May is National Egg Month!

3 05 2018

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Are you confused by eggs? You go to the store and you see farm fresh eggs, all natural eggs, free range/cage free eggs. Egg lingo can be very hard to understand. Then you get to the cooking and eating part. Are you supposed to cook the whole egg or just the whites? Let’s help you become fluent in “egg language” and give you some nutrition facts.

Eggs aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be, so let’s start with defining the different types of eggs we see at the grocery store:

Farm Fresh Eggs

You might think this term means that a local farmer just went to his coop and gathered the eggs to bring to your grocery store that afternoon, BUT that is not exactly the case. The term “farm fresh” means absolutely nothing and is not a regulated term according to the FDA. Those are just words to help create that nice fuzzy picture in your mind in hopes that you will be more likely to purchase them.

All Natural Eggs

When you see “all natural” on the label you may assume those eggs came from a hen free from all harmful things. BUT, just as before, “all natural” has no legal definition and is not regulated. Almost 95% of eggs in the United States come from chickens that are raised in cages in long rows, inside huge barns that give each bird approximately 67 square inches of space. To give you an idea of what that amounts to, 67 square inches is roughly the size of an iPad. According to commercial egg producers, using this process of production is safe, cost-effective and helps in keeping egg prices down.

Free Range/Cage Free Eggs

We grouped these two terms together because they basically mean the same thing. When you read the terms “cage free” or “free range” what do you think of? You might think of happy hens free from cages, with lots of room to wander all over the farm or pasture. This is exactly what the producer wants you think…. Cage free actually means exactly what it says, which is that the hens do not live in cages. But, they don’t necessarily live in mansion-size barns and get to roam wherever they please either. They do get to walk around and spread their wings and do normal “chicken things”, but space is still an issue. Free range is not a regulated term and means basically the same thing as cage free. Most of the time the hens that live on “free range” farms don’t even have access to the outdoors, because the definition is not specific as to where the chickens have free range. The only specification is that they cannot be in cages. The farms usually have industrial fans that remove ammonia from the buildings and create strong winds through the small doorway. Unfortunately, the hens don’t really want to walk through that to get outdoors!

You may also see “No Hormones” on the packaging. This is misleading because it is illegal to give hormones to poultry, so subsequently eggs are not going to contain added hormones.

“No Antibiotics is another term you might see, which can also be misleading. Though antibiotics may be used to treat hens, FDA regulations assure that antibiotic residues do not occur in the egg itself. Only a very small percentage of laying hens ever receive antibiotics, and only for treating illness. There are companies like Perdue or Tyson that are making progress in eliminating the use of antibiotics in their chickens altogether.

So what eggs should you buy?

Well, our suggestion would be to buy directly from your local farmer if possible! Talk to the farmer and ask how the hens are raised and get the facts. Most areas around WV will have a local egg farmer, so ask around or go to your local farmers market and you’ll surely find one!

 

Now, let’s get to the cooking and eating part!

Egg white vs whole egg.

Here are the facts:

One egg yolk has about 200mg of dietary cholesterol and 5g of fat. Most of that fat is healthy fat, being that it is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Mono and polyunsaturated fats are heart healthy and can help reduce cholesterol and risk for heart disease. It’s important to distinguish between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in blood. Blood cholesterol is the cholesterol that is found in your bloodstream. Our bodies manufacture all the cholesterol we need, but the amount of blood cholesterol we have can be influenced by the foods and beverages we consume. Dietary cholesterol is found in foods and beverages of animal origin, but surprisingly does not have much effect on our blood cholesterol level. Dietary fats like trans-fat and saturated fats actually have more of an impact, therefore, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have removed the previous recommendation of limiting dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day. Research on moderate egg consumption has shown that up to one egg per day is not associated with increased heart disease risk. With that being said, when you remove the yolk you are removing key nutrients like protein, vitamin A, D, E, B12, K, riboflavin, folate and iron. Those nutrients can help with your immune system, bone strength, and aid many more functions your body does every day. We know most people do not eat just one egg for a meal, so we would recommend trying one whole egg with one egg white so that you get your vitamins and minerals but not too much saturated fat.

