Your (eating) Game Plan for Super Bowl 50

It’s game day! The Super Bowl is tonight- the biggest night in sports and for many a big night in eating as well but that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your healthy lifestyle for an all-or-nothing approach. I’m going to capitalize on the fact this is a Super Bowl post and throw in some corny sports associations so bear with me…

peyton you love itI want you to prep for the game like an athlete… you think Peyton or Cam are just walking into Levi’s Stadium willy-nilly? Heck no, that’d be stupid- just like you walking into a Super Bowl party without an eating plan would be silly. Below are tips to set you up for success so you’re not feeling like a complete dietary trash pile come half-time… or Monday morning. I know I need to be in tip-top shape catch each time Cam dabs, Peyton calling “Omaha”, to see Coldplay and Beyoncé perform and make it through the hundreds of new commercials- very serious business!

clear eyes full heart cant loseHere’s your Super Bowl party (eating) game plan

  • Prep your mind and body
    • What do you need to do today to make yourself feel good tonight? Workout? Get some fresh air? Take a nap? Whatever it may be, do it- if you’re feeling at peace you’re going to be less likely to binge eat as a result of angst, being overtired or stressed.
    • Be conscious of your eats during the day if you know you’re going to be indulging later on. This does not mean starve yourself. Eat a sensible breakfast. Try to get in some extra vegetables and fruits, maybe cut out some fattier choices such as cheese today and definitely keep all your grains whole- there are sure to be enough refined carbs at this party tonight. Don’t go to the party famished- eat a healthy snack … you don’t want to be the person who inhales the appetizer table upon walking in and going into a situation where there are lots food choices is going to set you up to make poorer choices and it’s also going to be harder for your body to give you hunger and fullness cues is you’re hungry… hello overeating.
  • Bring your gear
    • As always, bring a dish you want to eat. Obviously I’d suggest you bring something healthy but if your specialty food/dip happens to be a fat bomb yet everyone loves and requests it, bring it… but maybe find ways to lighten in up… sub Greek yogurt for sour cream, use low-fat cream cheese versus full fat, etc. That being said, don’t ruin the integrity of the dish, sometimes a little bit of the real thing is much better than a low-fat healthified version.
  • Scope out the competition
    • What’s looking good and what’s not? Are there foods you eat all the time, or available year round? I’m sure there are going to be some goodies that are a once-in-a-blue-moon-type foods. When I’m in situations with lots of indulgent choices I choose strategically… I’m going for my friend’s amazing buffalo chicken dip, but I’m not going for ho-hum French fries that are nothing special and available anywhere.
  • Eye on the prize
    • As I said above, choose what you want to indulge in consciously. Also find ways to incorporate healthy options without depriving yourself. My favorite way to do this is to use vegetables as scoops for indulgent dips… rather than chips or bread as the vehicle I love using celery, carrots, peppers, etc. in hot dips- the cold crunchy texture is a great compliment to the rich, warm, creaminess … In addition the veggies provide nutrients and FIBER to fill you up and help you feel satiated.
    • Put your eats on a plate. Seeing everything on a plate helps your mind register the quantity of what you’re eating. It’s easy to graze from the table eating things here and there and not realizing what you’ve actually consumed.
  • HYDRATE
    • Yeah, I’m guessing you’re drinking beer. Fine, but make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as well. Drinking water is not just to avoid a hangover but hydration affects your satiety; being dehydrated sometimes comes through as feeling hungry… not to mention being properly hydrated with water is going to help your system flush the excess sodium and junk you’re bound to be consuming.
  • Listen to the official (your brain)
    • How’s the game going? Need to back off? Still hungry and need to go in for more? Keep checking with yourself and reassess the situation as the game goes on. Honor your hunger and fullness.
  • Enjoy!
    • Win or lose, tomorrow is a new day. Make some good choices and don’t feel like you need to unbutton your pants at the end of the night? WIN! Have a serious case of heartburn, eat and drink too much and suffering a food coma? LOSS. Either way, tomorrow is a fresh start, move on. Just like no successful athlete ever quit playing because they lost a game, no person should ever abandon their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle just because they ate too many chicken wings one night.

cam ok got itREADY?! BREAK. (or whatever they say). Have a great night and enjoy the game!

peyton thumbs up

February is Heart Health Month & today is National Wear Red Day!

