Monthly Archive

Metrowest Nutrition

From Our Blog

Eat Your Fat Folks!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

For years, health practitioners led by USDA guidelines, have been encouraging people to cut out fat.  The result has been an influx of highly processed, low fat options that are higher in sugar and/or simple carbohydrates.  We've also led on the assumption that a calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie.  Hence, if calories in are less than calories out, weight loss is guaranteed, right?  This mentality has failed many of my clients.   

The reality is we now know that cutting out fat is detrimental to weight management.  Fat is essential for satiety, the feeling of fullness we get after a meal.  It staves off hunger much longer than carbohydrates and even protein.  We are learning more about how genetics and our microbiome (gut environment) impact weight and overall health.  It's not simply about calories or fat OR perhaps even saturated fat.  Research does support opting for cardio-protective, mono-unsaturated fats such as olive oil, those found in fatty fish, avocado, etc.  However, it seems villainizing fat has led to increased consumption of simple carbs and sugar which are more likely to lead to weight gain, diabetes and related health conditions.

This is a great clip from a recent Time Magazine piece entitled "Eat Butter".


Move over big agriculture, there's a new (old) farmer in town!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Farming is hot and farmers are cool!  Who would've thought twenty years ago that farming would be fashionable?  When I was in college (yes, I'm dating myself I know) one of my dorm mates was majoring in horticulture and agriculture and it seemed so obscure to me at the time.  It made sense for her having grown up on a farm and as she put it "being a hick" and all but there was no way that farming was going to compete with computer science and at the time, I was completely unaware of how closely it tied to my own discipline.

Nowadays,  with more insight into farming practices and how they impact the food we eat, we're becoming more selective in our food choices.  Specifically, we want to know where and how food is grown and what happens after.  Organic farming in particular has exploded.  On May 15th, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal indicating that "organic farming is not sustainable".  Here's a great response to that article by the Cornucopia Institute.

Many young college grads and professionals are forgoing the rat race in pursuit of a more bucolic, rustic life on the farm.  Don't be fooled though, this lifestyle is anything but "less work".  It is however a different kind of work; a lifestyle that keeps you fit and healthy and connected to the earth.  In recent history, big agriculture took the place of small, family run farms.  However, we seem to be reverting to our original small scale farming efforts in favor of better quality and in hopes to preserve our land for generations to come.  Interested in becoming a farmer?  Check out this great site, sustainable-live-work-play

First class in 'Yoga of Eating' series was a success!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Liz and Alex kicked off the 'Yoga of Eating' series last Thursday with a huge success. The session was fully booked and participants had rave reviews after the first evening.

The two hour group includes an experiential yoga activity, a mindful eating exercise and discussion of mindfulness application in daily life. Attendees reflected that the experience enabled them to truly experience their hunger cues and eat accordingly. It was also helpful to have Liz and Alex provide a safe environment and join the others at the meal.

This is how they thoughtfully set the stage for a mindful meal.

We know that we had to turn some away because the group was full, but given the level of interest, we will certainly run it again.  So, stay posted!

June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month!

Monday, June 02, 2014

To celebrate this delicious and nutritious time of year, here are a few of our favorite fruit and veggie activities for you and your family.

Visit a Farmer’s Market- have children be on the lookout for a certain colored new fruit or veggie to try or make a scavenger hunt to find a rainbow of produce.

Make Fruit Wands- Stack a variety of cut up fruits on a kabob stick and top with a slice of star fruit for a magical and tasty treat.

Plant a Veggie Garden- Planting vegetables can be a great way to increase your child’s interest in trying new, healthy foods. Take a look at some of our tips here for getting started.

Veggie Builders- Make a variety of veggie buildings, animals and people out of cut up vegetables, tooth picks and cream cheese for the “glue”.

Make Fruit “Sundaes”- Layer fruit, low fat yogurt and crunchy cereal or granola in a pretty glass and enjoy!

Dinner Switch Ups

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tired of the same old chicken every night? Shake things up a bit with our fun dinner switch ups!

Stir Fry Saturdays: We love this “take-out fake out” for weekends. Wok cooking can be a quick, fun and healthy alternative to make some of your favorite Asian cuisine favorites. Keep it healthy by limiting the oil and loading up the vegetables.

Breakfast for Dinner: An oldie but a goodie! Eggs can be an easy option to whip up during the week- make omelets packed with favorite veggies and low fat cheese. Pair with whole grain toasted English muffins and a fresh fruit salad.

Meatless Mondays: This is a great idea to bring into your weekly dinner line up. Vegetarian meals can be filling, tasty and a healthy alternative to your typical meat-lover choices. Check out this fantastic site:  for recipes and to learn about this health movement.

Make Your Own Pizza: Another fun alternative to delivery foods- there are so many options to choose and everyone can make their own personalized pizza. For crust, there’s many options out there – you can get adventurous and make your own from scratch or take a shortcut by using pre-made dough from the grocery store (most stores even carry wheat dough now). If the thought of rolling out dough is too much at the end of a long day, buy pre-cooked pizza crust such as the Boboli individual crusts or try Naan flat bread (one of my personal favorites) from the bakery section. Get out everyone’s favorite toppings and start the pizza party!

Kiddos in the Kitchen: Getting your children involved in cooking is a great way to peak their interest in trying new foods as well as teach them a useful skill for lifelong healthy eating. Children can start with simple tasks in the kitchen and work to create their “signature dishes.” It can be a fun idea to have children create their own “restaurant” by decorating the table, designing their own placemats and even make menus for the night.

New Ideas to Avoid the Post-Lunch Energy Crash

Monday, April 14, 2014

Has post-lunch lethargy got you and your kids sleeping on the job?

