Getting Rid of Gas: 10 Easy Eating Tips to Help

embarrassing gasFeeling a bit too gassy, smelly, and embarrassed? Gas complaints are a pretty common occurrence. We all have gas production which is a very normal bodily function. For some, however, gas production can seem excessive and uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing. Some people are so bothered by excessive gas that they seek a doctor’s appointment just for getting rid of the gas and it’s side effects.

While it’s very important to rule out diseases, often the gas symptoms result from how and what one eats! In fact, once a gastroenterologist referred a healthy patient to me simply to help the patient minimize gas, or flatulence, with specific eating strategies. Consider implementing the below simple strategies for help in getting rid of gas.

First steps for getting rid of gas

1. Time your eating. Don’t go long periods without eating. It is very common to have more gas discomfort if you skip food all day and then gorge on a large meal at the end of the day.

2. Pace your eating. Don’t wolf down your meals. Eating too rapidly will introduce extra air into your digestive tract. After all, what goes in must come out!

3. Pace your drinking. The same goes for drinking beverages too quickly. Using a straw may lessen the amount of air swallowed.

4. Avoid bubbly drinks. Steer clear of carbonated beverages, particularly without eating.

5. Avoid gum. Stop chewing gum as this may also be a source of swallowed air.

Getting rid of gas by careful food selection

6. Decrease lactose. Try decreasing or eliminating lactose in your diet. Lactose is a natural sugar found in dairy products. As we age, we start making less of the enzyme necessary to break down the lactose. Lactose-free dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheese are readily available at most grocery stores.

7. Avoid gas producing vegetables. Certain vegetables are known culprits for causing gas. Vegetables such as cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage all contain a natural sugar which some people have trouble digesting without an over-the-counter enzyme supplement such as Beano. Beano provides the necessary amounts of enzymes to break down the natural sugar from these vegetables. Or, simply consider eating smaller amounts of these foods!

8. Avoid certain fruits. Certain fruits such as apples, pears, prunes, and bananas may also be problematic due to the natural sugars fructose and sorbitol. No need to cut these fruits out of your diet, just try to pinpoint with food tracking which fruits seem to be your particular gas culprits. It’s likely that not all these fruits are problematic for you.

9. Avoid certain dietetic foods. Be sure to check the labels of any lower calorie foods you eat, as “diet” foods often contain added sorbitol.

10. Limit certain high fiber foods if necessary. High fiber grains can also be gas culprits due to the soluble fiber. Fiber is important for over-all health, so if you are having trouble with fiber rich grains, just increase these foods gradually back into your diet after a short elimination. Most people can eventually adapt to a higher fiber intake within a few weeks by switching up types of fiber rich foods. Remember, in addition to whole grains, fiber is available from all fruits and vegetables as well.

Try tracking your food and symptoms

The best way to determine your dietary gas culprits is to track your food and your symptoms. As everyone is different, some food eliminations work for some and not for others. Being aware of how you respond to your dietary adjustments is key to less gas discomfort. If symptoms persist and your physician has ruled out any medical conditions, seeing a dietitian can help you sort through the best eating strategies in order to both minimize gas and keep you healthy!

Take away

Eat and drink slowly as easy first steps for getting rid of embarrassing gas. This helps avoid swallowing unnecessary air. Along the lines of limiting swallowed air, also consider limiting chewing gum and carbonated beverages. Take stock of the foods you are opting to eat, as many foods contain hidden lactose. And, as certain vegetables are known to be gas producing for most individuals, take steps to evaluate your response to those vegetables. Because everyone is different, some foods such as fruit may also be problematic for some individuals. Finally, certain lower calorie dietetic foods containing ingredients such as sorbitol can cause gas. Since everyone responds to foods differently, it’s always best to be your own detective in order to sort out your particular dietary culprits.

Have you found any ways to decrease your gas?

Legal Disclaimer

Kale Recipes: 3 Non-Salad Ways to Eat This Superfood

kale recipesEveryone is talking about kale, right? But why? And what kind of kale recipes can actually use this green leafy vegetable? While often the butt of jokes, the nutrients packed into this little leafy vegetable are amazing for our health. Kale is a significant source of folate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, beta carotene, vitamin C and fiber. It’s also loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which protect our vision.

Buy organic for your kale recipes

Pesticide contamination is a problem with kale. For this reason, I advise buying the organic version. The Environmental Working Group, a health watchdog group, published its latest  “Dirty Dozen” list of pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables, and kale was noted. Buying organic is the “work around” to the pesticide problem. Once you have your organic kale, you are ready to make some super nutritious kale recipes! Here are three nontraditional ways to add kale to your diet without a salad. But, if interested in kale salad, here’s a great recipe as well.

Superfood kale chip recipes

This concept is so easy there’s no need for an elaborate printed recipe. For some, maybe a bit scary too! In fact, I remember the first time I made this recipe for my family, they were scared to eat it! Then, before I knew it, my 5 year old grandson had eaten the whole recipe!

Speaking of recipes, there is not much to this at all! Basically, start out with a bunch of organic leaf kale. Wash it up. Cut leaves away from the stem. Next, put the leaves into a bowl and coat with a little oil of your choice. Then lay the oil coated leaves out on a wax or parchment paper lined baking pan. Want to skip the oil? It’s not a problem. Just lay the washed leaves on the wax paper and bake sans oil. Tastes about the same and now you have one less dirty pan to clean!

kale ready to bake into chips

Kale leaves ready for baking

Bake the leaves for about 10-15 minutes in a 350 º. Be sure not to burn the leaves! After they are baked, lightly salt. Then, enjoy those nutritious chips. Maybe next round, you’ll start with two bunches of kale because it does not go very far!

Potato and kale soup recipe

Move over pea soup, there’s another green soup around. In fact, this soup almost reminds me of pea soup. I can see adding a bit of ham or even diced chicken to this recipe in the future. If made as is, it’s both gluten and dairy free. If you prefer a vegan kale soup, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

kale and potato pressure cooker soup

Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 70kcal

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker
  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 4 baking potatoes (medium to large)
  • 7 leaves kale
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 whole carrot, chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil

Instructions

  • Saute onion in 1 Tbsp oil in the pressure cooker or instant pot.
  • Peel and cut potatoes into one inch pieces. Layer on top ot the sauteed onions.
  • Chop a peeled carrot and add to the pot.
  • Layer about 7 leaves (including the stems) on top of the other ingredients.
  • Add the Italian seasonings and the broth. The broth will not be covering all of the kale leaves.
  • Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. After cooking, use a quick release.
  • Let the soup cool before the next step which is putting through a blender or a food processor.
  • After cooking, all the ingredients should be blending together to have the consistency of a thick soup (will look like pea soup). Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

I recommend using only organic kale to avoid pesticides. It's not a problem to use the whole kale leaf with the stem for this recipe, since the pressure cooker will tenderize even that part of the leaf.
Nutrition Information per 1 cup serving:
70 calories, 2 g fat, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 640 mg sodium, 280 mg of potassium
www.mydietmatters.com~ Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN

Kale smoothie recipes

kale smoothie that's not green

A kale smoothie that’s not green

This one everyone knows about, but often has trouble visualizing. You can take any fruit smoothie recipe, and just toss in the washed kale. I think the trick here is not to use too much kale. I’ve done this in the past, and it was overpowering to the smoothie. My suggestion would be to add only 1 cup loosely packed kale. This amount of kale won’t overpower the fruit taste. As you can see from the photo above, my kale recipe wasn’t green! When opting for lighter colored fruits such as mangoes or pineapple, your kale smoothie will end up being green. The above smoothie was made with darker mixed berries.

