you maintain these positive and healthy changes you may even lose weight during the holidays.

Here are 8 tips to help prevent weight gain during the holiday season:

1. The holidays are just that: One Day – Treat it as a day and not an entire week or month to eat whatever you want. After the day is over get right back to making healthy choices and controlling portion sizes.

2. Pack your plate with vegetables – This means at the buffet find the cut up carrots and celery, start with a salad before dinner and eat the vegetables served on the plate first.  Vegetables are packed with water and fiber and are very low in calories (assuming they are not smothered in butter). By eating vegetables you can consume fewer calories and still feel full.

3. Eat before you go - Don’t skip meals before the big holiday meal or before a party in order to save calories. Skipping meals can lead to eating more at the main meal. Instead, have breakfast and lunch as usual and try a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit or a granola bar before you head out for the night.

4. Exercise daily(or as often as your schedule allows) – The holidays are stressful and exercise can help decrease the stress and ward off the pounds. Even if you can’t get to the gym, try walking during your lunch break, parking the car at the far end of the mall lot, or walking after dinner.

5. Cook healthier - What you are eating is just as important as how much. Holiday dishes can be very rich.  Instead of adding cream and butter try low fat milk and olive oil. While baking, try to substitute applesauce for oil or Splenda for sugar.  (Make sure you check the conversions when baking)

6. Pick one dessert – Treats, sweets and desserts are everywhere.  Instead of depriving yourself and overindulging later, pick one treat and enjoy every bite.

7. Be picky - Calories add up fast, especially at holiday meals with the appetizers and various courses.  Choose foods that are special holiday treats not foods you can eat everyday.  For example, if grandma only makes her homemade eggplant parmesan at Christmas then enjoy a piece but skip the pasta and sauce she makes every Sunday.

8. Don’t beat yourself up – Everybody has a day where they feel they completely went off track.  It happens. Acknowledge it and move on!

Have a wonderful, healthy and happy holiday season!

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Welcome to the Nutrition for Life Blog!

Welcome to the Nutrition for Life Blog! A new blog associated with the Long Island Dietetic Association to help promote the importance of health and wellness and provide valuable information on nutrition and fitness. My name is Lauren and I am a Registered Dietitian (RD). I work in Queens, New York with different populations, cultures and ages ranging from children to senior adults. Making my way through college as an Exercise Science major, the field of nutrition has always been an interest of mine.  After deciding to pursue a Master’s Degree in nutrition and becoming an RD, it has now become a passion.  My experience includes working in gyms, hospitals and most recently in outpatient clinics where I can share my knowledge and help people change and be healthier everyday.

I have worked with many different patients and clients; however my primary focus is weight management and weight loss for adults and children.  While counseling, I also work to educate patients with high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.  I hold a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management from the American Dietetic Association.  There is nothing more rewarding for me professionally then patient’s who have returned to see me, lost weight and tell me they feel so much better.   The joy on their faces makes me proud to do what I do.  Therefore, this blog will include many posts centered on weight management and weight loss, as well as healthy eating and exercise.  Future article topics include, “Helping your kids make healthy choices” and “How to keep the pounds off during the holiday’s.” Through this blog, I hope to be able to help you live a healthier lifestyle.

I believe that nutrition is an important part of overall health and wellness. Also, that we can obtain our primary sources of energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals to help keep us healthy and fight diseases from food. My primary goal for this blog is to provide accurate, up to date information on the latest news about nutrition and fitness to the public.

Please feel free to post a comment or ask a question on the blog page.  If there are any topics you would like me to write about please post suggestions as well. It is my pleasure to share the world of nutrition with you and I hope you enjoy this blog!

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