In a recent article from Dr. Sears, it’s suggested to be mindful of the types of protein and the amount of carbohydrates we eat at lunch to keep our minds stimulated.  When it comes to kids lunches, Dr. Sears recommends packing protein foods that are high in the amino acid tyrosine such as seafood, turkey, tofu, legumes and tuna, to perk up the brain. Along with this he recommends that keeping the calories appropriate (for children 600-800 calories, for most adults 400-600 calories), keeping to 1-2 servings of a complex carbohydrate (such as quinoa, wheat bread or fruit), including to 1-2 servings of a healthy fat and aiming to eat the protein first, followed by the carbohydrates is the perfect recipe for a brain-stimulating lunch.  Foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid that sedates the brain, include eggs, milk, bananas, dairy, sunflower seeds and meat. These tryptophan-rich foods paired with a large amount of carbohydrates as part of a higher calorie lunch can lead to a sluggish child after lunch as tryptophan is able to get into the brain at a high rate with this combination according to Dr. Sears.   As all children, and adults, are different, use these recommendations only if you see an improvement in your child’s attentiveness/behavior.

For more tips on keeping your energy up throughout the day, contact Ashley Bade Cronin at or 617-332-2282 and make an appointment at one of our offices in Northborough, Framingham or Newton.

NEW location - Northborough

Saturday, April 05, 2014

We're very excited to announce our new office location at the Barrett Family Wellness Center in Northborough, MA.  Barrett is committed to providing a full spectrum of wellness services children, adults and families.  They specialize in pediatric occupational and speech therapy and we look forward to complimenting these services with nutrition counseling.

Our  pediatric dietitian, Ashley Bade Cronin will be at Barrett Family Wellness on Fridays starting April 4th.  We will open up more hours as needed.  It may be possible to set up a tele-counseling appointment if you aren't able to come in person.  Call us to find out more and to set up an appointment 617-332-2282.  Or, email Ashley directly at

Our services at Barrett are eligible for insurance reimbursement.   We accept most major plans including BlueCross BlueShield, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, Aetna, United and Cigna.  Nutrition coverage varies depending on your plan but we can provide guidance on how to determine if your session(s) will be covered.

You do not need to be a current client of Barrett Family Wellness Center to see us at this location.  If you haven't already visited the center, it's a great set up for kids.  There are plenty of toys and books in the waiting room and even more options for entertainment inside the center.  We will be seeing adults here as well so if childcare has been a barrier in the past, hopefully this will help! 

We look forward to seeing you at our new location soon!

Have a Picky Eater? Join us for Lunch!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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.

Eventbrite - Managing a Picky Eater

Join us for Lunch!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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


Eventbrite - Lunch & Learn Event:  Understanding the Glycemic Index

Good Food Gone Bad

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Here in the land of plenty, we have come to assume that nutritional deficiencies are a thing of the past.  True, we aren't lacking macronutrients; we get plenty of carbohydrate, protein and fat.  However, that doesn't ensure we aren't falling short in some other areas. 

Our grocery aisles are lined with man-made, highly processed "food-like substances" as Michael Pollan would say; foods that have been stripped of most nutrition.  Food companies will often enhance these same foods with labratory-produced nutrients but it's like replacing a hundred dollar bill with monopoly money; it may appear more or less the same but it's just not worth as much.  In addition to being void of some critical nutrition, most of the foods in the typical American diet are high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3's, a combination known to aggrevate inflammation and possibly impact neurological function.  Of course, what foods do most kids whose brains are still developing live on?   Yup, you guessed it, those delicious, factory-produced foods loaded with artificial ingredients, corn products and soybean oil.

Last week, I attended a great seminar by well-known registered dietitian, Elizabeth Strickland, MS, RD who specializes in nutrition for autism.  She makes a great case for how nutrition plays a large role in the cause and treatment of this growing epidemic.  1 in 88 kids (54 boys) is diagnosed with autism.  There are a number of nutritional factors that likely play into this.  Basicly, the combination of artificial foods, lack of essential nutrients, pesticides and other environmental toxins are wrecking havoc on our kids brains.  All these artificial ingredients coupled with lack of protective nutrition create the perfect neurological storm.  And what foods our kids get at school?  Foods that are subsidized and approved by the USDA, the same organization that regulates the industry that produces the majority of our food-like substances.

Working with eating disorders, I've always aired on the side of liberal eating; incorporating ALL foods into the diet.  I've informed clients that there are no "bad foods" and that everything fits.  I've lived this way myself, in fact.  In effort to help my kids shape a healthy, positive relationship with food and encourage them to take part in our social customs that revolve around food, I've been fairly permissive with (non)food.  In fact, I will confess, a popular donut joint was a morning ritual during our kitchen renovation.  To the point where we were all in withdrawal once the project was complete!  I'm sure if you asked my son what his favorite foods are, he would answer donuts, cupcakes and pizza without hesitation.  And who can blame him?  They taste good.  As humans, we're programmed to like foods that are high in fat, sugar and calories because they yield more energy, hence survival.   

On the flip side, I've also heard my toddler refer to grapes as treats and watched him beg for an apple or carrot stick. When offered the choice, many kids will opt for a healthier option, especially if it's presented in an appealing way.  Fruits and veggies are colorful and fun to eat and entirely worth the effort in preparation.  Granted, there are kids out there who are pickier than most and they may need a more intensive intervention.  A registered dietitian can certainly help with that.

Personally, I will continue to grapple with balancing my nutrition knowledge with the desire to maintain a flexible, enjoyable and inclusive relationship with food for myself and my family.  I have no desire to uphold rigid "food rules" but also feel that no momentary pleasure from food is worth sacrificing my kids' neurological function and the joys in life that come from that.  Hopefully, I can help my kids and my clients navigate this tricky line as well. 

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