Forever-Young-banner2 (2)Aging is an inevitable part of life. I actually enjoy some of the perks of getting older—seeing my children grow and experience life, feeling more centered and getting more clarity about myself and life in general. But do we have to surrender to looking and feeling worse, physically and mentally, and having less energy, vim and vigor as the clock ticks? No we don’t!

To help you look and feel your very best, I’m thrilled to be one of more than 15 experts featured in the Forever Young Interview Series, hosted by wellness coach Karie Millspaugh. All the experts, including the fabulous Dr. Lori Shemek and fitness guru Joel Harper (who was recently featured in the Spring issue of my Stressipes® EZine) share years of research and experience to help you manage cravings, achieve and maintain a healthier body weight, fight disease, boost your sex appeal and more.

As a midlife woman, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Younger Next Week—a stress-management, vitality-promoting, anti-aging book—speaker and spokesperson, you know I devote my professional life to helping women (and even men) find ways to eat better, get and stay fit and fight stress in healthy and sustainable ways. And I’m honored to have shared some of my secrets in this summit to help you live your very best life.

Starting on Monday, April 21st, 2014, you’ll have full access to my interview—and those of several incredible experts—to help you get on the road to true vitality.

I truly hope you’ll participate in this FREE and fantastic event. To register and learn more, click here. And please share the link with others who you think will enjoy this fabulous series. Thanks for your support!

Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN is an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist. The author of four books, including Younger Next Week, Elisa motivates and inspires others to destress, eat better and #moveitorloseit with her Stressipes®, articles, blogs, quotes, videos, talks and other appearances. She is frequently quoted in newspapers and magazines and has provided nutrition and lifestyle tips on Good Morning America, Today Show, The Early Show and on other TV shows. She is an advisor for Parents Magazine and writes The Scoop on Food for Parents.com. She also blogs for Shape.com and USNews.com. To learn how to live a more vibrant life, visit Elisa’s website.

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Stress doesn’t just impact parents; kids feel it too! Here’s my new post for The Scoop on Food, Parents.com, to help you help kids stress less and take better care of themselves.

If you’ve ever allowed stress to make you reach for a cupcake, bowl of ice cream or jar of peanut butter—even when you weren’t hungry—you’re not alone. Several studies suggest that while not everyone eats in response to stress—in fact, some say they skip meals when stressed—it’s quite common to turn to food to cope. I know I have! Using food for comfort every once in a while certainly won’t derail an otherwise healthful diet. And sometimes, having that donut may just be what you need to settle down! But doing it often—especially if the foods we turn to are high in calories and easy to overdo—can set us up for unhealthy weight gain and its many consequences. And when our children see us use—or abuse—food to temper stress, it’s more likely they’ll model that behavior and suffer similar consequences….read more here.

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Hummus Grilled Chicken and Bell Pepper Kebabs

Makes four servings: 1 chicken and 1 vegetable skewer each

Preparation time: 15 minutes (+ marinating time)

Cook time: 12 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup hummus

Juice of 1/2 small lemon (1 tablespoon)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

2 large bell peppers, preferably 1 red and 1 green, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium red onion, quartered lengthwise, wedges separated

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

 

Directions:

1. Stir together the hummus, lemon juice, cumin, and 2 tablespoons cold water in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and stir to fully coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, prepare an outdoor or indoor grill. Arrange the bell peppers and onion onto 4 (8- to 10-inch) reusable or water-soaked bamboo skew­ers in alternating fashion and drizzle with the oil. Arrange the chicken onto 4 separate skewers. Discard any remaining hummus marinade.

3. Grill the chicken and vegetable kebabs over direct medium-high heat until fully cooked, about 12 minutes total, rotating only as needed.

4. Season with the salt, and serve.

 

Vital Stats (per serving): 240 calories, 9g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 65mg cholesterol, 460mg sodium, 12g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 4g sugars, 26g protein

Notes: For a full meal, serve the chicken and vegetables stuffed into 8 whole grain pita halves along with tzatziki sauce or plain Greek yogurt. Alternatively, serve on a bed of whole-wheat couscous with fresh mint and tzatziki sauce.

One Serving Counts As*: ½ Vegetable, 2-1/2 Protein, ½ Beans and Peas + 1-1/4 Healthy Fats

*These values can be used when using the Vital Foods List in Younger Next Week.

