Drinking Water and Fluoride: Healthy for All?

Drinking water: fluoride for all?

For most of my life I never really thought much about fluoride or my drinking water. My teeth are in pretty good shape, and the only time I thought about fluoride was when I taught a college level nutrition class. The text books noted the “benefits” of fluoride in preventing tooth decay, and then always showed the classic brown spots on tooth enamel due to overexposure of fluoride.  We discussed that fluoride was delivered to municipal tap water in the Chicago area (our location) and that bottled water was not typically fluoridated. While it may have natural fluoride, fluoride is not typically added to bottled water.

Fluoride not an essential dietary nutrient

For the last 70 or so years, it’s role in public health has been one of preventing tooth decay. Once teeth have erupted through the gum, fluoride added to the tooth surface plays a role in preventing tooth decay through remineralization of the weaker spots on the tooth enamel as well as controlling the amount of acid that bacteria of plaque produce.  I remember routine fluoride treatments given in the dental office because I had great dental insurance and it was covered.  And, of course, there is lifelong use of fluoridated toothpaste.

Fluoride in drinking water in equal amounts for everyone?

For the municipalities that deliver fluoridated water, there is no choice in the matter. If you want to avoid ingesting fluoride in the Chicago area, you must find a means to remove it from your tap water or stick with purchasing spring water. Preset fluoride levels are “one size fits all.”

According to a recent article in the Indian Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (2018), these points should be considered:

  • Current evidence clearly suggests that the protective mechanism of action of fluoride is mainly topical.  In other words, we do not need to be ingesting fluoride to reap the dental benefits.
  • 1% of the population appears to be highly sensitive to fluoride (yes, I am in that 1%).
  • Certain subsets may be particularly vulnerable to ingesting fluoride: the elderly, diabetics, the malnourished.
  • Once added to water, would the fluoride levels be problematic for those that drink a large amount of water? Those individuals might include manual laborers, diabetics, and athletes.
  • Interestingly, on the international front, most European countries have rejected water fluoridation. Only Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom practice water fluoridation.

While the debate on fluoridated water continues, you can help protect your teeth by:

  • Choosing a healthy diet low in sugar will help prevent tooth decay. Emphasizing fruits and vegetables will stimulate saliva production to help rinse the sugar away.
  • Avoiding cavity promoting foods like sugar, sticky foods (like raisins), and soda will help prevent tooth decay.  
  • If indulging in sugary foods, try not to do so all day long. Best to splurge and then brush, instead of exposing your teeth all day long.
  •  Apply that fluoride through toothpaste, mouth rinse, and in the dental chair.

My last comment will be that in the concept of “clean eating”, I see no reason to be putting fluoride into my digestive tract.

Where do you stand on the issue of ingesting fluoride through tap water?

Probiotic Supplements: 5 Purchasing Tips

2 popular probiotics

My father lived in an assisted living facility a few years ago. The assisted living physician ordered the probiotics for him. I remember the doctor sitting at his desk writing the order and at the same time quipping that “all probiotics are the same!” The comment took my breath away because this was only a few years ago, and most health care providers should know that probiotics are not all the same! There is plenty of research available on how probiotics are both similar and different. And there is plenty to consider when purchasing a probiotic supplements!

Bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract are flora. A healthy functioning gastrointestinal tract has a healthy balance of bacteria. Occasionally, that balance of bacteria becomes unbalanced due to antibiotic use, illness, stress, or even a poor-quality diet.

Research on the health benefits of probiotics is vast. Researchers are evaluating how probiotics may affect mental health, lipids, weight, and various GI conditions. Even our pets are taking probiotics!

 Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when purchasing probiotic supplements:

Packaging of probiotic supplements

Probiotics need to be alive to be effective in your body. If they are dead on arrival in the bottle or purchase package, they will be useless to your gut. Take a good look at the packaging. Many probiotic strains need to be refrigerated to stay alive, or they may be sold in blister packaging to assure viability. If the product needs refrigeration, be sure online shippers are shipping the product with dry ice during warm weather to protect the product. With blister packaging, there is no need to refrigerate. Keep in mind that the companies selling the probiotics are doing their own regulation, so you might want to use a name brand product to help assure the organisms are alive upon purchase.

