Food Waste & You!

Three Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste and Improve Nutrition

 

Between National Arbor Day and National Gardening Day, April is a month of celebration for all that our beautiful earth provides. This, of course, includes one of the most precious resources that we happen to enjoy every day – food! Try the 3 strategies below to power the planet and your body at the same time.

 

Number 1:   Shop Smart

One of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to food waste and good nutrition is buying more than we can use in one week. When planning ahead, a practical approach is to plan one week at a time, with an emphasis on seasonal, local options. Keep in mind that fresh produce and meat stay fresh for about 3-5 days on average. Knowing this, a good strategy is to be sure to include a mix of fresh, frozen, and, believe it or not, even canned goods in your meal plan. Next time you are planning, try this –

  • Focus on 2-3 fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables each week and try to think of ways to include these in multiple recipes. Oh, and avoid shopping on an empty stomach!
  • Contribute to a greener and healthier environment over time by reducing your carbon footprint. When we buy locally we are reducing the travel time for those wonderful fruits, vegetables, dairy, and even meat that often comes from across state lines. By doing this, we are enjoying fresh, crisp goods while reducing CO2 emissions which in turn helps support a healthy food supply for decades to come.
  • When it comes to health and packaged goods is to always look for items that are low in added sugar and salt. This small change can help those managing their cardiovascular health, diabetes, high blood pressure, bone health, and much more and still feel good about their environmental impact. On the flip side, make sure to recycle aluminum and glass when you can to help reduce the impact on our landfills and ecosystem.
  • Like our canned goods, when it comes to frozen foods we want to look for items that are not pre-seasoned or flavored. Seasonings and flavors tell us that there has likely been salt, sugar or even preservatives added. By doing this, we can then add unique flavors to make it work with whatever dish is on the menu. Way more fun!
  • Bonus – frozen goods are great for those cooking for one because you can easily get one serving out and then pop the rest back in the freezer for next time.

The truth is, there are many healthy options when it comes to packaged and fresh foods – and staying informed is one way to help meet your health and environmental goals.

Number 2:   Proper Food Storage

Americans discard more food than any other country, nearly 40 million tons — or 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply. So what can you do?

  • Follow FIFO! If this term is new to you, it stands for “First-In, First-Out” and refers to a food storage method that is used for both sanitation purposes and food waste reduction. What it means is that as you are putting away the groceries make sure to put them away in an order that allows you to use the oldest items first. For example, yogurt in the refrigerator is one of those that inevitably end up spoiled in the back of the fridge. If we are intentional in placing the newest yogurt behind the old one, it will remind us to use the oldest first. I know it’s tempting to grab the freshest one however when it comes to food waste we’re doing ourselves a disservice for minimal flavor difference.
  • Preserve foods by keeping your leafy green in an airtight container with a dry paper towel. This will help absorb the moisture and keep the item fresher longer.
  • Another idea is to keep items like celery in the refrigerator with a small amount of water around the root which will keep the leaves thriving and fresh longer.
  • When it comes to fruit, try not to cut this too far in advance which will help it from turning mushy before you’re ready to enjoy it.
  • Use eco-friendly glass, plastic and other items like re-usable storage bags for both improved freshness, financial savings, and concerning nutrition – reduced intake of potential carcinogens.
  • Use reusable drink holders more often and reduce bottle water intake. This will help to make keeping up with daily water intake fun and even motivating.

Number 3:   Use EVERYTHING!

For many, the idea of eating leftovers is nothing short of boring. However, we know that with a high rate of food waste here in the United States an easy change like including 1 to 2 leftover meals per week can have a big impact. But who wants to eat the same thing twice in a row? Me either! Instead, try “re-inventing” it into something completely new and exciting!

  • Keep leftover meat and vegetables for a quick stew or chili.
  • If vegetables like corn, peas, and beans are leftover, try adding to a cold salad the next day for added flavor and texture.
  • If you happen to be among those that enjoy leftovers, refrigerating and freezing leftovers in individual serving sizes is one of the best ways to help ensure that always have something nutritious available for those crazy days when cooking goes out the window.
  • When it comes to peels and scraps from items like oranges, lemons, limes, try saving for everything from dried seasoning and rubs, salad dressing, vinaigrettes and jam – bring on the phytonutrients!

