Tag: Dietitian

 

You asked, so here they are! My top tips for getting in the all-important, nourishing breakfast, even on a tight schedule. Eating in the morning helps reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) that climbs throughout the night. Breakfast also fuels our bodies and brain for the day ahead. Breakfast is a great protector against nagging nighttime snack cravings too, since often our bodies are trying to catch up from nutrition missed in the morning. Even if you feel like you don’t have a morning minute to spare, you can have a quick healthy breakfast!

 

1. Get the Good Stuff

First thing’s first, what constitutes a nutritious breakfast? There are many ways to answer that question, but as a general rule I boil it down to this: include at least three different food groups and make one of them protein. That ensures that you are getting energy-rich carbohydrates, satisfying protein, and several vitamins and minerals along the way.

For more explanation and examples of building three-food group breakfasts, check out this (very old) video post. Please look past my amateur editing – the content is good! So include a protein plus at least two other food groups (or more if you want, you overachiever, you).

2. Find your “Formulas”

Keeping our three-food-group goal in mind, use these basic “formulas” to select a handful of breakfast ingredients that you enjoy and can mix and match. Here are a few of my faves for examples:

Sweet breakfast: whole grain + fruit + protein source

> oatmeal + berries or apples + PB (and cinnamon, because…cinnamon)

> whole grain bagel + sliced bananas + peanut butter (and you guessed it, cinnamon!)

> granola + strawberries + low fat vanilla Greek yogurt

 

Savory breakfast: protein source + vegetable + whole grain

> scrambled eggs + peppers/onions/mushrooms + whole grain toast

> poached egg + spinach and tomato + whole grain English muffin (+ sausage and cheese if you want!)

> sliced ham + tomato/avocado + whole grain toast

These are just some examples – play with them to find combos that work well for you!

 



 

3. Blend, baby, blend!

Smoothies are some of the most versatile and efficient ways to sneak in a quick healthy breakfast, particularly if you are time-crunched or aren’t hungry in the mornings. It’s usually easier to drink than eat if you aren’t hungry, and you don’t have to take the time to sit, chew, and swallow. Your smoothie goes with you to carpool, work, or school, and you can take all morning to finish it if you need to. Boost breakfast nutrition by including greens, fruit, and a protein source like peanut butter, Greek yogurt, or whey protein. There are tons of delicious possibilities – piña colada, triple berry, pumpkin pie, or chocolate peanut butter anyone?


Make your smoothie even faster: ask yourself honestly – am I more likely to spend a couple of minutes in the morning or in the evening to prepare my breakfast? If your answer is evening, load your blender the night before and place it in the fridge or freezer. In the morning you can grab, blend, pour, and go.

4. Consider convenience

Be realistic about what you will be able to add to your morning. If you have exactly 10 minutes to spare most mornings, it’s not likely that you’re going to be cooking up a veggie-loaded omelet. Simple can be okay and in most (seriously, just about all) cases, something in the morning is better than nothing.

Grab a handful of nuts or a granola bar with a few recognizable ingredients, like oats, nuts, fruit, and honey. KIND and Nature Valley have some good options. Pair those with a piece of fruit, a hard-boiled egg, or a yogurt for an on-the-go breakfast. Or pour boiling water on some quick oats and add a dollop of peanut butter, some berries, and a teaspoon of brown sugar for a delicious PB&J oatmeal.

Prefer something savory? Some of the frozen breakfast sandwiches actually aren’t bad – look for one with Canadian bacon or turkey bacon/sausage, low-fat cheese, and/or a whole grain English muffin. These include protein, dairy, and grains, and some even add veggies! Just because it comes from the freezer doesn’t mean it’s off-limits, but choose wisely. Some of these pre-made goodies can be higher in sodium or saturated fat than you might like.

5. Dare to Be Different

Depending on where you live, this tip might blow your mind a little. In the US, we tend to have very defined boundaries around the types of foods that are considered “breakfast foods.” Pancakes, cereal, bacon, eggs, and toast? You’re welcome to join us in the morning. Salad, soup, or dinner leftovers? Come back at noon.

That this assignment of foods into time slots is strange never occurred to me until I spent some time in other countries. When I traveled in Japan, my friends served me a sandwich with salad in the morning. In El Salvador, I had tamales and refried beans for breakfast. I couldn’t believe it – is this even allowed? Turns out, it is! And much of the rest of the world is doing it. So unless it weirds you out (you know who you are), consider “unconventional” breakfast foods. Got a turkey leg, mashed potatoes, and veggies leftover from dinner? That’s really easy to heat up for breakfast. Why make something new? This can totally change the morning game, because it opens up so many possibilities.

