By Carlie Saint-Laurent Beaucejour, RD,LDN

Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? Since 1973 the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as American Dietetic Association) have been celebrating national nutrition month in March. The purpose of this platform is to promote awareness of the “power of food”, educate the public on nutrition, and encourage informed lifestyle behavior changes.  Nutrition effects many aspects of life from our mood, energy, sleep, weight, growth, athletic performance, to health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and chronic kidney disease…the list goes on! If you are slacking on your New Year’s resolution, let national nutrition month get you back on track. 

Here are 5 suggestions and reasons to celebrate and gain more nutrition knowledge, make informed food choices, and instill healthy behaviors.

  • Attend a grocery shopping tour with a Registered Dietitian

Did you know that you can meet your Family Food Dietitian at a grocery store? Grocery tours are a fun way to gain confidence while grocery shopping to make healthy decisions and navigate the aisles of the plethora of food products. Schedule your grocery store tour now!

  • Sign-up for a cooking demonstration or class

Strengthening or acquiring the skill of cooking increases the consumption of healthier meals in all ages. Talk to your Family Food Dietitian about creating some simple recipes at home.

  • Schedule a nutrition counseling visit 

Whether you want to prevent or manage a health condition meeting with a Registered Dietitian can help you reach your health goals by providing realistic and sustainable evidence-based advice. 

  • Plan a farmers market trip 

Attending a farmers market is a great way to know and support your local farmers, taste new fruits and vegetables, and engage in the community. 

  • Volunteer at your local food bank or shelter

Not only are you helping your community you are helping your health by volunteering. By engaging with others this can help combat anxiety, stress, anger, or depression. 

How do you plan to celebrate National Nutrition Month?

Sources:

Watson, S. (2013). Volunteering may be good for body and mind. Harvard Health Publish retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/volunteering-may-be-good-for-body-and-mind-201306266428

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2017). 10 reasons to visit an RDN. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/learn-more-about-rdns/10-reasons-to-visit-an-rdn

mcdonalds_416x416

This is another entry in our Best of Breakfast series in which we have been looking at some healthy choices when resorting to eating breakfast at a fast food restaurant. We have looked at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts so far and have found some pretty good options. Today, we take a look at McDonald’s which unfortunately does not fair as well. With only a handful of breakfast items worth choosing, you may want to find an alternative or better yet, make something at home!

 

This is not your best yogurt option if you are on the run, but one of the better choices at McDonalds. For example, a non-fat strawberry flavored greek yogurt would be similar in Calories, lower in sugar and fat, have 3 times the protein content all while saving you some money.

Fruit ‘n yogurt Parfait (with low-fat granola and berries)
Calories 150
Fat 2g
Carbs 30g
Sugars 23g
Fiber 1g
Protein 4g
Sodium 80mg

Though this sandwich may be lighter in Calories than other options, the “liquid margarine” contains partially hydrogenated soybean oil aka Trans Fats (though not enough to list it on the nutrition facts) which are generally NOT recognized as safe. On the plus side, the egg whites are 100% egg whites and this sandwich does contain a fair amount of fiber. All things considered, this is probably still one of the better breakfast options at the golden arches.

Egg White Delight McMuffin (with Canadian style bacon, cheese)

Calories 250
Fat 8g
Carbs 30g
Sugars 3g
Fiber 4g
Protein 18g
Sodium 770mg

Oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber, which can be beneficial to your heart health. The standard choice isn’t the worst, but a bulk of the Calories come from sugar.

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (oatmeal with brown sugar, diced apples, cranberry raisin blend, light cream)
Calories 290
Fat 4g
Carbs 58g
Sugars 32g
Fiber 5g
Protein 5g
Sodium 160

Opt for the oatmeal without brown sugar and hold the “cranberry raisin blend” and you will save 100 Calories, most of which coming from sugar – 29g of sugar!

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (oatmeal without brown sugar, no cranberry raisin blend, with diced apples and light cream)
Calories 190
Fat 4g
Carbs 33g
Sugars 3g
Fiber 4g
Protein 5g
Sodium 110mg

 

As you can see, there are not many great choices for breakfast at McDonald’s, but you can put together something relatively healthy if you are in a pinch.

See McDonald’s nutrition facts for further information.

Pancakes can be a real crowd pleaser with the family. Unfortunately, they can also be laden with sugar and refined flours. With flourless pancakes you don’t have to worry about the refined flour (because it doesn’t contain ANY flour!) and it is 100% gluten-free! Chances are, you might have most of the other ingredients already. 

The following recipe comes from our dietitian Stephanie Biggs and is sure to be a hit this summer with your family. Including fruit in your breakfast is a great way to energize your day. Pair these pancakes with some scrambled eggs or low-fat greek yogurt for a balanced meal. Enjoy!

