We have the dairy queens and the dairy haters! But one thing is for sure, both need calcium and vitamin D for strong bones. Add in some milk or yogurt to your morning meal.
If you are lactose intolerant or a dairy hater, stick with coconut milk or almond milk. I don’t always feel great after drinking milk so currently have both. I sometimes enjoy the taste of milk and am not a dairy hater so will purchase Mootopia from Central Market (it’s a lactose-free milk, much like Lactaid, and tastes soooooo good).
Yogurt is another good option. It has calcium, but also serves as a probiotic. Probiotics help your good bacteria flourish! I particularly like Greek yogurt since it is high in protein and can be much more filling than other varieties. If Greek is not your thing, stick with regular yogurt but find a variety without much added sugar. The flavored varieties are the worst offenders. Try buying plain and creating your own topping or stick with a flavored variety that uses the whole fruit and doesn’t have many other ingredients.
I leave you with two words that will remind you of every commercial and print ad you witnessed in elementary school growing up…. Got milk?
Try something purple today. Why not? The color is beautiful (well, to me anyway, since it is my favorite), there are many tasty options, AND the blue/purple fruits and veggies offer some unique benefits.
The dark blue and purple fruits and veggies contain phenolics and resveratrol. You may have heard about resveratrol before with all of the positive press around red wine the past 5-10 years. The dark grapes can be thanked in part for that! Phenolics and resveratrol help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. They can also help improve your memory.
See if you have one of the following in your fridge today or pick one to try this week:
- Black Olives
- Black Currants
- Dried Plums
- Purple Asparagus
- Purple Cabbage
- Purple Carrots
- Purple Figs
- Purple Grapes
I always have raisins on hand. They are easy to throw in morning oatmeal, toss in a salad, or sprinkle on top of peanut butter toast. In order to try something new this week that I have not had in awhile, I will give eggplant a whirl. Central Market (and HEB for the Texans that have it) has sliced eggplant in the freezer section that is really easy to heat up over the stove or in the oven. I like a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top and it’s done.
What purple fruit or vegetable will you try today or sometime this week?
Since it IS St. Paddy’s day weekend and all, let’s celebrate by eating a GREEN fruit or vegetable.
What is so good about the green fruits and veggies? Almost all of the green fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber. They can help you lose weight and feel satisfied. Unlike Adam Sandler said, Chlorophyll is NOT “borophyll” and actually helps your body restore its pH balance. Most of us eat too many processed foods, which can throw off our pH balance, so including greens can help you there.
Green fruits and vegetables also help detoxify toxins that can cause cancer and help fight off infections. Chlorophyll is easy to absorb, making your digestive tract happy.
I have recently had to increase my iron intake. It’s a problem many women have, since we have the tendency to lose iron each month when pesky Aunt Flow is in town, but mine was much lower than it has been. So, with that, I have been increasing my greens (in addition to red meat). Little tip if you are also trying to increase your absorption of iron: have your iron-rich food with citrus (or any other food high in vitamin C). Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. And calcium does the opposite so you always want to keep iron and calcium separate from each other if you can by at least 2 hours.
My favorite green of the moment is spinach. It is SO easy to put into a smoothie and I love the health benefits I get from it. There are PLENTY of other greens to choose from though. Challenge yourself by trying something new or a green fruit/veggie you have not had in awhile.
And on that note, Happy St. Paddy’s Day weekend!
Time for 5 on Friday link up! I had so much fun with pictures last Sunday so am going to do more pictures with the link ups. Here are my 5 random delights this Friday…
1. As a dietitian/nutritionist, I hear a lot about emotional eating. Heck, I even do it too at times (against my better judgment). However, I think it is important to soothe emotions without food so I totally dig this handout from Dr. Susan Albers.
2. International Sleep Day. I just heard that today is International Sleep Day. Heck yes, I think will celebrate with a nap. Like this dude…
My dad- the ultimate napper!
3. Pinkberry. We went to Pinkberry after sushi last night for my friend’s birthday. Happy Birthday Heather! More than the food and frozen yogurt, I LOVE time with friends. I CHERISH time with friends. I think spending time with people and enjoying each moment is the secret to life. I really do. So, with that.. “Love the ones you’re with!”
4. Learning to be vulnerable and let go of fear. I turn 30 in 3 short months and have really been opening my eyes to my true self and living authentically. That’s so important. Let’s embrace imperfections!
5. RDN Day on Wednesday! I changed my career after two years of working in the oil industry. I became a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. It was a long journey, but I have no regrets. I love the field that I am in. So on Wednesday, I celebrated RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) Day by giving a shout out to other dietitians in the field. I have so many mentors and role models!
What was your FAVORITE thing this week?
If you are following the 31 Day Nutrition Challenge, today’s challenge is to drink at least 64 ounces of water. But, I replaced this wording in the visual to drink MORE water. I did this for a good reason, I promise. Everyone has a starting point. And everyone’s starting point is so different. So build on YOUR starting point and challenge yourself to drink one extra glass today. Listen to your body and if you felt so good by drinking that extra glass, keep up that healthy habit for the rest of the week (and month.. and year.. and so on).
Our bodies NEED and CRAVE hydration. Did you know that your body is made up of 50-75% water? Yep, you got it. So drink up! Water is essential for all of our bodily functions, including metabolism. Metabolism is like the buzz word that whenever health nuts see it, their eyes spiral round and round with interest. Must be why you see this word in EVERY magazine and news article about health. But, observation aside… it’s true. Water does help with metabolism too.
I know water is not the most exciting drink in the world. However, there are so many ways to make it taste better if plain is not your thing.
Here are several tips to try:
- Add lemon or lime to your glass. Make sure you squeeze the wedge to get all the yummy juice out!
