Meal Prepping Made Easy

I don’t know about you, but sometimes 24 hours a day is just not enough. With school and work, some days I struggle to find the time to eat nourishing meals because I don’t have the time to make a meal and any prepared options are usually not the best choices. I started meal prepping can help free up some time during the week by cooking meals ahead of time!

Set a Day for Meal Prepping

First, set a designated day to cook your meals. I like to cook on Sundays and Wednesdays making meals for three to four days so I don’t get tired of the same meals every day. Also, most of the time food only says good for about three to five days or so. This is also a great way to get the family into the kitchen. Getting kids to help out can spark their interest in healthy food and cooking. Plus, they are more likely to eat the food that they helped cook.

Plan Your Meals

Once you have set a day to make your meals, plan what you are going to make and write a list of food you need to get at the grocery store. Planning your meals in advance can help make grocery shopping much easier as you already know what to get. This way you only need to go to the grocery store once a week. When planning your meals, think about ingredients that could be cooked in multiple ways. For example, you can make spinach into a salad, put it in some soup, or sautee it with other veggies!

Don’t limit your meal prepping to just lunch and dinner. You can save time in the morning by portioning out your smoothie ingredients in mason jars or pre-making pancakes and cut fruit for an easy breakfast for the kids.

Having pre-made snacks make it easy for you to grab and go. Cut up and portion fruits and veggies! Portion out cheese, lunchmeat, and crackers for homemade Lunchables! Pre-package trail mix or cereals! The combinations are endless.

Be Efficient

Utilize your kitchen to the max!

  • Make sheet pan meals by roasting multiple items on the same sheet pan. That’s one less dish to wash at the end of the night!
  • Multi-task. Whether that be boiling some pasta while sauteeing some greens or baking chicken and roasting potatoes, make use of your time cooking.

Portion Out Your Meals

After making all your meals, portion out your meals. This makes it quick and easy to grab your lunch when you are on your way out the door! If you don’t have enough room in your refrigerator, pack your lunch and dinner the night before so you have it ready to go in the morning.

Mason jars are a great way to put salads in. Place your dressing in first and then put hardier vegetables like chickpeas or tomatoes or protein. That way your salad is not soggy when you eat it. It’s also great to use if you want instant noodle soups. Just cook your favorite noodles and shock them in ice water before adding it to the mason jar with other ingredients you want. Add miso, tum yum paste, a bouillon cube, or any other soup flavoring. When you are ready to eat, just add hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. And voila you have soup!

Freeze It

If you want to meal prep way far in advance, you can freeze the extra meals you made. You can marinate meat, cook vegetables,  or make soup and freeze it! Making and freezing family meals can be a huge time saver when you are running short on time to make dinner. You can make lasagna, oven bakes, or casseroles in a disposable pan and freeze them until you need them.

Fast food can be healthy. Meal prepping may require taking some time out of your week, but you can have ready to eat meals that you know are nutritious! You can make it as easy as you want it by simply putting everything in the oven or have fun making different meals. Not only does it save time during the weekdays, but it can save you money and unnecessary stress. Try meal prepping this week and comment below how you did it!

AN

Toddler Milk Trends

Toddler Milk

What better way to kickoff Kids Eat Right Month than to take a closer look at one of the newest toddler food and beverage trends hitting the shelves!

If you haven’t heard of “toddler milk” yet, you soon will. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), toddler milk is the fastest-growing category of break milk substitutes currently on the market. As a parent or caregiver, you may be wondering what exactly toddler milk is and if this product is a good choice for your child. To help answer this question, the WHO, the American Heart Association (AHA), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) are all weighing in and the answer may surprise you.

What Exactly is “Toddler Milk”?

Toddler milk, also known as “growing up” milk, is a category of products marketed to children between the ages of 12 and 36 months. They can be found alongside infant and transition formulas and are often made by the same manufacturers that we as consumers know and trust. Their nutritional make-up consists primarily of powdered low-fat milk, corn syrup solids or other caloric sweeteners, and vegetable oil. They often have added nutrients such as DHA, vitamin E, and probiotics, to name a few, and many come with statements such as “no artificial growth hormones”, “organic” and “non-GMO” that consumers may be intrigued by.

