Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tips to Having a Healthier Thanksgiving

1) Balance your plate- Whether you serve the Thanksgiving meal family style or from a buffet line, you should know some tips to fill your plate. To help prevent overeating, fill half of your plate with vegetables because they are filled with fiber and will help keep you fuller longer. Then fill 1/4 of your plate with turkey or other protein source, then the last 1/4 of your plate with starches, such as potatoes or stuffing. Before filling up a second plate, your vegetables should be eaten. When filling up again, do it the same way as your first plate.

2) Enjoy your holiday favorites in moderation- Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite holiday foods and beverages that you truly look forward to. If there are foods that you can enjoy at any other time of the year, consider skipping them. Otherwise, take a moderate serving that will satisfy you. 

3) Smaller servings- If you are preparing part of the meal or dessert to bring to the host's house, or you are serving the meal at your house, prepare the special appetizers, treats and drinks in smaller portions. By doing this, the batch that is made will serve more guests, and will help keep servings in checks. Also opt for using smaller serving plates and smaller glasses to help with serving sizes. 

4) Bring a dish to share- This can be a great idea if you or a loved one deals with food allergies or dietary restrictions. By preparing a dish yourself, you will know exactly what is in it and you will have piece of mind that they will be a dish that you can enjoy. Also, it can encourage other guests to try it as well. Try bringing a vegetable tray for an appetizer or quinoa stuffing. 

5) Pace yourself- Take time between bites to make meaningful conversation with the ones that you are with. This will also help for your brain and stomach to communicate to let you know when you are getting full, and may prevent overeating. 

6) Move- There are many holiday races that your family and friends can enjoy together. Consider signing up for a walk or run to help keep your activity levels up and create some memories. This can even start a new tradition! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November is American Diabetes Month!

While there is not a one size fits all diabetic diet, there are two major components to diabetes care. You probably guessed it! DIET AND EXERCISE. Below are some quick nutrition tips to help manage diabetes.
1.     Consume healthful carbohydrate sources: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all examples of healthful carbs and should be included in your daily diet. Another benefit from getting your carbs from these sources is that they help provide fiber!
2.     Avoid sugar sweetened beverages: Sugar sweetened beverages can raise blood sugar making it harder to control. Instead of soda or sweetened iced tea, try flavoring your water with fresh lemon juice.
3.     Decrease the sodium: Most Americans consume more salt than necessary in their daily diet. To help with diabetes and weight management try to stay under 2,300 mg of sodium each day. For some individuals, especially those with high blood pressure, this still may be too much.

For additional help managing diabetes contact a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator!

Information adapted from:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Can "veg out", but Eat Your Veggies!

The analysis of the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that Americans are under consuming dark green, red, and orange vegetables. The Dietary Guidelines recommend 1.25 cups of total vegetables and 0.50 cups of dark green, red, and orange vegetables per 1,000 calories for a 2,000-calorie diet. This may come as no surprise to you, but how are we going to fix this long-lasting shortfall within our country? 

Well here are a few tips to increase your dark green, red and orange vegetables in your daily diet:
·         Add veggies you almost like to dishes you already love.
-Layer zucchini slices, chopped spinach, or cooked carrots into lasagna, stir broccoli florets into macaroni and cheese, toss whatever veggies you like into an omelet or quesadilla.
·         Try them in soup.
-Embellish your favorite soups with added veggies. Most canned and commercial choices can stand to have their veggie quota bumped up. Just add the raw or frozen vegetables while you are cooking or heating the soup.
·         Take raw vegetables skinny dipping.
-Have you tried using plain Greek yogurt with a Ranch or Onion seasoning mix to make a light vegetable dip? You will be getting live active cultures, protein and all of the benefits of the vegetables, talk about double dipping!
·         It's all about the cheese.
-When all else fails, you can always sprinkle a little grated, reduced-fat cheese over the top. Drizzle it over vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower and suddenly, it's a whole different ball game.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture-Economic Research Service

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Smart Spices to Add to Your Meal

It can be easy to pick up the salt shaker, especially if the prepared food is flavorless. How can you fix this at home? Add some spices! This will reduce the need to add salt, and may even health benefits!

