Tag Archive for: diet

Fiber and Your Colorectal Health

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN |Nutrition Supervisor

Fiber is an important nutrient. But why is it important and what can we eat for more fiber are common questions.

Simply put, fiber helps keep us ‘regular’ going to the bathroom more frequently. That is a good thing! When we are regular, stool spends less time in the large intestine. That means less chance of harmful bacteria or carcinogens (substance capable of causing cancer) building up. In a study, The American Medical Association found that when 1,500 patients with early-stage colorectal cancer began eating more fiber-rich foods, it reduced their risk of dying from colorectal cancer by 20%!

Good Sources of Fiber

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Oats or oatmeal
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains or whole wheat products like wheat bread and wheat pasta

A good tip for determining what foods are a good source of fiber is to read the nutrition facts label on products. Grab a package of bread at your house or the next time you’re in the grocery store – if the line for fiber says one serving contains at least three grams of fiber per serving, then it’s a good source of fiber. You can also look for 100% whole wheat as the first ingredient. 

Daily Fiber Intake

Fiber recommendations are different for everyone depending on age and any other medical conditions. In general, achieving an intake of over 20 grams of fiber per day is recommended. Start by trying to add just one extra fiber source daily, like switching to oatmeal for breakfast or adding a larger serving of vegetables at dinner. Not only does a gradual approach make it easier to adapt to new eating habits over time, introducing fiber into your diet slowly prevents bloating and cramping sometimes associated with increased fiber intake.

Kickstart your new eating habits with these tasty, fiber-rich, recipes:

Pozole Verde with Chicken - A Good Source of Fiber

Pozole Verde with Chicken

Hominy is a product of corn and is considered a grain. Low in fat and high in fiber, it has a similar taste to corn though the texture is much different. A main staple in Mexican cuisine, hominy is highlighted in this flavorful soup. We’ve taken it to another level by using chicken instead of the traditional pork shoulder. Also, add in those veggies for an added nutrition benefit and this hearty soup will be a crowd pleaser on any table.

Summer Black Bean and Rice Salad - Good Source of Fiber

Summer Black Bean and Rice Salad

This cold salad is perfect for a warm spring day! It’s packed with protein, high in fiber and delicious flavors that will rock your taste buds. Make this dish ahead of time and keep refrigerated until it’s time to serve! Make this recipe even more fiber-rich by choosing brown rice over white.

Avo Mango Smoothie - Good Source of Fiber

Avo-Mango Smoothie

The bright flavors of the mango and the creaminess of the avocado and banana is a perfect match. Plus you get some amazing health benefits from this smoothie that make it a yummy treat for anyone!

Drink Plenty of Water

Speaking of helping things move through your digestive tract, it is extremely important to drink more water once you start increasing your fiber intake. Constipation can be an unwelcome side-effect of consuming fiber without being sufficiently hydrated. Most people require a minimum of 64 ounces of water per day. You can use the same gradual method here and start by drinking one extra glass or bottle of water each day. It can also be fun to get a special water bottle for yourself, or set a reminder on your phone to remember to take a few extra sips of water throughout the day.

While making just a couple adjustments to your diet can impact your colorectal (and overall) health; there are many other factors like age, family history… that contribute to your risk of colorectal cancer. The next step after prevention is detection. If you are age 50 or older and at average risk for colorectal cancer, NOAH providers recommend you begin your regular screenings now.  It just might save your butt.

10 Bright Ideas for Weight Loss

By Kahti Paydar, RDN | Registered Dietician

Are you finding yourself wanting to lose weight?  Do you feel your weight loss New Year’s resolution got off to a late start?  Believe it or not, there’s still time to achieve your health goals!  Make small, gradual, and realistic changes that will build upon one another, creating a healthier future.  Start today by reviewing these strategies to help you control your weight:

1. Think “choose well” not “diet.”

Instead of trying to starve yourself, choose foods that allow you to fill up on fewer calories.  These are foods that are:

  • Minimally processed
  • High in fiber
  • Low in fat and sugar

Examples include fruits, vegetables, cooked whole grains such as barley, oatmeal, buckwheat bulgur (cracked wheat), quinoa, millet, wild rice and brown rice and legumes for protein. Always pick leaner choices such as white breast meat of poultry (without skin), pork loin, lean beef (eye of round roast and steak, sirloin tip side steak, top round roast and steak, bottom round roast and steak, and top sirloin steak), legumes, and seafood.  Prepare these items with little added fat.

2. Don’t skip breakfast.

Starting the day with a high fiber, low fat breakfast will help you consume fewer calories the rest of the day.  Never skip breakfast!

3. Only eat when you are hungry.

Avoid eating to relax, cure boredom or overcome depression.  These are emotions that trigger a desire to eat. Instead, brainstorm better ways to distract, calm, comfort, and nurture yourself without turning to food.  Take a walk or call a friend.