It is encouraging to know that small changes each day with food purchasing, storage, and enjoyment can work together to support our health and environmental goals. On behalf of Banister Nutrition, thank you for all you are doing to support a healthy, happy world for yourself and others. ~AS

 

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi 

Bedtime Routine: Tips for Better Sleep

Bedtime routines are not just for kids. 

Over a third of American adults report sleeping less than the recommended 7 hours per night. Individuals sleeping less than 7 hours per 24 hour period report a higher incidence of chronic issues such as obesity, heart disease, depression, kidney disease, and diabetes per CDC statistics. 

Sleep can be improved by creating a healthy bedtime routine that relaxes the mind and body. Below are some ideas for creating a routine to improve sleep. 

5 Steps for Bedtime Routine Success

1. Set a bedtime and stick close to it at night. 

Keeping a bedtime lets your mind acclimate to your timing of sleep.

2. Avoid eating meals within 1-2 hours before bed.

Sleep can be hindered by reflux and stomach pain, to prevent these symptoms avoid eating within 1-2 hours of bed.

3. Replace screen time in the evening with a book, bath, craft, or other relaxing activity. 

Light from phones, tablets, computers, and TVs, has been shown to be disruptive to the body’s natural sleep cycle, so try replacing these with a different activity as bedtime approaches.

4. Try journaling or a simple to-do list before bed. 

Take time to sort through thoughts and feelings before bed to improve sleep.

5. Add stretching, yoga, and/or meditation.

Relieve stress through the above activities to relax the mind and body in preparation for bedtime.

AH

 

Starting Your Backyard Vegetable Garden

Springtime is here and it is time to plant your summer garden. Planting a backyard garden might sound a little daunting, but it is easier than you think it might be. Even if you don’t have enough space in your backyard, you can plant plants like tomatoes or herbs in containers on your deck or patio. Other than it is a great hobby, there are lots of reasons why you should have a backyard garden even if it is a couple of plants. Fresh, ripe produce is right at your own convenience. You are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables because you investing time and energy into your garden. And most importantly of all, home-grown produce tastes so much better than what you can get at the grocery store!

Pick Your Plants

Depending on where you live in the States, certain fruits and vegetables grow better on the climate and time of the year. In Oklahoma, we have a climate where we can grow a large variety of produce. Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that thrive in this climate.

Vegetables and Fruits to Plant in the Spring/Summer

  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Radishes
  • Green Beans
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • Summer Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries

Pick The Right Area

When picking a location, it is important to keep in mind two things: sunlight and water access. Most vegetables and fruits need about 6-8 hours of sunshine a day while some only need 3-6 hours. Depending on what fruits and vegetables you choose to plant, it will dictate where you should grow your garden.

Prep Your Soil

You may not think that prepping soil is important for growing a garden, but the soil is where plants get most of their nutrients. To prep soil for gardening, organic fertilizers like compost are the best to incorporate.

  1. Add an organic fertilizer like compost.
  2. Mix compost into the soil at least 2 inches deep. This will aerate the soil making it easier for vegetables and fruits to grow.
  3. While you are mixing the soil, pick out any rocks, large twigs, and other objects. These items can inhibit the growth of root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and potatoes.
  4. Once you have finished prepping your soil, you are ready to plant your seeds or seedlings!

Watering Your Plants

Watering your plants is crucial especially in the hot Oklahoman summer heat. One way to sure your garden is getting enough water is to water it in the morning before the sun fully rises. This way the plants can absorb water more efficiently and you will use less water. If you are using containers instead of planting your plants in the ground, make sure your pots and containers have drainage holes so excess water can be drained from the plant.

Now you are set to plant your seeds or seedlings! Hopefully with our gardening tips, your garden will flourish this summer. Comment below on what you are planning to grow this year! AN

Elusive Blood Sugar Management

Do you ever feel like regardless of what you do, your blood sugar is still all over the board?

