Tag Archives: protein

All about Snacks

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My life seems to be filled with the word snack lately. My little one recently added that word to her vocabulary and requests a snack anytime she isn’t getting her way. Every other blog post I read is about preparing after school snacks for kids. Recipes for snack type foods are popping up everywhere with the resurgence of football season.

But snacks aren’t just for kids or for munching your way through a lazy day on the couch. Snacks can be healthy contributions to your diet. Eating a snack when you are hungry between meals can prevent overeating at your next meal. Snacks can provide a boost of energy in a slow part of your day. Snack time can be a great time to get more servings of fruits and vegetables. You just need to keep a few things in mind.

-A snack should be about 200 calories or less. As you will see in the examples below, that isn’t a lot.

-You shouldn’t be adding calories to your total daily intake with snacks. If you eat a snack between lunch and dinner, you need to eat less than you normally would at dinner.

-Snacks ideally include fiber and protein. Both of these nutrients can help you feel full longer, increasing the benefit of snacking between meals.

-There is no hard and fast rule of when or when not to eat a snack, but I would suggest not eating a snack within one to two hours of a larger meal. Eating that close to a meal will either lead you to eat without listening to your body as your satiety cues will be suppressed or lead you to skip a meal and graze on less healthy items later.

Here are a few snack ideas to get you going:

– 1 peanut butter banana oatmeal bar
– 1 container of nonfat Greek yogurt with ½ cup of berries
– 1 medium apple and 1 string cheese
– ⅓ cup hummus with 1 cup of carrots or celery
– Trail mix made with a mixture of dried fruit and nuts. Most single serving packs available are under 200 calories, but you could also make your own using about 2 tablespoons each of almonds and raisins.
– ½ sandwich on whole wheat bread with 1 ounce of turkey, ½ ounce of cheese, lettuce, and tomato
– 1 medium banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter

Hope that helps and happy snacking!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Q&A: Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

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I tried to take a picture “recreating” my pregnant belly after my baby was born. Too bad my remaining pregnant weight gain was in the way…

Q: Hey lady, I love all your posts. Just thought I’d take a shot at it and ask if you have any tips for a breastfeeding mom to lose weight. I’ve always struggled. Right before I got pregnant I was working out and eating well but still struggle to get the scale to budge. I get my thyroid checked yearly so that’s not it. Any eating advice to maybe help lose weight but not decrease my milk supply?

A: Thanks for the great question. One of my good dietitian friends, Jessica Clayton, actually works as a lactation consultant. She graciously agreed to write a guest post answering this question. Thanks to Jessica!

Having a baby is quite an event and can certainly change habits as far as diet/exercise go. Many mother’s ask me about losing weight WHILE breastfeeding. The answer is probably one you have heard before – slow and steady: don’t restrict calories excessively and moderately exercise.

It is ideal to wait until baby is 2 months of age before actively focusing on calorie intake and exercising. Take small, gradual steps to decrease calorie intake, and increase exercise. Any extreme can cause a notable decrease in milk supply.

Most mothers need an extra 300-500 calories a day to support breastfeeding. This isn’t a ton of extra food; a large apple and some cheese or peanut butter would suffice. Obtaining advice from a Registered Dietitian for your particular needs may be helpful. Generally 1500-1800 calories as a minimum while breastfeeding is a good place to start. It is recommended moderate weight loss while breastfeeding should not exceed one pound a week.

Adjusting to life with a new baby and then getting back into an active routine of health can be a struggle. Here are a few quick tips to help find balance:

1. Make sure healthy snacks are available for you while breastfeeding.

2. Use “Mindful Eating” techniques.

3. Involve baby in your exercises by playing with him/her.

4. Keep protein intake up (most mother’s need 65 gm/day.)

5. Avoid periods of fasting by eating smaller meals more frequently.

6. If supply does seem to slow down, try to increase demand by feeding more frequently or pumping.

You are not alone. Many women that I have worked with have a struggle to lose those last pesky 5 pounds (and sometimes more) until they stop breastfeeding all together. Your body stores fat during pregnancy, and part of this is to support breastfeeding. We are all different, so avoid comparing yourself to the mom down the street that basically was back into her skinny jeans the day she got home from the hospital. Listen to your body, and find the right balance regardless of those scale numbers.

