Saturday, July 26, 2014

Zucchini Crust Pizza

This is a: MUST TRY RECIPE! Was the all caps a bit much? But really, this recipe is tasty and healthy (always the best combination). It is also great because you can make the toppings whatever you want. No lie, when I made this a few days ago, I ate almost half of it right out of the oven. Well enough of my chatter, make it below and see for yourself :)

Zucchini Crust Pizza
Crust Ingredients:
2c grated zucchini (packed) and squeezed dry
-->It is easiest to put the grated zucchini in a dish towel and ring out the liquid.
2 eggs, beaten
1/4c coconut flour
1/2c Parmesan cheese
1/2c grated sharp cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1T olive oil
1tsp each: basil, oregano, parsley

Topping Ingredients (Just what I used. Can be anything you like!):
1 chicken breast
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1tsp garlic
1T olive oil
Shredded cheddar cheese
**I cooked my chicken in olive oil first. Then, I added the tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic and simmered for a few minutes. I shredded a little cheese on half of the pizza once I put the chicken mixture on.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease pizza pan.
2. Mix: zucchini, eggs, flour, cheeses, oil, basil, oregano, and parsley.
3. Pat zucchini mix onto pizza pan.
4. Bake crust for 30 minutes.
5. Remove crust from oven, flip over, and return to oven for 10 minutes.
6. Remove crust from oven and top with desired ingredients.
7. Return pizza to oven and heat until topping ingredients are heated through.

Nutrition Facts (per 1/6)
Calories: 190
Fat: 12g
Sodium: 220mg
Potassium: 350mg
Carbohydrates: 9g
Fiber: 3.5g
Sugar: 1g
Protein: 12g

1 Slice Domino's 14" Pepperoni Pizza (For comparison)
Calories: 324
Fat: 13g
Sodium: 608mg
Carbohydrates: 39g
Fiber: 2g
Sugar: 4g
Protein: 14g

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating

Over the past month, I have been leading nutrition counseling sessions pretty much every day. Go me :) I am loving all the experience and different situations in a community-based setting. Almost 90% of my sessions will include some version of this phrase/question, "My doctor told me XYZ, and I need to _____ (lose weight or change my eating habits) and I don't know what I should be eating." If you are a health professional, you have probably heard this a few times along with "Can you write me a diet/menu plan?" Just a comment on the diet/menu plan, I rarely ever give someone a diet/menu to follow. My sessions are geared towards giving my clients/members the tools they need to choose healthy foods. It gets boring eating the same foods all of the time, so it is important for people to be able to have enough knowledge to change up what they eat in a healthy way.

Below, are my tips for someone looking to change their eating habits or embark on a healthy lifestyle journey!

Tip #1
Rid yourself of the word "diet" and replace it with "a healthy lifestyle." When you go "on a diet," you are likely to "go off of the diet."  It is better to work towards a balance where you are able to enjoy the foods you love and incorporate healthy and/or new foods.

Tip #2
Write down everything you eat for 1-2 days. Be honest with yourself and don't change what you are eating just so it looks good on paper. I have asked many clients/members for food logs and diaries. Sometimes, I look through someone's diary and think "it looks like they eat pretty healthy." Then, I'll ask the burning question, "Is this a typical day for you?" The response is usually, "These were days that I was trying to be good." I don't want those days! Then, I will find out they have a habit of eating a bag of Cheetos at night and 2 ice cream cones. Now, that is something we can work with!

Tip #3
Start by analyzing your current eating/health patterns. Look over your food log and ask yourself these questions:
 _1_ Which macronutrient (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) makes up the majority of my meal? Most of
 the clients/members in my sessions get their calories from carbohydrates (most of them
 being refined). A lot of them are also not getting enough protein or healthy fats in their diet either.
 _2_ Am I drinking enough water? (91 oz (11 glasses) for women and 125 oz (15.5 glasses) for men)
 _3_ Am I drinking my calories in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages? How many glasses/day?
 _4_ How much sugar am I consuming?
 _5_ Do I snack more often than eat a meal? Are these healthy snacks?
 _6_ Do I skip meals? If yes, why? Is there anything I can do to help avoid skipping meals?
 _7_ How many servings of vegetables am I eating per day?
 _8_ How many servings of fruit am I eating per day?
 _9_ Am I getting enough fiber?
 _10_ Am I active every day?
Tracking your food will help you to be more mindful of what you are eating and can help significantly with those trying to lose weight.

