Walking down the yogurt aisle at the store can be pretty confusing and overwhelming when you’re trying to make a healthier choice for you or your children. Over the past few years the types, brands and varieties of yogurt have vastly expanded. The options used […]
Recently my toddler has loved sharing a “smoothie bowl” for breakfast, in true foodie form she loves to add granola, coconut or hemp seeds to the top and get a little bite of topping in each spoonful, its the cutest thing. To make a more spoonable smoothie its best to decrease the liquid and increase the frozen ingredients. I actually like making smoothie packets by adding most of ingredients (minus the liquid) to a mason jar or zip lock bag and place in the freezer, everything being frozen just saves you from having to add ice which can water down a smoothie.
I started making Lollie smoothies before her first birthday and to this day the girl loves her moocies as she calls them( I am not ready for the day she stops calling then this) In true toddler fashion around the age of 16 months Lollie started the dreaded picky phase, foods that were once her favs she started to flat out refuse. My almost 3 year old continues to be selective about what she is willing to eat, this does not stop me from offering her a variety of foods but I feel like the daily smoothies help expose her to a variety of nutrients as well as flavors. I also try to include her in the making of these smoothies that way she can see that she likes certain ingredients in her smoothies so she may like them other ways, just another exposure for her.
When I worked in public health for 5 years, part of my job was to approve orders for Pediasure and other supplements for kids that were underweight. While I think there is a time and place for the use of some of these supplements, I don’t love how they are marketed to parents as a meal replacement and a way to help your child grow. Most children’s supplements are packed with vitamins and minerals but they are also pretty high in sugar. For me being able to blend up a variety of real foods into a nutrient packed drink for my daughter seemed like a better way to get a large variety of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.
Here I am sharing a few of our favorite combos. Simply blend the ingredients pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings or eat it as is. To make a more liquid/drinkable smoothie increase liquid by 1/4-1/2 cup and you can add it to a cup with a straw to drink on the go
- Sweet potato smoothie bowl- 1/2 of a frozen banana, 1/2 of a baked sweet potato flesh, 1/2 c almond milk, 2 T greek yogurt, 1 T almond butter & 1 T flaxmeal
- Green smoothie bowl- 1 small frozen banana or half of a large, 1/4 avocado, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 T peanut butter, 2 handfuls of spinach & 1 date
- Superfood chocolate avocado smoothie- 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp caco or cocoa powder, 1/2 c almond milk, 2 T hemp seeds
- Strawberry cauliflower smoothie- 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 cup strawberries,1/2 c frozen riced cauliflower, 1/2 cup milk
True confession, Walmart is not my favorite place but I embraced the shopping experience to show they do offer some great products. I was actually surprised at the selection of healthy products they do offer. They now offer grocery pick up so that may change […]
We all know that eating healthy involves eating more fruits and vegetables with lean protein. While that should be the cornerstone of what fills our plate, “packaged” foods can also have their place. I went to Kroger to show some options to consider when going […]
Lets talk triglycerides, cholesterol and heart health for a bit. My husband recently had a routine health screening at his work. The results came in the mail a few weeks later and it showed his triglycerides were through the roof, HDL was low and total cholesterol was slightly elevated. This news came as a shock to us because he eats a fairly healthy diet, is at a healthy BMI, doesn’t drink sugary beverages and is fairly active. My husband contacted the hospital that collected these labs to make sure there was not a mistake in the lab and they said unfortunately no, they remember commenting on how thick his blood appeared after drawing it and that it had milky deposits in it. After seeing a nurse practitioner he left with the instructions to cut his total fat to 15% or less, start a fish oil supplement and to lose some weight. The nurse practitioner wanted him to see a dietitian. He let him know he knows one pretty well and from there we came up with a plan.
The old school research suggests that dietary fat especially from animal products is what causes high lipid levels. Enter the fat free era,when a lot of our obesity problem started. Eggs were swapped out for low fat bagels, cereal and other high carb breakfast choices. This low fat phase caused a lot of people to become fat phobic. Thankfully now the recommendations are moving toward choosing heart healthy fats and even realizing that sugar may be causing us more harm when it comes to lipid levels than fats.
Here are 4 things we did to lower my husbands triglycerides over 750 points(to normal range) in 1 month:
Started a high quality daily fish oil and red yeast rice supplement- I researched to find the best quality over the counter fish oil supplement and I found this Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega fish oil supplement. I believe this may be what lowered his triglycerides, raised his HDL and lowered his total cholesterol so quickly. He takes 2 per day and it even suggests on the bottle that you can take up to 4 if your trying to be more aggressive with lowering your numbers. We also started red yeast rice which is also indicated to help lower cholesterol.