Source: This recipe was created as a bonus recipe for Younger Next Week by culinary dietitian Jackie Newgent.

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english muffin milk

Disclaimer: I’m a spokesperson on behalf of The National Milk Mustache “got milk?” Campaign for their #gotmilkgotprotein campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Read my disclosure statement here.

Over the last week, I’ve enjoyed working with the lovely Tina Seitzinger, the popular Life Without Pink blogger, to help her improve her eating habits and nutrient intake. You can read about our first conversation and tips I provided with her right here.

As an overextended wife and mother of two with a vibrant career, Tina—like many in a similar boat—was anxious to find ways to feel more energized throughout the day. She knew making some tweaks in what and when she ate would not only help her be more productive at work, but would help her keep up with her two young sons not to mention everything on her extensive to-do list. One of the dietary additions would be having nonfat milk as part of her morning meal. Milk is a great source of filling, satiating, high-quality protein not to mention 8 other essential nutrients including calcium and vitamin D to strengthen bones and B vitamins for energy.

When I first spoke with Tina, she described her typical eating routine; breakfast was seldom part of it. Of course Tina always makes sure her sons start their day off with a morning meal, but up until now failed to put herself—and her nutrient needs—in the equation. But that’s in the past. Tina is now having breakfast daily and really feels the difference. She says, “I feel so much better now that I’m making it a point to eat something first thing in the morning. I used to drag mid-morning and now I find I’m pumped up and energized, ready to take on the day.” On most weekdays, she eats breakfast with just her older son (her younger son usually sleeps later because his school starts an hour after his older brother). On weekends, she enjoys breakfast with all her boys, including her husband.

Some of Tina’s recent breakfast picks have included eggs once or twice a week, a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter or a smoothie. But no matter what she chooses, Tina makes sure to include some refreshing nonfat milk. When we spoke, Tina also told me she feels much less rushed in the morning, especially because she’s making an effort to implement some of the time saving strategies we discussed. These include packing her kids’ lunches the night before, planning meals ahead of time, pre-washing berries and stocking up on things like frozen unsweetened berries and nuts.

Tina knows that while it’s great she’s becoming a regular breakfast eater, she still struggles with eating enough throughout the day to keep her energy level in high gear. Not a big meal eater, she says she often grazes by day and makes dinner her biggest meal. Although Tina is at a healthy body weight, I explained to her that becoming more of a daytime eater and giving her body enough calories and nutrients when she’s most active and needs it most can really help her stay energized and alert. I encouraged her to cut her usual dinner portion by one third and to instead make sure to include those extra calories to have a bigger lunch or a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Having a smaller meal before bedtime can also help her sleep better, another goal she has.

As for exercise, Tina is doing 45 minutes to an hour on her treadmill 2 to 3 times a week, usually in the evening, and plans to increase this. Although it’s great she’s fitting in some exercise, I encouraged her to try to be active earlier in the day (since activity before bedtime can keep her body temperature elevated, and that may interfere with her sleep). I also recommended that Tina make sure to fit in a little bit of fitness throughout the day while she works at her desk by getting up frequently—even for 5 or 10 minutes each hour she sits—to climb stairs, dance, do jumping jacks or something else that’s active.

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I really enjoyed working with Tina on the #gotmilkgotprotein campaign and hope the simple breakfast tips and other dietary and lifestyle tweaks Tina has begun to implement will inspire you to make some yourself. As a special treat for you, Tina and I worked together to create the 7-Day Breakfast Menu below that she—and hopefully you—will pick and choose from to start each day. Each meal includes items from at least 3 food groups and provides at least 20 grams of filling, satisfying protein.

