Summertime Refreshment – 3 Tips to Stay Hydrated

It’s summertime, which means beach days and outdoor activities. It also means, it’s hot outside! Whether you’re working or playing outside, it’s crucial to stay hydrated.

Here are three tips to stay hydrated:

  1. Drink water – It may sound like a no-brainer, but many people have a hard time meeting their daily quota. A quick estimate of how many ounces of water to consume can be calculated by dividing your weight by two (for example: A 160 pound person would aim to consume 80 ounces). Some tips for increasing your intake: Add sliced lemon, lime, strawberries, oranges, cucumber, or mint for a hint of flavor. Drink sparkling water (non-sweetened), which has been shown to increase water intake.

 

  1. Eat more fruits and veggies – All fresh fruits and vegetables have high water content that can help boost your hydration. They also contain many vitamins and minerals, which aids in better absorption. Here’s some refreshing choices: Cucumbers and iceberg lettuce (96% water); Celery, tomatoes and zucchini (94-95% water); Watermelon, strawberries, broccoli and sweet peppers (92% water); Grapefruit and cantaloupe (90-91% water); Raspberries, pineapple, peaches, and plums (85-87% water)

 

  1. Fresh, Cold-Pressed Juice – Just as described above, fruits and vegetables contain high water content. That means, cold-pressed juices can count toward your daily water intake. Keep in mind, there are calories and sugar in juice. It’s best to choose juices that are mostly vegetables or a combination of fruits and vegetables. Fresh Nation offers a variety of fresh, cold-pressed juices that will keep you refreshed and hydrated this summer.

Enjoy your summer, friends! Stay hydrated and safe.

For questions or comments, contact Stephanie Brust at Stephanie@gofreshnation.com

Three Tips to Dodge Diabetes

Are you at risk?

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose (sugar) or A1C levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The CDC reports 86 million American adults have prediabetes – that’s more than 1 out of 3. Those with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. They also have increased risk for kidney damage.

Unfortunately, since there are typically no signs or symptoms, nine out of ten people with prediabetes don’t know they have it.  The American Diabetes Association recommends testing to detect prediabetes and type 2 diabetes for adults who are overweight or obese and have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
  • Being physically inactive
  • Have high blood pressure or take medication for high blood pressure
  • Have a history of cardiovascular disease
  • Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
  • Are a woman who had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
  • Age 45 years or older

Despite these alarming statistics and broad risk factors, research indicates that individuals can cut their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by more than half through lifestyle modifications.

3 Tips to Prevent Diabetes

Several research studies suggest that lifestyle measures are the best way to dodge diabetes. One of the most significant – The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major clinical research study, found lifestyle modifications reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% over a 3 year period, while the drug metformin reduced risk by 31% overall.

With just a few lifestyle adjustments, prediabetes can be reversible for some individuals, returning their blood glucose levels back to normal. Since there is no cure for diabetes, however, prevention is crucial. The following three tips can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Tip 1: Healthy Eating. The Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, recommends a personalized approach to diabetes management as opposed to a “one size fits all.”  Joslin developed the following basic guidelines for general guidance, however they encourage consulting with a Registered Dietitian for an individualized plan:

  • Carbohydrate: About 40 percent of calories should come from carbohydrates, including at least 20-35 grams of fiber. With the best sources coming from fresh vegetables, fruits, beans and whole-grain foods. Minimize the amount of pasta, white bread, white potatoes, and sugary cereals.
  • Protein: 20-30 percent of calories from protein (unless you have kidney disease). The best sources include fish, skinless chicken or turkey, nonfat or low-fat dairy products, and legumes (beans and peas).
  • Fat: 30-35 percent of calories from fat (mostly mono- and polyunsaturated fats). Best sources include olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and fatty fish like salmon.

Tip 2: Exercise. Physical activity is an important component to any healthy lifestyle. For those with prediabetes, it is especially beneficial. Not only does exercise help lower blood sugar levels, but it aids in weight loss, which is another helpful factor in reducing your risk of developing diabetes.