There are lots of different ways to incorporate eggs in cooking, so follow this link for 50 egg ideas:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-egg-ideas

Want to learn more about eggs and health? https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs/

Have an egg-cellent day!

Brittany

Author of the blog today is Brittany Powell, a Dietetic Intern from Marshall University working with Cathy Shaw, RDN, LD of the PEIA Weight Management Program

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Make Some New Traditions This Thanksgiving…

21 11 2017

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I enjoy looking for NEW traditions when it comes to recipes for the holidays. Green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, mashed potato casserole….yeah, I need a break from the “casserole” section of the cookbook! While I love our traditional family recipes (it would not be Thanksgiving without my mom’s stuffing!), I also enjoy trying new foods and preparing them in different ways. I guess it’s the “foodie” in me! I have been on the look out for some great fall recipes to spruce up your Thanksgiving table this year, and I think you’re gonna like them! I have personally made all of these dishes and found them to be healthy, flavorful, and totally delicious. They are a great way to change up your Thanksgiving menu, or at least add some really tasty vegetables to your plate!

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup: Literally one of the easiest soups I have ever made! This comes from Gimme Some Oven. Simply add the ingredients to the crock pot and 4 hours later, you have soup! Having an immersion blender is key….this little gadget makes blending in the crock pot a breeze (I use this to blend up my apples for apple butter too). It is super handy, small and inexpensive. Get one!

https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/slow-cooker-butternut-squash-soup-recipe/

 

Kale Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette: They key to eating kale in a salad is massaging it with a little olive oil! Who knew you had to massage kale? The real deal of this recipe is the pumpkin vinaigrette. Literally one of the best dressings I have ever made! You could simply make the dressing and add it to any salad. This recipe comes from Parents Magazine. Feel free to substitute goat cheese for Feta if you have it on hand…it’s fabulous!

http://www.parents.com/recipe/kale-salad-with-pumpkin-vinaigrette/

Stuffed Acorn Squash: This is something I had never made before. This squash is stuffed with a cranberry apple dressing that is to die for! I actually substituted sweet Italian turkey sausage for the pork sausage and it turned out great. This is so satisfying it could be used as a main dish if you like. Want it to be vegetarian? Omit the sausage or use vegan sausage. This recipe comes from Happily Unprocessed.

http://www.happilyunprocessed.com/2014/04/29/stuffed-acorn-squash-apple-cranberry-sausage-stuffing/

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Wild Rice, Pear & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Walnuts: Registered dietitian, Sally Kuzemchak of Real Mom Nutrition, does it again! I just love her recipes. They are simple, family friendly, and nutritious! I literally made this one night after working all day, and paired it with some all natural Al Fresco sweet apple chicken sausage for some extra protein. This dish was such a wide variety of flavors. Very pleasing to the palate! Give it a try…

https://www.realmomnutrition.com/roasted-sweet-potato-salad/

Balsamic Green Beans: One of my tried and true recipes from Southern Living Magazine. This beats mushy canned green beans, hands down! The balsamic vinegar with a hint of  brown sugar really kick this up to the next level…

http://cookbookfundraiser.com/recipe/2468458/balsamic-green-beans—southern-living.html

So where did I get the motivation to try some of these new things? Well, the Shaw family joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) program through a local farm this year (Harmony Farm), and we were able to get our hands on lots of fresh produce! We got a wide assortment of local, seasonal produce weekly, which gave us a break from buying it at the store. My sister-in-law even referred to it as having Christmas every week! Recently, our haul included some beautiful acorn squash, kale, butternut squash, and green beans. Having great ingredients on hand always inspires me!

