Clean Your Plate

March 25, 2013
While having lunch with a friend yesterday I couldn't help but think how most of my life I cleaned my plate. It's definitely how I was raised. I can remember my grandpa telling me, "eat two more bites." I would finish the two bites only to hear, "eat one more bite." This game would go on until sooner or later my plate was clean.

I get the whole "you shouldn't waste food" thing but, I can't help but think how terrible that mindset is. By having this mindset we automatically go into a meal ready to overeat. Whatever happened to listening to your body?

I think over the years I've learned to listen to my body's hunger/full cues. Sure I have my moments where I need to polish off the last morsel of carrot cake (my absolute fav!) but, who doesn't? The majority of the time I make a conscious effort to eat only until I'm satisfied. If that means taking home leftovers or leaving some on my plate then so be it. I mean, who wants to eat a meal and then be so full afterwards that all you want to do is sleep or lay down? I'd much rather eat just enough to be satisfied and then get on with the days activities or dive into that to-do list.

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Here are a few tips to help you put that fork down and not clean your plate:

Drink plenty of water before and during your meal

Try starting with a salad. This will help fill you up without adding a ton of calories

Put the fork or spoon down between bites

Engage in conversation and enjoy your company

Chew slowly and savor each bite

Listen to your body. It takes time for our bodies to recognize they are full or satisfied. Using the above tips will help slow down your eating so that your body can catch up.

 ? Do you usually clean your plate or stop once you're full? ?

Power Ball(s)

March 15, 2013
If you've been on Pinterest lately then, I'm sure you've seen the recipes for "Granola Bites" or "Protein Bites". Well, I made the most amazing recipe! These are great for those looking to eat something sweet, but also want something healthy at the same time. I'm officially obsessed!

Here's what I did....

In a large bowl combine the following:

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, both will work)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2-3 Tbsp honey

Once combined, roll into individual balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

I made half with dark chocolate chips.

Put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set them and then transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.

I just need to say it one more time...these were amazing! They tasted great and easily satisfied my sweet tooth. You could also add other things such as dried fruit or protein powder. Whatever you'd like!

Happy Friday everyone!

? Do you have any Pinterest success stories? ?

To Buy Organic or Not to Buy Organic

March 13, 2013

Typically, when I go grocery shopping I buy organic. I couldn't help but notice on a recent trip that organic produce was the same price as non. This posed the question...why not buy organic?! I get that organic produce is usually more expensive, but you have no excuse if it's the SAME price. Produce grown with less chemicals? Yes please!
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Research has shown that there is no difference in the nutrient content of organic vs. non, but personally, I think the organic produce tastes and looks a whole lot better. The organic strawberries, for example, are deep red in color, smaller in size and taste super sweet. Non-organic strawberries are usually really big and the flavor and color just isn't there.

 Next time you're out grocery shopping, take a little extra time to compare prices. I bet you'd be pleasantly surprised!

? Do you typically buy organic or non-organic produce? ?

Happy Registered Dietitian Day to my fellow RD's! :-)

Meatless Monday

March 11, 2013
Another work week. Is it just me or did the weekend go by waaaaay to fast? I guess I'll blame this one on the time change!

Anyways, on to the first edition of Meatless Monday. This is actually a huge movement in the nutrition world. There's even an entire website dedicated to it! Here's why going meatless is a great idea: "Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel."
I was craving a taco salad and thought it would make the perfect meatless meal. I started with black beans as my protein source. Oh, how I love black beans.

 Black beans are a great protein and fiber source. In 1/2 cup you get 5g of fiber and 7g protein! I like to rinse my beans before using them to remove some of the salt and starch.

 I started building my salad by adding shredded lettuce first (use romaine, head lettuce, etc).

Then, I added black beans, tomato, red onion and avocado. Aren't avocados amazing? I recommend slicing the avocado first and then scooping out the pieces.

This salad can be dressed up anyway you like. Add in cilantro, lime juice, salsa, shredded cheese, low fat sour cream, brown rice, bell peppers... anything you would put in a taco!

Some people might like to crush up chips and put them in their salad but, I had my chips on the side. Garden of Eatin' are my favorite chips. They taste really good!

This meal is great because it's full of veggies, fiber, lean protein and healthy fats. Plus, the options are endless! Have fun with it!

Tell me, do you usually have a meatless meal during the week?

What's on my Plate?

March 8, 2013
Let's put a few things on the table before I start revealing what I eat. You should know that I don't count calories but, I'm very aware of approximately how many calories a food has and how healthy that food is.  I'm extremely mindful of how much I eat and what I choose to put on my plate. I want to make my calories count and so should you!

So, let's start with yesterdays breakfast....

(1.5 cups Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares w/ 3/4 cup Organic Skim Milk)

One thing I will never give up is cereal...I love it. LOVE. IT. My breakfast varies day to day depending on how much time I have. For the most part it's pretty simple: cereal, english muffin, oatmeal, etc. If I have the time, I'll try to add in some eggs. I also take a chewable multivitamin (yes, chewable...I hate taking pills and the chewables make it much more enjoyable).