For the greatest benefit, aim for 60-90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. If you are unable to start there, try to walk briskly for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Again, if that is too challenging to start, just try to be more active throughout the day, such as parking further from the store entrance or taking the stairs.

Tip 3: Weight Loss. If you are overweight, losing 5-10% of your total weight is beneficial for improving insulin sensitivity and regulating glucose control. If you are 200 pounds, for example, then your goal is to lose 10-20 pounds. The Joslin Diabetes Center recommends achieving this goal by losing just one pound every one to two weeks through a reduction of 250 to 500 calories per day.

Additional Resources and Information

You can take an online quiz to find out if you are at risk for prediabetes on the CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov/widgets/prediabetes/html5/iframe.html).

Joslin Diabetes Center: Joslin.org

American Diabetes Association: Diabetes.org

You can also email me personally at Stephanie@gofreshnation.com if you have any questions.

References

American Diabetes Association. (2012, 03 24). All About Prediabetes. Retrieved 03 22, 2015, from American Diabetes Association: professional.diabetes.org/content/PML/All_About_Prediabetes_24dee6ff-cbf0-4a55-80b7-9d5d29de0bd7/All_About_prediabetes.pdf

American Diabetes Association. (2014). Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care , 37, Supplement 1.

Division of Diabetes Translation. (2015, 03 15). Prediabetes: Am I at risk? Retrieved 03 22, 2015, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/prediabetes.htm

Joslin Diabetes Center. (2011, 08 22). Clinical Nutrition Guideline For Overweight and Obese Adults with Type 2 Diabetes, Prediabetes Or Those at High Risk For Developing Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved 03 22, 2015, from Joslin Diabetes Center: www.joslin.org/bin_from_cms/Nutrition_Guidelines-8.22.11(1).pdf

KRAMES Staywell. (2011). Living Well with Diabetes. Yardley, PA: KRAMES Patient Education.

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. (2008, 10). Diabetes Prevention Program. Retrieved 03 22, 2015, from National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC): diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/preventionprogram

Schellenberg, E. D. (2013). Lifestyle Interventions for Patients With and at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: A systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine , 159 (8), 543-551.

Are All Sugar Substitutes the Same?

The client asks, “I’m trying to cut down on sugar. Which artificial sweeteners do you recommend?” My reply, “None. I don’t recommend any artificial sweeteners, but I do recommend stevia as an all-natural sugar substitute.”

Unlike artificial sweeteners, stevia extract is derived from a plant.  I prefer using the liquid extract when adding it to foods or beverages, since that’s the least processed form of stevia (other than whole leaf).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), among others as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS).  Additionally, hundreds of research studies have found no conclusive dangers with using artificial sweeteners. Speculation and further research continues for its association with weight gain in children and possible carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects.

With even the slightest risks present, I veer on the side of caution and choose to recommend natural sweeteners in small amounts. Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut nectar, and many other natural sweeteners still contain sugar; therefore stevia is one of the best sugar alternatives when avoiding sugar altogether.

Stevia is newer to the market than many commonly used artificial sweeteners and consequently less research is available to determine any long-term negative effects. Several studies have shown beneficial effects, however, such as improved blood pressure in hypertensive patients and improved glucose tolerance in hyperglycemic patients.

Protein powders, protein bars, and many other “diet” foods and beverages are often littered with artificial sweeteners, so it is important to check those sources when you’re trying to minimize exposure. Fresh Nation goes above and beyond to ensure its food and beverage options are all-natural – primarily sweetening with stevia.

Schedule a complimentary 15-minute nutrition consultation to discuss your health goals, and how I can help you reach them.

Stephanie Brust, MS, RDN, LD/N

Stephanie@goFreshNation.com

 

References:

Brown, R. J., De Banate, M. A., & Rother, K. I. (2010). Artificial Sweeteners: A Systematic review of metabolic effects in youth. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity , 5 (4), 305-312.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2015, 05 26). Additional Information about High Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States. Retrieved 06 15, 2015, from U.S. Food and Drug Administration: www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/foodadditivesingredients/ucm397725.ht

Ulbright C, e. a. (2010). An evidence-based systematic review of stevia by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Cardiovascular Hemotology Agents Medicinal Chemistry , 8 (2), 113-127.

