Looking for a healthy alternative for the grill? Think salad. It's definitely not the first food you'd think of tossing on the fire but it's definitely one of the best things I've tried. I was out to lunch recently and out of curiosity ordered the 'grilled romaine hearts'. The salad came topped with chopped onions, grilled grape tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon and gorgonzola cheese and was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Grilled shrimp was the perfect addition. It was absolutely delicious and I plan to attempt to reproduce the recipe at home. Let me tell you, this is a salad that won't leave you missing your burger! Find some other great grilled salad recipes here.
From Our Blog
A colleague sent me this great article from the New York Times about the Human Microbiome Project. The microbiome are the trillions of bacteria living on our skin and in our gut. This article is a little lengthy but Michael Pollan gives a fascinating and in-depth look at the importance of these inhabitants to our overall health. Learn how our microbiome may influence the development of allergies, asthma and other increasingly common health conditions. Could we be accidentally killing off one of our greatest defenses with the wide use of antibiotics? What is the long term impact? Are babies born by c-section at an increased risk for allergies? If so, is there anything we can do to prevent this? Pollan discusses all of this in the article. He also discusses how our microbiome could even be connected to obesity. I highly recommend taking some time to read it.
Zinc is and important yet often overlooked mineral. Along with iron, it's one of the most common deficiencies in kids' diets. Zinc is essential for growth and development but also plays a critical role in appetite and taste perception.
As nutritionist and author Kelly Dorfman points out in her book, "What's Eating Your Child?", kids with zinc deficiency typically present as picky eaters with poor appetites and poor growth (although not ALL picky eaters have zinc deficiency). Zinc is not a standard test on most pediatric lab panels so deficiency can easily go unnoticed. If your child has a lackluster appetite, picky eating and/or poor growth it's probably a good idea to rule this out.
Foods highest in zinc are beef and chicken. Interestingly, those with zinc deficiency are often turned off by meat likely due to altered taste. Other great sources of zinc include toasted wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate. Fortified cereals are a great source of zinc for kids. The #1 source of zinc (although not a realistic option for most kids) is oysters with 154 mg in a 3oz portion.
The daily recommendation for zinc is 3mg for 1-3 years, 5 mg for 4-8 years, 8mg for 9-13 years and 11mg from 18 years on. Zinc deficiency has been seen in patients with depression and eating disorders and according to psychiatrist James Greenblatt, MD, repletion may eliminate the need for drug therapy in some cases. For children with zinc deficiency, a therapeutic dose of 35mg a day is recommended.
Do you have picky eaters in your family? Are you concerned about their health but are unsure how to manage it?
Join Ashley Bade, RD, LDN, CNSD of Metrowest Nutrition, and Healthy Habits Kitchen, creators of ready-to-cook, nutritionally-balanced meal kits, to learn how you can ensure your picky eater is getting the right nutrition by establishing a meal and snack routine, providing balance and variety, setting expectations and much more.
Plus, you’ll sample kid-friendly HHK dishes and learn how MetroWest Nutrition’s new food delivery service can help you save time and achieve your goals.
This is a FREE event and will be held on Thursday, May 30th from 11:30-1pm. Feel free to come for the whole time or just drop in! Please register below so we know how much food to have available.
Please join us for lunch THIS THURSDAY, May 23rd from 11:30-1 in our Newton Center office. Learn how understanding the Glycemic Index can help boost metabolism, increase energy and manage weight. Registered Dietitian, Amy Gardner will lead an active discussion on this topic and provide ample time for questions.
Healthy Habits Kitchen will provide samples of their meals and talk about a new program allowing clients to pick up meals at Metrowest Nutrition for a discounted rate.
This is a FREE event and we would love to have you there! Please contact Amy Gardner with any questions email@example.com
Yesterday I asked a 16-year old female client of mine to tell me the advantages of holding onto her restrictive eating behavior. She replied, "It makes me feel good, like I've done something." I took a risk and said "so does this mean your tombstone will read: great friend, mother, wife and restricter?" Thankfully, she laughed. Although it's great to bring humor into this work, eating disorders are certainly no laughing matter. This young girl is not unlike many others; she's looking for something to make her feel good about herself, something to be good at, to give her life meaning. Unfortunately, this desire gets projected onto the body all too often in a relentless battle towards perfection and ultimately ends in emptiness. Alternately, connection, purposeful work, philanthropy and spirituality hold much more promise when it comes to creating a richer, more substantial life.
I leave a little book called The Pocket Pema Chodrin by my bedside. Every once in a while, I'll open it and see where I land and what nugget of wisdom this Buddhist nun will bestow on me. Today, this passage was so apropos, I decided to share it in hopes that it might help any of you who are struggling with perfection whether it be via the body or any other form.
Perfection is like death
We think that if we just meditated enough or jogged or ate perfect food, everything would be perfect. But from the point of view of someone who is awake, that's death. Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feeling confirmed and whole, self-contained and comfortable, is some kind of death. It doesn't have any fresh air. There's no room for something to come in and interrupt all that. We are killing the moment by controlling our experience. Doing this is setting ourselves up for failure, because sooner or later, we're going to have an experience we can't control: our house is going to burn down, someone we love is going to die, we're going to find out we have cancer, or somebody's going to spill tomato juice [or ketchup] all over our white suit [yoga pants or jeans].
