Edmond Mobile Meals

Have you ever heard of Edmond Mobile Meals and how this organization impacts our community? 

Edmond Mobile Meals is a non-profit organization based in Edmond, Oklahoma, that provides nutritious meals to homebound and elderly individuals who are unable to prepare meals for themselves. The organization was founded in 1974 and has been providing this service to the community ever since.

The meals are prepared fresh daily in the Mobile Meals kitchen and delivered to the clients’ homes by volunteers. Each meal is nutrient filled and has a vegetable, carbohydrate, and protein. This is to ensure the recipients are getting the correct amount of nutrients needed daily. The service is available to anyone in the Edmond community who is over the age of 60, disabled, or recovering from an illness.

The organization relies on donations from the community, grants, and fundraising events to cover the cost of the meals and to continue providing the service to those in need. Edmond Mobile Meals is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of their clients and ensuring that they receive a warm meal and a friendly visit each day. Edmond Mobile meals is always looking for new volunteers!

If you are, or know someone who may be eligible to receive meals from Edmond Mobile Meals, visit their website to apply: https://edmondmobilemeals.org/apply/ 

If you would like to volunteer, click this link to sign up: https://edmondmobilemeals.org/volunteer/volunteer-application/

Picking out a Yogurt

The yogurt aisle has exploded with options over the last decade for a good reason! Yogurt is packed with calcium, probiotics and protein that can be part of a healthy breakfast or snack. Let’s talk about what to look for when you are trying a new yogurt. 


The first things you’ll notice are names like “Greek Yogurt,” “Light Yogurt” or “Low Fat Yogurt.” In general, Greek yogurts will be higher in protein and more satiating. We recommend sticking with these. While light yogurts may be lower in calories, they often don’t contain enough fat or protein to keep you full. 


Look on the back of the yogurt container, and you’ll be able to see the nutrition panel. There are a few lines in particular we want to focus on. First, look to see how much saturated fat the yogurt contains. For a 5-8oz container of yogurt, keep saturated fat under 3g. Next, look at the “Added Sugars” line under the carbohydrates. Ideally, we want less than 10g of added sugars – and even less is better! Finally, look at the amount of protein that each portion contains. To help you stay full, we recommend a minimum of 10g of protein, but more is better!


There are several brands that generally follow these guidelines that would be a good place to start: Chobani (look for their Zero Sugar line); Siggi’s; Oikos (look for their Triple Zero line); or Fage! A note: If you have sensitives to non-nutritive sweeteners, be sure to look closely at the ingredients. 


Do you have a milk allergy? Yogurt is still a great choice for a convenient, high protein breakfast and these tips on evaluating the nutrition label still apply! Be sure to look for a soy, coconut or almond based yogurt to be allergy friendly.


Salad and Go

Are you in search of a fast, fresh, and affordable meal to grab while you’re in a hurry? Take a trip to Salad and Go for a convenient, drive-thru fast-food chain that is inexpensive and nutritious!


Salad and Go was founded by Roushan Christofellis and her husband, Tony, in 2013. They opened the first Salad and Go in Gilbert, Arizona, and now the revolutionary fast-food chain has expanded to Nevada, Texas, and Oklahoma. Oklahoma has 4 locations: Del City, Edmond, and two in Oklahoma City. Salad and Go made its appearance in the OKC metro in November 2022. 


A professional chef named Daniel Patino created the menu for Salad and Go with hopes to show people that eating healthy can be tasty, affordable, and FUN. He designed the menu to be simple while also having plenty of options. Chef Patino also created each dressing to be gluten-free for those who struggle with a gluten intolerance. 


What is unique about Salad and Go is that there is no dine-in option; it is drive-thru or mobile pick up only. Each building is 656-square-feet, which limits the cost of labor and operating costs, allowing more money to be spent on better quality food! 


A filling, nutritious, and well-balanced 48 oz salad or wrap costs less than $7. A meal packed with healthy fats, protein, and veggies for that price is hard to pass up! 

