Eat well, Live well

Get a Jump Start on Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution

Get a Jump Start on Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution

Dietitian Tips to Get You Through the Holidays and Beyond! It’s no secret that the holiday season can be a challenging time if you are actively trying to make healthier food choices and/or lose weight. Or maybe you are planning on a fresh healthier start in the New Year. Whatever your plans, I encourage you not to put your health goals on hold until 2016. It IS possible to enjoy the coming weeks while keeping your health in mind, and there is no time like the present to start practicing healthier eating habits! This time of year our normal routines get thrown off by the hustle and bustle of the season, there are numerous celebrations with friends, family, and co-workers, and there are displays of tempting seasonal foods at the grocery store.  Even for dietitians like myself it is sometimes hard to follow my own advice of balance and moderation (especially when I am faced with a wedge of double cream brie…yummm!). Here are my top three tips for healthy eating during the holidays, but the principles below are relevant to healthy eating habits all year round! I have also provided a favorite recipe of mine that has been a hit with customers, Hannaford associates, community groups, and even on football Sundays! • Set up your environment for success. As hard as it can be to resist the seasonal foods in the grocery store, they are even more difficult to resist when they are in your house! Be mindful about what foods you bring into your home and try to not to rely solely on willpower; it is finite. Instead of keeping holiday treats in the house at all times, buy them for a gathering where you know they will be shared with multiple people. Furthermore, try to avoid making candy a Christmas decoration. People can easily swipe a few pieces every time they go by the bowl and end up taking in excess calories without even noticing. Alternatively, put out bowl of clementine oranges, grapes, or apples to encourage healthy snacking. • Prepare yourself for potlucks. Firstly, have a nutritious snack or small meal before heading to your next party. By doing this, you won’t arrive feeling famished and overeat. Secondly, browse the buffet before you dish up. Take a minute to scout out the options and decide what you really want and what items you can do without. Lastly, make your contribution a healthy one. Bring a veggie platter, fruit salad, or healthy dip (hint: recipe below!) and you can rest assured there will be at least one item there that won’t bust your calorie budget! •Balance your (smaller) plate! Keep MyPlate (choosemyplate.gov) in mind when dishing yourself up: make ½ your plate veggies and fruit, ¼ grains, ¼ protein foods and round it out with some low-fat dairy! By filling our plates with mostly fruits and veggies, we get more nutrition for less calories overall. Using a small plate might be a tip that many people have heard before but it really works! Filling a small plate with food tricks our brains and is more satisfying that a large plate with the same amount of food. Need a quick and easy recipe for your next holiday potluck? I have a sneaky feeling this tasty veggie dip will disappear out of the bowl faster than you can say: “nutritious is delicious!” Spinach Dip Serves: 8 Ingredients: •    I pkg frozen chopped spinach •    ½ teaspoon McCormick® Oregano Leaves •    2 tablespoons McCormick® Parsley Flakes •    ½ cup green onions, chopped •    ¼ cup Hellmann’s® Light Mayonnaise •  ...

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Breakfast can set the tone for the whole day