 

I hope these tips will help you navigate that tricky morning time and find a way to incorporate some much-needed brain and body fuel into the beginning of each day. Let me know which tips you liked the best, or what ways you make sure to get in some tasty healthy breakfast in the comments! Oh, and comment if you want me to post the recipes for any of the smoothies I mentioned!

 



 

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Eating Well in Less Time Wellness Tips

best ways to save time and be healthy

 

In this series, we’ve covered several tips that can help make eating well simpler and easier. From meal planning to food prep, these strategies can help you make the most of your time. There is one more thing that is absolutely vital to finding the most efficient, time-saving way to be healthy. Without this, you may be able to bumble along, finding some success along the way, but never truly be healthy or happy, and certainly not save yourself any time.

When I work with clients, I always try to help them find skills and strategies that are sustainable for them in the long term. By long term I mean lifelong (or at least until a major life change comes along). To do that, we test changes one at a time to make sure that they actually fit that client’s life/personality/budget/preferences/family/etc.

I encourage clients not to commit to new health changes right off the bat – don’t get married, date first! There are several ways to approach being healthy, just as there are many fish in the sea. Don’t just find any old fish and marry it! It might be smelly or taste too fishy or its scales may clash with your décor. You have to get to know it first and spend time with it in a lot of different situations before you know if that fish is the fish for you. If it’s not, toss it back and find another. This process of trial-and-error is key to your long-term success.

 



 

You might think:

That sounds much more time-consuming than following a plan I found online/10 years ago/on a commercial/from my co-worker, friend, or family member.”

You might be right, in the short term. Complete ready-made plans are very appealing. You don’t have to think about them – just follow the meal plans they give you and it will seem so, so simple. You’ll start moving toward your goals and feeling well. You can fight, claw, and scratch for weeks, months, or sometimes even years. But then…the meal plans get boring or expensive, you get tired of making yourself different food than your family, or you just want a single darn slice of bread! Following restrictive plans designed by strangers (who didn’t have you in mind) only works for so long.

I can not stress this enough:

You can not succeed forever with a cookie-cutter plan.

You must test drive individual changes to see how well they fit all of the factors that make up your individual life. Date them. Don’t get married blind!

 



 

So now you’re thinking:

Okay, I get what you’re saying, but how is this going to save me time? Test-driving individual changes sounds like a long process.”

It certainly can be, and I won’t sugar-coat that. But I can promise you that in the long run, it is a straighter line to lifelong health, happiness, and weight maintenance than using diet plans that you can’t (and shouldn’t!) continue forever.

The effects of these diets on your metabolism and your mindset can create a physiological cycle that works against you for the rest of your life. Unsustainable restrictive diets are training your body to store fat,1 and training you that being healthy is a miserable process. I can’t even begin to count the clients that I’ve seen who are chronically undereating (a sad lesson taught by a myriad of ill-fated diet plans) and have lost x numbers of pounds and gained x + 20 over and over again throughout their lives.

Research documents this. Restrictive, not-tailored-for-you “diet plans” consistently lead to weight gain.2

 



 

So how does fiddling around with these diet plans save you time in the long run?

Resist the temptation for a “quick fix.” Daily at my practice I see the results of years and years of “quick fixes” that never actually fixed anything in the long run. It takes work to heal their metabolisms and get them on a healthy, realistic track. One of my clients spent years exercising and following a low-carb diet (that he despised, by the way). It is taking months of proper eating to get his metabolism convinced that it’s safe to lose his 80+ pounds of extra body fat. I am certain that he would not say that his time on that diet saved him any time in the long run.

In fact, I am certain that every single one of these clients would tell you the same thing:

Stay away from restrictive diets. Test out individual, realistic, and sustainable changes that work for you.

If you need help finding realistic changes to make, stay tuned! I’ll be posting tips about finding changes to test drive that are most likely to work with different personality types. If you’re still overwhelmed, find a dietitian to help guide you through the process! It’s what we’re here for. Don’t waste your time with tantalizing promises of quick weight loss that are ultimately followed by disappointing regain and a messed-up metabolism. Invest your time now in a life that is much healthier and much happier down the road.

It can save you years – and that is quite a lot of time, don’t you think?

