Benefits of Vegetarian Diets

Eating less meat in your diet can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Most people envision a diet of tofu and veggies. This is a common misconception. There are many new meat alternatives that taste very similar to meat. For example, there are meatless crumbles that can be used for tacos or spaghetti “meat” sauce, and the brand Morning Star has great meat alternatives including some delicious snack foods. You don’t necessarily need to make a sudden drastic change by completely cutting out all meat. You can start by introducing some meat substitutes or even start doing Meatless Monday.

Eating more plant-based foods can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, it can lower blood pressure and decrease saturated fat intake. Plant-based proteins also contain more fiber, and fiber helps you feel full longer.

The biggest concern people have about switching to a plant-based diet is whether they will get enough protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient that is required for the body to properly function. Think of proteins as the building blocks for bones, muscle, skin, and hair. The Standard American Diet actually consists of more protein than is usually needed because we normally consume protein at every meal. We also get protein in other foods like dairy products, nuts, beans, eggs, and some pastas.

For a complete protein source, combine some of these complementary proteins:

Beans + Grains, nuts, and seeds

Grains + Legumes

Nuts/seeds + Legumes

Vegetables + Grains, nuts, seeds

Corn + Legumes

Try some of these vegetarian recipes:

Taco Casserole:

*substitute meatless crumbles for the ground turkey

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili:

Vegetable Lasagna Recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie Made Healthy:

*substitute plant based chicken strips for the chicken (We promise, it tastes just as good!)


What is HAES?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of your size found by taking your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared: BMI = kg/m

Recent studies have shown that BMI alone is not an accurate depiction of overall health. This is because it does not take into account gender, race, ethnicity, age, or body composition (% of water, protein, fat and mineral in the body). As one can see, there are a lot of variables to consider. To paint a visual, this means that someone who is very muscular or pregnant would most likely be categorized as overweight. In reality, we know that nothing would be wrong with these individuals. 

Due to the stigma around BMI and weight, a movement called HAES (Health at Every Size) has surfaced.  HAES is an advocate for the following:

-Focusing on Health and Wellbeing

-Respecting and Honoring Body Diversity

-Encouraging Joyful Movement and Habits

-Fostering Self Trust and Compassion

Below is a quote from the Association for Size Diversity and Health defining what HAES is and why it is important: 

The Health At Every Size® (HAES®) approach is a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. It is also a movement working to promote size-acceptance, to end weight discrimination, and to lessen the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness.”

Many things can contribute to weight gain or weight loss throughout someone’s life. Remember that a number does not define who you are. At Banister Nutrition, we don’t believe that your body is a problem that needs to be fixed. 

For more information about HAES, check out their official website below:


“POGO Automatic” The Only One-Step Blood Glucose Meter

Simplicity and convenience are key to checking your blood glucose level. If you have diabetes, T1DM, T2DM, or gestational diabetes, you know that checking your blood glucose level several times each day is necessary to be informed of your level and know how to make adjustments.

Traditional monitoring requires several pieces of equipment to be carried with you: finger stick meter, lancing device and a vial of test strips. The process involves loading your meter with test strip, lancing your finger, adding blood drop to strip, and hoping you have enough blood for accurate test results.

POGO (which stands for “Press Once, Go”) brings simplicity and convenience to blood sugar monitoring.  POGO is an all-in-one automatic finger stick device. It combines lancet, finger stick and blood collecting into one step.  You simply turn on the device, then press a button that lances your finger and collects blood in one step. This all-inclusive design is safer than traditional meters because there are no bloody needles or strips to touch or dispose of.

The POGO meter is small and contains a cartridge with 10 individual test ports, each with lancet and test strip inside. An additional feature of POGO is the ability to add more blood if needed within a 90 second window.

Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM’s) are a very effective way to improve glucose monitoring and management, but for the majority of people still using glucose monitors, POGO simplifies this experience.

POGO has been approved for use by those 13 years and older. Test results are provided on the screen in 4 seconds, and these results fall within the 15% FDA- required accuracy window for all meters compared to lab reference values.

POGO connects automatically by Bluetooth to the “Patterns for POGO” app, which is available for free. This app helps you better understand and manage your daily diabetes journey.

A prescription is NOT required to purchase a POGO Automatic meter. However, if you want to file on your insurance, you can request a prescription by your provider for POGO Automatic and you will pay no more than $59.00 for up to 150 tests per script. Medicare, Medicaid, VA government programs are not eligible for this offer.

POGO Automatic meters can be purchased from select Walgreen and CVS pharmacies, or you can request the meter be ordered. The meter can also be purchased online at, where no script is needed.

