Celebrate Soup Month with these Five Favorites

Winter weather calls for soup! There is nothing better on a cold night than a big bowl of homemade soup for dinner. That’s probably why January is National Soup Month!

When it comes to soup, there are so many options. It can be vegetarian or meat-based, it can be spicy or mellow, it can even be hot or cold. We have gathered our most popular soup recipes from the NOAH Registered Dietitian Nutritionist team to celebrate National Soup Month.

Here are our top five soup recipes – all full of healthy ingredients – to get you through the cold(ish) nights here in Arizona’s winter months.

NOAH Top Five Soup Recipes

  1. Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage Soup

This cozy soup recipe definitely gives fall feelings any time of year. This recipe is a great one to prep ahead of time – chopping squash and apples – and making plenty for leftovers. Full recipe here.

  • Vegetarian Lentil Tortilla Soup

Made in the slow cooker, this easy and flavorful soup is filled with healthy lentils and other veggies. It is packed with fiber and protein to keep you full. Full recipe here.

  • Tortellini Soup with Turkey and Kale

This creamy tortellini soup is easy to prepare – just a few ingredients – and ready in about 30 minutes. Full recipe here.

  • Tuscan White Bean Soup

Filled with vegetables and herbs, this soup will fill you up. We highly recommend enjoying this with some whole wheat bread on the side. Full recipe here.

  • Hearty Winter Minestrone Soup

The combination of pasta, vegetables, and flavorful broth, this minestrone soup is a favorite for every crowd. Full recipe here.

If you enjoy these easy and healthy recipes, be sure to check out our recipe page for more delicious recipes from our Nutrition Services team.  

Know More About Sugar

By Brandon Bolton, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

This week is Sugar Awareness Week. It is a time to spread awareness and prevalence of sugar and the damaging too much sugar can have our bodies. During Sugar Awareness Week, we should set a few goals to help reduce how much sugar we eat and drink – especially with added sugar. A great place to start is to understand sugar a little more. These healthy habits can carry forward for the rest of the year!

Natural sugars are found in foods such as fruit and milk. Added sugars are found in processed foods like soda, fruit juice, candy, cookies, cakes, breakfast cereals, condiments, and much more. A diet high in added sugars can cause weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, fatty liver disease, and much more.

The American Heart Association recommends most women consume no more than 24 grams of added sugars (6 teaspoons) daily, and men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar (9 teaspoons) daily. Children ages 2-18 should try to eat less than 24 grams of added sugar daily. For reference, the average person in the United States consumes around 71 grams of added sugar per day (17 teaspoons). Be sure to check your food label to get a better understanding of how much sugar is in your food.

Here are some tips on how to decrease your intake of added sugars:

  • Swap sodas, juices, sweetened teas, and energy drinks for water or unsweetened seltzers.
  • Drink your coffee black or use a zero-calorie sweetener such as Stevia.
  • Try plain yogurt and add fresh or frozen berries.
  • Consume whole fruits and vegetables instead of sugar-sweetened smoothies.
  • Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips.
  • Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressings like honey mustard.
  • Look for cereals, granolas, and granola bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Use natural nut butters instead of sweet spreads like Nutella.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar, or agave.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients.
  • Try to prepare meals at home, it can be hard to tell how much sugar is in foods when eating out.
  • Consume a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Check nutrition labels to see how much sugar is in your product.

If you have any questions regarding sugar or any other nutrition related concerns, please reach out to one of NOAH’s Registered Dietitians!

Healthy Weight Week: Healthy is More Than Your Weight

By Mina Goodman, Registered Dietitian 

The name Healthy Weight Week can be somewhat misleading. What most people think of with “healthy weight” might be getting on the scale, setting a new weight goal, or starting a 2021 crash diet. This week is more so about finding your healthy weight which can be determined by making small and personalized diet and lifestyle changes. Although Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight changes might give us an idea of health, it is only one piece of the puzzle to a healthy life. That’s why it is important to recognize other factors that affect weight, health, and happiness.  

Instead of counting calories or restricting how much you eat, try these to help achieve to a healthy weight: 

  • Accept your body shape and size.

Each body is not the same shape and size, which may be important when setting expectations for realistic weight loss goals. It’s difficult to judge a book by its cover when it comes to health because it is assumed that people at higher weights are sicker or live shorter lives. Research has shown that people in overweight and obesity class I BMIs may have improved longevity compared with normal weight, underweight, and obesity class II or greater BMIs.  

  • Find movement you enjoy.

