Weekly Nourishments

Nutrient Spotlight: Iodine

Nutrient Spotlight: Iodine

Written by: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSCPCC, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

The world of nutrition in the media is too often narrowly focused on energy intake and macronutrient balance, which oversimplifies the field of nutrition and the foods we eat. If we only focus on carbohydrates, fat, and protein, we give less attention to micronutrients, which are often overlooked, but vital for our bodies to function. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals, which are nutrients often taken for granted. These vitamins and minerals rarely make it on a Nutrition Facts Label or in the media about their importance. However, if we don’t consume enough of these powerful nutrients, we can show signs of deficiency and experience complications. Fortunately, our body does not need large amounts of micronutrients, just as their name implies. When we consume a varied diet with foods from all food groups, we ensure that our body receives the wide range of micronutrients it needs, without having to keep track of every microgram consumed. However, there are some micronutrients that certain populations and specific diets need to be aware of to make sure our bodies are nourished with the nutrients we need.

One of these important micronutrients is iodine. Iodine is a mineral that plays a significant role in thyroid hormones. Our thyroid hormones impact our growth, development, and metabolism. Thyroid deficiency can lead to goiters, which is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Severe iodine deficiency can result in impaired neurological status. It’s important to mention that consuming too much iodine can also be detrimental and cause thyroid disorders as well.

Foods that contain high amounts of iodine include seafood. Other good food sources of iodine include dairy and poultry. Many Americans receive their iodine intake through iodized table salt. Now more than ever before, heart healthy nutrition is on the forefront of many people’s goals, so many people are removing salt at the dinner table and opting for salt-free alternatives. Many people are also choosing non-iodized salt versions such as sea salt and Himalayan salt. These salt varieties do not contain iodine. Although processed foods are often high in salt, food manufacturers do not typically use iodized salt during processing. This is another reason why iodine intake can be suboptimal. Restricting iodized salt in an effort to decrease high blood pressure or the risk of developing high blood pressure is a heart-healthy plan. However, the reduction of iodized salt intake can place some individuals at risk of not eating enough iodine, especially those who follow a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diet. Another high-risk group of inadequate iodine intake are pregnant and lactating women. Inadequate intake during pregnancy and lactation can result in fetal hypothyroidism, impaired neurological development, and premature birth. Breastfed infants whose mothers do not consume enough iodine are also at risk for deficiency with similar symptoms.

Pregnant women require 220 mcg per day and lactating women require 390 mcg per day iodine. For pregnant and lactating women, it’s important to ensure that your prenatal multivitamin contains at least 150 mcg of iodine. Additional iodine can come from the diet in addition to the prenatal multivitamin. Since iodine plays such a significant impact on a growing baby, it’s important to ensure mom has enough intake herself. Unfortunately, not all prenatal/postnatal multivitamins contain iodine in sufficient amounts or at all! Be on the lookout on the Supplement Facts label to scan for iodine and the amount provided. For vegans, vegetarians, and those following a plant-based diet, eating sea-based foods such as seaweed can help increase iodine intake. Other food sources that contain iodine but to a lesser extent include navy beans and baked potatoes. The option to take an iodine supplement or a multivitamin that contains iodine is important and often recommended for these populations. Men and non-pregnant/lactating women need 150 mcg iodine per day. Children need 90-120 mcg iodine per day based on their age.

If you think your iodine intake may not be enough or you find it difficult to eat enough iodine in a day, talk with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian Nutritionist or Certified Nutrition Specialist to review your intakes and evaluate if you need additional iodine or supplementation. We have a database of recipes and offer individualized meal plans to meet your own nutrition needs. Choosing iodine-rich meals and snacks can help boost your intake and support a nourishing, balanced diet . We will individualize a nutrition plan with recommendations tailored just for you to meet your specific needs.


Nuleeu Recipe Favorite: Cozy Almond Oat Banana Bread 

Nuleeu Recipe Favorite: Cozy Almond Oat Banana Bread 

Written by: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSCPCC, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

Cooler weather and holiday spirits are here in full swing! If you have that oven baking and traditional dishes cooking, you may be looking for a simple breakfast, snack, or dessert to bake and have on hand. This is a great snack to fuel your body before a workout or to refuel your body after exercising. Or warm it up in the microwave and serve with a glass of soy milk for a cozy warm breakfast or after dinner snack. How does 8 simple ingredients sounds? You may already have all the ingredients on hand! Bonus: your kitchen and home are guaranteed to smell like a holiday candle with this nourishing recipe! 