Informative videos showing all of the features of POGO and how to use can be accessed at


Pigeon Peas: A New Addition to Your Pantry

Pigeon peas are a type of legume similar in taste and texture to edamame. They have a green shell, a nutty taste and a crisp texture. They are part of the bean family. Pigeon peas are also related to chickpeas, alfalfa, and peanuts since they are a perennial legume.

They can be used in:

  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Rice dishes (most common)
  • Salads

How to prepare them:

  1. Boil for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Transfer to an ice bath to cool.
  3. Shell

They can also be purchased dried or canned like other beans/legumes.

Pigeon peas are surprisingly nutritious. They are high in protein with one cup containing approximately 11g of protein. They are also high in iron and provide a good source of Vitamin A, B-6, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. You can substitute pigeon peas into any dish that uses beans or legumes for a nutritious, protein-packed replacement.

Pigeon peas are thought to have originated in India but they are common staples in Africa, the Middle East, and South America as well. The most popular dish containing pigeon peas is a rice dish called Arroz de Gandules. It is Puerto Rico’s national dish. If you are interested in trying it, see the Food Network link below. Give this legume a try and let us know what you think!

This information was found at and For additional information on the history of pigeon peas or how to prepare and store them, click the links provided.



Airfryer vs. Deep Fryer

There seem to be new kitchen gadgets every week, but which ones are useful and won’t just take up cabinet space? The air fryer is a countertop device that works like a small convection oven. By circulating heated air, the air fryer decreases the need for cooking oil while still producing foods with a crispy outside. This means you can cook anything from chicken to sweet potatoes with this one device.

Deep fried foods are cooked by being submerged in hot oil, while foods cooked in an air fryer only require non-stick spray or no oil at all. When compared to deep-frying food, air frying decreases total fat intake and may also decrease trans-fat intake. This means it is a healthy way to try some new vegetables that are in season such as carrots, broccoli and parsnips.

Additional benefits include faster prep time as there is no need to pre-heat. Just drop in food and start. You can get an air fryer in a variety of sizes and price-points, making it an excellent addition to your kitchen.

Already have an air fryer but don’t know where to start? Try this simple recipe for roasted carrots:

  • Lightly spray the surface with cooking spray
  • Use baby carrots or peel and cut carrots in ¼” slices
  • Toss with pepper or desired seasoning (if you’re feeling adventurous, try paprika or garlic powder)
  • Add enough carrots to cover the bottom of your air fryer, leaving room for air to circulate
  • Cook at 400° for 20-22 minutes, shaking or flipping after 10 minutes
  • Voila! A delicious and healthy side dish!

How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden

Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor, texture, and color to any meal, and you can grow your own. Herbs are visually appealing but can be intimidating if you don’t know how to take care of them or properly use them. Have no fear! Here are some tips:

  • Sage, rosemary, and thyme thrive best with dry soil and heat.
  • Cilantro, parsley, and mint thrive best with cool, moist environments.
  • Basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage need 6-8 hours of light.
  • Mint, parsley, and cilantro can handle more shade and get by with 4 hours of light.
  • Herbs that prefer the soil to dry out between waterings: rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage.
  • Mint, basil, parsley and lemon balm like the soil to stay moist but be sure not to overwater.

Other Tips: 

  • Obviously, most plants need light to thrive, so placing the herbs near a well-lit window is preferable. If this is not feasible, you can purchase LED growing lights on Amazon. 
  • Use pots with drain holes in the bottom to prevent overwatering.
  • Rotate the herbs so that each side gets an equal amount of sunlight. 
  • Pinch off any “leggy” portions or stray leaves. This will help the plant fill out and grow better.
  • Don’t harvest more than ⅓ of the plant at a time and do not harvest it again until it has grown back.

You can purchase ready-to-use herb plants from local supermarkets, or you can order starter kits online. An indoor herb garden can be a great winter activity and a chance to get kiddos involved in science and nutrition. Start with plants that you know you and your family will like. If you end up with more herbs than you can use, drying or freezing them is always an option. Starting an herb garden can save you money, improve the flavor of your dishes, and provide visual appeal to your home.

These tips were found at For more information click the link below:


What is Metabolism?

The new year brings many things, a renewed focus on goals, perhaps transitioning out of a more relaxed approach to nutrition. If improving your health or comfort through weight loss is one of your goals, you may be asking, “How can I overcome my slow metabolism?” So, what does metabolism have to do with your weight?

Metabolism is the measurement of processes within the body that require energy (calories) to carry them out. Many things affect your metabolism including your muscle mass, gender, and genetics. While it has been assumed that metabolism slows as we age, there is now evidence showing this is not the case. In a study of over 6,400 adults, the resting metabolic rate of adults aged 20-60 was shown to remain stable. After age 60, there was a decline of only 0.7% each year.

So, what does this mean for your health-related goals?

Once you have an understanding that weight can change for reasons beyond metabolism, finding the other factors that affect your weight are key to achieving your goals. These may include how often you’re eating, physical activity, hormone imbalances, and the types of food you are eating.

