Changing your eating habits

Changing Eating Habits

So how does one start to eat healthier? No matter what your end goals are changing what you are doing is where you have to start. One way to start is by using the website ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Its start you on a basic eating concept that can be applied in the dining halls or at home. You quarter your plate each quarter containing one of the following: vegetables, fruit, protein and grain or starchy vegetables. To the right of the plate there is serving of dairy which is designed to remind you to have a calcium source. Eating this way naturally balances out your meal and controls your calories. The website coaches you on what foods fit into each area. For vegetables, there are recommendations for how many servings of green and red and orange vegetables over the week and how to incorporated starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn. Under protein, you can find meat and meatless sources to select in your diet. This is also a discreet method to evaluate your plate.

MyPlate on Campus

Wondering about size of plate or how high you can stack your food? This is where you use common sense. Women can use a lunch or smaller dinner plate (8-9 inches) and men can use a larger dinner plate (10-11 inches). Beware our plate size has grown for around 8-9 inches up to 13 inches in some restaurants. You have to keep your plate from looking like the first trip at Thanksgiving. Normally, a plate would be a 1-3 inches high depending on the food.

Remember to eat the vegetables and fruit first and stop when you are comfortably full.

Kristina Houser, LD

Diet is a four-letter word!

Losing Weight

Dieting is a word that should not exist! It’s depressing to say the least. Our mind begins to focus on what we can’t have. Then, we mess up, give up and we try again. If you have struggled with your body weight all of your life, the cycle is frustrating. Perhaps you’re someone who has never had a weight problem but seems to have gained weight in college and is unsure of how to go about losing weight.

Everyone seems to want to start with the 1200 calorie diet and hopes for the best. In about 3 days, it’s not going well. Why? Because 1200 calories is too low for almost everyone but if you go on line that is what you will find. The websites suggest this will permit fast weight loss which everyone wants!

Weight loss is about being healthier. If you can match your food intake to your body’s needs, weight loss will happen. The trick – figuring out what works for your body. If done correctly, you aren’t dieting; you are eating well for your body and you continue to eat that way when you’ve reached your goal weight.

Some people need to reduce portion size, others need to manage carbohydrates, some eat out less, and others move more. The list goes on with changes in habits or food that need that you need to incorporate. A dietitian is the best way to get personalized help. Student Life Student Health Services has a dietitian on staff that can help with your weight loss goals.

So how to you start on this adventure on your own: keep a food log for a week.

Then, go to Choose My Plate.gov and compare how you are eating with what is suggested.

Kristina Houser, LD

From meal plan to apartment plan

Its apartment time!

You put in your dorm time, but now you are free.  Free to find an apartment and free from the food plan and you are certain this will save you money. Think carefully about what lies ahead in this department and ask yourself some questions.

Where is the closest

Adjusting from meal plan to apartment plan

full grocery store?

 

Do I know who much groceries cost?

How will I get there? Do I have a backup plan if the first one does not work?

Do I know how to menu plan so I can create a grocery list?

What, if anything, do I know how to cook from scratch or a box?

What will be my budget for food including groceries and eat out?

How big is the refrigerator and how will we divide the space?

Will my roommates and I keep food individual or will we make group meals?

Over the summer, before you move into that apartment, practice grocery shopping and acquire a sense for cost. Think about meal planning. Learn what to keep on hand in your college pantry. Practice packing lunches over summer if you will do that in the fall. Build a library of 15 minute meals for when you are pressured for time.  Research college friendly cooking.  Here’s a great book to get you started:

The $5 a Meal College Cookbook: Good Cheap Food for When You Need to Eat by Rhonda Lauret Parkinson, B.E. Horton.

Kristina Houser, LD

GI Issues: Could you join the Pepto Bismol lineup?