Dosages

Potency is usually noted on the label as CFU which stands for “colony forming units”. The recommended intake for probiotic supplements varies by the strain and intended therapy. For general use, take supplements that have a CFU of at least 1 to 10 billion. Higher dosages are still deemed safe and are often found in many reputable brands.

Strains

Contrary to the thoughts of my father’s former physician, bacterial strains do matter. For instance, for antibiotic-related diarrhea, it may be advisable to start taking a common drugstore brand such as Culturelle which contains Lactobacillus GG. Other research suggests that it may be even more effective to take a probiotic with multiple species of organisms. In adult women with IBS, Bifidobacterium infantis has been shown to reduce pain, bloating, and bowel movement difficulty. For cholesterol reduction, Lactobacillus reuteri may be therapeutic for LDL-Cholesterol reduction.

Dosing

 If you are taking probiotics for overall wellness, keep in mind that the organisms only survive for a few days to weeks, so it is necessary to keep taking them. Speaking of surviving, some probiotics have an enteric-coating to ensure stomach acid survival and intestinal delivery.

Food

 Many foods also contain probiotics. Think yogurt, kefir milk, and kombucha. And, nutrient dense foods are usually great sources of prebiotics-the food probiotics use. Those microorganisms need their own fuel and fiber rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the fuel of choice for probiotics.

Remembering to keep these key points in mind: packaging, dosages, strains, and dosing will make you a savvy probiotic consumer. And, foods are a key source of probiotics as well. And to feed your probiotics, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Has probiotic use helped your health? Share your thoughts!

For information on purchasing other supplements, read on. 

My Food Sensitivities: A Dietitian’s Personal Perspective

When I was 40 years old, I became very ill-so ill I headed to the emergency room. The doctors said something was going around and I should go home to rest. And rest I did! In fact, for at least a week I was barely able to move. I followed up with my primary care physician who proceeded to do a complete medical evaluation. All tests came back negative. So, I rested some more and tried to pretend that I felt normal. Never did I imagine that my extreme fatigue was due to food sensitivities.

my food sensitivity journey

Is this healthy for me or not?

As time progressed, I mentioned my fatigue issues to every physician I saw, and the responses ranged from “You have medical conditions that cause fatigue- IBS, fibromyalgia, asthma”, to “You seem OK, you aren’t acting tired now”, to “You are the healthiest patient I’ve seen today!” My energy levels continued to wax and wane. Sometimes I was near normal and other times I needed to drag myself to bed. Fatigue was my partner in life, and although rest didn’t solve everything, I was often tired enough that I simply could not move. My goal became to get through the day as a functioning person and carry on with my commitments as best I could.

Later in life, food sensitivities uncovered

During the second 50 years of my life, it seemed that my energy levels were worsening. I figured at this point I was functioning at less than 50% of normal. Then, last year, a college friend asked me about food sensitivity testing as she was considering going that route due to ongoing headaches and IBS symptoms. I told her I had mixed feelings about it, but said that maybe we could go down that path together. I am so grateful that I took that path as my life has actually changed course.

Food sensitivity testing is controversial

Some medical “experts” question accuracy of any food sensitivity testing process and the clinical relevance to a patient. For those practitioners that feel it may help a patient, there is controversy as to the best test to use. I used the Alcat test which evaluates how your white blood cells react in contact with various foods, chemicals, and food additives. Based on your white cell response, your reaction to various foods, additives, and chemicals is assessed on a scale of non-reactive to severe.

It’s important to keep in mind that food sensitivity testing is different from allergy testing. With an allergy, there may be an immediate response. With a food sensitivity, the response in terms of symptoms may be delayed by days so it does become difficult to determine what foods may be problematic. In my case, I would never have been able to succeed by just eliminating foods speculated as often problematic because one of my severe responses was to fluoride. Turn on the tap water and there is fluoride. Grab coffee at a restaurant, there is fluoride. Grab that toothpaste, there is fluoride. That is just one example of how the testing can help you come up with a customized eating plan just for you. I would never have been able to determine that something found in my water was a contributing factor in causing my fatigue, muscle, and joint pain.

