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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Angie Scheetz

Recent Posts by Angie Scheetz:

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!

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

Top 5 Nutrition Apps for Health and Wellness

ThinkstockPhotos-469002238Sometimes you need a little help when it comes to your nutrition and diet choices. Even though we think we know what to do when it comes to our diet, it can be helpful to have some extra assistance with tips, tracking, and suggestions. There are thousands of apps out there that you can easily download to your phone.

I have searched through many nutrition apps and found the top five that you should definitely use to help with accountability to your wellness and weight-loss goals.

eaTipster

eaTipster was created by the Dietitians of Canada, and it delivers daily healthy eating tips to your mobile devices. The app addresses common food and nutrition questions and concerns, and provides tips to increase healthy eating, support a healthy weight, and fight chronic disease. You can add tips to your favorites to read them later. Then you can share the tips with friends via Facebook, Twitter, email, and text. One nice perk of this app is you can set daily reminders to receive the tip at a time that fits your routine. 

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a community-oriented site designed to help you lose weight and track fitness goals. The mobile apps let you keep these features at your fingertips wherever you are. You can input or edit your goals, enter your caloric intake (food) and output (exercise) on the go, and add new food data to the library if it doesn't already exist. There's also a progress screen that lets you track your weight and view a graphic representation of how you're doing as you work toward your goals. 

The food database includes over 5,000,000 options and is one of the few free food tracking apps that is this easy and user friendly. Due to its popularity, you can sync MyFitnessPal with other devices and apps such as FitBit, Jawbone Up, and Garmin. The recipe importer allows you to go to any recipe on the web and easily import it and track it. One of my favorite components of this app is that it tells you more than just total calories. You can easily track your sugar grams, calcium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals to guarantee you are getting your needs met.

Fooducate

Fooducate helps you shop and eat healthily by allowing you to quickly pull up nutritional information about food products from barcodes, as well as by helping you make sense of nutritional labels. Fooducate displays a letter grade from A to D, along with a quick summary of nutrition information in plain language, as well as healthy alternative suggestions. If you cook your own meals or eat out, you can also manually enter a meal's nutritional information. In addition, the app also doubles as an intake, calorie, and exercise tracker. This app easily allows you to see what extras are in foods such as added sugars, food colorings, artificial sweeteners, and more, which can be challenging to know without reading every single ingredient. 

HealthyOut

The HealthyOut Healthy Meal Finder app helps you stay on track even when you're going out or ordering delivery. The app helps users find healthy restaurant dishes and prepared grocery items nearby, and supports a wide variety of diet plans. The app comes with a wealth of diet and food filters, allowing you to filter by cuisine, ingredients, or type of dish. You can also view detailed nutritional information on each meal where available. It's a great option when you don't have the time to prepare a healthy meal of your own. The popular “Not a Salad” feature allows you to find a dish that can be just as healthy as the typical salad. HealthyOut is great if you travel a lot or just want to know the best options at your favorite neighborhood restaurant choice.

My Nutrition Coach

My Nutrition Coach is a new app launched by NIFS that allows users to record their food throughout the day and automatically build a daily profile of their diet. The app platform uses photo journaling and meal and exercise input to make tracking quick and easy. At midnight, the profile is passed to my dashboard, where I provide evaluation and feedback on that 24-hour timeline. The information is private, secure, and convenient. Members will receive an email when their daily response is ready for viewing. Users are encouraged to login to the website or app to view responses and graphs that detail their personal ratings and progress.

Your NIFS dietitian will supply you daily feedback, suggestions, and information in the form of handouts and videos based on your daily profile. All you need to do is snap a photo of your meals.

Any one of these apps are sure to help you stay on track with you fitness and nutrition goals. Download one today and get started!

***

What did you eat today? Don’t underestimate the role that proper nutrition plays in your health and fitness. Contact Angie Scheetz ascheetz@nifs.org or call 317-274-3432 to find out more about the My Nutrition Coach app. 