Here’s how to toss your first smoothie together! And, I recommend drinking with a straw as it’s a little thick, just like a milkshake. This recipe is loaded with potassium which most people don’t really get enough of. In addition to all that potassium, it’s also loaded with fiber. If you’d like to make it a bit sweeter, add your favorite sweetener to the recipe. I frequently use a bit of Stevia. In the posted photo below, I used kefir milk in order to get a dose of probiotics.

Kale smoothie ingredients ready to blend

Kale fruit smoothie

Prep Time3 mins
Servings: 1
Calories: 305kcal

Equipment

  • blender, food processor

Ingredients

  • 1 whole banana
  • 1 cup any frozen berries, slightly thawed
  • 1 cup nonfat milk of choice or fat-free kefir
  • 1 cup loosely packed kale leaves (organic)

Instructions

  • Put your frozen fruit (any type) into your blender or food processor. I usually let it thaw for a few minutes.
  • Add the banana, milk, and kale. Mix up in the blender/food processor until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  • Enjoy this healthy drink in a large glass with a straw.

Notes

Nutrition Information per recipe: 305 calories, 16 g protein, 1 g fat, 65 g carbohydrate,
Additional nutrition notes: this recipe has 1450 mg of potassium and 10 g of fiber!
www.mydietmatters.com~Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN

Adding kale to diet without kale recipes

If you have soup or sauce recipes calling for parsley or oregano, consider adding in some kale. Chopped up kale looks a lot like both parsley and oregano, especially when mixed into a recipe. In addition to soups and sauces, chopped kale is a perfect ingredient to mix into a stir-fry recipe. Lastly, don’t forget to add kale to your favorite omelette or quiche recipe. This ingredient is nutrient packed. And, finally, with a little creativity, kale is a very versatile recipe ingredient.

 

Legal Disclaimer

The Chocolate Fix: 8 Low Calorie Ideas

the chocolate fixMost people love chocolate. And, most people occasionally have chocolate cravings and need a chocolate fix. According to one research publication, almost 50% of American women crave chocolate specifically around the time of their menstrual period. While the shift to craving chocolate may often be hormone driven, clearly many people enjoy the sweet taste that often goes with chocolaty foods. And, they may even enjoy the slight stimulant kick from the chocolate. Whatever the reasons for seeking chocolate, it’s good to have some ideas on how to fix chocolate cravings without overdoing it from a calorie standpoint. While there is certainly nothing wrong with just eating some great tasting chocolate on an occasional basis, many Americans cannot consume high calorie chocolate treats too often. With that in mind, here are some favorite chocolate fix suggestions to take care of both your sweet tooth and chocolate cravings without ruining your waistline.

8 treats to get your chocolate fix

1. Blue Bunny brand mini ice cream cones

 mini chocolate ice cream coneThese mini ice cream cones have only 140 calories and are perfectly portion controlled. They are chocolate ice cream covered in chocolate and plopped in a mini sugar ice cream cone. You can also get them with vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate if you do not need such a heavy chocolate fix. If you are reading this, though, you’d probably prefer the chocolate ice cream with chocolate topping! For those who are diabetic or on a weight management exchange list food plan, this cone has 17 grams total carbohydrate and 7 grams of fat (or 1 carbohydrate exchange plus 1.5 fat exchanges).

2. Chocolate rice cakes for a chocolate fix

chocolate rice cakes for chocolate cravingsRice cakes have come a long way, baby. Gone are the days of cardboard tasting rice cakes. These chocolate rice cakes are not always easy to find, but Walmart seems to stock them pretty consistently. I’ve also seen them occasionally at Target and Jewel in the Chicago area. Each rice cake has 60 calories and almost no fat along with 12 grams of carbohydrate. For the diabetics or those using exchange lists for weight management, each rice cake is equal to one starch exchange.

3. Chocolate candy Nips

I find these readily available at Walgreens. I am not sure why they never seem to be in the grocery store, however. Each nip candy has 30 calories and almost no fat. Be sure to slowly suck on them as opposed to chewing, as they are sticky enough to pull your tooth fillings out. As long as you suck on them and only have a few, they can quell your chocolate cravings. Your dentist might like you to brush well after this treat.

4. Greek yogurt mixed with cocoa

chocolate greek yogurtYou don’t really need a recipe for this one. Toss about 1/2 cup of fat free Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter powder, 1 Tbsp. cocoa, and 1/2 packet of stevia (or sweetener of choice) in a bowl and mix it up. You can use a hand mixer or just mix with a spoon. Consider topping with some aerosol whipped cream. Not only can this take care of your chocolate cravings, it’s loaded with protein, calcium, and probiotics. After this snack, you might be full for awhile!

5. Chocolate chips for a chocolate fix

chocolate fix from chocolate chipsHave a tablespoon and end up eating only 70 calories. Make it dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate-whatever suits your craving. Take your one tablespoon serving and reseal the bag for a future treat time! If you want to get really “fancy”, you can also stuff these chocolate chips into the center of raspberries. This would be a great treat for the kids as well. In addition to the chocolate fix, the raspberries would be providing plenty of great dietary fiber.

6. Hot cocoa for a chocolate fix

chocolate cocoa for chocolate fixYou can make this any way you please. Use any milk you enjoy and use either a hot cocoa recipe or just add a little Hershey chocolate syrup. In addition to a chocolate fix, you’ll be consuming a good source of protein and calcium. Using skim milk products and low calorie chocolate flavoring will keep this under 100 calories per serving. Here are a few more tips on how to make this chocolate fix versatile and healthy.

7. Chocolate covered raisins

You may need some willpower for this one if it’s hard to implement portion control. If it’s not hard for you, then go ahead and portion out 2 Tbsp or 24 pieces and you’ve got a chocolate fix for about 95 calories. Along with your chocolate fix, you’ll get a small amount of fiber and iron. Each 2 Tbsp. serving also yields 15 grams of carbohydrate and 4 grams of fat. For diabetics or those following weight management exchange list food plans, this is one fruit exchange plus one fat exchange.