My life has changed now that I know my food sensitivities

Today, I still look OK but I also feel pretty good! I am now able to work with a trainer, and regularly work out on a treadmill and elliptical. I even have competitions with my active grandchildren to see who can get the most steps in a day! My energy level is far more consistent, and when I’m tired, that’s all it is tired. I’m not fatigued to the point of being unable to move. I have come a long way from the fatigue that has haunted me for the last 25 years. I am so thankful that I was able to access testing. It can be very challenging to make the necessary dietary changes but, it’s worth the effort if your life changes! My only regret is waiting so long.

Do you have a personal story to share about your food sensitivity testing experience and outcome?

5 Favorite Thanksgiving Foods: Skinny Version

The big turkey day is upon us in a few weeks and many cooks are already planning their menus for Thanksgiving. Across the country, people will eat dinner with family and friends in homes and restaurants. Many of my clients feel it is difficult to focus on health and wellness at this time of the year.  For Thanksgiving gatherings, I tell my clients it is “just one day” of dining. If you exercise control over the aftermath of the meal, then it should be viewed as a meal enjoyed with those that matter in your life, a time to be thankful, and a time to reflect.

Controlling the “aftermath” means that you get rid of the leftovers that may sabotage your healthy eating plans or plan appropriately to avoid having leftovers in the first place! With that stated, I think we can also think about the traditional Thanksgiving meal as having the potential to be a meal that can even offer health benefits to your diet. Here is a sampling of traditional Thanksgiving foods and the potential impact on your health:

Pumpkin 

Pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene which is the plant derived form of vitamin A.  Consider offering your guests a slimmed down crustless pumpkin pie option in addition to traditional desserts.

Sweet potatoes.

This is another beta-carotene superstar. Keep the calories in tow by limiting the brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows used in traditional recipes.

Mashed potatoes

Potatoes are loaded with potassium! Slim down your recipe by limiting the butter used in your recipe. Consider using skim milk, low sodium chicken broth, or fat-free sour cream in your recipe to slash the fat and calories.

Cranberries.

This traditional side dish is loaded with cancer fighting plant chemicals, vitamin C, and fiber. No need to limit its use to cranberry bread and sauce. Consider using it in a fruit compote instead.

Turkey

Turkey is full of lean protein. Watch your serving sizes and the gravy added to your plate, and consider this a healthy meat option for your Thanksgiving gathering. Roast your turkey without the stuffing inside. Baking stuffing in a separate casserole dish will yield less calories.

Watch your servings sizes for all your foods and leftovers. Enjoy the day and the health benefits of a traditional Turkey day menu lightened up.  Top your meal with a nice family walk, and you will be slim and ready for the next round of holidays in December!

 Do you have any healthy Thanksgiving recipes to share?

Baked Beef Stew: Perfect for Halloween

Halloween beef baked stew recipeThis one pot beef baked stew was always fondly referred to as “Halloween Stew” by my kids because year after year I made this for my children to enjoy after trick or treating. You can prep this ahead of time, even the day before Halloween. Head out to trick or treat and then return for a yummy and nutritious one pot comfort meal. It was always a pleasure, after a raw and windy October Halloween, to come home to this nutritious and already cooked one pot meal. It is comfort food at its best, and can be enjoyed throughout the crisp fall days ahead. Enjoy this recipe as a prep ahead comfort food on Halloween and all Fall for that matter. Happy trick or treating.

Ingredients for “Halloween beef baked stew:

2 pounds lean beef (sirloin works well)

12-20 oz. can of tomatoes with liquid

2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in ½ cup hot water

1/2 cup red wine (optional ingredient)

1 large onion, chopped

8 cut up carrots

2-3 stalks cut up celery

4 or more large potatoes

1 small package frozen peas

1/4 cup tapioca

Directions

Take the lean beef and cut into 1 inch cubes. Spray a large corning ware dish and the inside lid with a spray such as PAM. Place the beef cubes in the bottom of the corning ware. Lay all the vegetables (except the peas) on top of the meat. Pour the tomatoes, wine, tapioca over all. Bake for 3 hours, covered, in a 325 ° oven. Sprinkle the peas on top fifteen minutes before stew is done cooking.

Winter Weight Gain: 5 Tips to Fight It

Seasonal Affective Disorder sunshine on lady helps her mood, fights winter weight gain

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Winter weight gain frequently comes with the winter season. I have heard repeatedly from clients that all they want to do is keep eating because they feel so “blue” this winter. Occasionally, the clients suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but sometimes clients are just feeling down in the dumps because the winter is so long in the Midwest. So, barring a vacation to the tropics or moving out of state, here are a few steps that can be taken to lift your spirits. Hopefully you can stop inappropriate eating and stop winter weight gain at the same time.

