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Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!

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Hearty Breakfast Starts The Day Off Right

If I’m honest I spent many of my younger years joyfully scarfing down a bowl of cereal for my breakfast. I’m still guilty of an occasional carbohydrate based first meal, but after experiencing a hearty protein and vegetable based breakfast (or any meal for that matter) it’s hard to want anything else. Studies show that people who consume high protein, moderate calorie, breakfasts are less hungry throughout the day and showed favorable changes in hormone and brain signals that controlled appetite and cravings.

Some great hearty breakfast options are eggs sautéed with veggies and a little cheese. Plain yogurt or cottage cheese mixed with berries are an excellent option. Even whole grain bread with egg and avocado is a delicious and nutritious way to start your morning. The main hinderance for most people when it comes to breakfast is the simple reality of time. Cooking real food does take longer than pouring a bowl of cereal. However, if you want to be serious about breakfast it can be done in advance. Prioritizing cooking breakfast one day a week or prepping food the night before is all it takes. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for some hearty breakfast recipes that can provide multiple days worth of delicious meals.

 

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Seasonal Foods In February

When you think of what’s in season the month of February your mind might wonder to dark chocolate, gummy shaped hearts and red velvet cake. Although these foods are mighty tasty they are not going to provide us the nourishment our bodies need all month long. Surprisingly February offers a wide variety of vegetables that often get forgotten and overlooked in the produce department.

Leeks are at their peek in January and February. Don’t be intimidated by this large green onion looking vegetable. It has a nice mellow flavor that goes great in soups, casseroles and vegetarian dishes. Winter greens such as kale, endive, collards and chard are perfect options for a unique texture and flavor in salads and wraps. The Clearly Organic blog has a colorful and delicious recipe for a collard green wrap.

https://clearlyorganicbrand.com/news/collard-green-hummus-wrap

Once you try a beet prepared well I promise you’ll go back for more. Beets are also an intimidating vegetable that most people don’t think to purchase on a regular basis. However, February is a great time to try our roasted beet recipe. They are simple and delicious.

https://clearlyorganicbrand.com/news/roasted-beets/

Keep watch for more recipes with some of Februarys finest seasonal vegetables.

 

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The Importance Of Sleep

One commonly overlooked health tip is the importance of getting a good nights sleep. Recent studies show that more Americans are struggling with chronic sleep loss than ever before. A consistent battle with lack of sleep can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and weight gain. Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, moodiness and impatience. Appetite fluctuations are also common when you lose sleep. Studies show people are more likely to reach for high carbohydrate and sugary foods when they’re over tired.

A few benefits of seven or more hours of sleep can be improved memory retention, elevated mood and motivation, disease prevention and increased cardiovascular health. The importance of sleep for our overall well-being can often be overlooked. It’s never too late to start prioritizing more consistent rest and a good nights sleep.

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5 Ways To Stick With Your Health Goals

After the holiday season of eating, drinking and merriment many fitness centers see a rise in gym membership and attendance. However, regardless of this enthusiasm statistics show that gym attendance is typically back to its regular numbers by mid-February. No matter what your New Years health and wellness goals involve here are a few simple tips to stick with your good intentions.

  1. Write down your goal. Putting pen to paper helps many people make a more specific, measurable and achievable goal.
  2. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask how to use a new machine, piece of lifting equipment or the proper technique for a particular exercise.
  3. Make a schedule. To accomplish any goal you have to manage your time wisely. Pick a time of day that is sustainable for focusing on your goals.
  4. Diversify your wellness routine. Goals are about results and there are multiple ways to get results. Experiment with new exercises and foods to achieve your goal
  5. Find accountability. To stay on track schedule a time with a personal trainer of fitness coach. Find a workout buddy or use a digital fitness tracker to give you honest feedback.

A bonus tip that’s always well received is Reward Yourself. No one has to be told twice to cut themselves a little slack. Treat yourself to a little relaxation on your day off from working out or plan a fun event to look forward to celebrating your accomplishments.

 

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Forming New Habits

A new year always brings about an opportunity to step back and evaluate how we want to begin another season of life. New Years resolutions are a common time to make health goals and lifestyle changes. At the root of most New Years resolutions is a habit change, and habits are a big part of our overall wellbeing.

There’s a significant amount of psychological research behind the process of habit formation and change so we can be confident that for most people habit change follows a similar cycle. Here are a few simple ways to identify a potential need for habit change. These 3 tips come from Charles Duhiggs best selling book, The Power of Habit.

1. Pinpoint a trigger or cue for a certain behavior

2. What is the action you take, or the behavior itself

3. What is the outcome or benefit from the behavior

Once you identify a habit you’d like to change use this structure to solidify your desired result. An easy way to remember the components of habit change according to author James Clear is 3 R’s: Reminder, Routine and Reward. Establish a reminder for your new habit, make it part of your daily routine and reward yourself along the way. Enjoy the journey of establishing new habits in the New Year!

 

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Fructose Intolerance

Recently a Clearly Organic customer wrote in asking about foods that are acceptable for a fructose intolerant child. It’s always a challenge to adjust your families meal plan to accommodate various dietary restrictions. However, it is definitely possible to make healthy and delicious meals that are void of specific allergen containing substances. A fructose intolerance is a digestive disorder that results in impaired fructose absorption. This causes higher concentrations of fructose in the intestines, leading to discomfort and potential medical complications.