Exercise doesn’t have to be training for a marathon. Taking a walk with friends, family, or a good playlist is a good option. Experiment with online work out videos, swimming, biking, roller skating/blading, yoga, tai chi, gardening or other home projects, and whatever other activity you can think of. No matter your weight, physical activity is important to do on most days.  

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, and energy for our body to use. Eating more whole and plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds can reduce risk of chronic diseases and help to maintain or lose weight.  

  • Try to stress less.

If our bodies are in a constant state of stress, it can be difficult to maintain weight. Here at NOAH, we have behavioral health services like counseling and psychiatry to help manage stress, anxiety, and depression that may be affecting how difficult is to lose weight.  

  • Sleep quality matters.

Sleep is another factor affecting weight and health. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per day and that should be quality sleep not altered by drugs or alcohol. Having a nighttime routine can help improve the quality of sleep. This can include turning off screens a few hours before bed or having a hot cup of herbal tea at the end of the night – you can make the routine your own or look online for other common routine tips and ideas.  

  • Drink enough water.

Most adults need at least half a gallon of water daily, which is 64 fl oz. Others may need up to a gallon per day. The body cannot work as well without being properly hydrated so look for ways to increase your fluid intake through herbal/sugar free teas, naturally flavored seltzers, or herb/fruit infused waters. If plain water works for you, try carrying a water bottle wherever you go, setting reminders on your watch or phone, or leaving bottles/glasses in places you usually sit or by your bed to start drinking first thing in the morning. 

Remember, being healthy isn’t necessarily about what the scale says. Many people can be healthy, or at least healthier, by making a few of these intention changes in their daily lives. If you want additional assistance, guidance, and support to living healthier, contact NOAH about our Nutrition Services.

Chocolate Covered Anything Day – Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Do you love a good piece of chocolate? While milk chocolate is fine to enjoy occasionally, it tends to be higher in sugar and fat. However, there may be some great benefits to adding a bit of dark chocolate to your diet a few times a week. To get the benefits, the chocolate needs to have a cocoa percentage of around 65-80%.

While dark chocolate is a product higher in calories and fat, it also contains the following important nutrients:

  • Fiber – normal digestion and managing blood sugars.
  • Iron – delivers oxygen throughout the body and maintains hair, skin, and nails.
  • Magnesium – important for nerve and muscle function, a healthy immune system, and keeping bones strong.
  • Copper – may help prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
  • Manganese – supports bone health, is an antioxidant, and plays a part in blood sugar regulation.

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which protect against cell damage from a variety of sources, such as inflammation, pollution, and exposure to other chemicals; and eating processed or refined foods, trans fat, and artificial additives. This form of chocolate, along with other antioxidant rich foods (like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and green tea) may help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues and lowering cholesterol.

Remember – even with these benefits, it is still essential to practice portion control with dark chocolate and maintain an overall balanced eating plan with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Try this amazing Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Coffee recipe that’s perfect for entertaining or to have on a cold winter’s day!

The NOAH Holiday Cookbook is Here!

We all celebrate the holiday season in different ways. But many of the traditions passed down from generation to generation, or new and exciting ways we celebrate the season include something memorable to eat or drink.

Not everyone can enjoy all the seasonal favorites if they are living with diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, or another chronic condition partially managed by a healthy diet.

That’s why NOAH’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are thrilled to share some of their favorite holiday meals, treats, and snacks with everyone in a way that is healthy for all your friends and family to enjoy.

You can download the NOAH Holiday Cookbook to enjoy these new recipes!

Click here to go get your NOAH Holiday Cookbook today. Then, you can enjoy these holiday meals and the flavors and tastes of the season in a deliciously healthy way.

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week

By Stephanie Olzinski, RDN

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) are both forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. People with these conditions can have moderate to severe symptoms and Crohn’s and UC currently affect over 780,000 and 900,000 Americans, respectively. Some people may go undiagnosed, however knowing the symptoms can help you determine which you suffer from and how to get help.

UC is characterized by affecting the large intestine and rectum whereas Crohn’s can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, but commonly at the site between the small and large intestines.

When examining symptoms, most people experience:

  • abdominal pain.
  • bloating.
  • inflammation.
  • diarrhea with or without blood and/or mucus.
  • weight loss.
  • anemia.

Nutrition plays a large role in managing symptoms of Crohn’s and UC as some foods or beverages can either help or worsen symptoms. Meeting with a Registered Dietitian at NOAH can help with determine the right personalized plan for you.

For Crohn’s disease, some people need a higher calorie and protein diet to maintain nutritional needs. Certain fibers should be limited, as well as fatty and spicy foods. 

For UC, consume more:

  • fibers from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut.

