Fall is my favorite season! Cooler weather, colorful leaves, sweaters, scarves and delicious seasonal food items are some of the reasons why I love fall. Several fall items offer amazing nutrition benefits. Here are a few foods that you should be sure to enjoy this season:
In addition to being great for fall décor, pumpkin is a great source of nutrition. Pumpkin is delicious when added to soups, smoothies and cookies.
Great source of beta-carotene. Beta carotene is an important antioxidant that is converted into vitamin A.
Contains beneficial dietary fiber. It can be very difficult to consume adequate dietary fiber every day. Pumpkin contains approximately 7 grams of fiber per cup!
Also provides vitamin E and iron. Vitamin E keeps your immune system working efficiently and protects your cells from damage. Iron also supports a healthy immune system.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”! Apples not only taste great but are also a great source of nutrition. Try making homemade applesauce in the crockpot :)
One medium apple provides approximately 4 grams of dietary fiber.
Apples contain vitamin C, which helps boost our immune system.
Sweet potatoes can be prepared in so many different ways…mashed, baked, fried or roasted. Remember to limit the sugar and marshmallows you add to this nutritious food!
A medium sweet potato provides 400% of your daily vitamin A needs.
Also a great source of fiber and potassium.
These are just a few of the many nutritious fall foods that I love. Try to incorporate these foods into your meal planning. The more color you can add to your plate, the better!!
Hello there! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing weekend!
Let’s talk a little bit about breakfast. Most of us start our days off in a rush to get to work or other commitments on time. The crazy rush of mornings can make it difficult to routinely eat a healthy breakfast. Unfortunately, skipping breakfast is not a good habit for your health.
While we sleep, our bodies continue to use energy for basic needs such as breathing. When we wake up, our bodies have been fasted for several hours and it is important to break the fast and give our bodies fuel. Typically, we need to eat something every few hours during waking hours to keep our bodies fueled. When we sleep, we fast for 8+ hours (in an ideal world where everyone is getting enough sleep). This is long time for the body to go without fuel!
Research shows that eating breakfast can have several positive effects on our overall health. One benefit is weight management. Our metabolism slows down while we sleep, so jump starting the metabolism first thing in the morning can help people achieve weight loss or weight maintenance. In my experience as a RD, when patients start eating breakfast, they have increased weight loss.
Another huge benefit of eating breakfast is improved concentration throughout the day. Research shows that eating breakfast can boost our brain power for the day. It can improve concentrIon and memory. One likely explanation for this is blood sugar control. After fasting for 8+ hours, our blood sugar is lower in the morning. Symptoms of low blood sugar can include inability to concentrate, low energy levels and grogginess. Eating a balanced breakfast can improve these symptoms.
Now that we know breakfast is important…what are some good examples of balanced breakfast meals?!?
Share your favorite breakfast meal in the comments! And, in my next post I’ll share some of my favorite balanced breakfast meals :)
Hi there! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Today I am going to talk a little bit about fitting in physical activity. The idea for this post was triggered from my hiking experience this weekend!
Okay, so everyone knows that regular physical activity is good for us! But, I think a lot of people still have the misconception that physical activity has to be one certain thing such as running on the treadmill in a gym. I have friends, coworkers, patients and family members tell me how much they hate exercising all the time. My response is always “why don’t you pick an activity that you enjoy doing instead of whatever it is you hate??!”. The more we participate in activities that we truly enjoy, the more we will truly enjoy exercising. And, one very important benefit of exercise is the positive effect it can have on mood and mental health. :)
This weekend my husband and I went on a hike. The weather was perfect, and the scenery was beautiful. Our hike ended up being about 2.5 hours long. I was definitely feeling the burn in my legs by the end of it. My husband hikes all the time, but I am not an avid hiker. So, hiking isn’t at the top of my list of ways to fit in regular activity. But, I really enjoyed it! And, I definitely want to start doing it more often. It felt good to get outside and be active without really thinking of it as “exercise”.
I am a very routine driven person. One part of my weekly routine is to attend a group fitness class on Saturday mornings (which I love)! But, I am so glad that I took the opportunity to enjoy a different type of activity this weekend.
This week, try to challenge yourself to get out and try a new activity. If you are not currently enjoying the activities you are participating in, find something totally different. It’s a bonus if you can do it while spending time with friends and family!
Here are a few ideas:
1. Hiking (bet you didn’t see that coming)
2. Dance classes
3. Walks with friends
5. Group fitness classes
Let me know what activities you have tried! Have a great week!