8. Chocolate frozen yogurt bars on a stick

Ahold ® frozen chocolate Greek yogurt bars give great chocolate taste for only 90 calories. This is one of many brands in your frozen food section. Many of these low fat frozen yogurt bars are only about 100 calories and offer up some protein as well. To boot, you get some live active cultures along with fixing your chocolate cravings. If you are diabetic or on an exchange type weight loss food plan, each yogurt bar typically yields only 15-17 grams of carbohydrate, along with some protein and fat, depending on the brand chosen.

Take Away

Chocolate cravings are part of life! There’s nothing wrong with indulging in some good quality Godiva, for sure. However, if you cannot afford too many extra calories as you confront your chocolate cravings, it’s nice to have some options to fall back on that will fit into most eating plans. I hope you enjoy my suggestions. And, I’d love to hear from readers on how you tackle your chocolate cravings. Please take a minute to share.

Legal Disclaimer

Healthy Eating in 2020: See How Easy It Is!

easy steps for healthier eating

The new year is here. Maybe a new you? As is often the case with every new year, there’s a “to do list” which may include getting rid of your paunch and boosting your energy level with a healthy eating plan. So, you start thinking about healthy eating, and as usual, it’s very confusing. If only you could come up with some easy steps for healthier eating in 2020 that might even help you lose weight!

And, if you come up with a plan, will your best intentions actually last long enough to get your goals and weight loss accomplished? If your efforts were like most Americans last year, your good intentions may fizzle out around February. Sometimes it’s just too hard to sustain those steps you came up with. They are not realistic for your busy life!

Initial realistic healthy eating steps

easy steps for healthier eating

For 2020, consider beginning with small painless changes. These tiny changes can make a monumental dent in your bad health, waistline, and poor energy levels. The first suggestions revolve around how you plate your food of all things! How you portion your food and the color of your plates and tablecloths can all make a difference!

Portions and plate size. Focus on smaller portions of all foods placed on smaller plates. It may sound ridiculous, but smaller portions always yield less of all nutrients. That includes both fat and calories, both of which are important in achieving weight loss.

Contrast your plate and food color. Research has suggested that contrasting plate color and food color may aid in prompting smaller food portion sizes. For instance, pasta covered with red sauce served on a white plate would tend to cause less to be eaten. A serving of pasta covered in red sauce served on a red/orange plate would potentially trigger the consumption of a heftier portion! I think because we should be eating a rainbow of colored foods, white plates are often the best color for plates.

But don’t contrast your your plate and tablecloth color! The same researchers also found that food portion sizes could be reduced by limiting contrast between the dinner plate and the tablecloth. So a white plate on a cream tablecloth would be more effective in cutting food portions than a white plate placed on a black tablecloth.

More steps to accomplish healthy eating

eat more plants and less meat

Eat more plant based foods every day. Plant based foods yield fiber which fills you up and offers endless health benefits. These plant based foods are rich sources of phytochemicals which help ward off disease. These disease fighting compounds are not found in vitamin pills. They are, however, readily available in whole grains as well as fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables!

Eat less animal protein. You will help your waistline and the planet at the same time. Each 1-oz. serving of animal protein may actually hide as much as a pat of butter in the muscle. By slashing your intake of animal protein, you are also cutting down on saturated fat. Saturated fat is considered to be the type of fat with the least benefit to overall health. For the planet, cutting down on animal protein consumption cuts down on energy usage and pollution.

Drink more water. Sometimes you think you’re hungry, but you are really thirsty! Drink a glass of water automatically before each meal. Include more lighter soups in your diet. The fluid will also fill you up as well as alleviate your thirst. If you don’t like plain water, add more calorie free teas like green tea to your diet. Wondering if you drink enough fluid? Check your urine. If it’s clear to pale yellow then you are hydrating enough.

Get into the habit of planning your eating

Planning does take some practice. It doesn’t matter what is being planned. With that stated, I think it is easier to plan something like a vacation than eating. Because eating happens every day, it is often unplanned. Unfortunately, that lack of planning can often lead to poor choices in food. Starting this food planning process does not need to be difficult.

Start with cleaning out and organizing your food storage areas. You need “tools” to pull off healthy eating. Your tools are healthy foods and ingredients you have on hand to make sure you eat at home more than you eat out!

Make a menu. This doesn’t need to be elaborate. It can be as simple as a sheet of paper posted to your refrigerator. Most people have the toughest time at dinner. Start with planning out a business week of dinner meals and post it where you can easily see it. This will allow you to pull foods from the freezer, use up leftovers, and gather what you need to make your dinners. Once those dinners are planned, you can embrace the process and move on to lunch and breakfast! For fast and nutritious breakfasts, here are some options.

Key messages

Start out easy by paying attention to how you present food to yourself. Portions of food always matter, so use smaller plates so your portions seem larger than they are. Consider using light colored plates to contrast with colored food in order to eat smaller food portions. Go a step further by making your plate and tablecloth colors similar to aid in smaller food portions.

Moving on to actual eating, choose more plant based foods. By increasing plant based foods and decreasing meat, you are easily improving the quality of your diet. Drink plenty of calorie free liquids to fill you up. Consider planning out your most difficult meals, such as dinner. Get your kitchen organized and make a menu to begin improving your diet each and every day. A little thought and organization is monumental in straightening out a poor quality diet quickly. Remember, small but consistent changes in eating behavior can affect your health for the rest of your life!

Cheers to a better diet for you in 2020.

Legal Disclaimer

 

 

 

Low Calorie Snacks: 60 Simple 100 Calorie Choices

100 calorie snacksThe holidays have arrived. You don’t want to gain ten pounds this season. So, you are trying to be mindful about your eating habits-including snacking. By setting a 100 calorie limit for snacks, you’re sure to stay on track with your diet and weight management. Smart snacking strategies work during the holidays and really all year long. Personally, I think that to make snacking options really work for a person, they need to be super easy. While Pinterest and the rest of the internet have many great snack recipes, it’s nice to have 100 calorie diet snack options that are NOT recipes! Sometimes, it’s necessary to make snacking fast and effortless! Any preparation beyond getting to the grocery store and simply eating the snack may actually be a mental roadblock. With no recipes or preparation, these 100 calorie simple snacks will help straighten out your eating quickly.

Some of these 100 calorie diet snacks are easily purchased in prepackaged servings. Other 100 calorie diet snack options listed here just combine simple foods. Or, it might be necessary to count certain food items to reach the 100 calories. There are no recipes, just 60 easy 100 calorie simple diet snacks.

Benefits of snacking

Snacking can prevent you from overeating. By incorporating a snack into your day, you can offset a downward blood sugar spiral which could lead to severe hunger. Untamed, severe hunger can lead to a calorie binge that was not anticipated. You will simply eat too much, too quickly, and possibly the wrong foods if you become ravenous. It’s always best to avoid that scenario so you avoid eating the whole kitchen. Strategically placed snacks throughout the day do more than raise your blood sugar to prevent overeating. They can also be a significant source of nutrients-depending on what snacks you opt for. There are many “treat” type snacks noted below, but there are many 100 calorie options noted that are high in nutrients. By adding several planned snacks to your daily eating regimen, you are more likely to meet your overall nutritional requirements.