The same triggers for Crohn’s can affect those with UC as well. Recording a journal that highlights foods/beverages consumed alongside the types of symptoms and when they occur can be great to review with your dietitian. He or she can determine what triggers your symptoms as well as provide recommendations of a healthy diet that fits your specific needs.

Healthy Eating Tips for Living with Diabetes

Diabetes can be managed and treated with medicine and changes to what you eat and drink. People living with diabetes need to give their body a little help by being proactive.

For someone diagnosed with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes, making changes to what and how much food they eat can have a big impact. These tips will help people make good decisions about what to eat and how much to eat.

Tip #1 – Portions Matter

In a lot of ways, portions can be deceiving. Larger portions at restaurants and even larger plates in our own kitchens can mislead people about how big their portions should be. A few decades ago, the average American dinner plate was nine inches, today they average around 12 inches.

Diabetes portioning

When you plan out your meals and snacks, a good way to measure the portions is using your hand or basic measuring cups. Here are some examples:

  • The palm of your hand is a good measurement for meat, seafood, and poultry.
  • A cupped hand, about ½ cup, is the right amount of pasta, potatoes, chips, and nuts.
  • At least one heaping cup, or both hands cupped together, for vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, and more.
  • For fats like butter or olive oil, use about a tablespoon per meal.
  • About 1 cup, or a fist, is the amount of milk, fruit, rice, beans, soups, yogurt.

Tip #2 – Swap Your Proteins

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. The types of proteins eaten, though, are not all the same in their health benefits. Keep the portions from above – about the size of the palm of your hand – and consider which proteins are best.

Best ProteinsProtein to Limit
ChickenFilet mignon
Turkey/lean ground turkeyPorterhouse
Pork SirloinRib eye steak
Fish (not breaded or fried)Ribs
ShrimpPork belly
CrabHotdogs
Tofu or soyBacon
Yogurt (low sugar or plain)Chorizo
Eggs (max 7 yolks/week)Corned beef
Low fat (93/7) ground beefPastrami
Lean beef cuts – names with “loin” or “round”Any fired or breaded meat, chicken or fish
Beans and lentils 

Tip #3 – Feel Free to Snack

Snacks are good! Don’t deprive yourself of nutritious, energy-boosting snacks, especially when you are living with diabetes. There are plenty of ways to enjoy something mid-day without sacrificing health or flavor.

The important thing about a well-chosen snack is that it can be both filling and nutritional. A few snack-specific tips:

  • Think of snacks like mini meals when it comes to portions.
  • Do not snack when bored or while multitasking.
  • Snacking shouldn’t be an everyday habit.
  • Only eat snacks when you are hungry.

If a snack is needed to prevent low blood sugars, talk about this with your doctor or provider.

Here are a few good snack options for you to try.

Diabetes Snacks

Tip #4 – Not all Drinks are Equal

Don’t let what you drink ruin your day. The best drink is always water. It has no calories, carbohydrates, or sugar, and your body will thank you for drinking plenty of water every day. Sometimes, though, we all want something a little different, with a little more flavor.

Many drinks from restaurants or grocery stores are full of a surprising amount of sugar, calories, and carbohydrates. Some ways to take control:

  1. Bring your own drink. Whether it is water, coffee, or something else, if you bring your own with you, you won’t be buying something that could have high amounts of sugar and calories.
  2. Instead of getting pre-sweetened tea, get unsweetened tea and add your own – much less – sugar, or natural substitutes to sweeten it.
  3. Juice can be loaded with sugar and carbohydrates. Consider eating a piece of fruit instead. If it must be fruit juice, cut the juice with water and strictly limit the amount you drink.
  4. Coffee and tea lattes and similar type drinks taste so good and may appear a safe choice – tea is healthy, right – but how these drinks are made changes whether they are a healthy option. Limit sugar, creamer and syrups added.
  5. Smoothies can be a healthy and efficient way to get loads of fruit, which is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t rely on store-bought, pre-packaged smoothies to be low in sugar or carbs, though.
  6. Soda, pop, Coke, no matter how you say it, these drinks are loaded with sugar. In fact, a regular soda can have more sugar than two servings of ice cream!
Diabetes Drinks

Getting a diabetes diagnosis can be a big transition for the person diagnosed and their family. Working with your doctor, healthcare provider, nutritionist, family, and support system together will make changes easier to stick to and improve your health. For more tips on living with diabetes from NOAH, click here.