So from our family to yours, have a bountiful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

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Cathy Shaw, RDN, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian for the WV PEIA Weight Management Program, and loves to be wild and wonderful in West Virginia…

Cathy head shot





Treasure the Moments This Holiday Season…

22 12 2016

Are you enjoying the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? Or are social gatherings and christmas-tree-grape-and-cheese-trayholiday treats creating anxiety and worry about maintaining your healthy habits? Navigating the holiday season can certainly be a challenge, but don’t let stress take away your joy or treasured time spent with family and friends.

Savoring the holidays doesn’t mean that you have to overindulge in anything and everything that comes along. Remember that our holiday season, no matter what holiday you may celebrate, is a time to reflect and ponder the gifts we have been given in our lives, and a time to share joy and peace with others. Of course traditional foods are often part of this reflection (our house would not be the same without my grandmother’s pizzelles and her Italian wedding soup!), and it is a perfect time to share these traditions with those around us. But what you choose to share and savor is completely up to you!  I have heard people say that they are avoiding holiday gatherings, or are worried that there will be no “good” foods to choose from. To this I say, if food is bringing about feelings of fear and guilt, then we have some work to do! Here are some tips to help reduce your anxiety about holiday gatherings, and enjoy the taste of the season:

 

  1. Realize that this time of year is a little different. Foods are different, schedules are different, feelings are different. Be aware of your own needs. This can be as simple as eating regularly, staying hydrated, and getting some rest. If you tend to get stressed out over the holidays, find a way to relax for a few minutes daily. Try a hot bath, a stroll outside in the fresh air, a power nap (no more than 20 minutes!), or even meditation/deep breathing. Gather your thoughts and remember what the holidays are really about.

 

  1. Before you head out to socialize, remember to take the edge off. Never go to a party famished! Have a small snack before you leave the house to help control hunger. An apple and a small handful of nuts can do the trick.

 

  1. Before you eat, make sure you check out everything that is available. Be mindful. Make a conscious decision to choose only the foods that you really want to try, and make one plate to nosh from for the evening. This way you can savor what you really want, and you won’t have to worry about trying everything (and inevitably feel guilty later).

 

  1. Socialize! That’s what you’re there for, right? Conversation is calorie free! Choose to socialize away from the food table, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. Chances are, if you are talking, you aren’t eating (well, because talking with your mouth full is NOT good party manners!).

 

  1. Go easy on the alcohol. Calories from wine, beer, and cocktails can really rack up, so be mindful. If you do drink, do so in moderation (approximately 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men), and realize that the more you drink, the less you may be able to resist overeating.

 

  1. Bring something wonderful! Everyone is always worried that there will be no “healthy” food for them to eat. Simple solution: bring your own! A festive salad, a healthy appetizer, a pretty dessert. Most people love when guests bring gifts or things to share, so “wow” them with something healthy, pretty, and delicious! Here are some great ideas:

Kale Salad with Cranberry Almond Vinaigrette:

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/kale-salad-warm-cranberry-vinaigrette-recipe/

Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/roasted-asparagus-wrapped-in-prosciutto-recipe.html

Grapes, Goat Cheese, and Nuts: 

http://inspiredrd.com/2014/11/easy-party-appetizer-nuts-with-goat-cheese-and-grapes/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+inspiredrd/EjAy+(Inspired+RD)

Spiced Hot Fruit Bake:

http://www.cottercrunch.com/gluten-free-spiced-hot-fruit-bake/

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pecans:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pumpkin-pie-spiced-pecans

  1. Be realistic. If you are on a weight loss journey, realize that losing weight over the holiday season may be a lofty goal. Focusing on weight maintenance, as well as mindfulness when it comes to food, may be better options. No one should feel anxious or guilty for enjoying time spent sharing holiday traditions with family and friends. Ditch the negative self-talk, cherish your time together, and know that your journey will continue well into the New Year.

 

Wishing you peace, love, and joy this season and always…

Cathy head shot     Cathy Shaw is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

for the WV PEIA Weight Management Program





Back to School Meal Planning Blues? Never fear, We Are Here!