Sweet Strawberry Flourless Pancakes

by Stephanie Biggs, RD, LDN, CLC

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana
2 large eggs
½ cup of fresh chopped strawberries
½ tsp baking powder
Dash of cinnamon
Coconut milk (optional)

Directions:

1. Mash banana in bowl.

2. Add eggs to banana mixture.

3. Add in chopped strawberries.

4. Add in cinnamon and baking powder. Mix well.

5. In a pan on medium heat, pour mixture to form pancakes. (I use coconut oil to cook them in)

6. Flip pancakes once until done.

7. Top with more fresh fruit, nuts, coconut milk or enjoy them just how they are!

There is so much information out there on nutrition. Let a Family Food Registered Dietitian be your guide!

Dunkin_donuts_coffee

You can grab a relatively healthy breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. Just be aware that as with any other fast food option, sodium will be a concern. Navigating their menu can take some effort, so we did the work for you.
Looking for their “DDSMART” logo is a good tool to use when looking at their menu.

Foods and Beverages with the DDSMART® logo are:
• Reduced in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar or sodium by at least 25% compared to a base product or other appropriate reference product
and/or
• Contain an ingredient or nutrient that is nutritionally beneficial.

According to their website, there are some techniques you can use to have a lower calorie option.

“Make these SMART SWAPS to cut calories:
English Muffin for a Plain Bagel: Cut 170 calories
English Muffin for a Croissant: Cut 170 calories
Ham for Sausage: Cut 185 calories
Reduced Fat Cheddar for American Cheese: Cut 15 calories

The following are based on a Medium Beverage Size
Splenda® for Sugar:  Hot / Iced Coffee: Cut 85-95 calories
Splenda® for a Pre-sweetened Iced Tea: Cut 75-90 calories
Whole Milk for Cream: Hot / Iced Coffee: Cut 50-60 calories
Skim Milk for Cream: Hot / Iced Coffee: Cut 65-70 calories
Skim Milk for Whole Milk: Hot / Iced Latte: Cut 70 calories
Whole Milk for Cream: FROZEN COFFEE COOLATTA®: Cut 240 calories*
(*Cut 160 calories where 16 ounce medium size beverages are sold)
Skim Milk (No Whip) for Cream: FROZEN COFFEE COOLATTA®: Cut 350 calories*
(*Cut 250 calories where 16 ounce medium size beverages are sold)
Enjoy a Flavor Shot instead of Swirl Syrup Flavor in your Coffee or Latte – they are unsweetened and sugar free.”

Some of your best bets at Dunkin Donuts include:
Egg White Veggie Flatbread
(At least 25% reduced in: Calories, Saturated fat, Fat, Sugar & Sodium compared to Sausage Egg & Cheese on Croissant)
280 Cals
9g Fat
4.5g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
20mg Cholesterol
690mg Sodium
33g Carb.
4g Fiber
3g Sugar
15g Protein

Egg & Cheese on English Muffin
(At least 25% reduced in: Calories, Saturated fat, Fat, Sugar & Sodium compared to Sausage Egg & Cheese on Croissant)
240 Cals
7g Fat
3.5g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
70mg Cholesterol
490mg Sodium
32g Carb.
7g Fiber
2g Sugar
12g Protein

Ham, Egg & Cheese on English Muffin
(At least 25% reduced in: Calories, Saturated fat, Fat & Sugar compared to Sausage Egg & Cheese on Croissant)
280 Cals
8g Fat
3.5g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
95mg Cholesterol
770mg Sodium
34g Carb.
7g Fiber
3g Sugar
17g Protein

Turkey Sausage Wake-Up Wrap
(At least 25% reduced in: Fat, Saturated Fat, and Sugar compared to our Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Wake Up Wrap)
210 Cals
11g Fat
4g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
55mg Cholesterol
550mg Sodium
14g Carb.
1g Fiber
0g Sugar
13g Protein

Keep in mind that we would rarely suggest opting for a donut, but if you must, then your best bet at Dunkin Donuts would be the Sugar Raised Donut. As it is their lowest calorie option, but still full of empty calories.
Sugar Raised Donut
230 Cals
14g Fat
6g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
0mg Cholesterol
330mg Sodium
22g Carb.
1g Fiber
4g Sugar
3g Protein

Be sure to stick to regular black coffee (or iced black coffee) and add your own milk and sweeteners to have control. Stay away from their sugary frozen beverages. For example, the Large Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolata with Cream has 990 Calories! That includes a whopping 130g of sugar and 47g of fat!

Bookmark Dunkin Donuts’ nutrition information for future reference.

Help your family members spring into their potential this season! They are eligible for up to 6 FREE individualized nutrition counseling sessions with a Family Food Dietitian. Sign up today @ www.familyfoodllc.com

Seasonal Winter Produce

Just because it ’tis the season, does not mean there aren’t any fresh produce to go around. As always, feel free to use frozen fruits and vegetables as they are just as nutritious as fresh and makes for a nice quick and easy option with more variety as well. Utilize these fresh fruits and vegetables in some new ways.  Get creative! As you can see, many of these root vegetables (such as winter squash) would make great  winter soups and stews.

