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##NationalNutritionMonth

Do I need to limit the amount of sugar I eat?

It’s National Nutrition Month and our TMC registered dietitians love the Savor the Flavor theme! Throughout the month Laurie and Mary are sharing tips to help you make healthier, tastier choices.

Yes, you do. And the less you eat the better. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you eat to 25 grams (or about 6 teaspoons) per day, if you are a woman. For men, the limit is 37 grams (or about 9 teaspoons).

Realize that we are talking about added sugars – any sweeteners not naturally present in food. They go by many names, such as sucrose, corn syrup, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, honey, agave, brown sugar, raw sugar. These are just a few of sugar’s aliases. You may see many more names on food ingredient labels or on the package of stuff you add to coffee, tea, baked goods and anywhere else you want to add a little sweetness.

limit sugarThe problem with added sugars is their lack of nutrition. They are just empty calories, sneaking into your food to tempt your taste buds and then damage your teeth and help you put on extra fat pounds. Over time that sugar and extra body fat can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Naturally occurring sugars, on the other hand, are a normal part of fruit, dairy and other unprocessed foods. These sugars are accompanied by essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Think of these as calories with a purpose.

Does this mean you need to completely eliminate added sugars from your diet? No, because most of us want a touch of sweetness now and then. However, you should be aware of when, where and how much added sugar you are eating. Read those ingredient labels! Added sugar doesn’t only appear in sodas, candy and desserts. It’s also present in things we normally think of as healthy (or healthy-ish) foods – flavored yogurt, soy milk, almond milk, smoothies, cereals, peanut butter, salsa and other sauces. Once you learn to spot added sugars, avoid them whenever you can.

Check out these blogs for practical tips on reducing your sugar intake.

Bust that sugar habit in 4 easy steps

Stop the sugar addiction


Are you struggling to make these changes? Or not seeing the desired impact? Make an appointment today to connect with our register dietitians and they will analyze and make a scientifically based plan specifically for you and your special needs. 

 

Good carbs? Bad carbs? Making good decisions – Savor the Flavor

It’s National Nutrition Month and our TMC registered dietitians love the Savor the Flavor theme! Throughout the month Laurie and Mary are sharing tips to help you make healthier, tastier choices.

Are “carbs” bad?

Awwww… poor carbs. Carbohydrates (a.k.a. “carbs”) are not bad. They haven’t misbehaved or broken any rules, but they have gotten a bad rap because of the way food manufacturers and some of us consumers have abused them.

making good choices about carbsCarbohydrate is one of the macronutrients in food, along with protein and fat, that provide energy for our bodies. Foods that are high in carbohydrates include grains, fruits and vegetables. All of these foods can be included in a healthy diet, as long as you make smart choices within each food group. That means choosing minimally processed grains, fruits and vegetables.
For example:

* whole grains rather than white bread, pasta, rice (and especially cookies and pastries, etc.)
* whole fruit (whether fresh, frozen or dried) rather than juice or smoothies
* real vegetables rather than Veggie Stix, potato chips or any snack food with nice pictures of veggies on the front of the package but no actual veggies (or only vegetable powders) listed among the ingredients.

These good carbs provide more of the nutrients your body needs without the potentially harmful additives, such as extra fat and salt. By choosing foods that are less processed, you can also cut added sugar from your diet. Sugar is the real “bad guy” when it comes to carbohydrates, and we will cover that subject in more detail in our next post. You can also look forward to discussion of another source of carbohydrates – dairy products – in a future post.

One thing to keep in mind, even when eating good carbs, is to watch your portion sizes. Eating too much of these foods, or any food, will give you more calories than you need, causing you to gain weight. And we can’t blame the carbs for that.

If you’d like more information about crafting a healthy diet that meets your specific needs or a private consultation with our nutrition experts make a nutritional assessment appointment today. 

Just how much fiber is enough? – Savor the Flavor

It’s National Nutrition Month and our TMC registered dietitians love the Savor the Flavor theme! Throughout the month Laurie and Mary are sharing tips to help you make healthier, tastier choices.

Dietary fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet. Fiber is classified as soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of materials through the intestines. The Institute of Medicine makes the following recommendations regarding intake:

Adults under 50 Adults over 51
Men 38 grams 30 grams
Women 25 grams 21 grams

Best choices for getting fiber into your diets include:

  • Whole grains (whole grain bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, oatmeal, ets.)
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes – Beans
  • Nuts and Seeds

Increasing your daily fiber closely mimics our suggestions for increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, since they are such a good source of fiber. Try adding fruit to your cereals and make sure you are choosing whole grain/high fiber cereals such as oats, bran, etc. Add fresh vegetables to your sandwiches or wraps and be sure to use whole grain bread or tortillas (the 1st ingredient must be a whole grain not an enriched flour). Legumes and/or seeds not only add fiber to salads, but also add different textures. Bring raw veggies with you to snack on at work.