Tip #4
After answering all of the questions in Tip #3, think about where you want to start. Maybe you will start by cutting up fruits and vegetables so they are readily available for a snack (instead of cookies). Maybe you will start by tracking what you eat for a week to become more mindful of what you are eating. It doesn't matter where you start, just pick one thing to work on a go from there.

Tip #5 (for the limited water drinkers)
If you are one of those people who dislike the taste of water (heard that a few times in my sessions), then make water fun! Put slices of fresh fruit (limes, lemons, strawberries, watermelon) in water. You could also put fresh fruit in seltzer (most of them are 0 calorie, 0 sugar). Try fresh brewed hot or cold tea. There are tons of tea flavors you can choose from! You can also try the fresh fruit in the hot tea (I love lemons in hot black tea). For those of you who have a lot of sugary beverages, you can also try replacing one of those per day with some of the examples I gave.

Tip #6 (for the snackers)
If you are an excessive snacker, the first thing to do before eating a snack is ask yourself, "Am I really hungry?" If you are feeling hungry, you make not be getting enough protein and healthy fats in your last meal, so check back to question #1's answer you wrote down. One strategy could be to add some eggs, chicken, or turkey to your lunch meal so you don't have 3 snacks before eating dinner. If your problem isn't snacking because of hunger, but because of boredom, social eating, etc, then think of what you can do instead of snacking. You could go for a walk, read a book, call a friend, etc. If you still feel the urge to snack, go for some protein, fats, and healthy carbs. An example could be a Greek yogurt (protein, carbs) topped with nuts (protein, fats). Another snack example could be an apple (carbs) with peanut butter (protein, fats).

Tip #7 (for the meal skippers)
If you normally skip breakfast, think about why you do so. Are you not hungry? Are you running late for work? Focus on your answer and brainstorm a strategy for your situation.  If you don't have enough time in the morning, you could get up 15 minutes earlier or pack a breakfast the night before (scrambled eggs portioned into containers, trail mix). Also, breakfast does not need to contain the "normal" breakfast foods. You can have chicken and vegetables for breakfast! I will often make extra chicken at night to eat on my way to work in the morning.

Tip #8
Set small goals for yourself. If you normally skip breakfast, a goal can be that you will eat breakfast 3 days a week for the next 2 weeks. If you normally choose unhealthy snacks, a goal can be that you add 1 piece of fresh fruit or 1 serving of vegetables to your snack. I always find it better to add healthy foods before you start taking anything away. This falls more in line with the healthy lifestyle versus being on a diet.

Tip #9 
Learn to accept and move on when you feel like you "blew your diet" or "went off the wagon." Just make better choices at your next meal or snack. Don't wait until the next day! Do it now!

Tip #10
Once you feel like you have mastered one of your goals, review your questions/answers from Tip #3 and choose another goal to work on. Remember, it is all about a healthy lifestyle, not being on a diet. It is perfectly okay to have a cookie, or two, once in a while, or have some ice cream while out with your family/friends. Just keep that "I am working towards a healthy lifestyle" phrase in mind!

Comment below if you have begun your healthy lifestyle and what worked best for you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Get Your 21-Day Fix Here!

I am sure many of you reading this blog have heard of some sort of quick-fix weight-loss plan through the TV, magazines, or friends. I'm sure you are also tired of hearing friends or family talk about going on their 21-day "insert diet gimmick here." Not only do they flaunt their crash-diet techniques like they are the end-all to weight-loss efforts, but also brag to their friends/family about how much weight they are losing as compared to those following their healthy lifestyle.

