5 Reason to Forego Fad Diets

18 Nov

5 Reason to Forego Fad Diets

 

People start getting crazy about food this time of year. The holidays can be stressful and lead to unwanted weight gain. If you’re going to battle the bulge – fad diets are NOT the way to go.

Here’s a ¬†quick rundown of 5 Reasons to Forego Fad Diets that I put together for TOPS: Taking Pounds Off Sensibly:

  • Water Weight is Not Fat Loss – most fad diets promote water weight that is easily gained back
  • Carbs are Still King – the majority of your calories should come from carbohydrate, but the good kind of carbs
  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race – a weight loss rate of 1-2 pounds per week is ideal
  • Your Diet Shouldn’t Deprive You – a sustainable meal plan is one that leaves you feeling satiated
  • The Scale Isn’t All That Matters – other metrics like waist circumference and your mood make sense to calculate too!

To download the full pdf, click here.

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TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the short name for TOPS Club, Inc., the original nonprofit, noncommercial network of weight-loss support groups and wellness education organization. TOPS offers tools and programs for healthy living and weight management, with exceptional group fellowship and recognition.¬†Established in 1948 to champion weight-loss support and success, we’ve helped millions of people live healthier lives. To learn more visit tops.org.

Disclosure: I am a paid nutrition consultant for TOPS Club, Inc. I was paid to create the content in this blog post, although I was not paid for this particular blog post.

Easy Weeknight Dinners with O Organics

25 Oct

Easy Weeknight Dinners with O Organics

Fall has befallen us! As the cooler weather sets in, our minds start migrating to warm, comforting foods that taste best when cooked at home.

Last week I had the chance to partner with O Organics on Palm Springs’ Desert Living show to bring you some super easy ways to make weeknight dinners in a snap.

 

 

Did you know that 60 years ago the typical American family dinnertime lasted 90 minutes. Fast forward to today where families spend 12 minutes eating their evening meal together!

Even though we have less time, we don’t have to compromise on taste, quality or health – and O Organics makes it incredibly easy to add organic items into everyday meals without a lot of time, money or effort.

In the Southern California area, O Organics is available at Albertsons and Vons. They feature more than 300 items for every occasion throughout the grocery store: from fresh fruits and vegetables, to wholesome dairy and meats, cereals, snacks and more.

Below are just a few of my favorite O Organics recipes. I love their ideas for making main courses in muffin tins. They’re perfect for portioning and you can batch cook ahead of time and freeze for fast weeknight meals.

And while you’re dabbling in dinner prep, it never hurts to sneak in a dessert and even throw together something for tomorrow’s breakfast. These German Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls are no-bake and a huge hit in my house. And O Organics PB&J Overnight Oats are so easy and delicious, I’m tempted to eat them before morning comes!

 

Muffin Tin Meatloaves by O Organics

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Ingredients

  • 1 O Organics egg
  • 1/2 cup O Organics salsa, plus more
  • 1 pound O Organics lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 9 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, add egg, salsa, chili powder and salt; whisking with a fork to combine. Stir in oats. Fold in ground beef gently until all ingredients are evenly incorporated into the beef.
  • Coat a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Divide ground beef mixture among 9 of the muffin tins, pressing the beef down slightly in the center.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and add a teaspoon of salsa to the center of each meatloaf, and top each with a tablespoon of cheddar cheese. Put meatloaves back into the oven for another 5 minutes, or until fully cooked.
  • Remove from oven and let cool 2-3 minutes, then remove mini meatloaves from muffin tin and serve!

 

3 Cheese Muffin Tin Pasta by O Organics

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked O Organics penne pasta
  • 3 O Organics eggs
  • 2 cups half-moon slices of zuchini
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk eggs for 1 minute. Stir in Colby Jack cheese and garlic powder. Add pasta and veggies, and stir to coat noodles in mixture. Add Parmesan, and stir again to coat fully.
  • In a 12-cound muffin tin sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, divide mixture equally among each muffin tin. Sprinkle the top of each with a teaspoon of crumbled feta.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees F, until fully cooked through but not overdone. Remove and let cool 5 minutes. Remove pasta from muffin tins (if needed, take a butter knife along the edges to loosen the pasta – it should remove easily), and serve.