Your GI tract is causing you trouble:

Does this Pepto Bismol lineup describe you?  Everyone has times in life when their GI tract seems to revolt: upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and the list goes on. Sometimes the symptoms are severe and you need to get to a doctor but often you can try a few things yourself. Before you panic and think you have colon cancer or celiac disease, try some simple steps to see if you can improve your situation.

If you have recently taken antibiotics, you may have diarrhea or if you get it every time you take them, start taking a probiotic when you start the antibiotics. You will be amazed at how much better it goes. For this, a basic probiotic from the store will work.

Constipation is an issue no one likes to bring up but it can make life very uncomfortable. Often the cause is low fiber or not enough water or a combination of both. College students often average only 10 grams of fiber a day and it should be between 25 and 35 grams for good health. Water intake can be low if you don’t carry a water bottle or you don’t like water.

There several action steps that can be taken to improve reflux, IBS, and other GI issues as well but talking to a dietitian to personalize your plan is best.

Kristina Houser, LD

Take a step towards better eating

A simple step to eating better:

In college life can be crazy, each week brings new challenges and one’s eating habits get put to the back burner for a lot of people. When someone asks us what we had for dinner we always answer with the main dish: lasagna, pizza, ham and cheese

meal plan options

There are vegetable and fruit options available.

sandwich, or chicken breast. Do you ever tell someone the vegetables or fruit you are having first? “I am having broccoli with chicken breast for dinner.”

 

Start thinking about what vegetable and /fruit you are going to have with your meal first. You will begin having more because you will become mindful of these foods. Stores now have more individual vegetable and fruit portions which you can put on your shopping list, especially in the freezer section.  If you are living in an apartment off campus and on the meal plan, there are vegetable and fruit based items you can add as sides and if you don’t see any ask.

Eating better is about progress not perfection because eating perfect every day is not realistic. If you work on one healthy habit each month by the end of 12 months you will be amazed at how much you have changed.

Kristina Houser, LD

Dietician at Student Life Student Health Services

Kristina Houser, Dietician

Kristina Houser, Licensed Dietician

Going to the dietitian can be exciting for some and terrifying for others. The Student Life Student Health Services dietitian has experience with college students and the health issues they may have related to eating. She is able to coach you with understanding that you are on the meal plan or a budget. Her advice is realistic based on where you are in life right now which is college and all the demands that go with life.

She has helped our students: manage diabetes, learn how to eat for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, lower cholesterol, lose weight, deal with food allergies, adjust for gluten intolerance, eat vegetarian and make progress at being healthier with their eating habits.

Appointments can be scheduled by going on line or calling. You don’t need to have a referral but you should check with your insurance to make sure you are covered. The dietitian is covered by the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance plan.

Kristina Houser, LD

9 Tips to Avoid Snacking

If they had an Olympic event for snacking I would definitely be on the podium receiving my gold medal!  This past holiday season I must have seemed as if I was in training for such an event as I do not believe an hour went by where I wasn’t eating something.  Now, I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy all of those munchies, but there comes a time when enough is enough.

If you, too, have determined to say NO to snacking (and give up your hopes for that Olympic gold medal), then here are some tips from Livestrong.com on how to avoid snacking.

  1. Brush your teeth.  When you feel the urge to grab a snack, reach for your toothbrush instead.  Be real – nothing tastes that great when it follows toothpaste.
  2. Avoid social media food temptations.  A 2009 study by Yale University found a strong link between increased snacking and exposure to food advertisements.
  3. Put cravings in “time out”.  When you feel the urge to snack, change your focus.  Go to a different room, take a short walk, listen to some music.
  4. Give your food some love.  Think of food according to its purpose – providing fuel and nourishment for your body.  Pay attention to your food as you eat it by turning off distractions and focusing soley on the good.
  5. Store trigger foods out of sight.  Put healthy foods, such as fruits and veggies forefront so you’ll be more likely to reach for them as opposed to that hidden bag of chips.
  6. Keep track of what you eat.  There are several apps out there that will allow you to record what you are eating and will let you see what that high calorie snack looks like in conjunction with all your other food.
  7. Invite your cravings into your daydreams.  A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University found that imagining the food you’re craving can help you feel satisfied enough to forgo it altogether.
  8. Make the most of your meals.  Pack your meals with protein, fiber, and health fat.  They provide satiety and help regulate blood sugar during and after eating.
  9. If you must snack, mini-size it.  If you just can’t get your mind off the tempting treat, then have just a small portion.  Cornell University found that just a bite can greater satisfaction than eating the whole thing.