Current Nutritional Recommendations for Toddlers

So how do toddler milks stack up against current nutritional recommendations? Presently, the recommendation for children 12 months and older is plain whole cow’s milk and the introduction of healthy and appropriate solids. Whole milk provides an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D for strong bones as well as protein and fat for overall growth and brain development. In addition, the American Heart Association recommends avoiding added sugars (including the corn syrup solids in toddler milks) for children under the age of 2 years.

What’s the Big Deal?

Compared with plain whole cow’s milk, research is finding that a large majority of toddler milks on the market today contain added sugar, more sodium, and less protein. One concern that experts share is in regard to the development of long-term taste preferences. This comes from the idea that the first 1,000 days of life are the most important in terms of the development of healthy eating patterns and preferences. Because of this, children may be more inclined to consume sweetened beverages, which may result in negative outcomes for weight down the road. In addition, packaging may contain claims, such as ‘probiotics to help support digestive health’, which are not supported by scientific research at this time.

Additional Food for Thought…

As breastfeeding rates have increased, the demand for infant formula has dropped dramatically. Because of this trend, many formula manufacturers are turning to alternative products to make up for the lost revenue. In terms of marketing, toddler milks tend to look very similar in color, branding, logo, and graphics compared to infant formulas and often cost less by volume. Interestingly, the U.S. has a regulatory body responsible for food labeling and policy-making for infant formula, but unfortunately has no laws specific to toddler milks at this time. Based on research published in April of 2020 from the Journal of Public Health Policy, one can see that “advertising spending on toddler milks increased fourfold during a 10-year period (2006-2015) and volume sales increased 2-6 times”. As a result of less demand for infant formula, increased marketing of toddler milks with lower prices and unfounded health benefits, the question is raised as to whether or not parents of infants may opt to purchase toddler milk instead of formula, putting infants at risk for inadequate nutrient intake.

Lastly, while the AAFP notes that toddler drinks hold no “advantage” over whole milk and a nutritionally adequate diet, food sensitives and allergies may cause one to turn to alternative milk products. In this case, we suggest talking with your Pediatrician and Registered Dietitian about the best options for you and your family. For more information on nutritional recommendations for toddlers and children, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.  

AS

Which Came First? Lack of Sleep or Nutritient Shortfalls?

How are you taking care of yourself? Taking care of yourself directly impacts your ability to care for others. Think – are you getting the sleep you need, managing stress in a positive way, meeting your nutritional needs, getting in physical exercise? 

 

Which came first? Are nutrient shortfalls secondary to lack of sleep or lack of sleep secondary to nutrient shortfalls?

The answer – either one can cause an impact on the other. There are some common nutritional deficiencies that may prevent us from getting adequate sleep and/or caused by lack of sleep. Ideally, we should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night.  However, less than 1% of the population falls into the “exception” category of needing less or more than this. If you are not meeting this guideline, you are likely putting yourself at risk for nutrient deficiencies and causing your sleep to be worse. 

 

Adults with less than 7 hours of sleep at night have been found to have nutrient shortfalls in vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin K, potassium and omega 3s. 

  • Did you know 96% of Americans don’t eat enough vitamin D?
    • Vitamin D plays an important role in lung health, insulin secretion, bone health, brain health, heart health, inflammation, muscle health, and our immune system. 
  • Did you know 55% of Americans don’t eat enough magnesium?
    • Magnesium plays an important role in our bones/teeth, regulation of heartbeat, muscles, nervous system, metabolism, and cellular energy. 
  • Did you know 95% of Americans don’t eat enough omega 3s?
    • Omega 3s play an important role in eye health, maintaining healthy triglycerides, healthy blood pressure, brain health, heart health, and inflammation. 

