By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

Frozen foods often take a backseat to fresh options, especially when it comes to produce. Something about that perfectly organized and colorful produce section seems like it is the clear choice.

That is not always the case, and in some instances, it may be the opposite. Fruits and vegetables are typically harvested at their peak nutritional value then slowly degrade with time. With frozen produce, however, they are flash-frozen usually within hours of being harvested. Once frozen, they degrade at a much slower rate than fresh, preserving freshness, and most importantly, nutrients.

So, if you are ever worried that frozen fruits and vegetables aren’t as good as the fresh ones, you may want to reconsider. Throwing some frozen fruit or veggies into a blender can be an easy way to get your servings in. The one downside is once they thaw, they can become soft or soggy. Make sure to use them right out of the freezer, whether its mixing them in a stir-fry or blending them in a smoothie.

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

There is a big difference between what your body needs to function versus what your mind typically wants. The body needs the correct vitamins, minerals, water, and macronutrients to build and sustain your body’s cells. What your mind wants is typically loaded with empty calories that have very little vitamins and minerals. These items damage your cells as opposed to building and sustaining them.

Your body is literally made up of what you eat and drink so why not build it with the best ingredients? You would never put the wrong oil or gas in your vehicle because it would break down. The body is no different…you fill it with things that do not belong, and it will break down.

 

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

Pre-workout nutrition is just as important as any other aspect of your health and fitness. There are multiple factors that will help you decide what the best tactic is for you. Some things to ask yourself:

  • Do I get lightheaded or dizzy during workouts?
  • Do I work out in the mornings or afternoon/evenings?
  • Is my energy level where I want it to be during my workouts?

If you do get lightheaded or dizzy, your body is not getting the necessary energy to fuel the intense workouts. You should consume a small amount of carbohydrates approximately 15-30 minutes before your workout:

  • A piece of fruit or 1-2 cups of berries
  • ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Low-fat fruit yogurt
  • A small bowl of oatmeal or granola bar

If your workouts are sluggish, and you just feel blah during your sessions, consume a small amount of caffeine right before your workout. A cup of caffeinated tea or ½ cup coffee can give you the needed boost.

If your energy levels are good, and you don’t get dizzy or light-headed on an empty stomach, this can be a good way to burn some additional fat. After fasting during sleep, your body’s primary fuel source will be fat. If you are able to work out in the morning on an empty stomach, more fat will be burned to get you through your workouts.

 

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

I’ve heard a lot of talk about the benefits of vegetables lately. Sometimes it seems like they are difficult to work into diets. Sometimes it is difficult to find ways to implement them in a tasty dish that isn’t bland or boring. Vegetables do not always have to be a side dish or take a back seat to entrées. They can be included in different ways, even breakfasts. Here are two easy options to incorporate more veggies into your diet:

Veggie Quiche
I typically add an extra egg and more than ½ cup of each vegetable, but you can experiment to see what you like.

Veggie & Hummus Sandwich
With this recipe, it’s very easy to add or remove a veggie you like/dislike and use flavored hummus for extra flavor.

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

A new trend has emerged, and it has to do with a mysterious food item known as “celery.” Celebrities are swearing by celery juice to help with many ailments including irregularity, weight loss, and even psoriasis. What is this mysterious food, and how is it doing these amazing things for people? After many sleepless nights and endless hours of research, I believe I have found the answer. Celery belongs to an ancient food group known as “vegetables”, and the “vitamins and minerals” in these vegetables apparently have many health benefits. SURPRISE!!

Ok, no more sarcasm, I promise. Celery is not a magical cure-all. It is a vegetable that is part of the most nutritious food group you can consume. There is a reason health professionals try to push vegetables down your throat: they are extremely nutrient dense while containing very little calories. It is not difficult to get the recommended amounts either.

  • The goal is 4 servings a day (1 serving sounds harder than it is).
  • ½ cup cooked = 1 serving
  • 1 cup raw = 1 serving

And yes, that includes all vegetables (celery, onions, lettuce, mushrooms). Though you want to include different varieties and colors of vegetables throughout the week, these items still contain beneficial nutrients and should be included in a healthy diet.

