Amid the current stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel is still being affected. From flights booked at seventy percent capacity, to closed airport businesses, you should consider rebooking travel if possible. If you must fly, set your expectations accordingly. In most airports across the states, a majority of businesses are closed. At a minimum, these businesses are operating at adjusted hours. This includes food establishments. There are some options, but expect lines even with a decline in the number of travelers. Stocking up with food items that hit at least two food groups will go a long way in sustaining oneself throughout an unpredictable day. You may feel like you are packing too much food, but feel confident in knowing that typical conveniences will not be available. Here are a few of our favorite travel snack options:
Summer brings with it an abundance of produce. Consider certain guidelines when stocking up to increase freshness. For bunched items, cut off any greens that may pull moisture out of your fruit or vegetable. Examples include beets and carrots. Removing fasteners such as rubber bands helps increase circulation, which aids in maintaining freshness. Finally, avoid washing less hearty varieties of produce, such as strawberries, as this can result in soggy items.
Due to COVID-19 re-opening phases, summer trips may include more car time travel. A few tips can help make the most of your drive. With hand sanitizer is back in stock, you will want to ensure its use when you exit the car and prior to any meals or snacks. Also consider taking a trash receptacle. By taking a cereal container and adding a trash can liner, you can create a small, yet functional garbage can. Be sure to prepare a large Ziploc with disposable napkins and utensils even if you think you will not need them. Pack non-messy, but yummy road trip snacks like these.
Quinoa is a fantastic whole grain to add as a pantry staple! Chock-full of fiber and protein, this is a healthy and versatile meal base. Here are some quinoa recipes to give you some inspiration to get started.
Quinoa Zucchini Fritters
Directions: Shred zucchini and carrots. Set aside for 10-15 mins. Wrap in cloth or paper towel and wring out excess moisture. Mix zucchini, carrot, quinoa, eggs, and spices in a bowl. Fold in bread crumbs once mixed. Portion fritters and flatten into patties. Heat skillet and coat with avocado oil. Place fritters in pan, fry until golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes). Repeat until all the fritters are done and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Recipe from: https://thekitchengirl.com/crabless-cakes-zucchini-quinoa-fritters/
Shrimp Avocado Quinoa Bowl
Directions: Combine shrimp, garlic, oil, and spices. Heat a pan over medium-high until hot. Coat with a light drizzle of oil and cook shrimp until charred. Divide greens into two bowls, top with half of quinoa, shrimp, avocado, tomato, and onion. Drizzle with lime juice & serve.
Recipe from: https://gimmedelicious.com/avocado-shrimp-quinoa-salad-bowls/
Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Spread into a prepared pan and bake for 28 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it sit in an unopened oven for another 25 minutes.
Recipe from: https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/09/19/quinoa-casserole-mexican-black-bean/
Mediterranian Quinoa Salad
Directions: Make the dressing by combining olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add in veggies and quinoa. Toss to coat in dressing. Top with goat cheese and parsley.
Recipe from: https://www.thekitchn.com/quinoa-salad-22955988
We’ve been at this quarantine thing for about 2 months now and it seems that I’m still expected to prepare 3 meals a day for my whole family. Meal prepping and planning looks a little different and in our previous blog, we broke down the basics of meal time to help you manage stress. Here are some other tried and true go-to tips.
Whether you are quarantined with your family and kids, significant other, or with your pets, here are some tips to help alleviate meal-time stress!
Creating a Flexible Grocery List that Works
3 Ways to Use Potatoes
If you've been following us you have likely noticed that I like to run. I'm not fast but I like to go far. When I'm talking about my longer runs I usually hear friends say "that sounds miserable" and maybe you feel that way, too. Or maybe you're wondering if exercise aligns with HAES and Intuitive Eating principles? In short, exercise and HAES/Intuitive Eating can coexist.
First, though, we want to touch on enjoyment as it pertains to physical activity. Whatever you are doing to move your body should be enjoyable. Whether it's going for a walk, rowing, basketball, strength training, yoga or training for a marathon. We are all different and will find different activities enjoyable. Find what YOU enjoy and do that. Exercise is not supposed to feel miserable and if it does it is likely because of 2 key reasons that are highlighted in Intuitive Eating:
1) The exercise regimen was started when a diet was initiated. Which means you are likely not properly fueled enough for exercise to feel good.
2) The body was being subjected to unrealistic amounts of exercise. Over exercising can lead to a lot of problems including poor sleep and injuries.
