Tag Archives: national nutrition month

National Nutrition Month – Slow Down and Be Mindful

Nutrition Month

Photo courtesy of http://www.notyourstandard.com

It’s National Nutrition Month and March 9 is National Dietitians’ Day!

This year’s theme from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is simple: ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.’ In order words, each time you eat, truly focus on enjoying each bite. Appreciate the flavors, colors, aromas, textures and social experiences associated with eating your favorite foods. Too often we eat rushed, while doing tasks, and miss out on the enjoyment that food is meant to have. This can lead to over-eating. Sit down. Slow down. Enjoy. You will eat better and enjoy it more.

This month, create healthful meals with your favorite foods, to achieve your health and wellness goals. Inspired by the latest changes to the federal Dietary Guidelines released a month ago, here are some steps to take:

Cut added sugar

If you are like most people, you are probably eating and drinking more sugar than you are aware of. Added sugar is found in surprising places like salad dressings and sauces. Your goal? No more than 150 calories for women and 200 calories for men of added sugars. Read food labels and know what you are eating. “Added sugars” are listed in grams. For women, aim for 35 grams of sugar at most daily. Men, aim for no more than 50 grams of sugar.

  • What you can do: Reach for protein-rich nuts or seeds, fresh fruit or veggies, like baby carrots, cucumber or red bell peppers with hummus, or edamames. Try fresh sliced fruit served with Greek yogurt or Siggi’s thick Icelandic yogurt (both have less or no sugar). Make your own trail mix with wholegrain cereals, raisins and nuts. Enjoy crunchy whole wheat crackers with a soft cheese slice and zippy tomato juice.

Limit saturated fats

Eating too much saturated fat can increase risk of chronic illness such as heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Did you know the majority of saturated fat we eat is NOT in red meat and cheese, but rather in commercially prepared snack foods with “partially hydrogenated oils” such as in biscuits, cinnamon rolls, cookies, popcorn, cupcakes, cakes, frosting, French fries and many commercial snacks?

  • What you can do: Make any of the above foods at home with healthy oils and ingredients. Or choose fruit, beans, veggies, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, homemade snacks to avoid hydrogenated (factory-made) oils. Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy foods, lean beef trimmed of fat, skinned poultry and seafood that is not fried. Avoid frying anything. Keep meat to 5-6 oz daily. Use oil in cooking rather than butter. And check food labels. You want no more than 13-16 grams of saturated fat a day.

Reduce sodium

The new federal dietary guidelines call for cutting back sodium to 2,300 milligrams or less each day for those ages 14-50 and 1,500 milligrams daily for those older than 50 or African-American. Begin by cutting 1000 mg sodium daily….substitute ingredients and put the salt shaker away.

  • What you can do: It’s more than just stopping table salt or cooking salt. The bigger culprit is sodium packed in processed foods, such as condiments, pizza, sauces, soups, packaged snack foods, cold cuts, sausage, hot dogs and meals out. Read nutrition labels! Look for no more than 800 mg sodium in a frozen dinner, soup meal or entire dinner. Buy lower-sodium canned beans, soups and tomato or spaghetti sauces. Go fresh as often as possible. Nature does not put salt in fruit, fresh vegetables, potatoes, corn, dried beans and peas, etc. Be aware of the sodium in your bread. Often, a slice of bread contains 150-200 mg sodium, which is almost 10 percent of your day’s total.

Slow down and enjoy

Take time to enjoy mealtime. Food is more than nourishment and fuel for your body. Meals nourish our entire being, providing pleasure, relaxation and socialization. Sit down for meals. Be mindful of what you are eating. Stop. Take time between bites. Take smaller bites. Put away that cell phone. Don’t multitask while eating. Take a break from what you are doing to savor everything about the meal – the place, people, type food, time of day, etc. Savor each bite. Starting today, make the most out of every eating experience, and Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.

For more ideas on healthy eating and successful solutions, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips and eating plans makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

 

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

 

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.

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Celebrate National Nutrition Month

Summer HarvestMarch is National Nutrition Month. It’s a time to re-assess our eating habits and re-focus our attention on nutrition. Are you living a healthy, energetic and fulfilling lifestyle? Spring forward and start today!

This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” Here are some bite-size changes to get you started towards a healthier you.

Make Water Your Drink of Choice

What you drink is as important as what you eat. Many drinks have added sugars and little to no nutrients. Your body needs pure water to hydrate cells, so you feel healthy and energetic. Your brain alone uses two cups of water a day! Try aiming for 32 ounces of water daily, plus an additional 32 oz of water or other beverages. If you drink sugary juices or soda each day, start by replacing one of these with a glass of water and try this for a few weeks. Once you’ve made this switch, try swopping out another serving, replacing it with water. Add a slice of lemon, lime or orange to make it more flavorful. You’ll find kicking this habit is easier than you think.