Here are some to try:
-Oregano has antibacterial properties which can help prevent an upset stomach. Try seasoning brown rice, vegetables or a lean protein.

-Cinnamon has been shown in research to improve blood sugar levels, which can be especially helpful in diabetics. Other studies have shown that it is beneficial in reducing inflammation in the body. Try adding it to sweet potatoes or a bowl of oatmeal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hospital System Sets High Standards

While the main focus of all hospitals is to get patients better, many still serve fried foods such as chicken fingers and French fries which do not promote long term health. Henry Ford Health System has set out to try and change some of these unhealthful practices.

It is no secret that Henry Ford himself was ahead of his time. Henry Ford Hospital was built by Henry Ford and opened its doors in 1915. Ford chose not to hire smokers, and if he found an employee smoking on company grounds, they were fired. Ford also worked with local food companies to encourage healthful eating. Henry Ford Health System has stuck with Ford’s beliefs and values and has continued to encourage health and wellness.

Consistency and acceptability were two issues the hospital system faced when making the decision to change the food options they offered. To make all the hospitals in the Henry Ford Health System consistent the organization chose to improve the food programs by becoming a self-run operation. All of the food systems are Henry Ford Health System employees. Henry Ford Health System has also eliminated trans fats from their menus and has removed all deep fryers from hospital campuses. 
Henry Ford West Bloomfield has even added a greenhouse at their location. This allows the chef to call the greenhouse and find out what is in season. The food is harvested and goes on the plate in less than 24 hours. While initially there was some concern about how people would receive these changes, but overall people are enjoying the food. Some popular items are stuffed cabbage rolls made with ground turkey, and veggie stir fry. Patients have commented that they didn’t realize eating well could taste so good. While Henry Ford Health Systems is ahead of its time, other hospitals are sure to follow their example.

Article summarized was from Today’s Dietitian magazine. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Complementary Medicine: Cayenne

Today, many health care institutions are beginning to integrate a new approach using natural therapies and conventional medicine. Complementary and alternative medicine is defined as unconventional treatments used in addition to treatment by your doctor. This blending of treatments is an attempt to treat the whole person- mind, spirit, and body.

Cayenne, or often referred to as red pepper or chili pepper, is a hot, fiery pepper originating in the Americas. It is used medicinally for pain relief which is due to the ingredient capsaicin. Capsaicin has been shown to deplete nerve cells of the chemical that helps transmit pain messages.
It can be used topically for joint and muscle pain from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even nerve damage resulting from diabetes. Studies support the use of this practice on joint areas close to the skin, such as fingers, knees and elbows. 
Directions to make a cayenne cream can be found here:

It is important to remember these are to be blended with conventional practices and results may vary from one individual to the next.

Source: Mayo Clinic, Book of Alternative Medicine

Monday, November 3, 2014

Carbs Aren't Bad!

Often times it is common to hear that it is important to keep carbs low, or making sure that one is not eating too many carbs. There is some truth to this, because just like in many other cases, too much of a good thing can become bad. The reality though, is that carbs are more than just breads and cookies and crackers. Carbs include beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables. When your body digests a carb, it turns into glucose in your body, which is utilized for energy. The point at which carbs are in excess is when your body turns that glucose into adipocytes, which are fat cells. This is the fear that is common, and why many stay away from carbs. Dietitian and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) spokesperson Marisa Moore says, "Skipping carbs can sometimes leave you feeling fatigued, irritable, and just overall tired.  And you might find it hard to concentrate because carbs are important to help keep your brain going”.  Since there are “good carbs” though, it is important to recognize what those are and incorporate those into your diet. What is it that makes a “good carb”, good? The difference is in regard to the fiber content and amount of added sugar. Look for natural fiber content and low or no, added sugar.  Being aware of the difference in carb choices can make a change in energy levels and impact in the overall function of your body.