 

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1007997-9-sneaky-ways-trick-yourself-out-snacking/

Veggie Vitals:  Zucchini the Great Houdini

zucchiniLike Houdini, zucchini is a great illusionist.  It has a very mild taste, so much so that it is almost indiscernible taste-wise when used in a dish.  I would not say that it is invisible as the texture is evident, but the taste tends to disappear as zucchini picks up the other flavors from the dish.

A great example of this switcheroo is Zucchini Mock Apple Pie.  (See recipe below.) With a sleight of hand the apples are replaced with zucchini and presto-chango  everyone thinks they are eating apple pie.

Do not let all this hocus pocus fool you, though, into thinking that a lack of individual flavor means a lack of nutritional value.   One cup of zucchini is incredibly low in calories – just 20 and offers the following health benefits.

Vitamin C – protects cells from free radicals and aids in nerve communication, helps the body metabolize cholesterol, and keeps your tissues strong.  (1 cup = 25% of recommended daily intake)

Lutein & Zeaxanthin – promote healthy eyesight by filtering light rays as they enter your eyes

Manganese – protects tissues from free radicals and promotes healthy tissue development.  (1 cup = 10% of recommended daily intake)

And, if you’d like to get into the magic act yourself, August 8th is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.  You can use this day to make some zucchini disappear from your garden and reappear on your neighbor’s porch.

Zucchini Mock Apple Pie

  • 6 -8 cups zucchini (peel, cut lengthwise, remove seeds, slice 1/4-inch thick)
  • 34 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 14 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 14 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom
  • 1 12 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or 2 tablespoons flour
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (white and apple cider both are good)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2  pie crusts
  • 12 teaspoon sugar, for topping the crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cook zucchini slices in boiling water until barely tender, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from stove and drain very well and cool.Remove as much moisture as you can with paper towels.
  4. In a bowl, toss zucchini with sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cream of tartar, cornstarch or flour, and salt until well coated.
  5. Place lightly floured pastry in a 9-inch, pan.
  6. Fill with zucchini mixture.
  7. Dot with butter, drizzle with vinegar.
  8. Top with crust.
  9. Brush top crust lightly with water and sprinkle crust with sugar.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes at 425.
  11. Reduce heat to 350 and bake about 45 minutes.
  12. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  13. Or serve chilled.

 

Veggie Vitals – Asparagus, A great weapon in your arsenal of healthy foods!

AsparagusThe asparagus spears – get it? Weapon – spears?  Anyway, these spears pack quite a punch when it comes to nutritional benefits and they have been doing so for over 4,000 years.  It was declared a food of the gods by Pharaoh Ikhnaton and his wife Nefertiti and was well liked by the Greeks, Persians, and Babylonians.

Asparagus does take a bit of time, however, to grow into maturity.  It is planted in the ground 3 years before it can be harvested for a full season.  But, once it does start growing, it does so with gusto.  A mature plant is harvested all season – approximately 90 days, and can sometimes grow 6 to 7 inches in one day.

Whenever I pick up some asparagus from the store, my husband always says, “I don’t like the green asparagus, I like white!”  Obviously he is not aware that green and white asparagus come from the same plant.  Sunlight is what causes the spears to turn green.  When the spears puncture through the ground, dirt is piled on top of them to shield them from sunlight.  They continue growing underground and when finally harvested the stalk is all white.  FYI – purple asparagus comes from a completely different plant and if cooked for a prolonged period of time will turn green.