High fiber foods are a healthy part of every diet, however if you haven’t been eating a high fiber diet, add it in gradually. Too much fiber too quickly can cause stomach cramping and bloating. Also be sure you are drinking plenty of water.

#savortheflavor

 

Do you get 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day? – Savor the Flavor

It’s National Nutrition Month and our TMC registered dietitians love the Savor the Flavor theme! Throughout the month Laurie and Mary are sharing tips to help you make healthier, tastier choices.

Experts suggest that you eat five to nine servings of vegetables and fruits. Packed full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, we know that consuming fruits and vegetables daily can reduce your risk for many diseases.

We all know that vegetables and fruits are good for us, so why is it so hard for all of us to get the recommended servings? The most common thing we hear is that people just don’t know how to fit them into their daily food plan and/or they don’t know what to do with them. That’s where we can help!

What is a serving of fruit and vegetables?

The good news is that an average serving size for vegetables and fruits is about ½ cup. The major exceptions are leafy greens (salad) is 1 cup and dried fruit is only ¼ cup. With that in mind, maybe it isn’t such overwhelming task to getting in the recommended servings. We will add a few caveats:

  1. Eat more servings of vegetables than fruit
  2. Fruit juice isn’t the best source for a fruit serving because the fiber and potentially some of the nutrients are lost during the juicing process.

My fruit and vegetables  are often ready for the compost bin before I use them

Buy frozen! While fresh is always best, we do understand that may not always be an option. Frozen vegetables and fruits are a good choice as long as they don’t come pre-sauced or seasoned. Read the ingredient label to make sure you are getting a “naked veggie”. If you are going to use canned vegetables, try for the low sodium options, and rinse them under running water for 10 seconds and let drain for 2 minutes. And if you must use canned fruit, make sure you are looking for “in their own juice”.

How do you get five servings in every day?

  1. Add fruit to your cereal (hot or cold)
  2. Pair raw veggies (carrots, cucumbers, jicama, celery, broccoli)  with cottage cheese or string cheese for a mid-morning pick up
  3. Add veggies (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers) to your sandwich, wrap, soup or burrito
  4. Pair nuts with dried fruit for a energizing afternoon snack
  5. Serve salad with different types of lettuce and veggies to make a colorful dinner
  6. Add veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, peppers) to your tomato sauce for any pasta dish

Do you have additional ways to get your five servings a day? We’d love to hear them!

If you’d like more information about crafting a healthy diet that meets your specific needs or a private consultation with our nutrition experts make a nutritional assessment appointment today. 

Savor the Flavor – 2 Steps to Put an End to Diets

by Mary Atkinson and Laurie Ledford

What is the best diet?

We will start by saying that we never encourage anyone to start a diet. Starting a diet implies that at some point you intend to stop it.

How often have you started a diet? If you are anything like the average American, you have tried approximately 61 diets before the age of 45.

Instead of “dieting”, we would like you to start thinking in terms of healthy food choices. Rather than focusing on what you can’t have anymore because you are dieting, why not focus on selecting foods that are packed with nutrition and will energize you rather than leaving you feeling like a slug after 45 minutes.

Tip toe if you must, but take that first step - on finding health Click To Tweet

1. Recognize your food patterns

Your first step should be to start recognizing your food patterns, meaning when are you most prone to making unhealthy food choices, what types of foods do you select, and what is preventing you from selecting nutritious foods. This process of recognition can be accomplished by keeping a food journal for one week, either in a book or via many of the apps available….And don’t forget, that unless you are honest with yourself, you are never going to identify what is preventing you from developing healthier habits.

2. Change one thing

Once you have recognized what your patterns are, find one small thing that you can change. Perhaps you eliminate one soda a day if you note that you are drinking a lot of soda. Maybe you realize that you are eating donuts every Friday because someone brings them into the office; instead bring in a health choice (oatmeal with fruit and nuts) except for one Friday a month when you ‘own your choice’ and have one donut. Small steps rather than dramatic and sweeping alterations make it easier to stick with the changes you are making. One small step leads to another and another after that. “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take that first step.”

To conclude, we encourage you to stop starting diets and starting finding small things to change in your food choices. Remember to eat with purpose and intentionally select foods that will give you more energize, feel better about yourself and allow you to do the things you love.