Having a balanced diet with a variety of produce and protein sources can help prevent nutritional deficiencies. Nutrient-dense food sources include:

  • Vitamin D: Egg yolk, mushroom, fatty fish, cod liver oil, fortified foods/beverages (cereal/orange juice/milk)
  • Vitamin E: Almonds, avocado, fatty fish, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, spinach, butternut squash, olive oil, kiwi
  • Vitamin C: Kale, broccoli, green chili pepper, bell pepper, coriander, kiwi, strawberry, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, orange, papaya, tomato
  • Vitamin A: Liver, cod liver oil, spinach, butternut squash, mustard greens, tomato, fatty fish, carrot, sweet potato, cantaloupe, red bell pepper, parsley
  • Vitamin K: Kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, asparagus, kiwi, avocado, cheese, eggs, chicken, butter
  • Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, quinoa, beans, dark chocolate, peanuts, edamame, cashews, cacao powder, oatmeal, avocado, broccoli, banana
  • Calcium: Milk, cheese, yogurt, fish, spinach, kale, collard greens, beans, lentils, walnuts, edamame, fortified drinks (almond milk/orange juice), chia seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, broccoli, tofu
  • Potassium: Pistachios, beet greens, salmon, white beans, potatoes, milk, mushrooms, avocado, tomato, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, peanuts, almonds, banana, acorn squash, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, watermelon
  • Omega 3s: Fatty fish (anchovies, sardines, herring, trout, salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna), basil, chia seeds, flax seeds, spinach, walnuts, edamame, brussels sprouts, avocado

Whether lack of sleep causes nutrient abnormalities or nutrient abnormalities causes a lack of sleep, it is important to make both a priority to help the body function properly. They both play a key role in overall health. Speak with your Dietitian about ways you can improve stress, sleep, and nutrition. LN

Could the ibs–smart™ test be the answer for your IBS?

IBS is a stressful and oftentimes debilitating condition. Patients are put through exhaustive testing to understand the onset of their symptoms.  IBS is the diagnosis given when symptoms fit the Rome IV criteria, although commonly no other intestinal damage is apparent.

ibs–smart™ test was developed by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The test was designed to diagnose post-infectious IB (PI-IBS), which produces the same symptoms but is developed after an episode of foodborne illness. The test measures antibodies produced by the body following a viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection of the GI tract. It is about 98% accurate. A simple blood draw can reduce unnecessary and invasive testing for patients.

There is still research needed to understand how foodborne infection can lead to PI –IBS, but some ideas include: 

  • Alterations in the gut lining
  • Changes in gut motility (movement)
  • Immune system activation 
  • Decreased enzyme activity

Though this test is promising, it still has some potential drawbacks. 

There are still questions about how broadly applicable this test is for IBS sufferers.  Not all IBS stems from foodborne illness. IBS with constipation (IBS–C) doesn’t present with the same characteristics as IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) or IBS with constipation and diarrhea (IBS-M).  Unless patients can attest to developing their GI symptoms following foodborne illness, it is unclear whether the ibs–smart™ test will give insight for all patients. 

So what is the takeaway? 

The ibs–smart™ test is a great first step in diagnosing IBS in a more timely and cost-effective manner, but should not be used as the sole diagnostic tool.  Talk to your doctor and see if the ibs–smart™ test is right for you!

MU

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

I recently attended an Instant Pot Cooking Workshop. My eyes were quickly opened to a world of meals without losing flavor or texture. I purchased a pressure cooker soon after. While I love to cook, when the days grow shorter I find solace in the fact of simply preparing a few ingredients and having a meal ready for my husband and me within 30 minutes or less.

When the cold front moved through this past week, I made an easy vegetarian chili in our pressure cooker. It was savory and satisfying.  I adapted this recipe from Dinner at the Zoo.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons of your choice of cooking oil
2 pounds Beyond beef, or protein alternative
1 small onion finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
28 ounce can diced tomatoes do not drain
3- 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
3/4 cup vegetable broth or miso broth 
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
15-ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
15-ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsedInstructions
Turn your pressure cooker to “saute.” Add the oil to the pot. Add the protein and cook until browned, breaking up the with a spatula as you stir. Add the onion and cook for 3 more minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, spices, seasonings, and beans to the pot. Turn the pressure cooker to the “soup/stew” setting and place the lid on the pot. Cook for 20 minutes. Release the pressure either manually or allow it to release naturally.
Serve with cornbread, chives, cheese, or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. I even snuck in 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin 🙂
Enjoy!
KD

Should I track my food intake?