Try New Foods

It’s an exciting time to explore healthy and delicious foods you might not already know. The Internet and social media have made so many great recipes available at our fingertips. Vow to try a new fruit, vegetable or whole grain each week. Pick out a different variety of apple, a different kind of leafy green, a new color of bell pepper and a new “ancient grain” (popular are amaranth, kamut and millet). And in the kitchen, you can even refresh your go-to dishes by using new cooking techniques. Try grilling instead of baking or sautéing instead of frying. Bring new life into mildly flavored foods with a pinch of different herbs and spices or the new “smoked” seasonings like smoked paprika and smoked pepper. 

Go Low on Sugar

The U.S. Nutrition Advisory Panel’s recently released recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines made one thing loud and clear – Americans need to reduce sugar intake. And that’s not just the extra spoonful of sugar you put in your coffee or cereal. It’s important to be aware of the amounts of “hidden” sugar you eat each day that are added to foods and drinks by manufacturers. The FDA and American Heart Association recommend cutting down sugar intake to less than 10 percent of your daily calories, meaning 150-200 sugar calories a day. A 12-oz soda has 150 calories of sugar alone. By limiting added sugars in drinks and sweets, avoiding excessive snacking of processed foods (typically high in added sugar) and reading food labels carefully, you can make better and more informed choices on your sugar consumption.1

Eat More Fiber

Research has found eating a fiber-rich diet can lead to reducing your risk of chronic health diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer. Studies have also shown that consuming fiber-rich foods can boost weight loss by helping you feel fuller after you eat. The reality is most Americans aren’t consuming nearly enough fiber. In fact, nutrition guidelines recommend 25 to 38 grams per day, but the average American only consumes only about 10-14 grams. Simple ways to boost your fiber intake? Try eating more fruits and vegetables (including their fiber-rich skins and peels) and add more beans, peas and lentils to your diet. Get creative and add beans to salads, soups, rice, chili, tacos, side dishes, and snacks (think edamame pods and hummus). Be sure to compare nutrition labels to discover more fiber-rich food choices to up your fiber intake.2

Connect with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Registered dietitian nutritionists are experts in developing a personalized nutrition plan for you. RDNs help you translate nutritional science into ideas and tips you can use to keep you on track to a healthier life. By consulting with an RDN you can learn to “eat healthy”, dispel food and diet myths, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, feel better and reduce your lifetime risk of chronic disease that impacts your heart, cancer, muscle and bones. To find an RDN near year, go to www.scandpg.org or www.eatright.org , click on “find a dietitian”, and insert your zip code. Remember, all RDN’s are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are RDN’s. RDN’s have met all the national educational, traineeship, and continuing education requirements by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to safely practice nutritional guidance with expert advice you can trust.

1 Source: Health.gov, 2 Source: Annals.org

For more ideas on heart-healthy eating and successful solutions, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips and eating plans makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/GeorgiaKostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.                                                        

 

Four Color Stir-Fry

stir+fry
Ingredients
  • 1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons grape seed oil (divided use)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup onion, sliced into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, strings removed
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Asian stir-fry sauce, such as Kikkoman
  • Brown rice

Directions

Dissolve chicken bouillon cube in water for 30 seconds on High (100 percent power) in the microwave. Set aside.

Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil and heat over high heat.

Brown chicken quickly, stirring constantly until cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In the skillet, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and all the vegetables. Cook over high heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the bouillon water, then the chicken, peanuts and seasonings. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stir-fry sauce.

Serve over brown rice.

Makes 4 servings.

PER SERVING: Calories 348 (47% fat), Fat 18 g (3 g sat), Cholesterol 63 mg, Sodium 529 mg, Fiber 5 g, Carbohydrates 19 g, Protein 30 g

For more ideas on healthy eating and quick meals, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009) or contact me for individual counseling.  My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition and visit:http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs. 

# # #

Get in Shape with the Plate!

Take a part in helping America observe March National Nutrition Month today, tomorrow, this month and all year long. Look at the plate shown on the right. It can help you eat better and even lose weight! Portions and colors are the key to healthy eating and weight control. Just look at your plate to simplify both. Divide your plate by fourths, proportion 4 different foods with different colors in each section, and you automatically control calories and maximize nutrient variety.  This means more plant foods, less (and ample) protein, for most folks. And you feel fuller, longer.

Here’s a simple example – from the cover of my book:

The 4 oz. lean beef filet, 1/2 cup steamed red new potatoes, 1/2 cup sugar-snap green beans, and 1/2 cup steamed fresh carrots, for a total of only 350 calories. Spritzed with butter-flavored spray, calories may become 360-370. Add 1 teaspoon of healthy cooking oil (40 calories) to sauté beef,  and 3 teaspoons of reduced-fat spread (50 calories) to flavor veggies and the whole meal is still under 450 calories.

The plate concept makes it is easy to plan healthy meals, lose weight, and keep it off. 

