Fiber, Fiber, Fiber!

Most Americans are not getting enough fiber in their diets. The average adult only eats 15 grams/day, but did you know the recommendation for males is 38 grams/day and women 25g/day? Here are some great facts on fiber from Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD.

In order to add more fiber to your diet, it’s important to add more plant based foods to your diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts. Avoiding refined grains — such as white flour, white pasta, and white rice — and replacing them with whole grains is a great way to boost the amount of fiber in your diet.

Soluble fiber is found in beans, peas, lentils, oatmeal, oat bran, nuts, seeds, psyllium, apples, pears, strawberries, and blueberries. Soluble fiber is associated with lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, and a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, wheat bran, nuts, seeds, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, nuts, grapes, and tomatoes.  One of the benefits of insoluble fiber is that it helps keep you regular, prevents constipation, and reduces the risk of diverticular disease.

Here is a sample healthy meal packed with nutrients and 37 grams of fiber:

  • Breakfast: whole-grain bran flake cereal (5 grams of fiber), half a banana (1.5 grams of fiber), and skim milk.
  • Snack: 24 almonds (3.3 grams of fiber) and a quarter cup of raisins (1.5 grams of fiber)
  • Lunch: Turkey sandwich made with 2 slices of whole wheat bread, lettuce, and tomato (5 grams of fiber), and an orange (3.1 grams of fiber)
  • Snack: Yogurt with half a cup of blueberries (2 grams of fiber)
  • Dinner: Grilled fish with a salad of romaine lettuce and shredded carrots (2.6 grams of fiber), half a cup of spinach (2.1 grams of fiber), and half a cup of lentils (7.5 grams of fiber)
  • Snack: 3 cups popped popcorn (3.5 grams of fiber)

7 Ways to Add More Fiber

Here are seven more ways to add fiber to your diet:

  1. Start your day with a whole-grain cereal that contains at least 5 grams of fiber. Look at the list of ingredients to be sure the whole grain (such as whole wheat, whole rye, or whole oats) is first on the list.
  2. Read labels and choose foods with at least a few grams of fiber per serving. A good source of fiber contains 2.5-4.9 grams of fiber per serving. An excellent source has 5 grams or more per serving.
  3. Use whole-grain breads with at least 2-3 grams of fiber per slice for sandwiches.
  4. Choose whole fruit over juice. Whole fruit can have as much as twice the amount of fiber as a glass of juice.
  5. Toss beans into your soups, stews, egg dishes, salads, chili, and Mexican dishes. Substitute beans for meat in at least one vegetarian meal per week.
  6. Experiment with international cuisines (such as Indian or Middle Eastern) that use whole grains and beans in main dishes.
  7. Make snacks count as opportunities to enjoy foods high in fiber. For instance, snack on raw vegetables with bean dip or hummus.


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Back To School Tips For Parents

We are getting closer to the school season starting again, believe it or not! Here are some healthful tips to keep you and your children on track..

  1. Stock up on basics: Peanut butter and jelly is a great brown bag lunch staple, so why not stock up? Peanut butter usually stays dry and fresh for a year and most sales are in August.
  2. Schedule play time before homework time: Children need to get physical activity before they get their brains active. After being in school all day, it’s best to let them play and then go on to finish their homework!
  3. Make a cup of tea: An Australian study found that drinking passion fruit herbal tea increases sleep quality, so share a cup with your children after dinner.
  4. Let the kids play chef: In order for kids to be comfortable around nutritious food at an early age, parents need to make healthy eating fun.
  5. Take a morning breather: Each weekday morning, find time to connect with your children to release them from any stress or anxiety they may be going through. Or, simply spend and enjoy an extra few minutes with them!
  6. Celebrate the first day of school: Make your family’s favorite breakfast in the morning or go out for ice cream after school. Make the first day a celebration rather than something to dread.
  7. Choose brain food, not junk food: A late night healthy snack that children can enjoy is frozen fruit. Freezing yogurt and a combination of fresh fruits on a Popsicle stick makes a delicious treat!
  8. Figure out meals in advance: Track down the school’s menu for the week ahead and decide what meals are okay to eat and what days you should pack a lunch.
  9. Practice what you preach: Often times, we don’t think children are looking at the way parents take care of themselves. Children look up to their parents– and the way they eat and exercise can have a big impact on what they think is wrong or right.
  10. Don’t emotionally grocery shop: Make sure your children don’t talk you into buying something that isn’t the healthiest option or what you had in mind to buy. Make a list before shopping and make sure to only buy what is on that list!

