Kale smoothie?

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Kale is one of the most micro dense nutrient foods available, and here is a simple recipe to get more in your body!

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of baby kale

1 handful of frozen blueberries

1 handful of frozen strawberries

1 handful of frozen raspberries

1-2 ripe frozen or fresh bananas

handful of ice

about 1 cup of water

blend and that’s it!dense

Do you have a Plan B for Dinner?

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Similar to a patient long term investment strategy, where we aim to ignore the ups and downs of the stock market (not always easy to do), having a similar mindset with changing your eating and exercise habits also fares better with a long term strategy.  Have you ever slipped with either your meal plan or workout and allowed it to derail you for multiple meals or days?  If so, it's not uncommon.  Can you change your mindset and habits to help you stay on course?  Of course!

How to handle a slip and stay on track?  The next time you slip, the key is to 'get back on track at the next meal or snack.'  There is no failure with a slip.  We all slip from time to time because we are human.  Let the guilt (if you have it) roll off your back.  The key is to think about the situation and decide if you'd do anything different the next time (i.e. shop differently, order differently, etc.)

Another option is to have a plan B.  For example, let's say option A is to prepare dinner from scratch.  However, option A may not be realistic each night of the week particularly after a long or hectic day with work/kids/sports etc.  I know my household is on the run many nights of the week and keeping it simple and quick with dinner is crucial.

Let's create an option B for times when you want a quick meal within 15 minutes or less.  There are many options, but consider a veggie or turkey burger from your freezer with cut up raw veggies (peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots etc.) on whole grain bread (or as a lettuce wrap), or a salad with chicken breast that you can reheat from your freezer, or how about beans on a tortilla (fresh or frozen) with avocado or store bought guacamole (we had this the other night for a quick dinner), with salsa, lettuce, and tomato?  There are numerous options, but the key is to find 1-3 simple, and quick dinner options that you can easily put together in 5-15 minutes right from your fridge/freezer when rushed for time.  Brainstorm a few healthy, tasty, and satisfying options that'll work best for you! This will help you stay on track, avoid eating out more (and save on your budget to invest or take a vacation!), and help you accomplish your health and wellness goals!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Creating habits vs. utilizing willpower: what's more powerful?

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When trying to create new health, nutrition, and fitness habits, I rely less on willpower and more on creating habits.  I was listening to a podcast interview with Dan Ariely, a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics from Duke University, and he said that when you have a habit, you don't have to use your willpower. 

Do you have a simple, repeatable meal and fitness plan that is virtually automatic 90% of the week?  Are you focused more on creating habits than following the perfect diet or fitness routine? Certainly we want to eat healthy most of the time and exercise regularly, but creating simple, repeatable habits set us up for success. 

Tim Ferris, on this YouTube video, talks about how to overcome procrastination and create a habit (from approximately 2 minutes 37 seconds to 6 minutes and 50 seconds in the video) and it's worth checking out. 

For example, I exercise 5-6 days per week and have been doing so consistently for about 17 years.  Now I generally exercise for 30 minutes to 1 hour, but on days when I don't want to do anything, I lower my goal until it's achievable, say 10 minutes of exercise.  Once I get started exercising for a few minutes, my energy increases, I feel more motivated, and then work out for my usual duration.

Creating habits rather than relying on willpower and lowering goals until achievable make a powerful combination.

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

What's up with a jackfruit BBQ sandwich?

I was at a party recently and tried a BBQ sandwich made without pork, but with jackfruit!  Never had jackfruit before, nor a jackfruit BBQ sandwich.  Guess what?  It was delicious!  Thought I'd share a recipe to try.   Click here.  Also included is an avocado slaw to pare the sandwich with.  This would work well for those interested in bringing a fun and different, but tasty dish to a BBQ or other event.  Enjoy!  Is jackfruit healthy?  Jackfruit is a good source of fiber at 3 grams per cup, as well as vitamin c, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Eat nuts for heart and brain health?

