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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

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

Gut Microbiome and Nutrition

The large intestine contains the highest concentration of microbes in our bodies and these microbes are different for everyone. The different types depend on genes, age, gender, diet, hygiene and even climate and occupation. Studies show that gut microbes even affect pain, mood, sleep, stress, and how our bodies use the food we eat to fight infection and keep us healthy. The microbes in our gut also affect how the nutrients we eat are stored in our bodies, as well as regulate our appetites and have some control in our weight.

Diets high in fat and refined sugars can cause the good and bad bacteria in our gut to become unbalanced. This can cause inflammation and increase our risk for infections. The gut microbiota actually act to crowd out bad bacteria that can cause infection. It can also decrease inflammation throughout the body by releasing specific compounds to prevent attacks on the immune system. 

Foods that are good for gut health include high FIBER foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and pre/probiotics!

 

Fiber Foods:

  • Bran cereal, FiberOne bar
  • Beans (lentils, kidney, black, lima, etc)
  • Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
  • Quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, whole wheat bread
  • Spinach, collard greens, peas, broccoli, squash
  • Almonds, sesame seeds, pistachios
  • Pears, apples, dried fig, prunes, oranges

 

Probiotic Foods:

  • Aged cheeses, greek yogurt, kefir
  • Kimchi, kombucha, olives, sauerkraut, soybeans
  • Sourdough bread

 

Prebiotic Foods:

  • Berries, bananas, tomatoes, vegetables
  • Barley, flaxseed, oatmeal, wheat
  • Beans, chickpeas, lentils

 

For more in-depth info check out this link>> http://www.nutritionnews.abbott/nutrition-as-medicine/the-role-of-the-microbiome-in-gut-health-.html?fbclid=IwAR2R1aisahO4KeNLiZNXXiszzbQoZDqtCoT-5jLopPYlI-PXhMeHVepZ464

 

KM

Chicken Pot Pie Made Healthy

This recipe adds more carrots and parsley, substitutes low-fat milk, and uses less butter! Easy swaps like this can really transform a classic recipe into something healthier!

 

Ingredients

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery in a saucepan. Cover with water. Boil until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and vegetables are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  3. Cook and stir onions in butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and remove from heat. Set aside.
  4. Place chicken mixture in bottom pie crust; pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until pie is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Let us know how you like this great recipe from allrecipes.com!

KM

Intuitive Eating

Are you tired of dieting and being confused by all the latest diet trends? Do you feel like you don’t know how to get on track and establish a consistent eating pattern? Are you unsure of how food connects with your mental and physical health? If you answered yes to any this, the concept and practice of intuitive eating will be great to apply to your lifestyle.

Intuitive eating in a nutshell is a mindset or philosophy that honors internal body cues that we are innately born with such as eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are satisfied, and it rejects the diet mentality that is heavily marketed. There is more that is involved in becoming an intuitive eater but here are the 10 principles that were first developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their book titled intuitive eating.

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality – Avoid fad diets and all the rules surrounded about eating
  2. Honor your Hunger – Listen to the cues your body gives you to tell you to fuel up. Keep yourself fed.
  3. Make Peace with Food – Give yourself permission to eat and enjoy all foods. Restriction leads to overeating which creates a poor relationship with food
  4. Challenge the Food Police – Stop the thoughts in your head that make you believe your “good” for eating low calories or “bad” for having some ice cream.
  5. Respect your Fullness – Listen for the signals your body gives you to tell you that you are no longer hungry. A hunger scale can be great to use for this.
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor- Enjoy the food and meal experiences you encounter. Remember that food is to be both nourishing and satisfying.
  7. Honor Your Feelings without using Food – Find ways to cope with emotions you may struggle with. Practice guided mediation, talk with a friend, or dive into a great book.
  8. Respect your Body – Accept your genetic blueprint and be proud of the skin you’re in! Your worth is not determined by your size.
  9. Exercise, Feel the Difference – Get active in an activity you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be at the gym to be considered exercise. Go on a walk or get some yard work done. It all counts. Shift your focus from solely burning calories to how energized you may feel. It’s a great stress reliever too!
  10. Honor your Health – Avoiding diets doesn’t equate to not being aware of or caring about what you eat. Choose nutrient dense foods the majority of the time also knowing that’s its totally fine to have some indulgences

Remember that intuitive eating doesn’t happen overnight and it takes consistent practice and time. You can work with any of the dietitians at BN to help apply these principles into your way of life long-term.

