NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Weight Loss Made Easier with Nutrition

Over 1 billion people from around the world are attempting to lose weight at any point in time. That is a BILLION! If losing weight was an easy task, that number would not be so staggering. Trying to lose weight and keep it off is challenging, so what are some ways that have been proven time and time again to be successful? Here are 5 tips to try when you want to see the scale moving in the right direction. ThinkstockPhotos-179019551.jpg

Eat breakfast daily.

The common phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” isn’t false. Starting your day with a balanced breakfast has been shown to help individuals eat less throughout the day and lose weight. It helps to jump-start your metabolism and allows it to work more efficiently during the day. Aim for three food groups for a balanced meal, but anything you can grab is better than skipping.

Don’t drink your calories.

When you eat food, whether it is a banana or potato chips, your body gets a sense of fullness. However, when you drink liquids your body doesn’t experience that same feeling. Therefore, it’s very easy to drink a lot of empty calories and not realize that those calories are adding up. Some examples are regular sodas, sweetened tea or lemonade, juice drinks, and flavored coffee beverages. A typical soda has around 150 calories; therefore, eliminating one per day would equal a 15-pound weight loss over one year without changing any eating or exercise habits.

Make sure you are eating enough.

This might sound crazy to some, because if you are trying to lose weight shouldn’t you decrease your calories? This is true; however, everybody has a different metabolic rate and requires a certain amount of calories to work properly. Decreasing your calories by too much, hoping to lose weight faster, can make weight loss more challenging. The easiest way to see what your body’s resting metabolic rate is to get a BOD POD assessment (contact the NIFS track desk at 317.274.3432, ext. 262, to schedule). Another rule of thumb is to make sure you are eating at least 1,200 calories every day. The best way to know this is to start keeping track of your calories with a food diary app.

Learn your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

Not knowing or understanding how much food your body needs can be the most challenging part of weight loss. Learning your body’s hunger and fullness cues is the key to weight loss. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning you are ravenous or starving and 10 meaning you are uncomfortably full, aim to eat a meal or a snack at a 3. At this point your body is ready for fuel but not so overly hungry that you make poor decisions or consume extra calories. Check in about halfway through the meal to see what number you are. Stop eating when you are at a 7. This guarantees you are satisfied but not overly stuffed. Knowing another meal or snack will be coming in another 3 to 4 hours is helpful. If you eat to a 9 or 10, you might not be hungry again for 8 hours!

Eat filling foods.

When you want to lose weight, the challenge can be feeling satisfied. The best way to get that feeling is to choose foods that will fill you up and keep you full, all while allowing the body to work harder to break down your foods and in turn burn more calories. These foods are high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. It also includes high-protein foods such as lean meats, low-fat dairy like Greek yogurt or string cheese, eggs, beans, and nuts. Making sure fiber and protein are included at each snack or meal means you are staying satisfied.

My-Nutrition-Coach-outline-no-back.jpgIf you are one of the 1 billion people trying to lose weight, don’t do it alone. NIFS has many options to help you reach your goals*. Check out the Ramp Up to Weight Loss program, personal nutrition coaching sessions and My Nutrition Coach daily food tracking app, for more information.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

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This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: nutrition weight loss calories breakfast protein fiber

How to Build a Nutrition-Packed Smoothie for Meals or Snacks

ThinkstockPhotos-467257185For a quick and tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, consider making a smoothie. This portable meal or snack can be chock-full of good-for-you antioxidants and vitamins if you make it correctly. Unfortunately, though, some of the pre-made ones are loaded with added sugar. So pull out your blender, food processor, or Vitamix, grab some ingredients, and let’s get started!

  • Produce: The most important part of the smoothie comes from the produce. The fruits or veggies you add will load up your drink with nutrients. Aim for ½ cup to 1½ cups from this group, which typically includes berries, bananas, pineapple, spinach, kale, and whatever else you have in the fridge or freezer to add!
  • Ice and/or frozen fruit: Add ½ to 1 cup to give the smoothie more thickness.
  • Liquid: Use ½ to 1 cup of milk (preferably the unsweetened variety) or water. If you are adding fruit juice, make sure it is 100% fruit and stick to ½ cup or less.
  • Protein: 2 TB. of peanut butter (or any nut butter), protein powder, or Greek yogurt will help to keep you fuller longer, so don’t forget to add this ingredient. If you decide to go with protein powder, make sure to get a basic whey protein powder that isn’t extremely high in extras or sugar (some are available with less than 2g). This powder is also a complete protein, which means you get all of the essential amino acids. Just stick to 1 scoop or 2 TB. to avoid adding extra, unnecessary calories.
  • Fiber extras: For some additional staying power in your drink, add 1 to 2 TB. of chia seeds, oats, or flaxseed. (See this blog for more info on chia seeds and other add-ins.)