February is here and so are hearts and pink and red decorations in anticipation of Valentine’s day. Going along with the holiday of hearts and love it only makes sense that February is National Heart Health Month and today is National Wear Red Day! What’s National Wear Red Day you ask? It’s the day to get the word out about heart health to raise awareness and motivate people to incorporate heart healthy practices into their lives in order to avoid becoming a statistic

    • Did you know Cardiovascular Disease is the #1 cause of death in America? …It’s the #1 cause of death for both men and women
    • 1 in 3 people will die of cardiovascular disease
    • Cardiovascular Disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined
  • 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke

beyonce surprisedAwful right?!
So what’s Heart Disease & Cardiovascular Disease? Are they different?
These terms are often used interchangeably which can be super confusing but simply put…

  • Heart disease includes any condition that affects the heart such as arrhythmia’s (irregular rhythm), valve or muscle problems, and any congenital defect(s) you may have been born with.
  • Cardiovascular Disease is an umbrella term for any disease that affects the blood vessels such as stroke, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis the #1 cause of heart disease and is the hardening of the arteries* due to a buildup of plaque*. Plaque hardens and narrows the arteries making it harder for the blood to flow through- if a blood clot forms, this can lead to a blockage resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
    *arteries: blood vessels coming from the heart that carry oxygenated blood
    *Plaque: made of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood).

Need more clarification on atherosclerosis? Think of a garden hose without a nozzle- a normal garden hose represents healthy arteries- when you allow water to flow freely from the hose the flow is smooth and even but when you put your finger over the end of the spout or create a kink in the line, the water has a harder time getting out and the stream gets more strong and powerful- great when you want to squirt your friends with the hose- not so great when we are talking about blood in your arteries. You want your blood to be moving steady and smooth not putting stress on your blood vessels, but when plaque develops (i.e. your finger covering the spout or putting a kink in to make the hose narrower) the blood has to push harder to get through, causing damage over time.

Ok… so. What causes Cardiovascular & Heart Disease?

      • Unhealthy diet
      • Being overweight or obese
      • Physical inactivity
      • Smoking
      • High blood pressure
      • High blood cholesterol
      • Diabetes and pre-diabetes
      • Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
      • Age (55 or older for women)

Unfortunately we are unable to change our age or genetics, but this is just a small piece of the heart disease puzzle- a majority of the risk factors above involve things in your life you have control over- diet, exercise, weight, whether you smoke or not… therefore…
HEART DISEASE IS PREVENTABLE!

minions clappingLike- 80% PREVENTABLE!
That’s a HUGE number!
With 1/3 of American’s dying of heart disease, this number can be greatly improved through preventative measures/lifestyle changes such as:

      • Eating a heart-healthy diet… everything I preach! Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meats, heart healthy fats (oils, avocado, nuts), cutting down on sugar, white flour, avoiding heavy butter/cream sauces and gravies and large amounts of saturated (bad) fats.
      • Exercise! In addition to eating well, I really can’t stress enough how important it is to MOVE… not only does it help you maintain/lose weight, it increases your HDL (good cholesterol), regulates blood sugar, helps prevent bone loss, gives you endorphins to make you feel good and aids in better sleep… I encourage everyone who is healthy enough to lift weights and really get their heart rate pumping as much as they can- that being said, the *minimum* amount of daily activity you should be getting is 20 minutes… whether that’s a 20 minute walk all at once, or broken up through the day, physical activity and moving your body is essential.
      • A healthy diet and physical activity lead to… maintaining a healthy body weight! Healthy body weight goes hand in hand with healthy blood pressure, healthy cholesterol levels and decreased risk of diabetes… it’s a domino affect- get your weight in check through diet and exercise and everything else should (ideally) fall into place.
      • Not smoking. Hopefully you don’t smoke, but if you do quit. NOW. Not only will quitting decrease your chances of heart disease and stroke, but also cancer and chronic lung disease… you’ll have the same risk level for developing heart disease as non-smokers within a few years! Need even more of a reason to quit? Seeing as it’s February/Valentine’s Day and we are talking about ~*hearts* & *love*~ a Match.com poll showed 58% of people would “absolutely not” date a smoker and 22% of people would “probably not” date a smoker. Not only will you be helping your heart… but potentially your love life as well!