Hi there! Today, I am going to share some of the most common questions I get asked by my patients. As a registered dietitian, I see patients for a wide variety of reasons. Diabetes, pre-diabetes, weight loss, renal disease, unintentional weight loss and food allergies are some of the many visit types I encounter on a day to day basis. I have found that some questions come up more often than others. Here are some of the common questions with a brief response for each.
1. “What is the best diet for weight loss/weight management??”
This is a tough one! I wish I had a magic answer because I would be the most successful/popular dietitian around! Unfortunately, there is no magic trick for weight loss. Each person is different. I always recommend a balanced diet focused on including the different food groups using the MyPlate method. This method also focuses on portion control, which is important for weight management. Another important aspect of weight loss and weight management is regular physical activity. Mindful eating is another important part of obtaining or maintaining a healthy weight. Listening to your body is key.
2. “Do I have to exercise? I hate exercising!”
This is something I hear almost everyday! The key to staying on track with an exercise plan is to find something you like to do. I think people tend to think of exercise as a chore rather than something fun. The more enjoyable you make exercising, the more beneficial it will be for you! If you hate to run, don’t run! Choose something else. Personally, I love group fitness classes. I try to include group fitness classes every week because I enjoy them. I have some patients that absolutely hate working out with other people, so I would never suggest that they start taking group fitness classes.
Physical activity has many benefits beyond helping with weight loss. It can reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease, strengthen muscles and bones, reduce stress and improve overall mental health. Pick something you enjoy and think of the positive impact the activity has on your health!
3. “What time of day is the best time to exercise?”
My answer to this question is, WHENEVER WORKS BEST FOR YOU!! There is a lot of research about what time of day is the best for engaging in physical activity. Some studies show that you will burn more calories first thing in the morning. However, the most important thing is that you fit in exercise regularly. You will get the most benefit from exercise at whatever time best fits with your schedule. Some people love to get up at 4:00am to workout and others cannot imagine doing anything besides sleeping at that hour of the day. This goes back to my previous answer about exercise. The more enjoyable you can make it, the better! This includes picking the time of day when you find the most enjoyment in your workout of choice.
4. “I can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables, are canned or frozen okay?”
Yes!! Most canned/frozen fruits and veggies are processed within hours of being picked, so their nutritive value is preserved. Canned and frozen produce last longer which can be beneficial for people that waste a lot of fresh produce by letting it go bad. When choosing canned or frozen produce, look for products that do not have anything else added to them. Some canned fruit products will have syrup on the label, avoid these and look for fruit that is canned in its own juice. Some frozen veggies will have added cheese or something else added, look for products that are 100% vegetable with nothing added. Also, choose a wide variety of fruits and veggies. The more variety you eat, the more nutrients you are getting!
If anyone has any additional questions, feel free to comment below! Or, if you are a health professional, I would love to hear what questions you commonly hear from your patients.
My niece’s first trip skiing, opening gifts, cross country ski trip, ugly sweater party! It was a fun, busy week!
Today I felt refreshed and ready to start a new week! Sometimes the chaos of the holidays can leave you craving a routine. I woke up early to get prepared for my PiYo class. We had a great class…I already feel it in my legs! Then, I was able to get a massage which was much needed. The knots in my shoulders are temporarily gone!
I go back to work tomorrow! But then have Thursday off for New Years! So it’s still not a full work week!
I will be back this week with a nutrition related post! Happy Monday!
I have met a lot of people that do not have any idea what a dietitian does. After being a dietitian for over two years, I still have some friends/family members that think I help prepare food in the hospital kitchen. Other people think of dietitians as “the food police” that tell people what to eat. I think this misconception has a lot to do with the fact that there are so many areas that a dietitian can choose to work. I thought it would be interesting to talk about what it means to be a dietitian (RD) here on my blog.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a dietitian is a food and nutrition expert. In order to become a registered dietitian, you have to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and complete an accredited dietetic internship which usually lasts about one year. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I completed a combined Master’s program and internship, which is also an option. Immediately after your internship, you are eligible to take the RD exam. If you pass this exam, you are officially a registered dietitian!