Once you received the diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should have been told to check your blood sugar several times each day to prevent complications that can develop from elevated blood sugar over a long time. Striving for normal blood sugar readings can feel extremely elusive and frustrating, but it doesn’t need to be. Checking your blood sugar level is like checking the speedometer on your car. It gives you information and tells you if you need to make adjustments. Blood sugar levels do not reflect personal character or intelligence.

There are many factors that affect your blood sugar.  What you do or don’t eat has a huge impact on your blood sugar level, but it is not the only factor involved. Here are some other factors that can affect your blood sugar.

Stress: 

We may not be attacked by predators nowadays, but we seem to be under constant lifestyle attack. Stress produced by a lion or your lifestyle will cause an increase in the hormones glucagon and cortisol, which increases blood sugar.  Sleep deprivation also causes stress and increases cortisol levels. The good news is exercise, relaxation, meditation, and adequate sleep can reduce stress and lower blood sugar levels.

Exercise:

Insulin sensitivity is increased with exercise, which means your cells are better able to use the sugar in your bloodstream. Thus lowering your blood sugar level.  Is your blood sugar high? Vacuum the floor, mow the lawn, clean out the garage, wash the windows, go for a walk or bike ride – these are all free, effective treatments to lower blood sugar.

Food: 

Are you tired of hearing the long litany of foods you shouldn’t eat because you have diabetes? Are there foods you might want to eat more of to improve your health and lower your blood sugar?

Carbohydrates (“carbs”) are to be managed, not eliminated. Your body breaks down carbs into sugars (mostly glucose) and then insulin helps your body use the sugar for energy. When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails and blood glucose levels can rise. A dietitian can assist you in identifying the appropriate amount, distribution, and type of carbs to manage your blood glucose. You need complex carbs at least for a third of your carb intake. If you are taking insulin, your dietitian can also calculate the appropriate carb-to-insulin ratio so you can be pro-active and determine how much insulin to take based on how many carb grams you ate at your meal.

Fiber, specifically soluble fiber, has been shown to improve blood sugar management. Fiber slows carb digestion and sugar absorption.  Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are a great source of soluble fiber. Incorporating these foods in your diet would be very beneficial and effective for your blood sugar management. It is a balancing act to determine the appropriate amount because each of these foods also contributes to carbs.

Consult a dietitian who is also a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) to find the answers tailored to your specific health needs and goals. CB

 

 

 

 

We Were All Born As Intuitive Eaters

Did you know the “non-dieting” approach has been around since 1995? Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch MS, RD, CEDRD, FADA were the first to develop and publish this concept in their book, Intuitive Eating: The Revolutionary Program that Works. Intuitive eating is not a diet, but an approach to improve your relationship with food, exercise, and body image. Through this, studies have shown this method can additionally help improve blood pressure, cholesterol, decrease depression, enhance self-esteem and often result in weight loss for chronic dieters. Information below is a highlight of each principle and directly from the Intuitive Eating book:

PRINCIPLE 1:

REJECT THE DIET MENTALITY

Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

 

PRINCIPLE 2:

HONOR YOUR HUNGER

Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise, you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust with yourself and food.

 

PRINCIPLE 3:

MAKE PEACE WITH FOOD

Call a truce; stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give in” to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.

 

PRINCIPLE 4:

CHALLENGE THE FOOD POLICE

Scream a loud “no” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating under a thousand calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The food police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the food police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.

 

PRINCIPLE 5:

FEEL YOUR FULLNESS

Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or snack and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current fullness level is.

 

PRINCIPLE 6:

DISCOVER THE SATISFACTION FACTOR

The Japanese have the wisdom to keep pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence – the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough.”

 

PRINCIPLE 7:

COPE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS WITHOUT USING FOOD

Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your emotional issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may provide comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.

 

PRINCIPLE 8:

RESPECT YOUR BODY

Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect realistically to squeeze into a size six, it is equally futile (and uncomfortable) to have a similar expectation about body size. Respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical of your body shape.

 

PRINCIPLE 9:

EXERCISE – FEEL THE DIFFERENCE

Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, like being energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the booze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.

