6 Tips to Avoid Getting “Stuffed” on Turkey Day!

Seems like we all inevitably stuff ourselves on Thanksgiving day… but is it worth the discomfort, guilt, and weight gain that comes with it? If you’re ready to do it differently this year, follow these tips for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving day!

  • Eat regular meals throughout the day as you normally would- it’s common for most people to skip their usual meals and not eat all day in anticipation of the BIG FEAST! However, you are only setting yourself up to failure. By not eating for a long period of time, chances are you will be overly hungry, and end up over-stuffing yourself by the time dinner finally rolls around.

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  • Get some exercise!- whether it be a local 5k or 10k “Turkey Trot “,  a long walk outside with the family, or doing some home exercises or video while the turkey cooks, a bit of movement goes a long way to burn off some of those calories and to give you some time away from all of that food!!

 

  • Eat a snack rich in fiber and/or protein prior to Thanksgiving dinner- to help curb your appetite, eat a satisfying snack 1-2 hours prior to the meal such as vegetables (veggie trays are great!), hummus, an apple or other fruit, yogurt or string cheese.

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  • Stay hydrated- In addition to drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated, drink 1-2 large glasses of water just prior to the meal. This will help fill you up so there is less room in your belly for all of that food!

 

  • Fill up on the good stuff!  Include salad and/or a cooked vegetable at the meal. Try to either fill up on that first and/or fill half of your plate with vegetables. Then add the turkey and all of those starches (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing) to the other half.

 

  • Be Thankful!- Remember what the day is all about! It’s a time to be thankful for all of your blessings, and to enjoy time with family and friends. Focus on the good conversations, the laughter, and company of everyone around you. When it comes to the food, be thankful for that too! Eat slowly and savor the flavor of every bite! Not sure about you, but I find it’s a lot more enjoyable to feel SATISFIED (not STUFFED) at the end of the day!

15 Minute Prep (or less) Slow Cooker Recipes

As a busy, full time working mom, there is nothing better after a long day than having dinner ready when you walk in the door! Try these quick and healthy slow cooker recipes to save you time, and your sanity!

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Chicken Tacos
Ingredients:
4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Jar (24 oz) of your favorite salsa
Whole Wheat tortillas or hard corn taco shells
Favorite toppings: chopped lettuce, diced onion and/or tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, low-fat shredded cheese, guacamole

Directions:
Spray crock pot with cooking spray
Place chicken breast in crock pot
Add salsa, and mix so chicken breasts are fully coated on top and bottom
Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours, or high heat for 6 hours
Once cooked, use 2 forks to shred the chicken
Place 1/3 cup chicken in tortillas or taco shells
Add favorite toppings (see above)
Enjoy!

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Beef Stew
Ingredients:
1 pound Beef steak/stew meat, cubed
4 medium Potatoes, cubed
6 Carrots, sliced
4 Celery Stalks, sliced
½ Onion, diced
2 cans (14.5 oz) Low Sodium Beef Broth
1 can (14.5 oz) Stewed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Minced garlic

Directions:
Place and mix all ingredients in slow cooker
Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours, or high heat for 6 hours
Enjoy!

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Pork Green Chili Burritos
Ingredients:
1 Pork loin roast
2 Jars (16 oz) of your favorite Green Chile Sauce (I use 505 Southwestern sauce)
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 Onion, sliced
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Favorite toppings: chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, low-fat shredded cheese, guacamole

Directions:
Spray crock pot with cooking spray
Place pork loin in crock pot
Add green chile sauce, and mix so pork loin is fully coated on top and bottom
Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours, or high heat for 6 hours
Once cooked, use 2 forks to shred the pork
In a pan on stove top, add olive oil, peppers and onions
Saute on medium heat until peppers/onions are tender (5 minutes)
Place ½ cup pork on each tortilla
Add sautéed peppers/onions
Add favorite toppings as desired (see above)
Fold two ends in, roll up, and Enjoy!

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Quickie Chili
Ingredients:
1 pound Ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef
2 tsp. Olive oil
1 Green Pepper, diced
2 medium Onions, diced
1 can (14.5 oz) Kidney beans
1 can (28 oz) Tomato Sauce
1 can (28 oz) Diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp Chili powder (or amount “to taste”)
Favorite toppings: diced onion, avocado, lowfat shredded cheese, or diced green chiles or jalapeños for a kick!

Directions:
In a pan on stove top, add olive oil, peppers and onions
Cook on low heat until beef is fully cooked
Transfer to slow cooker
Add all other ingredients
Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours
Add favorite toppings as desired
Enjoy!

