Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus

Nutrition Tip of the Week

Nutrition Tip of The Week 2013

Below are the nutrition tips from 2013.

December 2013

Week of December 23

Fitness through the Holidays!

Don't forget about your fitness this holiday season! Here are some ideas to help you fit more physical activity into your day. Even just 10 minutes of exercise can blast 100 calories!

  • Look for short periods of time (at least ten minutes) during the day in which you can do some physical activity.
  • Do a 10 minute interval workout.
    • Alternate the following exercises for the first 30 seconds of each minute followed by 30 seconds of rest.
      • Push ups
      • Sit ups
      • Planks
      • Burpees
      • Jumping Jacks
      • Stairs
      • Walk/Run in Place
      • Lunges
      • Squats
      • Tricep dips
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot when at the store, mall or work.
  • Be active during lunchtime! If you bring your lunch to work, you may have time to take a brisk walk.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Plan and prepare meals ahead of time, so you'll have time to exercise.
  • Get your family to exercise with you. It's a fun way to spend some quality time together.
  • Keep a daily log; this can help you see where you can fit in more physical activity.
  • Better yet, order a Fitbit Pedometer.

Join the Shannon Center's 8 week Weight Loss Program starting on January 28! Email Kristy Allen for more information at

Week of December 16

Healthy Snacking Around the Holidays

As you may know, this is the time of year when people tend to put on a few unwanted pounds. Why is this? Because of the high calorie foods and treats served at holiday parties? Maybe. But more often than not, it's likely due to the constant running around that you do at this time of year - shopping for presents, shopping for food to make for parties, skipping workouts, etc.

If you take one piece of advice from me this holiday season, remember this:

Pack some healthy snacks when you are on-the-go so you are not tempted by drive-thru's and mall food courts!

Snacks to bring with you or eat on-the-go:

  • 1/4 c unsalted nuts (or a small individual portion of nuts)
  • 1 light yogurt with 1/4 c low fat granola
  • 12 wheat thins with 1 oz low fat cheese (string cheese, laughing cow)
  • 1 protein bar
  • 1/2 c unsalted trail mix (mix Kashi cereal with unsalted nuts and raisins)
  • 6 wheat crackers and 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 hard boiled egg whites and 6 wheat crackers/1pc of fruit
  • 1/2 sandwich
  • 2 rice cakes with 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 serving pretzel thins and 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Greek yogurt
  • 3 celery stalks with 1 Laughing Cow wedge of cheese sprinkled with raisins
  • 3 cups low fat or air-popped popcorn with 1/8 cup Parmesan cheese (add some garlic or pepper too it for more flavor!)
  • Protein shake

Healthier fast food options:

  • Grilled chicken wraps, easy on cheese, no mayo
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Side salad with/without grilled chicken
  • Small cup of chili
  • Apple slices
  • Kids meals

Week of December 9

Fitness Resolutions

As we head into the holiday months, it is once again time to focus on our health and fitness goals for 2014. Most often when people make a New Year's Resolution, the goal tends to be too broad, such as losing weight or going to join a gym. This year, try to focus on smaller, more attainable goals that will improve your fitness. Increasing your activity level and adding more exercise to your routine will not only help you lose weight, but can help improve your energy levels, decrease fasting blood sugars, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol levels, decrease arthritis pain, increase your metabolism and so much more. Here are some fitness related resolutions you can make for 2014. Good luck!

  • Schedule your exercise for the week in your calendar every Sunday
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Exercise right after work
  • Park your car at the opposite end of the parking lot (when safe to do so)
  • Walk on a break at work daily>
  • Start an exercise/walking group with friends or colleagues
  • Train for a half or full marathon
  • Learn a new sport or join a league
  • Wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day>
  • Pack your gym bag each night
  • Add strength training to your routine twice a week for 20 minutes
  • Jump rope or do jumping jacks during commercials
  • Take a class at the Shannon Center such as Bootcamp or Zumba

Week of December 2

Here are five tips on how to stay fit and healthy in December.

  1. Don't go to holiday parties hungry! Eat a sensible snack 1 - 2 hours before the party. You will be less likely to overdo it on the appetizers!
  2. Limit alcoholic beverages at parties. The more you drink, usually the more you eat!
  3. Bring a healthy snack with you when holiday shopping. People tend to skip meals when shopping and then overeat at their next meal. Pack a Kashi or Kind Bar or piece of fruit and string cheese to keep your energy up and hunger down. (A carbohydrate high in fiber and a protein low in fat is your best combination for a snack!)
  4. Try to bring a healthy recipe to your holiday party. Most recipes can be made healthier by making small substitutions and your family and friends won't taste the difference. (Some common substitutions below)
  5. Exercise, exercise, exercise! The best way to not gain weight during the holidays is to burn off the extra calories!
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood to admire the Christmas lights
  • Shovel the snow
  • Skiing
  • Snow-shoeing
  • Ice-skating
  • Meet a friend at the gym
  • Find a winter fun run (

Recipe Substitutions

Forget This... Use This!
Whole or 2% milk Skim or 1% milk
Cream Equal parts half-and-half and fat-free evaporated milk
Butter "I Can't Believe Its Not Butter" or olive/canola oil, applesauce
Eggs 2 egg whites per egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute per 1 egg
Chocolate chips Dried fruit
White flour 100% whole wheat flour or oats
Sour cream or mayo Light sour cream, light mayo
Pie crust Graham cracker crust
Nuts Halve the amount

November 2013

Week of November 25

Dessert Time!

Many people who are watching their calorie intake cut out dessert altogether. The main problem with this is you end up feeling deprived and start to crave sweets and desserts even more! Try these lower calorie desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth! (Aim for 200 calories or less)

  • low-fat pudding
  • light yogurt frozen
  • sugar-free or no-sugar-added popsicle
  • baked apple with cinnamon topped with oats and drizzle of honey
  • homemade low fat brownie made with applesauce instead of oil
  • fruit and yogurt parfait
  • fruit smoothie or protein shake
  • one small oatmeal cookie with raisins
  • half cup low fat ice cream
  • ice cream bar
  • fruit with yogurt dip (mix equal parts fat free Cool Whip and light yogurt)


Week of November 18

Top 10 Tricks to Slim Down Your Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for our family, friends and blessings in our lives. But of course.. it's also about the food! What's Thanksgiving without the feast? Be aware that a typical Thanksgiving feast could add up to more than 3,000-4,000 high fat calories! Does this mean that you need to skip the stuffing or grandmas pumpkin pie? Of course not! Holidays are meant to be enjoyed but there is no need to consume 2 days worth of calories and fat into 1 meal! Moderation is the key.

Here are 10 tricks on how to whittle down those calories without skimping on taste this Thanksgiving season.

Turkey Time

  • Turkey is naturally low in fat (think the white breast meat) but try and skip the high fat skins.
  • Baste your turkey with white wine or low sodium broth instead of butter to save on fat calories.


  • Swap low-sodium chicken broth for most of the butter in your stuffing. Saves at least 50 calories per serving and cuts the fat in half.
  • Add more vegetables to your stuffing! Onions, carrots, mushrooms and celery are all tasty additions


  • Use low-sodium or reduced-fat varieties of cream of mushroom (or cream of celery) soup. Per can of condensed soup, you'll save 120 calories and 16 grams of fat by going with reduced-fat version.


  • Switch out the high fat whole milk for skim or 2% milk and replace the butter with a heart healthier substitute such as Smart Balance or Brummel and Brown.
  • If making candied sweet potatoes, cut the sugar in half or use a low calorie sweetener instead.