 

PRINCIPLE 10:

HONOR YOUR HEALTH – GENTLE NUTRITION

Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency, or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.

This book is a great read! If you are wanting to implement these principles in your life, and would like guidance/one-on-one counseling, the “BN” Dietitians are in your corner. We understand the role diet culture has played on one’s mind and body. Get back to the basics and learn to listen to YOU! LN

Weighing Your Risk – Nutrition, Obesity & COVID-19

At Banister Nutrition, we recognize that a variety of factors play a role in your overall health. As we work alongside our clients, we see first-hand the impact that nutrition has on the ability to positively influence outcomes associated with illness and disease. In fact, as we learn more about COVID-19 and the dynamics that influence both risk and severity, it is confirming our understanding that to best manage our health, we must leverage what we know about nutrition and do what we can now to meet our health goals for today and our future.

When it comes to COVID-19, new evidence may suggest that obese individuals are more likely to be hospitalized and admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) compared to those who are overweight or of healthy weight. Currently, weight status is defined using the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale which categorizes individuals as underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. By these standards, 42.4% of Americans are currently considered obese. With that being said, it is important to recognize that while BMI does not take into account a person’s body fat percentage, the reality is, there is a strong body of evidence that shows BMI as a reliable indicator of health status and health outcomes. In addition, by dismissing the potential correlation between weight and COVID-19 outcomes, we may be missing an opportunity to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Lastly, multiple studies have shown obesity linked to impaired immune function, decreases lung capacity, and altered sleep patterns, thereby further complicating outcomes associated with COVID-19 – all of which can be positively influenced by nutrition!

At this point, you may be asking – what are some of the links between nutrition and weight, and what can I do to put myself and my loved ones in the best position to fight COVID-19? See our thoughts below on ways to curb your risk by maximizing your sleep, physical activity, and stress management, all through the power of nutrition!

 

Nutrition, Weight & Sleep

What we know – Insufficient sleep can result in a disruption to the body’s hormone regulation mechanisms including those that control the production of ghrelin and leptin, hormones that help regulate hunger and satiety (or fullness). This can lead to an imbalance in energy and weight gain over time.

What we can doTry to limit foods that might disrupt your sleep patterns for at least 1-3 hours before bedtime including foods with added caffeine & sugar or those that are greasy or high in saturated fat. Examples include fried foods, soda, and sweets/desserts. On the flip side, foods with quality fiber such as fruits, vegetables, and grains along with healthy fats and protein such as fish, nuts, and seeds may actually improve the quality and duration of sleep.

 

Nutrition, Weight & Physical Activity

What we know – Daily physical activity, in addition to proper nutrition, supports the growth and development of lean body mass (LBM) which is critical for proper nutrient utilization and a healthy metabolism.

What we can doThe types of foods, as well as the timing of the foods we eat, is important in maximizing your efforts in the gym (or newly designed “home gym”). For example, give your body at least 1-4 hours to eat and process food before working out. Examples of meals/snacks that include a quality protein with a quality carbohydrate are oatmeal with almonds and blueberries or a no-sugar-added Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries.

But don’t stop there! In the first 30 minutes following an intense workout, your body is primed and ready to receive and use an easy to digest (you guessed it) quality protein and a quality carbohydrate source such as a glass of low-fat chocolate milk or even a peanut butter smoothie made with low-fat milk and half a banana. Refueling after a workout is just as important as the meal prior, if not more, in building lean muscle!

 

Nutrition, Weight & Stress Management

What we knowWhen our body experiences stress, it begins to produce cortisol which can influence weight management through its impact on appetite signals and the body’s insulin response.

What we can doMake sure to eat consistently throughout and include foods that help you to feel good which means those that help you to maintain energy levels, support a healthy immune system, and improve cognition and focus. Examples of foods to include daily are those high in fiber and healthy fats with special attention to those with added Vitamin A, C, and zinc for immune and memory support. Examples include citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as omega-3 rich sources such as salmon.

If you or someone you know needs additional support and guidance on the best plan for them, Banister Nutrition is here to help!