Classmates comparing lunchesRead more: Back to School Ideas – School Tips for Parents
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Don’t Be Fooled By Food Labels!

Many of us overlook nutrition labels on the back of products we consume because we either don’t want to take the time, don’t care what we are putting into our bodies, or don’t understand how to read them! Here are some helpful tips to reading labels that might surprise you!

  • Most of us overlook liquid calories, so you might not notice that Arizona Green Tea (yes, the cans that are usually 99 cents) has THREE serving sizes within ONE can. And to top it off, it also contains 12 teaspoons of sugar in just one can!
  • Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels contains 3 servings per bag as well! If you finish one bag, you have also finished about 1/3 of your carbohydrates you need in an entire day. Stick to the serving size: 20 pretzels!
  • You wouldn’t eat 4 apples in one sitting– but that’s the caloric equivalent of what’s in a bag of Seneca Crispy Apple Chips! These apple chips have the same caloric count of a bag of potato chips with even more added sugar!
  • You could eat two whole oranges for the calories that are in Sunkist Mandarin Oranges. These oranges are sitting in pear juice concentrate which is more added sugar!
  • Blue Bunny Personals Premium Ice Cream may be a bit confusing having the name “personals” in it. If you eat the entire product, you will be eating 16g of fat, and 15% more calories than a Haagen-Dazs dark-chocolate-covered vanilla ice-cream bar. Share this “personal” ice cream another person!

Do any of these surprise you?

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Health Food Fakes

Some foods are labeled very well to make us think that what we are eating is healthy for us! However, sometimes you wouldn’t believe how much sugar, calories, carbohydrates etc. you might actually be taking in without even knowing it! Here are some tricky foods to look out for thanks to Molly Kimball, Registered Dietitian in New Orleans:

  • Pretzels: You might as well call  them white bread. The main ingredients in Rold Gold pretzels, for example, are enriched wheat flour (translation: white flour). The stats of a single 1-ounce handful of pretzels (110 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber) are nearly identical to two slices of plain old white bread. And don’t be fooled by pretzels that appear to be whole grain; most really aren’t.
  • Post Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch: Whole grain flakes may be the first ingredient, but sugar in some form (e.g. honey, corn syrup, brown sugar) shows up on the ingredient list 11 different times.
  • Flavored Yogurt: flavored yogurt can easily pack in the equivalent of as much as seven sugar packets!! Instead, buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit to it!
  • Granola: They may provide us with some whole grains, but most types of granola and granola bars are filled with added sugar – and a half-cup serving of some types of granola can pack in 300-plus calories – more than a McDonald’s hamburger or a Hershey Bar.
  • Fiber bars:  The bulk of the fiber is from chicory root (also referred to as inulin, is a fiber isolated from the chicory root plant that hasn’t been shown to have the same health benefits that we’ve come to expect from fiber-rich foods like beans and oats.)
  • Protein bars: There are tons of protein bars that, while they may be high in protein, also have just as much sugar, if not more! Be sure to read your labels!

For more information: labels


Tasty Summer Treat Ideas

Are you looking to keep the weight off, but yet enjoy summer snacks during the heat? Here are some healthy options to choose from..