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

Topics: fitness nutrition weight loss calories accountability technology

NIFS’s New Healthy Eating App: My Nutrition Coach

My-Nutrition-Coach-outline-no-back-1Choosing the right foods for healthy eating can be a challenge. Life is busy and sometimes the thing that gets left behind is a well-balanced meal or snack. We want to help you change that! Studies show that individuals who have to be accountable for their food choices lose more weight and keep it off than those who attempt to do it alone.

Often when you are motivated to make a weight loss change, the first thought is to cut out your favorite foods that you are worried you eat too much of. Or you start eating salads every day for lunch and dinner. 95% of people who lose weight will gain it back. The successful 5% of people learn how to eat a balanced diet that includes ALL foods!

My Nutrition Coach is a new app specifically created to help our members develop a healthy plan for food choices, while also providing consistent support to help educate and develop good lifelong habits. 

How to Use the App

When you sit down to eat, just snap a picture of your meal. You can also add your beverage, your mood, and your hunger level. At midnight your entries will be uploaded, and the next day you will get feedback and suggestions from me, NIFS Registered Dietitian Angie Scheetz. Videos, handouts, and suggestions for how to reach your personal wellness goals will also be sent your way, giving you more resources to achieve your nutrition and fitness goals. nutrition-screen

Quick and Effective Nutrition Feedback

This program is quick and easy, and on average should take only 5 minutes per day, but the support, feedback, and resources you will receive throughout the program are equal to a personal, weekly nutrition consultation in traditional programs.

Don’t underestimate the role that proper nutrition plays in your health and fitness. If you are interested in signing up for this program or want more information, please email me at ascheetz@nifs.org or call me at 274-3432, ext. 239. I look forward to working with you!

 Learn More

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

 

Topics: nutrition weight loss healthy eating NIFS programs weight management

Tips for Healthy Eating at Summer Barbecues

Summer is perfect for being active outdoors and grilling some healthy items for cookouts. Getting together with family and friends is a wonderful way to spend a weekend afternoon and evening. Unfortunately, some barbecues can turn into really unhealthy meals quickly. Here are some simple tips to ensure you keep up healthy eating while enjoying a cookout. ThinkstockPhotos-475200404

  • Better your burger. Consider topping your burger with fresh and flavorful veggies such as onions and tomatoes versus higher-fat options like mayonnaise and cheese. Also, grab a whole-wheat bun to increase the fiber, or a sandwich thin to keep calories lower. Seek out lower-fat ground beef to make your burgers, such as Laura’s Lean Beef, or grab a turkey burger to grill. 
  • Select sides wisely. Coleslaw, potato salad, and macaroni salad are typical staples of most cookouts. However, these mayonnaise-based options are loaded with fat and calories that aren’t necessarily the best for a balanced plate. Choose a serving the size of a tennis ball to keep portions in check, or choose oil-and-vinegar or yogurt-based dishes if available. 
  • Fill up on fruit. This time of year is full of almost every fruit in its peak season. Load up on filling berries, cherries, and melons. Make a giant fruit salad or kabobs, or toss some peaches or pineapple on the grill and top with nonfat vanilla yogurt. If fruit pies are on the menu for dessert, choose the option with a bottom crust only and stick to one slice!
  • Don’t forget the veggies. A lot of times veggies are completely forgotten at a barbecue, but these can be super tasty and easy to fix when done on the grill. Zucchini, squash, eggplant, mushrooms, and peppers are great on the grill and can easily be made into fun kabobs. Corn on the cob is technically a starchy vegetable, but it’s still a vegetable! Just be cautious with the amount of butter and salt that you load on top of it. Instead, try grilling it in foil with a touch of olive oil and squeeze a lime on it before eating. You won’t even miss the butter and salt!
  • Be careful not to burn your meat. Two compounds found in charred and overcooked meats are known carcinogens. Always make sure to clean your grill to get rid of preexisting charred food bits before you start grilling, or grill on top of foil or a grill mat. Another great idea is to marinate your meats before throwing them on the grill. Not only will it increase the flavor, but it can reduce the presence of the carcinogens. Grab a meat thermometer and make sure beef, pork, fish, veal, and lamb reach 145 degrees and poultry reaches 165 degrees.
  • When you are finished, go play. Challenge the kids to a game of cornhole or horseshoes. Start tossing the ball around or choose another outdoor game. The point is to not just to jump around and “burn off” dinner, but to get up and moving and away from the tempting chips and other snacks!