7-Day Breakfast Menu

  • One toasted whole-wheat English muffin with each half topped with 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1/2 sliced banana + 1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat milk
  • One third cup whole-grain, low-fat granola mixed with 1 ounce (24 whole or 4 tablespoons chopped) almonds and 1/2 cup strawberries and blueberries + 1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat milk
  • Half cup (uncooked) quick-cooking oats made with 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 ounce (14 halves or 7 whole or 4 tablespoons chopped) walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon plus + 1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat milk
  • A breakfast smoothie made with 1/2 cup (4 ounces) nonfat milk, 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 teaspoon honey and 5 ice cubes
  • One cup (up to 200 calories worth) whole-grain, high fiber cereal* topped with 1 ounce (24 whole or 4 tablespoons chopped) almonds and 1 banana, sliced plus 1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat milk
  • When you have more time option: One open-faced whole-wheat pita topped with 2 large eggs, scrambled in 1 teaspoon olive oil with ½ cup chopped red, orange and yellow peppers and mushrooms + 1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat milk
  • Grab and go option: One hard boiled egg, 1 ounce (28 whole or 3 tablespoons chopped) peanuts + 1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat milk

*Choose cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber and no more than double that amount of sugar per serving.

Here’s a recipe from my new book, Younger Next Week that Tina plans to try. Created by Robyn Webb, this Strawberry Walnut Cinnamon French toast is so delicious. It’s also even more protein-packed when you pair 2 slices with 1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat milk.

 

Strawberry Walnut Cinnamon French Toast

Makes 4 1-slice servings.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients: 

Butter-flavored cooking spray

1 large egg

1/4 cup nonfat milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 slices whole-grain bread

2 teaspoons non-hydrogenated spread

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup sliced strawberries

1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

 

Directions:

1. Coat a large skillet with butter-flavored spray and heat it over medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, beat together the egg, milk and vanilla. 

3. Dip a slice of the bread in the egg mixture and turn it to coat evenly. Place the bread slice in the skillet and cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Repeat this procedure for each slice of bread, cooking the French toast in 1 or 2 batches.

4. Mix together the buttery spread, honey and cinnamon in a 3-inch ramekin or a condiment bowl. Spread the honey-butter spread on each slice of French toast and garnish with strawberries and walnuts. Serve at once.

Vital Stats (per serving): 170 calories, 8.2 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 49 mg cholesterol, 174 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 7 g protein

One serving counts as: 1 STARCHY CARB, 1/4 FRUIT, 3/4 PROTEIN, 1/2 HEALTHY FAT

 

Disclaimer: I’m a spokesperson on behalf of The National Milk Mustache “got milk” Campaign for their #gotmilkgotprotein campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Read my disclosure statement here. http://elisazied.com/disclosure/

 

 

 

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Here’s a Better TV segment with tips from Younger Next Week.

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Disclaimer: I’m a spokesperson on behalf of The National Milk Mustache “got milk?” Campaign for their #gotmilkgotprotein campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Read my disclosure statement here.

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When I was asked to work one-on-one with a blogger to provide nutritional counseling on behalf of the #gotmilkgotprotein campaign in the New Year, I jumped at the opportunity. Since I’m an avid milk drinker (as is my husband and both of our sons), I’m always excited to share positive messages about what drinking milk can do for you. Little did I know I would get the chance to work with the lovely Tina Seitzinger, someone I could relate to on so many levels. Chatting with her was like taking a trip down memory lane with my own sons and career. I’m excited to help Tina during the month of January on her journey towards making small dietary and lifestyle changes to help her improve her nutrient intake, boost her energy and help her look and feel even greater than she already does!

Tina is a happily married mother of two sons, aged 7 and 5. I, too, am happily married and have two sons who are now 15 and 11 (though I remember those days when they were little like they were yesterday). Tina, also a writer, pens her popular Life Without Pink blog from the comfort of her couch. I, too, have worked from a home office for the last 7 years while raising my two sons.

Tina Seitzinger

Tina Seitzinger

When Tina and I began our conversation, I realized that besides us having a lot in common, Tina’s typical weekly schedule, best described as hectic, would be relatable to so many moms. Describing a routine that included waking, feeding and getting her sons off to school—and home after school—at different times each day, and having an active and busy work life that includes blogging, TV appearances and so much more, it made perfect sense why making time to eat a healthy breakfast was such a challenge for Tina. Of course each morning, the doting mom packs lunch for her boys and feeds them breakfast (which often includes a bowl of cereal with milk or waffles). But seldom does she make time for more than 2 cups of coffee (with a little bit of milk and a hint of sugar) to get her day going. In my mind, that’s not a recipe for a productive day!

Tine and her testosterone-filled family.

Tine and her testosterone-filled family.