Our Cozy Almond Oat Banana Bread is the perfect recipe to bake, store, and freeze to have ready now and all year long! The best part is just how simple it is to make and the variations are endless!

Inside our super simple nourishing bread are old fashioned rolled oats. Oats are loaded with fiber, which helps to keep you full longer. Fiber also helps to keep us regular and can reduce LDL-cholesterol levels. Fiber is also great at maintaining good blood sugar control. Oats are also rich in phosphorus, magnesium, thiamine, and zinc!

Almonds help to add a tiny crunch to our bread. Almonds are a good source of monounsaturated fat, fiber, and protein. Almonds are also loaded with vitamin E and manganese. Vitamin E is critical to maintain our skin and eye health. It also acts as an antioxidant and keeps our blood healthy. Manganese plays an important role in our metabolism.

We substitute a flax “egg” for typical eggs in this recipe. This switch still gives the recipe some protein, but also adds a boost of fiber, polyunsaturated fat, and antioxidants. Flaxseeds are also effective at reducing LDL-cholesterol, and have high amounts of lignans, which are plant phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens play a role in preventing diabetes and some cancers. This nutrition combination makes flaxseeds a cardioprotective food. To make a flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon ground flax with 3 tablespoons hot water. Combine with a whisk or fork and let the combination sit. As the flax egg cools, it will congeal a bit and resemble the texture of egg whites.

Bananas help to add sweetness, while also providing potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. Feel free to use ripe or extra ripe bananas for this recipe. The more ripe, the more moist your bread will be! Either way, bananas are the perfect addition to round out this recipe.

The simple spices in this recipe include cinnamon and nutmeg. These common yet powerful spices have strong nourishing properties! Did you know that cinnamon has the ability to regulate blood sugar? Did you know that both cinnamon and nutmeg have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties? Spices are jam-packed with nutrition in such small volumes!

Feel free to experiment with different nuts in this recipe: pecans, walnuts, or even pistachios! You may like to add 1 cup of dried cranberries, raisins, or chopped dates for some extra sweetness and chewy texture, while also adding a serving of fruit! We love getting creative in the kitchen, so let us know what you think of our cozy bread!

Cozy Almond Oat Banana Bread

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

4 medium ripe bananas

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup whole almonds

2 flax “eggs” (2 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds with 6 Tbsp. hot water, combined until gel-like)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients into a blender and combine until smooth. Pour batter into the pan.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is cooked entirely and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Reduce Grocery Shopping Stress

Reduce Grocery Shopping Stress

Written by: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSCPCC, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

Not too long ago did we have simple grocers. The shops were small and personable. They’d have what you needed, but perhaps just one type or brand of the product you were looking for. Today, grocery stores are superstores, housing not only our food, but often times a one-stop-shop to also get your prescriptions, clothes, and home goods. Many grocery stores even have coffee shops, bars, or full restaurants inside! The sheer magnitude of these stores can be overwhelming as you search aisle to aisle for the simplest ingredients. Today there’s also more choices than ever. This has been a wonderful advancement and opportunity for consumers, especially those who follow specific diets or are looking for alternative products to avoid allergens. In addition, manufacturer competition has also increased consumer options. Just think about how long that marinara sauce aisle is… or the yogurt section! The options can be overwhelming and these feelings are very common.

We have some tips to help you navigate the grocery giants, learning where to start, how to plan, and how to shop and save time while reducing stress and anxiety.

When it comes to planning your grocery trip, let’s start with the importance of meal planning. The only way we’ll know what to purchase at the store is if we identify what we need. Check out our post about meal planning to get you started. Meal planning can be very detailed or simple and straightforward. Choose whichever approach works best for you! As you meal plan, take note of which grocery items you already have on hand and which items you need to purchase. Some people prefer to use a pad and paper, others build lists in their phone, while some like to use the grocery store’s app itself. Your Nuleeu App gives you access to meal plans and provides you with a pre-generated grocery list. This is an excellent tool if you’re just starting out!

