Main Nutritious Intent Website

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Slightly Corny Yet Poetic Approach to Eating for Immunity

A national nutrition survey showed a lapse in dietary fitness.
Almost 1/3 of Americans lack this vitamin found in citrus.

Vitamin C  is the micronutrient poster child for immunity but consider this before downing too many vitamin C supplements. Taking supplements after you notice symptoms of a cold has not shown any benefit, and taking vitamin C supplements doesn’t cut your risk of catching a cold. However, regular Vitamin C consumers tend to have slightly shorter and milder colds.  Too much of a good thing, is a bad thing.  Upper limit of vitamin C for adults is 2000 mg and significantly less for children.  Excessive amounts of vitamin C can cause stomach and intestinal distress.

When it’s wintertime and ski season, you don your balaklava.
When you want more vitamin C than an orange grab a guava.

Guavas contain 3 times as much vitamin C as oranges.  Peppers, broccoli, cabbage, strawberries, kiwi, citrus and sweet potatoes – are all tasty ways to make sure you’re getting sufficient vitamin C.

Most American diets find vitamin E lacking. 
A healthful way to get more is to add nuts to your snacking.

Vitamin E  93% of Americans don’t get enough.  Nuts and seeds are an excellent way to get more of this immune-essential vitamin into your diet.  Vitamin E is also found in higher quantities in sunflower and safflower oils. 

Your mom fed you this steaming bowl any time you’d start to sicken.
But there’s some science to eating a nice hot soup of chicken.

Whether the benefit is simply a nourishing, hydrating way to reduce stress that eases the symptoms of a cold, or whether it is the amino acids or other components found in chicken soup, it’s a pretty tasty and somewhat helpful remedy. 

Research on this mineral indicates a link.
Eating red meat, poultry, beans provides us plenty zinc.

Zinc is necessary for a fully functioning immune system, but when it comes to the benefits of supplementing, the jury is still out.

When suffering a sore throat, just to swallow brings frustration.
But few things help your body heal as well as good hydration.

Staying well hydrated is essential to keep all your body systems working at optimal levels and that includes your immune system. 

An upset gut can bring a person very nasty pains.
Probiotic foods can help if they have multiple strains.

While much research needs to be done in the field of probiotics, microflora and immunity, it appears fairly beneficial to incorporate food sources that provide a variety of beneficial bacterial strains in order to keep your gut healthy and happy.

When it comes to good immunity, here’s info you should keep:
Mind hydration, diet, exercise and get plenty of sleep.

Your body’s immune response is different during peak wakeful hours and peak sleeping hours.  So without those regular hours of sleep, you may not be getting the full, optimized immune response. Chronic sleep deprivation may lead to chronic inflammation and depressed immunity.

Remember, nutrition is just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to immunity.  Healthy, stress-reducing lifestyle patterns play a large role.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Avoiding Grocery Store Pitfalls

No list?  No good.
This one is obvious, but still often neglected.  Take a few minutes to build and organize your shopping list based on your week or monthly menu.  If you know the layout of the store, writing the list in “walking order” can save lots of time, money and calories by not having to wander, backtrack and pointlessly peruse.

The outside perimeter isn’t always nutritionally superior.
I found this on the perimeter of the grocery store.
The border of the store usually has produce and dairy, but it also often contains processed meats, frozen desserts and baked goods that are often high in added fat, sodium and sugar.  
I found this in the center aisles.
Similarly, while the interior aisles do contain chips, and processed meal items high in sodium, fat and sugar, they also contain whole grains, nuts, produce (canned or frozen) and spices that inspire the home chef.  The take-home message here is to be a savvy shopper regardless of where you are in the store.

Shop with the wrist.

Don’t trust the healthy-sounding buzzwords on packaging.  If it looks really health-trendy, chances are it’s more a matter of superior marketing rather than superior nutrition.  Always flip the wrist to look at the nutrition facts label  to compare products.  %DV (Daily Value) is a quick yet effective way to compare the nutrition content of comparable foods.  Here’s the %DV life-hack: 5% is low, 20% is high.  If those numbers are too difficult to remember, then stick with below or above 10%.  You want high %DV for things like fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.  You generally want to keep %DV low for fats (especially saturated fats) and sodium.  When the new nutrition facts label comes out, be sure to watch for %DV for added sugars – that’s definitely one we should aim to keep low.

Be endcap-wary.
Often the endcaps are offering impulse items that are rarely on your list.  Just because it shows up on a featured endcap doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bargain money-wise or nutrition-wise.

Wear checkout blinders

Most stores count on your stationary time waiting in line to pick up an impulse candy bar or two.  But even if it is advertising healthier snack options, it will most likely be much pricier way of buying healthful snacks.  Also, it might just be adding in extra calories that you are better avoiding. 