UC

Sugar-Coated

The American Heart Association recommends no more then 6 TEASPOONS (25 grams or 100 calories) of added sugar per day for women, and 9 TEASPOONS (38 grams or 150 calories) per day for men. To put things into perspective…

1 Tablespoon Ketchup = 3.7 grams Sugar

1 Quaker Chewy Bar = 7 grams Sugar

1 Cup apple juice = 24 grams Sugar

1 Serving Yoplait Fruit, Nonfat Yogurt = 47 grams Sugar

Added Sugar

With the new Nutrition Facts label, there is now a column for “Added Sugar”. This is great information to have and it tells us how many grams of calorie containing sweeteners/added sugars have been added. Consuming added sugars in excess can cause weight gain and obesity because they do not contain nutrients and are a form of empty calories. In large amounts, these sweeteners rapidly increase blood glucose levels, insulin levels, and triglycerides. When these levels are elevated, your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic illnesses increases.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners, aka non-nutritive sweeteners, are another type of sweetener that can be added to food products and are widely known for being added to diet beverages. They are low and even no calorie sweeteners such as Nutrasweet, Sweet One, Sweet’N Low, and Splenda. In their chemical forms they are Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin, and Sucralose. This type of sweetener also provides no nutrient benefits for the body. Studies show that daily consumption of artificially sweetened beverages, such as diet drinks, are associated with a 36% greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk for type 2 diabetes (Gardener, et al., 2019).

Artificially sweetened beverages can be used among consumers to decrease calories but use of these beverages should be limited-time and as an in-between while transitioning to drinking water only.

Real Sugar/Natural Sugar

Not all sugar is bad. Naturally occurring sugars in food such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose) provide important nutrients. Whole fruits contain antioxidants and fiber, which helps you feel full for longer and provide metabolic benefits. The natural sugars combined with the other nutrients in these foods are digested more slowly than the added sugars which helps stabilize blood glucose levels. When given the option, always choose whole fruit over dried fruit or fruit juice.

 

As always, we recommend a balance of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. However, there is room for the occasional Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper in moderation. Living a healthy lifestyle is about variety, moderation and making choices for YOU and your health!

KM

 

 

Studies and Pictures Cited:

  1. Gardener, H., & Elkind, M. S. (2019). Artificial Sweeteners, Real Risks. Stroke,50(3), 549-551. doi:10.1161/strokeaha.119.024456
  2. Strawbridge, H. (2018, January 08). Artificial sweeteners: Sugar-free, but at what cost? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/artificial-sweeteners-sugar-free-but-at-what-cost-201207165030
  3. Photo by Mikael Stenberg on Unsplash

How Does Your Bar Add Up?

As a Dietitian, I always recommend real food over meal replacements, shakes or bars. In a perfect world, we would sit down and eat a balanced meal three times a day. However, if you are in a time crunch, having a nutrition bar is better than skipping a meal. So that leads us to the big question – “how do I choose the right bar?”  Choosing the right bar for you can be very challenging. Several bars on the shelves are full of sugar with similar nutrition content as a candy bar. Here are a few guidelines and things to look for when choosing a nutrition bar:

 

  • Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates are a great source of sustainable energy, so look for bars that have fiber content. Also, look for bars that contain natural sources of sugar, like fruit. Try to limit added sugars.

Rule of thumb: 2 gm or more of fiber and 8-10 gm or less of total sugar content

 

  • Protein: Protein is needed to help you feel full and keep you feeling full between meals, so this is an important one. Your body can only absorb a certain amount of protein in one sitting, so getting a bar with 30-40 gm protein is not helpful.

Rule of thumb: 8-20 gm protein content

 

  • Fat: Look for a bar that contains healthy sources of fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and avoid bars high in saturated or trans fats.

Rule of thumb: less than 3 gm saturated fat content

 

Here is a list of bars that meet the guidelines above:

  • Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Bars: Salted Dark Chocolate and Nut; Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • KIND Breakfast Protein Bars: Dark Chocolate Cocoa; Almond Bar; Maple Cinnamon; Peanut Butter Banana Dark Chocolate
  • KIND Sweet and Spicy Bars: Roasted Jalapeno; Thai Sweet Chili; Sweet Cayenne BBQ
  • CLIF Whey Protein Bars: Mint Chocolate Almond Flavor
  • CLIF Mojo Bars: Honey Srirocka
  •  CLIF Luna Bars: Lemonzest; Chocolate Peppermint Stick; Sea Salt Caramel; Nutz Over Chocolate; White Chocolate Macadamia; S’mores; Chocolate Cupcake
  • POWER Bar Plant Protein Bars: Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt
  • EPIC Bars: Chicken Sesame BBQ; Turkey Almond Cranberry
  • Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bar: Honey Peanut Almond
  • Think Thin Protein + Fiber Bars: Pumpkin Spice
  • KIZE Bars: Cocoa; Peanut Butter; Vanilla Almond; Cinnamon Roll; Pumpkin Seed; Peanut Butter Crunch with Pumpkin Seeds

 

Note: The above recommendations are for healthy adults. If you have a chronic disease, please talk to your Dietitian to see if there are any other specific recommendations for you to look at. The bars pictured were found at Crest Foods and Target.

 

LN

Feeding Your Metabolism

Metabolism refers to the energy produced to perform all functions of the body. Improvements in metabolism can help with weight management, increase overall energy and lead to a healthier lifestyle. Here are the top tips to give your body that extra boost:

 

 

  • Get adequate water intake:

 

Water is required by the body to work more efficiently. You wouldn’t run a car without gas or oil, so why would you deprive your body of water? Drink 8 ounces when you first wake up to help cleanse your body and allow for a more favorable environment for nutrient absorption. Aim for a minimum of 64 ounces per day.

 

 

  • Eat a balanced breakfast:

 

Breakfast is a great way to get your metabolism started in the morning. Aim for a balanced meal including lean sources of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Alternating your breakfast meals and eating within 90 minutes of waking can work to boost your metabolism.

 

 

  • Build lean body mass:

 

The more lean body mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate. Incorporate weight or resistance training into your workout routine to help build lean muscle. This will cause your body to burn more calories at rest and help with weight loss.

 

 

  • Even out caloric distribution:

 

Waiting till the evening meal to consume the majority of your calories, can lead to increase in insulin levels, promote fat storage and result in weight gain. Your metabolism works more efficiently in the morning and slows down as the day progresses, so aim even calorie distribution.

 

 

  • Improve sleep:

 

Lack of sleep leads to increase in hunger hormone, ghrelin and decrease in fullness hormone, leptin. No wonder your feel so hungry on the day after only 4 hours of Zzzs!! To promote a more efficient metabolism and prevent weight gain, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

 

 

  • Fuel properly:

 

Skipping meals will actually slow down your metabolism, so eat every 3-4 hours to promote a more efficient metabolism. Getting a variety of foods and adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat from your diet is important for proper metabolism and nutrition.

 

Wondering what your metabolism is? Banister Nutrition performs metabolic testing for patients to provide more individualized care and recommendations for proper nutrition. Help your metabolism by implementing these tips!