As you build your list or when you finish your list, take a few moments to organize it. This is an important step that can help save you time, while reducing anxiety and frustration. One of the most helpful ways to organize your list is by listing the items in order of your grocery store path. So for example, if you start in the produce section, list all fruits and vegetables and items from that area first. Then if you head to the deli or bakery, list those items next. Continue to organize your list in this way through the aisles. It can be helpful to leave refrigerated or frozen items until the end if possible so that they stay as cold as possible during your shopping trip. For example, if you purchase yogurt and place it in your cart first and then shop for 30 minutes, that yogurt is out at room temperature for longer than if you saved it to pick up at the end of your shopping trip. Organizing your list in this fashion can help you avoid going back and forth throughout the store. Many store apps even tell you the aisle the food can be found in, so you can plan ahead from the comfort of your home without having to memorize the store aisles! If you take a few minutes to organize your list now, you can confidently march into your grocery store with a plan in place to get in and out as quickly as you’d like.

As you shop throughout the store, keep referencing your grocery list for what you need. Each aisle can bring temptation with advertisements and sales. Use your grocery list as the source of truth to purchase just what you need. This can help you stay on track with your nutrition and wellness goals, while also helping to stick to your grocery budget. For example, if an item is on sale at two for $6, it’s ok to purchase just one item if that’s all you need. You’ll still get the sale price, while sticking to your budget and grocery needs. If you have coupons or savings on your phone app, take a moment to review your items and gather your coupons before checkout. Run through your grocery list one more time, checking to make sure you didn’t forget anything. 

Discuss your nutrition and wellness goals with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian or Certified Nutrition Specialist. We will help to individualize additional meal planning and shopping recommendations to meet your specific needs. Utilize your Nuleeu resources in our Nuleeu app and desktop portal! Happy shopping!


Four Tips for Picky Eaters

Four Tips for Picky Eaters

Written by: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSCPCC, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

We’ve all been there: cooking or preparing a meal for a friend or loved one, young or older, who has limited foods they enjoy because of picky eating. Notice I don’t just mention kids here. Picky eaters are all different ages! Even eating out can pose a challenge for a picky eater. Perhaps you even find yourself to be a picky eater! A variety of foods helps to ensure we eat a wide range of nutrients, so when someone is a picky eater with limited foods they like, it may be difficult to meet their nutrient needs. Follow these tips to help increase the variety of foods your picky eater eats!

  1. Be a Role Model

Monkey see, monkey do… right? One of the most influential methods to encourage a picky eater to try new foods is to be a role model and include them on your plate! For example, if you’re out at a restaurant and your little one orders a kid’s meal and has a choice of a side dish, many families and kids may default to selecting French fries. You may substitute or choose a side of broccoli or apple slices in place of French fries for your little one. Then, when you go to order your meal, and you select French fries, it sets up a double standard at the table. Consider being a role model and substituting broccoli or a baked potato instead of fries. Another option may be to consider ordering fries and a side vegetable. You can then eat the vegetable alongside your your little one and split the fries at the table. This tip doesn’t only apply to kids though. Putting your health and wellness first is contagious! If you choose to nourish yourself with a balanced meal, family members and friends may also follow in suit because your motivation can be powerful!

  1. Offer, Offer, Offer

This tip is most useful when helping young picky eaters broaden their food choices. It can take as little as 5 and as many as 20 exposures to a new food before a child may accept it! These exposures should be a positive, pressure-free experience. So the lesson here is: don’t give up! Let’s keep introducing new foods to nourish our little ones. Repeated exposure helps to bring a sense of normalcy and routine. It can help reduce fear and decrease the newness of a food. Although this tip requires some significant patience, the reward can be worth it to nourish our little ones with a variety of foods rich in different colors from all food groups.

  1. Try Different Preparations and Recipes

An effective approach to increasing food acceptance is trying unfamiliar or often refused foods in different ways. Foods are so wonderful in their ability to change flavor, texture, and even nutrient content based on their preparation. Think of the flavor and texture differences between raw carrots and cooked carrots or raw apple slices vs cooked apples. The flavor and texture differences are so different, it’s like it’s an entirely new food! So, if you or a loved one dislike roasted Brussels sprouts, try shaved, raw Brussels sprouts in a salad drizzled in balsamic vinaigrette! Raw Brussels sprouts offer a phenomenal crunch! Trying topping your salad with dried cranberries, feta cheese, shelled pistachios, and/or pomegranate seeds. If you dislike cooked quinoa in savory dishes such as stir fries, try replacing it for your oatmeal cereal in the morning. Top morning quinoa with nuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon! Or have quinoa as a cold side dish, replacing your favorite pasta salad recipe with quinoa. Have a look at our Nuleeu app or the desktop, cloud-based platform, which offer a large database of recipes with nourishing ingredients prepared in many different ways. Include your picky eater in the cooking and preparation of these foods! Getting accustomed to these foods helps to build confidence and increase acceptance.