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

Every couple of years a new diet emerges as the cure for weight loss and obesity–from Atkins, Paleo, and vegan to the now-popular Keto diet. Half of the articles you read claim it is the cure-all, while the other half assure you it is the worst thing you can do. Nutrition science is still a very young science relative to others, leading to many different opinions on the same topics. There are no “good” and “bad” diets, only what works for each individual. However, when choosing or considering a diet, there are definitely good and bad ways to approach it.

  • Do not choose an eating pattern based on someone else’s results. Everyone is unique. One person may not see the same results as another. Choose what is best for you.
  • Do your own research. “My buddy John lost 15 lbs. in 2 hours following Keto” is not research. Use government, university, and medical websites to learn the pros and cons of each diet type. You can learn a lot with a quick 10- to 15-minute search.
  • Be aware of deficiencies. Many diets eliminate one or multiple food groups leading to deficiencies. A good multi-vitamin or specific supplementation may not be a bad idea when beginning dietary changes.
  • Most importantly, be aware of what is happening on the inside when following a diet, especially extreme diets.  Weight is not the only indicator a diet is effective or not. Make sure you are having regular blood work done to monitor cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides, and other markers to ensure you are healthy on the inside.

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

Some people respond well to written instructions and numbers. Many others respond better to visual cues and pictures. The more specific instructions are, the better results you are likely to have. If eating 63.45% of your cheeseburger and weighing out 3.86 ounces of French fries isn’t your idea of a good time, there are some general guidelines to what your plate should look like.

Although being precise with your intake will provide results, you have to crawl before you walk. Your plate should be divided into ¼ sections. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

  • The first thing to address is vegetables, and they should be ½ of your plate (2 sections).
  • Think of how your protein and carbs complement your veggies, not the other way around.
  • ¼ of the plate should be your protein (lean meats, eggs, etc.).
  • ¼ of the plate should be your carbohydrates (beans, fruit, quinoa, yam, etc.
  • Fats will typically accompany a section; consider avocado or dressing on a salad, oil used to cook protein, etc.

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

If you constantly beat yourself up over your eating habits and nutrition, stop! The idea that your nutrition has to be perfect to be effective is flat-out wrong. It is not an all-or-nothing scenario. The people who are successful make the right decisions most of the time, not every time. Many of us feel that if we have been eating great for 4 days, then have a burger and a beer, that our lives are over, and we failed. Not so. The mental aspect of nutrition is the challenging part.

Stay positive and understand nutrition is a continuum, not a pass or fail.

Imagine looking back at your last 10 meals. Person one eats a bad lunch and dinner but gets back on track the following day. Another slips up at lunch but lets it run through the next couple of days. A simple way of looking at this is like a test score. Person one ate well 8/10 meals or 80% of the time. Person two let it slide multiple days and maybe ate 5/10 meals well (50%). Neither are perfect, but wouldn’t you prefer an 80% on a test over a 50%? Approach your eating habits like this.

Strive to do your best but don’t expect to be perfect, and you will certainly see a difference.

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

The 2-week meal plan to start off the new year is ready to go and waiting in my office for you! There is some simple prep involved, but that will be true for any plan that is balanced and can be maintained long-term. It will only take a few minutes to go over so no need to even schedule an appointment. Stop by and grab a copy today or tomorrow so you are ready to start this Monday.

Good nutrition is the most important thing you can do for yourself so why not start now?

The plan includes recipes and portion sizes, and some examples are:

Breakfast
1 heaping cup fruit salad
1 serving breakfast bake

Lunch
Chopped Thai salad
with 3 oz. ground chicken (prepared w/ cooking spray, no oil)

Dinner
Chicken fajita salad
(2 oz. chicken, ¼ avocado)

Shouldn’t 2019 be all about committing to yourself?

By: Jeremy Will, RD/LD
Registered Dietitian

I’m sure all of us had (and will have) some delicious food and drink this holiday season, finishing up with New Year’s celebrations. Following the holidays, I will have a 2-week meal plan that will serve as a type of “detox” or “cleanse.”

It will include lots of salads, fruits, and veggies; it will begin Monday, January 7th. The plan and recipes will be available next week, so please come and see me by Friday, January 4th so you have adequate time to plan and be ready for the start date. Hope you had a great Christmas and a good New Year’s coming up!