Should you Eat Egg Yolks?

I get asked this question a lot, “I’m not sure if I should be eating whole eggs or just the whites. Are whole eggs healthy or unhealthy?

It’s a great question! Recommendations have gone back and forth for many years. For healthy adults, whole eggs can be part of a nutritious diet and contribute healthful benefits. However, depending on your goals, you may benefit from including both, whole eggs and egg whites, to meet your protein and fat needs.

An egg (whole) is a nutrient-dense food rich in vitamins, minerals, iron, and carotenoids. Their biological value (BV) of 100 means your body is able to utilize 100 percent of the protein (egg whites have a BV of about 88). On that note, almost half of the protein content is in the yolk.

Eggs are a good source of choline, an essential nutrient for brain development and memory. They are also one of the few foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D. With disease-fighting lutein and zeaxanthin, they may reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

So, that’s all good stuff. Their bad reputation stems mostly from their cholesterol content, and its perceived effect on heart health. Originally, it was understood that dietary cholesterol had a strong influence on serum (blood) cholesterol. However, several recent studies indicate otherwise. Harvard School of Public Health states, “A solid body of research shows that for most people, cholesterol in food has a much smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than does the mix of fats in the diet.” In other words, consuming saturated and trans-fats show a stronger correlation in increasing serum cholesterol, than consuming dietary sources of cholesterol.

The American Heart Association also gives the green light on eggs, however they hold their suggested daily cholesterol limit at 300mg (one large egg contains about 180mg).

It’s worth mentioning that most of the study participants consumed one to two eggs per day, so it’s unclear if greater consumption would have a negative impact. Also, those having difficulty controlling their LDL cholesterol and/or those with diabetes should consult with a Registered Dietitian for individualized recommendations.

The verdict: Whole eggs are healthy. Eat the yolk!

By: Stephanie Brust, MS, RDN, LD/N

Stephanie@goFreshNation.com

 

References

Goodrow EF, e. a. (2006). Consumption of one egg per day increases serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in older adults without altering serum lipid and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. The Journal of Nutrition , 136 (10), 2519-24.

Hayes JH, e. a. (2003). Effect of a high saturated fat and no-starch diet on serum lipid subfractions in patients with documented atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Mayo Clinic Proceedings , 78 (11), 1331-6.

Katz DL, e. a. (2005). Egg consumption and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial. International Journal of Cardiology , 99 (1), 65-70.

Njike V, e. a. (2010). Daily egg consumption in hyperlipidemic adults – effects on edothelial function and cardiovascular risk. Nutrition Journal , 2 (9), 28.

Zeisel, S. (2004). Nutritional importance of choline for brain development. Journal of the American College of Nutrition , 23 (6 Suppl.), 621S-626S.

5 Fit Tips for the Holidays

Holiday weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be up to an average of five pounds!

This might not be the best time to aim for weight loss. However, that doesn’t mean you should go all-out the next few weeks, and then try to start fresh in the new year, either.

Here are five tips to help you indulge mindfully:

Tip # 1: Be picky. You may have family and friends bringing you treats at every turn. You may have work events, celebrations, and friends’ parties to attend. You may have goodies that only come around one time per year. You may have traditions that include special foods. The list can go on and on, but be picky. Choose what you enjoy the most, and enjoy it. You don’t have to forgo your favorites, but skip your not-so-favorites, so you are limiting the extra calorie impact.

Tip # 2: Savor each bite, eating slowly. Take smaller bites. Place your utensils down in between bites. Notice the colors, smells, tastes, and texture of each bite. Lengthen the time it takes to eat the treats, traditional meals, or holiday specialties. Savoring a smaller amount of the foods we love can be just as, if not more, satisfying that eating more of the same foods. When we eat rapidly, we often miss our body’s fullness cues, and end up feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. Eating slowly is a great way to enjoy the foods without the discomfort, and helps prevent over-indulging.