  1. Keep It Positive

Thinking, talking, and hearing positive statements are motivating! When we are encouraged to nourish our bodies and we know why we should choose them, we have more motivation to try new foods. Instead of being told to do something “just because” or “because I said so,” we’re more receptive to recommendations when we know the reasons behind the suggestions. Touch base with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian or professional coach to discuss which foods you avoid and why it would be beneficial to include them and/or find a substitution. For example, if you avoid leafy greens, you may benefit from learning about the vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, and antioxidants they offer. We can brainstorm together different recipes of how to include leafy greens or which spices and herbs compliment them to make them taste delicious for you! For children and younger adults, we encourage the same! Talk about the foods on the dinner table, when you pack lunches, or when you’re shopping at the grocery store. Talk about how beautiful artichokes are or how pineapples have such a unique shape and texture! If you’re encouraging milk or soy milk in place of soda, explain that foods from the dairy food group help to keep our bones strong!

You may choose to use some or all of these tips depending on which picky eater you have on your hands. Work with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian or professional coach to provide additional, personalized recommendations just for you!


Nutrient Spotlight: Protein

Nutrient Spotlight: Protein

Written by: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSCPCC, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

We’ve all heard about the importance of including adequate protein in our diets, but have you ever been told why? Just how much protein do you actually need and which foods are good sources of protein besides meat? Today we’re going to review the importance of this vital nutrient, provide you with information about how much you may need, and which foods are excellent sources of protein. To learn more about the background of protein and the other macronutrients, check out this Nuleeu blog post.

Protein plays a critical role in our nutrition and nourishing our bodies. Our body is made up of trillions of cells, which are all made of protein, along with other molecules. It is well known that protein is important to maintain muscle mass and replenish muscle turnover after exercising. Our muscles are not the only parts of our body made up of protein, but our organs are muscles too. Protein not only makes up the building blocks of our bodies, but also plays a critical role in maintaining our immune system. With adequate protein our immune system can function at its best by fighting off infection and healing when needed. A strong immune system with adequate protein can heal wounds, combat inflammation, and ensure an adequate immune defense. Protein is also important for adequate hair growth, as well as skin and nail development. Additionally, adequate protein helps maintain appropriate mental function.

Now that we know the significance of protein, it’s important to know that everyone has different protein needs. Protein requirements also vary for each individual throughout their life. Factors that influence protein needs include your age, gender and pregnancy/lactation if applicable, physical activity level, body size and type, as well as any underlying health conditions just to name a few. All of these variables can increase or decrease your protein needs. On average, a very general estimate of protein needs for a healthy adult is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. For example, someone who weighs 200 pounds may need 72 grams of protein per day. Working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian or professional coach is the best way you can get an accurate estimate of your individual protein needs.

Now that you may have an idea of how much protein you need, let’s review a variety of good sources of protein. A common question we receive is if a protein shake is necessary to meet daily protein needs. Protein shakes, supplements, powders, and bars are generally not required to meet daily protein goals when you consume a well-balanced diet. In fact, many of us easily meet and surpass our daily protein needs without even realizing it! Protein is found in all 5 food groups as well, but its richest sources are in the protein, dairy, and grains food groups. Protein foods are rich in protein as demonstrated by its food group name. Both animal- and plant-based foods are excellent sources of protein in this category. Animal-based protein examples are common and well known, such as seafood, beef, pork, and poultry. Plant-based foods rich in protein include beans, nuts, soy (soy milk, soy yogurt, tempeh, edamame), and seeds. Other foods rich in protein include oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat from the grains food group and milk, yogurt, and cheese from the dairy group. Not all plant-based dairy foods are rich in protein, so refer to the Nuleeu App, your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, or the Nutrition Facts Label to determine if the food is a good source of protein. Not all 20 amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are found in every protein food, so eating a variety of protein-rich foods helps to ensure adequacy.

