Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Trick or Treat!

As many of my friends know Halloween is my favorite holiday and it also happens to be my birthday.  I must have been born with a sweet tooth!  Not only did I get a bag full of candy from trick or treating but I also had birthday parties complete with cake and ice cream.  Now you can understand why this is my favorite holiday. 

I still enjoy Halloween a lot as an adult however as a Registered Dietitian I can't help but be amazed at all the candy that is consumed and consider the effect it can have on blood glucose.  Ever year more than 35 million pounds of candy corn is sold.  This is equivalent to 9 billion pieces which is enough to circle the moon 9 times if laid out end to end.  Impressive or frightening? I can't decide!

I encourage everyone to enjoy the holiday and all the tasty treats but don't get tricked into overindulging.  I suggest limiting candy consumption to 1-2 carbohydrate servings with meals and snacks.  To keep blood glucose from rising rapidly I recommend pairing this with a protein-rich or fiber-rich food.  Below is a list of 1 carbohydrate servings of popular Halloween candy.

  • 3 Musketers = 3 miniature bars
  • Bottle Caps = 10 pieces
  • Ande's Mints = 5 mints
  • Butterfinger = 1 fun size bar
  • Dove Milk Chocolate Promises = 3 pieces
  • Gummy Bears = 6 pieces
  • Hershey's Kisses = 5 pieces
  • Junior Mints = 1 small box
  • M&M's = 1 mini pack
  • Milk Duds = 7 pieces
  • Nerds = 1 tablespoon
  • Now & Later = 5 pieces
  • Reese's Mini Cups = 4 pieces
  • Starburst = 4 pieces
  • Tootsie Rool Mini Chews = 15 pieces
  • Twizzlers = 2 pieces
  • Werther's Original Hard Candy = 3 pieces
Remember, there are many fun Halloween activites that aren't focused on sweets.  Pumpkin carving, haunted houses, parades and costume parties are just a few ways to celebrate without the calories, added sugar and trans fat.  Whatever your plans may be, we wish you a fun and safe Halloween.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Going Green

This week for Wellness Wednesday we're talking about how we can "go green" with our nutrition.  When we think of leafy greens we usually think of salads.  While we love a good, tasty salad we want to encourage our friends to incorporate dark green vegetables into their diets in different ways. 

Leafy greens are versatile and have many flavors to compliment different dishes.  Winter greens like cabbage, collard greens, kale and mustard greens are more tender and sweet during cooler months.  Spinach, chard and lettuces are at their peak during springtime.  Try sauteeing, blanching steaming, juicing or blending your favorite greens to give your meals and snacks a nutritional boost.

Cruciferous vegetables like kale, collard greens and cabbage have been recognized for their potential role in cancer prevention.  Leafy greens are low in calories and carbohydrate and high in micronutrients.  Most dark leafy greens are high in vitamins A, C and K.  They are also great sources of fiber and potassium.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 1.5 cups of dark green vegetables per week, we think you can do better than that!

I love to start the day with a green smoothie.  A green smoothie is delicious, light and full of the nutrients I need to get going in the morning.  Below is a recipe from Simple Green Smoothies that you can use for meals or snacks to keep you nourished throughout the day.

-1 Cup Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Chard, whatever is in the fridge)
-1 Cup Milk (any kind, I prefer Almond) or Water (Coconut Water is delicious!)
-1.5 Cups Fruit (Banana, Berries, Mango, Avocado, etc)
*Optional-Protein Powder, Chia Seeds, Flax Meal, Coconut Oil or Almond Butter*

Blend your leafy greens with your liquid first then add your fruit and blend again.  If you choose to include one of the "optional" ingredients add at the end and blend once more. This recipe makes about 16 ounces of tasty, green smoothie.

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Heart Health

The 2014 Las Vegas Heart & Stroke Walk/Run is coming up on Saturday November 8th.  You can participate as a walker, runner or volunteer.  So far over $220,000 has been raised  for the American Heart Association (AHA); the fundraising goal for this event is $320,000.  This is such an important cause as one in three American die of cardiovascular disease and 60% will experience a heart attack or stroke-related event in their lifetime.

The term "heart disease" is used to describe several problems related to cardiovascular health.  These conditions include but are not limited to congenital heart defects, arrhythmia, heart attack, cardiac arrest, heart failure, heart valve problems, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  The AHA recommends "knowing your numbers" and taking steps to live a heart healthy lifestyle to enjoy a longer and healthier life.  We encourage you to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, weight, blood glucose and triglycerides.  In addition to tracking you health status, here are some dietary tips for supporting a healthy heart.

  • Avoid trans fat and limit saturated fat.
  • Choose unsaturated fats and omega-3s like avocado, olive oil, nuts, oily fish and flax seed.
  • Low fat foods have less than 3 grams total fat per serving and non-fat foods have less than 0.5 grams total fat per serving.
  • Limit sodium to less than 2,000 mg daily for generally healthy people.
  • Limit sodium to 1,500 mg daily for people with a history of heart problems.
  • Choose foods with less than 300 mg sodium per serving.
  • Include fresh fruits, vegetables and fiber-rich foods in the diet.
  • Try to intake 25-30 grams of fiber daily.
  • If you increase fiber intake, do so gradually and drink plenty of water.
  • Manage blood glucose, diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.
Physical activity can play a major role in heart health, talk with your physician about what type of physical activity is appropriate for you.  Managing stress, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight are additional ways to support your heart.

We hope you choose to live the heart healthy lifestyle and I hope to see you at the 2014 Las Vegas Heart & Stroke Walk/Run.

Stay healthy friends!