If you have an older blender with dull blades and a weak motor, stick to fresh fruit vs. frozen, and blend the ice cubes gradually into the smoothie. One tip is to add your dry ingredients last to avoid them getting stuck in the bottom. If you are having trouble getting the ingredients to blend, let it sit for a few minutes so the fruit can soften or add more liquid a little bit at a time.

Now it’s time to drink up! Letting it sit for just 20 minutes might mean it will start to thicken or separate. You can store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours, but a fresh smoothie will have the best flavor and taste. Enjoy!

Looking for help with your nutitrion and weight loss goals? My Nutrition Coach App can help. Snap a picture of your meals and you'll receive daily feedback, info and tips from Registered Dietitian, Angie Scheetz.

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This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: nutrition snacks lunch breakfast protein fiber

10 Healthy Habits of Fit People

Let’s get real: getting healthy and fit (and staying that way) doesn’t happen by accident. In my seven years in the fitness industry I have seen quite a bit—enough to know what works and what doesn’t. The people who are able to reach their healthy, happy weight and maintain it end up developing very similar habits to one another. These healthy habits aren’t anything crazy or extreme, but they consistently allow individuals to lead a healthy lifestyle for years and years.

Today I’ve compiled these habits of healthy people so we can all adapt our own habits to be our healthiest selves.

ThinkstockPhotos-4713112341. Start off with a breakfast to FUEL your day.

Remember learning that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? While I believe that all meals are important, breakfast definitely is a meal you shouldn’t consider skipping. Studies show that eating breakfast helps to improve focus, satiety, and energy levels throughout the day. 

So what does that mean for you? You’ll be more productive at work, will work harder during your workouts, and you may have reduced cravings and hunger later in the day. Sounds like a win, win, win to me! 

2. Drink lots of water.

The body is made up of 60% water! Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help maintain your body’s fluid balance so that nutrients can be transported throughout the body. That means you will more quickly reap the benefits of the healthy foods you eat!  

Drinking water throughout the day helps you feel full. It may sound crazy, but many people mistake thirst for hunger and end up overeating. 

It’s also important to drink water because when you stress and work your muscles in the gym, they are losing water. If you aren’t drinking enough water, your muscles will get tired faster and you may not be able to work as hard. So drink up, buttercup!

3. Set a deadline.

People are more efficient and more likely to reach their goals with a deadline in the picture. Having a deadline helps to eliminate procrastination and makes the goal seem more tangible and realistic. Having a deadline doesn’t mean you can start being “unhealthy” after you reach your goal, but it simply allows you to have a checkpoint to work toward. Once you reach your goal and deadline, reevaluate and set a new goal! It’s all about progress, not perfection, and there is always something we can improve on when it comes to health and fitness.

4. Don’t leave your healthy-eating goals to chance. 

I rarely say NEVER or ALWAYS, but this is an exception to that rule. Never assume that there will be a healthy option when you eat away from home. Always be prepared. Check out the restaurant menu ahead of time, pack healthy snacks, bring a lunch, bring a healthy dish to share, or eat something small before so you aren’t starving. You are in control of your health. It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make sure there is something nutritious for you to nosh on.

5. Remain consistent.

Consistency is key. We all have days where we skip a workout or overindulge, but as long as healthy is your default, there is no need to sweat it! What matters most is what you do most of the time, not what you do sometimes. So, if choosing healthy (moving your body, eating whole foods, and drinking lots of water) is your sometimes, you may want to switch your mindset.

6. Eat whole, real foods.

Make it your goal to have most of your nourishment come from unprocessed, real foods that are as close to the source as possible. What does that mean? Check out the ingredients. If you are eating a handful of almonds for a snack, the only ingredient should be just that: almonds! Whole foods fill your body with more vitamins and minerals, the nutrition we need to stay healthy on the inside.

7. Fill your home with healthy, nourishing foods.

This tip piggybacks onto the previous piece of advice. If you fill your home with whole foods, they suddenly become a more convenient option than the processed stuff, and less healthy options are eliminated from the picture. If you surround yourself with healthy, delicious food choices, you are more likely to pick those foods when preparing a meal or eating a snack.

8. Take your workout with you.

 Many people travel frequently for work, to visit family, or for vacation. While traveling can make it less easy to fit in your workout, it’s definitely not an excuse to slack off in the fitness department. Talk with your trainer about a travel workout option, pack a resistance band or TRX strap, or pack a workout DVD that doesn’t require any equipment at all! There are endless resources for fitness on the go; it just takes a little planning ahead of time.

9. Learn to be politely picky when eating out.

I have learned that I can find something healthy to eat at almost any restaurant. Many times, the option I choose is not listed on the menu. It can be intimidating to ask for special options at a restaurant, but you will be surprised at how accommodating your server and the restaurant want to be. Be polite when you make requests, and your tummy will be happy with the healthy and delicious outcome!