 

Related Articles

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References

  1. Cooper, E. The Metabolic Storm: The science of your metabolism and how its making you fat. Seattle Performance Medicine. 2015. 2nd edition.
  2. Lowe, M., et al. “Dieting and restrained eating as prospective predictors of weight gain.” Front. Psychol. Sept 2013. Accessed August 12, 2018. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00577/full.

 



Eating Well in Less Time Wellness Tips

 

Have you ever watched a cooking show where they try to pass a delicious healthy recipe off as a “20-minute meal”? You get all excited, ready to take notes and make this healthy kitchen masterpiece a reality, until you notice that as they are cooking, somehow all of their vegetables are already magically diced, their meats trimmed and cut, and their herbs and spices pre-measured? And then – big surprise! – the whole dish is done in 20 minutes or less! All they had to do was dump this, brown that, stir this in, and the whole creation was complete.

If you’ve had this experience and you’re anything like me you feel lied to. This was not a 20-minute meal. This was a 20-minute meal preceded by 10-15 minutes of peeling, chopping, dicing, and measuring which, again, if you’re anything like me, is the least enjoyable part of cooking.

Many of my clients struggle with this – they buy fresh veggies with perfect intentions of using them. But after a long day the thought of all that prep before they even get to cooking sends them, defeated, to that bag of freezer ravioli (or the corner fast food joint) and their produce one day closer to the garbage.

 



 

So how can we bridge this gap? We want our food to be healthy, and we need it to be quick and easy. Can we have both?

My answer is pretty much, yes. I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s not going to take any time and I certainly can’t hire a magic kitchen for you like the Food Network hosts have, but I can share the trick that has helped make healthful cooking SO MUCH FASTER for me.

That “trick” is food prep. Food prep is different than meal prep, where you actually cook and portion out individual meals in ready-to-go containers. If you have sufficient time and don’t mind eating the same meal for a few meals, meal prep is a great option! If you like a little more variety or can’t spare an hour or more for meal prep each week, give food prep a try!

 



 

Basically, you are your own magic kitchen. When you bring your groceries home, set all your produce (and your meats, if you really want to go for the gold!) on the counter. Put everything else away.

Now you get out your cutting board and knives (once!), and some containers. Chop, slice, and dice your little heart out. It usually takes 10-20 minutes, depending on how many veggies are in the recipes you’re using that week. Put them in containers based on the recipe they’re for. If we are having burgers, I slice tomatoes and onions, lay out lettuce, and put a handful of sliced mushrooms on a plate. If we’re having stew, I cube potatoes, chop onions, and slice carrots and seal them in a container. Then you clean up your cutting boards and knives (once!) and you’re done chopping for the week.

Note: Make sure that if you trim and cut raw meats, you prep them after you’re done with all your produce and that you store them in separate containers if they are uncooked!

Aren’t they pretty?

Now, when it’s time to cook, you can pull your container out of the fridge, dump this, brown that, stir this in, and your healthful meal is ready to go – just like the cooking pros!

For a demonstration of food prep and a recommendation for one of my favorite food prep kitchen tools, click here!

Have you ever tried food prep? Do you like it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!

 



 

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Eating Well in Less Time Wellness Tips

It’s time to start another feature, and this time I’m adding a new category of features: healthy lifestyles!

 

 

This category includes tips and advice on living well within different lifestyle factors: kids, tight budgets, tight schedules, picky eaters, you name it! So now is the time to vote. Which factor should I feature to help make your healthy life easier?

 



Eating Well on a Budget

We’ll talk about every trick in the book for making a healthful lifestyle as cheap as possible. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive and often it’s actually cheaper than buying “cheap” junk food! I’ve been playing around with cutting our food budget while keeping it healthy for years, and I can tell you it’s possible to eat well on a tight budget (and I can show you how)!

 

Eating Well in Less Time

We are all busy! A tight schedule can leave little margin in our day (not to mention our energy) for keeping up healthy habits. Let me help you find healthy habits to streamline your life and make healthy work for your mind as well as your body.

 

 

Eating Well and Reducing Waste

For most American households, the vast majority of our trash bins are full of food waste and plastic food containers. A few easy swaps can significantly reduce the amount of food-related garbage in our landfills and be healthy for the planet as well as for you.

 

Vote in the poll below to let me know which feature is most helpful for you!