  • Instead of high fat croissants or biscuits, aim for mini whole grain rolls from your local bakery to increase your fiber intake.


  • What's Thanksgiving dinner without gravy? Significantly cut calories by skimming the fat from your pan juices before making the gravy.


  • Skip the top crust if you can and aim for fruit based pies such as apple or pumpkin. A typical slice of pie can pack in as many as 400 calories so portion size and moderation is key!

Stuffing with Cranberries Recipe (Serves 6)


1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
10 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted and cut into cubes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup whole water chestnuts
1 cup chopped apple


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat the chicken broth over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, parsley, tarragon, paprika, nutmeg, cranberries, water chestnuts and chopped apples. Add the onion and celery mixture. Stir to mix evenly.

Spoon stuffing into the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Serve immediately


120 calories, 2 g fat, 5 g fiber.

Week of November 11

Fast Food Everywhere!

Research shows that one third of children today and almost 45% of teens eat fast food (American Journal of Preventative Medicine) Why is this? Because we are always go, go, going! But eating foods on the run all the time can impact your health (and that of your children) in a negative way.

The main reason it's recommended to stay away from fast food restaurants is because of their high intake of fat, salt and calories. But, understandably, sometimes you need to eat something quick and easy. Here are some ordering tips and some examples from popular restaurants:

  • Order sandwiches with no mayo or cheese (and order the smallest one!);
  • Opt for a side salad or fruit instead of fries (mandatory to keep the fats down in your meal);
  • Choose baked chips or pretzels vs. chips;
  • Order grilled, baked or broiled vs. breaded, crispy or fried;
  • Food options:
    • grilled chicken wraps (honey mustard), grilled chicken salads with balsamic vinaigrette dressing or small hamburger with apples
    • small chili or broth based soup or grilled chicken sandwich with no mayo
    • six-inch sub on wheat (six gram of fat or less menu)
    • grilled chicken meal
  • And don't forget to replace those high sugary drinks with water or unsweetened tea!

Week of November 4

Healthy Fall Snacks!

  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and add a layer of pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle the seeds with a dash of sea salt and then roast them at 325 F for about 25 minutes, or until toasted.
  • Popcorn: Place kernels in paper lunch bag, spray with olive oil cooking spray, fold down top of bag two times and microwave on popcorn setting. Add some fall spices to spruce your popcorn up! (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and ginger).
  • Honey Crisp Apple and Slice of Cheese
  • Pumpkin Spice English Muffins with natural almond butter or peanut butter. Try to limit the topping to one tablespoon.

October 2013

Week of October 28

Candy Everywhere!!

It's that time of year again where candy is around every corner; at work, at home, in classrooms, it's hard to miss! I encourage small treats in moderation but keep in mind, these small candy treats do add up! Try to limit yourself to one treat per day. Maybe save one for a post lunch treat. And try to keep them out of site. Save a few treats from trick-or-treating and then donate the rest!

Happy Halloween!

Week of October 21

Roasted Veggies

Looking to add more vegetables to your diet? Look no further! Try this quick and easy recipe with tonight's dinner.

Many people complain about the lack of time they have to prepare a healthy dinner. Dinner doesn't have to take an hour to prepare. Throw this veggie dish in the oven on a cookie sheet 10 minutes before dinner is done. By adding more vegetables to your dinner, it will help increase your fullness after dinner and will help add in some much needed antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to your diet as well.

Roasted Broccoli

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil.

Chop up a head of broccoli* (not frozen). Place in a bowl. Pour 2 tbsp olive oil over broccoli and toss. Place on cookie sheet and spread out. Lightly sprinkle with seasonings (I use garlic, pepper and a dash of sea salt).

Roast in oven for 10 minutes. (After about 5 minutes you can mix around veggies if you desire).

Viola! You are done! This is my favorite way to cook vegetables, because it is fast, easy, healthy and best of all? Tastes good!

This recipe can be used for any vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, onions, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, you name it!

Week of October 14

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Here is a weekend favorite of mine. Don't forget to freeze the leftovers for a quick dinner meal. Add a crusty whole grain roll or a side salad to complete this easy meal!

  • 1 (32 ounce) container chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (Buy rotisserie chicken to speed up process)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, crushed dried
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, cubed (Reduced fat)
  • 2 cups egg noodles


  1. In a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker, combine broth, water, carrots, celery, mushrooms, onion, thyme and garlic-pepper seasoning.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or on high heat for 3-4 hours.
  3. (If you were using low heat, turn to high now.) Stir in cream cheese, then chicken and uncooked noodles. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes more, or just until noodles are tender.

Week of October 7

Chili Time!

Finally! it's time for chili and soup weather!

Here is a recipe to use when the temps outside start cooling off. Soup and chili recipes are great to make when you are home on a Sunday watching football or raking leaves. Make extras for some quick lunches and dinners when you are short on time. Stay tuned for some hearty soup recipes next week!

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or lean sirloin)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can canned kidney beans - drained, rinsed, and mashed (or black beans work great too)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot and cook until evenly brown. Stir in onion and cook until tender.
  2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans and garlic. Season chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

September 2013

Week of September 30

Race Day Nutrition!

For those of you running in the Cougar 5K Homecoming race next weekend (Cougar 5K Run/Walk), here are some tips for race day nutrition!

1.) Hydration is key the day before and the morning of the race. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to be at the start line and feel dehydrated. Drink at least 1-2 cups of water the morning of the race--especially if it is hot and humid out! And make sure you leave enough time for a bathroom break before the gun goes off. No one wants to run a race with a full bladder!

2) Take it easy on the fats the night before. Most people know about carb loading the night before a race but you don't want to eat so much that it sits in your stomach. Eat a healthy meal that is balanced in protein (grilled chicken), vegetables (salad or cooked broccoli) and carbohydrates (1-2 cups of rice, potato or pasta) the night before. Too much fat can lead to an upset stomach or make you feel sluggish during your race.

3) On the morning of the race, try to eat something light 1-2 hours before the race. (A granola bar,1/2 bagel, some crackers). You don't want to cramp up due to an empty stomach. On the other hand, save your bacon and eggs for after the race! Eating too much can cause cramps, too. Always practice your race day nutrition beforehand and don't try anything new.

4.) Replenish after your run with a chocolate milk or smoothie. (Aim for 6-15 grams of protein and 30-45 grams of carbohydrate).

5) Most of all, have fun and enjoy yourself!

Week of September 16

Quick Easy Dinner Ideas

One of the biggest obstacles to eating healthy is not having enough time to make a healthy meal for dinner. It's all about the planning! If you have an idea of what you are going to prepare all five days during the week, you will be less likely to eat fast food or binge on snack foods at home. Here is a list of ingredients to keep in the house/apartment at all times and some samples of easy quick dinners!


  • George Foreman or grill
  • Pam Spray
  • Light dressings/mayo/sour cream
  • Garlic powder/Mrs. Dash spices
  • Brummel n Brown or healthy alternative to butter or margarine

Ingredients to stock your shelves with:

  • Fresh (best) or frozen meats (no sauces) - chicken breast, pork chop, turkey breast, fish, 98% sirloin, veggie burgers
  • Low fat (2%) shredded cheeses
  • Fresh/Frozen vegetables (no sauces)
  • Fresh/Frozen fruit (no syrup)
  • Whole grain waffles
  • brown rice
  • pasta
  • red, gold or sweet potatoes
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Whole grain/wheat bread
  • Tuna or Salmon in a can (packed in water)
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Eggs or egg beaters
  • Peanut butter

Most meals can be made in under 20 minutes IF you have the ingredients defrosted and ready.