By choosing more of the nutrient dense options, your snacks can contribute specific key nutrients and have a huge impact on your biochemistry. If you opt for fruit and vegetables as snacks, you’ll be getting more fiber, potassium, and phytochemicals into your diet. If you opt for protein rich snacks, you’ll be satisfied for a longer time period because the protein stabilizes your blood sugar levels. As far as your sweet tooth, sometimes it just needs to be satisfied, right? Knowing how to stop the sweet tooth snack attacks at 100 calorie will be helpful for all your weight and health goals!

20 salty/crunchy low calorie snacks

100 calorie diet snacks

  1. 1 bag of Skinny Pop popcorn
  2. 25 baby carrots
  3. 2 celery stacks with 1 Tbsp. reduced fat peanut butter
  4. 20 dill pickles
  5. a medium sized apple
  6. pretzels, 3/4 oz.
  7. 25 pistachio nuts
  8. 40 raw almonds
  9. 11 cashews
  10. 16 peanuts
  11. 2 Tbsp. roasted chickpeas
  12. Simply Quinoa Chips, 3/4 oz.
  13. Soy nuts, 3/4 oz.
  14. 15 Tostitos tortilla chips plus 2 Tbsp. salsa
  15. 5.5 ounces of tomato juice plus 1 oz. vodka, plus 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  16. 3 Tbsp. toasted and salted sunflower seeds
  17. Pirate Booty, 3/4 oz.
  18. Amy’s Minestrone Soup, 1 cup
  19. Trader Joe’s Pickled Beets, 3/4 cup
  20. 28 Veggie Straws

20 sweet low calorie snacks

snacks for sweet tooth, waffle with whipped cream

  1. Low fat waffle, 5 strawberries, aerosol whipped cream
  2. 10 jelly beans
  3. 27 M & Ms
  4. 4 Hershey Kisses (more lower calorie chocolate snacks)
  5. 1 oz. box of raisins
  6. 4 large marshmallows
  7. Ice cream float made with diet soda and 1/2 cup ice cream
  8. 11 Frosted Mini Wheat Biscuits
  9. 2/3 cup Honey Nut Cheerios
  10. 2 fig bars
  11. Baked apple sprinkled with cinnamon, stevia, and spray of whipped cream
  12. 3/4  cup skim milk sweetened with 1 Tbsp. Hershey’s Lite Syrup
  13. Medium sized banana (4.2 ounce)
  14. 20 strawberries with 2 Tbsp. aerosol whipped cream
  15. 2 cups of watermelon
  16. Salerno Butter Cookies, 4
  17. Rice Krispie Treat, 1 package
  18. 1/2 cup strawberry Halo Top Ice Cream
  19. 60 grapes
  20. Creamsicle, 1 bar

20 protein rich low calorie snacks

high protein 100 calorie snacks

  1. 3 oz. cooked shrimp plus 1 Tbsp. cocktail sauce
  2. Hard boiled egg, Extra Large
  3. One cup low fat milk
  4. 2 oz. cooked chicken
  5. 2 oz. flank steak
  6. 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 4% milkfat
  7. 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 4% milkfat, plus 5 oz. cantaloupe
  8. 1 oz. brie cheese or provolone cheese
  9. 2 slices of 2% milkfat American cheese
  10. Yoplait Greek Lemon Yogurt, 1 container
  11. Oikos Mixed Berry Yogurt, 4.5 ounces
  12. 1/2 cup light tofu
  13. 1 string cheese
  14. Belgioioso fresh mozzarella balls, 1 oz. plus 2 water crackers
  15. tuna packed in water, 4 oz.
  16. 2 Tbsp. humus plus one whole carrot
  17. Edamame, 1/2 cup
  18. 2 wedges Laughing Cow Extra Light plus 2 Melba Toast
  19. Babybel Light Cheese & Crackers prepackaged snack
  20. 1 Luna high protein bar

I hope you enjoyed this list of snack options for your salt cravings, sweet tooth, and protein fixes! Snacking can be an important part of a high quality diet. Choosing your snacks wisely can increase key nutrients in your diet. It can reign in your sweet tooth to help manage your weight. And, it can even help stabilize blood sugar to curb hunger and control diabetes. These are great options to add to your eating plan to round out your taste preferences without rounding out your waistline! If looking for a few less calories, check out 50 calorie snacks!

Legal Disclaimer

 

A Diet High in Fiber: A Solution for Many Health Problems

fiber how to get enough

Fiber does a lot for your health. If you are skipping this key nutrient, then you are missing out on a lot of potential health benefits. People that eat more fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lentils are statistically healthier. And, the impact is not just on the digestive tract. Beyond the gastrointestinal tract, it affects cancer risk, immunity, and helps stabilize blood and cholesterol levels. And, it even helps with weight loss. As fiber rich foods are a key source of phytochemicals and anti-oxidants, they are important in fighting inflammation in the body. With so many health benefits, let’s check out how much we need and how to get enough. Once you know how much to eat and where to find it, you can reap the health benefits of a diet high in fiber.

Fiber requirements

Requirements vary by gender and age. Adult women up to 50 years of age need 25 grams. After 50 years of age, requirements decrease to 21 grams. Adult men up to 50 years of age need 38 grams. After 50 years of age, requirements decrease to 30 grams. And, what about eating more than the requirement? You should be aware that excessive fiber intake beyond these recommendations may actually be harmful for some. Too much dietary fiber limits absorption of: iron, zinc, and calcium.

Impact on health of a diet high in fiber

fiber impact on health

Diet high in fiber for constipation

Fiber help moves your food through your digestive tract by softening the stool. Some types of fiber swell (soluble) when exposed to water. In the digestive tract, this causes your bowel movements to soften, easing the constipation. Other types of fiber that are coarser (insoluble) will stimulate the colon to make mucous and water, which also enlarges and softens the stool.

Gut bacteria benefit from fiber

Fibrous foods are a source of prebiotics for your gut bacteria. Prebiotics are essentially the food or fuel for gut bacteria. It’s important to feed your gut bacteria because a healthy balance of bacteria has the potential to have a huge impact on your overall health. While researchers have known for some time that the mix of gut bacteria can affect our digestion and immunity, it’s becoming apparent that there’s more to it. In fact, gut bacteria may affect metabolism, heart disease, and even mood.

Diet high in fiber for diverticulosis

If you have this condition, then you have pouches known as diverticula that balloon out from the colon wall (see photo below). This should not be confused with diverticulitis, which is the same pouches that are inflamed or infected.

diverticulosis and fiber benefitWhen you eat enough fiber, it pushes on the muscular colon from the inside out. The pushing outwards of the colon wall will eliminate or shrink the pouches, and reduce the diverticulosis. As the pouches lessen or decrease in size, there is less likelihood of inflammation or infection occurring. And, random food particles from corn, nuts, and seeds will not readily lodge themselves in the colon as these pouches shrink. Think of the fibrous foods as free weights for your colon! The colon is a muscle, and the fiber will work it and push it outward.

