Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

Game Plan: Super Bowl on the DASH Diet

January 31, 2018

It’s no surprise that so many people get off track with snacking during football season, and Super Bowl parties can be the worst. Fewer hours of sunlight, colder weather, and so many high calorie, junk food options can lead to lots of over consumption, just for the fun of it.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what you can eat, five minutes after the last snack?

OK. Let’s fix that! Here are 5 simple tips for the right foods to make your Super Bowl party help you stay super healthy. If you aren’t throwing the party, bring one or two of these easy choices. The hidden trick in these foods are that they are satisfying, quench your hunger, and just happen to be nutritious.

Your Game plan

For a great party, you will want to include:
Raw Veggies

  • Cut up raw veggies: bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, raw green beans, celery, and more.
  • Fruits: Apples, pears, berries, sliced melons, and, especially at this time of year, tangerines
  • Nuts and nut butters: Cashews, almonds, peanuts (preferably in-the-shell), hazelnuts, etc.
  • Dips: Salsa, guacamole, hummus
  • Cheese (Preferably light): Swiss (very low in sodium), Colby-Jack, Cheddar, Brie, etc.
  • Protein-rich foods: Hard-boiled eggs, slicked turkey, chicken, or beef, chickpeas, etc.
  • Chili with lots of veggies from The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution — Hearty Extra Veggie Chili.

Mix it up.

Serve foods that are bulky along with foods that are satisfying.

Hearty Veggie ChiliFor the Super Bowl main course, the chili scores on both counts! For snacking, pair up fruits or raw veggies with nuts, cheese, or the other protein-rich foods. Or top your raw veggies with one of the dips. The fruits and veggies are bulky and filling. The foods that have the protein and/or the heart healthy fats (nuts and guacamole) are going to quench your hunger, without putting you on a sugar roller coaster that can trigger cravings.

All of these foods are simple to keep on hand, ready-to-eat. If healthy, good snacks are easily available, you don’t have to have lots of discipline or willpower to stay on track. The new style of dieting doesn’t make you fight how your body works. What a concept! This actually is easy to do!

Football season is fraught with eating and drinking pitfalls. Make it easy on yourself by keeping great snack foods on hand.

Learn more easy-to-follow diet moves in The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution.


Eating Clean

June 28, 2016

What does that mean to you? To me it means eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies along with lean protein-rich foods, mostly whole grains, nuts and other foods rich in heart healthy fats. That makes me feel like I am eating lighter and healthier. And I am.

But I didn’t know much about how updated farming methods play into the “clean” equation.


Newborn piggie! And me in our “clean” garb.

I was recently privileged to take a tour of an Iowa pig farm with several other dietitians. It was a revelation in terms of the precautions that farmers (and their resident veternarians) take to keep their animals safe and clean. Prior to our trip, we were informed that we would need to “shower in and shower out” before being allowed into the main barn, where the pigs were raised. After the “shower in” they gave us clean jump suits, new undergarments, and new boots to wear. The farmers did not want any potentially harmful bacteria or viruses being brought into the farm, or if some infection should occur, it would be prevented from spreading from one barn to another. After our tour we showered again before changing into our own clothes and leaving the barn. HEPA filters for the incoming air were another important step taken to prevent bacteria or viruses from entering the barns. This is a stricter anti-contamination program than hospitals use for patients with antibiotic-resistant infections!

The pigs on this farm were kept inside from birth. Why? It is cleaner. Beyond significantly reducing the risk for any kind of infection, it also reduced the risk of the animals getting environmental parasites. Virtually all pigs that are raised (even partially) outside will get worms, mange, and lice. Indoor life for these pigs was another advantage for cleanliness.

The farm used additional means to reduce the chance for illness, by using an “all in/all out” approach to moving the pigs from area to area. For example, all the piglets were moved from the birthing room to their weaning room at the same time; their mothers were also moved out together. This allowed for scrupulous cleaning of each room between groups of animals.


That gloved arm just “pulled” this pig.

My favorite part of the trip was the birthing room. The goal of the first day care for the babies (yes, just like a hospital nursery) was to clean and dry them immediately after birth, help them get a full belly, and keep them warm. We actually got to assist in some of the births! Yes, indeed! We “pulled” baby pigs by putting a gloved arm into the birth canal of the sow. If a mom has 20 – 30 babies, she gets tired and can use some help with the deliveries. We helped clean and dry the newborns and then put them next to their mom to latch on. Heat lamps helped keep them warm.

The food supply for the pigs was primarily corn (raised on the same farm) with other key nutrients such as vitamins and minerals added to optimize nutrition. The amount of feed they received was calculated to provide appropriate growth. Our group of dietitians noted that these pigs probably received better nutritional care than most people!


Another barn and a different “clean” suit.

We had some fun while learning how pigs are raised humanely, cleanly, and perhaps with better health care than we are. If you want to eat clean, pork can make a great addition to your diet.


*This farm tour was sponsored by the National Pork Board, to help educate dietitians about production methods of American farms. I received no other compensation for this trip. #NationalPorkBoard

Spinach Versus Kale! Which One Rules?

April 1, 2013

KaleKale salad is one of the vegetable trends that is so good for our health. Many vegans like it as a great source of calcium.

Since kale is relatively new in our repertoires, many of us don’t know why it is fast becoming so popular. Nutritionally speaking, kale is a powerhouse. One cup (about 2 1/4 ounces or 67 g) has 34 calories, and 300 mg potassium, with only 29 mg sodium, and is very rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C. It has 90 mg of calcium which is very highly absorbed, even much better than from dairy.

Spinach is also full of nutrients. Two-and-a-quarter cups (the same 2 1/4 ouncesThe Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook or 67 g) has 15 calories, 53 mg sodium, 377 mg potassium, but less beta-carotene and much less vitamin C. It has more iron and less calcium than kale. However, the iron and calcium is very poorly absorbed from spinach. Spinach is very high in oxalic acid which binds calcium and iron so tightly that very little is absorbed during digestion. Not only does it reduce the absorption of calcium from the spinach, but it will also bind calcium from other foods that are consumed at the same time.

Bottom line? Choose kale for salads, to add to lasagna or pizza, or to incorporate in omelets. That will give you the biggest payoff for vegetable sources of calcium. Recipes for the kale salad, shown right, and more delicious foods based on kale are in the soon-to-be-published book, The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook, by Marla Heller, MS, RD, with Rick Rodgers.

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