Sugar is a Sneaky Son of a B*@&$

And it’s the largest contributor to the obesity epidemic.

Hello everybody! I hope you had a wonderful weekend filled with the last days of summer. I can’t believe we’re already in back-to-school mode, and that fall is quickly approaching. Not that I mind too much – fall is my favorite season after all. I can’t wait to begin sharing fall-themed things with you!

In the meantime, I thought it was important to shed some light on a topic that has been getting a lot of press in general. And to be honest, I’m glad this topic’s getting as much press as it is because it’s something that many weren’t paying attention to before.

Added sugar. Yes, today we’re talking about added sugar specifically, ie: the stuff that food manufacturers add to their products. Natural sugars are something very different. They occur naturally in foods and are not added for flavor or to give body to soft drinks. Fruit is a great example. Fructose, or fruit sugar, is found naturally in an apple or a peach, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid fruit because it contains fructose.

Today’s discussion is mostly going to be focused on added sugars and how food manufacturers sneak them into processed foods. It’s important for you to be able to recognize these added sugars so you can avoid them. As it stands, I would back the theory that added sugar is this country’s leading cause of obesity, and as a result it is something you should strive to avoid.

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Back to School Lunches (When You’re Cramped on Time)

It’s that time of year again: the schoolbooks, the paper and pens, and those packed lunches for your days!

Hello everybody! Wow, September has rolled around and we’re all quickly settling back into the school year (or maybe not so quickly :P). At the very least we’re entering my favorite time of year – fall! So in lieu of us heading back to the daily grind, especially to school, I thought I’d share some portable, easy lunches to have on hand.

Blog2Not all of us have the ability to take a thirty minute lunch break and enjoy an expertly crafted lunch with proper silverware. For some, like myself, you could very well have back-to-back classes during lunch and might only have a ten minute break before you rush off to another commitment. So, you think you only have two options:

  1. Skip lunch and go hungry (boo, nobody likes that!)
  2. Grab the easiest convenient snack which is not so health-friendly

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Top 5 Tips to Avoid the Freshmen 15 (Because it is avoidable!)

You’ve all heard of it: the dreaded “freshmen-15”, but let’s talk about how it’s not a fate written in stone for all of you who are college-bound.

Hello friends! Did you have a wonderful weekend? I hope so! This weekend we were in full on move-in mode (for the last time ever until I get my own apartment somewhere which’ll be a whole different kind of scary/awesome experience altogether) and today I started classes back up! Mondays are super light for me so not too much to complain about really. Just some good ol’ Medical Nutrition Therapy I (maybe I’m a little terrified?).

So I know we’re in the midst of back-to-college season, and I know there are more than a few of you who have heard how challenging it can be to maintain healthy habits when you’re living anywhere but at home. Now this’ll be my sixth year in those circumstances, and while I’ve been living in an apartment for the last few, I did my fair share of time in a dorm room finding sustenance at a less-than-stellar dining hall (naturally it wasn’t until the first year I got an apartment my alma mater decided to step up their game). But, I digress. My point is I’ve been in your shoes and I know how difficult it can be.

Lemoyne_GrewSummer

Let me take you back to my senior year in high school where I had some unhealthy tendencies shying toward poor body image and overexercising (I have talked briefly about this in a previous post). After I was at my thinnest, I did put weight on in college and it’s taken me some time to find a happy medium. It wasn’t so much the dining hall meals that did me in, rather their dessert spreads, the cafe food on campus, snacking, ordering out, and maybe perhaps getting cookies and having them delivered at 12am (I’m not joking though – you seriously need to try out Insomnia Cookies if you’ve never had it). In the dining hall I got pretty sick of the food they were serving after awhile and ended up sustaining myself on made-to-order sandwiches (which I still sometimes crave haha), whole wheat pasta with Italian dressing, grilled chicken, cooked vegetables, and salads. The sad thing is, this is not a joke.

Let’s talk about how to avoid putting on the pounds and still manage to eat healthily in college, but remember to still take the time to enjoy the college experience because sometimes ordering cookies and midnight is a necessity (aka: studying for finals).