High fiber diets and cancer

There is a decrease in colon cancer risk as dietary fiber consumption increases. Fibrous foods may protect against certain cancers by binding, diluting, or removing cancer causing agents from the body.  As fiber speeds up the time it takes food to move through the digestive tract, cancer causing agents that might be in our food are removed more quickly from the body. This decreases the amount of time a cancer causing agent is in contact with the body, and reduces cancer risk. Alternatively, the abundant phytochemicals found in fibrous foods may be protective from cancer. These phytochemicals may also decrease inflammation, which is thought to be the root of all diseases and even the aging process.

Diet high in fiber helps blood sugar

It’s well known that fiber can affect blood sugar levels and have a positive impact on diabetes management. When low fiber foods are eaten, blood sugar levels rise rapidly. When high fiber foods are eaten, blood sugar levels rise much slower. For instance, eating a piece of low fiber white bread would cause a sharper spike in blood sugar than eating a slice of high fiber whole grain bread.

Blood cholesterol

Fiber can almost act like a sponge when it comes to blood cholesterol levels. It can bind to cholesterol and bile acids, which are made from cholesterol. By binding to both, they are removed from the body in your poop! This makes the body resort to using the cholesterol from the blood to make more bile acids. In doing so, blood cholesterol levels are automatically lowered as they are used up to produce more bile.

Diet high in fiber helps weight control

Who doesn’t want to lose weight and feel full? That’s what fiber helps with. The actual fiber in food passes through your digestive tract and is excreted. It contains no calories. The calories in fibrous foods, such as apples, come only from the natural carbohydrates in the apple. But, that calorie free fiber does make one feel full. And, remember, blood sugar levels will stay elevated for a longer time period. Hunger kicks in when blood sugar levels drop, so by keeping your blood sugar elevated for a longer time period you’ll feel less hungry. Less hunger can mean better weight control!

fruits and vegetables for fiber

Fiber in fruits and vegetables (3+ grams)

  • raspberries, 1 cup has 8
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils have 8
  • blackberries, 1 cup has 7.6
  • black beans, 1/2 cup has 7
  • pear, one medium whole has 6
  • garbanzo beans, 1/2 cup have 6
  • 3 oz. of avocado have 5.7
  • baked beans, 1/2 cup has 5.5
  • 1 apple, medium whole has 5
  • hummus, 2 Tbsp. have 3.7
  • blueberries, 1 cup has 3.6
  • carrots, 1 cup chopped has 3.6
  • banana, medium has 3
  • celery, 3 stalks have 3

Fiber with whole grains (3+ grams)

  • Awake High Fiber Bran Buds, 1/2 cup has 17
  • Kashi Golean Cereal, 1.2 cup has 13
  • All Bran, 1/2 cup has 12
  • Ezekiel Cereal, 1/2 cup has 6
  • Shredded Wheat, 1 cup has 5
  • Flax Plus, 0.8 cup has 5
  • Natural Ovens, Everything Bagel, 1 Bagel has 5
  • Orowheat High Fiber bread, 1 slice has 5
  • Natural Ovens, Whole Grain bread, 1 slice has 4
  • Oatmeal, 1 cup has 4
  • Barley, cooked, 1/2 cup has 3
  • Wild Rice, cooked, 1 cup has 3
  • Cheerios, 1 cup has 3

Fiber from a breakfast bar (3+ grams)

These products do not have the nutritional quality of the above list, but they can be used to fill in as needed. If you are going to indulge in a breakfast bar or snack bar, I always say get some important nutrients while indulging. I’ve even used some of the sweeter bars as a dessert!

  • Quest Bar has 17
  • Fiber Love Bar has 12
  • Fiber Plus Protein Bar, Kellogg’s has 7
  • Cliff Luna Bar Peanut Butter Strawberry has 7
  • Isagenix Fiber Snack Bar has 6
  • Meleluca Bar has 6
  • Fiber One Bars, all varieties have 5
  • Fiber Now Bar, Millville has 5
  • Advocare Bar has 5
  • Meta Health Bar has 4
  • Special K Fiber Bar has 3

Easy ways to improve your fiber intake

Consider focusing on a plant based diet. Emphasizing more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will automatically improve your fiber intake. Keep in mind there is absolutely no fiber in meat or pure fat (sorry keto diet fans). Use lentils on salad and in soups. Mix vegetables into noodle dishes. Add grains like oats into recipes such as meatloaf. And, consider making your own smoothies.

Adjusting to increased fiber

Go slowly when you start adding fiber to your diet. It can take some time for your gut to adjust and you may feel gassy at first. If a particular food seems to cause a lot of gas, move on to another food with fiber. All foods will not cause the same amount of gas in all people. You need to experiment to find the best foods for your gut. Lastly, be sure that as you increase your fiber you also increase your fluid intake at the same time. This will keep your food moving nicely through your digestive tract!

Take away messages

Skipping this key nutrient will have a negative impact on your health. For gut health, it reduces constipation and diverticulosis. It also feeds your gut bacteria which can impact your overall health. It’s able to help regulate both your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. And, for many, it’s a perfect tool for weight loss. The fiber helps fill you up, providing that full feeling to help manage your appetite.

Anyone have any great high fiber recipes to share? I’d love to add to this post.

Legal Disclaimer

Healthy College Eating: Tips From a New Grad

Written by Tess O’Brien and Edited by Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN
hleathy college eating tips

Now that you’ve been in college for a few months, you may find it challenging to eat healthy. Based on my experience, I often blamed my irregular schedule, super-tight budget, lack of sleep, and insubstantial meal plan. Adjusting to the college lifestyle is not easy and it may seem that weight gain or “malnutrition” are inevitable. However, utilizing tips for healthy college eating will help you be mindful in seeking healthier, accessible options on campus.

The first few years: dining hall tips

During your first year at college, you may be living in a 130-square foot dorm room that doesn’t provide you with many options for food storage. It is also common for 1st year and on-campus students to depend on a meal plan that is strictly valid for dining halls which are not typically recognized for providing nutritious options. Thus, the first year or two of college are probably the most difficult time to achieve a healthy eating routine, let alone adjust to a new style of eating altogether. Here are some personal tips for healthy college eating that helped me during the initial years spent eating dorm food.

