A Whole Foods Approach To Sports Nutrition: What Should I Eat Before a Workout?

Do your New Year’s Resolutions include kicking up your workout routine a notch? If they do, that is great! But equally as important as the workout is what you are eating. Proper nutrition is essential to getting the results you want in the gym or out on the playing field. With personal trainers selling supplements, CrossFitters pushing Paleo, and a new diet popping up every month, its hard to decipher what is actually healthy and what is just hype. Here are four expert tips to help you get the most out of a pre-workout meal.

  1. Don’t shun carbohydrates. I know we are constantly being told carbs make us fat. But it’s just not true. Eating more calories than we burn makes us fat. Carbs provide our body with a quick source of energy which is what we need while working out. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which enters our muscle cells and gives us fuel to workout at maximum capacity. Good sources of carbs to eat before a workout are fruit, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, potatoes (white or sweet), and yogurt.
  2. Keep it real. Focus on whole, minimally processed foods as much as possible. For example, eat an apple rather than an apple flavored Nutri-Grain bar. Although I think bars serve their purpose, they shouldn’t be your number one go to. If you are “keeping it real” that also means tossing protein powders, “pre-workout shakes” and anything that doesn’t actually resemble food. If you can buy it at GNC, but not the farmers market, that is a good indicator that it is not a real food. Aside from shakes and powders having no nutritional advantage over eating a well balanced meal, there are risks associated with supplements such as kidney and liver failure. Although rare, it does happen and it is not worth the risk.
  3. Hydrate hydrate hydrate! It’s best to be well hydrated before beginning a workout. Try to drink 16 ounces of fluids a few hours prior to exercising and then 1 cup of water in the half hour before. If you are exercising for one hour or less plain water provides adequate hydration. If sweating heavily or exercising for prolonged periods of time a sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes is a better choice. Hydration needs are different for every individual and vary based on the type of workout you are doing. One of the best indicators of hydration is urine color; as my sports nutrition professor always said, your pee should be “light lemonade.” If it’s darker, you should start increasing your fluid intake before and during exercise.
  4. Timing matters. What and how much you should eat before working out varies based on how much time you have. If you are eating dinner at 5 pm and working out at 7 pm, it is likely that you don’t need any additional food. If you are working out straight after work at 5 pm and your last meal was at 12 noon, it is a good idea to have a pre-workout snack. Personally, if I’m working out after work I’m usually ravenous. So I eat an apple or granola bar on the way to the gym. I’m generally still hungry after that apple, but once I start working out I forget about my hunger and enjoy the sweat. This snack should mainly focus on carbs, but can have a bit of protein and healthy fats thrown in as well. If your workout is primarily strength based you will want to include more protein to aid with muscle recovery. If you do more cardio (like an hour long run) your snack should be mainly easy to digest carbs. Here are some good examples.

Pre-workout snack for cardio (<1 hour before workout): 1 banana or apple, 1 Tbsp nut butter, 1 cup of water

Pre-workout snack for strength training (<1 hour before workout): 1 cup Greek Yogurt, handful of berries or sliced fruit, 10 almonds

Pre-workout meal for cardio (2-3 hours before working out): 4 ounces baked chicken or fish, 1 cup brown rice, green salad with dressing, small dinner roll, 16 ounces water

Pre-workout meal for strength (2-3 hours before working out): 6 ounces baked chicken or fish, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup roasted veggies in olive oil, 8 ounces water or milk

I hope this guide helps with your sports nutrition needs. Stay tuned for the next blog to learn what to eat after your workout.

 

 

Do You Make These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

Do you make these 5 diet mistakes www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com
Photo credit Alice Henneman

Whether your goal is weight loss, weight maintenance or preventing disease, you may fall victim to one of these common dieting mistakes.

1. You eat (too) perfect before 6 PM. You had your protein shake at breakfast and your green salad for lunch. Now it’s dinner time, you’re starving, and you want to eat everything in sight. Of course you are starving, the day is almost over and you have only consumed 500 calories. Ideally, you want to spread out your calories evenly throughout the day. People that eat lightly during the day tend to go crazy in the evening. Aim for balance in your meals. A healthy breakfast and lunch should include foods from at least 3 different food groups. Instead of just oatmeal (1 food group) try oatmeal with berries, walnuts, and milk (4 food groups – much more balanced). Some research even suggests that making lunch the largest meal of the day, instead of dinner, may aid weight loss.