Now let’s talk a little bit about the different areas that a dietitian can work. There are many paths that a registered dietitian can take after passing the RD exam. Some dietitians work in the clinical field of dietetics. This includes hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices. I am currently a clinical dietitian. In this field, a dietitian provides medical nutrition therapy to individuals with certain medical conditions. RDs in this field are usually responsible for determining tube feeding formulas and rates and assisting with determining the needs of individuals receiving nutrition through an IV. The RD is also responsible for ensuring that residents or patients are fed a nutritionally appropriate diet at every meal. In this area, a dietitian will likely work with both patients that are hospitalized or in the nursing home and outpatients that are referred to you by medical providers. RDs may also teach group classes that help prevent diabetes, encourage weight loss or teach people the basics of nutrition.
Another area that a dietitian can work is in community nutrition. Dietitians working in this area typically develop programs and teach people in different communities about food and nutrition. This field is very broad and includes many different areas. Working with mothers and children through WIC is one example of what a dietitian might do in this area.
Food service management is another choice for dietitians. If you work in food service management, you could work at several different locations such as school districts, hospitals, prisons, nursing homes or restaurant chains. In this field, the dietitian may be responsible for buying food, creating a budget, designing appropriate menus and ensuring that the kitchen staff adheres to food safety practices. The dietitian may also be responsible for managing kitchen staff or other dietitians. At the hospital where I currently work, one of the dietitians works as a clinical dietitian and is also responsible for overseeing the kitchens at the nursing home and hospital.
These are just a few of the many areas that dietitians work. Other areas include private practice, corporate wellness, military, research, academia, and marketing. One of the perks of being a dietitian is having so many different options for your career path. My favorite part about being a dietitian is being able to help people improve their health through food and nutrition! I think that it is possible for dietitians to help people achieve better health in all of the different career paths they choose.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about what the career path of a dietitian! I plan on doing more posts about the ins and outs of being a dietitian, so if you have any questions, feel free to comment or email me :)
This link will take you to a video that shows some of the different career paths of dietitians:
If you are a dietitian, I would love to hear what area you are currently working in??
Does anyone have any questions about registered dietitians?
Hi there! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We had a great holiday and also celebrated my birthday on Sunday :) I can’t believe it is already December!
I love the idea of fitting in exercise on Thanksgiving morning so that the rest of the day can be spent celebrating with friends and family. Turkey trots and other Thanksgiving day runs have become really popular. Our small town has a turkey trot, but I totally forgot to sign up! :( Sad day! So, my husband and I waited until the weather warmed up and did our own version of a turkey trot. We walked for about an hour and it felt great! Definitely a perfect way to start our day!
After our workout, I started on my crock pot cranberry dish and went to help my mom set the table for dinner. We started dinner at around 7:00 and had all of the staple dishes…turkey, cranberries, potatoes, stuffing, rolls, broccoli and of course pumpkin pie! I tried to take a little bit of everything and enjoyed every bit! I was full and didn’t have seconds but did enjoy leftovers the next day. I have a weird love of leftover turkey with ketchup….odd I know! We had 13 people at dinner this year. It was a great group and we had a lot of fun!
For my birthday, I was treated to Starbucks and breakfast in bed and then spent the day with family! My mom and I went for a brisk walk in 20 degree weather and we finished the day with dinner at a Mexican restaurant! Margaritas and fried ice cream were great birthday treats! I’m excited for the year ahead!
Okay, that’s all I have for today! I’m planning a post explaining what dietitians do and the different areas that a dietitian can work. So, please comment if you have any questions on that topic!
How was your thanksgiving? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish??
For many of us, November is the start of a long, cold winter season. It can be really difficult to stay active in the winter for many reasons. The weather is no longer conducive to outdoor activities and makes it difficult to have the motivation to get out from under your warm blanket! Also, there is a risk of falling and getting injured that comes with the snow and ice of winter. However, all of these things aside, it is very important to stay active in the winter months! The more active you stay in the winter months, the better shape you will be in for the warm months to get outside and explore :)
Here are a few tips to help you keep moving this winter:
1. Make a plan! Think about what activities you will do to stay active and make a specific plan. Maybe you will get a gym membership, buy new workout videos, find an indoor walking route or plan outdoor winter activities like cross country skiing or snow shoeing. When we don’t have a plan, it can be very easy to let the cold weeks/months pass by with little or no activity.
2. Find a friend/group and create a workout challenge. Find someone or a group of people that are interested in staying active with you during the winter months. Challenge each other to meet goals such as 150 minutes of activity per week. Having someone to keep you accountable is so helpful!