Healthy college tips for dorm

  • Keep a loaf of whole grain bread in your dorm. Buy peanut or almond butter for your bread.
  • Drink plant-based milk! Milk alternatives such as almond milk can be purchased in single servings. No refrigeration is necessary until the seal is broken.
  • Store canned goods anywhere there’s space.
  • Enjoy a microwaved sweet potato. Poke holes in the skin with a fork, microwave for 5-6 minutes, and top with black beans or salsa!
  • Cold cereals and oats can be stored in a dry environment and last for a long time. These staples are good sources of iron and fiber, which are important nutrients for college students.
  • Buy apples and bananas in various stages of ripeness for snacks.
  • Purchase nuts in bulk. Raw unprocessed nuts are the most nutritious.
  • Pack your mini fridge full of fruits and vegetables!
  • Buy green or herbal tea bags and microwave water as the boiling/heating method.
  • Most dining halls provide a salad bar, so utilize it and add as much color to your plate as possible. Color is key to a healthier diet.
  • Skip the heavier salad dressings. Instead, opt for a more vinegar-based dressing. Try red wine vinegar mixed with a small amount of olive oil and seasonings.
  • Add beans (kidney or black) or chickpeas to your salad as a source of protein rich fiber.
  • Keep your water bottle full and drink plenty. Aim to skip sugary drinks.
  • Stay focused on portion control to prevent overeating.

The last few years: off campus living tips

healthy college eating tips

You are now living on your own and don’t have to depend on a meal plan or limiting yourself to a mini fridge for perishables. For some of you, retreating from your meal plan may be a relief. You are now free to expand your food options from outside of a dining hall. However, some of you may be uncertain on how to provide yourself with nutritious choices while dealing with a tight financial budget and time constraints. Personally, I was excited to move out of my dorm room and be in charge of my food options. However, I was a non-working, full-time student so I utilized these tips for healthy college eating that worked with my restrictive budget and schedule.

Healthy college eating tips for off campus

  • Find restaurants/stores that offer healthy options and student discounts. For example, Sweet Tomatoes gives students 10% off everything you can pack into your bowl at their salad bar!
  • Skip the dairy in your daily coffee and opt for a dairy-free option (almond, oat, coconut, soy). Tip: If there is a Whole Foods near you they don’t charge extra for dairy-free options!
  • Buy foods that can be prepared quickly and taken on the go (oatmeal, pre-made salads and wraps).
  •  I ate a lot of canned soups while in college. My favorite was the Amy’s Organic Soup that was only about $2.50 per can and was enough to fill me up. Be sure to check labels for the sodium content though, as canned soup can be loaded.
  • Always carry healthy snacks with you throughout the day so you aren’t craving junk food when you finally get home from the library. Here’s a list of 50 calorie snacks.
  • Some grocery stores offer a small discount when you bring your own bags to carry your groceries (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Target).
  • Obviously, alcohol consumption is not healthy and is often referred to as “empty calories” due to the lack of nutrients. If you do choose to drink alcohol, avoid sugary drinks. Instead, opt for a lighter alternative such as a vodka soda with fresh lime.
  • After a few evening alcoholic drinks, treat yourself well. Drink plenty of water, eat foods high in nutrients, and eat a healthy snack before bed!

Shopping tips for healthy eating at a savings

  • Eggs are super inexpensive- even organic and cage-free eggs can be priced around $4.00 a dozen! I’d often hard-boil an entire carton at a time and eat a few of them throughout the day to keep me satisfied.
  •  Buy frozen fruits and vegetables! In fact, frozen fruits and vegetables are actually picked when they’re perfectly ripe so they still have all the nutritional value and flavor. They are also reasonably affordable and easy to store in your freezer for very long periods of time. Frozen fruits are perfect for a fast and nutritious smoothie recipe.
  • Adding a plant-based protein option to your grocery list can be significantly cheaper than buying animal products. While you don’t necessarily have to be a vegetarian to maintain a healthy diet, you can seriously save some cash by going meatless a few days a week.
  • Buy food in bulk such as rice, pastas, and nuts. This will not only save you money, but also save you time consuming trips to the grocery store.
  • If you have roommates, consider investing in a food delivery service (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, etc.) and splitting the cost. It’s a fun activity to cook your meals together and it’s super convenient! It’s delivered every week right to you with pre-measured out ingredients and instructions on how to make every meal. Also, it will save you a trip to the grocery store, giving you more time to study or have fun with your friends.

Planning your eating at home and out

cooking at home

  • Meal prep is a key strategy! Meal prepping helped me so much in college because after spending long periods of time preparing meals for myself, I felt less tempted to eat out.
  • Obviously you don’t want your healthy eating getting in the way of going out to eat with your friends. I feel I’ve been most successful when I look up the menu beforehand to make sure there is something healthy that I can eat on the menu. If you find there isn’t anything on the menu, you can always suggest a different restaurant or eat a meal beforehand and just order something small. I try to never let my dietary choices get in the way of having a fun night with my friends. When I plan accordingly, I always seem to find an option that works out for everyone. Here are some more tips for healthier dining out.
  • Try to avoid late-night junk food snacks by keeping plenty of healthy snack options at your disposal. You will save money and feel better the next day.
  • Don’t 100% limit yourself to only eating super healthy foods all the time. Treat yourself to your favorites every once in a while. Everything in moderation is key.
  • Lastly, train yourself to bring a reusable water bottle with you everywhere. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated plays a very important role in staying healthy. It’s also great for your skin (more eating tips for great skin)!

Take-Away

While college is all about adjusting to a new and independent lifestyle, it’s OK to have a less than perfect diet. Being on your own and learning how to nourish yourself appropriately are important college lessons too!  A healthy diet is a challenge at college, but key to preventing that feared “Freshman 15.”  Knowing how to make better dorm food choices and provide for healthier food options are important in the beginning of college as you navigate your first few years on campus. As you branch out on your own as an upperclassman, shopping know how and planning are key. Learning healthy eating strategies now will be a useful lesson for your entire life.

Please share your healthy eating tips for college! And, please share this post if you learned something.

Legal Disclaimer

Oats: The Good and Bad

oat cereal Oats, including oatmeal, can dish up some serious health benefits. When we think of oat based foods, we typically think of them as being a good source of health enhancing fiber, particularly soluble fiber. By definition, soluble fiber actually dissolves in water. In foods, soluble fiber adds a pleasing consistency. When we eat foods with soluble fiber, we can potentially decrease our blood sugar and cholesterol levels. There is scientific evidence that soluble fiber, once fermented in the gut, can reduce inflammation and even support our immune system. And fiber, in general, fills us up so it’s easier to lose weight! With so many health benefits, why would we hesitate to eat it?

Oats may have gluten

If you need to avoid gluten, not all oat cereal is gluten free. Oats do not contain gluten, but they may become contaminated with gluten if processed with other gluten containing foods. Choose brands of oat based cereals manufactured in a gluten free facility if there is a medical reason to avoid gluten. These products, such as the one in the below photo, can state they are gluten-free. They can state this because there were no other gluten containing products made at the processing facility that could contaminate the oats.

gluten free oatsOats and weed killer

Glyphosate is a weed killer that is sprayed on many of our conventional crops including oat crops. This compound has caused reproductive problems in animals and is thought to be a potential carcinogen in humans. The common weed killer Roundup contains glyphosate.