Tip # 3: Offer to bring something you enjoy. This is something I personally tend to do year-round when attending a party. I happen to enjoy eating vegetables, and lighter fare, which is often hard-pressed to find at many events. My go-to options: hummus or guacamole with veggie sticks and chips; a vegetable side dish or salad; or a fruit bowl for dessert.

Tip # 4: Focus on the holiday experience. Food is often a central focus of many gatherings, however that is not what leaves a lasting impression. Realizing that it is a special time to enjoy our relationships with friends and family, experiencing our traditions or creating new ones, and sharing memories that last a lifetime.

Baking and decorating holiday treats with friends or family is a perfect example. The laughs and memories created during the process will stick with you longer than the taste of a decorated sugar cookie.

Tip # 5: Don’t skip your workouts or physical activity. Whether you indulge more than you planned, or keep it within moderation, exercise has more benefits than just burning off those calories. Moving your body is something you do for yourself, not in spite of yourself. Do it to feel good (hello endorphins), to help aid in digestion, to keep your energy up, but not as punishment for having an extra cookie. If you end up skipping or missing a workout, don’t fret. Just pick up where you left off. It’s a slippery slope when you start to “slack” and justify, “I’ll just wait until the new year to start fresh.” No matter what, there will be an opportunity to improve in the new year, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

If you’re looking for accountability and/or a customized plan to fit your lifestyle, we have several options to fit your needs! As always, you can schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation to see if there’s a right fit for you.

Stephanie Brust, MS, RDN, LD/N

Stephanie@gofreshnation.com

Top 10 Everyday Superfoods

 

What is a superfood? It’s a nutrient-rich food considered especially beneficial for health and well-being. These powerhouses pack large doses of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Many are different colors, each containing a different nutrient profile, so it’s advantageous to consume a variety.

What are the benefits? There are many benefits for including superfoods into your diet on a regular, even daily, basis. They help fight diseases such as cancers, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and more. Most superfoods naturally reduce inflammation – the root of many illnesses. Chronic inflammation can also lead to pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. Superfoods are typically lower in calories, and higher in nutrients than many processed foods, which can help support a healthy weight.

Top 10 Everyday Superfoods

While some superfoods are exotic and may be challenging to find in your local grocery store, that’s not the case for this list of “everyday” superfoods. These top 10 are meant to guide you toward easy to find superfoods that you could fit into your everyday life.

  1. Kale: High in Vitamin K and A, this leafy green also contains antiviral and antibacterial properties. Bake them into “chips”, saute for a side, or blend it raw into a smoothie.
  2. Quinoa: It is one of the few plant-based sources to get a “complete” protein. It’s also high in fiber and low-glycemic. Enjoyed both warm and cold, it makes a great side as a pilaf or salad.
  3. Chia: High in omega-3’s and fiber, these tiny seeds pack a big punch. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons on a salad or yogurt, or blend into a smoothie.
  4. Brussel Sprouts: They have more glucosinolates (compounds that combat cancer and detoxify our bodies) than any other vegetable. Cut them in half and roast or sauté them with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Spinach: This immune-boosting, vision and bone-protecting leafy green is high in Calcium and Vitamin K. Enjoy it raw in a salad, wilted as a side, or blended in a smoothie.
  6. Salmon: You’ll get all the heart-smart omega-3s you need in a day from just 3oz. Raw sushi, grilled, or baked – it’s all delicious.
  7. Garlic: A delicious-tasting, anti-inflammatory food that has heart health and circulatory benefits. Add to a variety of dishes raw or cooked for seasoning.
  8. Avocados: A healthy fat that keeps you satisfied, and has more potassium than bananas! Top a salad, sandwich, or toast with a couple slices. And of course – make guacamole!
  9. Walnuts: Just 14 walnut halves provide more than twice your daily dose of alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 fat that’s been shown to improve memory and coordination. Enjoy a small handful for a snack or toss a few in your salad or yogurt.
  10. Berries: They are loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals that help prevent cancer, and full of fiber to keep blood-sugar steady. Acai is one of the highest in antioxidants. You can eat this sweet treat as a snack, on top of yogurt, blended in smoothies, or as a dessert.