4. Snack for better health.

  • Snack only when hungry.
  • Instead of packaged snacks, think “out of the bag” and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables with low fat dips or fat-free, light yogurt.  Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes and oatmeal also make great snacks.

5. Limit sugar & refined starch.

  • Limit the amount of foods you eat that contain added sugars.
  • Limit refined starch foods that are made with flour and are low in fiber.  Fill up instead with high-fiber choices such as corn, potatoes, yams, lima beans, peas, dried beans, and whole grains.

 6. Use less fat when cooking.

  • Prepare foods using lower-fat cooking methods such as baking meats on a rack, broiling. Grilling, roasting or steaming instead of frying.
  • Eliminate “extra” fats.  Trim visible fats from meats.  Rinse cooked ground meat.  Remove skin from poultry.

7. Be a smart shopper.

  • Avoid shopping when tired or hungry as that’s when you’re more likely to walk away with unnecessary impulse buys.
  • Fill grocery carts 2/3 full of whole foods instead of convenience foods.  These include fat-free dairy, fruits, whole grains, vegetables, seafood, chicken, and lean cuts of meat.
  • Spend most of your time in the produce section of the store.  Buy plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Aim for 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Follow these storage tips to keep produce fresh longer.

8. Be a little adventurous.

  • Be adventurous and expand your range of healthful food choices.
  • Buy a low-fat cookbook to help you modify traditional high-fat favorites, and to introduce quick healthful dishes.

9. Take care when eating out.

  • When you eat out, choose soup and salad or smaller dishes that are low in fat.
  • Ask for sauces and dressing on the side.
  • If portions are large, take half home.

10. Try to make exercise fun.

  • Take up several aerobic activities that are enjoyable, such as an aerobics class, walking, bike riding, swimming, running, hiking, tennis, softball, etc.
  • Work out aerobically at least an hour a day, five or six days a week.
  • Include weight lifting, also known as resistance training, three to four times a week.
  • Celebrate your effort by determining the number of calories used in your workout.

Getting Started with Meal Planning and Meal Preparation

By Mina Goodman, Registered Dietitian

If you’ve been wanting to follow a healthier diet or eat less, change is possible! According to National Institutes of Health behavior change expert Dr. Susan Czajkowski, there are decades worth of research showing that certain strategies can make changing habits easier. Here, I will walk you through some tips for meal planning and prepping that I like.

Back to the basics

If you haven’t heard of MyPlate before, it’s a simple way to get started with meal planning. The idea is ideally half your plate at meals and snacks is full of fruits and vegetables, with the other half split between protein (ideally lean protein, meaning lower in fat) and carbohydrates or starches (ideally high in fiber meaning starchy vegetables, whole grains, or more fruit). This can also help guide recipe choices, shopping lists, and help you assess your pantry and refrigerator to ensure that half your ingredients are fruits and vegetables!

Keep track

Whether it’s pen and paper, computer documents, phone notes, or an app, try to keep a running list of snacks, recipes, or meal combinations that you and your family enjoy. The idea is that you can create a cycle of recipes or items for your grocery list that you can come back to each week instead of starting from scratch every time.

Create a system

The best system is the one that works for you, but here are some ideas to start with. There are many ways to plan your meals and snacks like searching online for pre-made meal plans from reputable sources such as the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, or a local government or educational site ending with .org, .gov, or .edu. You can also search meal planning and prep strategies on video browsers such as YouTube.

  1. Make a list. Compile a list of recipes from cookbooks, websites, or write down the names of the one you know by heart. You can search for key words such as heart healthy, vegetarian, low carb, or low fat.
  2. Pick your recipes. Decide how many recipes you want to cook each week or each month, then set aside a realistic amount of time. You may want to start with 1 recipe per week and double the recipe, so you have a few leftover meals. Or if you’re already cooking, try set aside extra time to make a few extra meals. It will all depend on your schedule and preferences.
  3. Grocery shopping. Make a grocery list, either pen and paper or digital. I like to use the app Google Keep since it is free, and you can access on desktop or mobile. On an app like this, I can create the list, share it with others and have others able to edit the list in real time, and what I like best is that you can copy and paste ingredients from a website directly into a check list, making the whole process fast and easy.
  4. Give yourself feedback. I recently started doing this and it has been a helpful reminder on how the week went. I keep an excel spread sheet (again this can be done anyway you find easy) where I record the recipes that I prepared each week and then a notes section with what went well and what was challenging. For example, if I am trying to cook multiple recipes on Sunday to avoid cooking during the week, I might realize that I don’t have enough oven space, stove top space, or baking dishes to get it all done. Or I might notice that the recipe made too much or not enough. These notes can help prevent me from making the same mistakes again.

Wherever you choose to start know that there is no right way to meal plan or prep. Getting started is always the right move! If you are interested, learn more about our Nutrition Services or make an appointment today.