Breakfast can set the tone for the whole day

  Hello! Greetings to all Maine dairy lovers! My name is Andrea Paul and I am a Registered Dietitian with Hannaford Supermarkets in Augusta and Gorham, Maine. Since this is my first blog article for the Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council, I’ve decided to write about the first meal of the day – breakfast! We’ve all heard many times before; breakfast is the “most important meal of the day”. The reason this phrase has stuck is because it’s very true. In this article, I will explain why breakfast is so important, as well as share a favorite recipe for quick and healthy breakfasts. One of the first questions I ask people who want advice on making their diets healthier is: “Do you eat breakfast?”. The answers/excuses I often get are “I don’t have time”, “I don’t have an appetite in the morning” or “just coffee”. You wouldn’t try to drive to work without gas in the tank, right? So why do we zip off for the day without fueling our bodies? A healthy diet and eating pattern should always include eating something before you head off for the day. Eating breakfast leads to all kinds of positive effects; improved energy levels and focus, stable blood sugar, easier to resist less healthy foods, and improving metabolism. Furthermore, because of these positive effects, eating breakfast is also linked to maintaining a healthyb ody weight. Granted, the mornings are a hectic time for most people. Besides getting themselves up and dressed, many people are responsible for getting children ready and out the door, not to mention walking the dog, feeding the cat, and just generally getting organized for the day. But, getting that last 10 minutes of sleep instead of eating something probably isn’t going to give you extra energy you need. Consuming something in the morning helps get glucose (aka energy) into our blood stream, raising our blood sugar and giving us a boost of energy after a night of fasting (because we don’t eat when we’re asleep). Alternatively, not eating breakfast means that our bodies will burn other fuel sources, like muscle protein to keep us going, as well as slow down our metabolism to conserve energy. If you’re someone without an appetite in the AM, I encourage you to try to eat something within an hour of waking up. It doesn’t have to be big – a granola bar, piece of fruit or toast is fine. Obviously, that’s not enough to fuel you until lunch time, so I suggest eating something a bit more substantial with a couple hours when you’re feeling a bit hungrier. You might find that with time, you do have an appetite in the morning. Below you’ll find a favorite recipe of mine that works really well for mornings because you make it ahead of time, reheat, and you’re off! Bonus: It’s nutritious AND delicious (one of my favorite sayings!). It incorporates multiple foods groups in one dish, including dairy, whole grains, and fruit, and it delicious served warmed up with milk, or cold with yogurt or plain. I hope you like it! Banana Blueberry Baked Oatmeal Serves: 4 Prep Time: 40 minutes (15 mins prep, 25 mins cooking) Ingredients: 1 extra-ripe banana 1 cup blueberries 1 large egg 1 cup skim milk 2 tablespoon maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar 1 ½ cup rolled oats 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ½ tsp cinnamon ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional) Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 350° Spray 8×8 inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Mash bananas in a bowl, add egg milk, sugar, and walnuts. Mix until combined. In a separate bowl, mix oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir until combined. Fold in...

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Christmas gifts from the heart

Christmas gifts from the heart

You know what people really like for Christmas? They like a gift that tells them you listen to them, that you pay attention to them. It doesn’t have to be something big; it just has to come from a big heart. Homemade hot chocolate, a mug that screams, “AUNT CINDY,” a lovely bow, and boom! Another relative checked off your list. But here’s how you make it real special. What does Aunt Cindy like? Dark chocolate? Chocolate on top of chocolate? Ginger? Peppermint? Chocolate caramel? Personalize the hot chocolate. Me, just in case anyone needs a last minute gift for me … dark chocolate with crystallized ginger. Mix cocoa powder and sugar at a 1:1 ratio. If you are using a pint Mason jar, that would be 1 cup cocoa powder and 1 cup sugar. Chop up a dozen or so chunks of crystallized ginger into much smaller chunks and mix it all together. Make a cute little tag, instructing them to use one spoonful of cocoa with every cup of milk. If your loved one likes their chocolate on the sweeter side, many hot chocolate recipes call for 2 cups of sugar (powdered sugar mixes in better, but you can use any kind) to 1 cup of cocoa powder. Other ideas for personalizing your hot chocolate mix – crushed candy canes, their favorite candy bar (a Heath bar would be AWESOME), pieces of milk chocolate or dark chocolate, those little chocolate cups with caramel in them, butterscotch candies. Really anything that will melt or dissolve would work (that is edible of course). People always appreciate gifts you make. Even if it’s not that good, they will appreciate the effort. You know what else people appreciate? Butter. Butter makes everything better. And butter is super easy to make, not as easy as buying it in the store, but still pretty easy. Even the kids can help. You can make it in a butter churn if you happen to have one hanging around, or a blender, but I kind of think that’s cheating. The easiest way is making it in a mason jar. One quart of heavy cream equals 1 pound of butter and 2 cups of buttermilk. The cream should be at room temperature. Fill your Mason jar half full of cream, put the lid on, and then shake, shake, shake. It’ll take about 15 minutes of steady shaking. You’ll see it get thicker, like whipped cream, and then all the sudden there will be a gob of yellow and a cloudy liquid. The yellow gob is butter, the liquid is buttermilk. Pour off the buttermilk (save it for baking). You will have to rinse the butter and squeeze it to get the excess buttermilk out.  To make it extra fancy, add some honey or maple syrup. Put it in a nice little basket with a jar of jam and a loaf of bread or warm biscuits or scones.     Here’s a recipe for Cranberry Scones, but you can switch out the cranberries for almost anything. Aunt Cindy would like chocolate chips.     2 cups flour (I used Maine buckwheat) 2 eggs 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup (one stick) butter 8 oz whole cranberries Bake at 325 for 15-20 mins. Speaking of baskets. Who doesn’t have a cheese lover in their family? Maine has a number of excellent cheesemakers using Maine milk. Maine Cheese Guild at mainecheeseguild.org and the Get Real. Get Maine! site at getrealmaine.com would both be resources for finding local cheeses. And most major grocery stores in Maine carry cheeses from...