 

 

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Healthy Lifestyles

Salmon and red potato hash with dijon aioli

 

This delicious dish is a copycat of a breakfast from a favorite restaurant of ours – the Ironwork Grill at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon. The original is made with a dill sauce but I always swap it for this dijon aioli, and I’ve never been disappointed!

The salmon, veggies, and potatoes make this a complete, protein- and potassium-laden anti-inflammatory power meal. Plus, it is so, so tasty and very easy to make!

 



Salmon and Red Potato Hash with Dijon Aioli

This dish is a complete dinner - it's loaded with omega-3, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory power punches. It's also very easy to make!

Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Salmon and Vegetables

  • 4 fillets salmon
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 10 spears asparagus, cut into 2" lengths
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper

Dijon Aioli

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  2. Place fillets skin-side down in a greased 9 x 13" baking pan. Surround with vegetables.

  3. Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until thickest part of salmon measures 145 degrees.

  5. While salmon is baking, whisk together mayonnaise and dijon mustard.

  6. Serve salmon with aioli spread on top.

Recipe Notes

Each portion contains 499 calories, 29 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 3 g saturated fat, and 458 mg sodium.



Anti-inflammatory Diet Carb Counting Heart Healthy MyPlate Guidelines Recipes

 

So you’ve read about the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, and you’ve decided you’re a good candidate for using Trim Healthy Mama as your structure for moderation. Your next step is to get started! Over the course of my time following the plan, I gathered a list of a few tips to help you make the most out of your THM journey.

 

1. There’s a learning curve

Don’t feel bad if you unintentionally eat something that’s “not on plan.” It’s bound to happen (it happened to me!). Also, figuring out what you’re allowed to eat may feel super overwhelming at first. There is a lot to learn in the beginning! Take it in steps. Read one chapter of the book at a time (or as much as you can without feeling overwhelmed) and sit with the information for a day or more. It will get easier.

 

2. Having certain products on hand makes a world of difference

There were several products that made the THM plan so much simpler for me. Which products help you will vary based on your schedule and preferences. Here were some of my faves:

  • Pressed peanut flour – Basically ground-up peanuts with a good portion of the natural peanut oil removed, pressed peanut flour is great for E meals because it is a low-fat protein source that goes great with sweet flavors. It works well in smoothies or you can reconstitute it with water to use it as you would normal PB. Click here to purchase the one I used.
  • Almond milk (or other milk alternative) – Technically, dairy milk is not “on plan” with THM if you’re aiming for weight loss because, as the authors state, it is a “natural crossover” containing both carbohydrates and fat. That’s true unless your milk is fat free – but if you want to follow the plan to the letter, an alternative like unsweetened almond milk is useful. This one might not be as “essential” for others as for me since my family is comprised of hard-core dairy lovers, but it came in very handy for both S and E meals and as a milk alternative in recipes.
  • Low-carb wraps – These are so convenient for S meals. Sometimes you just want to put all that fatty goodness into some kind of bread-like thing. They were awesome topped with pizza toppings and/or Caesar salad. Click here for the wraps I used (also recommended by the THM authors).
  • Sprouted whole grain or sprouted sourdough bread – Your THM-approved bread option for E meals! I goofed up and used non-sprouted sourdough for my first week and had to course-correct with this tasty sprouted Dave’s Killer bread for the next two weeks. Note: eating only sprouted bread is not necessary for blood sugar management, though the plan requires it
  • Stevia – If you want something sweet, it’s nutritionally your best on-plan option. Choose one that is primarily pure stevia or stevia with erythritol or xylitol. Here’s one option that fits these criteria.
  • Almond flour (or other grain-free flour) – I’m a little torn on this one because almond flour and I didn’t exactly get along. I can’t see how you could get too far cooking without any kind of flour at all, but I didn’t take the time (or money) to explore options besides almond.

 



 

3. Don’t forget the protein

They mention this repeatedly in the book, but I can’t reiterate it enough. You need protein to stay full until your next meal, especially after E meals. The carbohydrate in E meals will go much farther if you put some protein in the tank to slow down digestion.

 

4. Be careful with your saturated fat

My biggest nutritional gripe with THM is the amount of saturated fat that can very easily be consumed within plan guidelines. Eating high amounts of saturated fat is correlated with inflammation and higher levels of harmful cholesterol. I personally ate way more saturated fat than daily recommendations most of the days I was on the plan. Be careful with the animal-based fats they recommend like butter, cream, and fatty red meats. Even the small amounts they encourage can easily push you over the recommendations.