The menu has a wide variety of salads that can also be turned into a wrap. Whether you’re in the mood for jalapeno ranch, buffalo chicken, Thai, or creating your own salad/wrap – Salad and Go has you covered. The menu also includes breakfast, soup, coffee, and frozen lemonades. 


Fast food can be healthy, tasteful, and GOOD for you. Thankfully Salad and Go found its way to Oklahoma, so that we have an option to eat affordably and fast. 


Visit a Salad and Go near you soon and tell us what you think! 


Orlov, A. (2016, September 19). This drive-thru salad chain proves that fast food doesn’t have to be greasy to be cheap. Mic. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.mic.com/articles/153595/this-drive-thru-salad-chain-proves-that-fast-food-doesn-t-have-to-be-greasy-to-be-cheap This is the BBQ Ranch salad. This salad is filled with romaine lettuce, chicken, corn, pico de gallo, black beans, tortilla strips, and topped with BBQ ranch!

The Connection Between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Nutrition

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that includes a broad range of characteristics that affect how individuals interact socially, communicate, learn, and behave.

While a focus on nutrition can be beneficial for all individuals, why would one want to specifically focus on eating and eating behaviors when they or someone they love have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis?

  1. ASD is characterized by slow motility and constipation. While there may be other gastrointestinal issues found with ASD, these two are the most common. They are characterized by early fullness, painful bowel movements, and infrequent bowel movements. A registered dietitian can assist individuals with ASD in increasing water or water-rich foods in their diet, increasing low intensity movement, and adding more fiber rich foods.
  2. ASD is associated with sensory sensitivities including food texture preferences along with food texture aversions. This also means the environment in which an individual with ASD is eating may be an important factor in their overall eating experience.
  3. Picky eating is a common struggle with ASD. This could be related to food texture preferences but it could also be related to other sensory sensitivities, digestive discomfort, or a resistance to change. ARFID is also a form of picky eating that is linked with ASD. One study showed 35% of pediatrics diagnosed with ASD also met ARFID diagnoses criteria as well. [1]  ARFID stands for Avoidant/Restrictive Food intake. Similar to picky eating, ARFID is characterized by a limited variety of foods one is willing to eat or like. Unlike picky eating, this list of foods tends to get smaller over time and may be an adverse reaction to a negative experience such as choking or vomiting.  This disorder can lead to fatigue, difficulty sleeping, nutrient deficiencies, growth stunts, constipation, and failure to thrive. 
  4. A connection has been found between ASD and nutrient deficiencies. This could be related to picky eating, texture sensitivities, and/or methylation abnormalities. A dietitian can help identify and address nutrient gaps! 

[1] Williams KHendy HField DBelousov YRiegel KAdams WImplications of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) on children with feeding problemsChild Health Care 20154430721.


How to Start Meal Preparation and Planning

How to Start Meal Preparation/Planning


After getting home from a long day, very few people have the energy or time to come up with a healthy, easy meal unless there’s been some pre-planning. A reliable menu plan can save you time and money, decrease food waste and help improve your health! 


The first thing to do is pick out the day of the week where you have the most time – often this is Saturday or Sunday. This is the best time to assess the ingredients you already have on hand, decide what meals you would like to cook, and make your grocery list. By doing this, you set yourself up for a successful (and low stress!) week of meals. While doing this, consider which days you will be pushed for time – these might be good days to start a crockpot meal in the morning or to have leftovers!  


The next thing is to consider what you can buy pre-made or pre-cut. Fresh or frozen vegetables that are pre-cut can save a lot of time and increase how often you consume them! After this, pick out a few proteins that will be in your meals. For example, if your family enjoys poultry, roast several chicken breasts at once. Before storing them, we recommend cutting them into pieces for faster reheating from the fridge or freezer. 

The last thing to remember is that you do not have to prepare every meal ahead of time to consider yourself a success! Start with a goal of planning one dinner per week – your future self will thank you!