The essence of life is that it's challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride. To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man's-land, to experience each moment completely new and fresh.
~ Pema Chodrin
Protein Boosts for Gluten/Casein/Soy Free Diets
For children with multiple allergies or sensitities, getting adequate protein can be a challenge. Although the typical American diet includes plenty of protein, it's the protein in foods that cause allergic reactions and food intolerances. Take dairy for instance - there are 8 grams of protein in a glass of milk but only 1 gram in rice or almond milk. Protein is important for growth, brain function and energy. An average 2-3 year old needs 15-20g of protein. This is no problem for the adult who easily consumes this in a single meal. But for a picky toddler with food allergies, it's another story. Here are some easy ways to add a little protein to your child's selective diet. Note, I've included some food allergens so just focus on the items your child CAN eat.
1. Add peanut butter to smoothies, toast and homeade baked goods
2. Add egg white protein (Deb-El Just Whites) to milk alternative of choice, smoothies, coconut or almond milk yogurts
3. Substitute 1/2 the flour with chia powder in baking
4. Use almond or bean flour in baking
5. Opt for quinoa pasta which has 8g of protein per cup versus 2g in rice pasta
6. Make homeade snack bars with nuts seeds and high protein flours like this recipe for Gluten-free & Vegan Breakfast Bars
7. Brush egg white onto homeade pizza dough or bagels
8. Mix beans, pea protein or vegetable protein powder into pasta sauces, stir-fry or other mixed dishes
10. Make popsicles out of frozen fruits & juices blended with various milks and protein powder
Shoot for (2) 8g servings of protein a day for toddlers or check out this formula to calculate your child's individual protein needs How Much Protein Does Your Child Need?
Ashley Bade RD, LDN, CNSD
A new study out of Penn State is the first to reveal an association between variety in the diet and sleep duration. It was found that those on a more varied diet were catching the greater zzz’s while the less-varied diets were counting sheep late into the night.
While we know that a varied diet is essential for optimal health, this study showed a possible new benefit to including a range of healthy foods. Nutrients that were of particular importance were tap water, lycopene (found in red and orange colored fruits and veggies) and total carbohydrates which were lower in the diets of very short sleepers (defined as less than 5 hours per night). Short sleepers (defined as 5-6 hours of sleep per night) had diets that were lower in vitamin C, tap water, selenium (found in nuts, meat & shellfish) and had higher intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin (both found in green leafy vegetables). While the envious long sleepers, defined as catching at least 9 hours of solid sleep per night had diets lower in theobromine (found in chocolate and tea), dodecanoic acid (a saturated fat), choline (from eggs and fatty meats) and total carbohydrates. Perhaps not surprising, this group was found to have a higher intake of alcohol than the other groups. Finally, the standard sleepers (defined as 7-8 hours of shut eye a night) were found to differ in diet overall with no specific nutrients coming to light in this group. However, the normal or standard sleepers were most likely to be in better overall health with lower rates of obesity and chronic disease.
Research has shown us for quite some time that a balanced and varied diet can offer a range of health benefits such as preventing certain cancers and chronic disease; this new study has brought to light the possible connection between specific nutrients in the diet with the sleep cycle. As the study states however, this is the first nationally-representative analysis of sleep duration and diet and the study notes that further studies are needed to assess if these nutrients have actual physiological effects on the sleep regulation.
Working on variety in the diet is important for everyone, no matter what your sleeping habits are. So until research can shed more light on what diet will yield the best slumber, here are a few simple swaps for adding some variety into your day:
1. For breakfast instead of having that healthy bowl of oatmeal plain, add a handful of almonds for some added calcium for bone health and monounsaturated fat for heart health.
2. Trade romaine lettuce in your lunch salad to spinach. You’ll still get the great vitamins A and C that the romaine lettuce can provide but you’ll also get antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene from spinach which can help with eye sight and prevention of chronic disease.
3. At dinner swap your typical broccoli or green bean side for a serving of kale which research shows contains at least 45 measureable antioxidant flavonoids- packing a big cancer-preventing punch.
4. Also for dinner, swap out your usual chicken for a protein packed serving of salmon to add heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
5. Change up your usual after dinner treat with a piece of dark chocolate to not only satisfy that sweet tooth, but to add flavonols into your diet, a nutrient with antioxidant properties that research has linked to vascular health.
We got laughing at our team meeting recently as we talked about the assumptions people make about dietitians. It can be a little uncomfortable in social settings where food is inevitably present. In fact, we all admitted to occasionally avoiding mention of our profession in this context.
Once our cover is blown, a predictable string of responses typically ensues: "is this ok to eat?", "would you eat this?", "don't look!", "I'm being so bad" and "you'd have a field day with me!" or better yet, "you eat that?", "oh, now I don't feel so bad", "let me look at your plate" or "I'll just get whatever you get ok? That way I know it's healthy".
