Tired of Salads? Try This!

Salads can be very boring.  In fact sometimes I find that I stop eating them because they’re not appealing.  I know it’s surprising to hear that from a dietitian!  Well the other night, my husband requested salad and I came up with a winning combination that left both our taste buds and tummies satisfied!

In the Mix:

  • Arugula
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Avocado
  • Chickpeas
  • Wheat berries

I dressed my salad after I took the photograph.  I used a little bit of Annie’s Goddess dressing thinned out with balsamic vinegar.  I absolutely love this salad dressing but be careful because it’s quite calorically dense at 120 calories per serving.  A little goes a long way!

Have you ever had wheat berries before?   I bought hard red winter wheat berries from my local supermarket (Fairway) and simmered them in water for about 1 hour until they had the right chewiness texture to them.  They are so delicious!

Wheat Berries Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked):

150 calories, 1 gram fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber and 6 grams protein

What’s your favorite salad combination?  Have you ever had wheat berries before?

Coffee & Breastfeeding

Are you worried that you’ll have to give up your morning cup of joe habit while breastfeeding?  Yesterday I told you about why coffee can be good for you.  I’ve also told you about coffee safety during pregnancy.  But what about while nursing?

A cup of coffee while breastfeeding is fine!  In fact it’s probably very welcomed after sleepless nights.

Some babies might react negatively to the caffeine so watch out for these signs:

  • irritability
  • not sleeping well or for long periods
  • overly active

As babies age they might be able to tolerate it better.  So if you try having a cup of coffee and you know right away tht your newborn is not tolerating it, try again in a few months.

Remember moderate intake is considered 300 mg/day.  Try to limit yourself to one cup each day.

I love my morning cup of coffee.  I have it right after I feed my daughter in the morning.

Another Kitchen Staple: Coffee

My morning cup of joe is probably what gets me out of bed in the morning.  Well that and my 6 month old daughter “telling me” that it’s feeding time.

I gave up coffee during my pregnancy.  Not that you have to, but it sort of made me nauseous and I was able to phase it out and had a few decaf lattes when I was craving a warm drink.  However, sleepless nights as a new mom got me back into my old habit and I’m here to tell you it’s not a bad thing to drink coffee!

Why I love coffee:

  • There’s something ritualistic about a morning cup of joe
  • I love the taste of good coffee (bad coffee is just…bad!)
  • It gets me going in the morning

Why coffee is good for you:

  • some studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
  • some studies have also shown that coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of some cancers, heart rhythm problems and strokes.
  • it contains antioxidants which can fight off the bad free radicals roaming in your body.

The downside of coffee:

  • There are a few substances in coffee that have been shown to slightly increase cholesterol.  Filtered coffee removes these substances but they are not removed in the french press or espresso drinks.
  • It may make you jittery, anxious and irritable
  • It can disrupt your sleep

Bottom Line:

  • Don’t become a coffee drinker just to reap the benefits.
  • If you are a coffee drinker, do so in moderation: 1-2 cups/day
  • Watch out for the coffee add-ins: the milk and creamers and sugar can turn this rather good beverage into something very unhealthy.  Choose fat free or low fat milk and limit sugar.
  • Make your own coffee you will save a ton of money and you will help save the environment by not using the throw away cups!

Tomorrow’s Post: Can You Drink Coffee while Breastfeeding?


Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Baby!

Feeding your baby can be a very exciting time.  Before you start giving him or her everything in your kitchen, know which foods you should avoid for at least the first year.

  • Nuts & Peanuts (some doctors recommend waiting until 2 years if you have a strong family history of food allergies)
  • Honey (risk of botulism)
  • Cow’s Milk (stick with breast milk and formula for up to 12 months)

Choking Hazards

  • Popcorn
  • Peanuts
  • Raisins
  • Whole grapes
  • Meats that are uncut and stringy
  • Hot dogs
  • Raw fruits or vegetables that are hard
  • Hard to chew foods
  • Nut butter and other sticky foods
  • Be careful with anything round and firm!

