Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring Clean Your Diet

Spring Clean Your Diet
                                                      By Jane Grant, Registered Dietitian

Spring is officially here! As the weather starts to warm up many of us start thinking of spring cleaning our closets and homes. Some of us are even inspired to take advantage of the longer days by getting involved in some outdoor activities like walking or biking. This is the perfect time to spring clean your diet. Most of us are aware that a healthy diet is the cornerstone of healthy living. A few simply changes can lead to big health rewards making you feel energized and renewed.

Let’s take a closer look at our eating habits and make changes that will work for you. The first thing you want to do is take a good look in your refrigerator and cabinets and evaluate the food items you have on hand. Over the winter months you might of stock up on comfort foods, convenience items and snacks. This is a good place to start “house cleaning” and reduce these items from your home. These items would be processed foods, items that are high in sodium, sugar, fat and refined grains (white flour or rice). Snack foods like cookies, chips and crackers are often made with white flour, high in calories and fat and provide little if any nutritional value. Cutting down these items in your diet is a great place to start.

Include more of these items into your diet and feel energized with good nutrition:

Include More Fruits and Vegetables! Take advantage of the fresh produce this season and add more nutrient dense foods like avocado, berries, cherries, and leafy dark greens like arugula, chard, kale and spinach. Not only do they add a lot of flavor and color to meals, they provide us with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Most people don’t include enough fruits and vegetables in their diet.

Don’t Forget Whole Grains! Studies have shown eating more whole grains could lengthen your life by reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Look for the Whole Grains Council’s “100% Whole Grain” stamp and check ingredients for terms like “whole wheat or whole oat”. Also experiment with grains that you’ve never tried before such as quinoa or wild rice, each week. You might discover a new favorite!

What about Nuts and Seeds! When you’re looking for a satisfying snack try a small handful of almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin or sunflower seeds. These items are a good source of protein, fiber and heart healthy monounsaturated fats as well as minerals. Studies have suggested they can help lower cholesterol levels. Use them on your salads instead of croutons, favorite muffins or try sprinkling them on your oatmeal or yogurt. Just watch your portion sizes to avoid eating more than you attended too.

More Water Please!  Water is vital for every organ system to function, helping to circulate oxygen and eliminate toxins. Our bodies are made up of 60% of water. Take your body weight and cut it in half that is how many ounces of water you should be drinking every day. Part of the natural aging process we start to lose our sense of thirst so it’s important to keep ourselves hydrated.      

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Magnesium – A Mighty Mineral

Have you ever suffered from restless leg syndrome? What about muscle spasms or cramps? Did you know a deficiency of dietary magnesium can cause this? Magnesium and calcium work together to prevent this from happening by helping nerves and muscles to relax which prevents muscle tension, muscle soreness and muscle fatigue as well. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and essential to good health. It is needed in over 300 different enzymes in the body to assist them in doing their job.  Like all minerals, magnesium cannot be made in the body and must therefore be in our diet in order for us to remain healthy.  Most people can get enough magnesium by eating a healthy diet with a variety of foods.


What are the other benefits of magnesium? Recent studies have shown magnesium assists in balancing blood sugars which is very important for diabetics. More research is being done in this area. It also supports normal blood pressure and may lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.  But that is not all, it also helps to maintain healthy brain functions which reduces anxiety and assists with sleep (falling and staying asleep), and may help to prevent or lower the severity of migraine headaches. Last but not least magnesium helps to prevent constipation. Magnesium is very busy in the body.

Who’s at risk for magnesium deficiency? The risk of deficiency increases as we get older because magnesium absorption decreases as we get older and our body tends to increase excretion of this mineral. People who have diets that are high in saturated fats, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol may have increase magnesium needs because the diet is typically lower in high magnesium rich foods. Individuals with Crohn’s disease and poorly controlled diabetes may be at higher risk, too. Let’s not forget about medications, some may interact with magnesium like diuretics, antibiotics, and cancer chemo medicine which may prevent your body from absorbing this mineral. Your local pharmacist will be able to tell you if the medication you’re taking interacts with magnesium.

What are the good food sources of magnesium? The best way to make sure you have enough magnesium in your diet it to choose whole grains (bread, rolls, pasta, cereal). Whole Grains contain the magnesium-rich germ and bran. When checking ingredients on the label look for terms like “whole wheat or whole oat” Leafy greens such as spinach, collards, kale, etc. and beans such as pinto, soy, kidney, etc. are also great sources of magnesium. They also provides us with essential vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Include pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds to salads and entrees and a serving of almonds is a good way to get additional magnesium into the diet. Dairy food products have a modest amount of magnesium. So make sure you are drinking the recommended amounts of 3 glasses of milk daily.  


Making a few simply changes in your diet by adding these foods or increasing them to your daily meals can reduce your risk of disease and make you feel more energized and renewed.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Personalized Meal Planning

Personalized Meal Planning

Need Help Losing Weight or Simply Want To Improve Your Health Through Diet?
One of the key components to improving health is the way we eat. When a customized meal plan is planned out it can reduce stress by knowing what you’re going to eat ahead of time, improve your health and be cost effective.
As a Registered Dietitian I will work with you to put together a personalized meal plan that takes into account your food preferences, level of physical activity and lifestyle to achieve the goals you’re aiming for. There is no one diet or meal plan that works for everyone.

Customized meal plans for:
  • • Weight Loss
  • • Endurance - for Runners or Cyclist who would like to maximize their abilities
  • • Body Building - for those who are looking to build muscle
  • • Vegetarian or Vegan
  • • General Wellness

Customized meal plans include:
  • • Nutrition Counseling Session
  • • 7 day meal plan based on your food preferences
  • • Nutritional information for each meal
  • • Shopping lists

Meal plans make it easier to shop, prepare and enjoy each day’s meals while achieving the goals you’re aiming for.