Know the signs & symptoms
Unfortunately, the statistics stand… 1 in 3 people will die of Heart Disease… it’s important to know the signs and symptoms so you can help yourself or a loved one if something happens. We are taught that chest pain is the universal sign of a heart attack, but there are other symptoms as well, especially in women…

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or lower back *these are especially common symptoms in women*
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea & extreme fatigue

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke

  • Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to Call: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Feeling a little more informed? I hope so.  Yes, it’s nice to work out and eat well for reasons of vanity and feeling confident when you rock your spandex but healthy diet and exercise are more than that- they’re essential for maintaining overall health and keeping your heart strong, remember that! <3

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my Thanksgiving advice to you…

I think today marks the official first day of the 2015 holiday season right? Everyone is gearing up for Thanksgiving, many are traveling and many people will be going out tonight- they say it’s the biggest drinking day of the year… then the day after Thanksgiving we are bombarded with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday music, tree lightings, holiday parties and the works! Anyways, the holidays are here which means plenty of fun activities, food, friends, family and all that good stuff- I’m excited. I love the holidays, but I know this can be a stressful time for many people for a variety of reasons.

My biggest piece of advice for tomorrow, and the holidays is- if you should take one thing off your plate of holiday anxiety, have that be food. Food is meant to bring people together and to be a positive and fun experience- it makes me nuts that the media bombards us with crazy ideas like suggesting I wear a tight dress on Thanksgiving so I can’t be comfortable when I sit down to eat, or to pass on my mom’s amazing stuffing because it’s high-cal… SAY WHAT?! Last I checked I’m not at Golden Globes so the need to look perfect in a dress when I sit down in non-existent, and I only eat stuffing one day a year, you better believe I’m not missing out on it!

Silly restrictive tips/strategies send the wrong message and put us in the mindset of viewing food as the enemy; that our self-worth is determined by if we nutritionally make the best choices at Thanksgiving dinner we are “good” or if we choose to eat higher calorie fatty sugary foods we are “bad”. Thanksgiving is ONE DAY, and should be treated as such. Enjoy what you want during the meal, and move on. Each meal is a new opportunity to make new choices, and just because you may have over-eaten or eaten a ton of high-cal foods does not determine the next meal, the next day, or even the next week- or whether you are “good” or “bad”.

emma-stone-yum

I would even argue that the traditional Thanksgiving meal is one of the more healthy meals you could be consuming; turkey is a lean protein and usually there are a variety of vegetables in various forms. In general much of the food is baked, steamed or sauteed versus highly processed or deep-fried fare. When we run into “trouble” on Thanksgiving it usually has to do with the sheer volume of food eaten…

Louis CK_Meal is Over when I hate myself1I find this so funny because we all relate to Louis CK right?! Try not to let this be you tomorrow, eating until you’re uncomfortable is never a fun feeling. Be mindful, and read my tips below for enjoying your Thanksgiving day meal without worry or regret.