Catch the rays when possible to help your mood and fight winter weight gain

Even the gloomiest areas in the Midwest will occasionally be sunny, so be sure to capitalize on it even if you need to bundle up to do so. Take a walk outside in those rays of sunshine and you will elevate your mood because the exercise and sunshine will affect the balance of key neurotransmitters such as serotonin, melatonin, and endorphins.

Consider blue light therapy when you can’t find sunshine

Along the lines of catching natural light rays, researchers are aware that certain light spectrum, such as blue light, seems to help alleviate SAD. Many free-standing blue lights are available for easy purchase online. When it’s a particularly bleak winter, these lights can be of benefit.

Check your vitamin D levels

Many Americans have inadequate blood vitamin D levels. Research supports that getting your blood vitamin D levels in the right range is ammunition in fighting seasonal affective disorder.  Bleak days and lots of warm bulky clothes limit the body’s ability to make the so-called “sunshine” vitamin, which can be produced by the body when sun shines on a compound on our skin.  If we cannot make it, we are able to supplement our diet with vitamin D.  During winter months, dosages in the 1000-1200 IU range are probably safe for most people who have limited sun exposure. Read here for more information on meeting vitamin D requirements. Read here for more information on meeting vitamin D requirements.

Control your eating environment, which always helps prevent weight gain anytime of year

While waiting for spring weather and freedom from the winter doldrums, don’t undo previous successful weight loss with binge eating just because of SAD or depression.  Control your eating environment at home by ridding it of high temptation and high calorie foods.

Stock your kitchen with healthy, low sodium soups and entrees

They can nourish and “comfort” you appropriately through the rest of the winter. Increase  your consumption of fruits, veggies, and lentils to increase your anti-oxidants and fiber.  Don’t be afraid of opting for frozen fruits and veggies at this time of year. They are just as nutritious as the fresh varieties which are harder to buy in the winter. When the warm weather comes, you will be happy that you did not pile on the weight due to winter blues.

Here’s to wrapping up winter. It’s almost March! Remember, an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By watching your diet this winter, you will be in a better position both mentally and physically for spring when it springs!

 

 

 

Leftover Turkey Scraps: New Comfort Food Recipe

Those turkey scraps that don’t fit nicely on a serving platter for Thanksgiving lend themselves very well to a favorite family recipe of mine. I would put these croquettes in the “comfort food” category. They are easy to make, use up all your leftover meat scraps, and are a healthy meat entrée. Enjoy the whole traditional bird on Thanksgiving, then enjoy this great leftover dish later in the week.Turkey Dinner

Take all those scraps of turkey and place into a food processor or a blender. This recipe calls for about 2 cups of shredded meat. The meat mixture will be mixed with a light roux sauce to bind it and then baked in the oven for a healthier alternative to a traditional fried croquette recipe.

 

For the croquette meat mixture you will need:

2 cups of chopped or shredded leftover turkey
dash of salt and pepper
1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
1 tsp. chopped parsley (optional)

Combine these ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Next, make the light roux sauce. 

You will need:

4 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 cup milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and seasonings and blend. Slowly add the one cup of milk, stirring continually with a wire whisk until the mixture thickens. After the mixture thickens, add into the chopped meat mixture.You want the mixture to be firm enough to shape, so use only part of the sauce mixture initially, and then added the rest as needed. It is helpful to chill the mixture for awhile in order to allow for shaping the mixture into firmer patties.

After the roux sauce and chopped meat are mixed together, shape your croquettes into eight hamburger like patty shapes.

The next step is to coat the croquette patties with the bread crumbs. 

You will need:

1 cup fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter
one egg with 1 tbsp. water or alternatively you may use eggbeaters

Croquettes ready to pop in the oven

Place the butter in a shallow baking dish and melt.  Dip the croquettes into the bread crumbs, egg, and then back into the bread crumbs.  Next place the breaded croquettes into the melted warm butter and coat all sides. Preheat the oven to 350 ° and bake for about 30 minutes until crisp. This can be served with a dollop of any leftover roux sauce if not needed for the croquette mixture. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and enjoy that turkey again.