2. The “organic” halo. If something is labeled organic it is automatically good for you, right Food Babe? Wrong. Organic packaged snack foods might be better for the environment, but in most cases they are not better for your waistline.  Did you know that organic Oreos were a real thing? Due to the low demand, they didn’t last very long. If you prefer to buy organic food you definitely should, but don’t blindly consume large amounts of cookies or other “snacks” just because they are organic.

organi oreos, dieting mistakes

3. Not eating enough fruits and veggies. Diet fads come and go, but one recommendation that is here to stay is fruits and vegetables. They offer fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals which can not be replaced with a vitamin, supplement or veggie powder. You can call powders “whole foods” but they are not the same thing as eating fruits or vegetables. What happens if you take a carrot and blend it. Does it turn into powder? Nope. To find out how many fruits and veggies you should be eating check out this CDC calculator.

4. Taking the weekends off. You should take the weekends off from your job, not your diet. Sure you can still have fun and go out to eat on the weekends. But make an effort to not stuff yourself to the brim (with food or drinks). Simply eating mindfully when you are enjoying good food can be enough to not wreck your hard work during the week. If the weekends are a problem for you, consider weighing yourself Friday mornings and Monday mornings. If you see that number routinely creeping up on Monday try changing your weekend routine to include more exercise and healthier food choices. A great resource for finding healthy restaurant food is Healthy Dining Finder.

5. Fearing fat. Eating a lot of fat doesn’t make us fat. Eating too many calories does – whether it comes from protein, carbohydrates or fat. Fat has a satiating effect that carbohydrates don’t provide, therefore eating a small amount of fat with most meals is a good idea. Fat also helps us absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Many times fat-free or reduced fat products will have added sugar, sodium or thickening agents to try and replace what is lost when the fat is removed. If the calories are significantly reduced and you genuinely enjoy the taste of the product, the reduced fat version might be a good choice. If the calories are similar and the ingredient list is much longer, just go for the original full-fat version.

Have you fallen for any of these dieting mistakes?

Healthy Green Treats and RD Day!

Chocolate Covered Apples with Pistachios

Hola blog family! I just returned from a fabulous cruise to Mexico. That means I need a quick and stress-free recipe which will give me time to recover from those dang Pina Coladas. This recipe is delicious, nutty, and green for St. Patty’s day! I made these chocolate covered apples for a work presentation last week and they were gobbled up in two minutes flat. Strawberries and bananas are not the only fruit you can dip in chocolate people!

P1190541

Speaking of chocolate, I am not a crazy chocoholic, but I am crazy about melting chocolate. I LOVE melting chocolate. It literally soothes my soul. I find it to be the most relaxing process. Get a massage, or melt chocolate? It’s literally a toss up. And I love massages. Watching the chocolate liquefy, stirring that velvety liquid slowly with your favorite wooden spoon, it just makes my heart fill with joy. In my younger years, I did have a few bouts of stressful burnt chocolate, but those days are long gone. Low and slow, that’s the key. Make sure you have high quality chocolate, chop it up a bit, turn the heat on very low and stir. You will have no problems. Personally, I don’t mess with that double boiler business. Overrated and not necessary (but it does work, if that’s your thing).

My favorite part, melting the chocolate!
My favorite part, melting the chocolate!

Chocolate Covered Apples with Pistachios

Before I forget, I need to give a big shout out to all my fellow Registered Dietitians. Happy RD Day all! This post was intended to go up much sooner than RD Day, but ya know, party cruises get in the way of blogging schedules sometimes. We have to make sure we celebrate each other as it’s not likely we are going to get any love from our company the way nurses and doctors do on their day. Am I right? To all of my fellow RD’s and RDN’s working in hospitals, school nutrition, public health, culinary, blogging and communications I would like to say you do make a difference and together we can make small changes that will have a big impact on the health of future generations. Later this month (National Nutrition month) I will be spotlighting some of my favorite RD Bloggers from around the web.

Now for the recipe!

Chocolate Covered Apples with Pistachios
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 green apples, sliced into wedges
  • half of 12 ounce bag semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (any leftover chocolate works fine)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pistachios
  • fresh lemon juice to prevent browning
Instructions
  1. Wash and slice apples.
  2. Squirt lemon juice on apples to prevent browning.
  3. Melt chocolate in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir continuously.
  4. Once chocolate completely melted turn off heat.
  5. Line cookie sheet with tin foil for less mess.
  6. Dip ends of apples into chocolate, place on a cookie sheet.
  7. Sprinkle dipped apples with pistachios.
  8. Place in refrigerator to cool and harden.
 