Both of these usually happen when weight loss is the goal, which brings us to the next point on whether or not exercise aligned with HAES and Intuitive Eating?
The answer is yes, it absolutely can be. There's even an entire principle in Intuitive Eating dedicated to moving your body. In addition to being enjoyable, moving your body is also a way to take care of yourself mentally and physically with the byproduct of these benefits:
The goal is to shift your focus to how it feels to move your body rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. Let's explore 2 different exercise mindsets:
Diet and Exercise Mindset: If the goal of exercise is to lose weight you are also likely dieting which means exercise is not going to feel good because your body doesn't have the fuel it needs. You only feel good when the number on the scale goes down or you burned a certain number of calories. If you don't see progress on the scale you feel as if all that dieting and exercise was for nothing.
Fueling and Training Mindset: This mindset focuses on how exercise makes your body feel. You are fueling your body properly so that you have enough energy to feel good while exercising. The goal is not to lose weight or to burn a certain number of calories but rather to have enough “gas in the tank” to be able enjoy what you're doing and maybe even see improvements in your performance if that's a level you're at.
This picture is my fuel for a longer run. If I was in a diet/exercise mindset I would go out there and not take in any carbs or calories. I would feel miserable during my run. I would likely not be able to finish my run. And I would be doing some serious damage to my body and likely end up injured and not able to exercise at all. Instead, I approach moving my body with a fueling and training mindset. If I’m going to exercise I make sure I eat something containing carbs beforehand since that is our body's preferred source of energy and will help me to not feel fatigued during my workout. If I’m exercising for more than an hour (like on a longer run) I will eat during the run. When I’m done exercising I refuel my body with the nutrients that I just used up.
If you decide to exercise it needs to be when you're ready and in the right mindset. Don't do it for weight loss. Don't do it because that person you saw on social media showed a picture of their ripped abs. Do it for the joy and health it brings you. If you aren't ready to go down that path or it's medically contraindicated that's ok, too. We are all in different places and just like the food we eat does not make us "good or bad," the amount of exercise we do or don't do does not determine our worth either. ️
Potatoes are a great produce item that will last for weeks, sometimes up to a couple months with proper storage! They are a versatile item that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here is a little potato-inspo for you! Also, check out this visual on the nutrition of potatoes. It's one of our favorites!
Currently, product availability in grocery stores across the nation has fluctuated significantly from week to week. As individuals' schedules are also in flux, there may not be a set day that one can get to the store, causing even more uncertainty when planning meals. Here are some ways to make your grocery list more adaptable!
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released guidelines on food safety and COVID-19 to help ease fears regarding food during this stressful time. Per the FDA, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging as COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, not a sickness that affects the GI tract.
There has been no significant connection between food packaging and the transmission of COVID-19, whether it be from takeout or from grocery store packaging.
Consider these facts when grocery shopping and ordering takeout!
1. NCSU. Handling Groceries COVID-19. https://foodsafety.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Handling-Groceries_COVID-19_Flyer-1.pdf?fwd=no
2.FDA. Food Safety During Emergencies.https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/food-safety-and-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
The five senses work together to provide both our minds and bodies with satisfying and nourishing meal experiences. Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch each add their own element to mealtime. Besides taste and smell, the sight of a food item sets certain expectations about things like intensity of flavor (e.g., a brighter colored food provides a more intense expectation of flavor). Touch contributes to detecting texture and temperature. Of less obvious understanding, is how sound is integrated into acceptance or rejection of certain foods. Sound helps one anticipate the feel of a food (e.g., the crunchiness of a carrot). Try these fun sensory games with your kids today:
Smelly Spicy Art by Mindful Littles
Five Senses Popcorn Mini Book by I Heart Crafty Things
Desalinization Experiment by STEAM Powered Family
Basic Biscuit Playdough Recipe
2 cups Bisquick (or other brand biscuit mix)
1 cup salt
2 cups water
1 TBSP cream of tartar
1 TBSP oil
Your choice of kool aid or cocoa (for sight and smell)
Pour and mix all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave, scrape and stir the bowl. Next, microwave for another 3 minutes. Remove from microwave, stir, and let cool for 1-2 minutes. The final step is to knead the dough.