 

Wishing you and your family and happy and healthy holiday season!  ~ AS & The Banister Team~

Why Is My A1c High?

Your daily random blood glucose readings are good. You watch your carbohydrate intake, exercise, take your medication as prescribed, avoid smoking, and try to live a healthy lifestyle.  But still, your Hemoglobin A1c (“HbA1c” or just “A1c”) is over 7.0 which leaves you frustrated, wondering what you are doing wrong. One thing to consider is that you check your blood glucose only a limited number of times daily. Your daily readings may look good the 3-4 times you check, but what is your blood glucose doing throughout the day when you are not checking it?

Taking daily readings is good, but taking an A1c test through your healthcare provider every 3-6 months gives insight into your long-term glucose levels. The higher the glucose in your bloodstream, the greater the glucose attachment to the hemoglobin portion of your red blood cells. The lifetime of your red blood cells is 2-3 months; therefore your A1c reading reflects the glucose level of your blood over the past 2-3 months. A target A1c for most adults is under 7.0.

Insulin from your pancreas is essential for properly regulated glucose throughout the day, which determines your A1c. Several factors can interfere with the work insulin is trying to do, including:

Excess body weight

The accumulation of body fat, especially visceral fat (the kind that surrounds your internal organs causing an apple shape), interferes with the work of insulin. Just a 5-10% decrease in body weight will improve glucose levels.

Stress

When you are experiencing stress it is your body signaling that something needs to change. Unfortunately, many people choose to push through stress on a daily basis and never consider addressing the source of stress in their life. Stress contributes to insulin resistance. It can also raise your epinephrine and cortisol levels, causing an increase in A1c. You also may be one of those people who engage in stress-eating for temporary calming which will elevate your weight, blood glucose, and A1c.

Sleep deprivation

Poor sleep patterns impair glucose metabolism. If you are getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis, it would be wise to address your “sleep hygiene” (such as developing a calming routine at bedtime) to help lower your blood glucose.

Portion control

Even though you are choosing healthy foods, portion control is still necessary to manage your A1C. Healthy foods still contain carbohydrates, and although you need to limit carbohydrates, you do need appropriate amounts of them for fuel.

Exercise Levels

Cardiovascular and strength or resistance training are important to maintain your weight and manage your glucose and insulin levels. Strength training helps your body respond to insulin better, so it should be a part of your weekly fitness plan. Cardiovascular exercise directly improves blood glucose in the moment.

Mindfulness

“Mindfulness” is when your mind is fully attending to what’s happening and what you are doing in the present moment. Often, we are not fully present for our current moments of life experience. We take flight and soon we are worrying about our future or revisiting our past with obsessive thoughts.  Increasing mindfulness lowers blood glucose and eventually A1c.

So remember – you do have control over many of the factors that affect your A1c. CB

Meal Prepping Made Easy

I don’t know about you, but sometimes 24 hours a day is just not enough. With school and work, some days I struggle to find the time to eat nourishing meals because I don’t have the time to make a meal and any prepared options are usually not the best choices. I started meal prepping can help free up some time during the week by cooking meals ahead of time!

Set a Day for Meal Prepping

First, set a designated day to cook your meals. I like to cook on Sundays and Wednesdays making meals for three to four days so I don’t get tired of the same meals every day. Also, most of the time food only says good for about three to five days or so. This is also a great way to get the family into the kitchen. Getting kids to help out can spark their interest in healthy food and cooking. Plus, they are more likely to eat the food that they helped cook.

Plan Your Meals

Once you have set a day to make your meals, plan what you are going to make and write a list of food you need to get at the grocery store. Planning your meals in advance can help make grocery shopping much easier as you already know what to get. This way you only need to go to the grocery store once a week. When planning your meals, think about ingredients that could be cooked in multiple ways. For example, you can make spinach into a salad, put it in some soup, or sautee it with other veggies!

Don’t limit your meal prepping to just lunch and dinner. You can save time in the morning by portioning out your smoothie ingredients in mason jars or pre-making pancakes and cut fruit for an easy breakfast for the kids.