Flexitarian vs Pescatarian vs Vegetarian

Have you considered trying to decrease the amount of meat you eat for health or other reasons? It can be very intimidating at first to imagine a life without meat, but it doesn’t need to be something to stop “cold turkey.” (Pardon the pun!) Let’s explore some ways to decrease your meat intake: 


Flexitarian: This flexible approach aims to decrease your intake of meat while increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. This is an excellent introduction to decreasing your meat intake. A note of caution: You still need to aim for a protein source with all meals. Consider starting with “meatless Mondays” and look for vegetarian recipes you would enjoy.


Pescatarian: Do you enjoy seafood and feel you could consume it on a daily basis for your protein? Then the pescatarian diet might be the right fit for you. Those following this approach avoid meat and poultry but work to consume a high amount of plant-based foods and seafood.  Whether or not you consume dairy or eggs varies is based on your own personal goals. 


Vegetarian: With this regimen, you would not consume any meat or fish products. As with the pescatarian diet, the inclusion of milk and eggs is based on your individual choices. Be aware, it’s easy to fall into the trap of consuming highly processed foods that are meat-free, so make sure your emphasis is on whole foods with minimal saturated fat and sodium.  We recommend the addition of a multivitamin that contains Vitamin B12 if you’re not supplementing through foods.


Interested in trying some of these out? Start here for some ideas for meeting your protein needs:  https://banisternutrition.com/what-is-soy/


What is a Complete Protein?

What is a complete protein?


When you consume a food that contains protein, it is broken down into smaller pieces – amino acids – that are then absorbed by the intestines. These amino acids are then moved around the body to be used as they are needed. While many foods may contain some form of protein, they may not be “complete.” 


A food is said to be a complete protein if it contains all nine essential amino acids that humans require from the diet. These amino acids are essential because your body cannot make them on its own. Examples of complete proteins from animal products are eggs, poultry, fish, beef, pork and dairy. There are also some plant sources of complete protein including soy, quinoa and buckwheat. 


You might be saying, “But I thought beans and nuts also contained protein.” They do! These foods are sources of incomplete proteins. While we recommend getting as many food sources with complete proteins as possible, these are also great to include in the diet. In addition to this, consuming certain incomplete proteins with each other can lead to all nine essential amino acids being present. Some examples of this are: 


  • Nuts or seeds AND a whole grain 
  • Beans AND brown rice 
  • Hummus AND whole grain pita bread

Does Altitude Increase Calorie Burn?

If you perform the same exact exercise twice, once in Oklahoma and once in Copper Mountain, Colorado, will your body burn the same amount of calories?

Spend time in the mountains and you will quickly notice breathing becomes challenging and your heart rate is higher than normal.  Sea level air is more compressed by all of the air above it, which is a lot of weight pushing down. When you compress a gas such as oxygen it becomes dense. As you go up in elevation there is less density meaning less oxygen. Every breath you take draws in less oxygen. In the mountains, our very remarkable bodies can make several adaptations over weeks or months to make the most of the limited available oxygen.  Your breathing rate speeds up to compensate, working the diaphragm muscles harder.  Your body makes more red blood cells to carry oxygen, and those blood cells become more efficient at delivering the oxygen to your tissues. Simultaneously, your cells’ mitochondria (energy-producing furnaces) multiply to take in as much oxygen as possible. Changes your body goes through to adapt to the higher altitude can lead to a slight increase in basal metabolic rate (BMR), the amount of energy needed to keep your body running smoothly. With time the BMR lowers but does not return to baseline, so metabolism overall remains ‘slightly’ elevated at higher altitudes.

Although it seems we are working harder to perform daily activities and exercise can be difficult, the additional number of calories burned at higher altitudes is not huge. The slight increase in calorie expenditure is due to increased breathing to get more oxygen into the body, whereby the rib cage and other muscles work harder for ventilation.