So, what is so bad about these products? I mean, I am sure you have heard about some of your friends/family losing weight with them. For starters, they are expensive! One 30-day supply from Beach Body costs $39.95 (not counting shipping and handling) and it is only for breakfast and/or lunch.  That means dinner is on your own! Another famous company is Shakeology. For their chocolate 30-servings package, they charge $129.95! That comes out to be $4.33 per serving.

To put these prices in perspective, lets just say you do one shake per day from Beach Body. Not counting the extra money for S&H and the milk you add to it, you are spending $1.33 per shake. That doesn't sound too expensive right? Lets say instead of your shake, you made breakfast: 2 eggs ($2.79/18count), 1 banana ($.30/each), coffee ($.29/oz), and 1/2c broccoli ($1.25/12oz) in your eggs. This comes out to be about $1.17 for the meal.  About $3 cheaper than Shakeology!  I don't know about you, but eating the meal sounds a whole lot more appetizing than the shake.

One thing I find funny, is most of these products still say to drink water, get enough sleep, and exercise. My thoughts are, why not do all of those things, eat a healthy balanced diet and save yourself the money on these products!

Besides seeing how expensive these products are, lets get into the nutrition. Herbalife has a "healthy meal shake" (with no price tag on it) that contains 90 calories, 1g fat, 13g carbs, 9g sugar, and 9g protein. Woah, low-calorie! It must be healthy! NOT! For starters, protein and fat are the macronutrients that are going to keep you fuller for longer. My egg breakfast will give me about 15g of protein and 12g of fat (more on fat later and how it is an important part of your diet!). Also, the sugar I will have in my breakfast will come from a natural source (fruit). If you are looking for an energy-boost for the morning, 90 calories won't get you very far.

Skimming the rest of the package for Herbalife's product, there are some vitamins and minerals (about 25% of daily value); however, you can get what you need just from eating fruits and veggies throughout the day. 1 orange will give you 100% of the daily value for Vitamin C! Lastly, the ingredient list is a mile-long and most of them you can't pronounce, another red flag on the play.

Another Shakeology product featured on Beach Body has a bit more protein and calories; however, again, another mile-long ingredient list. Don't let the 300% of daily value for Vitamin C awe you. Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means whatever your body doesn't need, it will pee out. Also, the high amounts of vitamins and minerals you can get from your fruits and vegetables. Just 1/2c of carrots contains about 200% of your daily value for Vitamin A. Again, cheaper and more appealing to me for a meal/snack.

Not of of these products on the market are necessarily bad for you. They are pretty useful for those on-the-go, that can't make the time to prepare a breakfast meal or pack the night before. They are also pretty useful in a pinch. The pure proteins (whey protein types) are also great for a quick shake or for an added protein boost in snacks or baked goods. I like putting whey protein powder in my fruit smoothies; however, I buy mine from local grocery stores, where it is cheaper. The cans usually last me a while because I don't rely on it for all of my meals and snacks.

 My advice is to see these products as just that, supplements to your diet. They shouldn't be the end-all-be-all and they are certainly no match for real food like fruits and vegetables. If you go the route of these products, look for ones with low amounts of sugar, 5g or more of fiber and at least 10g of protein (if it is replacing a meal). Also, try and find a short ingredient list and at least 25% of your daily value for vitamins and minerals.

Instead of focusing on a quick weight-loss fix that is hard to maintain long-term, focus on healthy habits for the long-term. If you have a family, instead of taking the easy way with shakes and smoothies, choose real food and instill those healthy habits on your children.  Take the time to analyze what you are eating. Where do most of your calories come from? Carbohydrates/sugar? Healthy or unhealthy fats? Protein? Write down what you eat and be honest with yourself. Take small steps to change your eating behaviors (like replacing 1 snack of chips with veggies and dip or peanut butter and celery). Your body and wallet will thank you later :)