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Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating

Many of us set health and nutrition goals as part of our New Year’s resolutions, but rather than making ourselves follow a list of oppressive and restrictive rules about what we can and cannot eat, why not just think before we eat. Ask ourselves – Am I hungry or am I just bored or stressed? Do I know anything about where my food came from, how it was processed? What is really in it? Rather than reaching for the third baggie of that 100-calorie snack, make calorie choices that give you optimal nutrition and will leave you feeling full. One rule, that’s all – Think before you eat.  By Kelly Koss Student in the Food Sciences and Human Nutrition graduate program at UMO Have you ever found yourself eating a quick breakfast in your car on the way to work? Are your snacks consumed in a hurry before you have the chance to sit down and enjoy it at a table? Do you catch yourself reaching into the candy bowl on your coworker’s desk even though you aren’t hungry? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you have experienced mindless eating. In our fast-paced living and working environment where convenience is king, it is no wonder so many Americans find themselves not giving much thought as to what, where, and why they are eating. This thoughtless way of eating is dangerous, because it often leads to overeating and excessive weight gain. Consider what you are eating: In order to eat mindfully, it is necessary to understand what foods are good for our health. A healthy diet includes a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Choose whole grains like oats, barley, rice and whole wheat bread. Lean meat and protein sources should be selected, such as fish, skinless chicken, tree nuts, beans and tofu. When cooking, use healthy sources of fat, including olive oil or canola oil. Last, but absolutely not least, non-fat or low-fat dairy, including milk, cheese and yogurt, can provide a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D and other essential nutrients. These foods support our bodies with the nutrients necessary to grow and stay healthy. Good sources of fiber, healthy fat and high-quality protein can also keep us feeling full and satisfied longer. Mindful eating involves considering how the food we choose to eat is produced and its effect on the lives of all those involved in the growing, processing, packaging and transporting of food. An easy method is choosing local food. Purchasing local food at farmers’ markets, winter markets and grocery stores supports Maine farmers, offers an opportunity to learn where and how the food was grown, and can foster a sense of community. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association has identified 20 foods that can be produced locally and are available year round including blueberries, potatoes, carrots, beets, milk, cheese, seafood, dry beans, maple syrup and wheat.   Consider where you are eating:                 The best place to enjoy a meal or a snack is sitting down at a table with minimal distractions aside from a pleasant conversation with your family or a friend. Unfortunately, this may rarely be the location of choice. Brian Wansink is a professor and researcher at Cornell University and has conducted many studies regarding the factors influencing what we eat, how much we eat and why we eat. In his book, “Mindless Eating,” Dr. Wansink describes diet danger zones including parties, restaurants, desks and dashboards. In these environments it is easy to mindlessly overeat. The food table at parties is always enticing. Dimmed lighting...

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Fill your plate the right way

With the introduction of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the long-referenced food pyramid was replaced with MyPlate to help consumers put those guidelines into action and make healthier food choices. The shape may have shifted from a pyramid to a plate, but the message remains the same: <b>dairy is an important part of every meal</b>. It’s a fact: low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt are nutrient-rich food choices, and whether they are in the glass or on the plate, the dairy group contributes essential nutrients to every meal. The <i>MyPlate</i> tool is a great reminder of how important and easy it is to get a serving of low-fat or fat-free dairy at every meal, which is a good way to meet the recommended daily servings: 3 cups for those 9 and older 2 ½ cups for those ages 4-8 2 cups for those ages 2-3 The DGA say that most Americans are lacking in 4 major nutrients:  vitamin D, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber. Lucky for you that milk happens to be the #1 source for three of those four—vitamin D, calcium and potassium! So, add one more serving of dairy each day to help fill in those nutrient gaps, and enjoy the delicious taste in the process! Further Resources 30 Days of Dairy Nutrient-Rich Foods Navigation: Enjoying Nutrient-Rich Foods First (PDF) Seven Ways to Size Up the Servings(PDF) Nutrient Rich Shopping Service Daily Dash Diary. To find out more about <i>MyPlate</i> and how it can help change the way you and your family eat, visit their website <a title=”choosemyplate.gov” href=”http://www.choosemyplate.gov”> www.choosemyplate.gov</a>...

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Bone Health Information

Bone Health Information

Bone up on dairy – Download this Information Sheet (PDF) Vitamin D – Calcium’s Bone Building Partner and More – Download this Information Sheet (PDF)

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