The Best (Veggie) Muffin Ever!

I love pastries, but pastries don’t love me. Did you know that the reduced fat blueberry muffin at Dunkin’ Donuts still packs in a whopping 410 calories and 10 grams of fat? Ugh! Thankfully, the kind people at Garden Lite invented a deliciously sweet, all natural, fiber packed muffin for only 120 calories. I’m obsessed with the zucchini banana chocolate chip veggie flavor I found at Target. Perfect for a snack or on-the-go breakfast!  muffin

Low-To-No Carb Pasta

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Do you find yourself committing carbicide multiple times a week? It can be a challenge to limit pasta to the suggested 1/2 cup serving. If you are looking for a way to fill up your bowl, but keep the calories in check consider investing in a Paderno Spiralizer. “This simple-to-use machine produces spiral cuts, shoestrings and vegetable “noodles” for adding new texture to pasta dishes, stir-fries and salads.” Try it out with your favorite pasta recipe or check out one of the many  zoodle dishes from skinnytaste.com.

The “Healthy” Trends That Are Making You Fat

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In typical American style, we catch wind of a new health trend or super food and rush to the nearest Whole Foods to stock up….. without giving credibility a second thought. Eventually it comes down to a “too much of a good thing” gone wrong with our waists taking the brunt of our actions. Are you guilty of jumping on the following food trend bandwagon?

1) Juicing:  Sure it’s an easy way to jam-pack your fruits and veggies in for the day, but what are you really gaining? Typically, you are adding too many calories from condensed fruit and other additives (be it seeds, PB or protein powders). Be mindful that these shakes often do little for satiety thanks to the lack of chewing and fiber. If you plan on juicing as a meal replacement or snack, stick to a low calorie base, like almond milk or ice; limit the fruit serving to 1/2 of a banana or 1/2 cup berries and load up on the veggies. For an added protein boost you can add 2 Tbsp of PB2.

2) Overdoing it on the super grains: Sure, quinoa is amazing, in the mere fact that it is a complete protein (ultra versatile to boot), but this nutrient dense food can add up in calories fast. Limit your serving to 1/2 cup (about 125 calories ) and mix it up with tons of veggies and low fat feta cheese.  Try this recipe!

3) Using olive oil:  I hear it all the time. “I thought it was a healthy fat”? Why, yes it is! But, it is still fat calories.  Be mindful when adding this to a salad or in a pan for cooking and try to limit to no more that a tsp. Better yet, invest in a Misto to really shave off the fat.

4)  Intense exercise: Of course achieving a healthy weight is impossible without living an active lifestyle, but people often overestimate the amount of calories they burn in an 60-90 minute class.This may make it easier to justify  those small, or not so small, indulgences here and there. Try changing up your workout routine and keep it manageable. Make it one  that you can maintain everyday…..or almost everyday.

Low Carb Spagetti Squash Mac and Cheese

Love the idea of a steaming bowl of homemade mac and cheese? Hate the guilt that comes with this high cal, low nutrition comfort food? You are not alone. I have been meaning to experiment with spaghetti squash for years, but just finally got around to it last week. I was skeptical to say the least. Perhaps this was the reason for my procrastination, Whatever the reason, I was pleasantly surprised by the fished product. Rich in folic acid (high five pregnant chicks), beta carotene, potassium and vitamin A, and around only 40 calories a cup. I promise you wont even miss your pasta. And if you do, make it a half and half version. It’ about moderation!

I used the the following recipe from Fitsugar and it could not have been easier…or tastier.

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3 New Year Resolutions to Make in 2014

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I used to think new year resolutions were ridiculous, but after having a child, I am starting to appreciate a deeper (and more expensive) meaning behind each holiday…and let face it, we all have things we can work on to become better individuals. Some more than others….. Kim and Miley…cough, cough. With that said, this dietitian is not exempt from the need to make a few healthy resolutions for the new year.  I am proud to say that I have only eaten one chocolate blondie today. Yesterday I had three. This is what I call a cognitive change.  No need to revamp your life overnight….you have 364 more. But, if you are looking for resolutions you can start now, I can deliver.

1) Eat more veggies.  They can make you skinny and lower your risk of cancer. So why are we still not getting the recommended amount? You are probably not cooking them the right way. No one wants to eat a limp vegetable boiled to an inch of its life. Tip:  roast any veggie with a little misto spritz of olive oil and then toss with a sprinkle of low fat cheese and lemon juice. It will look and taste amazing.

2) Sit less, do more. 1/3 of the reason people are overweight and obese is because we are too sedentary. Limit TV and computer time to less than 60 minutes each day. Living an active lifestyle can be more effective in weight loss than plugging away hours at the gym.

3) Relax and stop obsessing over dieting. The more you think about food, the more hungry you are making yourself. Pre-plan and be aware and there should be no reason to stress out about everything you eat.

Here is to a healthy and happy 2014!  Cheers!

How to Get Motivated When You Just Don’t Want to Move or Diet

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Still true- There is no magic pill to help us drastically shed those ugly, extra pounds without a little sweat and mindful eating. Bummer. So where do you start when you just don’t  feel like doing anything about that muffin top and bumping blood pressure? Some might suggest papering your wall or fridge with pictures of bikini clad supermodels, a la DJ Tanner, in a hopes that you will pick the carrot sticks instead of the drumstick at your next snack attack. In case you missed that episode….it didn’t work . I offer some different advice with your happiness and health in mind.