 

The Secrets of Successful, Long Term Weight Loss

At the start of a new year everyone is trying to lose weight. That means diet pills, protein shakes, and fad diets will be knocking at your front door. But don’t give in my friends! Yes, I think shedding some extra pounds is a great idea. It’s a great idea any time of the year, and if you feel extra motivated at the start of January then that is even better! I have compiled a list of the do’s and don’ts of successful weight loss. These are my best kept secrets, not only as a Registered Dietitian, but also as a woman that has lost 30 pounds and kept if off for eight years.

December 2006
December 2006
Before and After Weight Loss Photos
December 2007

DO:
Do get support and help from friends, family, or health professionals. And when I say professionals, I mean actual professionals, NOT sales people. My support came from my rugby team and friends. Join a group or go for one-on-one help, whichever you think will work best for you and your goals. If you have no extra money for support groups then just a find a friend and encourage each other to eat healthy and reach your goals.

Do practice mindful eating. Savor your food. Think about the flavor, aroma, texture of your food. Sit down at the table to eat. Turn off the TV/computer/IPAD. Eat slowly and enjoy. A meal should take at least 20 minutes to eat.

Do keep a food journal (electronic or paper). Write down everything that you eat for at least one week. It’s best to write it soon after eating, don’t wait until the end of the day. At the end of the day review what you ate. Did you eat any vegetables, what about fruits? If you find that you are an emotional eater I would also recommend writing down your feelings and hunger level pre-and post-meal.

Do eat three balanced meals and 1-2 healthy snacks in between if you are hungry. Six small meals per day is not practical for most people. Who has time for that? Three meals is more consistent with a “typical” schedule. The science shows that it does not matter how many times you eat, rather it is the total calories consumed throughout the day which is important.

Do exercise. Find something you love and it won’t feel like exercise. Enough said.

DON’T:
Don’t buy the latest and greatest supplement, diet pill, or get-thin-quick plan. Diet pills can be downright dangerous; causing heart irregularities, hypertension, rashes, headaches and a myriad of other health problems. Natural supplements are often times safe but tend to be ineffective. Personally, I steer clear of both. In terms of commercial diets such as Slim Fast, Medi Fast, and Herbalife, if you follow them they will likely work. The problem is that following these plans long term is incredibly difficult and expensive.

Don’t be a slave to the scale. It takes time for lasting weight loss to happen. It’s generally recommended to lose 1-2 pounds per week. TV shows such as the Biggest Loser can sometimes lead us to think we are a failure if we don’t lose at least 10 pounds per week. If you can consistently lose one pound per week you are a winner for sure!

Don’t have an all or nothing mentality. It’s a new year, you are feeling motivated, you want to eat clean for the whole month. That is a great challenge, but if you slip up, know that it is okay. A bump in the road does not mean you should completely give up. The goal is little changes that you can sustain for the rest of your life.

I hope these tips help you accomplish your health goals in 2015. If you are looking for more individualized help and meal plans contact me at Heathermason86 @ gmail.com.

Last but not least, enjoy these photos from my Mom’s trip to Eugene, Oregon. They are just so pretty, I feel like they need to be shared with the world. P1000211 P1000225 P1000268 P1000313 P1000322 P1000328

Diet and Fitness Trends to Ditch in 2015

With the new year just a few days away I thought I would  recap some of the most popular diet and fitness trends of 2014. Some trends are definitely here to stay; such as personal tracking devices like the Fit Bit, group exercise classes like Body Pump, and super foods like kale and quinoa. But some trends, I hope, can stay behind in 2014. If you are looking to try a new diet in 2015 I recommend that you steer clear of the following trends.

1. Paleo. Paleo or the “Caveman Diet” was pretty huge this past year. Proponents claim that if you remove all processed and modern day convenience foods you can achieve optimal health and lose weight. The idea is to eat only what a caveman would have- that means no grains or starchy vegetables, no beans, no dairy, and minimal fruit. You are essentially eating meat, eggs, and vegetables 24/7. No thank you! While caveman may not have suffered from modern day diseases such as diabetes or obesity, they also didn’t live as long as we do.  Not to mention cavemen chased after their food to kill it. I bet if we had to chase after our food we would also have much lower rates of obesity in 2015. My recommendation would be to eat minimally processed foods and leave the rest of Paleo in the past!

