Eat Right

    Food, Nutrition and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables

    Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.

    1. Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.

    2. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.

    3. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.

    4. Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.

    5. Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.

    6. Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.*

    7. Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.

    8. Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.

    9. Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.

    10. Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.

    11. “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings.

    12. Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.

    13. Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat cheese.

    14. Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.

    15. Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce and rice dishes.

    16. Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.

    17. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.

    18. Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.*

    19. Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.

    20. Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.


  • WEEKLY NUTRITION TIP: Balancing fitness with a busy life

    Balancing Fitness With a Busy Life

    Strategies to Help You Accomplish Far More in Less Time

    Last Updated: Aug 11, 2013 | By Jim Smith

    Jim Smith

    Jim Smith has been training athletes and writing fitness articles since 2001. He is an expert writer for “Men’s Health,” “Muscle & Fitness” and “Men’s Fitness.” He holds a strength and conditioning specialist certification with the NSCA, is certified RKC through Dragondoor and is Westside Barbell certified. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from Mansfield University.

    Interval training is one way to maximize output while minimizing your time, which lies at the heart of finding balance.Photo Credit Wendy Hope/Stockbyte/Getty Images


    “Dad, can you skip the gym today and spend time with us instead?”

    This simple question from my daughter, early on a Saturday morning, crushed me. Growing up without a father, I had vowed to spend as much time with my kids as possible — especially when they were younger, when they really needed my guidance and time.

    On weekdays, I have the countless responsibilities that go with work; the weekends are supposed to be family time. This Saturday morning, though, I was heading out to a workout for myself.

    But hearing that question, and seeing the look on my daughter’s face, made me realize I had to find a way to get my workouts done quickly and efficiently so they wouldn’t impact the time I had for my girls.

    If you’re in a similar situation — constantly going at full speed while trying to be productive at work, spend quality time with your family and make progress in the gym — you’re probably beginning to feel that something has to give. And you’re right. As hard as we try, it’s just not possible to achieve everything every day.

    As a busy father of three, holding down two jobs, I learned this the hard way.

    But experience — and science — has taught me something else: Contrary to what you might have heard, you don’t need to spend hours every day in the gym to get results. By modifying the way you work out and manage your time, you actually can achieve more than you thought you could.

    When time is limited, go for maximal intensity through some sort of interval training. Or use some sort of strength complex or circuit.

    Nick Tumminello, owner of Performance University, Baltimore, Maryland

    High-Intensity, Short-Duration Workouts With Compound Exercises

    To boost the efficiency of your workouts, try using compound exercises. When you perform exercises that target multiple muscle groups, both the intensity and effectiveness of the workout are increased.

    Examples of Upper Body Compound Exercises:



    Standing Military Press


    Clean & Press

    Examples of Lower Body Compound Exercises:




    Hip Thrusts

    Sled Pushing/Pulling

    The Surprising Better Way

    The first thing to do is forget about the programs that require four, five or six days a week at the gym. They just aren’t necessary. It’s entirely possible to train, strengthen and progress in less time than those sorts of programs demand.

    If you’re like most fitness enthusiasts, your workout probably consists of five to six upper or lower body exercises, with three to five sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise. The typical rest period between a set can be as much as two to three minutes — and even longer if you’re talking with friends.

    You can increase the intensity and effectiveness of your training session by making a few changes: Modify the number of repetitions you perform for each set, decrease the rest period between sets, and incorporate compound movements or even increase the amount of weight you lift.

    The simplest way to put these factors into action is to replace your traditional workout with full-body, strength-training circuits. Training both your upper and lower body in the same workout is the key to cutting your time in the gym in half.

    Nick Tumminello, owner of Performance University in Baltimore, Maryland, agrees. “When time is limited, go for maximal intensity through some sort of interval training. Or use some sort of strength complex or circuit.”

    Create a circuit by performing six to eight resistance exercises back to back with minimal to no rest in between. You can perform each exercise for a certain length of time, typically 30 seconds, or for a specific number of repetitions, usually eight to 12.

    By decreasing the rest period and incorporating compound movements — exercises that use several muscle groups — the workout intensity increases and so do the training effects. You’ll burn calories not only while you’re working out, but also after you’ve left the gym. A study published in the March 2002 issue of “European Journal of Applied Physiology” found that when the training group performed a high-intensity, short-duration workout with compound exercises, their resting metabolism was raised for 38 hours after the workout.

    As your strength endurance increases, you can go through the circuit two to four times. If you’re a novice lifter, performing circuits with simple body weight, dumbbell or dynamic mobility exercises is the best way to build a solid strength foundation.