So, we've crafted some light-hearted replies to put friends, family and acquaintances at ease. Just remember, we don't want to bring our work home with us any more than you do. Plus, the reality is, we're subject to the same impulses and imperfections as everyone else. Yes, it's true, dietitians are people (as in the human kind) too. In order to drill this point home, I thought it might help to debunk a few myths. Here are the top ten myths about dietitians debunked.
1. Dietitians NEVER eat junk food
Enh, wrong! Dietitians like junk food just as much as the next person. We may even over-indulge from time to time.
2. Dietitians' kids are great eaters
Wrong again! Our kids can be the pickiest of picky eaters and there's nothing our knowledge and expertise can do about it. In fact, some of us (aka Ashley) were very picky ourselves as kids.
3. Dietians always eat a healthy variety of foods
Nope. Sometimes, most of the time and occasionally none of the time but never always. Except for a rare few, dietitians run into the same nutritional pitfalls as the rest of the population. Busy schedules, crises and life impact us and our diets the same way. Not to mention, sometimes we all just want a plate of pasta!
4. Dietitians don't eat emotionally
I would love to say this one is true but we have the same biological and emotional makeup that all humans have. This means that our stress hormones drive us to eat from time to time or we opt to have some comfort food during an emotionally challenging period. It's important to remember that occasional emotional eating is fine and in fact, normal. It's when this is the only coping strategy that it's more of a problem.
5. Dietitans only breastfeed their babies
Yes, "breast is best" and many dieitians do breastfeed. However, there are many factors that play into mothers' decisions about feeding their babies. These factors are personal and individual. Many dietitians may choose to partially or exclusively formula-feed their infants. And I'd hazard a bet that they're under more scrutiny for it!
6. Dietians HATE fast food restaurants
I know we're supposed to but even the best of us probably sneak a few McDonald's french fries from time to time. There are many of us who will deny this and may even be telling the truth but they're not the majority.
7. Dietitians never overeat
If you look closely, you can debunk this one yourself. We're just as capable of over-indulging at a holiday party or on a random Friday night as anyone else. We like food. In fact, that's probably why we're in this field!
8. Dietitians are all skinny
Not at all. We range in size and shape just like you. Being skinny is not a requirement to being an RD. In fact, I've had many patients share that it's a relief when their dietian isn't skinny. A healthy dietitian (and individual) will honor her body at whatever shape and size it comes.
9. Dietians are assessing your plate
Natta! We're busy focusing on ours and enjoying our grub so just relax.
10. Dietitians think nutrition is the answer for EVERYTHING
It would be nice if this were true but the reality is, there are many things that nutrition is not the solution for. It may help with mood but it can't cure depression or take away grief. It may help with energy but it isn't a replacement for sleep and healthy stress management.
Hopefully this helps clarify that us dietians are people first and dietians second!
Ashley Bade RD, LDN, CNSD
Children come with varying appetites; there are the big eaters that seem to be bottomless pits and the little eaters with small bites throughout the day. While it’s important to honor your child’s appetite, sometimes with children that are frequently seeking food it may be a sign of non-hunger eating.
Non-hunger eating can stem from a variety of sources such as boredom, emotional coping or just the enjoyment of the taste of food. At birth, we are all innately given the ability to regulate our intake based on hunger and fullness ques. This however can quickly go away as our relationship with food is formed in our younger years.
For children that may be exhibiting non-hunger eating, I like to introduce the idea of “belly hungry” versus “mouth hungry”. Belly hungry, I describe, is when your belly is growling and has space for food. Mouth hungry on the other hand is when our mouth wants to have a good taste in it, but there isn’t space in our belly. This is a simple concept that parents can use to defer non-hunger eating by little ones.
If you feel your child may be exhibiting non-hunger eating; here are a few tips for avoiding over-eating while nurturing a healthy relationship with food.
• Introduce the concept of belly hungry and mouth hungry to your child. Give examples of times when you personally feel belly hungry versus mouth hungry periodically and talk to them about what you do when you are mouth hungry. Bringing up personal examples from time-to-time can help to role model healthy eating behaviors to your child.
• The kitchen/pantry should not be a self-service operation for younger kiddos- try to keep your child on a meal and snack schedule with roughly 2 ½ to 3 hours in between food offerings. This can generate enough appetite to encourage good intake at the balanced meals and snacks you provide without leading to an overly hungry child.
• If your child is asking for food in between planned meals and snacks and you suspect it is non-hunger eating, ask your child if he is belly hungry or mouth hungry. If the answer is belly hungry- it may be best to offer a choice between a fruit and vegetable option. If he refuses the options given and requests a typical favorite food such as chips or cookies, keep with the options you offered and he will choose one if belly hungry.
• If your child is mouth hungry- have a plan of five different activities he can do instead of eating. With some of my patients it has been helpful if I have them come up with a list themselves with common activities like coloring, playing with a favorite toy or arts & crafts time on the list. By being able to offer a list of alternatives, you can quickly find something enjoyable for your child to pass the time with until it’s time for the next meal or snack when true belly hunger is likely to be there.