Fresh Nation incorporates many superfoods into all of their menu items. If you are looking for convenient options to get your superfoods in everyday, Fresh Nation is launching prepared meals to go. You can pick up multiple meals and have nutritious lunches and/or dinners all week! More details coming soon. Make sure you are on our mailing list so you can stay informed.

Personalized nutritional services available for specific dietary recommendations. To schedule a complimentary 15-minute informational consultation, email Stephanie Brust at Stephanie@GoFreshNation.com.

Stephanie Brust, MS, RDN – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

10 Health Food Swaps That Do More Harm Than Good

Excellent article below on healthy food substitutions that do more harm than good.  One of the experts quoted is Fresh Nation’s dietitian, Stephanie Brust.

By Mary Martin   |   Friday, 23 Jun 2017 06:13 AM

When it comes to eating healthy foods, some may be more deceptive than others. Sure, we know that a piece of fruit is better than a cupcake to satisfy a sweet tooth, but why is lean turkey breast better than pork? And what about granola, gluten-free, and non-dairy products.

The answer, it turns out, is that some of these so-called “healthy” food substitutions do more harm than good, experts say.

For instance, gluten-free foods are sometimes pushed to boost digestive health and promote weight loss, but aren’t always the healthiest option for those without celiac disease.

“Those with Celiac disease must avoid gluten, but now it has become a trendy thing to do,” registered dietitian and nutrition coach Stephanie Brust tells Newsmax Health. “[But] often, gluten-free items contain more additives to replace the function of gluten. Just because a cookie is gluten free doesn’t make it a healthy cookie.

Elizabeth Snyder, a dietitian at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, adds that gluten-free foods are actually denser, and higher in sugar, fat, and harder-to-digest carbohydrates per serving than conventional foods, according to “Eat This, Not That.”

Here are other common food swaps that are actually doing more harm than good.

Granola for cereal: 70 percent of Americans view granola as healthy, according to a poll commissioned by The New York Times. Unfortunately, only 30 percent of nutritionists feel the same. Why? Granola is basically cereal with sugar on it. Many granola products actually carry the same amount of sugar as their cereal counterparts. Instead, try a low-sugar, high-fiber cereal which can give you a third of a day’s worth of recommended fiber intake.

Sandwich wrap for sliced bread: Most slices of bread contain roughly 100 calories, while many wraps can have two to three times that amount. Watch out for tortillas especially, as manufacturers often add fat in the form of soybean or hydrogenated oils to maintain flexibility. A burrito wrap from Chipotle contains over 600 milligrams of sodium, according to their online nutrition calculator. Stick to regular sandwich bread or swap out for a lettuce wrap instead.

Non-fat dairy for full fat: Non-fat dairy products often have fewer calories than full fat alternatives, but they aren’t be as filling so you may consume more. A review published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate full-fat foods were less likely to become obese or diabetic than those who opted for low-fat items. It’s important to remember that most vitamins are fat-soluble, which means you need to eat some healthy fats in order to reap their benefit.

Egg whites for whole eggs: Contrary to a long-held myth, egg yolks aren’t bad for you. Studies have found that cholesterol-rich eggs can actually lower LDL “bad” cholesterol because of their high concentration of healthy fats. The yolk contains fat-fighting nutrient choline.

Veggie burgers for meat: Unless you’re a vegetarian, stick with the animal-based burger. Veggie burgers tend to be low in protein and high in carbs, making them the less healthy choice. Veggie burgers, when sandwiched between two buns, can also cause a spike in blood sugar.

Turkey bacon for pork: Although turkey meat will save you about 13 calories and a gram of fat per slice, it adds a ton of sodium to your diet, which is not good if you have high blood pressure. Pork also offers more heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids than turkey does.

Almond milk for cow’s: Almond milk has significantly less protein and calcium than cow-based milk. Most almond milks are also sweetened with added sugars and contain emulsifiers like carrageenan that have been banned from organic products due to their connection to inflammatory bowel conditions.

No salad dressing for dressing: Good news for salad dressing lovers: You’re better off not skipping it. According to Iowa and Ohio State University researchers, a little bit of fat from dressing with your vegetables helps the body absorb cancer-fighting and heart-healthy nutrients. Stick to two tablespoons of an olive-oil based dressing for maximum health benefits.

