The start of a new year is the perfect time to make changes in our lives. Many of us wait for this moment to start some sort of behavioral change as a New Year’s resolution. When deciding on a goal, one way to ensure that you’re going to be successful is to make them into S.M.A.R.T goals.
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You probably spend a lot of time buying quality ingredients and putting a lot of effort into preparing healthy and safe meals for your loved ones and yourselves. However, all these efforts can be wasted if you are using certain types of cookware.
Here in New York City our access to locally grown produce is limited as we are in an urban environment. Community Supported Agriculture provides us access to fresh produce that is locally grown in nearby communities outside of the city.
Being a "locavore" means one is part of a movement which aims to connect food producers and food consumers in the same geographic region, in order to develop more self-reliant and resilient food networks.
Summer is just around the corner and the majority of us are looking forward to warmer temperatures and more time outdoors. This also means an increase in fun food opportunities like barbeques and picnics with friends and family.
Main Article: "Put Your Best Fork Forward"
Written by Desireeh Chevere | Reviewed by Adiana Castro MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has created a campaign, called National Nutrition Month, for the month of March to advertise nutrition education and the importance of it. It is focused on helping people make informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. What’s great about the Academy is that they have professionals that can help guide the public on gradually shifting toward a healthy lifestyle instead of doing it all on your own. The Academy is able to help the public by promoting National Nutrition Month activities and messages throughout the month. They make sure to promote the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information, so be sure to be on the lookout for that!
This year the theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” which serves as a reminder that all of us have the necessary tool to make healthier food choices. This month is dedicated to helping people feel empowered to making small changes in their daily lives to help improve health now and also in the long run. A healthier lifestyle doesn’t always happen overnight, so that is why this month is for helping people making small changes over time. The Academy encourages people to balance food and beverages within an individual’s energy needs, rather than focusing on a specific type of food or meal. This month is important because it will help people realize that making healthier eating choices requires a long-term commitment, which will in turn lead to a healthier and more enjoyable life. Below you will get a taste of what the Academy is promoting:
1. Think Nutrient-Rich
Think nutrient-rich rather than “good” or “bad” foods. The majority of your food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. Making smart food choices can help you stay healthy, manage your weight and be physically active.
2. Focus on Variety
Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups to get the nutrients your body needs. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned. Eat more dark green vegetables such as leafy greens and broccoli and orange vegetables including carrots and sweet potatoes. Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans, nuts and seeds. Try to choose whole-grains when eating cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta.
3. Cook More, Eat Out Less
Convenience food isn’t as convenient as we would like, they often cost us more! Try to switch out the frozen dinners and fast food for foods that are prepared at home. Go back to the basics and find simple, inexpensive and healthy recipes to make with your family.
4. Frozen Food
Don’t let all frozen food go, especially not frozen vegetables. At certain times of the year frozen vegetables will not only help save some money but it will also last longer than fresh. For instance, you can try cooking frozen broccoli with a side of rice or pasta and chicken.
5. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead can be quite beneficial, especially when you’re busy throughout the week and don’t have much time to do things. A helpful suggestion is to plan what you would like to eat for the week before going to the grocery store. You can plan by reviewing your favorite recipes and see what kind of ingredients you will need. Also, be sure to see what foods you already have and make a list of what you are missing. This list will help avoid buying any extra items.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Main Article: Chocolate and Cardiovascular Health
Written by Arielle Kestenbaum | Reviewed by Jennifer Calo, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, many of us are starting to ponder romantic gifts, flowers, and of course, chocolate! For many years, chocolate has been a treat near and dear to many. It has become a “feel good” food, that unfortunately has developed a negative connotation over the years. What if you were told that chocolate may not actually be as bad for you as you thought? Well, this is true! Chocolate, in moderation, can in fact have protective qualities, specifically for our cardiovascular systems. The important part is to know which kind of chocolate and how much can be helpful in keeping our hearts healthy and strong.
The main ingredient in any chocolate bar is cocoa bean. Cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids. Flavonoids are considered to be an antioxidant, which means that they can help the body resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, as well as from environmental contaminants.
Antioxidants sources help to prevent LDL (or bad cholesterol particles) from damaging artery walls. Research has shown that cocoa reduces levels of LDL cholesterol, in addition to slowing the rate at which LDL oxidizes. In addition to the antioxidant qualities of chocolate, research suggests that the flavonoids, specifically flavanols, have the potential to improve cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, and allowing for normal blood clotting by platelets.
Of course, not all forms of chocolate have the same kind of positive effects on our heart, as they don’t all contain high levels of flavanols. For example, 70% cocoa chocolate has a much more bitter taste than 50% due to greater concentration of flavanols and reduced sugar content. It is important to avoid chocolate that is labeled “processed with alkali” which reduces the flavanols. We recommend looking for brands that contain at least 70% cocoa, and limiting to 1 oz portion per day. Check the ingredient list to make sure cocoa is the first ingredient listed, and not sugar. Some great brands to look for include: Green and Black’s, Pascha, Ghirardelli Intense Dark, and Vivani. Organic brands are best to avoid artificial chemicals and sweeteners. Consuming 1 oz dark chocolate daily can actually reduce blood cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, in addition to satisfying your sweet tooth!
So for now, it’s important to enjoy chocolate in moderation a few times per week, as we want its effects to remain positive in keeping us both happy and healthy!
Healthy eating during the holidays can sometimes be a challenge with the many parties and festivities happening all in a short period of time. The majority of foods at these events can be loaded with saturated fat, salt, sugar and excess calories. However, this doesn’t have to be the case when hosting your own holiday event and you don’t have to sacrifice flavor in the name of health.
Keep gratitude in mind this holiday season. Remember all you are thankful for. Savor each
bite of food and enjoy each moment spent with your loved ones. And always remember to
think of your accomplishments as well as who helped you achieve them. Happy Holidays!
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s time to kick it into gear to save those tatas! Although there is not a sure way to prevent it, there are things you can do to lower your risk. Even though there are certain factors about you that may put you at a higher risk for breast cancer, such as being a woman, getting older, or inherited genes, there are life-style related factors that can be improved to lower your risk.
Sleep, although important, is sometimes second in thought. People are always so busy worrying about having the proper exercise routines, nutritional plan, and supplement regiment, yet many people deprive themselves of the proper sleep they need during the night. Not getting enough sleep can have an effect on weight gain, and the foods that we eat can have an effect on the quality of sleep we have. Therefore, it is important to make sure we are eating properly, to ensure we are getting enough sleep each night.
The alkaline diet, also known as the alkaline ash diet, has gained popularity over the last few years due to claims of improved health, weight loss and avoidance of certain diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and even cancer.