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Veggie Soup
Ingredients:
8 Carrots, sliced
6 Celery stalks, sliced
1 Onion, diced
16 oz Tomato juice
32 oz carton Vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced tomatoes
1 package (12 oz) frozen corn
1 package (12 oz) frozen peas OR 14.5 oz can of beans of your choice
1 Tbsp. minced Garlic

Directions:
Place and mix all ingredients in slow cooker
Cook for 8-10 hours on low heat, or 6 hour on high heat
Enjoy!

 

 

Healthy Lunch made easy!

Here’s a guide to create a nutrient packed lunch in 4 easy steps!

Pick your Protein: 

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  • Fresh lean meat cooked ahead of time for the week- prepare a roast, ground turkey or lean ground beef,  an extra chicken breast or salmon/fish fillet
  • Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to use for lunches for the week…minus the skin!
  • Canned tuna or chicken
  • Beans or hummus
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Nuts or nut butters (peanut, almond, etc.)
  • Low fat cheese, cottage cheese, or Greek yogurt

Gather your Grains:

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  • Whole wheat or rye bread (make it a sandwich!)
  • Whole wheat tortilla or pita to make it at wrap!
  • Whole grain crackers (for an easy snack-type lunch)
  • Leftover cooked grains- prepare a batch of whole wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, or quinoa to use for the week!

Fill up with Fruit and Veggies:

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  • Lettuce and/or spinach to make it a salad
  • Tomato, onion, peppers, lettuce, etc. to load up a sandwich
  • Baby carrots, celery sticks, sugar snap peas as a “crunchy” side (instead of chips!)
  • Easy “peasy” piece of fruit- apple, banana, pear, orange (no prep required!)
  • Any and all favorite veggies to top salad (cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, grated carrots, radishes, sliced cucumbers or onions, etc.)
  • Berries, grapes, or dried fruit atop salad to make it sweet!
  • Frozen vegetables (quick to cook and add to any dish)

Add a lil’ Healthy Fat to make it complete:

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  • Olive oil/vinegar, light or vinaigrette dressings for salads
  • Avocado slices within a salad or sandwich
  • Guacamole spread onto a sandwich
  • Seeds (sunflower or pumpkin)  or nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.) atop a salad
  • Olive or canola oil added to cooked dishes
  • Olives to top a lettuce or pasta salad
  • Mayonnaise (light or made with olive oil) for sandwiches

 

Try these ideas!!!

Italian Chicken pasta salad= Chicken breast + Whole wheat pasta + Broccoli and cherry tomatoes + Light Italian dressing

Burrito Bowl= Ground turkey or lean ground beef (or black beans to make it vegetarian)  + Brown rice + Lettuce/peppers/onion/tomatoes, salsa + Guacamole

Tuna salad wrap= Tuna + Chopped celery/grapes/onion, + Light mayo + Whole wheat tortilla + Side of baby carrots and/or sugar snap peas

Chicken Berry salad= Chicken + Lettuce/spinach + blueberries and dried cranberries + crushed pecans and vinaigrette dressing, + Side of whole wheat crackers

Meatless Cobb Salad= Hard boiled egg and/or low fat cheese + Lettuce and other favorite veggies + Croutons+ Avocado and oil/balsamic vinegar dressing

Nutty banana sandwich= Almond or peanut butter + Whole grain bread + Banana + Side of carrots and/or celery

What do you plan to eat for lunch this week? Get Creative!! Please share your flavorful and nutrient packed ideas! 

Mindful Eating: how to avoid the binge with a cringe

My personal definition of Mindfulness: the act of listening and responding to feelings within your body. Because we could all probably use some mindfulness, here are my top Mindful Eating strategies:

    • Rate hunger/fullness level on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “starving ” and 10 being “stuffed.” Keep logs of every time you eat and record what number you were at both before and after you ate. The goal is to avoid getting to a 1 (feeling starved or overly hungry) or a 10 (overstuffed). Ideally, you should be around a 3 (slightly hungry with mild stomach growls) when you start eating, and around 8 (satisfied and starting to feel full but not stuffed) when you stop eating. Start tracking this to identify situations/habits that put you in the”danger zones” on the hunger/fullness scale.

 

    • “Moodful” eating? That’s the name I give for emotions that trigger you to eat regardless of physical hunger. Common triggers are stress, anxiety, boredom, sadness, reaction to environment, etc. If you relate to this (and I think we all can!!), I suggest keeping logs and writing down how you feel or what is going on every time you eat. Include mental/emotional feelings, as well as physical feelings. This will help you become more aware of your patterns.

 

    • Slow down! Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that you’re full? That is why it’s so important to eat meals slowly… so that you can get the cue from your body and stop eating when you feel satisfied. Try one of these strategies-
      1. Set a timer for 20 minutes and make it a point to NOT finish all of the food on your plate before the timer goes off.
      2. Cut your food up into smaller pieces while you eat
      3. Set your fork down between bites
      4. Take sips of water between bites
      5. Use chopsticks!