Recipe from: No Time for Flashcards
Providing meals for school-aged kids throughout the day is not entirely new to parents since weekends typically provide more family time. Reflecting on weekend days is a great place to start in terms of tackling homeschool eating habits. From there, it is helpful to follow a fairly set meal schedule. Having meals at regular intervals is a basic nutrition tip that helps establish many healthy lifestyle choices. Eating about every 3-4 hours keeps kids fueled for the day, prevents grazing and creates an ideal plan for meal planning and preparing. Ensuring meals and snacks are substantial and satisfying can be achieved by aiming for at least 2-3 food groups per meal. Including kids as part of the planning and preparing can be fun and helpful.
More on building healthy meals at Making the Grade at Lunchtime
Every day, we eat multiple times to provide fuel that will sustain all our planned work and activities. How do our bodies break down something like a peanut butter sandwich into the nutrients they can utilize to support normal daily needs?
The food we eat is broken down into one or a combination of 3 key macronutrients known as carbohydrates, protein and/or fats. Each of these nutrients is digested in a slightly different way, using different enzymes at different rates . Let’s walk through the process!
1. Mouth: Active chewing begins the mechanical digestion of our food. Some digestive enzymes are released directly into your mouth through saliva, and thus begins the digestion of carbohydrates and fat.
2. Stomach: After swallowing, the (bolus) of food passes down into the stomach. The food is combined with a mixture of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. The acid and digestive enzymes break down the protein in our food into amino acids, and the other digestive enzymes work to break down the fats into fatty acids.
3. Small intestine: From the stomach, the partially digested food (chyme) enters the small intestine, which is the main site of digestion and absorption. Other organs like the pancreas and liver secrete digestive enzymes into the small intestine to aid in the further breakdown of each of the macronutrients. After they are broken down into their simplest forms, the small intestine can absorb these macronutrients to be used by the body.
4. Large intestine: Finally, the large intestine is the main site of water absorption. After water is absorbed, what is left, the body gets rid of.
Each person's body digests and absorbs food somewhat differently, which may affect things such as an individual's blood glucose level. On average, it take 6-8 hours for food to pass through the stomach and small intestine. It then takes nearly 36 hours for undigested material to pass through the large intestine.
Eating a well-balanced variety of foods that include all macronutrients aids in optimal nutrition. Besides ensuring adequate vitamin and mineral intake (e.g., proteins boast zinc and iron while carbohydrates can provide fiber and energy), pairing foods increases satisfaction, slows digestion and aid in increasing absorption of nutrients.
Adding in plant-based meat extenders to a meat dish is a way to combine the best of both worlds! Plant based foods added into meat dishes boost flavor, add volume, and are budget-friendly.
Health at Every Size (HAES) may be a word or acronym floating around in the media, but this approach to mindful and healthful eating is gaining traction in the research world.
What it is: HAES encourages (1) body acceptance, (2) respect for diversities of body shapes and sizes, (3) finding joy in physical activity, and (4) promotion of eating habits that balance the individual’s nutritional needs with the feelings of hunger, satiety, appetite, and pleasure¹.
HAES is a very different message than what has been the recent social norm regarding diets as presented by popular media, whereby the only way to lose weight and be healthy are to calorie restrict, ignore hunger cues, detach pleasure from eating, and/or to excessively exercise.
A randomized clinical control study conducted an intervention in a sample of Brazilian women using HAES. Participants were randomly assigned to either a control or intervention group. Both groups were exposed to traditional HAES teachings, but the HAES intervention group had more in-depth lessons including philosophical workshops, group physical activities, and individual nutrition counseling.
Results: Participants from both groups had an increase in guiltlessness of eating pleasure, greater reflection on food desires, and better social eating experiences¹. Instead of becoming even further removed from thoughtfully making food choices and finding pleasure in eating, both groups were bridging the gaps between eating and listening to their bodies. The intervention group experienced even greater benefits through decreased emotional eating, greater perception of autonomy over food choices, and increased cooking¹.
HAES is one approach that offers a more well rounded and sustainable approach to healthy changes for both body and mind. It is a direct tool that can help address such easily spoken, but hard to manage tasks such as eating "all things in moderation."
As noted, HAES is also a movement, aiming to bring about social justice where social stigmas and disparities may lie. Visit https://haescommunity.com/haes-connections/ to learn more or take the pledge. You can also email us at info@NutritionRites.com for more information on HAES.
