Thursday, March 22, 2018

Fun Foods for Springtime

With spring right around the corner, it is easy to start introducing some fresh, healthy foods into everyday diets. Spinach is one food that is excellent to eat. It is packed with vitamins A and C, which help with eye health and immune function. Spinach also contains vitamin K, which helps to make bones strong. It is also full of many more things such as folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Spinach can be served in multiple ways to change up the usual eating style. It can be used in salads, sauces, smoothies, and many more. Asparagus is another green vegetable that has a lot to offer. Like spinach, asparagus contains vitamin K and is a good source of folate, vitamin A, and iron. It can even be baked with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese to add a little excitement.  Strawberries are also great for this time of the year. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Strawberries can be used in many different ways, such as in fruit salads, smoothies, or yogurt. Speaking of this, yogurt is another versatile food that can be fun to eat during springtime. It can be eaten with different types of fruit, including those that are in season during this time of the year. Yogurt is a good source of both calcium and protein. It is also a good source of probiotic bacteria, which can promote good digestion and a healthy immune system. Adding some fresh, colorful foods to everyday life can be really fun and easy during spring! 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Vitamins, Minerals, AND Supplements?

With the huge selection of vitamin and mineral supplements available, it may lead us to think we need these extra amounts or that food alone isn’t providing enough nutrients. However, most healthy individuals consuming adequate calories daily are getting all the nutrients they need in foods, especially with the prevalence of fortified foods. Some common groups of people that may need supplemental nutrients include: elderly individuals, pregnant women, people who are food insecure, and anyone consuming less than 1,600 calories each day. For example, breast-fed infants and children who don’t consume much vitamin D fortified milk may not be getting enough vitamin D in their diet alone, so a supplement could be recommended. Some food allergies or medial conditions may also put someone at risk for various deficiencies. If you are concerned that you may be deficient in any vitamins or minerals, you can ask your doctor for some tests and speak with an RDN about how to address your nutrient needs through food.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Baked Good Substitutes

Baked goods get a bad rap because they are often full of sugar and have low nutrient densities. However, there are a few ways to make healthy substitutes in baking recipes.

  • To add more protein to a recipe, try swapping 1 cup of black bean puree for 1 cup of flour. This works well in brownies.
  • To add more veggies, try swapping out noodles for zoodles (zucchini noodles), pasta for spaghetti squash, or try a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla.
  • To reduce sugar when baking, use unsweetened applesauce instead. Applesauce also works as a substitute for butter or oil in recipes for baked goods.
  • When snacking, try plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit instead of flavored yogurt.

For more ideas, see:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Antioxidant Rich Foods to Implement in Your Diet

Though we may not always be able to see it, our bodies are in a constant battle to fight off infections and diseases. However, some of our everyday activities, such a breathing and exercising, produce free radicals.  These are substances that oxidize our healthy cells. When cells become oxidized, they weaken and are more susceptible to certain cancers and cardiovascular disease.  However, this can be prevented simply by introducing antioxidants into the everyday diet. Antioxidants help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, and can be found in Vitamins C and E, and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.


Beta Carotene, lycopene, and lutein are primary leaders in fighting against free radical damage along with various 600 carotenoids found in food. These carotenoids are beneficial in preventing the cause of some cancerous diseases as well as macular degeneration. Foods to look for that are high in carotenoids are those that are red, orange, deep yellow, and dark leafy greens. Some examples could be tomatoes, carrots, spinach, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. 

Vitamin E

One of the main health benefits of vitamin E is that it serves as an antioxidant, aiding in the protection against cell damage that could lead to some cancers, heart disease, and cataracts. It also works with other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, as prevention for some chronic diseases. Some great food options containing vitamin E are vegetable oils, salad dressings, wheat germ, margarine, whole grain products, and seeds. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most well-known antioxidants. Some health benefits include protecting your body against infections and cell damage, helping to produce collagen (connective tissue that holds bones and muscles together) and aiding in the absorption of folate and iron. Foods that are high in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, sweet peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and broccoli. 