FOOD FIX: To make sure he was getting plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids we also made it a priority to eat salmon and tuna 1-2 times per week
Decreased sugar consumption- From all my research it really showed that lowering refined sugar intake and simple CHO were more important that dietary fat. To read more about this check out this article. My husband is not a soda drinker but does have a sweet tooth. He cut out all refined sugars, simple carbs and swapped them for fruit and complex carbs.
FOOD FIX: Morning frozen waffles were swapped for eggs, frittata, smoothies, oatmeal with chia and flax meal or homemade oat or almond flour muffins sweetened with honey. Sweetened coffee creamer was replaced with almond milk and stevia.
Increased healthy fats- Aside from starting a fish oil supplement we also focused on upping the healthy fats in his diet. Increasing healthy fats from avocados, nuts, olives, olive oil, avocado oil, fatty fish and seeds helps to raise the HDL or good cholesterol and of course they add great flavor to your meals.
FOOD FIX:For lunch I would pack a side salad most days that included nuts, olives or avocados. For snacks he swapped out high sugar fig bars with nuts, seeds or RX bars. We used avocado oil for roasting vegetables. Overnight oats were topped with almond butter and chia seeds.
Increased physical activity- Physical activity is another factor that can help raise good cholesterol and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides.Thankfully the weather has warmed up allowing us to come out from hibernation and be more active.
WORK IT OUT: 30-40 mins per day of activity is enough to promote heart health. Simply walking or jogging, anything to get your heart rate elevated. The key is finding an activity you enjoy that way you stick to doing it or even better finding a friend or family member to hold you accountable and exercise with you.
Your triglyceride number may not be something you know unless you have your routine physical and labs done yearly(by the way is important to have yearly even if you are symptom free). There are many markers that can be silently high, cholesterol and triglycerides fall into this category. When your triglycerides are elevated it increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. High lipids like this can be high due to genetic predisposition but many times diet and lifestyle changes while working with your primary care provider and/or dietitian can improve these numbers.
Its hard to believe Thanksgiving is only 9 days away. Its often a time when people want to throw all their healthy eating habits out the window until the New Year. With some mindfulness of the day and a little preparation you can still enjoy your holiday favorites, while most of all enjoying the company and the reason the season is all about.
5 tips for navigating turkey day:
1. Get up and get moving- There are lots of cities that offer “Turkey Trots” on Thanksgiving morning. Even if your area does not offer this type of walk/run, you can wake up and go on a family walk before you start the daily festivities and be back in time for the Macy’s Day Parade.
2. Don’t skip meals- Many times people think if they are planning to eat more later in the day it will help to skip breakfast to save “calories”. This is setting you up to become overly hungry and over eat when you get to the Thanksgiving meal. If you are having your turkey day eats for lunch make sure you have a breakfast packed with protein and fiber. Like a 2 egg omelet and a serving of fruit or a more festive breakfast like pumpkin oatmeal bake with a tablespoon of almond butter.
3. Hydrate- Get up and start your day with some H20. Lots of times when you are dehydrated you feel more hungry when in reality you are thirsty. Also many Thanksgiving meals include wine or other alcoholic beverages which can also be dehydrating. So fill up on water earlier in the day to help prevent a post thanksgiving headache.
4. Pick your Favorites- Just because there is mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and dressing on the buffet doesn’t mean you have to have it all. Ordinary mac and cheese or your grandmothers homemade dressing? The dressing would win in my book for sure. So just pick and choose vs pilling up your plate. You will find yourself more satisfied my picking reasonable portions of your favorites vs bites of everything offered.
4. Slow Down- Enjoy the conversation at the dinner table while really enjoying your food. Don’t rush up for seconds. Try to wait a few minutes to see if your still hungry to avoid that post thanksgiving stuffed feeling.. Bring on the stretchy pants.
5. Get back on track the next day- Thanksgiving is just one day after all. Of course there will be leftovers. But there are lots of healthy ways to use leftover turkey like soups and salads. Don’t let the holiday season be a reason to “give up” on your healthy lifestyle. Enjoying some festive treats here or there is not going to derail your whole diet, it what you are doing on a daily basis. So enjoy your pie and your kale salad to. Trust your hunger ques.