For more information see Anne Smith’s Article here: http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/nutrition-exercise-and-weight-loss/3

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Jessica is a Registered Dietitian specializing in lactation care at the University of Utah hospital. She can be contacted via breastfeedingbond@gmail.com

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Overnight Oatmeal

In my last post, I discussed the importance of getting enough protein at breakfast and mentioned oatmeal as a protein-rich breakfast.  However, many people don’t want to cook in the morning or eat hot cereal in the summer.

Overnight oats are a great solution and are fast, simple, and endlessly versatile.  I will give you the basic recipe here plus three variations I have tried.  But you can change up the liquid, fruit, sweetener, and other mix-ins to make it yours.

If you are skeptical (like myself and my husband), don’t be afraid!  It kind of tastes like eating a parfait with less crunchy granola.  We actually don’t mind hot cereal in the summer (interpreted as we eat oatmeal about 5 days a week), but this provides a nice variation to our usual routine.

If you are starting to get ready for back-to-school, this could be a great breakfast to add to your repertoire. Prepping it the night before saves you time in the morning. Your kids can even eat it in the car (if you trust them). And a filling breakfast can help them focus at school.

Enjoy!

Overnight Oatmeal (Serves 1)

Basic Recipe:

½ cup dry rolled oats (NOT quick or instant oats)
½ cup liquid
½ tablespoon sweetener (more or less to taste)
Desired mix-ins

1. Mix oats, liquid, sweetener, and mix-ins in a sealable container. Place in fridge overnight. Stir again before eating, adding additional sweetener or mix-ins as desired.

Recipe notes: The liquid could be milk, juice, yogurt, soy milk, almond milk, etc. I probably wouldn’t sue water, but you could try it if you wanted. It doesn’t look like enough liquid, but it will be. I added more liquid because I was nervous, and I had soupy oatmeal in the morning. For a sweetener, I typically saw honey as I searched online. I’m sure traditional brown sugar for oatmeal would also work. If using a plain yogurt for your liquid, you might want to increase your sweetener amount. Most recipes I saw online said to put in seasonings at night, but add fruit/nuts/nut butters in the morning. I put everything in at night except for the chopped nuts, and it worked just fine.

Other mix-in ideas: cinnamon, chopped fresh fruit, berries (fresh or frozen), nut butter, chopped nuts, dried fruit

Here are my different concoctions. See the basic recipe for instructions.

Peach and Walnut Overnight Oatmeal (Serves 1)

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½ cup dry rolled oats
½ cup peach flavored, nonfat yogurt
½ tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Calories: 400
Protein: 14.6 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Carbohydrates: 62 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 74 mg

Blueberry Overnight Oatmeal (Serves 1)

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½ cup dry rolled oats
½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1-2 tablespoons milk (optional to thin it out a little)
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup blueberries

Calories: 326
Protein: 17.5 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Carbohydrates: 60 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 45 mg

Strawberry Overnight Oatmeal (Serves 1)

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½ cup dry rolled oats
½ cup skim milk
½ tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup sliced strawberries

Calories: 257
Protein: 10 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Carbohydrates: 50 g
Fiber: 6.5 g
Sodium: 55 mg

Source: adapted from many sources online

Low-iodine adjustment:  Use juice or water for your liquid.

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

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All of us should be worried about our muscles, even if you are not lifting weights or training for some sort of athletic event. As we age, the amount of muscle in our body naturally declines, and this begins as early as our thirties and forties. Loss of muscle is associated with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and death.

I have been learning quite a bit about protein intakes and maintaining muscle lately, especially protein in breakfast. More and more research indicates that eating the recommended amount of protein in a day may not be good enough. The timing of protein intake seems to be important. We should be eating equally balanced meals of protein throughout the day if we want to maintain our muscles.

For most of us, breakfast is a carb fest with a little protein thrown in on the side. Cereal, pancakes, toast, bagels, etc all are breakfast staples, but none provide much protein. Even the meat most people eat at breakfast – sausage or bacon – is mostly fat.