High Allergen Foods: These foods are still slightly controversial

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat

These foods are the most likely to cause allergies.  Many people recommend waiting till your baby is 12 months of age to introduce these foods (egg yolks are fine to be introduced earlier).  However, studies have shown that waiting to introduce these foods does not decrease the risk of developing an allergy.  So if you come from a family without food allergies and get the ok from your pediatrician to start these beforehand then go for it!

Remember to always wait 2-3 days after introducing each new food to look out for any allergic reactions.

A Staple In My Kitchen: Hummus

I think a lot people are curious as to what is inside a dietitian’s fridge.  I like buy a variety of foods to keep things interesting, however, there are definitely staples that I almost always have.

Today’s highlight is: Hummus!

Hummus is a spread that is made of chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.  There can be variations of hummus with additions of roasted red peppers, spicy peppers, extra garlic or lemon juice, and many more.

Why do I love hummus?

  • The flavor is amazing
  • It’s made from healthy fat (olive oil and tahini)
  • It’s filling due to protein (chickpeas), fiber (chickpeas) and healthy fat (olive oil and tahini)
  • It is incredibly universal

Here are my favorite ways to enjoy hummus:

  • As a spread on a sandwich (if you substitute hummus for mayo you will 60-80 calories per tablespoon!)
  • As a dip for vegetables, crackers or pita
  • As a salad dressing (thin with vinegar)

My favorite kind is Sabra…but do note that it has more calories and fat than the others.  That’s why it tastes so yummy!  It has about 80 calories per serving verse the 40-50 calories that most brands have.

Nutrition Tidbit:

  • Even though hummus is a health food you can definitely overdo it!
  • Each container has 8 servings, which adds up to 320-640 calories for the whole thing!
  • Portion out a proper serving on a plate and then dip away.

What’s your favorite type of hummus?

Should You Drink Juice?

I get this question all the time:  “Should I drink juice?”

The answer is two-fold.

100% fruit juice has a lot of the nutrition components of actual fruit.  You are getting various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  If you love juice then you should stick to 100% fruit juice – avoid any fruit drinks and fruit cocktails that are artificially flavored water instead of actual juice.  There’s nothing wrong with 100% fruit juice…you just have to be mindful of calories!

Calories in 8 oz of Juice:

  • Orange Juice: 110 calories
  • Grapefruit Juice: 100 calories
  • Apple Juice: 120 calories
  • Cranberry Juice: 140 calories
  • Grape Juice: 160 calories

Juice is fabulous for athletes and those looking to gain weight because you can add in a lot of extra calories without filling up.  However, juice might not be the best choice for those looking to lose weight or those with diabetes or other sugar sensitivites.

Juice does not fill you up as much as fruit will.  Why is this?

Juice is missing the fiber that the fruit has! So the next time you have the opportunity to choose orange juice or an orange for breakfast, choose the fruit.  You’ll feel more full and have consumed less calories!

Calories Saved If You Choose Fruit over Juice

  • 1 medium orange instead of a 1 cup of juice: 50 calories
  • 1/2 grapefruit instead of 1 cup of juice: 60 calories
  • 1 medium apple instead of 1 cup of juice: 25 calories
  • 1 cup cranberries instead of 1 cup of juice: 100 calories
  • 1 cup grapes instead of 1 cup of juice: 60 calories

There’s a good chance you will save even more calories because it’s easy to drink more than 8 oz of juice!  But you probably won’t sit down to 2 or 3 oranges at a one time!

If you have a really hard time giving up juice, my recommendation is to lighten it up.  Take 2 oz of juice and mix it with 8 oz of water or seltzer.  You will get accustomed to the less sweet taste over time.

Do you drink juice on a daily basis?

Halloween Sugar Coma?

Are you feeling completely exhausted this morning?  Did you totally overdo it on the halloween treats this weekend?  If so, do not give into depriving yourself today to makeup for it!

You may be thinking:

  • I’m going to skip breakfast because I’m not hungry and I need to save calories
  • I’m going to have a salad for lunch
  • I’ll skip my afternoon snack
  • I’ll have a frozen dinner tonight
  • I’m going to hit the gym hard!