paleo
Photo credit: tobyamidornutrition.com

2. Alternative Sugars and Sweeteners. I’m talking about you coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, brown sugar, Sucanat, etc. etc. My biggest pet peeve is someone making a dessert with maple syrup and calling it a “no added sugar” dessert. Are you kidding me? One quarter cup of maple syrup has 200 calories and 45 grams of sugar. That is more sugar and calories than a 12 ounce can of coke. While sugar may not be in the title of maple syrup, honey, or agave, all of these sweeteners are filled with sugar and are nutritionally VERY similar to white sugar. Honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar do contain minute amounts of micronutrients but they are really negligible unless you are consuming large amounts of these sweeteners. Alternative sweeteners are not bad, but the idea that they are better or healthier than regular sugar is incorrect.

sugar alternatives
Photo Credit: bonappetit.com

3. Gluten Free. I’ve blogged about gluten before. That’s why I’m going to keep this short n’ sweet.  If you’ve read my previous gluten post you know that I think going gluten free is nonsense unless you actually have the autoimmune disorder celiac disease.  One of the most prominent studies on non-celiac gluten sensitivity was even retracted this year by the author himself. If you are trying out gluten free just to be “healthy” don’t do it! Whole grains are good for you.

gltuen

4. Crossfit. Dun dun dun. I said it. Crossfit is one of the worst fitness trends of 2014. I’m all about women lifting heavy weights and being strong, but I’m not about maxing out your weight with bad form and getting injured. Plus, in the words of my sister “Crossfit turns you into a douche.”  Her words, not mine. Crossfitters are also devout followers of one of my least favorite diet trends (see number one above).

crossfit
photo credit: paceperformance.net

5. Fitspo. Fitspo stands for fitspiration. If you’ve never heard of it a quick google search should help you get the picture. I’m sorry, but looking at fitness models with thigh gaps and chiseled abs is not inspiring, that’s demoralizing. The mantra of fitspo is to inspire people to be fit instead of “skinny,” which is great. However, the images which appear on fitspo are generally very thin women with some toned muscles here and there. You will never find fit women who are 200 pound weight lifters or rugby players. I hope fitspo dies hard in the new year.

fitspo
Photo credit: Creatina10.com I’m not feeling particularly inspired to workout by this skinny girl in a pink sports bra.

Those are my top five. What diet or fitness trends do you think we need to ditch in the new year? Stay tuned for a post of the best trends tomorrow!

Real Talk: Holiday Weight Gain

In college I had a running teacher that told the class the average holiday weight gain was between 7- 10 pounds. After she said this, I looked around and saw horror on all of the freshmen girls’ faces. I was shocked Holiday weight gainwhen I heard that number, 7 pounds?!! That is like 2 pants sizes. Could it be true? No. The answer is no. I don’t know where that teacher got her statistics from but she is totally wrong. I hope she is reading this post right now and not spreading unwarranted fear to her current running class.
The truth is, people do tend to gain a bit of weight during the holiday season, but the real average is only between 1-2 pounds. Not a big deal. However, if you are gaining 2 pounds every holiday season it does add up. Keep in mind the holidays are about more than just food. Good food is an important part of celebrations, but it is not the only part! Here are my top five tips for avoiding holiday weight gain.

  • Just as you shouldn’t go grocery shopping while hungry, don’t go to the holiday party ravenous! Have a meal full of fiber and protein before you go. Such as roasted chicken and kale salad.

To read the rest of my tips for keeping your weight in check this holiday season head on over to Shopwell.holiday-weight-gain-snowmen

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting

vegan chocolate cake

In honor of world vegan day, I decided to make a vegan chocolate cake! Let me tell you, this cake does NOT disappoint. It is super fudgey, moist, and amazing! This cake is not just good for a vegan dessert, it is good period. My taste testers had no idea it was lacking eggs and butter. Bonus, this cake is made with fruits (banana and avocado) and vegetables (beets)! A dietitian’s dream come true! Therefore, I feel perfectly content eating this cake for breakfast and dessert.

The whole cake is fabulous, but if there is one thing that is really impressive, it is the frosting! I plan to make it my go-to chocolate frosting from now on. Have you ever tried making frosting with avocados? Well I haven’t either until I made this cake! This frosting is great tasting, full of healthy fats (hello avocado) and it is a perfect texture for spreading and making beautiful cake designs. Win-win.