  1. Choose a lean protein: lean beef/pork/poultry/fish/eggs (THROW IN FRIDGE BEFORE YOU LEAVE IN MORNING FOR WORK/SCHOOL TO DEFROST)
  2. Cook on Foreman or grill or use Pam spray to cook on top of the stove in skillet (to speed up cooking lower to medium heat and cover with a lid)
  3. Pick a vegetable- steam, cook on skillet or microwave. Bags of salad are great too! (Rinse first!)
  4. Pick a starch: brown rice/potato can be heated up really quick in the microwave or boil some water for wheat pasta
  5. Viola! Dinner is done!

Example meals:

Salmon or tilapia patties
1 sweet potato per person
Steamer bag of green beans
Salad with light dressing

Precooked grilled chicken breast strips
Low fat cheese, heat up on skillet or microwave
Using a corn tortilla make into a quesadilla or wrap
Grill veggies or make corn and beans

Week of September 9

Let's Get Ready for Some Football!

Football season is upon us once again and that means tailgating, concession stands and football game. Most often, these activities come with high-calorie, high-fat foods and beverages that can sabotage healthy diets. Here are some tips on how to navigate the football season.

(Obviously for health and calorie reasons, it is best to eat before you go to a game, but realistically speaking, here are some tips if you are going to eat at the game or party.)

If Eating at a Game

  • Healthier options: small popcorn, pretzel with cheese.
  • High Calorie foods to limit: brats, sausages, fries, large nachos, nuts and high calorie alcoholic drinks.

If Tailgating

  • You have some control over the food choices, so try and pack some leaner meats such as chicken breasts, turkey or sirloin burgers, and chicken sausages with low calorie/whole wheat buns, and lower fat/calorie side items such as baked chips or Sun chips.
  • Healthier side items could also include fruit or side salads.

If Going Out to a Bar or Restaurant

  • Look out for fried appetizers. Order a grilled chicken wrap or turkey club sandwich (minus the mayo!) and limit your fry intake.
  • If pizza is being served, order veggie or cheese and blot the top of the pizza with a napkin to save some of the fat calories.

Most of all try to limit the alcohol/soda pop intake as these beverages are high in calories and can add up quickly. The best advice is to drink a cup or bottle of water in-between alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated. Try to stay away from sodas and drink water instead.

Week of September 2

It's Apple Time!

Now that fall is finally here, apple season is upon us! Apples offer us a wide variety of nutritional benefits, especially the skins.

They are:

  • a great source of heart healthy soluble fiber (which help to lower your LDL or bad cholesterol);
  • high in antioxidants (antioxidants are one key to heart health because they help protect our cardiovascular system from oxygen-related damage);
  • high in flavonoids (which provide antioxidant protection and help prevent excessive and unwanted inflammation. Flavonoids have repeatedly been shown to help lower risk of heart disease, and also to improve problems with heart disease once it has occurred).

A great way to pick up organic apples is at your local farmers market or to pick them yourself at an apple farm. Below are two links where you can find local farmers markets and apple farms.

Apples are very portable, keep well at room temperature or refrigerated, and can make a quick snack on the go. Besides using apples as snacks, here are some ways to incorporate apples into your diet:

  • Cut up and peel a green apple and throw some slices over your morning oatmeal or high fiber cereal. (I microwave apples with the oatmeal so they are softer to eat.)
  • Make apple cider. (Makes great in a crock pot when having family and friends over. Who needs a candle when you have apple cider brewing in your crock pot?)
  • Include in a breakfast parfait with low fat granola and yogurt.
  • Chop up and put into a salad.
  • Make an apple crisp with oatmeal, cinnamon, chopped apples and a sprinkle of brown sugar for a quick dessert. Bake in oven until warm. (Throw ingredients in a glass pie dish and bake for 30 minutes.)

Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

The SXU 8-Week Weight Loss Class starts on September 17! Email for info and pricing!

August 2013

Week of August 19

The Great Pantry Cleanup!

Now that summer is winding down and people are heading back to school, it is a great time to reorganize your pantry and get ready for the upcoming school year. To make your life just a little bit easier, go through these steps one by one to clear out the clutter so you won't have an excuse to not prepare healthy meals! (Start with your pantry and repeat for other food cabinets and your refrigerator/freezer)

  1. Clean and sanitize!
  2. Now start to look at expiration dates. Toss and/or recycle what you can. You will be AMAZED at some of the expiration dates on the foods in your house. (I just found a box of graham cracker crumbs dating back to 2007! Stick with my rule: if in doubt, throw it out!)
  3. Put aside items that are not very healthy and donate them to your local food pantry. (For example: boxed meals, sugary cereals, etc).
  4. Organize your pantry:
    • Keep supplies and food you need for packing lunches near the front;
    • Purchase some bins to put your Ziploc baggies and storage containers in so you can pull them out and put back easily;
    • Put your baking goods in the back or up higher as you do not use those as much; and
    • When unpacking groceries, try to put the new groceries in back of the old ones so the older items get eaten first.
  1. Make a grocery list. Try to plan meals at least one week in advance and shop for all items once a week.
  2. Stay tuned next week for a shopping guide!

Week of August 12

Tips for Healthy School Lunches

Whether you are packing lunches for yourself or for your kids this upcoming school year, try some of these tips to add some pizzazz to your lunch:

  • Think outside the box when it comes to preparing sandwiches. Switch up your bread products (and aim for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving). Try whole grain pitas, bagels, Sandwich Thins or whole grain tortillas instead of plain white bread. (Many products have whole grain white products for children who don't like the grainier products.)
  • Add vegetables to the sandwich. On the side, pack some sliced tomato, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce or even some avocado.
  • No pop or sugary drinks. Ever! Instead, drink milk, 100% fruit juice or water. (Note: Limit juice intake to 6 oz per day.)
  • Aim for a fruit and/or vegetables in every lunch. Cut up fruit or vegetables and add a fun dip, such as yogurt for fruit or light ranch for vegetables.
  • Don't forget to add in some calcium! (Calcium is a much needed nutrient for growing children). Toss in a yogurt, string cheese stick, slice of cheese on a sandwich or better yet, a carton of low-fat milk.
  • For a side item if needed, watch the extra calories in chips and junk food. Instead opt for pretzels, goldfish, baked chips or Sun chips.
  • Add in a sweet note by adding a low fat pudding, graham crackers or pretzels dipped in dark chocolate.
  • Instead of a sandwich, pack some whole grain peanut butter and crackers, turkey or ham roll-up's made with low-fat cream cheese and whole grain tortillas, or broth based soups in a thermos. Think outside the lunchbox!
  • Prep and slice up any fruits, vegetables or side items you can on the weekends after you shop. Package them in small dishwasher safe containers or snack-sized baggies.
  • Even if ordering fast food, add something healthy as opposed to pairing it with fries or chips. (Small hamburger with side salad, one slice pizza with extra veggies, etc).

Packing lunches can take some time but once you get in a routine, lunches should take no more than 10-15 of prep time the night before school.

Week of August 5

Time for Dessert!