 

    • Focus on the food! In our fast-paced busy lives, it’s so easy to attempt to multi-task. Especially while we eat! If you eat while working, watching TV, browsing social media/Internet, while cooking or doing chores, or get this– even while standing up!, your mind is occupied with something else other than the act of eating. In other words, you are “mindlessly” eating. I’ll be the first to tell you, I am so guilty of this! And to this day, I am still working to improve this behavior. Although I have made some positive strides in this area, I still need to remind myself from time to time of this fact: there is no such thing as “multi-tasking!” You are doing either one thing or another, so when you alternate back and forth between two or more different actions, you end up not doing any of them very effectively or efficiently at all. Our minds were not programmed to multi-task! This applies not just to eating, but all aspects of our lives. In attempt to be super wife and super mom and do it all (especially, all at once) you are only defeating your purpose! So take a break, sit down, and focus on eating! Pay attention to the texture and flavor of your food, and how your body feels. There will always be a time for the other tasks on your to do list. And keep reminding yourself, just as I have to, that you will actually complete each task better if you focus on one at a time!

 

Take action! Pick one of these strategies (whichever one resonates with you the most) and make a plan to implement that strategy this week. Tell us what you are doing to practice mindfulness and how it’s making a difference!

The Right Combo to Stay Satisfied

Did you know fiber cannot be digested and absorbed by the human body? Therefore, it will take longer to pass through the stomach, and essentially keep you full longer. Obviously, a key nutrient to stave off hunger!  In addition, studies show that people who eat a high protein breakfast tend to eat less calories throughout the entire day compared to those who either skip or skimp on protein at breakfast. This is likely due to the satiating effect of protein.  Put 2 and 2 together…

Fiber + Protein = Appetite Control! A key combo in supporting weight loss!

Try out these fiber/protein combinations:

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Breakfast ideas:
-Breakfast sandwich made with whole grain English muffin, 1 egg, and veggies such as spinach, onion, and/or peppers
– Bran cereal (or any whole grain cereal) and lowfat milk
– Oatmeal with fruit and crushed nuts
– Smoothie made with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup lowfat milk, and 1 cup fruit
– Breakfast burrito with whole grain tortilla, egg, lowfat cheese, and veggies
– Whole wheat or rye toast with 1 egg or 2 Tbsp. peanut butter

Lunch ideas:
-Sandwich made with whole grain bread, lean meat (such as turkey, ham, or tuna) topped with veggies
-Salad with favorite veggies and lean meat (such as grilled chicken), beans, or lowfat cheese
-A wrap with whole wheat tortilla filled with veggies and lean meat (chicken, turkey, or tuna) OR make it a veggie wrap by substituting the meat with lowfat cheese, beans, or hummus

Dinner ideas:
– Stir fry with brown rice, veggies, and lean meat (chicken, lean steak, or shrimp) or use tofu to make it vegetarian
– Whole wheat pasta with chicken or lean ground beef and veggies
– Quinoa with veggies, and fish, chicken, or tofu
– Fajitas with whole wheat tortillas, chicken or lean steak,  and onions, peppers, and/or mushroomsVegetables-with-Pesticides

Snack ideas:
– 3/4 cup of berries with 1 cup Greek yogurt
– Piece of fruit (such as apple or banana) with 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter
– 1 cup raw veggies with 2 Tbsp. hummus
– 3 cups of light popcorn with a string cheese
-1/4 cup trail mix made with dried fruit and nuts
– 1/4 cup lowfat cottage cheese with 1/2 cup fruit (such as pineapple or grapes)
– Piece of fruit with 1 oz of jerky

Take Action: Are any of your common meals or snacks lacking in fiber or protein? If so, adjust so they include both! Please share any meals/snacks you enjoy that include this satisfying combo! 

Math Lesson Today…Weight Loss This Week!

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Here’s a quick math lesson-
Not all of us are “numbers” people, but for those of you who are…
3500 calories = 1 pound of body fat
3500 divided by 7 (days/week) = 500 calories/day
Therefore, in order to lose 1 pound/week, you need to be in a caloric deficit of 500 calories each day (or 250 calories to lose 1/2 pound/week). In other words, you need to consume 500 calories less than what you burn off each day. This can be achieved through a combination of eating less calories and burning more through exercise.
Take Action:  How can you cut back or burn 250-500 calories/day? 

5 Steps To Take This Week to Start Losing Weight and Feeling Great!

Here are my 5 Top Tips to start on your path to a healthier, more energetic, and leaner You!

 

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1. Start tracking! Keep a small notebook with you at all times for atleast a week. Write down everything you eat and be as specific as possible- include what, how much, and the time that you ate. You will also want to include where you were, who/what was around, how you felt, how hungry (or full) you were before and afterwards, etc. Tracking food intake can benefit you in atleast 2 ways- 1) you will identify situations and feelings that trigger you to eat, and 2) it can make you think twice before you choose to eat. When you have to write it down, it becomes real, which may be enough for you to make healthier choices and resist giving in to temptations altogether.