While she’s never been a big breakfast eater, Tina noticed that since the school year began, she has seldom taken any time to eat anything in the morning. Also, she has admittedly slacked off on exercise, and seems to always put caring for her family and working before meeting her own dietary and lifestyle needs. Her failure to prioritize caring for herself has left her with headaches and feeling fatigued (especially by mid-afternoon). She has also noticed that she tends to pick from less-than-healthy foods just to get through the day; this has only made her feel worse and less energized. Fortunately, Tina knows she’s in a rut and wants to change her ways and nourish her body inside and out so she can feel—and look—her very best. The good news is that making a few minor tweaks in her intake starting with adding a cup of milk in the morning can be a great way to boost satiety and start her day off energized and focused.

When working with clients, I always make it a point to meet them where they are and to encourage simple, gradual and realistic tweaks in their current habits to help them get from point A to point B. But in working with Tina, I also realized that the two barriers to her starting her day with a healthy breakfast were not only a perceived lack of time, but also not thinking of her own nutrient/health needs as a priority.

To help Tina make time to sit down for a healthy breakfast with her sons on weekdays, I encouraged her to find time the night before—perhaps while preparing dinner for the family—to pack their lunches. She can even have her kids help out. Doing this the night before will save Tina anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes the next morning—more than enough time to make the most of her power hours and eat a nutritious and satisfying breakfast. She said she’s excited to give this a try, so let’s see how it goes.

I explained to Tina that starting the day with a nutrient-packed breakfast has endless benefits. Not only would it tell her body that it’s not starving (which will leave her grabbing for anything, even if it’s nutrient poor, later in the day when hunger is heightened), but it would give her energy, especially when she needs a lot of it during the mid- to late-morning, key work time. I also explained that incorporating protein into her breakfast can fill her up longer and make it more likely she’ll stick to the more healthful eating routine she hopes to create. And because she already likes milk (one cup provides 8 grams of protein—more than you’ll find in an egg), making sure to include it as part of her breakfast can help her fill up and stay satisfied. I also encouraged her to spread out protein intake across all meals and snacks throughout the day to staying full and energized.

Because I like to meet people where they are before I dole out nutrition information and advice, I asked Tina what she chooses when, on rare occasion, she has breakfast. Her response was simple. She likes either ready-to-eat cereal with low fat (1%) or reduced fat (2%) milk (and occasionally a banana); a small container of light flavored yogurt; a bagel with butter or cream cheese and jelly; or scrambled eggs with whole-wheat toast and butter.

To help Tina build her breakfast from the ground up, and based on the foods she already likes, I suggested the following three options (and provided tips) for her to try out during the first week following our conversation:

1. Ready-to-eat, whole grain cereal topped with low-fat or nonfat milk, nuts and fresh fruit

*Ready-to-eat whole grain cereal. Cereal is a convenient, delicious and nutritious breakfast addition. I urged Tina to look for ready-to-eat cereal that’s 100% whole grain. If she doesn’t see a 100% Whole Grain stamp on the package (that indicates that the product is all whole grain), she can read the ingredients list on the box and look for a whole grain (like whole-wheat or whole-oat) as the first ingredient. Also, I encouraged her to aim for cereals that have, per serving, at least 3 grams of dietary fiber (if not more) and no more than double the amount of fiber as sugar. (So, for a cereal with 3 grams per serving, that would be 6 grams of sugar.)

*Low-fat or nonfat milk. Although Tina currently has a little bit of milk in her morning coffee, I encouraged her to make sure to have an entire cup of delicious, refreshing milk as part of her breakfast. That can fill her up and keep her sated throughout the morning when she’s busy working and writing. One cup of milk packs in 8 grams of high quality protein that, among it’s many functions, helps build muscle. (Milk provides what’s considered ‘high quality’ protein–it’s ‘high quality’  because it contains all the essential amino acids, building blocks of protein that the body needs to obtain from the diet). Milk also boasts 9 essential nutrients including vitamin D to strengthen bones and B vitamins that provide energy. The fact that milk is so convenient and affordable makes drinking it that much more enticing!

*Nuts. These provide healthy fats, some additional protein and tons of nutrients (depending on the nut), so I recommended that Tina include about ½ ounce to top her cereal. She could include any type she likes—2 examples include almonds (12 whole or 2 tablespoons chopped) or walnuts (7 halves or 2 tablespoons chopped).