Pressed juice for smoothies: When your sweet tooth kicks in, it’s better to opt for a piece of fruit or a smoothie than a pressed juice. Pressed juices don’t contain any digestion-slowing fiber but they do have a ton of carbs and sugar — two things that are best in small quantities. Instead, opt for a smoothie with a scoop of muscle-building protein powder and some chia seeds.

Contact Stephanie Brust today for a complimentary diet assessment.  stephanie@gofreshnation.com

Five Tips for Losing Weight

5 Tips for Losing Weight 

  1. Create awareness of what you are actually eating. Keep a food log and track your meals. You may be surprised at how many little “extras” you fit into your day. Often, they can add up to the same calories as an entire meal.
  1. Exercise consistently. You can only reduce your calories by so much before you burn out of energy or slow down your metabolism. Therefore, exercise is a great opportunity to increase your calorie deficit and increase results. When possible, weight training and functional interval training are the most effective. Also, psychologically, it reinforces us to eat well and stay on track when we exercise regularly.
  1. Hydrate. It’s true that hunger can be mistaken for thirst, and drinking water can make you feel fuller. Water also aids in metabolism. Active women should aim for about 3 liters, and men should aim for 4 liters. A great way to enjoy drinking water is adding slices of fruit, lemon, lime, or mint. Sparkling water is also a great way to switch things up.
  1. Eat slow-digesting, nutrient-rich carbohydrates (think: higher fiber and full of vitamins and minerals). Portion-control is still important, however, because too much of the right carbohydrates can still trigger fat-storage and inflammation. Some great sources are brown or wild rice, quinoa, beans, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, winter squash and other vegetables.
  1. Have a good source of protein with every meal. Protein is satiating (keeps you fuller, longer), reduces blood sugar spikes, and requires more energy to break it down – causing you to burn more calories during digestion than other foods.

Contact Stephanie Brust today for a complimentary diet assessment.  stephanie@gofreshnation.com

How to enjoy your veggies

Attention Veggie Haters: Sneaky ways to get your daily dose

It’s safe to say we’ve all heard our parents say, “eat your vegetables,” when we were growing up. But, let’s be honest, even as adults most of us still have a hard time getting in several servings of vegetables every day. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends 2 ½ to 3 cups per day for women and men, respectively.  Getting in your daily dose has many health benefits, including preventing cancer, heart disease, and stroke, lowering cholesterol, and aiding in weight management.

It’s time to stop treating vegetables like an afterthought. You don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to have a diet rich in plants. In fact, the USDA recommends making half of your plate fruits and vegetables (with a larger portion of vegetables than fruit).  So we know what we are supposed to do, now let’s dive into some ways to help you embrace the veggie love.

  • Drink Your Greens

Yes, you read that correctly. Next time you are blending up a protein shake or smoothie, throw in a handful of leafy greens. Spinach and kale taste mild enough that you’ll barely notice it there. 

  • Vegetable “Pasta”

You can use vegetables in lieu of pasta. My favorite alternatives are spaghetti squash and zoodles (use a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles). The best part is that you get to enjoy a large bowl of “pasta”, and feel good about it!

  • Cauliflower Mash

Use a food processor to blend fully cooked cauliflower florets with a small amount of broth (add 1-2 Tablespoons at a time) until smooth. It can be used in place of mashed potatoes, or added to potatoes to hide an extra veggie serving.

  • Vegetables For Snacks

Hummus, guacamole, and yogurt-based dressings all serve as great dips for vegetables. Try to stick to just a few tablespoons because those calories can add up quickly. Don’t like dips? Spread a little natural peanut butter or almond butter on some celery or carrots.

  • Carrot Fries

This guilt-free side tastes just like sweet potato fries. Slice large carrots into sticks and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.

  • Kale Chips

You won’t even realize you’re eating vegetables while enjoying this crispy treat. Wash and dry one bunch of kale and tear into bite sized pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until edges are browned, approximately 10-15 minutes.