The original cake recipe called for whole wheat flower and coconut sugar.  I have cake baking anxiety so I did not want to use whole wheat flour in fear that it might produce a dry cake. Cake anxiety is real. If you’ve ever made a wedding cake I bet you know what I’m talking about! I didn’t use coconut sugar mainly just because I didn’t have it on hand and didn’t want to buy an obscure ingredient I will only use once. I know coconut is all the rage right now, but I would like to remind you it is still calorie laden sugar. Similar to honey, any nutritional benefit is extremely minimal.  I really like this quick article on coconut sugar from fooducate.

My lovely friend Ann-Marie helped me with some of the photos of this cake. Sheesh, this girl is talented. I don’t know how she does it, but my photos did not look this good when I took them! Heck, I was proud of myself the other day when I cropped a shadow out of a photo!

This recipe is adapted from Food and Nutrition Magazine and developed by Michaela Ballman MS, RD. Make this cake. Serve it to your vegan friends. Serve it to your non-vegan friends. Heck, serve it to the queen if she happens to be coming over.

cake batter
The batter is bright red from the beets!
vegan chocolate cake
No cake stand, I am a sad sad food blogger.

chocolate cake

chocolate cake
It’s too delicious not to dive in!

 

Vegan Chocolate Banana Beet Cake

Wet Ingredients

  • 3 roasted beets, pureed (~1 cup)
  • 1 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup coconut or white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 very ripe banana

Dry  Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups AP flour (or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Frosting

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (optional)
  • hazelnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F and roast beets for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool. Puree in a food processor. Reduce oven to 350 F. Grease two 8 inch cake pans. Add vinegar to milk and stir. Set aside to curdle. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl use a mixer to cream coconut oil and sugar. Add pureed beats, banana, milk, and extract. Mix until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined. The cake might seem a bit thicker than regular cakes, but that is ok. Resist the urge to thin out the batter.

Pour evenly into baking pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I cooked mine for 22 minutes and it was perfect. Allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Add all ingredients to a food processor or mixer. Process for several minutes. If using the powder sugar star slow or else it will fly all over the place. Mix very well until there are no more little flaky green avocado specks, unless you like that type of thing… Garnish with hazel nuts and coconut (or regular) whipped cream.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

Fruits and Veggies with a Bad Reputation

I am often asked, “which fruits are bad?” I hate that mainstream media has Americans so confused to think that there are actually bad fruits and vegetables. All fruits are good for you.  All fruits offer vitamins, minerals, and fiber. If I had to choose the very healthiest fruit, I would probably go with berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries). However, you do not need to eat berries every day. Eat berries when they are in season (the summer time in California) eat apples when they are in season (fall). Here is a list of a few fruits and veggies which have a bad reputation but are really quite healthy!P1160381 - Copy

1. Carrots. My clients like to tell me they avoid carrots because they are “high sugar.” This is 100% not true. One large carrot has 3 grams of sugar and only 30 calories. You would have to eat 10 large carrots to equal the amount of sugar that is in one glass of orange juice. So go ahead and put some carrots on your salad, eat them with hummus, or roast them with some other root veggies!P1160391

2.White Potatoes. Ok, so white potatoes are not kale. But they do offer some important nutrients. Did you know that one medium size potato has more potassium than a banana? Potassium is beneficial in helping lower blood pressure and of course, as we all know, it can help with exercise induced cramps. Potatoes are also a good source of fiber if you eat the skin. Eat the skin, it’s good! The problem with potatoes is mainly that they are the number one consumed vegetable in America because they are eaten in the form of french fries. Yes, this is a problem. Baked potato with veggies and a little cheese- good. French fry- bad.P1160437 - Copy

3. Bananas. What is not to love about a banana. It comes in its own natural wrapper! Making it portable and practical. Yes, bananas might be considered “high sugar.” But I can’t really think of a fruit that isn’t high in sugar, as all fruits are full of fructose. Fructose means fruit sugar. One medium banana has 100 calories and 15 grams of sugar. That still pales in comparison to our friend orange juice with 30 grams of sugar. I’m not hating on orange juice, I’m just saying eat your fruits first!P1160412 - Copy

4. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables. Fresh is best, but frozen is a very close second! Vegetables and fruits are typically frozen right after being harvested which means they retain their nutrients. Sometimes, it can even allow the fruit to vine ripen for longer because the producers won’t have to worry about the fruit rotting or becoming damaged during transportation to the market. Frozen is also economical and can help you cut back on food waste. If you only go the grocery store once a week, eat fresh at the beginning of the week and have some frozen green beans and fruit smoothie at the end of the week! With frozen just make sure to check for added sugar or sodium. Look at the ingredient list, ideally you want it to have just one ingredient- the fruit or veggie you are buying and that’s it.

