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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Misinformation All Around

Friend, clients, family, and the public ask me lots of questions about nutrition and it is always amazing to me how much mediocre and terrible nutrition information is out on the Internet, on television, in print, and circulating around. Here are few recent examples that I have stumbled upon...

"This magazine encourages athletes should cut back on salt intake." Background: A friend showed me a sports supplement publication that in one article touted electrolyte (including sodium - aka salt) supplements and then another article discouraged sodium intake and suggested cutting back on sodium. Clarification: The complicated part about nutrition is that what is right for one person, is not right for the next person. For example, if you have high blood pressure, yes, cutting back on sodium makes sense. Yet, if you are an athlete and exercising for extended periods of time routinely, then you actually need to make sure that you are adding some salt to your intake to help your body with fluid balance. 

"I heard on tv that green bean coffee extract helps with weight loss and you don't have to exercise." Background: A friend saw on a popular tv show that green bean coffee extract is a miracle weight loss supplement and you don't even have to exercise. Clarification: There are is preliminary research that shows that green bean coffee extract may increase weight loss, yet the studies are preliminary and of poor quality. Any suggestion of weight loss without exercise, is poor advice, exercising is essential to overall health - irregardless of weight loss. 

"My pharmacist said I should try a gluten-free diet." Background: A women told me at the pharmacy, it was suggested to her to try a gluten-free diet by the pharmacist. Clarification: No offense to pharmacists - but as professionals, recommending diets is not part of their training. If you think that a gluten-free diet maybe right for you - talk with you health care provider and ask to work with a registered dietitian to understand the specifics of a gluten-free diet, as following one may or may not be right for you. 

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
- If someone other than your health care provider or a registered dietitian is suggesting you to try a specific restrictive diet, take this information with a grain of salt and consult with your health care provider first and work with a registered dietitian to develop a plan that is right for you, to find a registered dietitian near you:

- If a supplement company is touting nutrition information - Check out: Is a registered dietitian and/or health professional quoted in the article? Are specific scientific studies referenced? If you answered no to either to either question, take the information with a grain of salt! And before taking any supplement, consult with your health care provider and when it comes to sports performance supplements, talk with a board certified sports specialist dietitian to help you figure out what supplements are right for you! Find a sports specific registered dietitian:

- Look for "RD" or "RDN" after someones name - this indicates they are a registered dietitian/ registered dietitian nutritionist, which indicates they have the credentials to practice in the area of food and nutrition.

If you have a question about something to do with food and nutrition that you have read or heard and would like Molly to clarify it for you - contact her her! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fueling Your Active Child

Are you rushing kids to practices, games and events? If you are, you know the challenges of eating dinner, getting homework done and being in bed by a reasonable hour. Here are some quick tips to help you navigate fueling your active child:

Water will do - Encourage your child to drink mostly water throughout the day and bring a water bottle to games, practices and events. Skip sports drinks and DEFINITELY skip energy drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), notes: Sports drinks have a limited function for pediatric athletes; they should be ingested when there is a need for rapid replenishment of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes in combination with water during prolonged, vigorous physical activity. For more details, click here to read the full article from AAP.

Make a meal game plan - To survive a super busy week, having a meal game plan helps tremendously! To start, take a look at your schedule for the week and figure out: which night(s) you will actually have time to cook, which night dinner needs to be ready in a matter of minutes and what time dinner needs to happen to make it on time to the game or practice. Then plan out what you're going to make each night! 

Try one of these super quick meal ideas:
Grilled cheese sandwich meal: Prepare a grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, served with carrot sticks and watermelon cubes. 
Chili: Even in the summer, chili can taste great! Start it in the crock pot in the morning and serve it with garlic toast and sliced veggies for dinner.
Grilled pizza: Buy premade pizza shells, grill on medium heat until one side is lightly toasted. Then flip and top the shell with sauce, cheese and your toppings of choice. Serve with sliced cucumbers and apple slices. 
Make your own tacos: Start with soft or crunchy whole-grain tortilla shells and fill the tacos with re-fried beans, chopped tomato, onions, cucumber and shredded cheddar cheese. 
"Brinner" (Breakfast at Dinner): Scrambled eggs, whole grain toast and fruit.
Steak Sandwiches: Slice steak thin and cook it in a medium skillet, until desired level of doneness. Serve on whole wheat toast and top slice sauteed onion and peppers. 

Snacks: Stock up on wholesome snacks like: yogurt tubes, applesauce cups and popcorn for each grab n' go snacks to take with you. For a more filling snack for those times when they get  home and they are SOOO hungry, try a fruit and yogurt parfait, prepared with Greek yogurt layered with sliced fruit and whole grain granola.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Skinny Size-It

Tired of giving up the meals you love because you're trying to lose weight? I'm excited to share with you.... that you don't have to give up your favorites, instead you can skinny size-it. My cookbook, Skinny Size-It, is now available where books are sold featuring 101 recipes to fill you up and slim you down!

View some of the recipes from the book from my visit to Bridge Street

Check out the "how to" make the Polenta Lasagna recipe that she shared with The Daily Meal

Check out 3 Surprising Healthy Ingredient Swaps from Skinny Size-It from

Connect with me on Facebook and to learn more about updates on what's new with Skinny Size-It!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Affordable Healthy Snacks

Finding healthy snack ideas that are affordable and kid-friendly can be a challenge! 
Check out these ideas to help you select healthier snack options...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Healthier Flour Options

When it comes to cooking and baking sometimes you may not want to use whole wheat flour but still want to boost the nutrition value of what you are making. There are tons of flour options that can maximize nutrition rather than using all-purpose white flour that has been stripped of fiber and nutrients. Check out these flour options and give them a try!

Getting Started:  First try replacing one-quarter of the all-purpose flour in a recipe with one of the below flour options and gradually work up to half or more of the flour! You can even get away with 100% healthier grains like those listed below works well in pancakes, muffins and quick breads!

Oat Flour: A whole grain flour made from pure oats that provides fiber and protein. Works well in biscuits, muffins, quick breads, pancakes and waffles. 

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: This is a variety of whole wheat flour that is ground from soft wheat berries, rather than wheat berries, the result is a lighter texture and taste profile compared to traditional whole wheat flour. Works well in cookies, cakes, muffins, pancakes and quick breads.

White Wheat Flour: A flour that is made from a variety of wheat, known as white wheat. It is a lighter color and more mild flavor compared to traditional wheat. Yet, nutritionally it still provides fiber and important vitamins and minerals. Works well with breads, muffins, cookies, pancakes and quick breads.

Almond Flour: This flour is literally made from ground almonds and provides monounsaturated fat, vitamin E and fiber. Plus it is gluten-free and lower in carbs compared to other flours. Try swapping out 1/4 of the flour in a recipe for almond flour to add an excellent texture and light nutty flavor. It also doubles as an excellent coating for breading chicken or fish. Works well as a breading and with muffins, cakes, cookies, pancakes and quick breads. 

Buckwheat Flour: Despite the name, buckwheat is not actually related to wheat. It is actually the edible fruit seed of a plant that is related to rhubarb, contains high amounts of essential amino acids and is gluten-free. Works well is pancakes, quick breads, waffles and pastas.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Skinny Skillet Croutons

Skinny Skillet Croutons are super easy to prepare and a delicious way to top a salad.

Preparation instructions: Start by cubing up a whole wheat roll or slice of bread. Then heat a skillet over medium heat and add a few sprays of olive oil or non stick cooking spray. Add the bread cubes and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder. Serve on top of your favorite salad!

Salad: leafy greens mix topped with sauteed portobello mushrooms, dried cranberries and Skinny Skillet Croutons.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter Supplement - Vitamin D

What can boost your immune system, help keep your bones healthy and aid in muscle function? Vitamin D! When it comes to supplements, my response is usually, food first... supplements second. However when it comes to winter time, if you are in a part of the country where you are getting limited exposure to natural sunlight, taking a vitamin D supplement is worth considering. 

Why? Vitamin D is formed when sunlight hits the skin, so during times of minimal sun exposure, supplementation is a must. There are a limited number of foods that have vitamin D, for example: cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tuna and some foods are fortified with vitamin D like milk.

In the body: There are many important roles in the body for vitamin D, including: aiding in calcium absorption, playing a role in immune health, inflammation and skeletal muscle function. 

How much? The needs of vitamin D vary by age (See the list below) and there as with all supplements, if some is good, more is not better. Before starting to take a vitamin D supplement first total how much vitamin D you are getting from foods and beverages (like milk and fortified orange juice) and any multivitamin that you are taking. Then figure out how much additional vitamin D to add in. Plus before starting any supplement, check with your health care provider first!

Too much? There is an upper intake limit set for vitamin D as well, which is the level at which there is an increased risk for adverse health impact. If you are taking more than the upper limit, it should be under the care of your health care provider to carefully monitor blood levels of vitamin D. 

The Recommended Dietary Allowance & Tolerable Upper Intake Levels:
0 - 6 months: Recommended 400 IU, Upper Limit: 1000 IU
7 - 12 months: Recommended 400 IU, Upper Limit: 1500 IU
1 - 3 years: Recommended: 600 IU, Upper Limit: 2500 IU
4 - 8 years: Recommended: 600 IU, Upper Limit: 3000 IU
9 - 70 years: Recommended: 600 IU, Upper Limit: 4000 IU
>70 years: Recommended: 800 IU, Upper Limit: 4000 IU
Pregnancy & Lactation: Recommended: 600 IU, Upper Limit 4000 IU


Choosing a supplement: Opt for a kids specific vitamin D for children and an adult specific for adults to ensure proper supplementation levels, without taking too much. Below are images of a Nature's Made chewable vitamin D that taste great plus get the daily dose of vitamin D in. Although they do taste great so make sure you stick to the above recommendations and do not over do it!