Published safety limits are hard to find. As is the case with a lot of controversial food topics, it’s hard to get at some of the facts. According to a Consumerlab.com. review, California has set a daily limit of 1100 mcg. In contrast, European countries set a higher adult limit of 34,000 mcg. The same review states a standard 3/4 cup serving of Original Cheerios contained only 32 mcg of glyphosate. If this is still not low enough for your healthy eating strategies, you can always opt for organic versions of your favorite oat based foods. You may not be able to totally avoid ingesting some of the glyphosate, but you can decrease your exposure by going the organic route.

Fungal contamination of oats

Ochratoxin is a fungal toxin found in foods of plant and animal origin. Molds produce the Ochratoxin when exposed to heat and moisture during crop production. Up to 70% of oat-based cereals in the United States have been reported to contain this toxin. And, it’s a compound strongly linked to cancer. According to research, choosing organic over conventional counterparts will not be helpful. Cooking does not destroy this toxin. The best practical risk reduction strategy is watching your portion sizes! This will obviously limit your exposure to the toxin if it’s in the cereal.

The good news: Oat cereal is a good source of fiber and protein

oatmeal labelSo should you skip the oat cereals? I think definitely not! Oatmeal and other oat cereals are a source of healthy complex carbohydrates and a fairly significant source of dietary fiber. A single 40 gram serving of oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Choosing gluten free organic options and watching portions will go a long way in making sure the oat cereals you choose are the best possible choices for your health.

Oat cereals are low in iron and sugar

And, what may not be readily apparent is the fact that oatmeal is a cereal that is low in iron. While cereal for much of the population is an important source of necessary dietary iron, there are many people that do not benefit from that iron. In fact, the iron may harm their health. Most men and older women should be picking cereals that are lower in iron. And, if your oat cereal is unflavored or plain, the sugar content clocks in at virtually nothing. Given the sugar content of most cereals, that is actually unusual and clearly a nutritional advantage.

Oats are a good prebiotic food

Your gut contains many bacteria that help you stay well. This is frequently referred to as the gut microbiome. The make-up of your individual gut bacteria is unique and hinges, in part, on the types of foods you eat on a regular basis. When you have the right mix of gut bacteria, your immune system is stronger and your digestion is better. While bacteria reside in the gut, people can also consume bacteria known as probiotics. The gut bacteria may be altered to improve overall health when these probiotics are consumed in adequate amounts. Certain foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut are rich sources of probiotics. Probiotics are also available as a supplement (purchasing tips).

Probiotics should not be confused with prebiotics. Prebiotics serve as food for probiotics, assuring their viability. Prebiotic foods are usually rich in fiber. While the fiber is in the digestive tract, the bacteria use it for food. Eventually, the fiber is excreted in digestion, but while in the digestive tract, it plays a crucial role in feeding the gut bacteria. Oatmeal is a classified as a prebiotic food.

Take away

As is the case with many foods, oats are at risk for pesticide and toxin contaminants. Choosing smaller amounts and organic versions of oat cereals can lessen risk from these contaminants. The good news is oats are low in sugar and iron (good for many people). They are a lower calorie source of protein and fiber. That fiber lowers your blood sugar and cholesterol levels and aids in weight loss. And, it’s critical for feeding your gut bacteria. Bottom line, oats are a pretty good fuel for both you and your gut bacteria.

While I like oats for the above reasons, another researcher suggests oats may be the next superfood as they are loaded with anti-oxidants!

If you want to try the very popular overnight oats, the basic recipe is here.

Why do you think oats are healthy? Please share so I can add to this blog. If you learned something from this blog, please share as well.

Legal Disclaimer

 

Restaurant Dining: A Cost to Your Health and Wallet

Resturant dining and cost

My spouse and I are health conscious because I am a dietitian and not a hypocrite, and his life depends upon it. We regularly visit an area of southwest Michigan, and recently had breakfast at a local diner with great TripAdvisor reviews. Unfortunately, we did not agree with the great reviews on TripAdvisor. Here’s why I think there’s a restaurant dining cost to your health and wallet!

Restaurant dining menu and cost

The menu was limited, but I will be the first to state that this is not necessarily a bad thing. A limited menu may end up focusing on food quality, rather than an abundance of mediocre dishes. The good news here was the staff was more than happy to substitute requested egg whites for whole eggs.

Now the bad news: the nice multi-grain bread was already buttered on the bottom of the toast (so did not realize it until it was eaten), the portions were huge (I know many people want large portions for the money being doled out), and I saw no fruit options on the menu. Other bad news: the bill was $30.00 for what we could have made at home for probably a dollar at most, and made it a lot healthier in a shorter amount of time. This is, in fact, the key issue with dining out on a regular basis.

Restaurant dining cost to health and wallet

More fat 

If you make the same food at home, you can control the fat in the dish with very simple recipe tweaking. Restaurants don’t typically care about the high fat content in their meals because fat carries flavor and texture. And of course, they want you to return for another meal! You can bank on eating more calories than you anticipated due to the higher fat content. You can also assume that it will be more difficult to meet your weight loss goals.

More calories

And, let’s not forget the simple concept that larger portions, when eaten, yield more calories. Unless you can exercise a lot of self-restraint while dining out, you will most likely eat your whole meal. If you can consistently ask for healthy substitutions such as fruit for fries, you are on the right track. Also, you need to get in the habit of bringing at least half of your meal home. And who doesn’t want that yummy appetizer, dessert, or cocktail while dining out? It’s probably safe to say that if you are eating at home you are not eating those extra high calorie goodies.

Salt in restaurant food

More sodium

If you are fortunate to find a nice restaurant meal low in fat and overall calories, the sodium is probably lurking. I have yet to see a healthy restaurant meal that is low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, calories, and sodium. If you think the sodium content does not matter because your blood pressure is fine, you need to think again. High sodium intakes cause other health problems such as bone loss and are correlated with increased cancer risk. And, if you hop on the scale the next day, you can credit that weight gain of several pounds to fluid retention from all that salt you ate.

More money

My husband made a lower sodium chili on Sunday, and pointed out that the entire pot of chili cost less than a few dollars. Purchasing a bowl of chili at a restaurant would have cost about $6.00. He used half a packet of low sodium chili powder and added additional beans plus veggies, creating a healthier chili.

When you must go to fast food restaurants

Ironically, thinking in terms of restaurant food chains rather than non-chain full-service restaurants may serve your health concerns more effectively. Unless you live in a cave, you have seen nutrition information is posted at your favorite fast food restaurant. In 2014, the FDA set into motion new labeling requirements for chain restaurants. By now, all that nutrition information has been available to customers for years. If you pay attention to that posted nutrition information, it can help you make better decisions while dining out. There are lots of helpful websites to start planning for healthier choices. One that I really like is HealthyDiningFinder. Put in your zip code and you can start your search for healthier cuisine.

Casual dining establishments

Consider frequenting casual dining restaurants that actually have a set calorie controlled menu with a lot of choices such as the Cheesecake Factory. While in the past I would have cringed at dining there, they have made great strides with their Skinnylicious menu options. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the food was from that menu and ecstatic with all the choices for under 600 calories. I can’t say the sodium was acceptable across the board with that menu, but as I stated, it’s very hard to nail the fat, calories, and sodium content of any restaurant meal.