It is recommended to get antioxidants from food sources as opposed to supplements, as supplements do not provide the same health benefits in disease prevention.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Boost Your Memory with Nutrition

Are you feeling forgetful? It could be from lack of sleep, your level of physical activity, or your lifestyle. However, there's no doubt that diet plays a huge role in brain health. Nutrition has an amazing effect on the body and brain. 

The best option for enhancing brain function and memory comes from good blood flow to the brain, which can be helped by eating foods that are nourishing and beneficial to the body, brain, and heart. Research discovered that the Mediterranean Diet helps keep aging brains sharp, helping with superior thinking, memory, and alertness. Eating your veggies, berries and cherries, omega-3 fatty acids, and walnuts can help boost memory. 

Eat your veggiesGetting and taking in enough vegetables may help improve memory. Eating the cruciferous veggies including broccoli, cabbage, and dark leafy greens are the most impactful. For lunch, try a kale salad or substitute collard greens for a tortilla in your next wrap. Try broccoli stir-fry for an excellent option for lunch or dinner. 

Be sweet on berries and cherries. Berries, especially the dark ones, are rich in anthocyanins and other flavonoids that may help boost memory function. Enjoy a handful of blackberries, blueberries, or cherries for a snack, mixed into cereal, or baked into an antioxidant-rich dessert. You can gain these benefits from fresh, frozen, or dried berries and cherries.

Get adequate omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), may help improve memory in healthy young adults and are essential for good brain health. Seafood, algae and fatty fish are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can include salmon, bluefin tuna, sardines, and herring. Use fish for a substitute for meat a couple times each week to get a healthy dose. Grill, bake, or broil fish for ultimate flavor and nutrition--avoid frying. For dinner, try salmon tacos with red cabbage slaw or seared tuna on salad greens. If you don't consume fish, discuss other food options or supplementation with your registered dietitian nutritionist or doctor. You can get omega-3 fatty acids through fish oil, seaweed, or microalgae supplements.

Work in walnutsWalnuts are well known for a positive impact on heart health, but may also improve cognitive function. To satisfy midday hunger, snack on a handful of walnuts, or add them to oatmeal, a salad for crunch, or mix them into a vegetable stir-fry for extra protein.

Not only are these foods good for the brain, they also sustain a healthy heart and an overall healthy body. While there's no absolute guarantee that these foods will help you remember everything you studied the day before, they can support lifelong, good health over time.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Make Your Own Dressing!

This vinaigrette is a simple dressing that is perfect to top any leafy green salad or roasted vegetables.

Citrus Vinaigrette

Makes 1 1/2 cups

tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 small shallot, diced
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste


1.     Place all the ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine.
2.     Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Choosing Dark Chocolate

Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, remaining sweets and chocolate linger in kitchen cabinets, candy dishes, and supermarket aisles. Rather than feeling guilty for indulging in chocolate this year, try choosing a ‘dark’ chocolate product that has a higher percentage of cocoa than milk or white chocolate. 

While dark, milk, and white chocolate all have some derivatives from cocoa, they vary in their flavonol content, which provide health benefits from cocoa beans. Dark chocolate contains more flavanols and protein than milk chocolate and white chocolate. When there is more cocoa in dark chocolate, manufacturers typically add less sugar to the product too.

Research has shown that consuming dark chocolate after a meal can increase feelings of satiety. C.F Marsh demonstrated with post-menopausal women that those who ate dark chocolate prior to eating a meal consumed 20-26% less than women who ate milk or white chocolate before their meal. Other studies show similar findings that substituting dark chocolate for milk chocolate in recipes also diminished caloric intake by 20% during the next meal. Within the body, dark chocolate has been shown to keep blood glucose levels lower than milk and white chocolate, which prevents insulin levels from spiking. 

So if resisting chocolate altogether is too daunting, give dark chocolate a try. Experiment by substituting dark chocolate in recipes, or send your sweetheart a dark chocolate treat!