*Fruit. I encouraged Tina to include at least ½ cup of fresh fruit to provide some sweetness and a fiber boost to her breakfast. Fruit is also packed with water to hydrate and fill you up as well as vital nutrients and powerful plant chemicals.

Some other breakfast options I asked Tina to consider (and that she sounded excited for) included:

*Whole grain waffles topped with peanut butter and sliced banana + milk

*English muffin pizza made with shredded mozzarella cheese + milk + fruit

*Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and whole wheat toast + milk + fruit

Stay tuned for an update on Tina’s progress. I’ll also share with you a 7-day breakfast menu Tina and I will create together to help us all power up our Power Hours every day!

 

How do you power up in the morning?

Disclaimer: I’m a spokesperson on behalf of The National Milk Mustache “got milk” Campaign for their #gotmilkgotprotein campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Read my disclosure statement here. http://elisazied.com/disclosure/

 

 

 

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YNW Front cover

I’m very excited that my new book, Younger Next Week (Harlequin Nonfiction) is now available. This book was a true labor of love to write and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I wrote Younger Next Week to help women everywhere find ways to care for and nurture themselves no matter how busy or stressed they are. We all have a right to look and feel our best and stay healthy inside no matter how much we have going on at any given time. The book provides a Vital(ity) Signs Quiz to help women see where they are in terms of their food, fitness and lifestyle behaviors. It then discusses many of the  sabotaging ways women cope with stress (can you say cookies and ice cream, or a second…or third Cosmo). The book then goes on to explain how various foods and food groups, beverages, and dietary components enhance vitality and discusses the virtues of staying fit and getting enough sleep. Stressipes–remedies for how stress impacts food, fitness and lifestyle behaviors–and tons of practical tips for turning intentions into actions–are sprinkled throughout Younger Next Week. The book concludes with The 7-Day Vitality Plan that includes 2 weeks of menus, a Vital Foods List, 30 delicious recipes and a Vitality Blueprint that puts the entire plan together.

Check out my Stressipes newsletter from 1/13/14 to see some highlights from my Younger Next Week book launch.

To learn more about Younger Next Week, click here. To read an excerpt, click here.

If you’d like to interview me or work together, click here.

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With the holidays here and a new year on its way, many of us, at the very least, are thinking about how to get back – and stay – on track with a healthier diet and lifestyle. But with plenty of holiday get-togethers and celebrations still on the horizon, you may think it doesn’t make sense – or you just don’t have the time – to make any meaningful food or fitness changes before January hits. I beg to differ!

To help motivate you to make some changes, even small ones, in what (and how much) goes into your mouth and how you move your body, here’s a roundup of five of my favorite tools. I have no doubt that if you try them, you’ll not only get on a more healthful eating and lifestyle course, but you’ll be motivated to stay on it well beyond the start of the new year.

• “The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way to Thin (Price: $19.95)

Written by registered dietitian and fellow Eat + Run blogger Mitzi Dulan, a Pinterest superstar with more than 3.5 million followers, The Pinterest Diet provides an alternative to what Dulan calls the 3 D’s of diets – discipline, denial and deprivation.

The book teaches readers how to develop healthier and sustainable eating and fitness habits and shed unwanted pounds using Pinterest, a virtual pinboard that enables users to organize and share images and information found on the Web. Throughout the book, Dulan shows readers how in only 10 minutes a day, they can create their own motivating and empowering Pinterest boards tailored to their unique goals, preferences and passions.

Asked what it is about Pinterest that helps people lose weight or simply get healthier, Dulan replies in an e-mail that “Pinterest makes it fun. A big part of my book is integrating my nutritional and fitness philosophies that have worked for years with clients, and I have found Pinterest to be a perfect vehicle for doing just that.”

In The Pinterest Diet, readers can expect to find Dulan’s top food recommendations, which include “MSF (Most Satisfying Foods) Factor Foods” that contain protein, fiber and healthy fats along with more than 50 recipes and 30 days of workouts, each lasting anywhere from 4 to 30 minutes.