Can you really lose weight and expect to keep it off?  The National Weight Control Registry tracks 3,000 successful weight loss participants whom have kept at least 30 pounds of weight off for at least 10 years. According to the latest research for the Registry, this group has kept off an average 51 pounds of 69 lost. Those stats are very encouraging.

The participant’s maintenance tips include:  

  • Eat breakfast regularly.
  • Walk about an hour a day.
  • Track food intake, calories and fat grams.
  • Limit eating out.  
  • Seldom splurge.
  • Watch TV less than 10 hours a week.
  • Weigh weekly
  • Average about 1,800 calories a day, less than 30% from fat.

Give it a try! Use the plate – when you shape up your eating and exercise, youcan shape up your health for a lifetime!

Looking for more meal ideas, eating tips, or recommendations for organizing your plate?  Check out my book The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution:  Step up to the Plate (2009), or email me at Georgia@GeorgiaKostas.com to schedule a nutrition consult in person, over the phone or online.  You can follow me on Twitter/GeorgiaKostas, Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition or visit my website www.GeorgiaKostas.com.

Celebrating National Nutrition Month (Part 3 of 3)

Count Your Portions before they Count You

The key to losing weight and keeping it off is portions! Many people eat nutritiously, but without portion control, too much of even the right food can make you gain weight.

Try these portion control ideas from my book, The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution (2009):

1. Use the plate rule. Reserve ¼th of the plate for the protein or entrée, and ¾th of the plate for plant foods (vegetables, grains, fruit).

2. Measure easy-to-overdo foods. Cheese, 1 oz.; meat, 3 oz.; starches, ½ to 1 c.; nuts, 1-2 Tbsp.; juice, 4-6 oz. (½ to ¾ c.); salad dressing, mayonnaise, margarine, peanut butter, 1 Tbsp.

3. Measure your glass sizes at home. Is your juice glass 4 oz., 6 oz., or 8 oz.?

4. Make it easy. Have deli cheeses and lunch meats cut in 1 oz. slices (8 slices = 8 oz.)

5. Use your fist or a tennis ball as a measure of 1 c. of pasta, rice, vegetables, fruit, etc.

6. Eat baby-bites. Cut food into smaller pieces and eat one bite at a time. You chew more and the meal lasts longer.

7. Split an entrée when eating out. Most are 6-8 oz., and you need only 3-4 oz.

8. Leave some behind. Break away from the “clean plate syndrome,” the compulsion to eat everything on the plate. Save half for tomorrow’s lunch.

9. Use smaller dinner plates or bowls. Satisfy your psychological need to see a full plate. Spread food to cover the plate. Use a small dish for cereal.

10. Avoid seconds. Relax and think. Let 20 minutes pass before going for the second helping. Chances are you won’t want seconds!

Remember, portion control is weight control. Enjoy and savor the results. Thank you for reading my three-part series in honor of National Nutrition Month. Here’s to healthy eating all year long!

For more healthy portion control ideas, or to order a copy of my book, visit www.georgiakostas.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @georgiakostas or like my Facebook Fan Page, Georgia Kostas Nutrition.

Celebrating National Nutrition Month (Part 2 of 3)

Color Your Plate like an Artist’s Palette

It’s March and color is on your mind! You may be relishing in tabloid analysis of what color of dresses celebrities wore on the red carpet for the Oscars last week. You may be starting to think about what colors of flowers or produce you want to plant in your garden this spring. Or, if you are like me, you’re celebrating National Nutrition Month by discovering the different array of foods you can use to color your plate.

Here are a few examples of foods you can use to color your plate like an artist’s palette this month and all year long:

Color: Green
Foods: Spinach, lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprout
Health benefits: Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease, macular eye degeneration, cataracts, inflammation, colon cancer, heart disease, bone loss

Color: Red
Foods: Berry, tomato, tomato sauce, apple, watermelon, radish, pomegranate
Health Benefit: Helps prevent cell damage, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure

Color: Orange
Foods: Sweet potato, carrot, apricot, cantaloupe, orange
Health Benefits: Helps prevent heart disease, stroke, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis

Color: Yellow
Foods: Butternut squash, crookneck squash, corn, pineapple, lemon
Health Benefits: Helps prevent heart disease, stroke, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis

Color: White
Foods: Garlic, onion, pear, black-eyed pea, cauliflower, chick pea, mushroom
Health Benefit: Helps prevent high blood pressure

Color: Purple
Foods: Grape, fig, blueberry, black currant, red cabbage, eggplant, black bean, plum
Health Benefits: Helps prevent memory loss, cancer, heart disease

Help me add to my list. What foods do you enjoy that add color to your plate? Please enter your examples in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out Part 3 of my National Nutrition Month blog series: Count Your Portions before they Count You

For more healthy plate ideas, or to order a copy of my book, visit www.georgiakostas.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @georgiakostas or like my Facebook Fan Page, Georgia Kostas Nutrition.