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013 , a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or olive oil reduced the incidence of a major cardiovascular event for high risk individuals by approximately 30% compared to a low fat diet group.  However, if we drill down further, only stroke reached statistical significance and not heart attack and cardiovascular death from all causes.  

Who was considered high risk in the study?  Men aged 55-80 and woman 60--80 who had diabetes or at least 3 of the following:  smoking, high blood pressure, elevated LDL cholesterol ('bad cholesterol'), low HDL ('good') cholesterol, overweight or obese, or a family history of premature coronary heart disease.

The group that received the nuts (a mix of walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds) consumed about 30 grams per day, which is about a 1/4 cup or 1 oz.  How about other nuts?  Here's an article from Harvard Health about the benefits of peanuts and other nuts for heart health and here is the original research article.  In this study, individuals who ate nuts 7 or more times per week, had a 20% lower death rate.  However, this study was observational, and not direct cause and effect. 

So, how do you include more nuts in your diet?  Nuts are about 180 calories per quarter cup and while not low in calories, they are heart healthy, a good source of protein and healthy fibers and tend to be satisfying. Try eating about a 1/4 cup nuts per day or more for a snack and skipping the chips and other salty snacks more often.  Try including sunflower seeds in salads, cashews in a stir fry, peanut butter with apples or bananas, pistachios or other nuts/seeds for snacks alone or any other option that you enjoy!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

 

Nighttime snacking and cholesterol, what's the connection?

According to a research study (click here) conducted on eleven healthy young woman from Japan, a nighttime snack (192 calories snack at 11pm) increased LDL (the 'bad') and total cholesterol levels and reduced total body fat oxidation (fat utilized for energy). 

For those looking to control cholesterol levels for heart health, skipping that nighttime snack may be worth considering.  In addition, for those looking for help with body fat reduction, skipping the late night snack may help as fat used for fuel was reduced with the late night snack. 

Drawbacks from the study?  Short duration (13 days) and only 11 participants.  In addition, it would have been useful to test the nighttime snack at multiple time intervals (8, 9, 10pm) as well for those who snack at different times.

Now stopping late night eating is a challenge for some, and making this change is easier said than done.  First tip?  If possible, reduce or remove the high sugar and high salt snacks from the house to reduce temptation at night (when willpower is the lowest).  Tip two?  Brush and floss within 5-10 minutes after dinner.  Tip three?  Avoid the kitchen after dinner.   Tip four?  Put leftovers away immediately after dinner. 

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

What is the hunger fullness scale?

Do you ever eat when not hungry?  When bored, stressed, watching TV, holiday meals, late night snacking, deserts, chips etc?  Hey guess what, it's pretty common.  While there are many behavioral strategies to help with overeating, one that is gaining popularity is 'mindful eating.'  While for many, utilizing a combination of strategies is helpful, including mindful eating may improve success.  Check out this link from Harvard to learn more about 'mindful eating.'  A 'mindful eating' experience may include: slowing down and taking more time to eat, tasting each bite of food, and paying attention to your feelings of hunger and fullness.

Let's drill down a little further on our hunger and fullness cues.  To learn more about the hunger fullness scale, check out this link.  One is starving, ten is stuffed, three is hungry (clear signals to eat, but not uncomfortable), seven is satisfied/full (but not overly full or stuffed).  The goal is to stay in the grey zone (between 3-7), aiming to eat at a 3 and stop at a 7.  

How to get started?  Begin by becoming more aware of your hunger and fullness cues during and between meals.  Try not to judge yourself, just become more aware.  If you eat past fullness, it happens, so think about why it may have happened.  Aim to eat when hungry, not starving (a 3) and stop when satisfied (a 7).  Sometimes, eating at a 1 (starving) causes us to eat to a 9 or 10 (very full/stuffed), but not always, depends on the person and situation.  Are you really hungry 2 hours after dinner or is that habit instead?  Are you full, but still have a half a 1/4 plate of food left and keep eating?  Again, no judgement, just awareness.  One last note, if you are a late night snacker, it takes about 3-4 hours to digest a meal, so by hour 2 after a meal, your blood sugar is peaking and more food is usually not needed.  It's an interesting topic and certainly worth more exploration. 