Having pre-made snacks make it easy for you to grab and go. Cut up and portion fruits and veggies! Portion out cheese, lunchmeat, and crackers for homemade Lunchables! Pre-package trail mix or cereals! The combinations are endless.

Be Efficient

Utilize your kitchen to the max!

  • Make sheet pan meals by roasting multiple items on the same sheet pan. That’s one less dish to wash at the end of the night!
  • Multi-task. Whether that be boiling some pasta while sauteeing some greens or baking chicken and roasting potatoes, make use of your time cooking.

Portion Out Your Meals

After making all your meals, portion out your meals. This makes it quick and easy to grab your lunch when you are on your way out the door! If you don’t have enough room in your refrigerator, pack your lunch and dinner the night before so you have it ready to go in the morning.

Mason jars are a great way to put salads in. Place your dressing in first and then put hardier vegetables like chickpeas or tomatoes or protein. That way your salad is not soggy when you eat it. It’s also great to use if you want instant noodle soups. Just cook your favorite noodles and shock them in ice water before adding it to the mason jar with other ingredients you want. Add miso, tum yum paste, a bouillon cube, or any other soup flavoring. When you are ready to eat, just add hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. And voila you have soup!

Freeze It

If you want to meal prep way far in advance, you can freeze the extra meals you made. You can marinate meat, cook vegetables,  or make soup and freeze it! Making and freezing family meals can be a huge time saver when you are running short on time to make dinner. You can make lasagna, oven bakes, or casseroles in a disposable pan and freeze them until you need them.

Fast food can be healthy. Meal prepping may require taking some time out of your week, but you can have ready to eat meals that you know are nutritious! You can make it as easy as you want it by simply putting everything in the oven or have fun making different meals. Not only does it save time during the weekdays, but it can save you money and unnecessary stress. Try meal prepping this week and comment below how you did it!

AN

Which Came First? Lack of Sleep or Nutritient Shortfalls?

How are you taking care of yourself? Taking care of yourself directly impacts your ability to care for others. Think – are you getting the sleep you need, managing stress in a positive way, meeting your nutritional needs, getting in physical exercise? 

 

Which came first? Are nutrient shortfalls secondary to lack of sleep or lack of sleep secondary to nutrient shortfalls?

The answer – either one can cause an impact on the other. There are some common nutritional deficiencies that may prevent us from getting adequate sleep and/or caused by lack of sleep. Ideally, we should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night.  However, less than 1% of the population falls into the “exception” category of needing less or more than this. If you are not meeting this guideline, you are likely putting yourself at risk for nutrient deficiencies and causing your sleep to be worse. 

 

Adults with less than 7 hours of sleep at night have been found to have nutrient shortfalls in vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin K, potassium and omega 3s. 

  • Did you know 96% of Americans don’t eat enough vitamin D?
    • Vitamin D plays an important role in lung health, insulin secretion, bone health, brain health, heart health, inflammation, muscle health, and our immune system. 
  • Did you know 55% of Americans don’t eat enough magnesium?
    • Magnesium plays an important role in our bones/teeth, regulation of heartbeat, muscles, nervous system, metabolism, and cellular energy. 
  • Did you know 95% of Americans don’t eat enough omega 3s?
    • Omega 3s play an important role in eye health, maintaining healthy triglycerides, healthy blood pressure, brain health, heart health, and inflammation. 

Having a balanced diet with a variety of produce and protein sources can help prevent nutritional deficiencies. Nutrient-dense food sources include:

  • Vitamin D: Egg yolk, mushroom, fatty fish, cod liver oil, fortified foods/beverages (cereal/orange juice/milk)
  • Vitamin E: Almonds, avocado, fatty fish, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, spinach, butternut squash, olive oil, kiwi
  • Vitamin C: Kale, broccoli, green chili pepper, bell pepper, coriander, kiwi, strawberry, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, orange, papaya, tomato
  • Vitamin A: Liver, cod liver oil, spinach, butternut squash, mustard greens, tomato, fatty fish, carrot, sweet potato, cantaloupe, red bell pepper, parsley
  • Vitamin K: Kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, asparagus, kiwi, avocado, cheese, eggs, chicken, butter
  • Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, quinoa, beans, dark chocolate, peanuts, edamame, cashews, cacao powder, oatmeal, avocado, broccoli, banana
  • Calcium: Milk, cheese, yogurt, fish, spinach, kale, collard greens, beans, lentils, walnuts, edamame, fortified drinks (almond milk/orange juice), chia seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, broccoli, tofu
  • Potassium: Pistachios, beet greens, salmon, white beans, potatoes, milk, mushrooms, avocado, tomato, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, peanuts, almonds, banana, acorn squash, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, watermelon
  • Omega 3s: Fatty fish (anchovies, sardines, herring, trout, salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna), basil, chia seeds, flax seeds, spinach, walnuts, edamame, brussels sprouts, avocado

Whether lack of sleep causes nutrient abnormalities or nutrient abnormalities causes a lack of sleep, it is important to make both a priority to help the body function properly. They both play a key role in overall health. Speak with your Dietitian about ways you can improve stress, sleep, and nutrition. LN

Healthy Lifestyle Opportunities during Social Distancing

Over the past few weeks, it’s become easy to focus on things we’ve lost- 24/7 grocery store access, Barre classes, dining at our favorite restaurants, and even taking our children to the park. As the days turn into weeks, we grieve the loss of control in our daily routines.

This forced slowed down lifestyle gives us the ability to pause and be intentional about our health and fitness goals. We’re staying home, living a much slower pace, we have suddenly found ourselves with opportunities to be present and intentional.

Healthy Lifestyle Opportunities during Social Distancing

Time and necessity to plan meals and grocery shopping lists

  • Increasing interaction with the public is definitely a risky business. A quick trip into the convenience store when all you really need is gas could put you at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus but also lead to a few moments of misguided pleasure down the candy aisle. With recommended interactions outside of the home being brief, it’s a necessity to plan in advance to prevent multiple trips to the store and to decrease impulse choices such as convenience items. This is the perfect time to save on your food dollar plus trim your waistline by decreasing portions. Instead of the larger portion or a second serving, save it for the next meal.
  • Our best defense is a strong offense. Live the strongest healthiest version of yourself you can.  Be absolutely intentional with getting in at least six servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Purchase a rainbow of colors to assure you are incorporating a variety of nutrients. Don’t neglect to keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand for when you run out of fresh.

Teachable cooking moments for your family

  • Food prep and cooking at home can bring healthy options to your table in a fun and creative way. Try new recipes or experiment with new ways to cook to make cooking a fun family affair. More opportunities for family meals mean more opportunities for everyone to learn this essential life skill eliminating some of the feelings of, “I don’t want to cook, I don’t like to cook, I don’t know how to cook.” While we hope to never experience another pandemic, your children will benefit decades down the road for learning this important life skill.

Learning physical hunger over emotional hunger

  • Embrace this time to figure out physical vs emotional hunger.  Is your hunger coming from your gut or possibly your head? Is your hunger tied to the current freeway of anxiety, worry, fear, panic? This is the perfect time to look into the emotions you are feeling with curiosity, not shame or blame.  Identify your negative feelings and respond to them with compassionate words such as “isn’t this interesting.” Take the time to explore your feelings and learn more about yourself and your relationship with food. Remember, food will not fix fear, anxiety, worry or panic. COVID-19 will still be here after you polish off the chips, nuts, ice cream or cookies, then how will you feel? If you choose to indulge in reckless eating you will be layering more “icky” feelings on top of your “icky” corona feelings.

Feel your feelings and get moving

  • Everything about the coronavirus feels pretty awful. Thank heavens we can still be outdoors to exercise for our mental health. The weather has been challenging with days that have felt too hot, too cold or too wet to get outside. Realize you may need to adjust to the weather, you can dress cooler, wear a coat and even carry an umbrella—- MOVING is a necessity to maintain mental health. A dance party in the house would also work, I couldn’t live without my hula hoop during these trying times.

Seize the day! The stage is set! This is the perfect opportunity to create that healthy and fit version of you. Go forth and be intentional.

CB