Holiday Tips for Children with Diabetes by Brandon Bolton, RDN

The holiday season should be a joyous time to spend with family and loved ones. This time of year can be tough for children with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It can be difficult for children to manage their blood sugars during the holiday season due to changes to daily routines, holiday meals, increased eating, new foods, and changes in activity levels. Remember, holiday meals are special occasions, it is okay for kids to break their typical routine during the holidays and enjoy themselves. You may see blood sugars fluctuate more during this time. Try not to let holiday eating be a full week-long event, and instead enjoy your holiday meal and then try to return to your normal eating schedule as soon as you can.

Here are some tips for healthy and happy holiday eating:

  • Encourage your child to follow the “MyPlate” method of eating : 1/2 plate non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 plate lean protein, 1/4 plate carbohydrate.
  • During holiday meals, try filling up on non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, celery, zucchini, brussels sprouts, asparagus, cabbage, and many more.
  • Help your child count their carbohydrates. It can be difficult for your child to keep track of everything they are eating during a holiday meal, but do your best as a team. This can help with blood sugar and medication management throughout the day.
  • Don’t force children to finish their meal if they take too much.
  • Sweets are allowed. It is alright for your child to have some sweets during the holidays, just try to monitor intake and stick with small portions.
  • Increase blood sugar monitoring. Since there are a lot of foods, sweets, and activities surrounding holidays, be sure to have your child check their blood sugar more often to stay on top of any changes that might be occurring.
  • Plan for some activity. Take a family walk or plan some games that can get everybody up and moving. Staying active can help keep your child’s blood sugar in a normal range and can be healthy for everyone!
  • Enjoy the festivities with your loved ones, and remember not to be too hard on yourselves.

If you have any questions about helping children with diabetes and about your child’s nutritional needs or how to manage diabetes throughout the holiday season, feel free to reach out to the dietitians at NOAH!

Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Cancer Prevention

By Mina Goodman, RDN

While there is still much research to be done on what causes cancer, there are still some easy tips for cancer prevention and healthy living.

To reduce your risk, consider these tips:

  •  Limit processed and fatty meats – these include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meats. Try for more fish, poultry, and plant based proteins (beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, seeds, or soy products).
  • Choose foods with more nutrients – limit added sugars, sodium, saturated fats and trans fats. Look for choices rich in vitamins and minerals instead such as fruits, vegetables, and other plant based foods.
  • Eat more plants – these include, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily!
  • Increase (or maintain) your level of physical activity – try to move your body for at least 30 minutes a day, most days. This can be walking, biking, swimming, dancing, online workouts, or whatever you enjoy.
  • Avoid alcohol – if you do choose to drink, limit your intake to one serving a day for women or two servings a day for men. One serving is estimated at 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
  • Avoid tobacco or smoking in any form – if you need help quitting find the resources you need at NOAH
  • Drink plenty of water – drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses per day (64 oz. or 4 bottles of water or to drink half your body weight in ounces (so someone weighing 200lbs would drink 100oz daily).
  • Try a Mediterranean diet – this way of eating focuses on plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. When possible choose healthy fats, such as olive oil, over butter and fish instead of red meat.

Getting started on a healthier lifestyle can be one way to focus efforts on cancer prevention and to prevent other diseases. Working with one of NOAH’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionists is a great first start. Make an appointment today!

Healthy Halloween Tips

By Stephanie Olzinski, RDN and Rhyan Geiger, RDN

Does the thought of Halloween candy give you the spooks? Worried about trick-or-treating and wanting to stay home this year? Here are some ways to stay safe and on track for a healthy Halloween while still enjoying treats with your family and friends.

  1. Buy fewer bags of candy. 

    Especially if going door to door will be limited this year, try to buy less than usual for the candy that will be given out or kept in your house.

  2. Choose the mini sizes. 

    Larger candy bars come with double or triple the calories. To enjoy your favorite treats without going overboard, opt for the smaller sized candy.

  3. Eat before you treat.

    If you and your family decide to go out trick-or-treating or even to a socially-distanced event, make sure you are eating a balanced meal beforehand to avoid overeating any sweets. A good meal should include some protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied!

  4. Stay active.

    Whether you’re walking around, doing activities at home, or having a spooky dance party, staying active each day is important to keep your body strong and healthy.

  5. Make your own treats.

    Using this year to begin new traditions could be a great way to have more family time and make healthy choices too. Below are some ideas for snacks that are festive, easy, and good for you!

BONUS CONTENT: recipe ideas for a Healthy Halloween!

  • Boo Bananas – cut bananas in half and place mini chocolate chips as eyes and a mouth.
  • Clementine Pumpkins – peel a clementine and add a small piece of celery to represent the stem of a pumpkin.
  • Witches Broomsticks – cut mozzarella cheese sticks in have and shred one end to make it look like a broom. On the other end, insert a pretzel stick to represent the handle of the broom.