Full service restaurants

Restaurant dining cost to health and walletClearly, fast food options are not always what we want or need for social occasions. Always try and check out the restaurant menu online prior to arriving there. This will at least allow you an opportunity to avoid split second and thoughtless decisions when ordering. Socializing with friends while trying to order without some prior thought does not usually translate to a healthy choice.

When no nutrition information is available

Looking for plain menu options like a ladies’ cut filet or chicken that is not smothered in sauce might be good options. Add some steamed vegetables and plain baked potato and you’ve made some wise choices. By skipping the appetizers, cocktails, and desserts you are on your way to helping your waistline. And that bread basket is always a problem, right? Ask the wait staff to keep it in the kitchen or move it to another part of the table. And, if portion sizes of your meat based entree are larger than a deck of cards, bring the leftovers home if you are serious about managing your healthy diet. Help yourself with that action by asking for the “doggie” bag at the beginning of the meal!

Final thoughts

While eating out is recreational for many, it should be a treat for special occasions rather than your regular diet. Eating at home more often will result in a healthier diet and bank account. With that stated, here are some additional tips to manage food choices and calories when eating away from home. Eating at home is a win-win scenario, except for the dirty dishes. With all the money you can save, you can buy a new dishwasher!

Do you have any strategies for managing your calories, fat, and sodium while dining out that I didn’t mention? And what recommendations can you share to keep restaurant dining cost to a minimum when you do splurge?

If this blog post was helpful, please share it with a friend!

Legal Disclaimer

Fast Breakfast Ideas: Easy and Nutritious On the Fly

fast breakfast ideas chocolate chip buckwheat muffins

Grogginess in the morning? You know you should eat some breakfast and not just gulp down java. But, creative and fast breakfast ideas are often limited and with tight schedules, most of us could use some help. Breakfast does not need to be complicated or labor intensive. We just need to do a little thinking a ahead and maybe outside the box. Here are some fast breakfast ideas that are easy and require very little time to pull off.

Nutritionally speaking, there are a lot of important reasons to fuel up in the morning. Research has noted that breakfast eaters have a jump-start on: maintaining a healthy weight, meeting daily nutritional requirements, and performing better physically and mentally all day. However, the issue is always what to eat, how long will it take to prepare, and how fast can it be eaten!

Fast breakfast ideas: easy and nutritious

Smoothies are a versatile and fast breakfast

fast breakfast ideasTry a breakfast smoothie. The most time consuming part of making a smoothie is rinsing your blender!

For my creamy berry smoothie, blend 1.5 cups of blueberries (may start off as frozen and let thaw while in shower), ½ cup 1% milk fat cottage cheese, and ½ cup orange juice in a blender until thoroughly mixed. Yes, add the cottage cheese or cultured cottage cheese. It makes the smoothie thick and gives a very slight “cheese cake” twist to the smoothie along with some major high quality protein.

Each 12 ounce serving has 260 calories, 15 grams protein, 48 grams carb, 2 grams fat, 7 grams fiber, and 275 mg. of potassium.

Muffins are a fast breakfast idea

This is about as easy as it gets and you know what’s going into your body. Make ahead of time, freeze, and grab as needed. Let thaw as you shower. Enjoy with some orange juice or low sodium V-8 juice.

Consider making oat bran muffins as a healthy alternative to hot cereal. When evaluating an oat bran muffin recipe consider recipes without dried fruits if you are watching your waistline. Those additional ingredients will make the overall calorie value of your muffin much higher. If a recipe calls for applesauce, that allows for a moister oat bran muffin. Here’s a healthier oat bran muffin recipe.

For those needing a change of pace, I recommend this buckwheat chocolate chip muffin recipe that has gotten great personal and client reviews. The blog photo on top shows what these delicious muffins look like.

Improvise with an English Muffin

Toast an English muffin, add one slice low-fat cheese and a slice of Canadian bacon. Now you have an Egg McMuffin, sans the egg, and you don’t need to stop at the drive through and get tempted with those fatty hash browns.

What about English muffin pizza for breakfast? Toast each half to make it crispy. Spread some pizza sauce on each half, some shredded mozzarella, and zap for a few seconds in the microwave. Who doesn’t enjoy pizza for breakfast?

Improvise with a waffle for a fast breakfast

Take your favorite regular or gluten free waffle and smear on some peanut butter. Top with a sliced banana for a nice dose of potassium. Or, instead of peanut butter, melt a slice of your favorite cheese on top of the waffle.

Standby eggs always work as a fast breakfast

Consider hard boiling several to grab during the week. Each egg is a nice packet of nutrients and only about 80 calories. Or, consider making small cheese and spinach quiches in muffin pans and freezing. This is one of my favorite breakfast foods of all time for myself and if I am hosting guests. They always freeze great and can defrost in the microwave in seconds. Making that little bit of effort ahead of time in order to grab these will be worth it as you head out the door.

Overnight oats

overnight ats fast breakfast ideasThis takes a little effort the night before, but “little” is the operative word here. This is very easy to toss together the night before, and enjoy in the morning. To prep the basic overnight oat recipe take:

1/2  cup of oatmeal, combine with 1/2 of any type of milk (skim, 2%, soy, almond, coconut, rice, cashew), add 1/2 yogurt or skip the yogurt and use an additional 1/2 cup of milk. Add a pinch of salt and whatever sweetener you desire.This basic recipe can be modified by adding chocolate chips, Nutella, peanut butter, a mashed banana or berries. If you need more of a caffeine jolt on top of your java, add some instant coffee to your oats!

Mix your basic ingredients and your optional ingredients and place in any container with a lid. Mason jars are popular at the moment for this recipe, but any container that can be capped will work. Place in the refrigerator overnight, and you are done. The oats will be ready to eat in the morning. They can be eaten cold, or gently warmed in the microwave if warm oatmeal is your preference. Another advantage of this recipe, as it will last about 4 days in the refrigerator, so it’s not impeative to eat it the very next day.

 No crust pumpkin pie

crustless pumpkin pie

Crust free pumpkin pie is perfect to start out the day. I bet you didn’t see that one coming as a fast breakfast idea! It’s full of anti-oxidants and with some good quality protein from the eggs and milk used in this recipe. Even my crust free version that does not use splenda is healthy for the whole family. And, it would work to decrease the sugar a bit more in the conventional recipe if you like. When my kids were growing up, I often made this recipe and served it for breakfast. No one was complaining at all. As long as it doesn’t get eaten first, it will last all week. Make it on Sunday night for the work week.

Bottom line, a better breakfast will mean a better you and better day. If you are also thinking of lunch and dinner, here are some other suggestions! 

Do you have a favorite, fast, and healthy breakfast idea? If so, please share so I can add to my blog.

Legal Disclaimer