  • Don’t starve yourself or “save” all your calories for the one meal. This one is huge; I promise you, you’re not doing any favors by starving yourself until the main event. First, if you haven’t eaten all day your body is in energy conservation mode; it will want to hold onto the calories you consume because it’s afraid you’re going to go without food again for another extended period of time. In addition you’ll be less likely to listen to your hunger cues and less likely to taste, savor and enjoy the food because you’ll be acting as a vacuum cleaner. I like to eat high-quality, nutrient rich foods to start my day when I know I’ll be eating less-healthy choices later on. Start your day off with eggs and veggies, Greek yogurt, fruit and nuts, etc. for a satisfying and healthy kick start.
  • Eat everything you want. Yeah you read that right. Take a look at the spread and try each thing you want- especially seasonal/holiday dishes you only get once a year. That being said if one dish is just “ehh” or there is something you don’t like or eat all the time don’t waste your cals and stomach space. Eat and enjoy the foods you like. Watch your portions, if you’re still hungry you can always go back for more later on. And hey, sometimes a day of indulgence resets your body and mind and you’re ready to get back on the sensible-choice wagon the next day.
  • As always, be smart about your beverage choices. Enjoy a specialty holiday drink or a few alcoholic beverages if you are so inclined, but as always- lay off the soda and sugary juices- they’re sugar AKA empty calories! Be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water, seltzer and tea.
  • Move that bod- get in some sort of exercise. Go to a local 5K Turkey Trot, a workout class or find a YouTube workout in the morning to get those endorphins flowing for the day. Bundle up and take a walk with your friends or family, heck, go for a solo run or walk if you need some alone time! This isn’t necessarily about the calorie burn but more about the mental state the physical activity will leave you in- you’ll feel better about yourself and fresh air is super nice, especially if you’re spending your day in a busy house with lots of people and ovens and stoves on. Hungover from a wild Wednesday night with high school friends? I swear a leisurely walk in fresh air is going to make you feel at least a little better- hydrate too- fizzy seltzer is your BFF.
  • Make the day about more than just the food. As corny as it is to say, enjoy the day off from work and the friends and/or family you are surrounded by. Watch football, play a board game with your friends or family, help clean up the kitchen for whoever is the host, go for a walk in between dinner and dessert. Be thankful- if the worst thing you have to worry about is eating too much at dinner realize how lucky you are that that’s your worry in a world where so many other people have much bigger and real problems.
  • Remember it’s just ONE day. One day of stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, apple pie, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, etc. is NOT going to ruin your health or diet. Yes, I know leftovers can be an issue. If you’re worried about your Thanksgiving meal happening every day for the week following Thanksgiving day, then choose what you take home/what you keep wisely. Turkey is a lean, high protein meat that you can use in sandwiches, salads or soups. Eat the roasted vegetables as they are, or throw those in a salad, omelet or quinoa bowl. For the less-nutritious, high-calorie items, divvy those things up among your guests to take home and/or feel free to enjoy those foods in the following days but in moderation. You can have a day of sensible eating and exercise and still have a piece of pie at night!

These tips can apply to any special occasion or holiday. I hope you allow yourself to enjoy Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season without guilt… have a great day tomorrow!

…and if you’re interested in what I’m up to follow me on Instagram @healthywithhannahRD

happy-thanksgiving-animated-gif

giving Pomegranates some love

Today I want to give a little bit of love to an overlooked fruit- the pomegranate! Since the season they are harvested is upon us, and will be until about February, it makes sense to give a pomegranate a try this season. I tend to eat them by the handful on their own, but they are so versatile and work well as a topping for salads, oatmeal, yogurt, or even in your favorite cocktails- champagne and pomegranate arils? Yes please.

pomegranateI will confess- I only started eating pomegranates a couple of years ago; I wasn’t familiar with them and deemed them too high-maintenance for the tiny little seeds that seemed rather insignificant. Granted, I had never eaten the wonderfully sweet-tart crunchy little seeds (called arils) that pop in your mouth and provide a delicious flavor and texture; once I tried them, I was hooked. But then came the real “problem”- how to cut it open and remove those hundreds of arils from flesh on the inside? It just seemed like too much work, until I figured out the perfect process… it does require a bit more effort, than say, cutting an apple, but the little bit effort yields a great reward.

