Five Healthy Eating Tips For National Nutrition Month

NNM2016_salad3 700x550_2March is National Nutrition Month and it’s a great time to put healthy eating into place. Spring is right around the corner which is a time of plants perking up from the soil and flowers budding. And warmer weather is on the way. What a great time to start making healthier food choices and to spend time truly appreciating the flavor of delicious food. Making better food choices can impact your lisfe in so many positive ways. Here are five simple tips to help you “savor the flavor” and make healthful eating part of your life.

  1.  Take small bites. Focus on the flavor and texture of what you are eating.
  2.  Chew slowly. Let the food sit on your tongue so you can truly taste it. Count to at least 20 before you swallow. You may find that when you feel the first sign of fullness, there is still food left on your plate. If dining at home, put your leftovers in the fridge and enjoy it tomorrow. If eating out, have the food wrapped up and savor it the next day in your brown-bag lunch.
  3. Make your food taste better. Instead of microwaving or steaming your vegetables, sauté or roast them with a little olive oil, chopped garlic, and a pinch of salt. Try different herbs and spices when cooking to enhance flavors and boost the nutrition power of your meal. Try cinnamon or ginger sprinkled on fresh cut-up fruit. Or turmeric and rosemary on grilled tofu and chicken.
  4. Pull up a chair and sit down at the table. Taking the time to sit and enjoy your meal will help you to become a “mindful eater”which can help you eat less and manage your weight. Plus, you’ll be reducing your risk for many chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many types of cancer, when you eat less.
  5. Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet. Visit your local farmers’ market or grocery store and purchase some produce you’ve never tried. Cut up fruit and add it to your salads, cereal, and yogurt. Roast an array of vegetables and have them as your meal, side dish, or add to salads.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the The 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy eating for optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs to get healthy meals on the table. She is also the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment, travel nutrition and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here.

 

5 Tips For Eating Less Sugar

Silver scoop of sugar, spilling onto blue surface.

For most of us when we get a craving, it’s for sugar. Whether for a quick “pick-me-up,” a mid-afternoon treat, a late-night indulgence or –yep– that time of the month, something sweet surely makes the top of the list! Even at birth, babies prefer the taste of sweet over any other. Why does this happen? Sugar stimulates the release of the body’s “feel good chemical” serotonin, which calms and relaxes us. However, after eating the bag of jelly beans, this feeling of immense pleasure quickly plummets as your insulin level increases and hustles the sugar into your cells, ultimately dropping your blood sugar. And then the craving rebounds, and you want more sugar! If you are one of these people who constantly craves sweets, you may want to consider how often you indulge. Think about it. We have all heard people say “I’m just not a dessert person.” This is because they don’t regularly eat sweets. On the contrary, those who are “regular sugar-cravers” consume more than their fair share. Simply put, the more you eat, the more you crave. The problem with sugar is not when you have an occasional sweet food, but when you eat excessive sugar. And that is easy to do as sugar is added to many processed foods, including bread, yogurt, juices, cereals and sauces.

FYI: According to a report from the 2005–10 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), Americans eat about 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day . Teens and men consume the most added sugars. Average daily consumption for men: 21 teaspoons,  boys: 23 teaspoons, women: 14 teaspoons, , girls:  18 teaspoons. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to about 6 teaspoons per day for children and women and 9 teaspoons per day for men.

Next time you pick up a candy bar, pay attention to how you feel after you eat it. How is your energy level? Are you truly satisfied or still hungry? Are you craving more? When trying to adapt to a healthy way of eating, it can be a “real eye-opener” if you just take a few minutes to observe how your body feels and the cues it’s providing. So what can you do to satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing the sugar? Have no fear! Your sugar cravings can be controlled. The key is to be mindful when choosing sweets. Have a variety of go-to sweet snacks that won’t break the calorie bank. When you have a craving for sweets, sometimes you can find ways to not give in. Going for a walk, a relaxing cup of Chai tea or picking up a good book can take your mind off the need for a sweet. But when that fails, you need a backup plan!

Here are a list of suggestion to help you stay in control while feeding your sweet tooth:

1. Choose fruit. The healthiest “hands-down” sweet food is fruit. If a sweet dish of pineapple, strawberries, mango, or other fruit will do the trick, this is truly the best choice. You will get a nice burst of energy, but due to the fiber your blood sugar will be more stable and not drop quickly. Keeping fresh or frozen fruit always available is a great way to feed your sweet tooth and stay on track with your healthy eating routine.