PortionMate (Price: $14.95)

This set of brightly colored cylinders is an easy-to-use meal and snack measuring tool and comes with a nutrition and meal-planning guide that follows American Diabetes Association and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommendations. Small enough to stash in a kitchen or desk drawer or to bring with you when you travel, it allows you to quickly and easily measure appropriate portions of carbohydrate- and protein-rich foods including fruits, vegetables, cereals and other grains, meats, cheese, nuts and seeds directly onto a plate or into a bowl.

Each cylinder has a color that corresponds to specific food groups. To use the tool, you simply choose the desired color cylinder, place it into your plate or bowl, fill it with food, lift and remove the cylinder and voila – you have perfect-sized portions for meals and snacks.

The tool is praised by many registered dietitians, among them Rebecca Bitzer of Maryland, who calls the measuring devices and accompanying nutrition guide “great tools to help people learn about the foods they’re eating and how much they’re eating.” She suggests people use the rings as “measuring cups or just as visuals for how much to put on their plate, in their bowls or in their mouths!”

(Full disclosure: I was sent a complimentary PortionMate several months ago but made no promise to mention or positively review it.)

Meal Makeovers app (Price: $1.99)

Available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, the Meal Makeovers recipe app was created by The Meal Makeover Moms – registered dietitians Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex of Massachussetts. This handy and useful app is designed to help families everywhere get healthier (but still delicious) versions of classic recipes on the table without sweat or tears.

Meal Makeovers features over 50 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Each “makeover” recipe describes the dish, makes suggestions for how to tweak it and provides simple, straightforward ingredient lists and step-by-step instructions. You can also find recipes that accommodate gluten-free, vegan and other types of diets or find those that work well for Christmas or other holidays.

[Read: How to Eat Intelligently (and Enjoyably) Over the Holidays.]

Jen Rehberger, executive producer and host of www.VickyandJen.com, a podcast and website with tips for families on simplifying life, is a longtime fan of The Meal Makeover Moms. “Since downloading the Meal Makeovers app on my phone, I have used it a lot! I have ‘favorited’ several snacks and meals for quick retrieval, since I usually have my phone on me,” she writes in an e-mail, noting that she accessed a recipe list on a recent trip to the grocery store. “The convenience of the app and the confidence I have in the recipes make it a winner.”

Fooducate website and app (Price: Free)

Hemi Weingarten, a father of three who was concerned about buying and preparing healthy food for his family, decided to take the task into his own hands in creating the Fooducate app. I think of the app as a grocery store appendage. It counts calories, grades your food, explains the ingredients you’ll find in various products and offers healthier alternatives.

With an impressive database of more than 200,000 unique products, the app won first prize in the U.S. Surgeon General Healthy App Challenge. A fan of the app, Jeff Berman writes on Facebook, “Since I started using Fooducate, I’m down 40 pounds and maintained that weight loss for eight and a half months so far. After years of dieting, I owe my new healthy lifestyle solely to Fooducate. I don’t look at it as a diet but rather a lifestyle change of making healthy choices via clean eating principles. My wife is also now on the Fooducate journey, and we are making and eating healthy food together daily as a family for the first time in four years.”

Geocaching app (Price: Free or $9.99, depending on the app)

Ever hear of Geocaching? This global treasure-hunting game, in which people search for geocaches – camouflaged containers, often with small trinkets for trade – is played by millions of people worldwide. According to its cofounder, Bryan Roth, “Most people in the U.S. live within just a few blocks from a geocache – or ‘hidden treasure’ as most geocachers call it – and might not even know it.”

As a game, sport, hobby – whatever you call it – geocaching delivers outdoor discovery, exploration and adventure for families, retirees or anyone who likes to play. There’s even some evidence it can improve health. Preliminary results from a 14-month Texas A & M study called Geocaching for Exercise and Activity Research (GEAR) were presented last month at the annual meeting of the American Pubic Health Association in Boston. In the study, participants were given devices to track their movements and a logbook to record their level of geocaching intensity. The first results suggested a link between geocaching and improved health.

According to one of the researchers, “GEAR participants who report geocaching once a week or more are more likely to meet national guidelines for physical activity and are more likely to report good or very good health status compared to those who geocache less frequently.” Geocachers also reported fewer days of poor physical and mental health compared to state level data. When asked about geocaching, devotee Neil Moore writes on Facebook, “I started geocaching two years ago. Within six months, I lost 25 pounds just from walking and biking on the trails. Plus my cardio has improved, and I generally feel better. I definitely sleep better.”