Let’s get to why you should even eat these pretty little arils in the first place. Pomegranates have been deemed a “super food” and contain antioxidants, polyphenols, potassium and fiber. These attributes allow them to aid in digestion, strengthening the immune system, and aid in reducing inflammation which is the root cause of many illnesses including cancer and arthritis; they have even been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. I don’t like giving any one food a complete health-halo, but adding pomegranates, along with other nutrient-rich foods to your diet will surely improve your health and hopefully keep that immune system of yours strong, especially in these upcoming winter months.

So, now that I’ve (hopefully!) convinced you to try a pomegranate onto how to open this thing. My approach is to do all the work up front and then to enjoy the fruits of your labor (literally)… also this is the best way to avoid a mess staining your hands, clothes, kitchen walls, etc.

You’ll need:
-a sharp knife
-a sink- with a large bowl of cold water
-an apron, a dark colored shirt, or old t-shirt — basically not your nicest wool or cashmere sweater as pomegranate juice can stain
-a mesh colander (*optional but recommended)
-a bowl/Tupperware to store them in

How to cut and de-seed:
1. Score (partially cut) the skin of the pomegranate the entire circumference of the fruit- you can cut all the way through if you’d like but this will pop some of the arils. For a visual:

Cutting all the way through will yield this

Cutting all the way through will yield this

Scoring and tearing apart will yield this (less mess, more saved arils!)

Scoring and tearing apart will yield this (less mess, more saved arils!)

2. Once scored, tear the pomegranate apart into 2 pieces

3. Take 1 of the 2 chunks of pomegranate and submerge under the cool water in your bowl that’s sitting in the sink. Carefully begin tearing apart the rind, freeing the arils from the rind and the skin inside. Basically just pick the arils free of the flesh. Allow the arils to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Throw away the rind and white flesh on the inside. Repeat with the 2nd half.
*note: the reason you’re doing this in water is to prevent the pomegranate juice from spraying everywhere and making a mess- you can choose to do this on your kitchen counter but you and your kitchen may end up looking like a crime scene. The flesh on the inside also tends to float to the top of the bowl of water making it easier to skim away.

4. Now that you have the arils free, skim the remaining flesh off the top of the water and pour the bowl into a colander to get rid of the access water. Pick any other bits of flesh out that may have been left behind.

5. You’re done- enjoy nature’s version of a sweet-tart! Eat on their own or put on a salad, in yogurt, a smoothie, oatmeal or a cocktail.

6. To store, transfer to a bowl or a Tupperware container and store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers to get back into the swing of things

What a whirlwind the end of summer and beginning of this fall has been- I can’t believe it’s almost November already!

When seasons change and we are busy meal-planning tends to go to the wayside for many, and I’ve been guilty of this the past two months or so. Let me tell you people, the easiest way to eat healthfully (not to mention save money) is to meal plan- personally it does wonders for my physical and mental health, as well as my wallet; meal planning AKA having great food on-hand is not something you’ll tend to regret. Anyways, my attempts to try balancing between keeping it healthy & completely winging it has really just left me feeling like this….

honey boo boo…I seriously haven’t had a salad in a while; but unlike Honey Boo Boo I’m not feeling so great about it. With the cooler temps moving in I’ve been craving warm comfort foods so I decided to finally get back in the groove of prepping some delicious and healthy meals to get me back on track. I knew I wanted to make something 1.) that I can eat for a few days (because I’m busy, but also lazy and don’t like cooking every night if I don’t have to) and 2.) that’s going to satisfy me & not make be feel like crap… enter Mexican Stuffed Peppers with extra veggies.

Stuffed peppers are one of my favorites because they’re easy to make, store well in the ‘fridge, they’re versatile, delicious and filling! Boom- I just talked a big game. If you don’t like any of the ingredients listed, just leave it out, if I didn’t add something you like, add it in; the beauty of cooking versus baking is that is doesn’t have to be perfect or exact to come out great.