    Make Habits of Lifestyle Changes

    Once you start decreasing your time in the gym, you’ll want to work on assimilating good habits into the rest of your day. This will help you maintain a healthier lifestyle and free up more time for your family.

    Alwyn Cosgrove, co-owner of Results Fitness in California, believes habits are easy to create.

    “Do a new task every single day for 21 days, and you’ve created a habit,” he advised, adding that the right habits “can change your life.”

    In my case, I started preplanning and packing my meals the night before. This helped me stick to a good nutrition plan and prevented me from skipping meals then binging on bad food when I got a moment to eat.

    I also focused on getting enough sleep. This meant turning off the television and the laptop at the same time every night and getting to bed. Additionally, I took my vitamins and supplements right before bed with a big glass of water.

    To make myself accountable, I started a time log, writing down all of my activities for the day in half-hour increments. After keeping the time log for a week, I was able to identify “time wasters” that I could change or eliminate altogether from my schedule. I couldn’t believe how much time I wasted checking email, messaging on the phone and doing other unneeded random activities.

    Setting Goals and Taking Action

    At this point you’ve decreased your time in the gym and eliminated your daily time wasters. Your next step is to write down where you are and where you want to go. Determine your personal and professional goals, but ensure they’re attainable and measurable.

    This simple action alone gave me focus and direction. But I also knew it was one thing to write down goals and quite another to take action.

    The reason most people don’t take action is that their goals are either overwhelming or not inspiring. So pick something you really want to do, and instead of setting your sights only on the long-term goal, write down the smaller tasks you need to accomplish on the way to the larger goal.

    These days, people have less free time than ever before. Fitness often becomes an afterthought, pushed aside for more pressing tasks. But if you make your time both in and out of the gym more efficient, you can slowly reintroduce fitness back into your daily routine and still have time for the rest of your life.