 

German Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup O Organics creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup pecan chips, toasted
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeed

Directions

  • In a bowl, stir together peanut butter, oats, coconut, pecan chips, honey, cocoa powder and flaxseed. If mixture is too sticky, add another teaspoon or so of ground flaxseed until it reaches a good consistency.
  • Roll into balls about 2 tablespoons each. Top with extra coconut flakes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

PB&J Overnight Oats

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon O Organics strawberry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons O Organics creamy or crunchy peanut butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Directions

  • In a small clear jar, spread strawberry preserves and 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter on the sides of the jar. In another cup, mix together oats, cinnamon, chia seeds, and almond milk. Pour oat mixture into clear jar. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  • In the morning, top oats with chopped apple. Slightly warm maple syrup with 1 tablespoon peanut butter. Drizzle on top of apple and enjoy!

For the full Desert Living Easy Weeknight Dinners segment with O Organics, please click here.

Disclosure: I have a financial relationship with the products mentioned in this post; I was not paid to write this post but I was paid for the product mentions in the TV segment appearing in the post.

Smart Summer Snacking

5 Jul

Smart Summer Snacking

Summer is in full swing and backyard BBQ parties are about to hit hard!

For summer snacking party prep, I spent some time in Sacramento (110 degrees F – ouch!) last week sharing some of my favorite smarter snacking tips on the Sac & Co show (full segment here).

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Now you know snacking is on the upswing – but apparently people want healthier choices. One recent survey found that 33% of respondents said they are looking for healthier snacking options.

So as you shift your summer into high gear, check out a few of my favorite summer snacks:

 

California Avocados

California Avocados Logo

We are in peak California Avocado season (June is actually California avocado month). There’s no better way to sass up your snacks than by including this nutrient dense superfruit. Avocados are nutrient dense because they contain substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for relatively few calories.

My favorite avocado snack are these super easy California Avocado Cucumber Cups that I created for the California Avocado Commission.

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You slice cucumbers, hollow them out with a melon baller, mix up some avocado and use a zip top bag snipped at the corner to pipe the mixture into your cucumber cups. They’re easy, delicious and 6 cucumber cups has just 100 calories.

You can get this and other great recipes using California avocados at californiaavocado.com.

 

Tessemae’s Salad Dressing

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Snacks don’t have to be super hard. I like it to keep it simple for summer and make smaller versions of my favorite meals into mini meal snacks. And there’s no meal I love more than a big old salad; but a salad is only as good as the dressing you put on it!

That’s why I love Tessemae’s – a line of 25 organic salad dressings, marinades and condiments. They contain no added sugar, fillers or additives like you sometimes find in other commercial dressings.

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All of the Tesseemae’s products are USDA certified organic and made with real, whole food sourced ingredients. They go great on your salad, to marinade meats or veggies for grilling out, or just to dip your favorite veggie stick in for a smart snack on the go.

 

BODYARMOR

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Hydration is essential to beat the summer heat. But as an active person on the go, you don’t need the sodium and artificial ingredients you sometimes find in other sports drinks.

That’s why I love Bodyarmor – a premium sports drink with natural flavors and sweeteners. Bodyarmor also has potassium-packed electrolytes, coconut water and vitamins. It comes in 8 great tasting flavors, so there’s something for every flavor profile!

 

Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties

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Overly restrictive diets are not conducive to my summer lifestyle! I challenge you to stop taking all of the fun out of food, and instead indulge your sweet tooth a bit. My secret weapon for my sweet tooth this summer is a steady stash of Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties.

These decadent bite-size treats have a dark chocolate shell made with 100% cocoa; inside they’re filled with 100% organic raw white honey blended with other natural flavors like peanut, pomegranate and mint.

All of the Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties are made with 4 ingredients or less and they contain less than 60 calories per patty. To top it off, all of their flavors are Non-GMO project verified, plus they’re gluten, dairy and soy free so they work with all sorts of dietary patterns.

For more about my favorite summer snacking tips, check out my segment on Sac & Co.