Sabatini, F., Ulian, D. M., Perez, I., Pinto, A. J., Vessoni, A., Aburad, L., … (2019). Eating Pleasure in a Sample of Obese Brazilian Women: A Qualitative Report of an Interdisciplinary Intervention Based on the Health at Every Size Approach. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 119 (9), 1470-1482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2019.01.006
While food is not medicine, it can play a role in helping your immune system function optimally. At the very core, your immune system needs adequate energy and nutrients to respond to potential pathogens. During cold and flu season, you can focus on getting a balanced mix of protein and vitamins that help build up the body’s defenses. Specific vitamins to include in your diet are Vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A helps nourish your skin, which acts as your body’s first line of resistance. Sources of Vitamin A include fish, cheese and eggs. Vitamin C helps your body form antigens and can be found in products that are typically acidic, such as citrus and tomatoes. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, which helps to slow potential body damage. Vitamin E can be found in various nuts and seeds.
With the holidays fast approaching, traditions may have you doing a little extra meal planning and preparing. With many dishes that require oven use, you may be planning to employ your stovetop. Understanding a little food science behind your cooking method of choice can go a long way in helping you plate a delicious meal. Cooktops afford us the options to pan-fry, sauté and sear foods. These cooking methods differ in their use of fat and heat. Pan-frying uses enough fat to partially submerge the food item being cooked. To cook it through, medium heat is used and one side at a time is cooked. Examples of items that are pan-fried include skin-on chicken thighs and latkes. Sautéing cooks food just until tender in a thin layer of fat over medium-high heat. Shrimp, mushrooms and leafy greens are items that sauté particularly well. Searing gives foods a caramelized outside while not completely cooking the inside. Oftentimes, recipes call for a pan sear, followed by an additional cooking method such as baking.
We have long understood that food can serve much more than just a nutritional need. Because it is so essential to life, individuals can relate and connect through food and nutrition. Culture includes the beliefs, customs and habits of a group of people, and each cultural group has access to its own food and creates its own food habits. Home cooking proves to be particularly beneficial in providing mental stimulation and creativity. It also provides additional stimuli, such as aromas, to the senses that aid in meal satisfaction. Preparing food gives people shared experiences, just as eating socially does.
How we eat is also a derivative of our cultures, and table manners can be one of the earliest teaching opportunities for parents. Kids can be receptive to learning table manners as soon as they can sit and eat independently. Some of the more basic etiquettes include washing hands prior to sitting down, sitting up straight with a napkin placed in ones lap and waiting for other before beginning to eat. Family meals offer opportunities to not only model good table manners, but they also offer times to try new foods and practice appropriate responses to those things that kids may not particularly like. While cultural influences may afford some mealtime differences, using proper utensils, chewing with ones mouth closed and not reaching across the table are all still standard behaviors to follow.
Teaching Good Table Manners to Kids
10 Tables Manners Rules to Teach Children
Recently there has been more attention given to the idea of “intuitive eating.” There are even hashtags galore for this underlying healthy eating philosophy, but what exactly is it? Paraphrasing, we see intuitive eating as a process that helps individuals learn to trust their own bodies again and to eat foods that make them feel good both mentally and physically without using a lot of valuable brain space.
As dietitians, we often hear an initial bout of frustration from clients as they quickly try to sum up intuitive eating as a plan to “eat whatever you want whenever you want whenever you want.” This habitual act of seeking out a quick fix immediately diminishes the intuitive eating journey.
Again, intuitive eating is a journey and it is made up of the following ten principles:
In general, our culture is so diet focused that it’s hard to trust our own bodies because of all the external messages we are constantly bombarded with. We believe the doctor, celebrity or even the dietitian should know exactly what we should eat (but nobody knows you like YOU!). We scour the internet for meal plans that we think are in our calorie range and eat only those foods over and over again all in the name of health, wellness and/or weight loss.
Here’s what we know about dieting*:
Despite knowing these things about dieting we continue to look for “the answer” with the newest fad diet. If you’re ready to ditch the diet mentality and want to learn more about Intuitive Eating drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Kayla Fitzgerald,RD LD is in the process of becoming a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor which means she has undergone hours of additional training specializing in this topic
Pumpkins pack a nutritious punch, their varying parts containing vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin A. While fresh fruits and vegetables yield the highest nutrient contents, canned pumpkin purees are not far behind so do not hesitate to use these for recipes like this Healthy Pumpkin Pie Dip from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. However, never underestimate a good roasted pumpkin recipe. Since pumpkins are from the winter squash family, it is no surprise they cook up similar to the acorn and spaghetti squash varieties. If you are aiming to get in additional iron and fiber, you will want to go for the pumpkin’s seeds.
We love this Roasted Pumpkin recipe from @SteamyKitchen.
@Jessica_Gavin provides step by step instructions on how to roast those pumpkin seeds.