Approaching the grocery store with with a plan, sticking to it and taking the time to compare as you shop will pay off in the long run – with a fatter wallet and a potentially thinner waistline.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Making Nutrition a Family Affair

The best laid plans can get shot down if you don't have the support of those closest to you.  Here's how to make good nutrition family affair.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals Together

Sit down as a family and brainstorm changes you’d like to make. Kids are more likely to adopt healthful habits if their opinions and suggestions are considered. Choose one or two goals that everyone agrees are important and turn them into S.M.A.R.T. goals. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. For example, a regular goal is: “Everyone eats breakfast in the morning.” As a S.M.A.R.T. goal, it is: “The whole family will eat a breakfast including at least three of the five food groups Monday through Friday either in the kitchen or the car (on rushed days).” Make each goal as clear as possible so no confusion exists about what you’re working toward and when you’ve achieved it.

Show, Don't Tell 

Most kids consider their parents their top role models, even above sports celebrities. They watch and emulate parental behavior more than parents may realize. Rather than making negative comments about food, exercise or your body, show your child what it looks like to engage in regular healthful lifestyle behaviors. By eating nutritious foods and offering them to their children, parents and caregivers can give kids opportunities to learn to like a variety of nutritious foods. 

Make Healthful Living A Family Affair

Make sure kids know they are part of the team and that health and fitness are a family affair. Get active and fit in physical activity when possible throughout the day, whether it’s taking a family walk after dinner, taking the kids to the park or hitting the gym. Remember, children and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and adults should get at least two and a half hours per week. 
Also, consider encouraging children to take up an after-school sport, or trying out different types of sports until they find some they enjoy.
Meal planning doesn't necessarily need to be a grown-up job; encouraging your children to help plan meals, from developing the menu to shopping, preparing and serving the meal all are great ways to get everyone involved.

Small Changes Add Up 

Remember, small steps add up over time and can turn into greater strides toward a healthier lifestyle. Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Here are some small changes to try today:
Start with one meal at a time and fuel the family for the day with a nutritious breakfast.
Focus on health, not weight. Avoid talking about weight or putting yourself down in front of kids. You don't want them to think a healthful lifestyle only is about how much they weigh.
Enjoy family dinner together each night or as often as possible.
At each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.
Seek help from a qualified health professional. A registered dietitian nutritionist is your best source of reliable and up-to-date food and nutrition information.

Prepare for Challenges 

Don't be afraid of challenges — prepare to overcome them. Lack of time often is cited as the biggest barrier to adopting healthful habits. Fortunately, small schedule tweaks can equal big results. Try substituting some TV time for cooking together as a family, or going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier so you have time for breakfast. Also, consider using a slow cooker, or planning and shopping for weekly meals in advance. Take it slow and be gentle, because change won't happen overnight. Try different strategies to find what works for your family, and forget about perfection — if what you're doing is not fun and rewarding, it's not going to last.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tighten the Belt on Your Food Budget

Drink Free

Bottled water is a $16 billion dollar industry (2,000 times more expensive than tap).  With such a safe, monitored water supply and considering that many bottled water starts out with the tap water you are drinking, why would you pay 2,000 times more?
The US spends $65 billion on soda per year - $850/per person per year on soda.  Whoa!  That plus your bottled water bill is enough to send you on a lovely annual vacation!

Reduce Waste

Make reducing food waste a priority.  The average American household loses approximately $2200 per year on food waste alone. 
Best way to save on your food dollar is to make planning a priority.  3 minutes twice a week to go through your fridge and freezer will reduce waste and allow you to actually enjoy your food while it’s still edible and not growing pink fuzz or liquefying in your produce drawer. 
Working your existing food into your week’s menu may take a few minutes, but provides money savings.

Watch portion size

Take a look at their handful – you may be serving ½ of your portion size to your preschooler, but they may only need ¼ your portion size.  Take a look at your child’s handful-size and reevaluate how much you are serving and wasting.

Unit price first, last and always

A sale tag doesn’t necessarily mean it is cheaper.  Get the whole story with unit pricing.

Shop outside the grocery store

Think outside the traditional grocery store for better food bargains.  For example: bakery outlet bread is half-price or less, dollar store frozen fruit is often ¼ the price of traditional grocery store frozen fruit.  Be aware and informed of your local sales because there will be times when the grocery store may be the best option for your budget.

Fresh isn’t always best

Fresh isn’t the only way to get produce in.  Shopping seasonally will save you money in the produce section, but frozen and canned produce are often cheaper plus you have less waste because of prolonged storage life. 

It all comes down to making an effort at tracking the small changes that really add up.  Those savings will motivate you to continue your savvy shopper efforts and your bank account will be much happier for it.  

Resolutions - it's all about time allocation

One definition of resolution is "determination of a course of action".  In other words, commitment.  Our true commitment shows in where and how we spend our time.  What will you make time for this year?  If healthful changes in the way you approach food, weight and nutrition are on your radar, find a dietitian before you jump into the damaging diet-cycle.  In the meantime, here's a few tips to help you along the way.