26 08 2016

Back to school means back to reality for every teacher, child and parent. The days become Cathy head shotpacked with bus schedules, homework, and after school sports. Our lives have changed a bit this year with our oldest going off to college. Now I don’t have to prepare his meals, I just worry about what he is choosing to eat away from home! I found myself in my kitchen last night doing another evening of meal prep for this week thinking, “Yep, school starts tomorrow! The fun has just begun!” This week has brought the challenge of my crazy “back to school” life front and center! I have had to change my meal planning routine to accommodate the needs of my family, and making sure everyone has nourishing, tasty meals that fit our schedule is a big part of the challenge.

Planning healthy meals and snacks for three people seems a little less daunting since we no longer have to worry about 2 children playing sports, but it can still be like choreographing a Broadway show. My daughter has thankfully learned how to pack her own lunch, so that helps a lot. She is very active in sports,  so packs healthy, energizing snacks as well. Depending on work and evening events, my husband and I figure out some way get a healthy meal on the table, or pack food to take with us to sporting events. Among all of this, he and I pack our own lunches and snacks for our work day, and squeeze in some exercise for ourselves.

It sounds like a big job, but being organized and planning ahead can take the pressure off having to make spontaneous and often unwise decisions. Relying on fast food and take out can be unhealthy and expensive. So instead, have a solid plan of quick and easy healthy meals and snacks ready to tackle the week.

6 Tips to Tackle Your Week:

  • Check your family’s schedule! Start with plotting where family members need to be and when, so that you can decide how to tackle meals and snacks for the week. Think about how many meals you need to plan for, and how much time you will have each day. Are you a working parent? Do your children have after school activities? Do you travel for work? All of these factor in.
  • Plan the basics:

Breakfast: Many people eat the same breakfast most days of the week. Are the choices you are making healthy ones? What small change could you make to improve them? Make sure you plan to keep breakfast staples on hand at all times. Are you in a hurry? Try prepping grab and go items like a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat, or a make ahead smoothie in a to-go cup.

Lunch: If you work, do you pack a lunch or succumb to take out because you didn’t have time to pack? Do your kids or spouse need to pack? Plan to keep lunch staples on hand, or to take leftovers from dinner. That is a great way to use up the healthy foods you have taken the time to make. When packing lunches, do it the night before to save you from the morning rush. If you are taking leftovers, put them into to-go containers as you are putting foods away to save time.

Snacks: Plan ahead for healthy snacks for your kids AND yourself. In a slump at 4pm and starving when you get home? A healthy snack with some protein and carbohydrate can bridge the gap. Kids will always need after school, pre-game/pre-practice snacks, so plan what you need to keep on hand (think apples and peanut butter, string cheese and whole grain crackers, low sugar whole grain cereal and low fat milk or yogurt, etc.)

Dinner: Keep a running list of family staple recipes. Store them however you like, but keep the ones you are using for the week at arms-length (Pinterest is a great way to search, organize and access recipes). Are they made from healthy ingredients, or are there easy ways to make 1 or 2 of them more nutritious this week? Try to choose a new recipe at least every couple of weeks to keep variety in your diet. Pick recipes with ingredients that may overlap to keep your shopping list concise. Don’t let recipes overwhelm you with too many ingredients. Plan on making enough to have some leftovers for lunch, or to create another meal. For example, prepare extra chicken and vegetables that can be used for a stir fry or soup on another night! Use My Plate http://goo.gl/MPJsw to help you focus on planning a balanced meal. Can you check off at least 4 food groups for your meal? Using the premise that half of your plate should be vegetables and fruit will start you off on the right foot.