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

Topics: nutrition healthy eating calories summer disease prevention paleo

Fabulous Farmers’ Markets Make Healthy Eating Easy and Fun

ThinkstockPhotos-460495043One of my favorite things to do once it is summer in Indiana is to visit the various farmers’ markets around town. As a dietitian I am a sucker for the fresh fruits and veggies, but I also love the homemade desserts, candles, pasta, kettle corn, fresh flowers, and other wonderful items you can find.

Here are my top five reasons why visiting your local farmers’ market is a must.

  1. Support for the local community: Since the produce is grown and purchased locally, the money remains in the community and stimulates the local economy. Also, when you shop at the farmers’ market, you are cutting out the middle man, and the product is generally less expensive than if you purchased it in the grocery store. 
  2. Eating foods that are in season: Farmers’ market produce is picked ripe and sold soon after picking. Supermarket produce, on the other hand, can take up to two weeks to travel from the farm to the store, even when it is in season. The produce tastes richer and more flavorful, and the nutrients are better retained. Check out the downtown City Market website for which products are available during the months the market is open.
  3. Healthy eating is good for you: The average American eats 4.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, as opposed to the current recommendations of 9 servings per day. Picking up multiple servings of fruits and veggies and incorporating them into recipes, meals, and snacks is a great way to get closer to the 9-serving-per-day-goal. This will guarantee you are meeting your recommended vitamin and mineral requirements, increasing your daily fiber intake, and acquiring cancer-fighting antioxidants, too. Locally grown produce is lower in pesticides and chemicals, also. 
  4. You can talk to the farmers who grew the food you are about to eat: You can meet the farmers who grew your food, ask when it was picked, how it was grown, and ways to prepare it. When else do you get the opportunity to learn so much about what you are putting in your mouth?
  5. There is certain to be one that fits your location and schedule: I love being able to go to the City Market farmers’ market on my lunch break downtown and sample the hot, fresh kettle corn; pick up sweet corn; and get homemade cookies on Wednesday afternoons. Saturday mornings, it’s off to the Carmel farmers’ market to purchase a walking waffle, homemade pasta, and a whole assortment of fruits and veggies for the week. To find out the location of a farmers’ market close to you, check out the USDA website.

Whether you are picking up items for dinner or for the whole week, the local farmers’ market is an inexpensive, healthy alternative to the grocery store. Try to get there early to get the best variety and options. Not all vendors accept credit cards, so be sure to have cash on hand. Finally, bring along your own reusable grocery bag to put all of your goodies in so that it is easier to carry home your fresh, delicious finds.

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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 healthy habits healthy eating summer clean eating organic foods

Are Recent Changes to Restaurant Menu Ingredients Good for You?

ThinkstockPhotos-200325352-001Have you heard the news about Panera? How about Chipotle? It has been in the news a lot recently that these chains are making dramatic changes to their menus. So, what are the changes and will they make for more healthy eating?

Panera Drops Artificial Ingredients

Panera has decided to drop all artificial ingredients from its menu. This list of 150 ingredients is called the No-No List. This list includes artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and flavors, and these ingredients will all be removed by the end of 2016. 

Even though the debate is still ongoing as to whether these ingredients can cause harm to consumers, Panera decided to not take the risk. It was reported that reconfiguring the salad dressing to meet the standards was the toughest menu item change. As of now there are no plans to increase the cost of the menu items to offset these changes. 

Chipotle Gets Away from GMOs

Chipotle has also decided to clean up its menu recently. The chain announced that it would be serving only food that is free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. In 2013 Chipotle was the first restaurant to show which menu items contained GMOs, and now it is the first chain restaurant to remove them. As with artificial ingredients, GMOs have not been found to be harmful to humans, but environmental working groups are concerned about the effect they might have on the food chain and environment. 

Are These Changes Better for You?

It is great that these companies are making an effort to provide safe food choices; however, these changes do not mean that the food is necessarily better for you. Most calorie contents won’t be affected by these changes; and in foods where artificial sweeteners are removed the calories may actually increase. 