If these are your thoughts, you may want to rethink your plan.

By skipping meals and eating very lightly but working out hard you are going to be starving, lightheaded and without energy by the evening.  Then all your plans to “be good” will go down the drain.

Start the day off well.  Remember some less healthy choices one day does not unwind an entire week of good eating.  It’s ok, move on!  Here are some tips for the day:

  • Do not skip breakfast!  If you’re not hungry have something small like a piece of fruit with a few nuts.  Try to get in some fiber and protein.
  • Have a balanced lunch: vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and some healthy fat.
  • Enjoy a healthy afternoon snack: an easy idea would be low fat cheese plus a piece of fruit.
  • Finish with a healthy but satisfying dinner: a big salad to start, lean protein, whole grains and vegetables.
  • One thing you can do is skip the treat today since you did have enough this past weekend.  Forgo the wine, the extra bread and the sweets that you may normally partake in.

You’ll feel so much better tomorrow morning if you follow these tips!

What was your favorite halloween treat?

For me it was the buckeye I had at a halloween party last night.  Buckeyes are chocolate peanut butter balls…so yummy!

Here’s a photo of Hannah dressed up as a cow

Roasted Radishes

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of radishes in my CSA basket.  I was simply washing, slicing and eating them in salads, but that got old pretty quickly!  So I decided to try to roast them, which is my favorite way of preparing vegetables.

I washed and sliced the radishes and placed them on a baking sheet with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Baked at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes and they were fantastic!  The pepperiness of the radish faded and a sweetness came out from the caramelization.  I added the them to a salad, and I loved the warm vegetable on top of cold lettuce leaves!

Radish Nutrition Information (1 cup raw)

  • 19 calories
  • 0 grams fat
  • 4 grams carbohydrate
  • 2 grams fiber
  • 1 gram protein
  • They are a very good source of vitamin C, Folate, and Potassium

Have you ever tried roasted radishes?

Moving on From Infant Rice Cereal

So you’ve been feeding your baby rice cereal, but the big question you may be having is:

“When should I move on to other food besides rice cereal?!”


Well I wouldn’t rush it if I were you.  Remember you may be bored with rice cereal, but your baby is not!  He or she has been having the same milk (breast or formula) for the past 4-6 months and hasn’t gotten bored yet!  So do not rush just because you are bored.

This is a huge learning experience and you want to give your baby time to master his or her skills before you move on.

Here’s How to Progress with Rice Cereal

  • Start with one feeding per day and make it very thin
  • As you progress add less and less breast milk or formula so it becomes thicker
  • Continue until baby is having 2-3 feedings per day and consuming a total of 1/2 cup of prepared cereal
  • This will give the baby his or her iron needs
  • Spoon feeding is a huge adjustment for the baby, don’t rush it!
  • This process may take 3-4 weeks
  • As you progress make the cereal lumpier

Look out for posts in the coming weeks about feeding your baby fruits & veggies!

Baby’s First Food: When to Start & Stop

When you introduce solids to your baby it’s not about the nutrition that he or she will be getting, but rather the explorative process of eating and having a spoon in his or her mouth.  So don’t worry if the baby eats very little.  The last thing you want to do is force your baby to eat and end up with an unhappy baby.

The best results in feeding will happen if you follow your baby’s queues!

You want your baby to be interested in the food, to look at the food and open his or her mouth.  Here are some examples from my first feeding experience.  These photos show you that Hannah was interested and wanted to take part in the new situation:


But soon after these initial first bites, she had enough.  And she told me so!

Even though Hannah doesn’t speak words, her actions were very clear.  She did not want anymore!  So we stopped.  If I had continued she probably would have started to get very fussy and maybe cry.  Not what you want to accomplish.  Remember this is completely new to them.  As I mentioned earlier it’s fine that she only got the tiniest bit of food into her belly.  She is getting adequate nutrition at this point through breast milk (formula is more than adequate too).  It’s good to experiment for about a month with baby rice cereal until they’ve mastered it.

Next up: When to move on from baby rice cereal