It may come as a surprise just how much protein is in the above mentioned protein foods. For example, 3 ounces of grilled chicken breast (about the size of your palm or a deck of cards) provides approximately 24 grams of protein. In the example above, if a person only needs 72 grams of protein all day, this 3 ounces of grilled chicken already provide one-third of the person’s daily goal! Adding 1/2 cup of black beans to your chicken tacos or grilled chicken breast salad will provide about 7 grams of more protein. For breakfast, 1/2 cup of rolled oats provides 7 grams of protein. Mix in 1 cup soy milk for 6 grams of protein, add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for an additional 8 grams of protein, sprinkle in 1 tablespoon chia seeds for 2 more grams of protein, and top with 1 sliced banana to add about 1 gram additional protein. This simply delicious, protein-packed breakfast provides another 24 grams of protein. 

Counting protein needs is not required nor recommended, except in very few cases for a small, select population who require keeping track or determining baseline protein intakes. Most importantly, being aware of the importance of protein and which foods are good protein sources is the goal to help you choose protein-rich foods throughout the day to nourish your body. Discuss your individual nutritional needs and goals with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian or professional coach to review your individual recommendations.


Nuleeu Recipe Favorite: Quinoa with a Holiday Twist

Nuleeu Recipe Favorite: Quinoa with a Holiday Twist

Written by: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSCPCC, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

The holidays are here and we are excited to spend our time with family and friends! It comes as no surprise that many holiday traditions involve food with national holidays circled around entire meals. The holidays can be a challenging time for some people. It can seem like the time of year when it’s most difficult to meet your nutrition goals, stay on track, and also enjoy delicious, traditional food. What if we told you that you can enjoy your holidays, savor your favorite dishes, and nourish your body all at the same time? You can! This holiday season, we want you to feel included instead of excluded. We shatter the antique advice to exclude certain foods, and encourage you to say yes to all foods. By saying yes, you are opening yourself up to food possibilities. By saying yes, you can feel fulfilled instead of restricted. By saying yes, you can feel part of the celebration instead of separate and outcasted.

You may be planning your own holiday dishes, bringing an item to a loved one’s home or community gathering, or be searching for some holiday-themed recipes to include in your weekly meal plan. Today we have our Nuleeu recipe favorite: Quinoa with a Holiday Twist. This super simple, protein- and fiber-packed delicious dish is bursting with flavor and nutrients. It’s a great addition to any holiday gathering or an easy simple substitute for stuffing and other dishes.

Quinoa is a whole grain, high in fiber and protein, and is a good source of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and thiamine. Manganese plays a role in metabolism, reproductive health, and immune function. Phosphorus is critical to make energy in the body and also plays an important role in bone health. Magnesium also plays a critical role in making energy for the body and maintains nerve and muscle health. Folate is critical to prevent anemia and is vital for pregnant women and their growing babies for proper development. Thiamine is a critical B vitamin that is involved in metabolism and maintaining nerve and muscle health as well.

Cranberry sauce simplifies this dish, but can be substituted with homemade cranberry sauce or whole cranberries. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Antioxidants help to decrease oxidative stress in the body, reduce inflammation, and help prevent chronic disease. Vitamin C helps maintain proper immune function and promotes skin and tissue health.

Try out our Nuleeu holiday favorite: Quinoa with a Holiday Twist! We love how versatile this dish is. You can serve it warm or cold. It will be a great addition to your holiday meal, or try it for breakfast! Add some pecans or walnuts if you’d like some additional protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Roasted Brussels sprouts also make an excellent addition to this recipe. We love getting creative, so let us know how you liked it and if you made any modifications based on your traditions!

Find this and other recipes within the Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness desktop, cloud-based platform. We hope you enjoy our savory and cozy Nuleeu Nourishing Waffles. Work with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to make individual simple swaps that help meet your specific nutrition and wellness goals!

Nuleeu Quinoa with a Holiday Twist

Servings: 10

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa, uncooked

1.5 cups cranberry sauce

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 large raw onion

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning

Instructions:

Rinse and cook the quinoa according to package directions. Sauté the onions. Combine all ingredients into cooked quinoa and serve.


Our Non-Diet Approach

Our Non-Diet Approach

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

How many of us have ever been on a diet? How many people do you know who have ever been on a diet? Do you see how many hands are raised? If I had to guess, I would say everyone has their hands up. We can likely all say that we have either been on a diet ourselves or know someone who has. Diets are so common in our culture. In fact, they’re almost synonymous with holidays! Think about New Year’s Day. It seems like the entire country starts on a new diet on January 1. Since diets run so common around us, they must be successful, right? There certainly must be a best diet out there that always ensures success. Now the real question is: how many of us have been on a diet or know of someone who has, and experienced long-term, forever success while enjoying their food, meeting their wellness goals, and living their best, sustainable life?