So, if you are watching calories or wanting to lose weight, don’t be fooled into thinking the giant blueberry muffin will be the best option to help you get to your goal. That will still have 460 calories and 18 grams of fat! With any change in a nutrition announcement, the rule of thumb is not more is better. The goal is to stick to the basics. Incorporate as many fresh and unprocessed foods as possible into your diet. This includes reaching for 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day!

Be on the lookout for more companies to make similar announcements soon. Kraft has decided to remove artificial coloring from its Mac & Cheese, and Pepsi is removing aspartame from its diet drinks. Each announcement can be a positive for consumers, as long as they remember to get in a balanced and fresh diet the majority of the time. 

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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: healthy eating calories lunch artificial ingredients

Healthy Eating While Traveling

ThinkstockPhotos-494262007Whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure, it typically means you eat most meals out or on the go. It can be challenging to make the most balanced choices and keep your eating on the right track. You want to try foods that are special to that region, you are busy and grabbing the first thing that sounds good, and you don’t have access to a grocery store for more fresh foods; these can all be challenges while traveling.

Tips for Healthy Eating on Vacation

Following these tips will help you enjoy your food choices and not derail all of your hard work!

  • Drink plenty of good-for-you fluid. This includes water, tea, decaf coffee, 100% juice, and milk. Staying hydrated will help to keep your metabolism working efficiently, flush out the sodium from restaurant meals, and keep you hydrated when traveling can zap that from you. 
  • If you are splurging, keep it to one per meal. There is nothing wrong with trying foods that you might only get on vacation. However, if every meal is a splurge without any of the good-for-you foods that your body requires, this can be a problem! Allow yourself the ice cream cone, but one scoop will do! Enjoy the bacon cheeseburger, but pair it with a side salad. Always try to scour the menu and choose the one thing you really want and then balance your plate to fit the 3-food-group-per-meal rule.
  • Pack snacks from home. This can help keep you satisfied between meals so you are more in control when sitting down to a meal. Make sure to eat every 3 to 5 hours and choose snacks that have fiber and/or protein to help keep you full. Easy and portable snacks to pack include nuts, trail mix, fresh or dried fruit, snack-size protein bars, and peanut butter sandwiches.

Plan Ahead for Better Nutrition While Traveling

Here are some final tips to keep in mind while traveling:

  • Request a refrigerator in your room to keep healthy perishable snacks and meals.
  • Bring a water bottle with you to fill up at rest stops or after security at the airport.
  • Keep alcohol in moderation. 
  • Avoid minibars in hotel rooms. 
  • Visit the local grocery store once you’ve arrived at your destination. Stock up on healthy snacks and convenient meals. (This is better for your budget, too!)
  • Research menus ahead of time. 

However, the most important tip is everything in moderation! Enjoy your travels, try something new, and get out there and explore the new city!

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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 healthy eating snacks hydration traveling

Should You Be Buying Organic Fruits and Vegetables?

ThinkstockPhotos-86533186This is always a hot topic and a debate that many people have strong opinions about: should I be buying organic produce? Unfortunately, I don’t have the definite answer for you, either. What I can do is give you some facts and let you decide whether buying organic foods is right for you and your family.

  • Organic produce does not have more vitamins and minerals than non-organic produce. 
  • Organics have a 30% lower risk of pesticide residue than non-organic produce.
  • Organic produce typically costs three times the amount that conventional produce costs.
  • Purchasing fruits and vegetables from the local farmer’s market is an option for getting more cost-effective organic foods.
  • Small amounts of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during fetal development and childhood. 
Pesticide Residue Rankings

Still confused? Each year the Environmental Working Group identifies foods that have the highest and lowest pesticide residues. Here is a list in order, starting with the highest level of pesticide from 2015:

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Bell peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Imported sugar snap peas
  12. Potatoes
  13. Hot peppers
  14. Kale/collard greens

Here is a list of foods that are least likely to contain contaminants:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Frozen peas
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet potatoes

When glancing at these two lists, you can see that items on the first list all have edible skins, whereas the skins of the majority of foods on the second list are discarded. 