If you are concerned that your metabolism has taken a dip, there are several ways to assess this. There are calculators based on your age, weight and gender, but these will not measure your specific metabolism. Your Resting Metabolic Rate (or RMR) can be assessed in our office by measuring the amount of oxygen your body consumes to determine the calories your body burns at rest. This data, along with an assessment by a dietitian, can be helpful in determining the best nutrition strategy for your health.


New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Weight Loss

 1. Stop restricting foods and start adding foods to your diet

Let go of the idea that you need to cut foods out of your diet. That guilt can lead to unhealthy relationships with food. Instead, focus on where you can add in fruits, veggies, etc., and enjoy your favorite treats in moderation.

 2. Commit to an activity you enjoy: working out, reading, yoga, etc.

Choose an activity that you enjoy that can help you relieve stress and get away from the chaos of everyday life. Find a friend or family member who would like to do this activity with you to help keep each other accountable and get in the habit of regularly doing this activity. This helps eliminate excuses we create for ourselves.

3. Be more positive

Our mindset plays a large role in how we perceive ourselves and others. This year, focus on the positives in your life. Be kinder to yourself and others. This can look different for everyone. Maybe you take a moment every morning to read words of affirmation or make sure to sincerely compliment someone every day.

4. Get more sleep

Sleep is something that we all tend to lack but need in order to properly function, work efficiently, and stay healthy. Make a point to get the right amount of sleep for you. Know your body and what YOU need in order to thrive. Some people require more sleep than others.

5. Manage your time better

Start out the year organized to avoid last minute chaos and stress. Invest in a planner to keep track of everyday tasks. You can make an effort to get up earlier so that you are not rushed, or sit down weekly to plan out family meals and exactly what you need from the grocery store. Do anything you can in order to minimize last-minute stress so that you can have the time to spend with family or friends and doing the activities you enjoy.

We all know the classic “new year, new me” attitude that we get around New Year’s. We tend to make unrealistic goals for ourselves that are impossible to follow. Instead of starting the new year with large unrealistic goals, try a few smaller goals that are equally important and when put together can ultimately help you achieve that overall goal over a period of time. Celebrate the little victories along the way and be kind and patient with yourself. Improvements don’t happen overnight, but with some patience, positivity, and passion, you can achieve good things!

Happy New Year from the BN team!

Grab a New Grain

Grains have been a staple in our diet for thousands of years, and with good reason. Whole grains have been shown to help with prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal cancers. Many of us are familiar with grains such as rice and wheat, but have you ever considered trying a new grain?

Quinoa is the most popular “new” grain, but it has been cultivated in South America for thousands of years. What makes quinoa unique is that it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids while maintaining the many benefits of being a whole grain. Quinoa is naturally gluten free, so it can be enjoyed by individuals with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance while remaining symptom free.

Another grain gaining in popularity is couscous. This easy-to-cook wheat variety can be bought in many different forms, including pearled, tri-colored and whole wheat. Couscous is also available in instant forms just add hot water!

With an increase in plant-based diets, finding ways to add new flavors has become a fun challenge. Perhaps that explains farro’s recent gain popularity in Western kitchens. It is another type of wheat, but unlike rice or couscous, farro has a strong nutty flavor with more texture than many of its wheat cousins. Because of this, farro does require more preparation, and its toughest varieties are best after soaking overnight.

Inspired to try a new grain? Try one of our recipes:


What Can Fiber Do for You?

Have you ever had a change in your gastrointestinal system and thought that fiber might be the answer to setting things, right? We often think about fiber helping with constipation, but did you know fiber has also been shown to decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease?

There are two different types of fiber:

  • Soluble fiber: Dissolves in water to form a thick gel- like substance (think oatmeal!)
    • Can interfere with the absorption of fat and cholesterol
    • Slows digestions leading to satiety
    • Can help control rapid rises blood glucose
  • Insoluble fiber: Does not dissolve in water and passes through the GI tract untouched
    • Helps move food through the GI tract
    • Increases feeling of fullness

So how can you get more fiber in your diet?

  • Whenever possible, choose 100% whole grain products or products that have whole grains listed as the first or second ingredient.
  • Look on the nutrition label for at least 3g of dietary fiber per serving.
  • Ingredients to look for: whole wheat flour, whole wheat meal, whole oat flour, spelt, barley, millet, quinoa, oats, brown rice, buckwheat, flax seeds, chia seeds
  • Try tracking your fiber intake to see how much you’re getting in a normal day. For most adults, the recommended fiber intake is 28g per day.
  • Choose whole fruit instead of juice when possible – consuming the skins increases your fiber intake!
  • Try adding beans and lentils to dishes such as casseroles or try them as a side.