Since many fruits are in season, why not use fruit as a way to spice up your favorite dessert or experiment with a new one? Try going to your local farmers market for fresh organic produce. Here are some recipes to sample out at your next family dinner or BBQ:

  • Add fresh berries* or bananas to a dish of low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.
  • Top a slice of angel food cake with sliced strawberries and low-fat Cool Whip.
  • Bake an apple in the oven sprinkled with oats and cinnamon for a taste of apple pie.
  • Dip fresh strawberries in chocolate sauce.
  • Mix tropical fruits, such as mango and pineapple, and sprinkle with coconut and walnuts.
  • Stir chopped gingersnaps, sliced bananas and toasted pecans into softened vanilla frozen yogurt.
  • Slice a banana and drizzle melted chocolate chips on top and add a dollop of low-fat whipped cream or softened frozen yogurt.
  • Drizzle lemon and orange juices over blackberries.
  • And let's not forget our fruit pies (made with graham cracker crusts).

July 2013

Week of July 29

Summer Grilling Recipes!

Summer is still here, at least for another month. Try out some new recipes the next time you fire up the grill. Don't forget to add a salad or grilled vegetables to your meal. Baked potatoes or corn on the cob make great additions to your summer meals as well.

Hawaiian Skewers

  • 2-3 chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pineapple cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Preheat grill for medium-low heat.
  2. Add pineapple, peppers and chicken on well soaked skewers.
  3. Sprinkle with garlic and coat with sauce.
  4. Grill for 8-10 minutes turning occasionally.

Serve with brown rice or quinoa and add a tossed salad!

Grilled Pizza

  • Pizza crust dough, either homemade or bought ready made
  • Fresh vegetables (olives, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Fresh tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce


Brush grill grate with garlic flavored olive oil. Carefully place one piece of dough on hot grill. The dough will begin to puff almost immediately. When the bottom crust has lightly browned, turn the dough over using two spatulas. Working quickly, brush oil over crust, and then brush with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Arrange 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/8 cup sliced black olives and 1/8 cup roasted red peppers over crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons basil. Close the lid, and cook until the cheese melts. Remove from grill, and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the second pizza. (You can make a couple smaller ones or 1 large one depending on size of grill.)

Week of July 22

Water, Water, Water!

>Now that the temps outside have risen, your focus should be on hydrating yourself. But how much is enough? You can start with the minimum of 8 glasses of water per day. Another way to gauge how much fluid to consume is to take your body weight and divide by 2. This is how many ounces of water you should drink in a day. You should always listen to your body first.

To best hydrate yourself, drink water! It's the best drink choice; it has the least amount of calories, and it's the cheapest! Note: Caffeinated drinks and pop tend to dehydrate you, which leads to fluid retention.

The best advice? Cut out all sugary drinks and replace with pure water. But if you are in the mood for something a little sweeter, try one of these low-sugar drinks.

Week of July 15

Fuel Your Body!

When is the last time you took a minute and reflected on what kinds of food, aka FUEL, you are putting in your body? A diet that is wholesome with a variety of nutrients (ex. complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals) can make or break your training and hinder you from hitting your goals. Doing a self assessment of your diet can be eye opening for many people, especially runners. What should you look for?

Here are some questions to ask when reviewing your diet.

  • How many fruits and vegetables am I consuming? The goal is at least five per day.
  • Do I consume any omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish, tree nuts) or do you consume a supplement? You should consume omega-3s a couple times per week or daily in supplement form. (More recommendations on omega-3 fatty acids will be included in the next tip.)
  • Am I eating or drinking a post-workout snack made up of both carbohydrates and protein? Aim to refuel after hard workouts with a snack such as a protein shake, smoothie or a low fat chocolate milk.
  • Am I drinking too many caffeinated drinks or diet sodas? Limit these to one per day and increase your water intake!
  • How many meals and snacks am I consuming daily? Aim to eat a snack or meal every three - four hours starting with breakfast.

This week try to write down and keep track of everything you eat for three days, and then take a few minutes to sit down and review the results. You may be surprised by what you find!

Week of July 1

Healthy Grilling Options!

Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to what to grill out? Look no further. Instead of high fat meats such as sausages, brats, hotdogs and pre-made frozen hamburger patties, try these lower-fat, heart-healthier options!

Lower fat grill options:

  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Drumsticks
  • 90% lean fresh ground beef patties
  • Turkey burgers
  • Meatless burgers
  • Chicken apple sausages (lower in fat than pork)
  • Shish kabobs - chicken or lean beef
  • Fish - Salmon, tilapia, etc.
  • Pork chops


  • Veggies and fruit taste GREAT on the grill. Baste lightly in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, garlic and pepper before putting on the grill. Note: It helps to have a tray to put your vegetables on so they don't fall through the grill.
  • Pineapple slices go great on top of a grilled chicken breast sandwich or as part of chicken kabobs.
  • Baked potatoes
  • Grilled corn on the cob (Soak in water for half hour so husks don't burn prior to grilling.)

Chicken Kabobs

  • Cut chicken breast into chunks.
  • Cut up 1 red pepper, green pepper, red onion and a small pineapple.
  • (Pineapple cut to use for two recipes: in chunks for kabobs and in slices to grill for chicken sandwiches.)
  • String veggies, pineapple and chicken chunks on soaked bamboo skewers. Marinate lightly with a sweet teriyaki sauce and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  • Grill for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Pair with some quinoa or wild rice.

June 2013

Week of June 24

Farmers Markets

Now that summer is in full swing, why not head to your local farmers market to pick up local fresh (and healthy) foods? Instead of buying an apple from across the country, you can buy one that has just been picked in Illinois! Farmers markets have really expanded their products in the past few years as their popularity has risen. Now you can expect not only fruits and vegetables but also organic eggs, meats, cheeses, prepared foods such as salsas, food stands for popcorn, smoothies, etc, activities for kids and much more!

Week of June 17

Strawberry Season!

Its summertime which means strawberries are in season! This super fruit is packed with lots of nutrients such as antioxidants, fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. The antioxidants found in strawberries are being studied due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer properties. Strawberries are only 50 calories per serving making it a healthy add-on to your meals or to have as a snack alone.

Buckwheat Strawberry Waffles


  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, diced (plus more for topping)


Combine dry ingredients in a bowl to combine. Whisk wet ingredients together and pour into dry ingredients. Stir until barely combined (there can still be lumps), fold in strawberries, and set aside. Heat waffle maker. Cook waffles according to waffle maker instruction. Serve with extra strawberries on top.

Strawberry Spinach Salad With Strawberry Dressing

Source: Ancestral Chef


For the salad:

  • 2 ounces of ready washed baby spinach
  • Approximately 10 medium strawberries

For the dressing:

  • 3 strawberries
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


Slice up the 10 strawberries. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and sliced strawberries. For the dressing, blend well all the dressing ingredients in a blender. Pour the dressing over the salad and enjoy.

Week of June 10

Power Breakfast!

When your mother used to tell you, "Eat your breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day!", she wasn't lying! Breakfast helps jump start your day with the right nutrition and gives you a boost to your metabolism. My suggestion is to eat something within an hour of waking up to at least get used to the idea of eating soon after waking. And no, drinking a cup of coffee does NOT count! So what should your breakfast consist of? Aim for a serving of whole grains (foods that are high in fiber) and source of lean protein. Here are some sample power breakfasts to start your day.

6 oz Greek yogurt

1/4 cup protein granola

1/2 cup fruit

1 Light English muffin

2 egg whites

1 slice low fat cheese

1 cup skim milk

1 Bagel Thin bagel

2 tbsp peanut butter

Small banana

1 cup skim milk

1 packet plain oatmeal or 1/2 cup cooked oats

1 mini raisin packet

Pinch of walnuts

Dash of cinnamon

Pinch of brown sugar

1 low carb wrap

1/2 cup Egg Beaters


Sprinkle of 2% shredded cheese

Wrap eggs in wrap and dip with salsa or fat free sour cream

Power Bar/Protein Bar

Cup of skim milk or piece of fruit

Week of June 3

How to make a protein shake!