Ways to Reduce Pesticide Residues

Thoroughly washing produce is one way to guarantee you are washing away remaining pesticide residues (pesticides absorbed through roots can’t be washed off, however). Peeling the skins off fruit is another way to decrease the amount of residue; however, you lose nutrients when you throw out the skin. 

Take all of this information into account when deciding between organics and non-organics, and then make the choice that best fits your beliefs and budget!

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

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Topics: healthy eating disease prevention clean eating organic foods

The Nutrition Pros of Probiotics

yogurtProbiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, specifically your digestive system. These “good” types of bacteria help to keep your gut working properly.

Lately the nutrition benefits of probiotics have been everywhere, which means they are popping up in all types of food. So, what foods should you be choosing as a way to get in probiotics, and what exactly are they doing to keep you healthy?

What Probiotics Can Do for You

Probiotics help move food through your gut. They also help with diarrhea and lactose intolerance, for those people who have trouble digesting lactose, or milk sugar. Probiotics have also been found to help with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease

More recent research has been going beyond stomach-related problems. Researchers have found probiotics can help with skin eczema, preventing allergies and colds, and oral health.

Which Foods Have Probiotics?

Most people think of yogurt as a food with probiotics, and this is by far the most common food choice. Yogurt would be an excellent addition to your diet not only because it’s a more gut-friendly food, but also because it is high in protein, calcium, and Vitamin D. Choose a yogurt that states it has live and active cultures. Other dairy foods that are a good choice for probiotics are buttermilk, kefir, and soft cheeses. 

If you want more options, consider these foods:

  • Miso soup: This popular Japanese starter has more than 160 bacteria strains and can keep your digestive system moving.
  • Sourdough bread: This type of bread is full of gut-protective probiotics. 
  • Sour pickles: Choose naturally fermented kinds, where vinegar wasn’t used in the pickling. Without the vinegar, more good bacteria can grow and increase the digestive benefits.
  • Tempeh: Made from fermented soybeans, this product can be used as a replacement for meat in meals. It is high in protein and is described as having a smoky and nutty flavor. 

Try incorporating some or all of these foods into your diet to start reaping the benefits of probiotics. 

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

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Topics: nutrition digestion

The Confusing World of Nutrition Bars

barsThere are so many nutrition bars out there that I am sure it can be a challenge to pick one that is the best. So how do you know if the bar you are choosing is the healthiest option for you? With anything, when it comes to your food and nutrition, the key is moderation and balance. You should be choosing a bar that you like the taste of and that works for your schedule and habits.

The goal is to try to eat as many whole, fresh foods as possible and decrease the packaged foods with a giant ingredient list of things you might have trouble pronouncing. However, these bars can be a nice backup to keep in your purse, car, gym bag, or desk drawer for those times when you need fuel and don’t have other options. 

Here is a good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to these convenient bars:

Protein: Choose one with at least 5 grams and no more than 15 grams. This will help keep you full, and protein is what makes these bars have more staying power than a regular granola bar or candy bar. Too much protein will make the bar have an unpleasant taste, or more ingredients will be added to cover the added protein taste. Also, this bar is intended to be a snack to hold you over until mealtime and not replace the quality protein you should be getting from meals.

Fiber: Choose one with more than 3 grams. Fiber is another thing that will help to keep you full, so choosing a bar with staying power will help keep you satisfied until your next meal. 

Fat: Choose one with mainly heart-healthy fat. Check the label and make sure the saturated and trans fat content is low and the majority of fat is coming from mono or polyunsaturated fats like you would find in nuts. 

Carbohydrates: Choose one with mostly whole grains and 15 grams or less from sugar. This can be tricky because a lot of bars have added sugar to make them taste better. Try to steer away from the ones that are a fancy candy bar and choose one that is lower in sugar.

Here are a few bars that meet these requirements:

Was your favorite not on the list? Or did it not meet the requirements? Remember, if you are choosing a nutrition bar occasionally, then it can fit into a balanced diet!

If you have nutrition-related questions or simply struggle to incorporate proper dietary habits into your lifestyle, a Personal Nutrition Coaching (PNC) session may be for you!

Find out more about nutritional coaching

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

Topics: nutrition healthy eating snacks protein