Now that the crazy seasonal-transition is coming to an end, I’m hoping to be back with more posts in the upcoming weeks; but for now l’ll leave you with this easy recipe & these dark crappy photos of these delicious peppers! If you give them a try, I’d love to know what you think in the comments section!

peppers1

peppers all cleaned out


peppers2

ready to go in the oven


ta-da!

ta-da!

I used this recipe as my inspiration but below is exactly what I did…

Shopping/ingredient list:
-6 pack of Bell Peppers (red, green and yellow)
-Ground turkey
-Button Mushrooms, minced (about 6? I used a small pack)
-1 small red onion, minced
-1 fresh jalapeno, minced (wear gloves when chopping & de-seeding if you can!)
-1 can Low-sodium Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
-1 can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies (drained)
-1 packet Taco seasoning
-Fresh Cilantro (optional)
-Sharp Cheddar Cheese (optional)
-Monterey Jack Cheese (optional)

I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms, but when you chop them up and mix them with all these other veggies you can hardly taste them and, most importantly, they serve as a great filler for more bulk with added nutrients and less calories!

-Preheat oven to 375
-In a deep skillet saute the mushrooms, red onion & jalapeno together- let cook down.
-Add in diced tomatoes, allow to simmer
-Add ground turkey & taco seasoning, allow to come to a simmer- when the turkey is almost cooked through, add in the black beans and simmer all together for a bit (5-10ish minutes?) to get rid of excess liquid and blend/intensify the flavors
-Stir in Cilantro

While the magic is happening on the stove…
-Rinse and dry your peppers
-Cut the tops out and clean out the guts and seeds
-In the bottom of the baking pan put a bit of water (to prevent sticking and also for added moisture to “steam” the peppers while cooking)
-Take the filling from the stove-top and carefully spoon the mixture into the peppers- packed tight I perfectly filled 6 peppers
-Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes
-At this point, if you choose to top with cheese, now is the time! Remove from oven, and press a few tablespoons of cheese into the top of each pepper; put oven on low-broil and put peppers back in for a few minutes.
-You’re done! Enjoy with additional chopped cilantro on top and/or Greek yogurt on the side in lieu of sour cream… Enjoy!

getting started is the hardest part.

today is the day

 

The day has finally come, my first blog post! As you probably have already gathered… my name is Hannah and I’m a Registered Dietitian living and working in Boston. I love eating, cooking, trying new food, exercising and keeping on top of all the new health and food and fitness trends everyone is talking about. I have always had a lot to say and Healthy with Hannah will be my place to say it.

This blog has been in the works (in my head at least) for about 2 years, which is surprising because I am a pretty “just do it”-type girl with little patience and a need for results. I wanted to start this blog and knew that I was beyond qualified and capable; yet I felt such a strong inability to start. I found the more I procrastinated the more guilt I experienced; I knew I could do it, I just wasn’t. I have felt like a hypocrite when counseling clients encouraging clients to “step outside of your comfort zone, you can do it! Getting started is the hardest part!” yet I wasn’t taking my own advice!

“Getting starting is the hardest part” is a phrase I say all the time, usually when I am working with clients on health and diet-related changes. Whether it’s getting on track with your diet, starting a workout routine, writing a paper for school, cleaning the massive mess your home has become, me starting this blog… sometimes taking the first step is the hardest part. For the first time in my life I have experienced first-hand the weight and fear and anxiety people get when exiting their comfort zone and starting a new diet, or learning to cook or exercising for the first time because it’s new to them, just like making this website and starting this blog is out of my comfort zone and new to me. I think this experience gives me such better insight that I will be able to use to help others, and myself moving forward.

I’m so excited to start this journey with you all and have great hopes this will grow into something I am proud of. As a Dietitian with a love for food, fitness and all the newest trends, as well as a great social life in one of the best cities in the world, I am confident I have plenty to share with you— I hope this site will be a source of motivation, a dose of knowledge, and a place to stay up-to-date on the newest fads/trends/research… Currently this site isn’t where I’d like it to be on many levels- aesthetically, the content, etc… but ya gotta has to start somewhere…

here goes nothing

…get (or stay) Healthy with Hannah!