  • 5 Surprisingly Healthy Breakfasts

    5 Surprisingly Healthy Breakfasts
    Upgrade your first meal to stay energized and win the war against fat
    Last Updated: Aug 16, 2013 | By Katie Farmand
    Ole! Fill a tortilla with fruits instead of cheese and beans for a healthy breakfast burrito.Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
    Sometimes it seems like a healthy breakfast leaves you with only two options:
    Eggs and oatmeal
    Oatmeal and eggs
    This apparent lack of options makes it easy to see why so many people eventually cave in and grab-and-go fast food, load up on pancakes or waffles, or skip the meal altogether. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
    If you think outside the cereal box, and add a few unconventional ingredients, you’ll have plenty of options to keep you full each morning. The following meals are quick and easy to create, giving you plenty of answers the next time you wonder, “What’s for breakfast?”
    Think outside the cereal box, add a few unconventional ingredients, and you’ll have enough tasty options to keep you full.
    Four Dinner Leftovers to Eat for Breakfast the Next Day
    It might seem the most logical to eat leftovers for lunch, but to get out of a breakfast rut, try heating up last night’s supper first thing in the morning.
    Chicken Soup
    From the lean protein of the chicken to the variety of veggies inside, chicken soup is a filling and warming on a chilly day. Try serving the soup over cooked brown rice instead for a hit of whole grains.
    Soba Noodles and Salmon
    Take a cue from the Japanese who often eat fish at their morning meal. Eat it cold like a salad, or lightly reheat in a splash of vegetable stock. The buckwheat soba noodles have plenty of fiber and the fish is filled with protein and heart-healthy fats, all of which will help keep you full until lunch.
    Meatloaf on Toast
    Reheat your homemade meatloaf and serve on whole-grain toast drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil. This combination will achieve the ideal balance of complex carbohydrates, protein and heart-healthy fats that Amber Massy, R.D., L.D. recommends for breakfast time.
    Refried Beans and Fajita Chicken
    Reheat Mexican leftovers and wrap in a whole-grain tortilla. Sprinkle with low-fat cheddar for a little bit of calcium. Serve with salsa or just wrap and go. The protein and fiber in the beans combined with the lean chicken is a great combination to give you energy and keep you full.
    Fruit Crunch Burritos
    Whole-grain tortillas aren’t just for savory wraps — they’re also a delicious way to create a handheld breakfast that’s great for busy mornings. Start by spreading peanut butter on the tortilla, and then sprinkle with sliced almonds, says Suzanne Farrell, M.S., R.D. Then add a couple of dollops of canned pumpkin puree, a few thin apple slices, and a handful of raisins. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and then fold in the ends and roll into a burrito. If you’re in a hurry, wrap it in a paper towel and take it on the go.
    THE BENEFITS: The protein from the almonds and peanut butter, and the slowly digested whole grains will help keep you full. The pumpkin puree adds a boost of vitamin A, while the apples and raises boost the fiber content to help balance your blood sugar.
    Pizza Pockets
    You might be surprised to know that your old college standby of cold pizza isn’t the worst breakfast you could have, but why settle for a day-old slice when you can make a fresh, hot and healthful version in just a few minutes? Start with a base of a small, whole-grain pita, recommends Farrell. Cut the pita in half and spread the inside of each half with a spoonful of marina sauce (look for a version made without added sugar). Then scrambled two eggs with baby spinach and finely diced red bell peppers and cook until firm. Divide the veggie scramble amongst the two pita halves. Sprinkle with shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese, and then top each pita half with a dash of Italian seasoning or dried Italian herbs. Wrap each half in foil and place in the toaster for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
    THE BENEFITS: The eggs are filled with muscle-building protein, and are loaded with fibrous veggies that will keep you full and provide necessary vitamins and minerals. As an added bonus, the marinara is rich with health-boosting lycopene, and the cheese is filled with fat-fighting calcium.
    Quinoa (Sweet or Savory)
    Swap the expected (read: boring) bowl of oats for quinoa, says Amber Massey, R.D., L.D. Cook quinoa in water using a 1:1.25 ratio (of quinoa:water) until grains are fluffy and water is absorbed. Drizzle with a touch of pure maple syrup or honey, add a sprinkle of cinnamon and top with a handful of berries for a departure from the normal porridge. Or, cook quinoa the night before, and in the morning, blend with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of honey, and a few tablespoons of ground flax seeds, which are rich in fiber and the essential fatty acid ALA.
    If that doesn’t suite your taste buds, combine cooked, cooled quinoa with beaten eggs (use 2 eggs for every 1 cup quinoa). Stir in 1/4 cup grated low-fat cheddar cheese. Form into patties and cook in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Place a quinoa patty between two halves of a whole-grain English muffin, and add a few thin slices of crisp apple for a sweet-savory combination.
    THE BENEFITS: Quinoa is a South American grain that’s loaded with protein, says Massey. But that’s just the beginning—quinoa is also relatively low in carbohydrates, is high in fiber, and is even filled with good fats. Safe to say, it’s a super food that will do your body right. The additions to either of these quinoa meals—whether it’s the antioxidant-loaded berries, the protein-filled eggs or Greek yogurt, or the flaxseeds that are loaded with essential fatty acids—make these options the new standard for health and flavor.
    Pasta Frittata
    Don’t toss that leftover whole-wheat spaghetti after dinner — save it for breakfast the next day. A delicious Italian torta di pasta, or pasta frittata, is a great way to hit all of those notes. Start by heating a little bit of olive oil in a small, ovenproof nonstick skillet. Add a few tablespoons of finely diced red bell pepper and green onion, cooking until they’re softened. Add enough leftover spaghetti, angel hair or fettucine to create a layer at the bottom of the skillet, then beat 3 eggs or 2 eggs and 2 egg whites in a bowl and pour over the pasta. Let it set until it’s firm and golden on the bottom (the top will still be runny). Pop the pan under a preheated broiler until it turns golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve with sliced fresh tomatoes or a few pieces of turkey bacon.
    THE BENEFITS: “Healthy breakfasts should include a complex carbohydrate, some protein and a healthy fat,” Massey says. You’ll have a hard time topping the combination of pasta, eggs, olive oil, and turkey bacon. Don’t let your mind play tricks on you: This foods can all play a role in a healthy diet—even a weight loss plan—as long as they’re not consumed in excess.
    Berry Crisp
    Dessert…for breakfast? It can be healthful if you make it the right way — filled with vitamin- and fiber-rich fruit. “I always tell clients to aim to get fruit into your breakfast, either as juice or in whole fruit form,” says Massey. Breakfast is an easy time to remember to eat fruit, she says, especially when it’s made into something irresistible like this sweet breakfast treat that only seems guilt inducing.
    Fill a medium ovenproof ramekin with a handful of mixed berries. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup rolled oats and 1 tablespoon each chopped walnuts and ground flax seeds. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted Earth Balance, Smart Balance or other trans-fat-free spread and 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup. Stir oat mixture until moist, then mound on top of berries. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with low-fat Greek yogurt.
    THE BENEFITS: This sweet-lovers dream is loaded with more nutrition than you’d expect. The berries provide memory-boosting antioxidants you need to stay sharp during the work day. The oats are a great source of hunger-fighting fiber, and the Greek yogurt is a quick and easy source of protein. Add in the ground flaxseeds and chopped walnuts, and you get a double-dose of fiber, plus essential fatty acids that will aid your metabolism and protect your cardiovascular health.