Highlights From My Soy Foods Video Shoot

I’ve been a fan of soy for a while now. It offers so many nutritional benefits: high in protein, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and contains essential fats, fiber, iron and other nutrients.

I had the amazing opportunity recently to make a series of videos with the Soy Foods Association. I’ll update the post as soon as the videos is available on their website. In the meantime, I thought I would share some of the highlights: We did several vignettes, about 3 minutes each to cover the uses of soy for several specialty groups.

Soy and Athletes

Soy is especially great for athletes who train hard, because after muscles are broken down during exercise, we need protein to help build them back up. Soy is absorbed more slowly than other types of protein so some research studies suggest that soy can help maximize muscle building by extending protein absorption. That’s why recovery nutrition, high in protein, is so important — chocolate or vanilla soy milk is a great choice. resource: http://www.soyfoodsmonth.org/soy-and-performance

Posing with the athletes we used in the video. They loved refueling.

Why Soy is Great For Kids

Soy is an easily digestible protein for kids with sensitive tummy’s. And, the quality of soy protein is comparable to animal proteins like fish, dairy and meat. Soy foods also contain vitamins and minerals important for bone and muscle development. You can check out the soyfoods website to find recipes your kids will love.

Can It Be Good For Seniors?

Athletes aren’t the only ones who need strong muscles. Seniors need physical activity and protein to help maintain muscle mass and mobility throughout old age. It’s also packed with antioxidants which have been shown to be protective against some types of cancers. It’s so important to maintain a heart healthy diet as we age, and soy can be a great source of protein.

How Can I Eat It?

Basically soy foods can be part of a healthy plate for any age group and activity level. Following the balanced plate model, you could have a stir fry with tofu, mixed veggies and brown rice. Swap out meat for soy crumbles next time you’re having taco night. Or for lunch, a veggie burger on a wheat bun, piled with veggies and a side of fruit. Smoothies made with soy milk and frozen fruit are delicious as well.

When I see a food that is good for your heart, can lower your cholesterol, and is rich in protein and antioxidants, I can’t help but want to share it with others. I hope you’ll give soy a shot next time you’re looking to switch up your meal routine.

What is your favorite way to enjoy soyfoods?

Healthy Eating With Kids Using MyPlate!

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be a part of Panera Bread’s Wellness Day for Fort Foote Elementary School! Fort Foote Elementary School’s mascot is the Bear and suitably, their motto is “Believing in Education and Reaching for Success” (BEARS)! The children that I met this morning were certainly excited to learn and were a fun, outgoing group to teach!

We brought MyPlate to life with an interactive game and an engaging lesson in nutrition. We used our imaginations and helped Andy the Astronaut fly back home to Planet Power, once his plate was balanced so he had enough energy for the trip home! I gave the children an association word for each food group on MyPlate: fruit/energy, vegetables/vitamins, protein/muscles, grains/brains and dairy/strong bones. The children interacted by making gestures (such as making their muscles flex or pretending to peel a banana) and screaming the words out – and seemed to be having a lot of fun! After 5 volunteers picked their favorite food from a specific food group, they handed the food to Andy and watched as his engine fueled up. Finally, it was time for blastoff, and the children helped Andy successfully land on Planet Power.

MyPlate is a great resource, and is more helpful than its predecessor, MyPyramid. The guidelines are clear and easy to understand and apply, such as making half your plate fruits and veggies. Also, the focus on balance and variety, which are key concepts in nutrition. The new guidelines, along with the clear visual, are also kid-friendly so it is easy for your children to understand the basic elements of proper nutrition. The MyPlate logo depicts an applicable visual for anybody to picture their plate and ideal servings of food groups. I think this is a great resource to use in order to plan or track meals – and the MyPlate website offers a ton of cool benefits for free! What are your favorite ways to make half of your plate fruits and veggies?

Finally Made it in O Magazine, Yep Oprah!

I was honored to be interviewed by the wonderful writer and author Leslie Goldman (@LeslieGoldman) for her article in this month’s O magazine - yep, that’s Oprah! In this article, old food myths were busted and new food rules were clarified. I weighed in on the issue of how much produce one should eat daily. Turns out, it’s easier than you think!

Here are some of my recommendations:
  • Make it easy on yourself and just include produce as half of every meal. Don’t get tangled up in serving sizes!
  • Include a side salad with lunch or roasted vegetables with dinner
  • Make a vegetable and fruit smoothie
  • Let veggies take center stage in dips by replacing creams with hearty beans and adding in spinach or other dip favorites
  • Add vegetables into eggs to include them in breakfast and cut up fruit on the side

Check out the full article here.

Stumped for ideas? Check out a recipe for an old breakfast favorite of mine – the healthy vegetable frittata!