Nutrition information per croquette:

200 calories

9 grams of fat

15 grams of protein

15 grams of carbohydrate

360 mg sodium

Tip

If you would like to decrease the fat and calorie content further, skip rolling the bread coating mixture in the melted butter.  Turkey scraps can also be frozen to make this recipe at a later time. And, no turkey?  This recipe also works very well with leftover chicken.  Bon appetit!

 

 

Chronic Fatigue: 4 Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Tackle

It goes by many names: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), myaligic encephalomyelitis (ME). Whatever you want to call it, it requires lifestyle changes to cope, and bed rest is not a quick fix for those that are truly afflicted. If you have this condition, you know who you are! You may also remember your life before the condition and after, that red line of health and when it was crossed and what triggered your seemingly endless fatigue.

chronic fatigueEven rest can’t help chronic fatigue

Here are some tried and true tips to help chronic fatigue:

Manage your weight for lessening chronic fatigue

Under the circumstance, this can be a huge challenge. If you are needing to pace yourself with rest, then you will be sitting more. Eating more nutrient rich low calorie foods will be your tool for weight management. It’s amazing what a difference there is in terms of calorie burn on days you are mostly sitting vs. being able to walk around all day when you may feel better. It’s important to match your calorie intake with calorie output.

I am a huge fan of fitness trackers for just this reason. Knowing real time energy output on bad days and then better days, helps immensely in weight management. The fitness tracker can guide you on how much you can eat on a given day based on your calorie burn.

Do eat a nutrient dense diet

Your calories need to “count” from a nutritional standpoint because there may not be a lot of discretionary calories for you to be eating if you are burning few calories due to your fatigue and limited activity. The better quality diet will only increase your chances of feeling better. There’s no guarantee, but it can’t hurt.

Too tired to prepare food?  Never cook for only one meal. Double batch and use your freezer. Don’t be afraid of a frozen meal such as Healthy Choice brand meals. They are always going to be healthier than what you might grab at a restaurant.

Consider certain supplements

The condition remains one that the established medical community cannot open a text book and find solid direction on how to treat. With that said, there are a few supplements that may be helpful. Consider CoEnzymeQ10, D-ribose, and probably a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. I don’t uniformly recommend the latter to patients, but when calories need to be restricted for manage weight, it’s not a bad idea in my opinion. The CoQ10 and D-ribose are tied in with our biochemical energy cycle, and I personally find them to be helpful. Other research has suggested a daily dosage of 200 mg CoQ10 and 20 mg of NADH twice a day as being therapeutic for symptoms.

Know and state your boundaries to manage chronic fatigue

While boundary setting is not necessarily a nutrition tip, it’s an important lifestyle tip. Learn to say “no” if you feel it will compromise your health. Many of us are so eager to be normal, that it is very easy to overdo it when we feel on the normal end of the spectrum. Both mental and physical pacing need to be first and center in your life. If you are reading this, you are probably all too familiar with the “crash and burn” cycle of both chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Doing too much at a time can result in being a limp rag doll later. Best to manage that precious resource called energy and pace yourself all day and every day-even when you may be feeling “normal”.

What tips can you share to live your best life?

 

 

The Old Diet Issue is STILL the New Issue: Easy Steps to Up Your Intake of Fruits & Veggies

I’ve had my nutrition practice for 29 years this month! Despite all the new ideas revolving around the best way to eat a healthy diet, some American food patterns haven’t changed in nearly 30 years-namely not eating enough fruits and vegetables. I often ask myself what is going on, because so many clients are adamant that they love fruits and vegetables. Reviewing their food records, however, tells another story. While they may indeed “love” fruits and vegetables, they are not eating enough of them. So, here are some very easy ways to continue tackling this very-longstanding dietary problem sans becoming a vegan:

Apples. Prepare another way! Fall is the time many families pick apples. All those apples do not need to be eaten raw, turned into calorie laden pie, or smeared with peanut butter. Instead, cut up an apple, zap it in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and garnish with dab of whipped cream or ice cream (dab is the operative word here). Now you have a tasty apple disguised as dessert. This is a great way to get a toddler interested in and able to start eating apples even before all the teeth are in. And, for the older crowd, the calories are a lot less than apple pie.