 

2. Identify unhealthy behaviors- hopefully through tracking your food intake you will identify eating patterns, food triggers/temptations and other behaviors that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. It is when we discover our unhealthy patterns that we can then focus on what needs to change. To go even further, I recommend writing down each habit you identify and a strategy/new behavior you will try this week to change/replace an unhealthy habit (i.e. “I eat late at night when I’m not hungry… instead, I will try brushing my teeth at 8pm to avoid eating later”)

 

3. Cut out the empty (and liquid) calories- If you identify any empty calorie foods or beverages that you are consuming on a regular basis, start working to decrease your intake of these items. What do I mean by empty calories? Basically it’s any food or beverage that provides more calories (usually from fat or sugar) than it does other nutrients… think sweetened beverages such as regular soda, sweets such as candy, cookies, pastries, etc., and high fat snacks such as fried potato chips. Since these foods contain very little, if any, nutritional value and tend to not provide sustainable energy and satiation, they are the first things I recommend cutting back on. These should eventually become special/occasional treats rather than being consumed on a regular or daily basis. I especially recommend cutting back on liquid calories since they will likely not satisfy/fill you up the way solid food will. Set goals to gradually cut back. For example, if you usually drink a 20 oz bottle of regular soda daily, you could set a starting goal to reduce intake to a 12 oz can of soda daily.

 

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4. Start moving! You do not need to pay for a gym membership or buy expensive exercise equipment to be active. If you do not currently participate in a regular exercise program, your first step should be simply to START something! The goal is to do more activity than you have currently been doing. Maybe for you that means using a pedometer (or FitBit or Smartphone tracker) to track your steps- get a baseline for average steps you take in a typical day, and set a goal to gradually increase your daily steps each week. Or maybe you could set a goal to start walking 10 minutes during your lunch break 5 days/week. But what if you are already exercising and just not seeing results? I recommend  changing it up to further challenge your body through the FITT concept. Change your exercise in atleast one of these ways- F (frequency), I (intensity), T (time spent exercising), T (type of exercise).
**Just remember… the hardest part is GETTING STARTED!… and for some, it’s changing up your current routine!

 

5. Plan ahead! What do most successful people have in common? They make a plan and map out the steps they will take to achieve a long-term goal. Rather than setting vague goals such as “I will eat better” and “exercise more,” make a specific plan for what you will do today, and this week. Think SMART (specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, and within a time frame) when setting goals.
**Here are just a few ways you can plan ahead:
1. Mark in your weekly planner the days/times you will carve out for exercise this week.
2. Designate some time on a certain day of the week to shop and prep meals ahead for the week.
3.  Write down what you plan to eat for meals and snacks each day
4. Pack lunch and/or snacks the night before to prevent impulsive choices or eating out.
*** In other words, don’t rely on self-discipline and “in the moment” decision making. Instead, make a PLAN TO BE SUCCESSFUL!!

Welcome To The NCR Blog!

Welcome to this site and my blog!

Jenna

I’m Jenna! For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in health and nutrition, which grew into an even stronger passion for helping others make healthy lifestyle changes and achieve their goals. So I became a Registered Dietitian and truly love making an impact! In my career, there is nothing more amazing than seeing others transform their lives!

 

A bit about my experience…  In my 10 years as a Registered Dietitian, I have worked as both a health coach and in a clinical setting providing nutrition therapy and counseling/coaching in the areas of weight management, cardiac disease, Diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and many other conditions.

 

Let’s get personal…

DSC_4168bwResiding in Fort Collins, Colorado, I am married to my amazing husband and became a mother to my beautiful daughter in August of 2014. I currently work full time as a Clinical Dietitian, in addition to Nutrition Consultants of the Rockies. With that being said, I fully understand the challenges of a working mother who also wants to feel good, be confident with her body, and have the energy to juggle it all. Often times, in our fast-paced busy lives, taking care of ourselves is the last thing on our “to do” list. But I can help you make it a priority in your life, and will be on this journey with you every step of the way!

DSC_3976bw copyWhat you can expect…

I founded Nutrition Consultants of the Rockies and created this blog to share my nutrition expertise including tips, encouragement, and insights into all things nutrition, fitness, and just overall LIFE and wellbeing.  More importantly, you can expect my blog to call on you to take action in your life, whether it be to observe and identify your own behaviors/habits, or to set a specific goal to make a change. I also invite you to share your comments and personal experiences including your challenges and of course, your successes! This blog should be a source of learning from each other as well as a community for accountability  and support!  I believe there is nothing more valuable than one’s own personal experience, so I expect to learn from you just as much as you will learn from me!