Unfortunately, not many of us (if any) have our hands raised now.

This is the reason why your professionals at Nuleeu encourage a no-diet approach. This is because diets don’t work. We love food and we follow the idea that all foods fit.

Of course we all want results, something guaranteed, and perhaps something with quick outcomes. Knowing that your health takes patience and invested time, diets don’t work because they’re like bookends. They have a clear start and a clear end. After we stop, we usually see our results fade and our previous state come right back to where it started. This can be anything! Whether it’s your blood sugar uncontrolled again, poor sleep, reduced strength, or added weight gain, when we’re “off the diet,” we’re back to reality. And the reality is that diets are unsustainable, difficult to follow, and frankly, unenjoyable. They’re also lonely! When we’re on a diet, we’re usually starting off that “I’m on a diet” sentence with, “No, thank you…I’m on a diet” or “I can’t because….I’m on a diet.” Restrictive, unsustainable diets create walls around us. Many clients describe feeling excluded at holidays and parties when they’ve been on a diet in the past. If you our someone you know has been on a diet, it’s common to feel excluded or separated from friends and family as they eat out at restaurants or share in the experience of eating potluck-style at parties and holidays. 

Diets always bring the hype in the beginning. They’re something new and exciting to follow, so they bring hope. No matter your nutrition goals, diets are exactly as their name implies. They’re something temporary. Since we say we’re “on a diet,” this implies that we’re on something and will later be off of it. In fact, it’d be great if we could call them “short-term food changes,” “unenjoyable restrictions,” or even “expensive ways to see results for a short period of time.” 

The cost of a diet adds up in the end because we’re left investing in something that didn’t last. Some diets make us jump through hoops, sometimes restricting foods we love, counting and calculating numbers throughout the day, or paying for bland meals, shakes, and snacks, just to name a few. Diet trends have been endless. But these diet components can lead us nowhere. If we restrict food, we may end up craving those foods even more later. If we spend our days counting and calculating, we lose our valuable time without gaining insight into the core of the nutrition information. If we only receive pre-prepared meals, snacks, or shakes without education, then when the deliveries stop, we’re left confused and uninformed about how to carry on.

Ideally, instead of saying, “I’m on a diet,” we at Nuleeu want to change that to, “I made a lifestyle change and this is how I eat and live now. And I love it!” Our non-diet approach is individualized and tailored to you, because we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all recommendations. We’re all different and we all require different needs, modifications, and recommendations. What works for one person, may not work for another. What works for one person in the beginning, may not work for them in the long-run, so we work together to find the most successful, sustainable nutrition changes for you to change your life.

One of the best parts of making such a nutrition lifestyle change, is that you get to share this information with your friends, family, and loved ones. Healthy habits are contagious and motivating! So instead of feeling excluded at a cookout or holiday gathering, you’ll have a healthful mindset that includes balance and inclusivity. 

We want to share our evidence-based recommendations with you, so that when we’re done working together, you continue to meet your wellness goals without the need of your Nuleeu coach. The great thing about a non-diet approach, is that it’s easy to follow forever. This way, you can enjoy living your life independently and sustainably, while successfully maintaining your wellness goals for years and years to come. Contact your Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness Registered Dietitian or professional coach to discuss the best program options for you to meet your specific needs and start your path of lifelong success.


Setting SMART Goals

Setting SMART Goals

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

 

When changing your lifestyle habits, setting goals are a great way to create markers for yourself to strive for and evaluate your achievements. Goals are a great way to stay motivated, keep on track, and accomplish bucket list objectives. Working towards a goal or accomplishment helps to keep you focused and stick with new plans. Plus, at the end of achieving a goal, you gain the sense of success and gratification. In addition, once you achieve one goal, it becomes easier to follow it up with a second goal, and so on! You gain confidence that you are able to achieve milestones, which keeps you motivated to accomplish other challenges. Looking back on your achieved goals helps you feel empowered and inspired to continue making progress.

When making goals, it is helpful and important to follow the acronym “SMART,” which stands for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. We will walk through this acronym, giving specific examples of how to best set up your SMART goals.