10. Dedicate time to mental health.

Whether you practice yoga, write a journal, meditate, see a therapist, or have another way of dedicating time to your mental health, it is just as important to make time for this type of exercise as it is to make time to go to the gym. Having a healthy mental state will help you stay on track with your fitness goals and will allow you to balance your busy and crazy life with ease. Find the method that works best for you and stick to it!

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition healthy habits goal setting snacks breakfast mental weight management water

5 SUPER Smoothie Add-Ins for Healthy Eating

4773111471The weather is getting warmer, Mini Marathon training is in full swing, and some of our group fitness classes are able to meet outdoors for a fun twist on the workout. Yep, spring is here! The warmer weather and sunnier days definitely have me craving a fruit and veggie-packed smoothie first thing in the morning, no doubt about it. Full of fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, and minerals galore, it’s pretty clear that drinking a smoothie is a guaranteed way to get in a nutrient-packed breakfast to start your day with healthy eating. 

You can make your own recipes using these hints. Start with a liquid base like almond milk, coconut water, or coconut milk. Add in about a cup of your favorite frozen fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, or cherries. Next, I always like to add in half of a frozen banana for extra creaminess! Last, pick one or two of these super-food mix-ins to really take your smoothie to the next level. Trust me on this one! Your body (and your taste buds) will thank you.

Spinach: Greens are known for their serious antioxidant cancer-fighting superpowers as well as their high vitamin and mineral content. It’s no wonder your parents were always trying to get you to finish those greens with dinner. Well, adding raw spinach to your morning smoothie is a great (dare I say sneaky) way to enjoy these greens so you can reap the nutrition benefits of this delicious veggie. I promise, you won’t taste a thing. Try adding a large handful of raw spinach to your next morning blend.

Chia: It’s no wonder everyone is chatting about chia! Rich in plant-powered protein and healthy fats that help promote brain function and heart health, these little seeds pack so much! They create a gel-like consistency when added to liquid so they will thicken your smoothie right up. Try adding one tablespoon to a smoothie for a tasty treat.

Cacao: Rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, and antioxidants, cacao is the raw form of chocolate. That’s right, it’s healthy to have a chocolaty, rich smoothie for breakfast. One of my favorite combos? Almond milk, frozen banana, almond butter, a dash of cinnamon, and a tablespoon of this delicious raw cocoa powder. (And maybe a handful of spinach!) 

Coconut water: Drinking coconut water is a great way to hydrate and start your recovery after a tough workout. It is lower in calories than most sports drinks and contains no artificial ingredients or added sugars (just be sure to read the label), which makes it perfect for restoring your hydration levels the way nature intended. Use about a cup of coconut water as the liquid base of your smoothie to give your body a natural electrolyte boost after your morning sweat session.

Avocado: Do you LOVE super-creamy smoothies? If so, avocado is the superfood add-in for you! Adding a quarter of an avocado to your smoothie not only gives you a boost of fiber, monounsaturated fats, and potassium; but it instantly turns your smoothie into a thick and creamy milkshake. Milkshake for breakfast? Oh, yes!

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition healthy eating recipes breakfast hydration recovery

The Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt—Plus Recipes!

There are a lot of hot new food fads right now, including coconut oil, kale, quinoa, and chia seeds. It seems like I have been seeing these foods everywhere, and while I do love them, I have been obsessing over another food fad for a while. Greek yogurt is one of those amazing foods that can be used in so many ways and is extremely good for you.

Why You Should Eat More Greek Yogurtgreek-yogurt

Here are the reasons why Greek yogurt can help with your healthy eating goals:

  • It is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, zinc, protein, and vitamins B6 and B12.
  • It contains probiotic cultures, which can help with gut regularity.
  • It's lower in lactose for those who have trouble digesting other dairy products.
  • Greek yogurt contains twice the amount of protein as normal yogurt, which can help keep you full longer and makes an impact on your weight management.
  • It has half the amount of sodium regular yogurt has, which is a plus for those watching blood pressure.
  • It can be enjoyed as a sweet or savory treat!

Recipes

Here are some recipes that can help you incorporate this super food into your meals and snacks.

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

If you want to start your day with a protein-packed punch and also get to work on time, here is a quick and healthy breakfast smoothie incorporating Greek yogurt that can help you start the day off right!

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Bored with your normal lunch routine? Try this tasty buffalo chicken salad that has tons of flavor without all of the fat of traditional chicken salads.

Tzatziki Sauce

Stumped as to what to fix for dinner? This delicious topping for chicken, fish, or lamb is a quick and easy solution!

Creamy Peanut Butter Dip

Need to have that sweet ending after dinner? Try this alternative as a healthy treat! It's also a great midday snack.