While there is a slight increase in the metabolic rate from altitude impact, factors that play a bigger role in burning calories are:

  • Some people just naturally have a higher metabolic rate.
  • Typically, men have a higher % muscle mass than women, which results in men having 10-15% higher metabolism than women.
  • Metabolic rate is highest in childhood. After the age of 20, a person’s metabolic rate tends to drop two percent per decade. This decrease in metabolic rate strongly supports why we must stay active throughout our lives to prevent the typical weight gain of 10 pounds per decade.
  • Intensity of cardiovascular exercise. Intensity and duration of cardiovascular aerobic exercise increases calories burned.
  • Resistance training. Intensity of weight training increases calories burned during and immediately after the exercise. Resistance training also increases % muscle mass, which will support increased calorie burn over all.

The “take away” is that, yes, metabolism increases slightly at higher altitudes resulting in greater caloric expenditure, but this difference is insignificant. Calorie burn is influenced to a more significant degree by the above factors – regardless of your altitude.


Menopause and Weight Gain!

You’re approaching menopause. You’re approaching “50.” Does menopause plus the magic number “50” mean you are also approaching fat? The answer to this question is a resounding NO! You could be entertaining weight gain if you are in either of the above scenarios, but it is not inevitable. Hormonal changes of menopause might increase the chances of extra pounds going on around your abdomen vs. your hips and thighs. But hormones alone can not be totally blamed for weight gain that may occur around menopause.

Is there any possibility around the age of menopause any of the following are also occurring which will decrease your calorie burn:

  • Fewer trips walking to your teens bedroom checking on them or the condition of their room?
  • If kids have left home, possibly fewer trips to the grocery store with fewer sacks to carry in and fewer groceries to put away?
  • Have you acquired a house cleaner or someone to help with the yard work?
  • Fewer loads of laundry to and clothes to put away?

Weight gain related to aging, as well as lifestyle and genetic factors. Muscle mass typically decreases with age, while fat increases. As muscle decreases, so does the rate at which your body burns calories. Have you increased your resistance workouts to maintain your muscle mass? If you continue to eat as you always have but are not increasing your physical activity you will gain weight. When you hit 50 you need to be exercising more, not less than when you were 40. A minimum of 150 minutes of cardio per week plus strength training twice weekly is needed to try and prevent weight gain. If weight loss is desired additional exercise will likely be required.

Calories will need to be tweaked slightly to maintain your current weight through the decades. Seek the help of a registered dietitian to calculate specific adjustments for you. At Banister Nutrition we will conduct an RMR test (resting metabolic rate) to get an exact printout of what your daily energy burn is. This is a very simple 10 minute breathing test which determines exactly how your body is burning calories.

Inadequate sleep may also contribute to weight gain. When you are not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night, you tend to snack more and are not as disciplined and focused on making responsible choices. Sleep deprivation also affects hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates appetite and leptin suppresses appetite. Inadequate sleep is associated with reducing leptin and elevating ghrelin. These hormone changes result in increased hunger and appetite especially for foods with high carbohydrate content which of course may contribute to weight gain. Get your sleep if weight management is of concern to you.


 How to Make Health and Wellness a Priority at an Office Job

Do you have a sedentary job? Did you know that not meeting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer? Many are unaware that it can also impact your mental health. Living a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to anxiety and depression. Below are some tips to prioritize your mental and physical health on the job.

Ways to Prioritize Mental Health:

  • Get a full 8 hours of sleep.
  • Meditate, do a little yoga, or some deep breathing.
  • Start your day off by listening to a podcast on your morning commute.
  • Don’t skip breakfast: It jumpstarts your metabolism and provides energy so you perform your best at work! 
  • Set boundaries between your work and home life.

Ways to Prioritize Physical Health:

  • Park farther away and walk.
  • Get up every hour: Walk to the bathroom, get a drink, go to the printer or chat with a coworker.
  • On your lunch break, take a walk around the building, climb a couple flights of stairs or hit the gym for a quick workout.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated: It can be easy to get busy and forget about your daily water intake.
  • Bring food from home: It is healthier and gives you time to do other things on your break!
  • If possible, get a standing desk or a mini foot cycler that fits under your desk.

Being active is important to ensure your overall health and quality of life. Try to incorporate some of these tips into your life and see how much better you feel mentally and physically!