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Reading a Nutrition Facts Panel 101

It’s a skill everyone should have.

Hello friends! I hope your weekend was glorious and filled with fun. Thankfully things are slowing down and I can see the end approaching while I enjoy the last bit of summer I’ve got left. In the midst of it all I’ve secured my food service management rotation AND my long term care placement for part of my clinical rotation of my dietetic internship for 2016-2017. My next targets are my acute care and outpatient placements and I can worry about the community rotation later. Hopefully this summer doesn’t leave me too burned out for the school year so I can bust my butt and kill it while balancing my graduate assistant job at the wellness center and being the nutrition club’s secretary. Whew!

Regardless, working this much has definitely been helpful for the upcoming year. For once I feel like I haven’t wasted a summer. In fact, it’s been very productive thus far really. So that’s definitely a positive! 🙂

Today I wanted to touch on something I’m surprised I haven’t thoroughly gone through before. I think it’s an absolute necessity for anyone to know, and it really forms the basis of where healthy eating can begin – in the grocery store. And no, I’m not talking about MyPlate – though that’s an excellent tool as well. What I’m talking about are Nutrition Facts Panels aka those things on the box of food that few people ever bother to read, or simply don’t know how to. But that’s ok – today I’m here to show you how! Continue reading

All the Granola Bars!

Another classic case of too many options at the grocery store – am I right? 

Hello again, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend enjoying the last few weeks of sunshine and warmth and lazy summer days (or not so lazy if you’re like me and working 3 jobs, volunteering, looking for placement sites, etc.) because before we know it September will be here! I’m just thrilled I finished my intense, 4-week microbiology class so now that’s done and dusted, and I’ve just gotta get my transcript over to my school. Now I have some time to draft blog posts and schedule out some ahead of time so when things get a little crazy you’ll still get a post on time.

Or at least that’s my goal. We’ll see how it goes haha.

And now onto the real nitty gritty – all about them protein/granola/snack bars you see decking the health food aisles of the grocery store in the nutrition-halo glory. Continue reading

Sweet Temptation 

Because, let’s face it, some of us have a gnarly sweet tooth that needs satiating. 

Hello friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. It was gorgeous here in WNY, which was a wonderful change of pace. Unfortunately I worked all weekend so I didn’t get the chance to enjoy some sunshine and not-scorching-hot temperatures 😦 Oh the woes of a grad student. At least the it was nice for the golfers at the country club I work at!

Now how many of you have a sweet tooth? Don’t be shy to admit it, I’m certainly not. If I could be some childhood cartoon-puppet-thing (I guess Sesame St. characters are puppets?) I would be the Cookie Monster hands down. All of my friends know that if you want to make me happy, just give me a cookie and I’m set. I’m like a five year-old, I swear. Now this obsession also extends to chocolate-covered pretzels…whoops.

BUT let’s be honest, can I cave every time I want a chocolate chip cookie and buy one of the huge gourmet ones from Wegmans or Panera or Mrs. Fields? No, because not only is that expensive, but eating one every time I’m tempted would just be a recipe for disaster. So what do I do when that temptation strikes (it happens a lot, I’ll be honest)? Well today I’ve got some alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth whether you’re craving that huge chocolate chip cookie or maybe it’s a slice of cake or something else!

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Does How a Food Look Impact it’s Flavor?

In short, the answer is an overwhelming yes!

Indulge me for a moment. If I offered you each of the plates below, nutrition and different photography skills aside, which one would you choose?

1EF1DD587  vs.  1011-oatmeal-berries

Both oatmeal, both delicious and nutritious, but weren’t your eyes drawn to the one with blueberries and raspberries? That pop of color on an otherwise bland background instantly had me hooked. You see it all the time in restaurants, hear it all the time on cooking shows, witness it in those beautiful Instagram pictures: presentation matters. But, did you ever realize that the nicer something looks on the plate, the better it actually does taste?

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