Here are some tips to boost your protein intake in the morning:

– Try oatmeal rather than cold cereal. One cup of cooked oatmeal made with milk provides 13 g of protein compared with 7 g from 1 cup of Cheerios with half a cup of milk.

– Eggs are a great source of protein. While many are concerned about the cholesterol, most people can enjoy an egg a day without negatively effecting heart health. Hard-boiled eggs are great for a breakfast on the go. You can easily prepare several in advance for the week ahead. One hard-boiled egg on a slice of whole-wheat toast provides 9 g of protein. Add one ounce of cheese and you are up to 16 g protein.

– Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, can provide a protein punch at breakfast. One container of Greek yogurt (5 ounces) with half a cup of granola can provide up to 26 g of protein, depending on the brand of yogurt.

– Try a non-traditional breakfast. A turkey sandwich is a quick, easy breakfast that can provide a nice protein boost for your day.

So eat a breakfast your muscles can appreciate, and you’ll feel better today and in the long run.

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Q&A: Exercise Nutrition

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Q: I have been trying to figure out what I should be eating pre and post workout, and there’s a ton of differing information to sift through out there. I do a good mix of cardio and strength training throughout the week. What’s your recommendation on foods to eat before and after a workout?

A: Misinformation abounds when it comes to nutrition and exercise. Tons of powders and supplements exist as well as diets. What you truly need pre and post work out is actually fairly simple.

One overarching principle is to individualize your routine. Our bodies are all different, so you can’t necessarily follow the same practices as your friends. You know how long before your workout you need to eat. You know what foods upset your stomach. You know how much you sweat.

Here are some general guidelines you can adapt to your specific needs.

Pre-workout or event nutrition:

-Eat a small meal or snack that is high in carbs, moderate in protein, and low in fat. This mix of nutrients will be absorbed and digested faster, preventing an upset stomach and cramping.

-Avoid high fiber foods, which are digested more slowly and will sit in your stomach longer. These include raw fruits and vegetables with lots of seeds or tough skins, beans, and whole grains.

-Avoid any foods that give you gas, such as beans, broccoli, and onions.

-Drink plenty of fluids. You can start with two cups or more about two hours before, and then drink one to cups more within half an hour of exercising.

Post-workout or event nutrition:

-Drink plenty of fluids. Replacing losses should be your first priority. For every pound lost during exercise, drink three cups of water. Continue to drink fluids the rest of the day.

-Eat a carbohydrate rich meal or snack within a few hours. Aim for up to half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. Sooner is better for muscle recovery. When doing strength training, include some high-quality protein. A glass of chocolate milk, milk and cereal, or a turkey sandwich are some suggestions.

-If you are doing strenuous exercise for more than 90 minutes, eat a carbohydrate rich meal twice – within 30 minutes of finishing the exercise and about two hours later.

I hope that helps. Good luck in your exercising and thanks for the question!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Q&A: Underweight

Q: My husband is underweight, and he’d like to gain weight in a healthy way. What steps can he take to do this? Besides larger portions for him, is there a way to help him gain (and me not to gain) without making separate meals?

A: Well, if you have to have a weight problem, needing to gain some is the one to have!

Eating more fat is the easiest way to add more calories, but too much fat isn’t great for the body. Trying to just do “more” of your balanced diet is the key, but here are some tips that may help:

-Try snacking. It can be overwhelming to eat a ton at meals. Eating normal meals and squeezing some snacks in between will boost intake.

-Look for easy additions to make: extra salad dressing, cheese on vegetables, some peanut butter with apples or bananas, adding chocolate syrup to milk, extra cheese or meat on a sandwich, etc.

-Nonfat dry milk powder is a cheap protein powder that easily dissolves into soups, sauces, and drinks. You can even mix up to ⅓ cup into a glass of regular milk to boost the protein and calories. Adding chocolate syrup can help disguise any taste change from the powder.

-Exercise. I know this seems counter-intuitive. Focus on muscle building and strengthening. Muscle is dense, so more muscle means more weight. You do have to balance for calories burnt, though.

-Focus on protein foods. Meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and nuts all provide the protein to help build that muscle we gained through exercise. These foods are also calorie rich.

Remember, excess calories from any source – including carbs and protein – are stored as fat.

Hope that helps. Thanks for the question and happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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