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN   Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

 

Do bananas cause weight gain? No chance. Here's why?

Ok, I know you've seen the pop up ads that say, 'bananas make you gain weight.'  Guess what, not true.  Bananas are a fantastic snack, moderate in calories (about 100 cal each), a good source of fiber, potassium, and moderate in naturally occurring sugars. 

I just had a new patient lose 7 and 1/2 lbs in the first two weeks of his weight loss program eating 2 bananas per day! 

Compared to a snickers which has 215 cal, a small bag of chips 150 cal, a banana (100 cal), has about 50-100% less calories respectively and is a much healthier option!

Other benefits of bananas?  Great to fuel your workouts (about 30-45 minutes pre workout), great between meal satisfying snack, or a satisfying post dinner light sweet treat (when you see the little brown dots, the bananas are sweeter)!

Other ways to eat bananas?  Try peeling, cutting into bite size pieces and freezing, and then add a little water and blend thick for a sweet non dairy desert!  For a change, swap your banana for jelly in a PBJ, or add to your salad (I know it sounds weird, but just tried it and was awesome!).  

If you are looking for a sweeter desert, try this chocolate dipped coconut frozen banana from eatingwell.com.  It's only 100 calories per serving.

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

To Snack or Not to Snack for Weight Loss?

Check out this article in the Huffington Post from fellow Dietitian Manuel Villacorta! The article describes the relationship between ghrelin (the hunger hormone), snacking and weight loss.  Definitely worth a read! 

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Can a veggie burger have taste? Maybe...check out my review of the Qrunch Burger.

Ok, I know what you're thinking...a blog about veggie burgers, you're kidding right?  Aren't veggie burgers those sad, tasteless, poor imitations of the real thing?  Well, maybe.  What if I told you that I found a veggie burger that both meat eaters and vegetarians agree is the real deal, has flavor, and is satisfying?  It's called the Qrunch Burger (not with a C, but with a Q).  Takes about 1 minute in the microwave or 5-10 minutes in the oven, these burgers are full of high quality, whole, natural ingredients that is subtle, but flavorful.  Check out the ingredients below from their 'original' recipe:

Water, Organic Millet, Organic Quinoa, Organic Refined Coconut Oil, Organic Onion, Organic Carrots, Organic Broccoli, Organic Spinach, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt, Organic Arrowroot Starch, Organic Psyllium Seed Powder, Organic Garlic, Organic Sunflower Oil.

How do I like them?  2 slices of toasted whole grain bread, hummus spread on each side, sliced onion, cucumbers or lettuce, sliced red pepper and Sriracha sauce for a little spice.  If you're in a pinch for dinner, this burger's precooked (just keep frozen) and it's ready in just a few!

The question is, where to find these burgers?  Click here for a list of grocers from the Qrunch website.  However, while my local Whole Foods doesn't carry them, my local Mom's Organic does, so it may vary per your locale. 

Any way you slice it, if you're open to trying something new, this veg burger may just have what it takes, to make it on to your plate!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

P.S. I have no affiliation and receive no compensation from Qrunch. 

Delicious Thai Red Curry Recipe with Brown Rice!

Just made this delicious Thai Red Curry Recipe and wanted to share!  I cooked brown rice instead of white rice for a heartier meal and higher nutritional value.  Click here to view the recipe. 

Yours in Great Health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Certified Personal Trainer

Can a Pecan Pie bar pack both flavor and health in one wrapper? Check out my review...

Looking for a sweet and healthy snack idea?  Try the Pecan Pie bar from Lara Bar!  Why do I like this bar?  It's simple, tasty, natural and healthy with only three ingredients (dates, almonds and pecans)!  I love products that are made of whole, natural ingredients and you won't do much better than this.  A healthy source of carbs for energy (from the dates), healthy fats (from the nuts), and fiber (from the dates and nuts), this bar has balance.  Protein is on the lower side at 3 grams, but this bar isn't trying to be a high protein bar, and the nuts help to keep you satisfied like a protein bar would.  Lastly, this bar is moderate in calories (220) which will help keep you satisfied between meals, but not too full.  Whether you choose to have a handful of nuts with a fruit or grab this bar instead, either would be a great choice for a snack!