You may have read about protein shakes and have wondered if you should be drinking them too? Here are some benefits and reasons to jump on the protein shake bandwagon!

  1. Protein shakes will help you recover faster after a workout. The ideal time to consume one is within 20-30 minutes post workout.
  2. They can help to increase your percentage of lean muscle.
  3. Protein shakes can act as a healthy alternative for a meal. Aim for about 300 calories for a meal replacement protein shake.

You can buy some pre-made shakes or, for less money, make one at home for yourself!


  • 1 cup milk (skim-2%, almond or soy)
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (if allergic you can substitute for soy)
  • 1-1.5 cups fruit
  • Ice/water to blend if needed
  • Juice- if needing some flavor or more calories
  • Sweetener- if needed

Some Recipes:

Strawberry Protein Shake - Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cup sliced frozen strawberries
  • 30 frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup Silk light soymilk or skim milk
  • 1 level scoop whey strawberry protein powder

Blend well!

280 calories per serving

Chocolate Banana Smoothie - Makes 3 servings

  • 1/2 cup light vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cup 1% milk
  • 2 scoops whey protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 cup ice

Blend Well!

May 2013

Week of May 20

Race Day Nutrition!

For all those in training for a 5 or 10K this summer, here are some race day tips to keep in mind. Many people spend weeks or months training for races but never think much about what or how much to eat on the big day. Nutrition can make or break your success in a race so be sure to look through these useful tips. You may need to rethink what you are eating pre-race!

Good luck!

  • Drink plenty of water the night before and day of the race.
  • Skip the sodas the night before.
  • Drink at least 2 cups of water or Gatorade that morning.
  • Drink a half cup water at each aid station and 1-2 cups after race.
  • If hot or humid, increase the water intake during race.
  • A 1-2% dehydration before a race leads to a 10% decline in performance (and less calories burned!).
  • Limit yourself to one caffeine drink the morning of race.

The night before

  • You do not need to eat any more than usual the night before a 5K.
  • Keep it low in fat (easy on butter, fattening meats, sauces, dressings).
  • Have at least 1 form of carbohydrates (a baked potato, rice, pasta, bread) with some lean protein and a vegetable.

Race Morning

  • Drink 2 cups of water race morning.
  • Eat a light breakfast (nothing new!): small banana, granola bar, half bagel with jelly, toast with peanut butter.
  • Keep it low in fiber and fat.
  • Remember to leave in time to allow for parking and lines in the bathroom before the race.

Post Race

  • First of all, congratulations, enjoy yourself!
  • Typically the best post workout snack is a carbohydrate and protein: a light yogurt, a protein shake, whole grain sandwich.
  • Best if in liquid form and taken within a 45-minute window of exercise.

Week of May 13

Five Foods This Dietitian Eats Everyday

As a Registered Dietitian/ Nutritionist, I essentially make a living telling other people what to eat. Here's a rundown of this nutritionist's pantry staples.

1. Egg whites

Egg whites are definitely my go-to breakfast food. These little devils are packed with high quality protein and very little fat or cholesterol. Protein is an important component to any meal plan, and it is especially helpful with weight loss efforts because, compared to carbohydrates, protein takes longer to digest and leads to higher levels of satiety (feelings of fullness). Protein is also vital to a number of body functions, including digestion, healing and immune function. I prefer my egg whites pan fried for about a minute per side using nonstick cooking spray instead of butter or oil, then served fast-food style on a whole grain English muffin and topped with a slice fat free cheese.

2. Nonfat Milk

I drink 8-16 ounces of nonfat milk every day. This is a relatively new habit for me since I became more accustom to drinking diet coke. Unfortunately, diet soda literally does nothing for my nutritional well-being. But now I am practicing what I preach so no more diet coke! Milk, on the other hand, is powerhouse of nutrients -- protein, calcium, Vitamin D, and several others that my body needs to function properly. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans actually recommends three servings of low-fat or fat free milk or milk equivalents per day. So in addition to my two glasses of milk, I also include a serving of reduced fat cheese or light yogurt.

3. Oatmeal

I love, love, love oatmeal! It packs quite a punch with a great source of insoluble fiber to start my day. I typically throw in nuts, dried fruits, cinnamon and a pinch of brown sugar!

4. Peanut Butter

Most people stay away from peanut butter because of its high calorie count. Peanut butter (or other nut butters) are packed with heart healthy fats and protein. Peanut butter helps keep me full when I am out and about running around with my kids or if I am with clients. It can help people who desire weight loss or even people who want to gain weight. Either way, it's a great staple to keep in your cabinet.

5. Salad

By cooking one meal for the entire family, I not only encourage my children to eat a variety of nutritious foods, but I save time. Who wants to spend hours shopping for, prepping, and cooking multiple meals per night? Not this girl! Unfortunately, my husband, kids and I don't always agree on which vegetables we want. Salad is the perfect compromise. We all start with an iceberg lettuce base, then customize. Each bowl looks a little different, but we are all eating salad.

So, as you can see, the five foods this nutritionist eats every day each provide something to my diet. Whether its calcium, protein, fiber, or simply a variety of flavors, each food helps me to achieve my ultimate goal -- to be healthy.

Week of May 6

Easy Ways to add in more fruits and vegetables in your diet!

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you consume in one day? The recommended amount is 5-9 servings! Many people fall short of this goal. How do you measure up?

Sample serving sizes:

  • Fruit- size of tennis or baseball, or 6 oz juice (Limit 1 serving of juice per day)
  • Vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw

Sneak some more fruits and veggies in your diet!

What you need:

  • Snack sized baggie
  • Reusable plastic containers
  • small containers for dips/dressings
  • Fruit/vegetables of choice, fresh or frozen, pre sliced
  • Low fat or light yogurt or Greek Yogurt
  • Light Italian dressing
  • Light Ranch dressing
  • Light vinaigrette dressings
  • Extra Virgin olive oil)
  • Low-fat cheese cubes
  • Egg beaters
  • Wheat tortillas
  • Salsa

*Dice up green peppers, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, spinach, etc and put into small baggies or containers or buy frozen bags of each to keep handy in freezer. Throw in an Egg Beater scramble in the morning for a quick veggie omelet. Wrap in a wheat tortilla with some salsa to add some fiber.

*Chop up your fruit and vegetables and put into snack sized serving baggies or containers so in the morning they are ready to go. Also buy small salad dressing containers to add in dips

*Make a fruit kabob (great for kids!). Put cut up fruit and low fat cheese cubes on a wooden kabob. Dip in low fat yogurt.

*Throw one piece of fruit and 1 light yogurt in blender for a quick smoothie.

*Instead of a plain sandwich with bread and meat, add lettuce, tomato, spinach, onion, etc to add more volume and fiber. (Don't forget the whole grain bread and lean low-salt lunch meats from the deli!)

*Make a rule to bring at least one fruit or vegetables with you to work each day to snack on in between meals.

*Add vegetables to chicken kabobs over brown rice with a salad for a quickie dinner.

The key is preparation! Those fruits and vegetables are not going to cut themselves! When you get home from the store, cut up all your produce so it's more accessible throughout the week.

April 2013

Week of April 29

National Salad Month!