Disclosure: I have a financial relationship with the products mentioned in this post; I was not paid to write this post but I was paid for the product mentions in the TV segment appearing in the post.

California Avocados: All Day for 7 Days

10 Jun

California Avocados: All Day for 7 Days

June is California Avocado Month!

As a nutrition spokesperson for California Avocado Commission for the past 5 years, it’s safe to say I am a pretty big avocado fan.

This is the best time of year for California Avocados, which are in season from spring through fall. California grows about 90% of the nation’s avocado crop and they do it with the help of approximately 5,000 small family farms located throughout the state.

Our avocados are top notch because the growers put so much care into how the trees are nurtured, planted and harvested. California avocados are picked at the peak of freshness, so you know you’re getting quality fruit when you see that California label!

When it comes to nutrition, avocados are one of the few things I feel comfortable labeling a superfood…because:

  • California avocados are a nutrient-dense: one-fifth of a medium avocado (1 oz) has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds
  • California avocados contribute good fats to your diet – this is key since the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 focus on fats is now about what types and not how much you get

This season I created a 7-day meal plan using some of the amazing recipes from the California Avocado Commission. If you think avocados are just for guacamole, you have to check out some of these innovative meal and snack ideas.

It’s pretty safe to say you probably need more avocado in your life – and this 7 day meal plan has it all…if I do say so myself!

For more information about avocados, nutrition and the Dietary Guidelines, check out The Scoop blog post by friend and fellow dietitian Andrea available here.

To see my 7-day plant based meal plan featuring LOADS of California Avocados, see below or click here.

CAC 7 Day Meal Plan FINAL APPROVED 5-12-16

Disclaimer: I am a paid nutrition spokesperson for the California Avocado Commission; however, the views and opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

How Fiber Fared in the New Food Label

24 May

After 9 arduous years of deliberations, the FDA finally rolled out the final rule on the new food label last week.

In a nutshell, the biggest changes you will notice by 2018 are outlined in the FDA’s infographic:

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Much of the food label media attention has centered on 3 of the most obvious changes:

  1. More realistic serving sizes (so long 1/2 cup of ice cream serving…)
  2. Addition of the added sugars line (bad news for the entire “fruited yogurt” industry…), and
  3. Changes in nutrients required (adding vitamin D and potassium and deleting vitamins A and C).

Most nutrition advocates are generally pleased with the direction of the food label change. First Lady Michelle Obama summarized the changes by saying, “Very soon you will no longer need a microscope, a calculator or a degree in nutrition to figure out whether the food that you’re buying is actually good for your kids, so that’s a phenomenal achievement.”

But how did fiber fare with this food label overhaul?

There are 2 changes with regards to fiber on the new food label:

  1. The FDA defined dietary fiber for the first time saying fiber, “includes naturally occurring fibers and only fibers added to foods that show a physiological health benefit”
  2. The Daily Value (DV) for fiber will be changing from 25 grams to 28 grams per day

With regards to the definition of fiber, the FDA determined that there is adequate scientific evidence to support the notion that the following added fibers may have beneficial health effects for humans:

  • Cellulose (improves bowel function)
  • Guar gum, pectin, locust bean gum and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (lower blood total and/or LDL cholesterol values)
  • Psyllium husk (aka inulin and was added to the definition of fiber because of its role in bowel health)

This refined definition also means that all of the other functional (added or “fake”) fibers you find added to processed foods will not be able to count as dietary fiber since there is no evidence supporting their beneficial effect on health.

And what about the change in daily value from 25 to 28 grams? Well, let’s keep this in perspective: most Americans eat only 12-15 grams per day, so most of us would still benefit from eating more fiber. Whether that’s 25 or 28 grams probably doesn’t matter: we need to eat more plants and less processed foods with food labels on them.

Manufacturers will have to roll out the new food label by July 26, 2018. For companies with less than $10 million in annual food sales will be given an additional year to comply.

As renowned nutrition expert Marion Nestle so eloquently put it in her Scientific American blog post today, “But let’s keep this in perspective. Healthful diets are based on foods, not food products. We would all be healthier eating foods that do not come with Nutrition Facts panels, and saving most of those that do for once-in-a-while occasions.”