Before lunch I had a clementine for a mid-morning snack.


(1 3/4 cups chicken stir fry, 1 clementine)

 I made an awesome chicken stir fry Wednesday night which turned into awesome leftovers Thursday! I love how that works! I also had another clementine...let's just say I bought too many of those. After lunch I was craving some chocolate so I had a bite size piece of dark chocolate with almonds.

By the time I got home from work I was hungry again. I went straight for another one of my favorite things...crunchy peanut butter! I am obsessed! I ate ~8-10 pretzels with about 2 Tbsp peanut butter.

Dinner was pretty lame since I had to go to the grocery store (please ignore the 1970's plate)!

2 whole eggs, 2 pieces of whole wheat toast w/ margarine
I ended up eating a banana with dinner as well but, that didn't get documented. 

So, how did I do????

I love the iPhone app "Lose It". It's a great calorie counter and is very user friendly. I plugged in my food for the day and got my results:

Calories:  1,475 (For the most part I try to aim for ~1,500/day)
Protein:  72 grams (19.5% of daily calories)
Fiber: 27 grams (goal for most people should be 25-35 grams/day)

I forgot to mention beverages. I'm mostly a water drinker. Aside from the milk in my cereal, I only had water. I drank ~32 oz for the day which is waaaaay under what I should be drinking. Like I said, I'm terrible at drinking fluids. It's something I'm aware of and need to put at the top of my list to improve.

Hope you enjoyed the first recap! Happy Friday!

Eat Your Veggies.

March 6, 2013
With March being National Nutrition Month, it's the perfect time to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Not only are they healthy for us, but they're low in calories (think weight loss!), packed with vitamins & minerals and help protect us from a variety of diseases.  
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Here are some tips to help you add more veggies to your diet:

Jazz it up. Add vegetables to sandwiches, wraps, or even omelets. Think lettuce, onion, tomatoes, sprouts, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, etc.

Mindful snacking. Instead of chips or pretzels grab a handful of carrots, cucumbers, broccoli or peppers to snack on when hunger strikes. Pair it with  hummus or low-fat dressing.

Soups and Stews. Add leftover vegetables to soups or stews so they don't go to waste.

Make it fun. Ants on a log are appropriate at any age! Try making homemade kale chips or sweet potato chips.

Sneaky Substitutes. Try mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Shredded carrots or zucchini are great additions to meatloaf, casseroles, breads or muffins.

Drink it down. Try blending green vegetables like spinach or kale in a smoothie for added nutritients without the calories.

For most people, the goal is 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. Hopefully with the tips above, reaching that goal just became easier!

 ? What creative ways have you incorporated more vegetables into your diet? ?

Coconut Crusted Tilapia

March 5, 2013
Last week I was craving something coconut and decided to incorporate it into my dinner. I was looking for unsweetened shredded coconut (which is hard to find!) and luckily Whole Foods had just what I was looking for!

Since I already had fish ready to go, I decided to make Coconut Crusted Tilapia! I was actually surprised how tasty it turned out. It had a great crust and just a hint of coconut. Delicious!

Here's what you'll need: 

1 tilapia filet
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or any breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup coconut flakes
~2 Tbsp. EVOO

(You could probably get away with breading two filets with these amounts)

First, heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Next, you'll want to make sure you have one plate with 1/4 cup flour, a bowl with the egg and another plate with the Panko/coconut combined. Sort of like a dipping or breading station.

You'll want to dip the tilapia in the flour, then the egg and finally dip it in the Panko/coconut mixture. Make sure you coat both sides well during each dip.

Lastly, place in the hot pan and cook on each side for ~2-3 minutes. Tilapia is pretty thin and cooks quick so it shouldn't take longer than that.

Balance out this meal with a whole grain and vegetable and you're all set!


Tilapia is a great lean protein source. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids which are associated with reduced risk for certain cancers, heart disease and inflammation.

Coconut on the otherhand is up in the air. Coconut is high in saturated fat, which is bad for us, but some say that the type of saturated fat that coconut contains (medium-chain triglycerides) metabolizes differently than other saturated fats that are made up of long-chain triglycerides. Currently, there is not enough research to support the coconut benefit claims. I recommend using it in moderation and sticking to the proven healthy fat sources such as olive or canola oil, nuts, avocados, etc.

National Nutrition Month

March 1, 2013
March is officially all about bringing awareness to nutrition! Plus, as we Spring forward in a few weeks it's the perfect time to refocus and accomplish those goals we set earlier this year! Afterall, bathing suit season is right around the corner and I don't know about you, but I am not where I'd like to be!
This month I hope to bring you some fabulous recipes, tips and advice to keep you on track. I'll also be giving you a sneak peak into what I eat day-to-day.
So, stay tuned for tons of great information!
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