  • Check your pantry! Keeping a well-stocked pantry is key to successful meal planning for busy families. Get some great ideas here for some basic kitchen staples and kid friendly pantry items: The Good Pantry  A Kid Friendly Pantry Make sure you have what you need for meals and snacks you have planned. What you don’t have on hand, write on your grocery list for the week. Remember to write down the quantities of things you need, otherwise you may come up empty handed. Also, keep a running list of things you need during the week, so you don’t forget anything when you go to the store.
  • Time to shop! Plan adequate time to shop for what you need. Shop from your list to keep impulse spending down. If there are specialty items you need, make sure your grocer carries them, or you may need to find a substitute.
  • Prep it up! It always helps to prep up some of your foods ahead of time to make things flow smoothly during the week. Check your meal plan and figure out what you are going to need for the at least next few days. Some great ways to get started….

*Wash and chop/cut veggies and fruit for recipes and snacks as needed

*Precook meat for things like tacos, casseroles and soups, and drain and rinse beans.      These can be used any meal.

*Get out food prep items you might need like the slow cooker, pots/pans the night before.

  • Get cooking! If you have planned things out pretty well, evening meal prep should be a breeze! Use some great tools to your advantage like the crock pot, pressure cooker, grill, and microwave. Remember to keep it simple, healthy and tasty, and the stress of meal prep will be kept to a minimum

To hit the ground running start out with some healthy breakfast ideas for busy mornings! Check out the great ideas here from http://www.Eatright.org:

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/snack-and-meal-ideas/breakfast-on-the-go

Want to pack your own 5 Star lunch box? Get some great tips here:

https://healthperformance.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/who-said-lunchboxes-are-just-for-kids/

http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2015/01/over-50-healthy-work-lunchbox-ideas.html

Eatright.org also has some great tips for planning healthy family dinners! Check out these ideas, and this great summer recipe!

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/delicious-family-dinners-for-weeknights

Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AYlxcm643jTc6HlvNYvXux5aHqM3FRhaCDRVYxrXt3vZj8rQ1WdNxLg/





Beautiful Blueberries!

19 07 2016

July is National Blueberry Month, and what a perfect time to find out how amazing these Cathy head shotsweet little berries are!

Blueberries rank only second to strawberries as the nation’s most popular berry. There are more species of blueberries native to North America than any other continent. Ripe and plentiful this in the summer months, you will find the locals flocking to blueberry farms for some “you-pick-em” fun! We are fortunate enough to have an organic blueberry farm nearby (where we can eat while we pick!), so we have enough blueberries to eat (like candy!) and freeze for the fall and winter months.

Health benefits of blueberries:

Blueberries are low in calories (about 80 calories per cup) and have one of the highest antioxidant values of all fruits. These phytochemical properties help the body combat free radicals that damage cell structures and DNA, thus potentially helping protect the body from a variety of cancers as well as the effects of aging and degenerative diseases. Regular consumption of blueberries (1-2 cups per day for 1-3 months) is also linked to improved cardiovascular health as well, particularly in the arena of improving lipid balances in the body, protecting the lining of blood vessel walls, and supporting healthy blood pressure. For all you have ever wanted to know, and much more visit The World’s Healthiest Foods at  http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8 .

When looking for fresh blueberries, look for ones that are firm, plump, smooth, and have a silver/gray surface sheen. The color should be deep purple-blue or blue-black. Store your blueberries in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator, preferably in a drawer with high relative humidity. They should keep there for up to a week.

To freeze your berries, wash and pat dry and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer bag and force out the excess air before sealing. They can be stored frozen for up to a 6 months in a conventional freezer and up to a year in a stand alone freezer.

So this weekend, head out for some blueberry picking or visit your local farmer’s market, then discover some delicious new recipes like:

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal:  http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2015/01/blueberry-baked-oatmeal/  Nutrition facts for this recipe per serving: 201 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 36g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 6g protein, 195mg sodium, 60mg potassium

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bites: https://www.skinnymom.com/frozen-blueberry-yogurt-bites/  (Nutrition facts are included)

And a savory and delightful addition to your salad…Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette: http://www.liveeatlearn.com/blueberry-balsamic-vinaigrette/  Nutrition facts for each 2Tbsp serving: 107 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrate, 0g protein, 9mg sodium, 25mg potassium

Let us know your creative ways of using these little gems!