2. Keep to your meal routine. Eating every three to five hours throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable and decrease your urge for the sweet stuff. Enjoying a serving of fruit with each meal will further decrease your sweet tooth and keep you energized.

3. Combine your sweet with a healthy protein, such as nuts or low fat cheese, or complex carbohydrate, such as fruit or whole grain cereal to avoid the spikes and plummets that leave you wanting more. Maybe fresh fruit by itself doesn’t do the trick! But what if it’s dipped in chocolate? YUM!! Buy a bag of chocolate chips (milk chocolate or dark–whatever your preference!) Cut up a cup of your favorite fruit. Measure out 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips (which is 130 calories) and microwave it for 30 seconds. Sit down at the table and dip the fruit into the chocolate. Or make a trail mix with 1/2 cup Multigrain Cheerios, 1 tbsp. chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts. Very delicious and under 220 calories!

4. Feed your craving! Enjoy what you crave, instead of denying yourself. Just try to keep to a sensible portion and eat it slowly! Its smart to limit snacks/treats to 200 – 250 calories. If you feel the strong desire for a candy bar or M&Ms, go for the small size but always read the label. The small package of M&Ms is 250 calories. If you keep them in freezer, you may find that even just a small handful of frozen chocolate will make you quite happy! Better yet, go for a KIND bar. These bars have several chocolate varieties, weigh in at 200 calories each, are a good source of fiber and only 1 teaspoon of sugar. Try to feed your craving with something that will satisfy you so you don’t continue eating. Try a small handful of nuts mixed with a tablespoon of chocolate chips. Or a sweet granola bar with an apple or small banana.

5. Go out and move. When you feel a sugar craving coming on, put on your sneakers and go out for a walk. Doing something else that will relax you may take your mind off the craving. Or, if it’s late at night, sip a cup of soothing chamomile tea with a teaspoon of honey or sugar to feed your sweet tooth and relax.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She loves traveling the world and experiencing new foods and cultures. Lisa is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012).. Lisa maintains a nutrition practice in NYC and Huntington, Long Island where she specializes in weight management, diabetes and travel nutrition. Lisa is also the CEO of Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs to get healthy dishes on the menu. For more info on Lisa, visit here.

Great Travel Snacks

travel_agentsTraveling makes healthy eating a bit more challenging. Whether you go by car, train or plane, when you aren’t in your normal environment it’s just easier to get off track and forget about your meal routine. And while you shouldn’t try to lose weight when on vacation, you don’t want to back track either. So taking a few minutes to pack snacks for your trip will help prevent you from stopping at the corner stop for a candy bar or pulling into the fast food lane for a milkshake. That being said some convenient stores and airport vendors do have healthy snacks to choose from, you just have to choose wisely. Here are a few suggestions for healthy snacks to bring along on your trip. Nuts Full of healthy fats, fiber and plant proteins- nuts are also calorie dense so just a small handful can be pretty satisfying and hold off your hunger for your next meal. Choose any kind you want- roasted peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, etc or make a variety pack. Fresh fruit Choose less perishable fruit such as bananas, oranges, apples, plums, apricots. Fruit is hydrating, full of nutrients and low in calories so it can be a good way to satisfy the munchies that pop up during a long trip. Raw veggies Great for a road trip. If you can bring along a cooler, pre-wash and cut veggies such as radishes, carrots or celery, place all in a plastic bag and put on ice. These make a great dipper for hummus or homemade ranch using plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Crackers Choose whole grain crackers which are more filling and contain more fiber than the “enriched” counterpart. Choose those with 5 or less ingredients. Triscuits are a great choice and offered in a variety of different flavors. Pair with hummus, natural peanut butter or cheese. Popcorn Popcorn is actually a whole grain, just be sure to choose unbuttered, unsalted to avoid unnecessary processed ingredients, trans fats and sodium. Flavor it yourself with garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, pepper, sea salt or even hot sauce for a kick. Popcorn lets you “volume eat” since you get a three-cup serving for only 100 calories. Trail mix
Make your own! Mix together a whole grain cereal such as Wheat Chex or Cheerios, nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate pieces. Place in individual baggies.. The snack doesn’t require refrigeration so can last the length of your trip. Energy Bars Choose those with few ingredients, low in added sugar (less than 6 grams), contain some protein (more than 3 grams) and fiber (at least 2 grams)per serving. Kind Bars and Lara Bars are excellent choices because they are satisfying, tasty and contain more “whole food” ingredients. If you don’t pack ahead, good news! Most of the aforementioned items can be found at most convenient stores or airport vendors. Happy snacking!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012.). She is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition and her M.A. in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit: www.lisastollmanrd.com