There is much to be learned about your relationship with food when you track or monitor your food intake. Monitoring your food intake can be beneficial for everyone, but especially if you have diabetes, weight concerns, an eating disorder, disordered eating, or GI issues.

Monitoring food can answer the following questions:

  1. What do I eat?
  2. Do I restrict particular foods?
  3. Is there a pattern to my eating? ie. Do I eat a certain way during the week vs weekend, or when I’m alone vs with company?
  4. Are there any “triggers” for my eating? ie. Am I eating late when I’m tired?
  5. What are my emotional triggers? ie. depression, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, or anger.
  6. Does my eating provide emotional benefits—is it calming, entertainment, an escape, or relief?

Just as a choir cannot improve their harmony if they don’t recognize the current dissonance, it is impossible to change anything if you are not aware of your current situation.

It is important to monitor your intake to help you recognize your behaviors, emotions, feelings, and exercise habits. Being honest with yourself is the only way to make progress.

Track your food intake as soon as possible after consuming. This will help you become more aware of your behaviors, emotions, feelings in real-time then you can start exploring further into your intake.

We encourage our patients to use a food intake record and not electronic devices. Electronic devices often lack the ability to make notes of the very important aspects of your food intake, such as family circumstances, emotions, and feelings. A food record can include time, place, with whom and degree of hunger during intake.

The dietitians at BN will support your monitoring efforts. Together, you will brainstorm various pathways to changing your thinking, behaviors and reaching your health goals. It’s a rewarding journey to realize you can make changes you never thought possible. Your trek to a healthy, peaceful relationship with food is far more than “eat this not that.”

CB

Fitness 101

Fitness 101:

 

Exercising is a great way to relieve stress, improve your health, and gain self-confidence. There are many reasons why people might not want to exercise like: “I don’t have time”, “I am too out of shape”, “I don’t know what to do when I am at the gym”, or even “I don’t want to workout alone”. All these problems can be solved with a little effort and motivation. Working out does not have to take place anywhere specific either. You can workout in your neighborhood, your living room, a local gym or park. The hardest part is getting started, once you have a routine it is easier to keep it up and make time for yourself and your health. Here are a couple ways to get yourself started:

 

A little goes a long way. There is no need to start off your exercise journey spending hours in the gym every single day. Add a 15-20 minute walk or run into your routine a couple times a week then go from there. Starting small will better ensure that you don’t get burnt out and you stick to your exercise goals.

Stop making excuses. If you don’t like running or lifting weights, find something that you do enjoy. There are many options like yoga, dancing, or hiking. If you don’t believe you have the time, make the time. This is your life and your health, so make it a priority for yourself to set aside even 5 minutes of exercise.

Be kind to yourself. If it has been awhile since you’ve had any physical activity there is no better time to start than right now! Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t look like a body builder after a week of hitting the gym. Your exercise journey is about YOU and YOUR health. Focus on making yourself better and reward yourself for sticking to your exercise goals.

 

When you do decide to get back in the gym, get a good warm up and cool down with walking and some light stretching. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. It is time to put your health at the top of the list! Happy exercising 😊

 

KM

Tele-health/Tele-nutrition Video Conferencing

Have you been pondering an appointment with a dietitian to help you improve your diabetes management, food allergy or celiac disease issues, lipid challenges, improve your athletic performance, lose weight or once and for all heal from your eating disorder? Scheduling and keeping appointments are a hassle, sometimes inconvenient and an expense.

Beyond the actual cost of the medical nutrition therapy appointment there are additional costs. How much does it cost you to take off an hour early from work to schedule an appointment? Are you driving across town or from Clinton, Guymon, or Muskogee for an appointment? Gas is not cheap. If you are driving to the city from out of town you will likely have meal expenses involved also. Do you have to pay child care costs while you are at an appointment?

The additional costs and inconvenience can be eliminated with “tele-nutrition video conferencing” appointments.  Banister Nutrition now provides the option for you to schedule an appointment with one of our dietitians and you can be in your kitchen, office or favorite coffee shop, where ever you please. We have a HIPPA compliant software program that allows us to easily connect with you via an e-mail address you provide. We offer packages of 3-4 appointments at a reduced cost, payable at the time of purchase with credit card.