For more information, please visit http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/features-month/whats-season

Be sure to bookmark the USDA’s list of seasonal produce for future reference. Also, don’t forget to support your local community and buy local when possible, whether you are in PennsylvaniaNew Jersey or Delaware.

The holidays should be a joyous time of year; time for celebrating various traditions and events with your family and friends. These traditions are embedded deep within our distinct cultures as well as the foods that we tend to eat during this time of year. These foods can be enriching, spiritual, healing and comforting, but they also tend to be rich and hearty, especially as we enter the colder seasons. Not to worry, our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are here to help! We have asked some of our RDNs what their favorite tips are to manage good health and help you to stay on track. With these small suggestions from our fellow RD’s, you can still reach and maintain your health and nutrition goals! Take a look at what they had to say! 

One thing I like to suggest is to schedule a Turkey Trot/Run on Thanksgiving to gather the whole family together and burn some calories before the meal. Also. have a goal to reach during the holiday season.  – Elizabeth May, RDN, LDN

If you are attending a holiday party where you can offer to bring something (a side dish, appetizer), then make a ‘safe dish’ such as a veggie tray, lettuce wraps, a green salad (one with avocado and pomegranate is great for the holidays with the red and green), a barley salad with grilled chicken, etc. That way if there are a ton of tempting sweets or high calorie items, you can rely on the healthy dish to fill their plate with and then have small bites of the other stuff. – Jennifer Laurence, RD, LDN 

I like to find ways to slightly modify traditional recipes, desserts or even alcoholic beverages. Around the holidays I find that people stick to comfort foods and home traditions; therefore, if you can begin to modify these “favorite” recipes or alcoholic beverages that may be a simple target. Let’s be honest, most folks are not going to “give up” their favorite foods since they only get it once a year! I also think about getting extra exercise since most likely we are going to consume additional calories via food/drinks. Incorporating family walks, hikes or fundraising walks around the holiday are good ways to add in some exercise while giving us time to chat and bond as a family. – Kristen Hicks  MS, RD, LD

Don’t show up at the party when you’re famished…get a few healthy bites in prior to the event. Pre-plan/visualize yourself eating healthfully at the holiday meal. This works well for alcohol, too. Will you have 1 drink? 2? None? Pick a number (a low number!) and stick to it. – Krista Ulatowski, MPH, RDN

I try to remind people that the actual holidays are just a few days out of the season, and that they don’t need to indulge throughout the entire season in order to enjoy their holiday meals. If we try to keep all healthy habits the same during your normal everyday routine, then there’s no reason to feel guilty or stress over the one or 2 holiday meals we may have, especially if we go right back to their normal routine the next day. I think the holiday season is all about mindset! People who tend to feel guilty end up just giving up all together and think “I’ll just start over when the holidays are through”, so I feel it’s important to take the guilt out of the equation as much as possible and to just focus on our normal healthy routines. – Amanda Sajczuk, MS, RD, LDN

If you find yourself at a holiday party, grab a small plate and place a few pieces of food on the plate and sit down away from the buffet/serving table. Be sure to always put food on plate before eating in order to visually see it. Keep in mind that our brain is usually satisfied with just a few small tastes of something (you can always go back for more!) Allow yourself to try a few things, but listen to hunger cues and do not feel guilty about discarding food if you are truly not hungry and of course, load up on veggies! – Anthony Tassoni, RD, LDN

Don’t forget to keep your pantry stocked on healthy staples during the holidays, think before you drink, plan ahead if you are traveling, try some healthy sides, have something healthy before the big meal and perhaps add a pinch of cinnamon to your dishes. Remember to have fun, enjoy yourself, but most importantly, just relax

Trying to brighten up your holiday meals? Why not try some Brussels sprouts! These little cruciferous vegetables belong to the cabbage family. Chock full of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K (caution if you take warfarin (coumadin) or any other blood thinners) and fiber, they are very nutritious and full of great phytochemical which may be beneficial in warding off some diseases! Brussels sprouts are great this time of year as their harvest season ranges from September through March. You may have some not so fond memories of mushy steamed Brussels sprouts when you were a kid. Try this simple recipe for a whole new take on this nutritious vegetable and you will be a Brussels sprout believer!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts

3 tablespoons good olive oil

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Serve immediately.

1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe2.html?oc=linkback

Have a picky eater at home? Need to manage your blood sugar levels? Need some advice on a heart healthy diet? Looking to manage your weight this holiday season? If you answered yes, then Family Food can help! Our team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are well equipped to give you the tools that you need to reach your goals!

No cookie cutter fad diets – We provide individualized nutrition counseling and can help formulate a plan that fits YOUR lifestyle.  Whether you would like to meet at home, at work, or even online, our nutrition experts have you covered. Most health insurance plans are accepted. Contact us now to see how a Family Food Dietitian can help you today!