My Interview in Women’s Running Magazine – Top Nutrition Contenders

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, who writes for Women’s Running Magazine. In the article, we put certain foods head-to-head and tallied which food packed in a greater nutritional punch. Here is a sneak peak at some of the contenders:

Fresh vs. Frozen Blueberries: Frozen Blueberries

Stats: Frozen blueberries can be more convenient so you can have them year round when fresh is not available. When frozen, the nutrients stay sealed in, whereas fresh blueberries can spoil quickly and lose nutrients the longer they sit on the shelves and in your fridge.

Kale vs. Spinach: Kale

Stats: While spinach is a prime example of a nutrient-dense vegetable, kale offers more beta-carotene and vitamin C per serving. Additionally, kale offers more than two times the amount of vitamin K, which has been linked to prevent the onset of diabetes. Other nutritious perks? Lutein and zeaxanthin, which both work to maintain eye health.

Canned Tuna vs. Canned Salmon: Canned Salmon

Stats: Other than containing more omega-3 fatty acids, canned salmon contains more vitamin D than canned tuna. Also, munching on the tiny bones will offer extra calcium.

Read the article to see all of the contenders battle it out!

Interested in Women’s Running? Go to their website or follow Women’s Running on Twitter @WomensRunning!

The Real “Value Meal” Sitting Down to Eat With Family

Fox News Debate: Fast Food Delivery Vs. The Family Meal

Fast food is so pervasive in our society. Many times, it’s more accessible than a grocery store with fresh produce. Family mealtimes are becoming a thing of the past, due to time-poor duel working parents, and kids involved with a myriad of extracurricular activities.

Many of you may have heard recently that Burger King is now going to be experimenting with a delivery service in the DC metro area. For an extra $2 you can get your meal delivered to your home (just like a pizza). This is not what the D.C. area or our Nation needs. Now we don’t even have to get in our cars to pick it up? Fast food should be LESS accessible in this country, not more. We need to get back to family mealtime, cook with our kids, and care more about the benefits this provides – no matter how busy we are.

Just this week I was asked to be on Fox with Neil Cavuto to debate the BK delivery news.

Click image below to watch video (then come back and read the post)

As I mentioned in the clip, I am not opposed to ordering delivery as a backup. I don’t even want to take away hamburgers! I just feel that for you and your family’s health and wellness, it’s just as fast to make a home-cooked meal, and the result is higher quality food, enjoyed with the people you love. All you need to do is a little planning and make some time in your schedule. The benefits to your health and well-being outweigh the cost of your time and there is research to prove it.

Families Who Eat Together, Stay Healthy Together

Research shows that children and adolescents who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together. In addition, they are less likely to engage in disordered eating (skipping meals, compulsive overeating, restricting etc.). They are also less likely to have problems with substance abuse. Family mealtime creates stronger family bonds, and encourages positive social interactions.

What more could you ask for? When you are the chef, you eat healthier and you live healthier. Get help from the kids. Get help from slow cookers. Have some repeat meals. It’s OK.

A dietitian colleague of mine had some great insight:

“The value of family meals goes beyond the food–it includes the connection you make with your family and the importance of being together, sharing stories of the day, and being a family. You don’t need a fancy meal; there are so many meals that can be pulled together in less than 15 to 20 minutes and get everyone involved. Wrap a tortilla, pack a pita pocket, stuff a baked potato, create a stir-fry, set up a salad bar–so many ideas for busy families.”

Sandy Nissenberg, MS, RD www.kidsliketoeat.com author of Quick Meals for Healthy Kids and Busy Parents

Do Salads Deserve a Health Halo?

I’ve been catching some flack for my comment regarding Burger King’s salads not being very healthy. Yes the salads contain vegetables (iceberg) and protein (seasoned chicken, breaded or grilled). But they have nearly a half days salt without the dressing and the iceberg doesn’t compare to the nutrition in kale, spinach, arugula, or romaine!

I stand by my comment, that just because it’s called a salad, doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. I believe in choosing foods you love so if there is a fast food place with a salad you enjoy then by all means go for it. I just happen to think you can do a better job on your own.

If you are really in a time crunch and can get grocery delivery, do it. Add a leafy green or two, any other veggies you like, and your choice of lean protein, any bean, and you have a hearty, nutritious salad.

I’m not the only one who feels this way either. I’ve asked some dietitians in private practice to weigh in on their thoughts and here is what they said.

Salads can be a more healthful choice but only if you make adjustments to it eg use less (1/4 packet, for example instead of a whole packet) and get grilled instead of fried chicken. Many fully dressed fast food salads can pack in as many if not more calories than a burger and fries, but if you pay attention to portions of add ons like dressing, cheese, croutons and opt for grilled instead of fried chicken, it can fit into an otherwise healthful, balancd diet.

