Healthy Halloween

With tomorrow being Halloween, I’m sure most of you have already stocked up your pantries with candy or are preparing for a fun party out.  Whatever your plans may be, I wanted to make sure to give you some tips before the night begins!

Healthy Halloween Tips

  • Do not skip any meals in anticipation of indulging in Halloween treats.  You will overeat, and feel an intense sugar rush and crash.
  • Have a balanced dinner with fiber and protein.  Eat the candy soon to help reduce surges in your blood sugar levels.
  • Do indulge in your favorite treat.  If you’re at a party with a big bowl of your favorite candy, or if your child brings home the one treat you cannot pass up, do not fight it!  You will probably compensate by eating something else, only to feel unsatisfied.
  • Treat Halloween the same way you would a buffet.  Look around to see what all the options are and make a decision based on what you really want, with moderation in mind.
  • Choose the mini sizes over the fun sizes if you can. But remember these add up quickly!
  • If you have a lot of leftover candy in your house, store it in a place that you can’t see, this way you will be less likely to indulge in it.  Or even better, save a handful of your own and your families favorites and give the rest away!
  • One of my favorite ideas for a healthy Halloween is to give away non food items.  Kids would love a creepy pen, pencil or eraser.  Or another small Halloween gadget.  Think outside of the box!

Happy Halloween!

What do you do to stay healthy on Halloween?


Trans Fats Lurking

As of January 2006, all food labels had to add Trans Fat to the nutrition profile on packaged foods.  However, there’s a catch!  If the product has less than 0.5 grams per serving, it can list the amount as 0 grams! Guess what?  There is no safe level of trans fat, so if the product contains 0.45 grams per serving and you eat multiple servings (foods like crackers and cookies it’s easy to do) you may be ingesting more than you bargained for.

At the conference I attended last week, I left with lots of samples of new products to try.  Since there were so many I did not spend the time to read the label of each and every one.  At the Quaker booth, I took a sample of their new “Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Granola Bar.”

Granola Bar

Ingredients: Granola (whole grain rolled oats, sugar, rice flour, brown sugar, whole grain rolled wheat, coconut oil, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils and/or sunflower oil*, whole wheat flour, molasses, honey, sodium bicarbonate, soy lecithin, caramel color, salt, barley malt, nonfat dry milk, vanilla extract, whey sodium caseinate), oligofructose, semisweet chocolate chunks (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, salt, vanilla), crisp rice (rice, sugar, salt, barley malt), flaxseed, sugar, corn syrup, fructose, partially hydrogenated palm kern oil*, glycerin, sunflower oil, natural and artificial flavor, molasses, cocoa (processed with alkali), water, buttermilk, cocoa, salt, milkfat, soy lecithin, hydrogenated palm oil*, sorbitan monostearate, polysorbate 60.

*adds a dietarily insignificant amount of trans fat
That note is on the label.
Besides the incredibly long list of ingredients, it is very disheartening that a product that boasts to be high in nutritional value (fiber & omega 3s) contains trans fat.  Not only do they use it one time, but it’s in there three times!
Nutrition Tidbit:
  • Product labels can be quite deceiving, before grabbing a new product just because it boasts something high in nutrition, make sure to do your homework!
  • Read the nutrition facts label – in packaged foods like this make sure to look out for saturated & trans fat, sodium, fiber and sugar.
  • Read the ingredients!  The list should be short.  You should be able to pronounce almost everything, and if you can’t look it up to see what it is!
  • Do not buy anything with trans fat – partially hydrogenated oil.
  • Watch out for MSG – monosodium glutamate.
  • Be aware of added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols.
  • What is the product claiming?  See how they substantiate their claim.  You are already seeing a lot of products with added fiber and omega-3s.  Before you buy into these claims, think about how you can get these sources naturally.

FNCE Day #4

Monday morning I woke up with some extra time to spare before heading to the conference.  So I decided to make my breakfast out of the swag I got at the conference the day before:


I had a chocolate vitamuffin topped with a packet of Barney Butter (almond butter) and a packet of dried plums (4 in the packet).  While the breakfast tasted good, it was a bit too sweet for me and would have been better as an afternoon snack.  When I left the hotel I got a medium soy latte to pump up the protein content of my meal:


I covered all the nutritional components: fiber (vitamuffin & dried fruit), protein (soy milk & almond butter), and healthy fat (almond butter).