Just one ingredient, corn!
Just one ingredient, corn!

In a nut shell, if you are eating a fruit or vegetable, you are doing a good job! Try to get at least 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables in your diet every day! If you exercise a lot or are very tall/big then you need even more!P1160365 - Copy

5 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Halloween

I love Halloween. Last night we had our annual Halloween party and it was a blast. The night was filled with costumes, catching up with old friends, and good food. You know what it was not filled with, candy. There was not one piece of candy present and I don’t think there was one guest that minded. Yes, you can have a fun Halloween party without candy! I’m not against candy. However, we all know that Halloween night will bring plenty of treats for the lil’ ones and there is no reason to pre-load the kids all week long before the main event. Here are some tips for how to enjoy a healthier Halloween!

1. Make vegetable art! Check out this awesome eggplant owl and bell pepper monster. Crudite is awesome, and it always gets gobbled up in our house. For a healthier dip try mixing half low-fat sour cream and half plain non-fat Greek yogurt with a ranch or onion seasoning packet. vegetable art2. Get Fruity. Sliced apples and caramel dip, always a hit around Halloween time! Or, try making these adorable ghost bananas! The kids will go bananas for them! (hehe).

banana ghost
Who doesn’t love chocolate and bananas? These ghosts do look like they have been through a bit of a war, but they look great from far away!

3. Pack in the Protein. Make spooky deviled eggs. Pop a sliced green olive in the middle and bam, you have eyes, or make spiders with black olives. Another delicious protein packed treat-pumpkin seeds! After all that hard work that goes into carving a pumpkin, you definitely don’t want to throw away those seeds. Season them with salt and pepper or go sweet with cinnamon and a pinch of sugar!

4. Get Moving! All I have to say about this is please do NOT be that mother driving her children from house to house on Halloween night to go trick or treating. So unnecessary, and so silly! Part of the fun of Halloween is roaming the streets at night with or without your parents, but NOT in the car. No no no!

5. Moderation is Key. Don’t restrict yourself or your children from candy. This can sometimes lead to an increased desire for the food that is off limits. If you know you have a hard time not overeating candy, try buying the candy last minute or purchase a type of candy that you don’t really like. Try playing the “switch witch” with your kids, after they have eaten their fair share of candy. If you are interested in more tips for a healthy Halloween check out this great article by fellow RD Sally.

Happy Halloween from the PSL and the Sushi Roll!

Pumpkin spice latte halloween costume

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Happy Food Day! Now, I know you are probably thinking to yourself, Food Day? Why would we need a day to celebrate food? The truth is, we do need a day to celebrate eating REAL food. So much of what Americans consume is overly processed crap, hardly resembling real food at all.

How can you tell if a food is real or processed? A real food will be as close to it’s natural state as possible (think fresh off the farm). Any whole fruit or vegetable is definitely a real food. Pre-washed, pre-chopped vegetables are still real, but the lines become less clear when it is salted, preserved, sweetened, and enhanced with artificial or “natural” flavors. Another example would be dried fruits and nuts, both real. However, if you are to consume a “nutty raisin bar” there is likely added sugar, preservatives, GMO soy and canola, and gelling agents that may not be so real. I do understand that we can not (actually I think we could) live off fruits, vegetables, and organic chicken alone. But I know our ancestors before us did eat much more real foods then us and they did not suffer from such high rate of diabetes and obesity.

End rant. Today I bring you a fabulous real food recipe from my favorite food blogger Kelly at Just a Taste.  I modified her recipe just a bit; skipping the cheese, and adding purple cabbage for a lovely color. I wanted to name this salad “cruciferous crunch” but I just don’t think that would get many hits on an internet search. In fact, my computer is telling me that cruciferous is not even a word, but I know that it is! Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale are chock full of disease-fighting phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.

For the complete recipe visit Just a taste. Feel free to add purple cabbage as I did. I also used almond spears? (the name is not coming to me right now) instead of sliced almonds because they are more hearty and I like them better. But use whatever you like, and don’t forget to make the dressing too! Enjoy! Have a great REAL food day! What real foods are you going to eat this weekend?

Chiffonade that kale!
Chiffonade that kale!

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