Asparagus is considered by some to be an aphrodisiac.  Apparently there is an Arabian love manual from the 16th century that provided an asparagus recipe for the stimulation of erotic desires.  I did some Googling, but couldn’t find the recipe.  But I did find some scientific rational as to why it might have been considered as such.  Asparagus contains high levels of vitamin E and foliate which are necessary for histamine production and histamine is related to easy sexual orgasm, both in men and women.  Recommendations are that it be consumed over 3 consecutive days for the most powerful effects.

One cup of raw asparagus contains approximately 27 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.  That same cup also provides 70% of your daily vitamin K needs, 20% of vitamin A, 17% of folate, 16% of iron, 13% of vitamin C, 13% of thiamin, and smaller amounts of vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Here are some of the benefits indicated by the Juicing for health website.

Acidity, Blood:  The high alkalinity of this wonder juice is effective in reducing the acidity of the blood and helps cleanses the tissues and muscles of waste.

Arthritis and Rheumatism:   A unique phytochemical in asparagus that produces anti-inflammatory effect helps relieve arthritis and rheumatism.

Bowel movement:  Consume asparagus regularly for its mild laxative effect and dietary fiber that provides for regular bowel movement.

Cancer:   Asparagus is a prime source of anti-oxidant and glutathione that can help prevent the dreaded cancer.

Cataracts:  The anti-oxidant and glutathione in asparagus prevents the progression of cataracts and other eye problems.

Diabetes/Hypoglycemia:  The healthful minerals in asparagus juice make it an important diet for people who are controlling their blood sugar levels. However, it is not to be taken by people with advanced kidney diseases.

Diuretic:  Asparagus is a wonderfully diuretic vegetable and its efficacy is more pronounced when it is taken in juice form.

Heart disease:  Drink a small amount of asparagus juice mixed with raw honey three times a day daily to strengthen a weak or enlarged heart.

Kidney:  The diuretic and alkaline properties of asparagus help prevent or dissolve kidney stones. It helps break up oxalic acid crystals formed in the kidney.

PMS symptoms:  The diuretic effect of asparagus juice helps relieve premenstrual swelling and bloating. The magnesium in this wonder juice also help relieve irritability, fatigue, depression, etc.

Pregnant women:  The high content of folate, calcium and other minerals in asparagus are important in reducing the risk of birth defects and low birth weight. The diuretic effect of the juice is also a big help in reducing water retention in pregnant women.

June 11 is Asparagus Day!

Veggie Vitals: Beans Won’t String You Along

GreenBeansGreen beans are a favorite of my family – well I should say home grown and home canned green beans are a favorite.  I made the mistake a few years ago of picking up some store brand green beans and well let’s just say that the words blah and yuck were heard quite a bit that day.  Anyway, green beans are a favorite and actually one of the few “green” veggies that my husband will eat.  So, I got to wondering what kind of health benefit they had to offer.

Low in calories and no saturated fats – approximately 31 calories per serving.

Dietary Fiber – one serving equates to 14-16% of the recommended daily allowance.  Fiber helps to protect the mucous membrane in the colon by decreasing its exposure to toxic substances.

Vitamin A – Helps to protect against aging.

Vitamin C – helps to speed up the healing of cuts and bruises and is important when it comes to cancer prevention.

Vitamin K – This vitamin plays a prominent role in blood clotting and healing of wounds.  It also aids in absorption of calcium and maintaining strong bones in the elderly.

Flavonoids – aid in the reduction of heart disease.

Silicon – a key element in bone regeneration and overall bone health.

Chlorophyll – which can block the carcinogenic effects of that result when grilling meats at high temperatures.  Good to know with summer approaching.

While fresh is best, benefits can be still obtained from frozen or canned.  If you do opt for the canned version make sure to rinse and drain to reduce the sodium content.