Starting with Specific, we want to create goals that are detailed and precise. When setting our goals, ensuring that the achievement is specific, helps to us to narrowly focus on that goal. A specific goal example is the following: “I will run 1 mile.” By specifically stating that the goal is to run and the distance is 1 mile, we know where to focus our attention and efforts for a concentrated endpoint. A nonspecific goal example would be “I will exercise.” This can be loosely interpreted. If ultimately, we want to be running at the end of an exercise plan, then we will want to focus on running and exercises to help us get better at running. We may choose to dance, box, ski, and swim if we have a generic goal of “I will exercise.” Ultimately if we want to run 1 mile but our goal is not specific, then we may miss the importance of practicing running and other complimentary activities.

Next, our goal should be Measurable. Having a measurable outcome(s) is important when we evaluate our accomplishments. Back to our running example, “I will run 1 mile”, the distance of 1 mile helps to add a measureable component to the goal. A goal example without a measureable component would be “I will run.” Without the distance, we have no gauge on our progress to our goal. We can better divide the training into chunks. Perhaps we’ll start with walking ½ mile, then a full mile. We may follow it up with jogging ¼ mile and walking the remainder, then slowly increasing our jogging percentage. Our final training stretch can be increasing our pace within that mile, ultimately getting to our own comfortable running pace and consistently completing a mile.

Following Specific and Measureable, we want our goals to be Achievable. This is a great way to ensure that your goal is accomplishable in order to feel proud and progressing on your ways to behavior change. Choose goals that allow you to feel challenged, but also allow the ability for you to reach such goals. When setting goals, look to have your goals be ambitious, but not outrageous. Let’s revisit our running goal. If someone has never run before, then running 1 mile may be an achievable goal to work towards. An unachievable goal example for someone who has never run before may be, “I will run a marathon in a week.” This goal is likely far fetched for someone who has never run before. By choosing a more practical goal, such as running 1 mile, you will likely feel more motivated to achieve this goal as you make progress.

Rounding out our SMART goals includes Realistic. Both Achievable and Realistic aspects of your goal go hand-in-hand. When setting your goal, make your goal truthful and accurate. Be honest with yourself and what is an achievable goal that does not set yourself up for failure. Back to our unrealistic example to run a marathon, starting with such an unattainable goal sets you behind. Having a more realistic goal to run 1 mile is still challenging, but sets an achievable accomplishment. Think forward on your calendar as well. If your goal is to ride your bike every night, but you work until 8:00pm and you find nights after work are already difficult to fit everything in, you may choose to modify your goal to include bike rides in the morning or on the weekends.

Finally, Timely completes our SMART goal acronym. Ensure that your goal has a timely component to keep yourself on track. Adding to our running SMART goal, our new goal may be, “I will run 1 mile in 1 month.” By adding the timely aspect of 1 month, we create a due date for our goal. We will be better able to stay on track and each day work slowly towards our goal within our newly established timeframe.

Utilize the SMART tool when setting goals to help you stay on track and be mindful of your objectives. Contact us if you have any questions or are looking for assistance with setting up or achieving your nutrition, fitness, and wellness goals!


Nutrition 101: Choosing Whole Foods

Nutrition 101: Choosing Whole Foods

Written by: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

What do we mean when we say, “choose whole foods”? We encourage you to choose foods that are minimally processed, in their natural form. Whole foods usually contain the food’s original carbohydrate, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For example, we would encourage choosing a whole apple instead of apple sauce or apple pie. As you can see, the more processed a food is, the farther away it becomes from its whole food source. Processing typically means the addition of salt, sugar, fat, and/or preservatives. With more fiber and less sugar, sodium, and fat, whole foods typically keep you full longer and maintain better blood sugar and blood pressure control.

Even fruits and vegetables have their versions of whole and processed foods. As we know, whole fruit and vegetables are the typical ones we think about: oranges, peppers, grapes, eggplant, onion, spinach, strawberries, etc. However, there are some less healthful options for these fruits and vegetables. For example, spinach in your salad or in your tuna wrap is much more nutritious than a spinach and artichoke dip. Sautéed onions in your pasta or casserole provide natural fiber and vitamin C, while fried onion rings lose much of their nutrition and have added salt and unhealthful fats. Fruits can also have their whole and processed versions. Whole fruits such as peaches and pears are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, so choose fresh or frozen most often instead of canned peaches and pears in heavy syrup.