May is National Salad Month so what better way to celebrate than to share some new recipes?

Try to add a salad in this month at least 3-5 times a week. Salads (if done right) can be low in fat, high in fiber, nutrients such as vitamin C and K and calcium. Try these new recipes out this month. Keep in mind when ordering salads to watch out for the excess fats in the dressing, cheeses, yolks and high proteins.

Yogurt Salad Dressing
A nice simple and fresh creamy dressing for just about any salad.


  • 1 - 8 ounce container plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives


In a small bowl, beat together yogurt and lemon juice until smooth. Stir in mustard, parsley, and chives. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Per Serving: 19 Calories; trace Fat (22.2% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; 2g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 2mg Cholesterol; 28mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 0 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Spinach Cranberry Salad
Excellent Served with Poultry or Ham.


  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves, rinsed and large stems removed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
  • 4 ounces crumbled fat free Feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a shallow baking pan, toast walnuts in a 350° oven for eight to 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix spinach, walnuts, cranberries, crumbled feta, olive oil and vinegar. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Per Serving: 114 Calories; 8g Fat (69.3% calories from fat); 1g Saturated Fat; 4g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 337mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; - Copyright 2010

Mango Chicken Salad


  • 4 cups arugula (about 2.5 ounces)
  • 1 mango , peeled and sliced into 1-inch-long pieces
  • 1 red pepper , trimmed, seeded, and sliced into 1-inch-long pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 boneless chicken breast (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds


1. In a large bowl, combine arugula, mango, and red pepper. In another, smaller bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside. In a shallow, wide bowl, stir together honey and mustard. Add chicken and toss to evenly coat.
Grill chicken over medium-high heat (or cook in a skillet with 2 tsp. olive oil) until golden brown, eight to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through. When done, chicken should register about 165° on a meat thermometer, and juices should run clear when pierced with a knife. Transfer to a cutting board and let sit five to seven minutes. Slice chicken into one-inch-long pieces. Add to salad; toss to combine. Add balsamic vinaigrette and almonds; toss again before serving.

Week of April 22

Jump Start your Day!

Mom was right again breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! Not only does it give our metabolism a jump start but it also helps keep hunger at bay throughout the day which leads to a healthier weight. The foods you eat at breakfast can help give you more energy than just that cup of coffee or donut you have been eating. But what should you eat for breakfast? I suggest eating a breakfast containing a mix of complex carbohydrates, some protein and a small amount of healthy fats. Here are some examples:

Complex carbohydrates:

  • 100% whole grain breads
  • Bagels
  • Waffles
  • Pancakes.
  • Oatmeal, or whole grain cereals
  • Fruit
  • Look out for other grains besides wheat such as buckwheat, rye, etc.

Protein sources

  • Low fat milk and yogurts
  • peanut butter
  • nuts
  • eggs and egg whites
  • low fat cottage cheese
  • turkey sausage or bacon


  • Most proteins will have sufficient fats in them, so go light on extra fats such as butter and full fat dairy products.

Sample Breakfast Ideas:

1 cup oatmeal made with skim milk

1 whole grain bagel

2 tbsp peanut butter

6 oz orange juice

(can add a 6 oz low fat yogurt if needed)

1 Greek yogurt

Week of April 15

Healthy Nut Recipes!

Everyone has heard by now of the great health benefits of nuts but which kinds are best?

The top three heart healthiest nuts are (in no order) almonds, pistachios and walnuts (unsalted of course!). These boast high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a heart healthy course of fats aimed at protecting your heart and helping to naturally lower your cholesterol levels. Here are two recipes and some tips on how you can incorporate more nuts into your diet.

Where should I add nuts into my diet?

  • In smoothies/shakes
  • Add to cooked oatmeal with dried fruit
  • Toss into salad to add some protein
  • Make your own protein bar (recipe attached)
  • Bring a baggie of natural nuts and pair with a piece of fresh fruit

Make your own Trail Mix!

Carbohydrate choices: pretzels, Cheerios cereal

Fruit options: raisins, banana chips, or any other dried fruit

Veggie option: sun dried tomatoes

Protein: nuts, sunflower seeds

Fun option every now and then: candies, chocolate covered raisins, dark chocolate pieces

Grab-and-Go Granola Bars

Makes 12 bars


1 cup quick cooking or old fashioned oats

1 cup spoon-size shredded wheat cereal

1 cup walnuts

1 cup dried fruit (choose one or more of the following: raisins, cherries, apricots, cranberries prunes)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place the oats, shredded wheat, walnuts, dried fruit, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped (the fruit should be the size of a dried pea or lentil).

3. Whisk together the eggs, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Add the oat mixture and chocolate chips and stir to combine.

4. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan, and flatten gently with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.

5. Bake about 18 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. Let cool completely in pan before slicing into twelve 2 x 2 inch bars.

TIP: These bars freeze really well. So, if you have leftovers, wrap individual portions in plastic baggies or aluminum foil and freeze.

Week of April 1

Ways to add in more fruits and vegetables in your diet!

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you consume in one day? The recommended amount is 5-9 servings! Many people fall short of this goal. Here are some example serving sizes and ways you can sneak some more fruits and veggies in your diet!

  • Fruit- size of tennis or baseball, or 6 oz juice
  • Vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw

What you need:

  • Snack sized baggies
  • Reusable plastic containers for fruits and small containers or dips
  • Fruit/Vegetables of choice, fresh or frozen
  • Low fat or light yogurt or Greek Yogurt
  • Light Italian dressing
  • Light Ranch dressing
  • Light vinaigrette dressings
  • Low fat cheese cubes
  • Egg Beaters
  • Wheat tortillas
  • Salsa

Meal and Snack Ideas

  • Dice up green peppers, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, spinach, etc and put into small baggies or containers or buy frozen bags of each to keep handy in freezer. Throw in an Egg Beater scramble in the morning for a quick veggie omelet. Wrap in a wheat tortilla with some salsa to add some fiber.
  • Chop up your fruit and vegetables and put into snack sized serving baggies or containers so in the morning they are ready to go. Also buy small salad dressing containers to add in dips.
  • Make a fruit kabob (great for kids!). Put cut up fruit and low fat cheese cubes on a wooden kabob. Dip in low fat yogurt.
  • Throw one piece of fruit and 1 light yogurt in blender for a quick smoothie.
  • Instead of a plain sandwich with bread and meat, add lettuce, tomato, spinach, onion, etc to add more volume and fiber. (Don't forget the whole grain bread and lean low salt lunch meats from the deli!)
  • Try to have a salad each night at dinner
  • Make a rule to bring at least one fruit or vegetable with you to work each day to snack on in between meals.
  • Add vegetables to chicken kabobs over brown rice with a salad for a quickie dinner.

The key is preparation! Those fruits and vegetables are not going to cut themselves! When you get home from the store, cut up all your produce so it's more accessible throughout the week.


March 2013

Week of March 25

Cut the SALT!

How can you maximize your weight loss in the Biggest Loser competition? Eliminate as much processed and salty foods as you can out of your diet. Americans typically consume about 4,000-6,000 mg of sodium (salt) per day. (Aim for under 2,300 mg per day; 1,500 is the ultimate goal) Cutting out the excess salt and processed foods will help you shed water weight, feel less bloated and give you more energy. Read below for a quick list of foods to cut out and foods to increase!