I hope you try this tasty treat! Watch out for some varieties on the market that can be extremely high in sugar, calories, and fat. Look for a nonfat version to keep your saturated fat grams lower, and consider buying plain and flavor it yourself with fruit and flavored extracts to decrease the added sugar. The possibilities are endless!

Learn more about Nutrition and Wellness services at NIFS.

This blog was written by Angie Sheetz, NIFS Registered Dietitian. Read more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition healthy eating recipes snacks calories lunch breakfast weight management

Celebrate National Kale Day with Three Healthy Recipes


There are a lot of different days throughout the year devoted to certain foods, and October 2 is no exception. This day is reserved for all things kale!

So, if you have been hearing about this wonderful green, leafy vegetable and have been wanting to try it, or if you are already a lover of the vitamin-K-packed wonder, then definitely take this day to enjoy some recipes that incorporate kale.

Since kale thrives in cooler weather, this time of year is the perfect opportunity to sample it when other vegetables are out of season. To find the freshest kale, search for deeply colored leaves with hardy stems.

If you want to increase your intake of folate, calcium, iron, fiber, and phytonutrients, here are three ways to incorporate kale into your diet for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack time.

Orange-Blueberry Kale Smoothiekale smoothie

If the thought of drinking a green smoothie doesn’t appeal to you, try this delicious option that keeps the color a gorgeous purple!

1 whole orange

1 cup blueberries

½ cup vanilla almond or soy milk or ½ cup skim milk

2 cups chopped and loosely packed kale

1 cup ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Makes three 8-ounce servings or two 12-ounce servings.

 

Kale Salad

1 big bunch kale; chopped fine

1 cup cooked wild rice or brown rice, cooled (or try cooked quinoa)

1 red or orange bell pepper; chopped

¼ cup thinly sliced red onion or green onion

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins or bothkale salad

½ cup feta cheese

¼ cup grated parmesan

 

Dressing:

2 to 3 TB. olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2 TB. Dijon mustard

1 to 2 TB. honey

Juice of 1 lemon (add zest if you want)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Toss salad. Put all dressing ingredients in a shaker and combine. Pour over salad and enjoy.

 

Kale Chips

Slice kale into bite-sized pieces. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

 

For more information and recipes, check out the National Kale Day website.  

Schedule a personal nutrition consultation to plan how you can incorporate more veggies like kale into your diet.

This blog was written by Registered Dietitian at NIFS, Angie Scheetz, RD. To meet the NIFS Bloggers click here.

Topics: nutrition recipes snacks lunch breakfast

Start Your Day Off Right: How Not to Skip a Healthy Breakfast

If it is the most important meal of the day, why do about 31 million people (or 10 percent of the population) still skip breakfast? Here are the top three reasons people skip breakfast and how you can overcome those excuses to make eating breakfast a part of your daily routine.breakfast

I’m just not hungry in the morning.

You should wake up in the morning and be hungry. Your body has gone at least eight hours without food, so it should be ready for some fuel. If not, take a look at your before-bedtime habits and check to see whether you are constantly snacking on chips and ice cream late into the evening. If so, this can affect your hunger levels in the morning. Don’t go to bed hungry, but instead choose a reasonable snack around 100 to 150 calories like Greek yogurt or an apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.

I don’t have time for breakfast.

If you would rather hit the snooze button a few more times than prepare breakfast for yourself, you might find yourself without enough time to eat in the morning. The key is to aim for three food groups at a meal, so even if you grab a turkey sandwich and a banana as you run out the door, you are still starting your day right. The key is to combine some protein and whole grains to help give you energy and keep you full. Breakfast is also a great time to get in a dairy or fruit serving, too!

If time is an issue, use this recipe to prepare breakfast for the whole week. Add the egg to an English muffin and grab a glass of milk or piece of fruit to go with it and you are set!

I want to save my calories for later in the day.breakfast

Some people think that if they skip breakfast, it will help with their weight-loss efforts or give them more calories to consume at lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A recent study compared two groups: one ate more for breakfast and the other ate more at dinner, with both consuming the same amount of calories. The breakfast group lost more weight and inches than the dinner group. Typically people who skip breakfast overcompensate the rest of the day by eating more calories than if they had started their day with a balanced meal.

Whatever your reason for skipping breakfast, try to break that habit and start eating something every day. Start small with a glass of 100 percent juice or a piece of fruit and then work up to a balanced meal between 400 and 500 calories and at least three food groups!

Angie Scheetz, RD, is the wellness coordinator at NIFS and organizes the Mini Marathon Training Program, Dealing with Diabetes, and Lite ‘N Up. Enrollment for Lite ‘N Up is open though September 17, 2013.

Topics: nutrition weight loss healthy eating snacks breakfast