- Put water in a jug or larger container and slice up cucumbers to put inside. It’s Spa Water!
- Try a flavored sparkling water like La Croix. My favorites are the grapefruit flavor and orange flavor.
- Soak your favorite berries into your water. Think blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.
I love plain water, but also like to mix it up with some of the above. A simple tip for me to get more water each day is bottled water. I am more likely to grab a bottle since it is so convenient. However, many dear friends and family members also swear by using the trendy reusable cups with the straws. Forgetting the official name of them, but you get the point.
Now, how will you drink MORE water today?
How many of you already do this?
If you do, give yourself a pat on the back. If you don’t, scold yourself. Kidding, kidding.. geez! No scolding necessary, but try bringing your lunch this week. Seriously… you SAVE money, tend to eat less, and choose healthier, more wholesome foods when you bring your lunch to work. It’s a win- win-win!
Leftovers are easy to re-pack for lunch the next day. If you don’t have leftovers, plan what you will bring over the weekend before you run to the grocery store. Planning helps!
If you don’t have a fridge to store your lunch in, think outside the box. Purchase an insulated lunch bag that serves as a cooler. Or pack a picnic-style lunch with wholesome foods that do not require refrigeration (like nuts, carrots, whole fruit, etc.).
I have a fridge and a microwave at my office so I like to pack items that are really easy to heat up in the microwave. I find brands that I trust with wholesome ingredients, because not all frozen foods are created equal! I am a big fan of eggs so will often pack a Good Food Made Simple breakfast burrito for my lunch with a handful of carrots. I also bring snacks and prefer to have a mid-morning snack of a piece of fruit or Greek yogurt. My afternoon snack is a Larabar or something similar. I vary things up quite a bit, but this just gives you an example.
Whatever you do, include a veggie or two. You knew I was going to say that, right? We always need more veggies in our diet!
What will your lunch look like this week?
Spice up your life! Or at least your food…
Food can taste blah. We often need spice to kick it up a notch. And let me tell you, there are SO many to choose from! Have you tried any new spices or seasonings lately?
Hang out in the spice section of your grocery store for 5 minutes this week and try one or two new spices or seasonings. Not sure where to start? Consider one of the following (or make a game out of it and randomly choose a spice at the grocery store):
- Ground Ginger: Add to your favorite juice recipe or mix it into your chicken dish.
- Garlic Powder: Add to any entree or side dish (I LOVE it on edamame with sea salt).
- Nutmeg: Add to soups, stews, or oatmeal.
- Turmeric: Add to soups, rice dishes, or chicken/vegetable dishes.
- Ground Cumin: Add to chili, beef dishes, or any other entree.
The above are just samples of ways to use the above spices or seasonings, but really the sky is the limit. Try a new spice or seasoning in ANY dish and see it change. Don’t be shy either… once I started adding in more spices and seasonings, my meal creations became ten times better!
If you are sensitive to salt or sugar, look at the ingredients label of some of your favorite mixes. Many have salt and/or sugar added. We have a Fiery pepper mix that I noticed has salt and sugar added in (tiny amounts, but it’s still in the mix). Knowledge is power!
What is your favorite spice or seasoning?
I love it when I stumble upon a good brand. Recently, I have been all about the Good Food Made Simple brand of steel cut oats.
When you make steel cut oats at home over the stove, it can take more than 30 minutes. Not complaining, but oftentimes I do not have that much time to make breakfast. And I don’t always have the foresight to make overnight oats.
So what is a girl to do? Find a really tasty microwaveable brand that does not have a ton of sugar or other ingredients inside.
You can see the ingredients list of the Vermont Maple Syrup flavored steel cut oats above. Filtered water is the first ingredient and then 100% whole grain steel cut oats. BAM! Just the way I like it. Of course, if you buy the flavored variety like I did, it will have some sweetness to it as well. In this case, brown sugar and Vermont maple syrup are added. If you are tidying up your sugar intake, you can also find the original unsweetened variety (only 3 ingredients) with absolutely no sugar.
I bought this brand at Target. It’s where I do most of my shopping these days. Two servings come in a package, which you can find in the freezer section. Only $2.50 per package, which means one meal is $1.25. Not bad says the frugal dad!
I love raisins in my oatmeal so I do add raisins to mine, as well as cinnamon, and sometimes walnuts. Lately I have been turning to Good Food Made Simple for my on-the-go mornings. I heat up the steel cut oats in a to-go container, toss in my raisins and walnuts, and then hit the road Jack. It makes me want to come back.. for more and more and more and more..
Okay, done singing. And done posting. What is your favorite to-go breakfast?
I am late posting today, but I know you have accomplished this goal. Am I right? I worked in the office today and when I work in the office I tend to eat less vegetables. So, to refrain from doing that again, I made me a green smoothie and brought carrots. What vegetables did you eat today?
I don’t need to explain why eating vegetables is so great, because I know you have heard a thousand reasons. But, seriously, they have so many nutritional benefits so eat up… DAILY!
Keep 3 in the back of your mind and try to reach that every day. If you get more, fabulous! But at the very least, try to get your 3! Now go get ’em tiger…
Today’s challenge is to replace one of your snacks with a handful of almonds. Almonds are a GREAT snack choice because they have a little protein and healthy fat. This helps reduce hunger and cravings for the unhealthy stuff.
Almonds are easy to keep in your car too for when you have unplanned traffic and start to get hungry. 23 almonds is a typical serving so have a handful or even a full serving when hunger strikes you today.
If almonds are not your cup of tea, no problem. Try a different nut like walnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc. The list goes on and on. There is a nut for every nut out there!
What’s your favorite nut?