You will hear us encourage you to choose whole grains. Whole grains are exactly what they sound like; grains in their entire, unprocessed form. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, oatmeal, and popcorn. These foods are complete and contain the three parts of the grain: bran, germ, and endosperm. We receive the benefits of whole grains because these grains ensure you receive the plant’s fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. On the other hand, enriched or refined grains are not considered whole grains. Examples of enriched or refined grains include white rice, white bread, enriched spaghetti, pretzels, and saltine crackers. These grains have the bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm. Unfortunately, with the bran and germ omitted, much of the fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals are also depleted. Choose oatmeal instead of sugar-sweetened cereal at breakfast and select farro instead of white rice for your favorite soup recipe.

You may be wondering which whole foods we should choose in the protein group. The protein food group contains a wider range of foods from chicken and eggs to beef and beans. Within the protein group, select foods that are the least processed. For example, choose grilled chicken over fried chicken nuggets. Sprinkle beans on your salad instead of adding sliced deli meats. Top your pasta dish with ground turkey instead of turkey sausage add then add some flavor by using fresh or dried herbs such as basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Choose grilled tofu instead of fried tofu for your stir-fry. Select whole almonds as a snack instead of salted almond butter.

Each food group has a range of foods from unprocessed to processed. Whole foods in the dairy food group are just the same. Unsweetened, plain Greek yogurt is an excellent whole food choice, rich in protein, calcium, and phosphorus. If you find unsweetened plain yogurt a bit too bitter for your taste, add a sprinkle of cinnamon with frozen berries on top! Processed foods in the dairy food group include frozen yogurt, sliced processed cheese, and sugar-sweetened chocolate soy milk.

If it seems like choosing whole foods increases your meal prep or cooking time, keep in mind that Nuleeu offers easy-to-prepare, nutritious recipes and meal plans. Cooking in bulk and freezing leftovers helps to put that extra effort in the kitchen to good use! If your dinner calls for quinoa, cook extra and take the leftovers in a veggie bowl for lunch the next day, or freeze for a quick weeknight stir fry. Knowing that you are choosing whole foods most often without added salt, sugar, and preservatives, will help to maximize your nutrition. Surprisingly, sometimes whole foods require less time and effort in the kitchen when compared to processed foods. Back to our apple example, if you’re craving something sweet for dessert, slicing an apple and sprinkling it with cinnamon and nutmeg is a quick and delicious snack. On the other hand, preparing an apple pie or crisp takes much more time in the kitchen. The key to good nutrition is balance and moderation. Invest in your health by choosing minimally processed, whole foods most often to provide your body with the most nutrient-dense foods. Meet with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to discuss individual meal plans to help you incorporate more whole foods.

 


Meal Planning 101

Meal Planning 101

Nutrition Tip: Meal Planning 101

Nuleeu Membership offers meal plan access to help you meet your goals. Your meal plan offers pre-generated grocery lists and the NuleeuPlus mobile app helps to log nutrient intake to keep you on track.

As you include meals outside of your meal plan and start to meal plan on your own, use these simple steps to get you started.

Nourishment Ideas:

  • Start with shopping your pantry and refrigerator. Look in your pantry for items that can be incorporated in weekly meals. Check the refrigerator for foods that need to be eaten before they spoil.
  • When keeping a budget in mind, review local sales and specials at the grocery store. Take note of which sale items you’d like to include in your meals.
  • Use Nuleeu recipes and explore other recipes online, in magazines, on social media, or shared from friends and family. Look for recipes that incorporate food items that need to be eaten from your pantry/refrigerator list.
  • When choosing recipes, select meals that share ingredients to prevent waste, save money, and help speed up meal prep. Pick recipes that include seasonal ingredients to also save money.
  • If a recipe calls for a specific item, such as fresh produce, but it is unavailable in the store, choose frozen or canned alternatives instead.
  • Write out the days of the week, assigning each recipe to a day and meal. Keep in mind your upcoming schedule. If you have a busy week, meal prepping will be important. If you prefer nightly meal prep, pair simpler recipes for busy nights, and more complex meals for nights that you plan to have more time. If any recipes contain ingredients that may spoil quickly, choose to eat those meals earlier in the week before they go bad.

Come visit us at our next coffee talk to discuss meal planning in more detail! 

 

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