3. Dress warm for outdoor activities. Make sure you have plenty of warm clothes on hand so that you are ready to go when outdoor activities arise. Dress in layers!
4. Focus on safety. If you decide to take your workouts outside in the winter, make sure safety is on your mind. You will need shoes with good traction and ankle support to prevent falls. Find a route that is plowed frequently. Also, make sure if you’re body is telling you that you are too cold, listen! Although it is great to go outside in the winter months, some places have dangerous low temperatures that make it unsafe to exercise outside. Do what’s best for your body!
Living in Montana, I am definitely starting to plan how I will stay active this winter. I will be getting a gym membership so that I can attend group fitness classes. I also plan to go cross country skiing with my mom (on days when it’s not bitter cold)! My husband and I still try to go on walks throughout the week in the winter months. The walks do get a little shorter when the temperatures drop too much :)
Hi there! I hope everyone had a great Halloween! We had surprisingly nice weather for the holiday, so we handed out lots of candy to little kids. I was glad that we handed out the majority of the candy that I bought because it was too tempting sitting by the front door :)
Today, I wanted to share one of my new adventures with you guys! I recently started teaching group fitness classes at a local dance studio. This has been a long time goal of mine, and I am so excited to finally make it a reality!
A little history about my experience with teaching fitness classes…I taught group fitness classes when I was in high school at a local assisted living facility! I loved it! The classes were very laid back, and I had a lot of freedom to teach whatever I wanted. I taught four classes/week. Once I graduated high school and went on to college, I stopped teaching. However, I continued to attend group fitness classes all the time. I am definitely more motivated when I have upbeat people working out with me! It took me 3 months to commit to a gym when I moved to Phoenix because I had to try ALL of the different classes first :)
So, last summer I decided to dive back into teaching. I am still researching which group fitness instructor certification I want to get (ACSM/NASM). But in the meantime, I attended a training to become a PiYo instructor. PiYo is an upbeat workout set to fun music that incorporates yoga and Pilates moves. My husband (fiance at the time) and I traveled to Spokane, Washington for the training. The training was amazing! The instructor had so much energy and all of the future instructors were so excited and upbeat. The training was 8 hours long, and we did PiYo for at least 4 hours of that time. I was so sore the next day! We had to teach the group a section of the class in order to receive our certification. I was so excited on the ride home and made my husband listen to PiYo music the whole way (which was over 4 hours)! I’m sure he loved every second of it :)
Now that I was certified to teach PiYo, I had to take the next (much harder) step of actually TEACHING it! I practiced and practiced and thought about continuing to procrastinate but decided I had to start sometime. I don’t think I would have every felt 100% ready to teach my first class. But, I did it and it went great! It was a lot of fun, and the participants seemed to enjoy it. I absolutely love teaching PiYo so far and cannot wait to expand my group fitness training so that I can teach more classes!
Here are a few tips for people thinking about teaching group fitness:
1. Make sure that you enjoy doing the class that you are going to teach! The more you enjoy the class–the more enthusiastic and motivating you will be for your class.
2. You will never feel totally ready to teach your first class, but after a lot of practice, you just need to take the plunge, you will learn and improve as you go.
3. Research certifications that are close to your home! Completing the training boosted my confidence a ton.
4. Be confident! Most of us tend to second guess ourselves but the more confidence you have, the more successful you will be!
Any group fitness instructors out there with more tips to prepare yourself for teaching? What is your favorite group fitness class to take or teach?
Hello there! After a long, unintentional break…I am back! Let me catch you up on what has happened since my last post (which was in January 2014!!). Okay….I planned my wedding (with lots of help from my mom, friends and husband), went to San Diego for a college girls’ trip, became certified to teach PiYo, was the maid of honor in my best friends’ wedding in Colorado, completed a course to become a certified lactation counselor, celebrated my bridal shower (x2), celebrated my bachelorette party, got married, went to Cabo for our honeymoon and returned and tried to get back into a normal routine!! Phewww!! And, in the midst of all of those things were the everyday things like remodeling our house, new projects at work, spending lots of time with my cute little niece and many, many more! So, now that I’m back, I have lots to share with you guys!
Be on the look out this week for some nutrition blog posts. I have some fun posts planned covering topics such as wedding weight loss, getting back to meal planning and much more! Stay tuned!
Here are some photos to sum up the last few months!
What was the highlight of your summer?!
I’m excited to be back to the blog! Let me know if you have any requests for future posts!