BlueberriesIMG_2332

 





This “Parrothead’s” View of Summertime Adventures

10 06 2016

Margaritaville

 

Greetings summer! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Summer is quite honestly my favorite season of the year. If I could live somewhere tropical year round, I would. I love the sunshine, warm temperatures, long days, and moon lit nights. My favorite seasonal foods (you guessed it, fruits and veggies!) are fresh and abundant, and travel is always on the agenda.

If you are like me, you love to travel, whether it be weekend road trips to popular cities and close by mountain getaways, or long trips to the coast to enjoy the sand, surf, and your own little version of “Margaritaville”. In my world a “license to chill” is readily accepted and cherished.

But, that license to chill can also put a damper on your healthy lifestyle goals if you are not mindful. Most people give in to the fact that they are destined to gain weight instead of lose weight on vacation, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As a matter of fact, I encourage my clients to set a goal for maintaining their weight while out on their adventures. This is much more achievable, and won’t leave them disappointed and frustrated with themselves after their trip.

Keeping these few things in mind can keep you sailing in the right direction, instead of getting “stranded on a sandbar”:

  1. Ditch the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and pack a cooler for road trips. Fill it with healthy snacks or even a picnic lunch. Depending on your destination, there may not be many options other than fast food and convenience stores on the road less traveled. Try packing chopped veggies, plenty of fresh fruit, nuts, popcorn, and string cheese. For a relaxing roadside picnic, pack a good ol’ PBJ sandwich on whole wheat, some yogurt, sweet potato chips, and, don’t forget the water! If you must stop to buy something to eat, choose the healthiest possible items (think more vegetables and fruit) and keep portions small or share with a travel buddy.
  2. Beware of the “Boat Drinks”. Hot summer days and cool, starry nights make those legal beverages way more appealing! Yes, it’s five o’ clock somewhere, and cold beer and frozen margaritas seem to go hand in hand with summer vacation. But, be mindful. A 12oz beer, a 5oz glass of wine (that’s right, I said 5oz), and a 1 ½ oz shot of liquor have about 150 calories each! Some craft beers can push 250 calories, and that mixer you just added to your tequila just robbed the sugar and calorie bank (an 8oz margarita on the rocks clocks in at 455 calories, while a 12oz can set you back 680). Try to stick to one drink, and if you can’t, try to trim back by drinking light beer, making a spritzer by adding seltzer or diet Sprite/7 Up to your white wine, and using sugar free mixers for your liquor. And remember to drink plenty of water, especially on hot days when alcohol can exacerbate dehydration.

Try this “Skinny” Coconut Margarita recipe…but remember, just 1! http://withsaltandwit.com/skinny-coconut-margarita/

3. Get on the “Coconut Telegraph” (i.e. Google) and map out a plan to enjoy the local fare. Are there farm markets or costal roadside stands brimming with local fruits, vegetables, and even seafood? Plan on eating in and savoring healthy, flavorful foods with friends. There’s nothing like a simple meal of grilled vegetables, broiled seafood (or my favorite, a bushel of Maryland blue crab with lots of Old Bay), and slices of juicy watermelon after a long day in the sun. Save restaurant trips for a special night to help keep a lid on overindulgence.

Try this recipe for a fresh shrimp and avocado salad: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbuzzfeedtasty%2Fvideos%2F1748850728700902%2F&show_text=0&width=560

4. Use that “Tin Cup Chalice” for water…lots of it! If you are spending the day in the heat, whether in the city or along the coast, dehydration is a serious risk. Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you are thirsty to do so. Carry a bottle of water on sightseeing adventures and pack a cooler to take to the beach. Try water infused with fresh fruit for a great tasting twist, or freeze 100% juice for a great frozen treat.

WATER RECIPES (COLOR HORIZONTAL)

Raspberry Greek Yogurt Popcicles: http://thelemonbowl.com/2015/07/raspberry-greek-yogurt-popsicles.html

 

  1. Get up and do the “Desperation Samba”. In other words, get moving! Now is your chance! Take advantage of beautiful weather and great outing opportunities to move and have fun. Take an early morning run on the beach, or a cool evening walk on the boardwalk with your sweetheart. Go hiking in the mountains or dance the night away to local music. Swim and snorkel with the fish and boogie board with your kids (didn’t know you could still do that, did you!). Fly kites, play wiffle ball, and do the limbo! That’s what vacation is for…you never know, you just might be a “Hula Girl at Heart”.

 

So remember, the next time you hit the road or fly the friendly skies, staying active, being mindful of choices and portions, and savoring fresh local flavors can be your ticket to a great holiday. Bon Voyage!

Family-at-the-beach_summer-fun

Cathy Shaw, RD, LD is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian for the WV PEIA Weight Management Program





Master the “Market Madness”

13 04 2016

webmd_photo_of_family_shopping_fresh_produce_aisle

 

Is the term “grocery shopping” considered profanity in your house? Believe me, I have plenty of clients that consider these dirty words! Grocery shopping can be overwhelming, exhausting, and expensive if you are not prepared with a few strategies. There are many tactics that supermarkets use to get you to buy things you don’t need which can be a burden on your wallet and your health. So, let’s get prepared with some hints to help you master the madness…

  1. Make a list. Plan what you intend to buy before you get there. Go through your pantry, take inventory, and decide what you need. If you know the layout of the store, list things according to the sections they are in so you can make one clean sweep.
  2. Don’t shop on an empty stomach! If you are hungry, you are more likely to buy things you don’t need (and things that may not be so healthy). Have a hearty snack or eat your meal before you go, and you will be less likely to indulge.
  3. Try shopping the perimeter of the store first for your fresh produce, meats/poultry/fish, and dairy. Then hit the center aisles for your whole grains, frozen, canned, and dried fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes, healthy oils, and dried herbs and spices.
  4. Beware the “end cap”. Aisle end caps are usually home to sale and seasonal items that just scream “buy me!”. They are often loaded with nutrient poor, processed foods (think s’mores fixings, cake mixes and frosting, mac and cheese, seasonal cookies, etc.) that are not on your original shopping list. Stick to your list, and walk on by.
  5. Check the shelves. Have you ever noticed the products at eye level? Manufacturers pay a pretty penny to put their products right where you can see them. Notice that the “kid” cereals loaded with sugar and marshmallows, and adorned with cartoon characters are right in front of their faces? That is no accident. Products found at eye level are there because you are more likely to buy them, and they are often more expensive. Remember to look high and low on the shelves for better prices and check labels for better nutritional values.
  6. Bye, bye, bakery. What’s that amazing smell? Why, the bakery of course. Store bakeries often fire up the ovens at the times stores are most crowded, enticing you to come their way. Unfortunately, bakeries can be sketchy to navigate. If you have a great bakery in your store that has a lot of fresh, whole great options, that’s great. If it is like most store bakeries in my town, it is full of sugary sweets and refined grains (i.e. lots of white bread products)—not the fuel my family needs. When in doubt, opt out.
  7. Avoid the lures of the check out aisle. Waiting to check out and can’t resist the candy bars? Keep a healthy snack, like a baggie of nuts and dried fruit, in your purse for just such occasions. Feel free to browse through magazines, check Facebook on your phone, or even use the self check out aisle instead.
  8. Do a final cart check. As you are standing in line, check out your cart. Do you have high octane nutritional fuel in that cart for you and your family? If so, you should see lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart healthy fats (think nuts, seeds, oils). If you see mostly soda, chips, cookies, and boxes of mac and cheese, it’s probably time to rethink your shopping strategy. Take a few minutes to balance out your cart—you can always put back what you don’t need!

Are you a shopping pro who is willing to share your expertise? Let us know your best shopping tips!

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Cathy Shaw RD, LD is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian for the PEIA Weight Management Program