Processed/High Salt Foods:

  • Fast foods (doesn't matter that you get the grilled chicken salad, still high in sodium!)
  • Chips/salty snack foods
  • Crackers/pretzels/100 cal packs
  • Soups
  • Colas/energy drinks
  • Salty meats such as hotdogs, sausages, ham, bacon
  • Prepackaged frozen, canned or boxed meals (hamburger helper, Ramon Noodles, Banquet meals, etc.)

Fresh/Hydrating Foods:

  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Yogurt, Milk or Greek Yogurts
  • Hummus
  • Unsalted Nuts/Peanut butter
  • Eggs
  • 100% whole grains
  • Fresh lean proteins such as chicken, lean beef, turkey, fish
  • Water, water and more water!
  • Green tea with no added sugar
Old Lunch New Lunch
Frozen meal Low sodium turkey breast on Whole grain bread with lettuce, onion, tomato
100 cal pack Piece of fruit or a yogurt
Diet Coke Water
Old Snack New Snack
Bag of pretzels Apple and 1tbsp peanut butter combined with Greek yogurt
Trail mix Homemade trail mix (Cheerios, unsalted nuts and 2 tbsp dried fruit)

Week of March 18

Spring Clean your Diet!

Time to spring clean those kitchen cabinets and pantry! Every now and then it's nice to clean up your diet and weed out some of the junk that may have snuck in our diet over the winter. Here are some tips on what to clear out and what to add in!

  1. Go through your kitchen (cabinets, pantry, freezer and refrigerator) and throw out all of your expired food and/or half empty bags of stale food.
  2. Sanitize your fridge so that bacteria have no room for growth (Clorox works great!)
  3. Get rid of the holiday candy (Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day, and soon to be Easter!) that may still be lurking around in your cabinets!
  4. Try and skip the vending machine/gas stations foods in your diet. Instead go grocery shopping for quick ready to eat snacks that you can bring with you. On that same note, skip the high salt fast foods for breakfast and lunch and make your own.
  5. Weed out the sugary or salty snack foods. Replace those snacks with at least one fruit or vegetable one to two times daily. Adding more fruits and vegetables adds fiber in our diet and helps to decrease your weight.
  6. Make a grocery list in a word/excel document with all the staples you typically buy at the store each week and leave room for new items to be written in. This saves time when you make your list. Go shopping once a week so you make sure you have healthy foods on hand at all times.
  7. Hydrate! The best way for you to start your system to drink plenty of water to flush out any toxins and to eat a diet high in fiber such as fruits and vegetables, 100% whole grains and cereals.
  8. I also suggest a general multivitamin, Omega 3 fish oil and a probiotic supplement to be taken daily as well.

Week of March 4

Healthy Lunching

The biggest pitfall when it comes to eating lunch is the amount of time and money that is spent on fast foods and restaurants. These meals are usually high in calories, salt, fat, and carbohydrates. Whether you are trying to maintain weight or lose weight, your best bet is to pack your lunch and snacks daily. This puts you in charge of your meal selections. Many times even grilled chicken salads can have over 1200 mg of salt from fast food restaurants!

Here are some quick easy suggestions on how to pack a quick lunch and some meal suggestions.

  • Cut up fruits and vegetables and put them into individual containers to save time
  • Put wheat crackers into baggies and put baggies into box so you can grab and go
  • Packing your lunch and snacks the night before helps to cut down time in the morning when you are trying to get out the door
  • Try to at least pack 1 or 2 fruits and vegetables for your lunch and snack
  • Take advantage of the farmers markets in the summer!
  • Don't get stuck in a rut with sandwiches. Use whole grain pitas, bagels, and wraps to switch things up. Add diced up veggies and some light dressing.
  • Don't forget to purchase freezer packs, insulated lunch bags and a thermos to keep food hot/cold.
  • Keep disposable containers on hand to bring leftovers in
  • Get to the grocery store weekly so you always have fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean meats on hand.

February 2013

Week of February 25

Fridge and Freezer Basics!

You may not want to or need to purchase all of the below ingredients, but here you will find a comprehensive list of foods to keep on hand for a healthy and more vibrant life. Mix it up. Some of the ingredients - especially the produce, may vary from week to week depending on your work, travel, and social schedule as well as your family's preferences.

Fresh Produce - An essential to healthier living is to eat more fruits and vegetables. A few staples include: lettuce, onions, red and green bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, lemons, apples, oranges, and berries.

Quick Produce Alternatives - If you never seem to get around to washing, cutting, and eating the fresh produce you purchase, then start filling your basket with healthy fast food. Pre-cut and pre-washed fruits and vegetables and cut varieties are now available. A few of those convenience produce items include: cherry tomatoes, pre-sliced carrots, baby carrots, pre-rinsed lettuce, pre-sliced mushrooms, steam in the bag vegetables such as broccoli, snow peas, sugar snap peas, and California blend...just to name a few.

Additional Foods to Stock the Fridge With:

  • Eggs
  • Liquid egg whites
  • Nonfat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt can be an excellent, high protein, low calorie alternative to sour cream. Light yogurts
  • 1% or skim milk (if you are sensitive to milk or dairy, then use almond, rice, or soy milk)
  • Reduced fat cheese
  • 1% or non-fat cottage cheese
  • Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie packs
  • Laughing Cow light cheese spread
  • Organic butter (unsalted)
  • Light whipped butter such as Brummel and Brown Yogurt Butter Spread.
  • Turkey or center cut bacon. For a healthier alternative buy nitrate free.
  • Salad dressings such as: Walden Farms Balsamic Vinaigrette (or other salad dressings of choice), Annie's Gingerly Vinaigrette, Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and Annie's Low Fat Raspberry Vinaigrette
  • 100% Natural Fruit Spread
  • Hummus
  • Rotisserie Chicken

Freezer Essentials:
A well-stocked freezer with vegetables, fruits and lean meats will ensure you always have the foods on hand to whip up a healthy meal! Here are just a few recommended items to keep on hand.

  • Frozen vegetables such as green peas, edamame, broccoli, spinach, onions, stir fry blend, California Bend,
  • Unsweetened fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries (or a mix of all three), mango, peaches
  • Boneless skinless lean chicken breast
  • Ground turkey breast
  • Lean ground beef (90% or higher)
  • Lean stew meat (i.e. Laura's Lean)
  • Shrimp
  • Fish such as tilapia, catfish, and salmon
  • Garden Burger veggie patties
  • Applegate Farms chicken sausage

Week of February 18

Top 10 Nutrition Tips for Weight Loss

  1. Pick clean foods
    • Combine a high fiber carbohydrate and a lean protein
  1. Eat High Fiber Carbohydrates
    • Oatmeal, 100% whole grain products, brown rice, Kashi
    • bars and cereal, whole grain crackers, fruits, vegetables
  1. Lean Sources of Protein
    • Lean turkey, chicken, fish, low fat cheese, peanut butter, unsalted nuts, egg whites, protein bars and shakes
  1. Meal Timing is Key!
    • Try to eat every 3-4 hours starting within 1 hour of waking up.
  1. Food Journaling - You can do it!
    • Journal the following information in a bound journal every day to assess how balanced your diet is:
      • Date, time, food and drink you consume with portion size, your weight, and exercise
  1. You are what you eat (and drink!)
    • Limit sugary and high calorie beverages and replace them with 0 calorie drinks such as water, Crystal Light and unsweetened teas
  1. Regular Consistent Exercise
    • Aim for 30-60 minutes most days of the week with a combination of cardio and strength training. Use a pedometer to track exactly how active you are!
  1. Eat Healthy When Eating Out
    • Limit fried foods and high fat condiments such as ranch and mayo.
    • Choose grilled meats and vegetables, go easy on the dressings
  1. Limit Salt Intake
    • Choose fresh or frozen over any food that is canned or prepackaged. Limit salt shaker use when eating and cooking. Start looking at Sodium on the Food Label.
  1. Supplements
    • General multivitamin
    • Omega 3 Fatty Acid or Fish Oil (Inflammation, heart disease and cholesterol)
    • Probiotic