The breakfast held me over really well.  Lunch was eaten again at the expo 🙂  I tried to have different foods than the day before – it’s always fun trying new food products!!  And there were tons to try.

In the afternoon I went to two fantastic sessions, the first was blogging & beyond and the second was treatment techniques for eating disorder patients.  I learned a lot during these two sessions.

After these sessions I went to more NE specialty group meetings.  The first was the Author’s meeting and the second was the Internet & Business Technology meeting.  These were some of the most useful sessions.

After the sessions, I met up with my roommate Pam, her brother, and his girlfriend for dinner.  We were staying with them that evening, and leaving the next morning.  The group chose the steakhouse: Capital Grille.  They all love the calamari there so that was the appetizer for the table.  It had spicy peppers in it, and was really delicious!

Here’s my portion, plus I took a little more 🙂


For my entree, I decided to have steak, especially since I had fish the last few nights and we were at a steakhouse.  However, I was disappointed they didn’t have a petite filet on the menu.  The normal filet mignon was 10 ounces, I asked Pam if she wanted to share and she was very pleased to do so.  The table also ordered steamed asparagus and mashed potatoes.  Here’s my plate:Dinner

We decided to order 2 desserts to take home: cheescake and coconut pie.  I had a small sliver of each when we got back to their house (sorry forgot the photo!).

I felt good about my choices on this day, obviously it’s a little different than I eat normally.  But I made good decisions, and enjoyed all my food!

Nutrition Tidbit:  Steakhouses

  • Start with a house salad, with the dressing on the side to take the edge off your hunger.
  • Choose one thing to splurge on: fried calamari, mashed potatoes, potatoes au gratin, bacon or creamed spinach.  If you are having more than one, make sure to keep portions small.
  • The portions of meat are too large, opt for a lean cut such as a filet mignon and share with a friend!
  • Aim for 4-6 ounces during the meal.
  • Load up on a healthy green vegetable such as steamed asparagus or spinach to bulk up the meal.

FNCE Day #3

Sunday was the first actual day of FNCE.  The conferences go on for 3 days (Sunday, Monday & Tuesday).  The first lecture was at 8am, so I woke up early to get ready and head out.  The walk from my hotel to the conference center was about 8-10 blocks, and I asked my hotel if there was somewhere to get breakfast on the way, they suggested Caribou Coffee.  I thought the options would be similar to Starbucks, but all they had were pastries.  So I walked out and figured I would find something on my way!  I saw a 7 Eleven, and decided it was probably one of my only choices, so I went in.

7 Elevent

I was pleased to see lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  By the checkout they also had whole apples and bananas.  Then I spotted some hard-boiled eggs!


I was pleased with my overall healthy breakfast choice from 7 Eleven: 2 hard-boiled eggs, yogurt parfait, and a banana.


The yogurt parfait had real blueberries and strawberries in it, the yogurt was vanilla flavored (they didn’t have any plain) and there was a little granola on top.  It clocked in at 210 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 5 grams fiber, 27 grams sugar, 7 grams of protein and 25% calcium.   Not bad for a prepackaged parfait.  With the yogurt I had 1 whole hard-boiled egg and 1 egg white.  Afterwards, I was full so I saved my banana for mid-morning which I enjoyed between sessions.

I first went to a session on Organics which was quite interesting, and then on to a session about Prebiotics and Probiotics.  After the two sessions, I went to the NE booth to help market our fantastic DPG.  I stayed there until my stomach was growling, at which point I headed to the Expo for lunch!!  Since there are so many food samples you can make a meal out of it.  In past years I had lunch first and then went, and didn’t have room to try much.  Amy’s had delicious pizzas plus mac & cheese and tamales.  I tried a few types of new healthier chips, some soups & chili, cheese, strawberries, and kiwis.  Lean Cuisine had a lot of food to sample – 2 types of their frozen dinners in addition to Bertolli ravioli, so I had a plate of their food too.   I ended with an oatmeal cookie made with Promise spread.  Overall I covered all my basis – had some fruits & vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.  There was a lot of delicious food to sample, and I was very full by the time I walked out of the expo!