Disclosure:  I have never received compensation from the Lara Bar company. 

Yours in great health!

Kevin Scott Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

To measure or not to measure? That is the question!

Need help reaching your weight loss goals?  If so, try measuring your proteins (with a food scale), fats (with measuring spoons), and starches (with either a food scale or measuring cups) whenever possible!  You may be eating more calories than you think and measuring (after cooking) may give you the data you need to get on track with your goals!

Check out these scales from Amazon that run only about $10-15!  I recently bought one for $15.00 and it works great!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Personal Trainer

 

 

How to achieve your health goals with the 3 P's of success?

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Follow the 3 P's of Success!  Plan all meals and snacks for the workday and weekend in advance.  Prepare your food or buy your meals and snacks within your calorie goals. Keep it simple.  I can pack all my food for the workday (except dinner which I eat at home) in about 20 minutes.  Pack your meals and snacks anytime you are out of the house for more than 2 hours!  By using the 3 P's of success, watch your health and nutrition vastly improve!  P.S., don't forget to use the bonus P (Practice)!  The more you practice, the easier it gets!  By the way, if you slip, no big deal!  Next meal or snack get back on track!

How often should you weigh yourself for maximum weight loss?

Are you trying to lose weight and not sure if you should weigh yourself, and if so, how often?  Here are a few options to consider:

1. Some avoid weighing themselves

Some patients report that weighing themselves can be discouraging or upsetting, so they avoid the scale and prefer instead to monitor how their clothes fit or how they look.  This is understandable.  Why weigh yourself if it only discourages you from staying on course?  However, while this strategy can work for some individuals, there are some pitfalls.  While not weighing yourself will reduce the ups and downs that accompany your weight changes, it can be difficult to accurately detect changes in weight in the range of 2-5 lbs and for some 10 lbs or more by clothes or appearance alone.  Why is this a problem?  If a person weighs themselves more frequently, they may be able to detect weight gains sooner, look to identify the causes, and make changes to correct.  I'd rather try and correct a 3 lb weight gain than a 5 or 10 lb.  I once met a new patient who hadn't weighed themselves in 6 months.  They'd gained 20 lbs prior to us meeting and had no idea!  This may be an extreme example, but for some, whether it be 3, 5, or 10 lbs or more, it's best to catch weight gain as early as possible (such as 2-3 lbs) and more frequent weighing may help. On the other hand, if someone can manage their weight without weighing themselves and use their appearance or the fit of clothing alone, more power to them. 

2. Some weigh themselves once per week

Others prefer to weigh themselves more often, approximately once per week.  The benefit of this approach is that it allows them to recognize smaller weight gains, take action, and reverse course.  In addition, if they lost weight, they'll be encouraged to stay on track with their weight loss program.  For many, this is a tried and true method that helps them monitor their weight on a regular basis, avoid the ups and downs of more frequent weighing, and correct minor weight changes over the week. 

3.  Some weigh daily or most days of the week

What is the main benefit of daily weighing or most days of the week?  Daily weighing can quickly cue a patient to the cause of a weight change, up or down.  For example, if a person notices an approximately 1/2-1 lb weight gain each morning after eating higher calorie take out or dinner out the night before, then it may provide the motivation to eat out less or eat a little lighter when eating out.  On the flip side, if a person weighs only once per week, less often, or not at all, it may be harder to zero in on the exact cause of the weight gain, particularly over a seven day period or more.  A morning weight allows some relatively instant feedback.  Now, if a patient tells me that they get discouraged with daily or frequent weighing, we will reduce the patient self weighing to less often or only in my office.  The key to reaching your weight loss goal is to find nutritional and behavioral strategies that work and self weighing more frequently can be a great tool for some, whether once per week, most days of the week, or daily!  Last but not least, don't forget to write down your weights and the date taken to have a written log (computer, phone or paper), to kept accurate record keeping!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN