operation: carrot-apple juice

I want to understanding juicing, I really do. Especially since I’ve heard so many health claims out there about having more energy, eating clean, etc. etc. when you juice it up. Funny how we don’t hear about these claims during graduate school, huh? Or maybe we did and I missed that day. Regardless, many nutrition sites out there boast the benefits of juicing and that it is the thing to do to get your bod in prime health.


The claims state this: Cooking destroys food’s nutrients and enzymes that our body would otherwise use for bodily functions. Therefore, juicing allows us to absorb all of the nutrients that these fruits and vegetables have to offer in their raw form. Juicing is easier on your body, specifically the digestive system, since drinking your extra large salad per se will elicit fewer gastrointestinal symptoms than eating it by the forkful. Juicing makes it easier to get in your fruit and vegetable servings each day.


Doesn’t this mean that digestion would be easier due to less fiber in the resultant juice? I’ve never actually seen a juicer, but I would be curious to find out where all of the fiber is going – either sitting helplessly among the crevices of the juicer machine or in the juicee, AKA person drinking the juice. I would like to think (and hope) that when juicing, the ENTIRE fruit or vegetable is sucked through the juicer (without seeds and stem, of course) with the peel in order to get that fiber in the juice. And if there is fiber left behind in the nooks and crannies of the juicer, hopefully they are dumped into the glass of juice for consumption.


However, as I Google-image search “juicing”, I pull up various juicy pictures, some including more fibrous-looking beverages than others:

That green one on the right looks like it has fiber in it, the others…not so much.


However, I do suppose that if you are going to drink juice, making your own fresh juice without added sweeteners is the way to go. Not to mention the fact that juicing allows for an endless array of juicy combinations. Spinach, apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, wheat grass, celery, cucumbers, fennel, lettuce, mangoes, and the list goes on and on. This means that you are getting the nutrients from these fruits and vegetables (in a novel way) that you might not necessarily be inclined to consume if you were to eat them whole.

But. What about the fiber?

Fiber or not, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Already knowing that I like the combination of carrots and apples together, I cut up an apple, chopped up a carrot, splashed in some almond milk, and threw it all in the blender, since I do not own a juicer. Then I would be sure to get my fiber, too! Disclaimer: Yes, yesss, this very fact might mean that I had an inaccurate first time “juicing” experience without the correct equipment, but it was the best I could do.

Before…

…and after!

I was hopeful, yet skeptical. “It doesn’t look so bad!”, I thought as I peered into my glass.

“And you like the color orange,” I reminded myself.
However, perhaps my mistake was staring at my fibrous drink, which was happy to see me, and chock full of vitamins A, C, and approximately 10% calcium, for a few seconds too long.

Because it soon began to look like this:

Please cue the music before proceeding to following image…
GULP.

And I don’t mean gulping down my carrot-apple juice. Maybe adding a little Winnie the Pooh action would help?
Nope. Not delicious.


Sigh. It would’ve been so much easier to eat my carrots and chomp through an apple.


However, I want to try a decent juice from a juicer, I really do! So, fellow readers, if you know of a delicious juice concoction for a first time juicer, hit me up! I want to taste what all the rage is.



who, me cook? (part 2)

I have to say…after all that complaining about cooking, hem and hawing, bippity boppity boo, my pasta creation came out DELICIOUS the other night. However, I did swap the gorgonzola cheese for garlic and herb goat cheese from Trader Joe’s, and oh my goodness, was it a party in our stomachs or what. I ended up putting a dollop of the goat cheese on top of the cooked pasta and mixing it in to create a sort of creamy brothy sauce. Also, whole wheat angel hair was not to be found in my house, so regular pasta had to do this time!  Here is the low-down so you can make this, too:


Olive Garlicky Pasta
Get it? I-love-garlicky-pasta? Hehehe…

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 (mine were 5.75 oz. dry wt per can) cans black olives, drained and roughly chopped
2 (15.5 oz.) cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 oz.) bag spinach, rinsed
32 oz. low-sodium broth (I used chicken broth)
1 (1 lb.) box angel hair pasta
Goat cheese (I used Silver Goat Garlic & Herb)
Salt, pepper, and spices to taste

Set a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove.

In a large skillet (it is best to use one that is a tad deep, too, about 1-2 inches), heat olive oil and add garlic. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add olives and beans, and saute with a wooden spoon, until oil and garlic is uniformly incorporated among them. Add pepper and any other spices you chose. Basil would be delicious in this!

Add spinach to oil and garlic mixture. Depending on how large and deep your pan is, it may be helpful to add spinach in two separate additions. A lid placed on top of the pan will help the spinach to cook down more quickly. Once spinach is cooked, mix into the oil and garlic mixture until evenly incorporated.

At this point, hopefully the large pot of salted water is boiling. Add pasta to pot and cook according to directions on back of the container.

While pasta is cooking, add broth to the oil and garlic mixture. Let simmer.

When pasta is done, drain and place in serving bowl. Stir broth mixture into pasta. Devour. But not before you top with a dollop of goat cheese. Then devour.



Mix and match your favorite beans, add-ins, and cheeses to make it your own delicious dish! Since I have dreams of pasta with luscious chunks of gorgonzola mixed in, that is what I will be trying in this next.

Okay. And I haven’t dreamt of gorgonzola pasta….yet.

who, me cook? (part 1)

Confession: I am not the world’s greatest cook. Not that I’m horrible at it or anything, cooking is just not my forte. It’s just so…meh, I don’t know, wouldn’t you just rather eat a brownie and be done with it??
Okay, that wasn’t a very nutritionist-like thing to say. But everything in moderation, right? That means brownies, too.
Anyway, we’re talking about cooking-woes because that is what’s on my mind. I have to come up with a creative dinner to serve my friends tonight. The phrase “my friends” is very important because as some of you might know, cooking for yourself and cooking for other people are two very, very different things.
When I used to cook for myself when I lived away at school, I’d basically throw anything into cooked noodles that sounded relatively appetizing. And nine times out of ten, it would come out delicious! Like this creation I concocted long ago that I lovingly called Garlic Pasta Dump:
Looks delicious, huh? And it was! The catch?
There’s no sauce on this pasta.
Not because I don’t like sauce, oh no. It was because I was too lazy to make sauce, or didn’t even have it on hand. But I didn’t mind because I thought it was delicious just the same, and I was also extremely hungry. See what I mean? Cooking for only yourself equals diminished cooking expectations, at least for some people, and this is definitely the case for me. Cook for others, and the tables turn a tad. In the case of this pasta, I just wouldn’t have felt right serving sauce-less pasta to friends or fam.
The moral of the story: College has made me a lazy cook. However, we are still at square one and I still don’t have a dinner planned for tonight!  Let’s procrastinate a bit more, however, and talk about the rest of this dinner. These potluck dinners occur between myself and two of my good friends from undergrad, and we rotate which part of the meal we make – main dish, side, or dessert. Me, I try to get the dessert portion of the meal as many times as possible since as a nutritionist, that is what I happen to “cook” best. My two friends are actually fabulous cooks – Raluca dominates all things pasta, spices, and garlic; Andy is King of the Meats, especially pork chops and fresh caught perch. And me? I should have tempeh, worldly spices, and only the freshest vegetables growing out of my ears, right? Being a Master of Public Health Nutrition, right?

Hah!
So what do I do when in this predicament? Maybe there are some of you out there who also find cooking real-food a minor inconvenience to daily living. My tips for you: Try to fit 3-4 food groups into a meal, never underestimate the power of canned and frozen vegetables (they are as nutrient dense as fresh, if not more!), and garlic, salt, and pepper alone can do wonders for flavoring up a meal. And be creative!  For tonight, I’m thinking:
Whole wheat angel hair (good source o’ fiber)
Chicken broth (low sodium!)
Butter beans (heck yes, plant-source protein)
Spinach (vitamin A! iron!)
Olives (monounsaturated fats)
Garlic (to fend off vampires)
 Gorgonzola cheese (minor calcium contribution, major deliciousness contribution)

Salt n’ peppa

Basil
I’ll let you know how it goes. Pictures àla my new camera to come in the near future!P.S. Meet my new camera, Cornelius (yes, I name my electronics)…

…who takes pictures like THIS!

He’s pretty swell.

peanut butter & berry sandwich (and what it means to be an RD)

Goodness gracious, if my stats are correct, this blog is getting a decent number of views! Just wanted to say a big ol’ THANK YOU for those who are reading, commenting, and are (hopefully) being entertained by this blog! And as always, feel free to pass on the nutrition-love to your friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, dog, dog’s girlfriend, and what have you.

I do, however, want to explain the differences between a Registered Dietitian and a nutritionist, since there is often much discussion about this. A Registered Dietitian (RD) is someone who:

1) Earns at least a bachelor’s degree in a program like nutrition or dietetics
2) Completes a dietetic internship (AKA supervised dietetic practice in the real-world)
3) Passes the registration examination
4) Stays up to date on current nutrition information by maintaining continuing education requirements 

If you would like more details on what the RDs in your life have gone through or how to become an RD yourself, click here.

Nutritionists are basically….everyone else. And yes, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. This is because the term is not regulated like the all-powerful RD title, allowing RDs greater access to certain job opportunities, such as in hospitals and clinics. It’s also important to note that RD certification is not right for everyone. There are many qualified nutritionists out there in research, teaching, and management positions. It all depends on your career and personal goals of what you want to accomplish in the field. On the flip side, there are also many unqualified nutritionists out there who have taken one or two classes on the matter and have given themselves the nutritionist-title. Moral of the story? Do your research on who you’re getting your information from, especially from the internet.

Personally, I have completed my degree in dietetics and dietetic internship, and I am currently preparing to take my registration examination. Hopefully, I will be able to join the RD ranks within the next month. This is why I am calling myself a nutritionist for now since the RD term is legally regulated and, really, we don’t want to mess with the law. However, I do realize that the URL for this site contains the word “dietitian” (www.missdietitian.blogspot.com), and this is only because Blogger allows certain words to be used (many are already taken by other blogs) when blog URLs are created. I wanted to reserve “Miss Dietitian” for my using, and will change my blog’s header when I pass my exam.

That’s all my legal-jabber for today; let’s talk about FOOD! Or more like, let’s talk about one of the most favorite lunches for kids and those of us who are kids at heart.


However, today I gave my PB&J a make-over. I had some frozen strawberries in my freezer and thought, what if…I defrosted those berries and spread them in my sandwich instead of using jelly?!

It worked.

Not only does it help rack up your fruit tally for the day, but this new method also has less sugar and can make for a more natural peanut butter sandwich. And the best part is, it tastes delicious! Try it with other berries, like blackberries and raspberries for a twist.


A few more words on peanut butter. Per 2 tablespoon serving, it’s a great source of unsaturated fat, the “good fat”, which helps us stay fuller, longer. It also keeps the satiety centers in our brain happy, AKA where our appetite is controlled in our brain (at the hypothalamus). This means that we feel satisfied after we eat foods with higher amounts of fat, which can be good in moderation to maintain a healthy weight.


Key word: moderation. Let me reiterate that the serving size for peanut butter is 2 tablespoons. And let me tell you that it is so, so easy to pile on the peanut butter without even realizing it! You are talking to a first class peanut butter lover right here, so I have definitely done it before, too. As long as you keep your portion size in check, peanut butter can be a part of a healthy diet.


However, not all peanut butters are created equally. I love Trader Joe’s natural peanut butter, especially because of the price – usually under $2! It’s a natural peanut butter, which means that there will be that layer of oil that needs to be mixed in before schmearing it on. This layer of oil is the natural, unsaturated fat that is in peanuts and occurs because natural peanut butters are free of hydrogenated oils, or the fats that manufacturers put in products to increase their shelf life (Jif, anyone?) Natural peanut butters also need to be kept in your refrigerator!


I recommend this site – Peanut Butter Lovers – if you would like more peanut butter recipes, information, and love in your life.


Oh, and while we’re on the recipe-train, here’s another version of the Summertime Oatmeal recipe we talked about a few days ago:


Are you ready for your close-up?
This guy has blackberries and walnuts. Yum!

Have a fabulous Wednesday, everyone! Go out and enjoy some sunshine! It’s 83 degrees in the Mitten today!

how sweet it is: beverages

So today I had the opportunity to teach high schoolers about nutrition! The kids were awesome and it was a great time! I believe this is beginning to solidify the fact that I actually really enjoy talking in front of people (I never thought I would say that), especially teenagers! They have so much energy, great questions, hilarious questions, and are just a good time to be around.


What did we talk about today that might be of interest to y’all?


Sugar. Okay, and MyPlate, basic MyPlate guidelines, sneaking fruits and vegetables into your diet, eating out, and portion distortion. However, let’s sidetrack a bit and let me explain this deal with sugar: I don’t mean to talk about sugar all the time, but my educated guess is that we are discussing it frequently for this reason:

Lent.

Yes, my friends, you are talking to a nutritionist who has frequent love affairs with sugar and every Lent, I give up desserts. So I’m guessing that while dessert is not in my body, it’s on my mind. At least subconsciously.

Anyways, before I go all USDA on you and demand that you make half your grains whole, I want to give you a little more sugar-low down. Today with the kids, we talked about sugar in sweetened beverages and we calculated how many teaspoons exactly were in certain drinks. Let’s take a look:




My favorite has got to be the Vitamin Water. There’s so many enhanced waters out there – Vitamin Water, Life Water, etc. etc. – that claim that their drink has electrolytes! B-vitamins! 10,000% percent daily value of vitamin C! Improves energy! Improves focus!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

You’re wasting your money! Sure, these enhanced water drinks may taste good. Sure, they do tend to have less sugar than other sugary beverages. But the vitamins that these drinks boast about are what we call water-soluble vitamins.  These vitamins are not stored in the body, so it’s important to replace them every day.  Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, like thiamin (or vitamin B1), riboflavin (or vitamin B2), niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin, and pantothenic acid. To get even more in the nitty gritty of it, these vitamins help with a slew of functions in our body, like maintaining metabolism, keeping the nervous system working properly, skin health, and red blood cell formation.

While these are all critical functions for good health, this is where the manufacturing companies get us. If we are in good health, it is very, very difficult (if not, impossible) to have toxic levels of water-soluble vitamins accumulate in our bodies due to the efficiency of our kidneys. When we consume water-soluble vitamins in excess, they go in…our pee. Meaning that this relationship is true in regards to consumption of enhanced waters in most situations:
‘Tis true, my friends. So moral of the story is, think twice before you spend $2 on a Life Water. If you’re drinking it because you a pop kind of guy or gal and are trying to make a healthier choice that has a little bit less sugar, then it’s a good stepping-stone drink to reducing your sugar intake. But if you drink them day after day, that sugar will add up very quickly, as will your dollars!

the grocery store: it’s a jungle out there

I recently got involved with Cooking Matters, a program run through Gleaners Food Bank, teaching participants about nutrition and what it means to eat and live healthfully. On top of nutrition education, each class includes a cooking demo (hands down the most DELICIOUS part of the class!) where a chef teaches class participants basic knife skills and cooking techniques as well as fun facts about the foods we are preparing that day. If you love people, have an interest in nutrition, and live in Southeastern Michigan, I would highly suggest that you sign up to help teach a class! (And no, you don’t need to be a nutrition professional to teach! They give you the lesson plan in advance to guide you.) Definitely a good time and extremely rewarding, too.


One of my favorite Cooking Matters lessons is the grocery store tour – where we go to a local grocery store and give suggestions for navigating through the twists and turns of those looming Meijer aisles. I thought I’d share with y’all some tips we share with the participants, along with my own suggestions that I’ve come up with to help give you the most nutritional bang for your buck.



1. Make a list! Check it twice! AND STICK TO IT. When we don’t make a list, we make more impulse buys. AKA buy foods we don’t need, are not healthful, and end up spending more money.


2. Stick to the perimeter. Think about how grocery stores are usually set up. We’ve got the produce, dairy products, bread, and meats around the perimeter. And what about the middle aisles? Cereals, cookies, chips, sodas, frozen meals, and all of those colorful boxes and cans that claim there’s a balanced meal inside, waiting for you! Now, there are some decent canned and frozen foods out there (this can be a blog post unto itself), for sure, but the majority of the middle aisles will be processed foods – things we want to eat in moderation. 



3. Buy in bulk, but only if you’re going to use it. Stocking up like the end of the world is near seems appealing. Most of the time, however, the extra food just goes bad and is thrown away. And think of it this way: those are your dollars being thrown away! Produce that keeps well for a long time are root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and beets; and fruits with skins like apples, oranges, and pears. Fruits and vegetables that have a higher water content, like berries, peppers, and zucchini, can be frozen for later. Try the freezing technique found in this post here. Just make sure to use your frozen produce within 6 months so you can enjoy them to their yummiest potential and without freezer burn.


On another note, bread (and other bread products like bagels, English muffins, and tortillas) can also be frozen! When I first starting living off-campus during college, my friends definitely did a double take when they saw my loaves of bread in the freezer. But who wants moldy bread, especially when you can’t eat it fast enough and your non-air conditioned student housing has bananas ripening and bread molding within 2 days?! So just pop the entire loaf of bread in the freezer and take out the number of slices you want when the moods hits you. Just be sure to zap ’em in the microwave first for a few seconds to defrost.


4. Pre-packaged foods = more $$$. Buying bagged lettuce may be an easy option, but you are also paying more money to have the dirty work done for you. If you are looking to save a few dollars, try cutting up your own fruits and veggies instead of ones that are already chopped up for you.  Don’t think you’ll have time to peel and chop carrots into carrot sticks? Try this: Prep all of your produce right when you get home from the grocery store. Then when you want it during a hectic day, it is ready for you!


Also, did you know that the more “convenient” the food and the more it is handled – think pre-packaged lettuce mixes, bagged spinach, and baby carrots – the more of a concern food borne illness becomes? I’m not saying that your bagged lettuce contains E. coli, but as the convenience factor of a food increases, so does the risk of a contaminant coming into contact with the food. 


5. Don’t get stuck in the middle, high and low is where to go! Remember this saying when you frequent the center aisles where the more processed foods live. Did you know that manufacturers pay the grocery store more money to have their product placed on the middle shelf? It’s a pretty intelligent tactic to help increase sales, mostly because the middle shelf is at eye level for….kids! This is especially true in the cereal aisle. Cereals found on the middle shelf often have more sugar, cost more, and have less fiber than a cereal found on the top or bottom shelf. Check it out the next time you’re in the cereal aisle! Also, when choosing a breakfast cereal, find one with a good source of fiber, which is 3 or more grams per serving.

VS.
It’s the battle of the century. Who will prevail?



Also, consider buying bagged cereals. They’re a bottom shelf cereal, and you might be surprised by their top-notch taste! If it’s hard to believe that Frosted Mini Spooners are equitable to Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats, give the ingredients list and nutrition facts a glance. They might be more similar than you originally thought.


Do you have any of your own tips for navigating the grocery store jungle? I’d love to hear ’em!


Photo creds: Grocery store, Frosted Mini Spooners, Frosted Mini Wheats,

how sweet it is: breakfast make-over

So have I got the breakfast recipe for you that is perfect for this beautiful spring/summertime weather we’ve been getting in the Mitten! Yes. COLD oatmeal. Maybe some of you have had oatmeal made like this before. I just discovered this recipe during my food service rotation with Dexter School District back in January, and man, oh man, I think it’s delicious. The best part? This recipe lets you mix n’ match what goes in it to make and endless combination of oatmeal yumminess – a great way to prevent breakfast from becoming ho-hum. Today’s concoction? Cinnamon banana walnut oatmeal!

Lately, I’ve been making this oatmeal with thawed out strawberries and blackberries that are in my freezer, which makes me feel like I’m getting a sneak peak of summer. Freezing berries from the summer is a GREAT was to extend their life, and you can eat them all through the winter months if you freeze enough of them! Just make sure to pre-freeze them first by laying them out on a cookie sheet. This makes sure that they don’t clump together to form a lovely ginormous ball of ice. After they’re rock solid, transfer your now nicely frozen berries into Ziploc bags. Currently, mine are in gallon-sized bags, but snack-sized bags are a good idea since then you can take the berries out in more realistic sized portions.


However, I probably could eat at least a half gallon bag of frozen berries….they are just that delicious.


Showing off my summertime oatmeal, berry-style, is for another day, though. Let’s talk about this concoction right here and how you can make it, too.

Summertime Oatmeal
1/2 cup uncooked oats
1/2 cup milk of choice (Lactose-intolerance has made me an almond and soy milk fan, so that’s what I usually reach for)
Mix-ins of your choice! Some good ideas are: Chopped walnuts, almonds, raisins, bananas, berries (all kinds!), cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, Greek yogurt, the sky’s the limit! The nuts are especially good sources of monounsaturated fat that will help keep you satisfied.


Mix up the oats and milk into a bowl. Stir in any fruit or nuts that you want to add. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, take out your oatmeal and top it with any flavorings you like – this means spices or natural sweeteners (like a few drizzles of honey or flavored Greek yogurt – more on this in a second). Stir it up, and devour!

A great thing about this oatmeal is that it is sweetened naturally and without the extra sugar that you might find in those oatmeal packets. Think of the ones that come in Peaches N’Cream, Cinnamon N’Suga, and even Dinosaur Eggs flavors. If you currently add a decent amount of brown sugar, sugar, maple syrup, etc. to your daily bowl of heart healthy goodness, why not explore some alternatives? According to the USDA in 2000, an average of 31 five-pound bags of sugar were consumed per capita (or per person) each year. 



It is almost no wonder, then, that complications with type 2 diabetes is in the top 10 leading causes of death and that more than one-third of American adults are obese. Extra weight gain also puts us at risk for obesity-related conditions like heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.


So what can we do?  Well. The first step is to start eliminating unnecessary sugars from your diet. Gradually, of course. Cold turkey is just a recipe for disaster. Since many breakfast cereals, oatmeals, and granola bars usually have a good dose of sugar in them, a good start to reducing your sugar intake is taking a look at what you eat in the morning. Let’s start with this oatmeal that we’ve been talking about.


Soy milk and almond milk have a different kind of flavor and sweetness than non-fat milk, and using it in this recipe is a great way to utilize it as a natural sweetener. However, it’s important to be aware that almond milk has only about 1 gram of protein per 8 oz. serving, while most soy milks have about 6-8 grams per 8 oz. serving (non-fat milk has 8 grams). Both, when calcium fortified, will provide you with about 30-45% of your daily needs for calcium (depending on the brand). Just make sure it is fortified with vitamin D, as well, or all that calcium will be for naught, since vitamin D is necessary for our bones to take up the calcium we consume.


Fruit is another great natural source of sweetness, and adding loads of it to this recipe can help satisfy your morning sweet tooth. I also mentioned in the recipe that adding some flavored Greek yogurt (about 1/4 cup might do the trick) is another way to amp up the sweetness in your morning grub, without adding spoonful upon spoonful of sugar. The protein-boost in Greek yogurt will also help to keep you full and satisfied until your next meal or snack comes along.


Try these tips a few times a week and see what happens. Listen to your body. Do you feel satisfied after eating a more protein and whole grain rich, naturally sweetened breakfast? Maybe you will notice that you are able to concentrate better during the morning hours and are able to keep your focus until lunchtime without that sugar rush and crash that refined sugars tend to give us. Give it a whirl!


we are the [breakfast] champions, my friends

Good morning, y’all! And a big, fat, HAPPY REGISTERED DIETITIAN DAY to you and you and you! And here’s a little bit of some beautiful music to make those good feelings come alive.


So when you wake up in the morning, or more like, tumble out of your bed and stumble to the kitchen (or maybe this is just what I do), what’s the first thing you reach for? Is it that pot of joe? Your cereal bowl? Energy drink? A granola bar or piece of fruit? We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and guess what? It is. Even if you’re not hungry, eating a little bit of something helps to light your fire…errrm, furnace, if you will…and gets your metabolism going. Not breaking the fast in the morning keeps our body in a semi-starvation mode, a sneaky little biological response our body does to help us survive. This means that when we skip breakfast, our bodies hold on to the energy stores (fat) it already has to keep our muscles moving, heart beating, and mind working as it should, even though we don’t give it energy when we wake up. That’s pretty smart of it, huh?


Now for the clincher: there are tons of reasons why we do not always eat breakfast. I like to call them Breakfast Pet Peeves and maybe some of these sound familiar to you:

BREAKFAST PET PEEVES
“I’m not hungry.”
“I don’t have breakfast foods in the house.”
“There’s no time in the morning to eat breakfast or prepare it, for that matter.”
“Breakfast foods? Ewww, I don’t like them!”
“The morning is insane! My kids are insane, and YOU’RE insane for wanting me to eat breakfast!”