It’s always important to first consult your doctor regarding specific dietary needs for any allergy or intolerance. For those affected by the unique condition of fructose intolerance it’s good to avoid high fructose foods such as juices, apples, pears, peas, grapes, watermelon and papayas. It’s also wise to read food labels and limit or avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, maple flavored syrup and palm syrup. Specifically read ingredient lists on cereal, granola bars, sweetened milk products and cured meats.

Lower fructose foods are generally safe to consume. Berries, carrots, avocado, green beans, bananas and lettuce are considered low fructose foods. The best type of meal plan for a fructose intolerant person is one that contains natural unprocessed foods. Most vegetables, whole grains, natural proteins and fish are great options for any healthy meal plan.

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Baking Season

‘Tis the Season for baking! The holidays call us together for fellowship, food and lots of seasonal treats. December is typically a month where multiple baked goods spring from peoples kitchens and cause many of us to share our favorite sweet creations. Here are a few tips of holiday baking.

  1. Pay attention to butter consistency. Butter is the first ingredient in many baked goods, so it’s vital to your end result to have your butter prepped as the recipe directs. Particularly heed the instruction for room temperature butter. Over melted or greasy butter can change the look and texture of your final product.
  2. Read the entire recipe in advance. To avoid disaster or a missing ingredient read your recipe and instructions ahead of time. It’s also wise to set all your ingredients out on the counter before you begin.
  3. Room temperature eggs. This is an easy step to skip. However, room temperature eggs, much like butter, can make a big difference in texture and structure of your product. Room temperature ingredients emulsify with better uniformity and consistency.
  4. Measure with precision. Baking requires good measuring practices. Spoon and level measure flour with measuring cups. Measure wet ingredients in a measuring pitcher. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for some delicious holiday treats. Happy Baking!
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5 Tips For Healthy Meal Planning During The Holidays
  1. Stock your pantry. Having your go-to items already at home makes meal planning one step easier. Beans for chili, noodles for chicken noodle soup, rice for casseroles and whole grain crackers for dips are great stock up items for the busy holiday season.
  2. Prep challenging recipes in advance. If a meal calls for lots of chopped ingredients, consider cleaning and chopping ingredients the night before. Vegetables in particular can take a lot of time to skin and chop, so it’s great if you can tackle time consuming steps a day early.
  3. Have healthy snacks ready to go. You’re much more likely to eat veggies and fruit as a snack if it’s prepped and ready to eat. We often grab high carbohydrate (and high calorie) snacks because they are convenient when we’re starving. If fresh vegetables and fruit are made just as easy to consume then chances are we’ll make the right choice.
  4. Dust off your slow cooker. One dish hearty meals that can fed multiple people are easily made in your slow cooker.
  5. Make breakfast the night before. If you despise mornings then make them easier by prepping breakfast the night before. Overnight oats with chia seeds, an egg bake and muffins can all be made the night before so you can sleep a bit longer.

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Making An Entree Salad

Anyone can put together a salad, but if your looking for greens to be the main event at your next meal then this article is for you. Salads can be a little lack luster when you’re simply taking some greens out of a bag and pouring on dressing. Here is an easy formula for constructing the perfect salad.

Every good salad needs: greens, dressing, protein, an added crunch and at least one bonus item.

Greens: when you think salad you immediately envision lettuce. However, your base of greens can be a variety of veggies. Shaved asparagus, cabbage, chopped kohlrabi or a roasted squash or brussel sprout. Your vegetable base can be grilled, pickled, raw or roasted.

Dressing: this is an important part of any salad. Dressings come in two main categories-vinaigrettes or creamy dressings. It’s important to remember that you don’t want to weigh down a soft leafy green, like spring mix, with a heavy creamy dressing. This will drown out flavors and make your greens feel mushy. Light leafy green mixes pair well with vinaigrettes while bold more bitter flavors from cabbage and kale and can stand up to a creamy base. Less is more when it comes to salad dressing.

Protein: a little protein can add stability and satisfaction to your salad. Anything goes here, just keep your protein flavors in line with your vegetables.

Crunch: this is the secret key ingredient. Roasted nuts, a classic crouton, savory granola, flax seeds and hemp seeds make great crunchy toppers.

Bonus items: think seasonal. Fresh or dried fruit, herbs and ancient grains make perfect bonus items. Berries work great in the summer along with fresh basil, cilantro or mint. Winter can be a great time to add quinoa, rice, couscous or barley.

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Mindful Eating

The holiday season is upon us, and this festive time of year can have a big impact on your nutrition routine. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics the average American gains one to two pounds over the holidays. This may not sound like a significant amount but the reality is most people don’t lose those extra couple pounds. Making the holiday season a potential culprit for habitual weight gain. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! You can enjoy all your seasonal favorites if you practice some simple mindful eating.

 

Mindful eating (verses mindless eating) is the practice of becoming more aware of your body and mind connection to hunger. It’s analyzing how needs and wants affect your nutrition decisions. Mindful eating around the holidays can be making the conscience decision to only eat one plate of food at a meal verses going back to the buffet for seconds. Mindful eating is also the decision to eat more vegetables at a meal verses filling your plate with carbohydrates and meat. The basis of mindful eating is the desire to make better food choices and then follow through on that goal.

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