Which app, gadget or activity helps you eat better and move more?

This post originally appeared on December 10, 2013 on the U.S. News’ Eat + Run blog. You can view previous U.S. News articles I’ve written here

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hummus take 2

 

 

 

 

Have a hankering for hummus? Try this delicious home-style kind, courtesy of Sharon Palmer, RD, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.

Home-style hummus starring nutrient-rich chickpeas is a staple of the healthy, plant-based kitchen. Providing a rich, tasty source of plant protein, hummus offers unlimited versatility: use it as an appetizer dip with whole grain pita bread and vegetables, spread it on sandwiches, and dollop it over salads and grains.

Makes 2 cups (8 servings)

Ingredients:

One 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), no salt added, with liquid

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of paprika

Instructions: 

1. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid. Put the beans into a blender or food processor.

2. Add garlic, lemon juice, tahini, black pepper, and olive oil, as well as about half of the reserved bean liquid.

3. Puree the bean mixture, adding additional bean liquid as necessary to produce a smooth, very thick dip.

4. Pour the bean dip into a serving dish and garnish with paprika. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note: To serve hummus as an appetizer, place a small serving dish of garnished hummus in the center of a platter. Arrange triangles of whole wheat pita bread and pieces of fresh raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, and snow peas, on the platter.

Nutrition Information:

Per serving (1/4 cup):

Calories: 89

Carbohydrate: 13 g

Fiber: 3 g

Protein: 3 g

Total fat: 3 g

Saturated fat: 0 g

Sodium: 160 mg

Star nutrients: Folate (10% DV), manganese (21% DV)

 

Source: The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today, copyright © Sharon Palmer, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.

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With the holidays here, you’re likely going to be spending lots of time in your kitchen. To make entertaining more tasty and enjoyable without sabotaging your effort (or that of your guests) to eat nutritiously, here are two recipes featuring 3 superstar veggies–spinach, artichokes and butternut squash. Enjoy!

Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Yield/Servings: Makes about 10 ¼ cup servings

Ingredients:

2 (14-ounce) cans water-packed artichokes, well drained
4 ounces firm silken tofu
3 large cloves garlic
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup 0% plain Greek Yogurt
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2. In a high-speed blender puree the artichokes, tofu, and garlic.

3. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the Parmesan cheese, yogurt, spinach, and salt.

4. Combine the two mixtures; then pour into a medium-sized baking dish.

5. Sprinkle the top with more Parmesan.

6. Bake uncovered until heated through and the cheese on the top starts to brown, about 45 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis per serving:

Calories: 65

Fat: 1.9 g

Saturated Fat: 0.9 g

Cholesterol: 4 mg

Sodium: 282 mg

Carbohydrate: 5.2 g

Fiber: 1.4 g

Sugar: 1.7 g

Protein: 5.9 g

Calcium: 120 mg

Source: Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD

 

bn puree

 

 

 

 

 

 Roasted Butternut Squash

According to Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, “Some people avoid butternut squash because it seems daunting. That couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s one of the easiest veggies to prepare.” She considers roasted butternut squash to be a perfect Autumn side dish. “Nutritionally, it’s a nice trade up from mashed potatoes. We just had it with chicken breast and roasted broccoli the other night and it worked nicely,” says Harris. She also says it makes a great base for butternut squash soup.

Yield/Servings: 6 ½ cup servings

Ingredients:

1 whole butternut squash, 1.5-2 lbs

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

1. Put the squash on a lined sheet and puncture 5-6 times.

2. Roast at 400 until browning.

3. Flip it every 30 min. It takes 1.5-2 hours. It’s done when a fork easily puctures the squash.

4. Cut it open and scoop out the seeds.

5. Puree in a food processor with 2 Tablespoons maple syrup and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

6. Or, alternatively, use the roasted butternut squash in a soup.

Nutritional Analysis:

Calories: 58

Carbohydrates: 15g

Fat: 0g

Protein: 1g

Fiber: 0g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 5mg

Sugar: 5g

Source: Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, Gluten-Free Goodness

 

 

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