Healthy & Happy

On this page, I’ll be posting information and advice about health and nutrition.  I’m currently a grad student on my way to becoming a Registered Dietitian.  I’m very passionate about helping others with their nutrition needs and answering nutrition questions.  Let’s face it, there are some CRAZY nutrition myths floating around.  If you have anything you’re wondering about, contact me! I’ll try my best to answer.

 

Think About Your Drinks!

Click on this link for information about sugary drinks.

 

Healthy Snacking

I’m a BIG fan of snack time. Why? Because people tend to overeat when they’re ravenously hungry. Well, overeat, make bad decisions, become unusually cranky (me), etc. But what should you look for in a snack?

  1. Choose something filling. – This means something other than super sugary snack cakes or honey buns. The point of a snack is to get you through to your next meal.  If you want to splurge, that’s fine too on occasion. But you’ll probably end up hungry again. Best to choose something with a little fiber (3g or so) and protein to keep you feeling full. Your body digests these more slowly than sugar, so it keeps your tummy occupied until the next meal.
  2. Listen to your stomach. – Be honest, are you craving something salty? That’s ok! Craving something sweet? Me too! Go with a healthy version of your craving. Otherwise, you’ll probably be left yearning for that thing you wanted from the beginning.
  3. Portion control!! – A great option is to portion our your snacks ahead of time. If a humongous bag of chips is in front of you, it will be easier to eat more than a serving. Instead, portion out the serving you want and put the rest out of sight.

Click here for a fun (yet VERY simple) video I did for a class.

All About Agave

There’s a LOT of hype in the media about nutrition. Every time you turn around, there is a new “nutrition expert” talking about the next best thing.  For a while now, there has been controversy regarding sugar and sweeteners. And of course, “natural” agave is better for you than other sweeteners right?  …Not so fast.

First, what is agave?

Agave nectar is a sweetener made from the agave plant, most commonly grown in Mexico and South Africa. The liquid from the inner portion of the plant is boiled down to syrup, similarly to how maple syrup is made from tree sap.  The end product is a thick liquid that’s sweeter than cane sugar.

So, is agave healthier than sugar?

Define healthier.  Technically, since it’s sweeter than sugar, you may get away with using less of it to get the same sweetness.  However, sugar is sugar.  You should still only use it in moderation. If you’re saying, “it’s so much better than that fake high fructose corn syrup stuff”…might want to rethink.  Fructose is the same type of sugar found in fruit, and both agave and high fructose corn syrup are mostly fructose.  If “going natural” is your concern, honey, agave, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup (among others) are all “natural” products from either plants or made in nature.  Honey, granted, is made from bees so it’s not plant-based.

Again, no matter what sugar you use (including honey, cane sugar, etc) just use it in moderation! Don’t be fooled and think that people saying agave is “good for you” means you can use gobs of it without gaining weight.  It’s still simple carbohydrates that your body uses for quick energy, then stores the leftover energy for later use.

I will say that agave can be a great substitute for honey in recipes if you’re vegan and steer clear of honey. There, not all negative. 🙂

Breakfast- Over-rated or Under-appreciated?

Why is breakfast important?  I’ll make this quick: overall health.  There, done. ….Oh, you want details?  Breakfast is a way to wake up your body and gives you the fuel your body needs until lunch time.  Think about it, your body has probably burned through last night’s dinner , so you’re now relying on energy stored by your body (fat and/or muscle) and your body will be stingy with using those.  But, if you put in some wholesome carbs, protein, and a little fat in the morning….ta-da!! your body has enough gas to go full steam ahead and perform at its best.

This does NOT mean you should go grab a honey bun for breakfast.  You’ll need something with complex carbohydrates, protein, and some fiber to get you through until lunch.  Sweets like honey buns and doughnuts will be burned really quickly, leading to a crash around 10am.

So what should you be eating for breakfast?? Ideally, something with complex carbs (carbs coming from whole grains and/or fruit rather than simply sugar), protein, fiber, and a little fat.  The carbohydrates give your body something to burn right away.  Then, the protein, fiber, and fat kick in to keep you feeling fuller longer. Protein and fat also help make sure you don’t get an energy crash after the carbs are burned by your body.

Seem simple? It is!!!

Most importantly:  skipping breakfast will NOT help you lose weight.  Many studies have shown those that eat breakfast have a lower weight and more weight loss success than people that skip.  Also, skipping a meal may lead you to over-indulge later in the day (hello….you’ll be really hungry! So you’re more likely to give in to cravings)

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