“If” you want your insurance to cover your medical nutrition therapy appointments, insurance companies have placed limitations on what they will cover. These restrictions include:

  • Your referring physician must be located in a medically deprived area of the state which of course means rural Oklahoma.
  • At the time of your video conference you must be sitting in your physicians’ actual brick and mortar office space.
  • Medicare will cover 3 appointments per year for diabetes and renal disease only.

 

To assist patients with insurance coverage, if you have a rural physician you would like for us to approach regarding making this service available to you please provide us with your physicians name, office address and phone number . We will contact your physician to try make these arrangements for you.

Our experience has been that both physicians and patients living in rural Oklahoma have been very pleased with having medical nutrition therapy available via video conferencing. Initially we all (physicians, patients and dietitians) thought video conferencing would be a little awkward, relationships would not be easily built, and nutrition therapy via this platform would not be effective.  We are pleased to say this has not been the case. Everyone involved has found this new, convenient resource to improve your health care has been very appreciated and helpful.

 

CB

Easy Vegetable Lasagna Recipe

Makes 8 Servings

YOU WILL NEED

14 lasagna noodles (2 extra for filling in holes)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup (140 grams) chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic, (3 cloves)

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

One (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 1 heaping cup

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Generous handful fresh basil leaves, chopped

One (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese or cottage cheese

2 large eggs

2 ounces (60 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1 cup

8 ounces (230 grams) low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

COOK NOODLES

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. (We add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to the water so the noodles do not stick together). Drain then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.

MAKE VEGETABLE SAUCE

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet with sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash, and a pinch of salt then cook, stirring occasionally until softened but still with some crunch, another 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the roasted red peppers and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the basil and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

MAKE CHEESE FILLING

While the sauce cooks, stir the ricotta cheese, eggs, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl until blended.

ASSEMBLE LASAGNA

Spoon just enough vegetable mixture into the baking dish to lightly cover the bottom (about 1 cup). Arrange four noodles lengthwise and side by side to cover the bottom. (If the noodles are short on one end, you may need to cut an extra noodle and place into dish to cover where the other noodles have not).

Spread about half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the Parmesan cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Top with a third of the vegetable mixture.

Add another layer of four noodles then repeat with remaining cheese and vegetables. Finish with a final layer of noodles, vegetables, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes, uncover then bake 15 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. To make the cheese golden brown on top, slide under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

KM

 

*Thank you for the recipe and picture https://www.inspiredtaste.net/22401/fresh-vegetable-lasagna-recipe/*

 

What are You Thinking?

Does your thinking align with your goals and aspirations? Does your thinking support the positive direction of change which you desire? Do you realize your thinking tends to continually bring to mind the negative experiences of past efforts to lose weight, better manage your blood sugar, recover from your eating disorder, or improve your athletic performance because you are not eating to fuel your body properly? Do any of the following thoughts sound familiar to you?

“I can never lose weight.”

“Regardless of what I do my blood sugar is still all over the board.”

“I am so tired from my chemo/radiation, I will never be able to eat to get my strength back.”

“Trying to follow a gluten free diet is exasperating, I can’t do it.”

“I hate to exercise; I was never athletic even when I was younger.”

If some rendition of the above comments is frequently circulating in your head and you are really frustrated because you are not achieving your health and fitness goals, please do not be surprised. Negative thoughts/self-talk will never translate into positive action or positive change.

Check your thoughts more frequently than you check calories, grams of carbohydrates or fats, your blood glucose meter or nutrition labels. Your thoughts precede every decision you make. What are you thinking?

 

Some ways to turn around that negative self-talk:

  1. Change your (inner) tone of voice – Be attentive to the way you talk to yourself and change judgmental and harsh tones into empathetic and gentle ones.
  2. Write down your thoughts – When you hear the negative voice in your head, write it down to get a clear understanding of what you are saying to yourself and how you’re feeling.
  3. Smile more – Faking it until you make it can really pay off. Smiling can help change your mood about the day or a certain situation. Take a minute to think about a couple things you are grateful for to help you feel like smiling.

CB