Buying Healthy on a Budget

Is grocery shopping for a healthy lifestyle more expensive? The answer is absolutely not, but it can be if you let it. As a student studying nutrition I hear this all the time from friends, family, and random people I meet, “I would love to start eating healthy but it’s so expensive”. I am going to show you how it can be way cheaper to buy fresh, real food versus the pre-packaged, convenience foods at the grocery store and share some tips on how to find the healthier products!

I have listed a few items that I feel are commonly bought at the grocery store (Walmart Grocery prices).

Shopper 1

  • Maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal packs (160 calories/serving) > $2.50
  • Welch’s fruit snacks (80 calories/serving) > $6.98
  • Bag of Doritos (140 calories/serving) > $3.98
    • Totals = $13.46, 380 calories

Shopper 2

  • 100% Whole Grain quick oats (150 calories/serving) > $1.76
  • 2 lbs of grapes (30 calories/ 15 grapes) > $5.76
  • 1 bag of string cheese 12ct (70 calories/serving) > $2.18
    • Totals = $9.70, 250 calories

As you can tell, shopper 1 bought the processed, pre-packaged items while shopper 2 chose a healthier and less processed version of shopper 1’s items. The healthier options not only cost less and are lower in calories, but the health benefits they provide are going to save you money in the future as well due to less medical bills and visits to the doctor.

I also have some tips to help you make healthier decisions while you are at the grocery store. I know you have probably heard some of these before but that just means that they are working for people!

  1. Make a list. This doesn’t mean throw together a list in the car on the way there, this means plan your meals and snacks for the week and write it all down.
  2. Eat a snack. We all know you aren’t supposed to go to the grocery store hungry, so if you know you’re one to buy impulsively from cravings, then have a snack before you go or even take one with you.
  3. Shop on the perimeter. Have you ever noticed that the fresh produce, meat, and dairy are all on the perimeter of the grocery stores? The processed foods tend to be in the aisles in the middle of the store, so after shopping for all your wonderful, fresh foods venture over to get necessities from the aisles such as brown rice or whole grain bread.
  4. I hope this blog has opened your eyes to the world of grocery shopping for a healthier lifestyle. Reminder: this does not mean you have to give up your favorite cookies or ice cream… Everything can fit onto your plate in moderation. In the long-run, your body and mind will thank you for eating fruits and vegetables as well as a cookie now and then! KM

Food Allergies

Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults – Article Review

A new study was published looking at the prevalence of food allergies among adults in the US. Since most studies are centered around childhood food allergies, this information is greatly welcomed. Food allergies continue to be a relevant topic as they pose a threat to many people’s health and well-being. Adults can either develop food allergies later in life (example: fin fish and shellfish) or continue to react to food allergies from childhood. This study set out to provide comprehensive, national representative estimates of the distribution, severity, and factors associated with adult food allergy in the United States.

Surveys were administered to a sampling of US households, age 18 and above, by NORC at the University of Chicago from 10/9/2015 – 9/18/2016. The primary outcome measures for the study were the prevalence and severity of overall and food specific convincing adult food allergy.  Criteria were set to distinguish between convincing and non-convincing food allergies: severity of reactions and organ systems involved. Statistical analysis was done to compare relative prevalence and other assessed food allergy outcomes by participant characteristics.

Overall 10.8% of US adults were estimated to have 1 or more convincing food allergies, suggesting that at least 12 million adults have adult – onset food allergies and 13 million have experienced 1 or more severe reactions. The data suggests 1 in 10 US adults are food allergic and 1 in 5 adults believe they are food allergic.  The most common allergies seen were: shellfish, peanut, milk, tree nuts, and fin fish. Half of the participants reported a diagnosed allergy and peanuts tended to be the FA with the highest rate of physician diagnoses. A history of severe reactions was more commonly reported by participants with peanut and tree nut allergies. 8.6% of participants reported 1 or more ER visits within the last year. Rates of females with convincing FA were higher than those of males and younger adults (age 30-39 years) were higher than participants 60 years or older. Food allergies continue to be a prevailing topic in health care and as shown in this study, are extremely common in the United States.

To see the study in its entirety visit: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2720064

MU