1) Ask yourself: Do I want to lose weight, or does someone else want me to lose weight? If the answer is yes, you are getting warmer, and more likely to succeed.

2) What will change if you lose the weight? What do you want to change if you lose the weight? You may be looking for more confidence, self-esteem or to just look better in your clothes. Maybe your initial motive is health inspired. Losing 10% of your body weight if you are overweight or obese can improve blood pressure, glucose control and even lower your risk of other weight related commodities.  Focus on that primary motive everyday!

3) Find something you enjoy doing, and do it everyday. If going to the gym is an unpleasant and rare event, it won’t help you stay active. Keep it simple and realistic. You can always add intensity. I will suggest walking. It requires minimal equipment, pushes you outdoors and is good for the mind and body.

4) Is there anything about the way you eat that should change? People can usually pinpoint exactly where they are going astray in their diet, they just don’t take the time to ask themselves this question. Cutting out 250 calories, each day will result in losing half a pound each week-the equivalent to swapping out that over priced latte for a cup of fresh brewed coffee. Just pay attention!

For more personalized tips and services to help you lose weight visit RDMealPlan.com

Summer Protein Salad

Looking for a delicious way to add more veggies into your diet?  This simple salad is full of flavor and takes just minutes to prepare.  Bonus! Most of these items can be found at your local farmer’s market. Nothing like clean, sustainable eating to start your summer.

What you will need (serves 1):

-1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

-1/2 cup chopped onions

- 1/4 cup reduced-fat feta cheese

-1/3 cup cooked quinoa

-pepper to taste

-red wine vinegar to taste

- cucumber (optional)

-carrot (optional)

Get Started:

This is tricky. Ready? Mix everything together and maybe chill for a few hours in the refrigerator if you can wait that long. How easy was that? (Said in a Ina Garten voice).

The Nutritional Breakdown :
190 calories, 5.8 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates and 11.2 grams of protein.

Clean Eating On the Cheap

Everyone is on a budget these days and that, no doubt, influences our weekly grocery bill.  The silver lining to tighter purse strings may result in a more simplified and pure pantry.  Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy can be cheap. In fact, a bag of chips will run you 40% more than a pound of seasonal, fresh produce.  Moral of the story, steer clear of the aluminum bags and focus on these cost-effective staples.

1) Frozen veggies and fruit. Just as nutritious and will last much longer than fresh produce.

2) Quick oats.  Target recently advertised their brand for $1.99 a canister. Perfect for an easy, high fiber breakfast or snack.

3) Store brand Greek yogurt.  Trader Joe’s brand is usually around $.99 for a 6 oz serving. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and protein.

4) Lean, ground turkey.  I can usually find 99% lean ground turkey at Shoprite for a bargain  $2.99/lb. Take that sirloin!

5) Beans and lentils. A perfect option for a heart healthy, meatless meal with a decent shelf-life.  Incorporate into soups, salads or even on pizza for a balanced meal.

 

My Current Health Food Obsession: Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almondmilk and Coconutmilk Blend

 

 

 

 

 

I typically do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s, but last week I found myself in a major time crunch and had to settle for a conventional grocery store…and I am glad I did!.  While strolling through the dairy aisle, I noticed an increase in the amount of milk alternatives now available. While I still enjoy conventional cows milk- skim of course,  I decided to change things up and try the unsweetened almondmilk and coconutmilk blend from Almond Breeze. The packaging made it look super delicious and at only 45 calories per 8 ounce serving, the only thing I had to lose was $3.99.  I tried it first in my coffee as a creamer alternative. Yummy! Then, with some high fiber Cinnamon Burst Cheerios. Amazing! Do yourself a favor and try this combo for breakfast.

This is a great product for those with a lactose intolerance, avoiding gluten, soy, or want to shave a few calories here and there. I must point out, there is one gram of saturated fat from the coconut milk, but there are new studies that suggest major health benefits from medium chain fatty acids.

Top Free Apps To Help You Lose Weight

 

 

 

 

 

Your smartphone has become an extra appendage, so why not use it to help you lose weight?  There are several apps out there designed to monitor your dietary intake, exercise and behaviors-all important components in battling the bulge. 

For keeping a food recordMyFittnessPal.com

This app has been the most popular among my clients and weight loss groups for easy food and exercise entry. 

Calorie counterCalorieKing

My favorite little resource book is now available at the touch of a finger. This app might make you think twice before ordering your favorite latte.

For healthy recipesSparksRecipes

Browse by category, course, cuisine or even dietary needs. Each recipe provides directions and nutrition facts.

For exercise: Daily Workouts

This app features videos of 10-30 minute full body workouts developed by a certified personal trainer. The workouts require minimal to no equipment so they can be done in your home, office or hotel room. 

For shoppingShopwell

Are the endless options at your local health food store giving you anxiety? Are you looking for more gluten-free products? Download Shopwell to hold your hand on your next shopping trip.