5. Make sure to eat your veggies.

The plan itself is focused on fuels and though encouraging of vegetables, does not have a specific requirement for meeting veggie recommendations, and veggies are a very important part of a healthy lifestyle! It can be easy to skimp in this area, (I found some Youtube THMers who warned against this very issue) so be sure and give these powerful plants plenty of attention.

 



 

6. Ignore some of the verbiage from the authors

One of my pet peeves as a dietitian is seeing foods labeled as “good/clean/guilt-free” or “bad/sinful/naughty” as though each individual food could be placed in a single cut-and-dry category of either good or bad. Years of this kind of mindset can make it difficult for people to enjoy any kind of food without feeling guilty (except for raw, non-starchy, organic vegetables). I’ve had many clients who follow up every statement about what they eat with “and I know that’s bad.” (“My family likes pasta and I know that’s bad…I like to eat a lot of fruit and I know that’s bad…Sometimes I eat a piece of chocolate and I know that’s bad.”) It makes me so sad! While there are clearly foods that are more nutritious and deserve to be chosen more often than others, please ignore anyone who tells you that any food is “naughty” or that you should feel guilty for eating.

 

7. The plan is more restrictive than is necessary

In reading the first few chapters of the book, you’ll be preparing for “food freedom”…the authors start the book with that phrase and spend plenty of time discussing the cons of all the diets that are overly restrictive and that eliminate food groups. I was really on board with all of that.

Then for the remainder of the book, you find there is a pretty large list of common foods that are “not on plan” aka “not allowed.” It was a bit of a letdown for me, to be honest. They even cut out healthful options like whole grains based on some overly restrictive and outdated guidelines that I talked about in this post. For the most part, these complete eliminations are unnecessary to meet health goals, so bear in mind that 100% on-plan compliance is not necessary and that you could swap in foods that you know to be healthful.

 

8. Fuel isolation is not necessary for fat loss

I have not seen research to back up the concept of isolating either carbohydrate or fat at a particular meal as a method of weight loss. It can, however, be a structure for moderation that would make sense to some personalities. There’s no magic in the fuel isolation itself, it’s just a way to help some folks balance their overall diet.

 



9. Baked goods are tough

 

 

As I mentioned throughout my time on the plan, baked goods are tough cookies on THM. I know several ladies who follow THM and have found options that they enjoy, and I’ve also tried many plan-approved recipes that just could not cut it for me. If you are a baker (or lover of things baked), be prepared that finding “on-plan” recipes or tweaking your family recipes to your satisfaction may be a long road. You may need several specialty flours, oils, and sweeteners. This was my biggest struggle throughout the plan.

 

10. Do what works for you

Try the plan out – see what you think! If you are one of the people that loves it and finds it freeing, enjoy! Keep your eye on nutritional balance and rock your food freedom. If the plan is a struggle or parts of it don’t make sense, feel free to let them go! Personalize your nutritional plan and only keep the changes that work for your lifestyle and personality.

 



 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of these products. As an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for  purchases of products through the links on this post.

Diets Trim Healthy Mama

 

My favorite breakfast on the Trim Healthy Mama Plan was this banana split oatmeal recipe from Oil of Joy. I tweaked the recipe a tad from the original, partly for taste and partly to improve the nutrition to better meet the Trim Healthy Mama guidelines.

Here’s what I did: cut the chocolate chips in half, removed the salt, and used fresh mashed strawberries instead of strawberry jam. I also added 2 scoops of plain whey protein to boost satiety and help regulate blood sugar. The vanilla in the oats really helps to make this oatmeal rich and delicious. It definitely feels like a dessert (it doesn’t have to just be for breakfast!) and it is so, so sweet. I have continued to make it even after finishing Trim Healthy Mama!

 

Banana Split Oatmeal (THM E Meal)

This decadent oatmeal is rich, delicious, and filling. It is easy to make and satisfies your sweet tooth in minutes!

Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup water boiling
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • 2 Tbsp plain whey protein
  • 2 strawberries, mashed
  • 1/2 banana, sliced sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Combine oats, water, vanilla, stevia, and protein.

  2. Top with strawberries, banana, and chocolate chips.

Recipe Notes

Contains 275 calories, 45 grams carbohydrate, 16 grams protein, and 5 grams fat per serving.

Recipe adapted from the blog Oil of Joy.



Recipes Trim Healthy Mama