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN 7

@elisazied, creator of The ZIED GUIDE blog, author Nutrition At Your Fingertips

“I do think that there is a “halo effect” around salads, I mean, don’t people think of a grilled chicken salad at the quintessential guiltless lunch? But we all need to be diligent and check the nutritional information on what we are eating. If you are aware of the stats on that salad and choose it anyway, then it’s your choice. But I think most people would be shocked to see that theTendergrill salad contains more calories, fat and sodium than a double cheeseburger. We all need to educate ourselves and choose wisely!”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RD and Kathy Siegel, RD, CDN

Co-founders, NutritionBabes LLC www.NutritionBabes.com

“Salads can be a good choice at fast food restaurants because at many places, the salad is where you’re most likely to find whole foods such as nuts, dried fruit, and various vegetables. The problem comes in when they add bacon, fried breaded chicken, croutons or fried noodles, and creamy dressings.”

Alyssa Chicci RD, CDE, CLT Nutrition Resolution, LLC http://www.nutritionresolution.com/

15-Minute Vitality Salad

Just in case you are stumped for at-home salad ideas, here is my favorite tabouli from Field to Plate and literally takes 15 minutes to throw together:

  • Whole wheat cous cous (cooks in 5 minutes!),
  • Spinach,
  • Tomatoes,
  • Cucumber,
  • Green onions,
  • Chick peas,
  • Mint,
  • Parsley,
  • Salmon or any lean protein
  • Lemon juice,
  • Olive, oil, and tahini

Combine veggies, beans and herbs then add dressing. Top with your lean protein choice, and enjoy!

AreYou a Healthy Woman?

I’m attending blogger 11 in San Diego. I’m here wearing many “faces”. I’m a blogger, registered dietitan, and speaker. But lately, I think my most important role is an organizer. I’m a passionate advocate for self-care, making sure every day there is time for “me”. We do so much for everyone else that we tend to fall off our own to-do list. Am I right?

Been there, Done That
This is how I lived most of my life. “is everyone happy? What can I do for you? Yes. Yes. Yes. Of course. Yes. Ok!” What I learned is that I did a lot despite my willingness to focus on me. I was young but felt old. Tired. I wanted to change things. So I did one step at a time.That was Over a decade ago. I changed my perceptive and changed my life. A the end of the day, we can’t be our most “successful” in life – however you define it – without meeting our needs first.

enter my passion project. I started blogging and tweeting about important ways of fitting in self-care. I’m all over twitter using the #mefirst hash…and I’m not alone.

I started a blog and am growing a community at http://www.mefirstblog.com mefirstblog the premise is simple. It’s a daily remind to take care of you. If you want more energy. If you want to feel better. If you want to be healthier. You will get that if you focus on three areas — food, movement, and fun. Get rid of any guilt for being more self-focused. There is nothing selfish about selfness. You are leading by example letting people know that you matter.

Healthy Women
I found a great website and new app at BlogHer11 called healthy women. This is a great place to get expert info, resources, and motivation for medical appointments, check ups and preventative health care you deserve.

Check out both these resources and tell someone else you care about. We can only take others as far as we have gone. The question is: how far are you willing to go?

“Am I Overweight?”: Teen Body Troubles

Growing up is tough! Especially in today’s society with more and more pressures being put on children and teenagers. One of such pressure is ‘looks’ with the focus on body weight.

Around junior highs and high schools, girls (and sometimes boys!) often talk about their weight, and dieting almost becomes a trend. The media has a lot to do with it. Magazines that are often read by teens, such as Cosmo or Shape, put out a lot of dieting tips and suggestions that are often taken out of context, or abused by the younger readers. More often than not, teens compare themselves to their role models: actors, athletes, or models. These role models are usually very fit, thin, and some on the verge of underweight. When one person decides they’re “fat”, and tries to lose weight, it causes others to assess themselves and think “Well, maybe I’m fat too, and maybe I need to lose weight too”.

A study done by Janet Leichty showed that many teens who believed they were overweight were in fact of a normal and healthy weight for their height. Leichty obtained these findings not by measuring body dissatisfaction, but by observing body-image distortion. Those with a poor body-image are at greater risk for using unsafe weight-loss techniques; once the techniques for weight-loss are used, the odds that those same techniques will be used again increases by 11 times.

The need for early prevention in unsafe dieting and disordered eating is quite obvious, but it’s a touchy subject for most. Doctors generally address weight-loss with those that are overweight, but for those of a normal weight, the topic gets brushed off. It is important to address body-image with children and teens of all shapes and sizes, whether it be a doctor, nurse or parent who does the talking.

The most important thing to remember is to respond appropriately. Encourage the child or teen toward more positive lifestyle changes rather than “healthy” dieting, as any type of diet can easily spiral out of control. Suggest going on walks or bike rides, and eating more fruits and vegetables with every meal. Remind them that feeling good is what’s important, and it will help them see their body in a better light.


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