Pumpkin. Eat crust-less pumpkin pie for breakfast!  My three kids loved this breakfast food when growing up. And, I still enjoy it myself.

15 oz. Can pumpkin pie
 1 can evaporated skim milk
 2 large eggs
 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
 ½ tsp. ground ginger
 ½ tsp. ground cloves
 ½ tsp. salt
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/2 cup Bisquick mix

Directions~
Spray Pam or vegetable spray on a glass pie plate. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into pie pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Note: the texture of the crust-free pie is souffle like. The Bisquick mix adds enough texture to the pie to allow it to be cut into pie shaped wedges. Serve plain or top with dab of whipped cream or ice cream.

Berries.  While lots of people think of smoothies as a way to boost your fruit and vegetable intake, most people make it too complicated. I like to include one banana to thicken the smoothie, add a cup of berries, and 3/4 cup skim milk, soy milk, or orange juice. If you want to make it taste like cheesecake, add a small amount of cottage cheese. Straws are necessary. This is great for kids and adults on the run.

Spinach. Add it to lasagna, soups, omelets, or one skillet meals. This evening, my husband made an impressive vegan pasta dish with lots of tomatoes and spinach. It was a “keeper recipe” and used a lot of spinach. One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes.

Getting 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet has a huge impact on the overall nutritional quality of your diet.

What tips do you have for this age old eating problem?

Quick Guide to Healthy Eating: And, It’s Easy!

Quick guide to healthy eating: and it's painlessBetween “Dr. Google” and all the nutrition books available, it’s no wonder people are confused about how to eat. Many clients tell me it seems the recommendations are always changing, and it makes for a lot of confusion. In reality, it’s not difficult if you can remember some diet savvy strategies to get started. Here’s a quick and easy guide to healthy eating that you can implement now. And, it’s painless.

5 steps to guide your healthy eating now

Add plenty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables to your diet all day and each day

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds which reduce your risk for diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The more colorful your diet, the richer your diet is in anti-inflammatory compounds. Increasing your daily intake of both fruits and vegetables to at least five servings per day will decrease your risk of disease.

Decrease your animal protein

Most people eat way too much animal protein. By decreasing your animal protein, you are decreasing your fat intake which can be a good thing if you are trying to manage your weight. Even if you are not trying to manage your weight, cutting down on animal protein will decrease saturated fat which can lessen inflammation. Your kidneys will benefit from a lower protein intake as they do not need to work so hard.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), consumption of 18 oz. of red meat per week correlates with increased colorectal cancer. Red meats include beef, pork, and lamb. And, regularly eating processed meats (meats that are salted, cured, smoked) increases risk of both colorectal and stomach cancer. For more healthy eating tips, the AICR offers other guidelines on healthy eating for cancer prevention.

Limit your restaurant and carry out food

I have never met a client that was able to lose weight and eat restaurant/carry out food on a daily basis. Consumer beware: most restaurant/carryout food is higher in sodium, calories, and fat than the counterpart item prepared at home. Check menus and nutrition information in advance of dining out. I had a client recently that ordered a so-called healthy salad at a chain restaurant thinking it was a good choice. Unfortunately, the calories clocked in at 1400!  Good thing she was active that day!

Take advantage of convenience foods at the grocery store

I guarantee a Healthy Choice, Kashi, or even Lean Cuisine frozen dinner is going to stack up with less calories, sodium, and fat that your average carry out meal. The portion control eliminates the need to think too much when you are tired or your defenses are down for whatever reason. Round out your meal by including a healthy beverage and a fruit/vegetable side.

Meals can be large snacks and you don’t NEED to cook

Is it a problem to eat cereal for dinner?  I don’t think so! Have that cereal with milk or a milk alternative, some fresh fruit, an it’s a rather nutritionally adequate and satisfying easy meal. By choosing a higher fiber unsweetened cereal you have improved the quality of your meal dramatically. Not into cereal for dinner, then try a simple fruit smoothie made with some milk for another nutrient dense snack or meal replacement. Ever think of adding cottage cheese to the smoothie?  It makes the smoothie taste like cheesecake! Try my very creamy smoothie.

These quick guidelines for healthy eating are a surefire way to clean up you diet now.

What are your healthy eating strategies?