Week of February 11

Nutrition FactsReading Food Labels

What should you look at when reading a food label? Here are a few tips:

  1. Look at the carbohydrate section first. Compare the grams of fiber and sugar. You want to pick foods (cereals, breads, crackers, etc) that have the least amount of sugar and a good amount of fiber (3-5+ grams). One serving of carbohydrates is 15 grams. (15 grams is one serving for a snack, and anywhere from 30-75 grams of carbohydrate per meal)
  2. Next you want to look at the fat to make sure it does not contain any trans fat and has very few grams of saturated fat. One serving of fat equals 5 grams.
  3. Also you want to check the label and see if the food has any protein. Protein helps fill you up so you should try to eat at least one ounce of protein for snacks and about 3-6 oz for lunch and dinner. (1 oz = 7 grams protein)
  4. Sodium is also important to look at because if you ingest too much of this nutrient, it can cause bloating and an increase in your blood pressure. You don't want to consume over 2300 mg in one day of sodium.
  5. Last but certainly not least you want to look at the serving size and servings per container!

Week of February 4

Vitamin K

Did you know that darker greens such as kale, Swiss chard and spinach are high in Vitamin K? Studies show that by eating more Vitamin K you can lower your risk of Diabetes by up to 51%! Try some kale chips with your sandwich or add some spinach to your morning omelette! ~American Journal of Clinical Nutrition~

Baked Kale Chips


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
Amount Per Serving (6 total)
58 calories
Fat 2.8
Carbs 7.6 g

Recipe from

January 2013

Week of January 28

Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Beginner Exercisers

Now that you have committed to exercising more, you have to align your nutrition so you get the most bang for your buck! Here are 5 tips to help you maximize your efforts at the gym.

  1. Hydrate! Even if you are only 1% dehydrated, you will burn less calories in your workout so make sure and drink plenty of water throughout the day and prior to exercise. (At least 16 oz water an hour before). It is recommended that for every 15-20 minutes of exercise that you drink at least 8 oz of water. So keep that water bottle handy during your workout!
  2. Before workout snack. You will have more energy, burn more calories if you consume a small snack within at least 1-2 hours prior to exercising. Aim for a simple carbohydrate like a piece of fruit or a bagel smeared with some peanut butter.
  3. Post workout snack. This is key for muscle recovery. You want to refuel within 30-45 minutes post exercise states research. The key is a combination of carbohydrates AND protein. Aim for a low fat chocolate milk, 1 cup smoothie with protein powder, or a Greek yogurt and fruit.
  4. Don't replace the calories you burned at the gym with food. Many people get the false sense of security after you see how many calories you burned at the gym. You are allowed to increase your calories somewhat when you are exercising but don't go overboard. This leads to very frustrating results.
  5. Switch the focus from total calories to what kind of calories you are consuming. Aim for whole grains, lean proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables to help you recover and give you the most amount of energy. Think diet QUALITY! You don't want to sweat it out in the gym 5 days a week only to eat fast food every night for dinner.

Week of January 21

Product Suggestions

Grains (think high in fiber!)

  • 100% whole wheat breads (aim for 3-5 grams fiber per slice)
  • Brown/wild rice (Uncle Ben's packets and individual serving sizes)
  • Pastas (great for spaghetti night and pasta salads)
  • Whole grain pastas
  • Cereal, cookies, snack crackers, waffles and frozen meals
  • Oats (mix with skim milk; add walnuts/raisins/cinnamon for flavor)
  • Low-sugar oatmeal packets
  • Low fat wheat thins/wheat crackers
  • waffles
  • Light english muffins
  • Whole grain pizza crust
  • Rice cakes
  • Bagels
  • Sandwiches

Dairy (Think low fat!)

  • String cheese (less than 5 grams fat per serving)- Try low fat or low sodium
  • Individual low fat cheese servings
  • Light yogurt
  • Low fat Greek yogurt
  • Low fat Cottage cheese
  • Skim or 1% milk
  • Eggs, egg whites or egg beaters
  • 2% cheeses

Protein sources (think lean!)

  • Fresh fish, pork tenderloin, pork chops, chicken breasts, turkey, 90-95%lean sirloin, flank steak, filets
  • grilled chicken breast strips (precooked)
  • frozen chicken breasts
  • Peanut butter (natural)
  • Unsalted nuts (almonds, pistachios and walnuts are best)
  • Beans (rinse in sink first!)
  • 3 or 6 oz pre packed tuna in water
  • Whey protein powder
  • Low sodium lunch meat (turkey or chicken from deli counter)

Fruits and vegetables

  • Fresh is best!
  • Frozen fruit or vegetables without added sauces, cheeses or sugars
  • low fat steamers
  • rinse vegetables well in sink before heating up


  • Light dressings
  • Light mayo or miracle whip
  • Low sugar Smuckers Jelly
  • Light syrup
  • Fat free or light sour cream
  • Light or 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • Brown butter and margarine

Fun Foods

  • Popcorn
  • Low-sugar popsicles
  • pudding

Protein/Fiber Bars

Frozen Meals

Week of January 14

Goal Setting

It's time to make New Years resolutions! With 2012 ending and 2013 beginning, we need to focus on our health and fitness goals once again! What are your New Years Resolutions? Did you meet all of your health and fitness goals last year? If not, here are some tips on how to make a better New Years Resolution!

  1. Write down all of you goals for the upcoming year and keep them in a journal or in a safe place so you can reference it often. (I keep mine in my wallet so I can look at them every now and again.)
  2. Make short and long term goals with an end date in mind.
  3. Be realistic!
  4. Exercise, exercise, exercise! Exercise is key for optimal health and for faster results. Plan your exercise sessions in your daily planner just like you would schedule any other appointment. That way, you can plan accordingly (such as bringing your workout clothes with you to work so you can hit the gym on your way home) and make exercise a priority.
  5. Make yourself accountable for your new goals. Enlist family or friends to help you attain those New Years Resolutions. And remember these are goals for the whole year, not just for January! Look over your goals every month so you can evaluate if you are on task. If you aren't, it's not the end of the world! Give yourself a break. Set a new goal and you'll be on track again in no time!

Here are some great healthy New Years resolution ideas:

  • Avoid soft drinks and teas that are sweetened with sugar
  • Take the stairs instead of elevator
  • Exercise as soon as you come home from work
  • Park your car at the opposite end of the parking lot (when safe to do so)
  • Get only the smallest portion sizes when eating fast foods (kids meals)
  • Include vegetables or fruit at all meals
  • Bring your lunch four days a week
  • Walk on a break at work daily
  • Start an exercise group with friends or colleagues (Bootcamp 101 from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays is a great start!)
  • Go down one size in your jeans
  • Run a half or full marathon
  • Get your yearly physical
  • Learn a new sport
  • Eat only when hungry
  • Drink at least 7-9 glasses of water per day
  • Go grocery shopping once a week
  • Moderate your drinking
  • No late night snacking
  • Try a new sport


Devine Nutrition
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CPT
Twitter: @Devine Nutrition
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Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Media Spokesperson
Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
Registered Dietitian and ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Owner, Devine Nutrition