Vegetarian options are continually expanding, making it easier for vegetarians to meet their nutritional needs through food sources. Leveraging all food groups including vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, protein and fats aids in more easily achieving nutrients needs on a daily basis. For example, the inclusion of dairy provides Vitamin B12, which is necessary to prevent anemia. If a vegetarian is not yet routinely achieving the vegetarian intake requirements as recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, additional supplementation may be suggested until adequate intake is achieved.
For example, if a vegetarian does not get adequate dairy, soymilk, rice milk or fortified cereals, they may need to supplement Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. If fish or eggs are missing from a vegetarian diet, supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids may be required as plant-based fatty acid intake in insufficient for human needs. If there are certain food groups that are more difficult to include on a daily basis, the key is slowly adding more in (e.g., one additional time per week, then two additional times, and so on). Ultimately you’ll most likely have to try new products and plan ahead.
There is a lot of nutrition information out there, and while you may be eager to set your child up for healthy lifestyle choices, it is important to understand the age appropriateness of certain teachings.
Specifically, children ages three to five years typically learn best with hands on tasks that involve tearing, mashing and washing. They will not be extensively using utensils, but they will still be practicing some motor skills. They will learn most about nutrition through observance of the other tasks going on around them.
Kids ages five to seven years will have much improved motor skills, and safe and appropriate cooking utensils can be used. There are kid friendly products such as knives, graters and mixing sets. Think ahead and prepare for additional tasks that can easily be incorporated with just a bit of prep (e.g., have your child crack the egg in a small separate dish and then add it to the other ingredients). Additionally, at this age, kids can begin incorporating newly acquired school-based skills in the kitchen. For example, a recipe may be practice for reading.
Once your child becomes a teen, they should be able to participate in almost any part of meal preparation. This may also be a great time to begin introduction of more formal nutrition education. Eatright.org offers lessons on Teaching Your Teen about Nutrition Facts Panels. This is a unique opportunity for you to help your kids forgo many of the nutrition myths out there.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” While it is good to ensure that we are fueling our days, a typical breakfast at seven or eight in the morning may not be the answer for you. Everyone is different and this includes hunger cues and food preferences. If you find that you just aren't hungry in the morning, explore why. From there, you can implement possible solutions to make your first meal complete and convenient.
To accomplish this, you’ll first want to ensure that mealtimes in general are prioritized and that distractions are minimized. My favorite hashtag is #cookingisalifeskill. No matter who you are, you need to know how to feed yourself! What you do prepare may depend upon your schedule, desire to cook and taste preferences. You can find a solution that fits you and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can help. Keep in mind that you may need to leverage a weekend day where you can pay attention to routines including eating, restroom use and physical activity. There may be some connections between bowel movements and mealtime readiness, for example.
If you feel confident that you truly are not hungry until after it’s time to head out the door, get prepared. Perhaps a higher fat milk or yogurt drink is a quick solution just before you leave the house. This is especially key if a morning snack is may not be feasible. Remember that your body has been fasting all night long.
Overall, here are a few things to keep in mind:
There is significant science associating sleep and nutrition. While food choices can affect sleep, there’s evidence that suggests sleep can also influence diet.
Weight change has been associated with inadequate sleep, whereby appetite-regulating hormones are altered.
Imagine waking up after a restless sleep. You are tired, and you realize you are craving carbohydrate-rich foods. In this scenario, your body is looking for an immediate energy source. In order to properly fuel such a day, it is recommended that your pair those needed carbohydrates with fat and protein. The goal is to give your body the fuel it needs while avoiding a carb-induced sleepiness. While carbohydrates may not be labeled as “snooze foods,” they actually make tryptophan (a protein that causes sleepiness) more readily available to the brain. Ensuring each meal has a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and fat is ideal.
Read more on Nutrition and Sleep from the National Sleep Foundation.
EatRight.org also boasts a great article How Sleep Habits Affect Healthy Weight.
Macronutrient Ratios in a Diet
There's a lot of press on additives. While ingredients are usually top of mind, one of the main points The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement regards is that of containers. Some of the biggest additive "offenders" were nitrites used to cure meats, BPA which is used to line most cans, and phthalates used in plastics. The statement also called for action on the part of our government for tighter regulations on these chemicals so that we don’t have to be afraid of the food we put in our body and the products our food gets packaged and stored in. Does this mean you should never eat bacon again? Or throw away everything in your kitchen made of plastic? Of course not! However, you can make a few small changes to improve your family’s health.
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.