  • Smoothie: Aim for adding fresh fruit, ice, and non-fat yogurt if needed. Some places use ice cream or full-fat yogurt or add whole milk and high-sugar fruit juice, so make sure to ask or simply, make your own!
  • Iced coffee: While the coffee itself isn’t high in calories, everything added to it can quickly turn into a high calorie beverage! Save calories by opting for low-fat milk, skipping the whip cream and choosing the smallest size.
  • Frozen Yogurt: The new trendy, frozen yogurt places opening up can quickly add up to a high calorie treat! In order to keep it healthy– aim for low-fat yogurts and stick with healthier toppings like a variety of fruits or nuts.
  • Frozen fruit bars: You can buy these in a grocery store. They are a quick, already portioned, frozen treat that are about 70 calories each and aren’t too high in sugar!
  • Frozen grapes: If you haven’t tried freezing your grapes before, I suggest you give it a try! This is definitely a refreshing, healthy snack on a hot day!
  • Frozen banana bites dipped in chocolate: Craving chocolate and you like bananas? This is a perfect summer snack for everyone! Just be sure to watch your portions.
  • Grilled Pineapple: An easy recipe with only 4 ingredients: 1 20-oz can of Pineapple chunks in pineapple juice, 3 bananas, 1 lemon, and 7 skewers you can make 7 servings of a delicious treat! Instructions: Drain pineapple and slice bananas into small pieces (the same size as the pineapple). Stick pieces onto skewers and place on a plate. Squeeze lemon juice over the sticks, cover, and store in refrigerator until ready to grill. Grill at medium heat, turning every 2 minutes until slightly charred (5-7 minutes). Dust with cinnamon and enjoy! Can be served hot or room temperature.
  • Snap Peas and Warm Goat CheeseAn easy snack with only 2 ingredients: 10 snap peas and 1 oz. of goat cheese. Instructions: Melt goat cheese in microwave for 10 seconds. Be careful not to overheat because the cheese will separate. Dip snap peas in goat cheese one at a time and enjoy! You can also use this warm dip with celery, carrots, and pretty much any veggie imaginable!
  • Mango Parfait: Top plain Greek yogurt with chunks of fresh mango and a couple of tablespoons of granola.
  • Strawberry Cheesecake BitesCut out the leaves and stems of 20 strawberries and fill each berry with the cream cheese mixture. Then, roll the tops of the berries in Graham cracker crumbs.



What are some of your favorite summer time treats?

How Do I Save Money & Eat Healthy?

Here are some wonderful tips by to keep your meals cheap and healthy at the same time! We all sometimes feel like we can’t afford the healthier items in a grocery store, but with careful planning.. we certainly can!

  • Start buying in bulk — Example: bagged apples are cheaper than individual apples
  • Keep a list & plan ahead — Budget experts say that making a list and sticking to it can help save you hundreds of a dollars a year on your grocery store bill.
  • Look for the healthy deals — Dried beans, nuts, whole grains, lean meats and dairy, and herb products and produce are items that you’ll want to stock up on when a sale occurs in your local store. Meats and whole grain products can be easily frozen for use at a later date.
  • Buy generic: You most likely won’t be able to tell the difference between brand name or a generic version!
  • Make sure to sign up for a store card! You never know when you will receive sales from using it!
  • Do not give into buying anything conveniently ready for you (ex. pre-sliced) it will always be more expensive!
  • You can always freeze food items, so instead of making a food item go bad.. make more and get creative on how to use it for different recipes!


Need Some Flavor In Your Water?

A lot of people I talk to have trouble drinking water without any flavor.. and I don’t blame them! Our taste buds like a little flavor, but there are healthier ways to add this flavor rather than buying flavored waters, drinking sports drinks, relying on soda to fill the need of flavor in our beverages. Here are some tips to adding NATURAL flavors to our water!

You will need…

-1-2 liters’ of water, depending on how strong you want it to taste
-Part of 1 watermelon or 1 cucumber
-1 lemon or lime
-A handful of fresh mint leaves (approximately 10-13)
-Ice cubes

Slice up a good amount of watermelon into cubes, rind and all, and put them into a jug or pitcher. Cut 1 juicy lime into wedges and toss in with the watermelon. Add a handful of fresh, fragrant, mint leaves and pour in 2 liters of cool water, filling the jug all the way to the top. Let this sit overnight in the fridge and let all the yummy flavors steep and infuse the water. When you want to drink it, put in a generous helping of ice cubes, pour, and enjoy daily.

Remember: You can always substitute a fruit or a vegetable depending on your own taste! You don’t have to follow this recipe step by step, this is just to give you an idea of how great you can make your water taste.. and look!

Doesn’t this look refreshing?


Summer Snack.. A Must!

Looking for a new, healthy recipe for the summer?

Are you a peanut butter fanatic?

Than you must try this creamy peanut butter dip!

    • Take one 5.3-ounce container of nonfat Oikos Greek Vanilla yogurt.
    • Mix in two tbsp. peanut butter (I prefer crunchy), 1/2 tbsp. honey, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.
    • Serve with slices of apple, banana, and pear. Store unused portion in the fridge.

Makes four, two-tbsp. servings. Each serving contains 66 calories, 3.75 grams of fat, .5 grams of saturated fat, .75 grams of fiber, and 5.5 grams of protein.

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