I know that I have fallen victim to some of these reasons, too, so you are not alone. The good thing is, however, is that there are realistic solutions to all of these problems with breakfast. My biggest breakfast pet peeve is not being hungry in the morning. However, I know that if I go without, I will be absolutely FAMISHED within 4 hours and then proceed to consume everything that happens to cross my path. This means the friendly donut that calls out to me, the slab of coffee cake in the break room that tells me it wants to be in mah belly, and the candy bar in the vending machine that seems to grow legs and walk into my eager little hand. 

Sound familiar, anyone?


There are a few solutions to this problem. One is to think about what you ate the night before. Did you eat a lot right before you went to bed? Maybe sticking to a smaller snack when eating close to bedtime is a good solution for you. Alas, some people just aren’t hungry in the morning, regardless of what they ate, or didn’t eat, the night before. Well, you are in luck my friends, because eating breakfast does not mean eating something right as your feet hit the floor. The key is to eat something within 2 hours of waking up, or even split your breakfast up into two parts. Drink a glass of low-fat milk before racing out the door and then eat a banana and a granola bar with 3+ grams of fiber once you get to your destination. Some more portable breakfast components include baggies of cereal (with 3+ grams fiber!), pieces of fruit, yogurt, a tupperware of last night’s pasta dinner – whatever you will tolerate in the morning. Which brings us to another solution of these breakfast pet peeves. Breakfast foods don’t need to be “breakfast foods”. So go ahead and eat leftovers for breakfast! The key is to have breakfast contain at least three food groups:
This means a dairy with a fruit and grain, or a protein with a grain and dairy, etc. I’m wishing right about now that I had a handout of breakfast ideas to post along with this blog post, but I think this is something that could be done in the near future. So check back soon, and there just may be some fun lil handouts waiting for you!

Lastly, we have our last breakfast pet peeve to tackle: the T-word.

Time.

We’re always talking about how we wish there was more of it, there’s not enough of it, and how it goes by too fast. Well, I can’t give you more time (I wish I could, I really do), but I can help you save time in the morning when you want to eat breakfast but the kids are screaming or you’re later than you’ve ever been in your life or any other reason why time seems to slip away. One thing I like to do to save time is to actually set out everything you will need to eat a balanced breakfast the night before. Everything. This means, for example:

Cereal in the bowl covered with plastic wrap
Spoon
Banana

…all laid out at your kitchen table, waiting for you, and happy to see you when you wake up. You could even go so far as to pour the milk that you will drink in the morning into a glass and cover that with plastic wrap and place it in your fridge. This might sound silly at first, and you may think, “Really? It takes 5 seconds to pour milk into a glass!”, and yes, this is true. It does not take a long time to pour milk. BUT! I challenge you to try this for a few days and see if it works. Most times it does because everything is literally right there that you need to eat a balanced breakfast.

What do YOU do to make time for breakfast? Is there an unusual food that is your favorite to eat for breakfast? Got any good ideas for breakfast-y deliciousness? Post ’em! I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Wicker Park eats

I recently returned from a great trip to the one and only Chicago. Definitely one of my favorite cities to explore! Not only did I spend time with a few of my good friends from undergrad, but we ate some, what I like to call, KICK-ASS FOOD (KAF).


kick-ass food (n. Abbr. KAF) a food of extensive deliciousness that may or may not be healthful in nature, but can fit into a balanced lifestyle.


Yep. That’s right, my people. This nutritionist (can’t call myself a dietitian yet until I take my boards) thinks that any food can fit into your daily diet. But more on that later.


Anyway, back to this KAF. While staying in Wicker Park, we had brunch at prasino, an establishment that boasts sustainable, “clean food” dining. I ordered the Caprese Eggs Benedict. Wow oh weeeeee.

Swoon.



The English muffin was topped with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and a perfectly poached egg. That, topped with some hollandaise sauce and balsamic glaze made for a perfect start to my day. It also came with a side of house-made potatoes – cubed and spiced to deliciousness. Sadly, I do not currently have a working camera so I could not take a picture of this beautiful creation. However, I do highly recommend eating at Prasino if you happen to be in the Wicker Park area. Crisp clean lighting and sunshine pouring through the windows will also be yours if you decide to visit for breakfast or lunch!