The afternoon session I attended was called “Child Care Provider’s Role in Preventing Obesity.”  I loved this session!  It’s not an area I work on, but I do love kids and was interested in hearing what the experts had to say.   This session ended at 4:30 and then I went to on of our NE (Nutrition Entrepreneurs) meeting about Private Practice.  A cool thing about NE is that they have 6 specialty groups since people in the group work in many different areas.  The groups are: private practice, authors, speakers, coaches, corporate health & internet/business technology.  The private practice meeting was very inspiring.  At this point my roommate, Pam and I went back to our hotel to get in more comfortable clothes and head to dinner.

We went to a restaurant called: Vesta Dipping Grill, which was recommended by a local herself.  All the food comes with 3 dipping sauces, sounded like a fun concept!  I actually wasn’t starving by the time we got there, I guess I ate more at the expo than I realized?!  I decided to order 2 appetizers when the waiter told me the entrees were “generously sized.”

First, they put delicious bread on the table with roasted garlic!  Yum – I had 1 slice.


Then the waiter gave us an amuse bouche: southwestern soup

amuse bouch

It was about the size of a shot glass, delicious way to start the meal.

For my 1st appetizer I ordered:  Red and Yellow Beets with humboldt fog goat cheese, sage tempura, candied walnuts, and pumpkin vinaigrette.


This was amazing!  Beets and goat cheese are two of my favorite foods, but the quality of the goat cheese put it above most I’ve had and the beets were roasted to perfection.  Definitely goes down as one of my favorite beet & goat cheese salads!

Next up: Golden Ponzu Shrimp with soy butter, jalapeno ponzu and sambal (the 3 dipping sauces).


I was a surprised when this dish came out deep-fried!  But it was my fault since I didn’t ask – something I tell all my clients to do.  But after the first bite, I wasn’t really disappointed.  It was incredibly delicious.  If I had known it was fried, I wouldn’t have ordered a salad with cheese since both are high in fat – but once in a while it’s no big deal.  I ate every bite of both appetizers and enjoyed the dinner immensely.

My friend Pam ordered: coconut masala grilled tofu steak with pistachio-apricot rice, roasted-tomato spinach salad (I’m not sure which sauces she got).  But here’s a photo:


She loved it – and said she had never had a “tofu steak” before!

All in all it was a great day.  We crashed that evening, and knew we had another big one ahead of us.

Nutrition Tidbit:

  • Even when you are confident that you know how a restaurant dish is prepared – still ask!
  • Just say “can you describe how this dish is prepared?”
  • Then there will be no mistakes of what you will get.

FNCE Day #2

Saturday morning I woke up after a very restful night sleep, bright and early to head to our Nutrition Entrepreneurs board meeting.  Our room was reserved from 7:30 – 3:30, where we would have breakfast & lunch and go through all our agenda items.

I walked in to this spread:


Juice, Bagels with cream cheese, jam & jelly


Yogurt (yoplait sweetened), dried fruit, milk, cereal (cheerios, multigrain cheerios, total, wheaties) and fruit (berries, honeydew, cantaloupe & watermelon)

Here’s my plate:

My Breakfast

I decided to go with a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with 1/3 less fat cream cheese (I was surprised to see that as an option!); plenty of fruit, and a glass of skim milk (for protein).

My colleagues either went for cereal bowls or bagels.   I knew a simple bowl of cereal, would not fill me up, and I was hungry!

Mid-morning I snacked on a little more fruit.

Around 12pm, our lunches were delivered.  We had ordered ahead of time, and I got a veggie sandwich.  Here was the box:


My sandwich included: grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato and boursin cheese on focaccia bread.  The bread was huge!! I think it was close to 4 ounces.  I immediately got rid of the top half of the bread, and ate the sandwich open faced:


The veggies were surprisingly not very oily, and I loved the combination with the boursin cheese.  I ate the apple with the sandwich.  I tried the pasta salad, but did not like it.

Throughout the afternoon I snacked on the chips (not typical for me to eat regular chips, but they were yummy!) and the cookie.  Definitely some boredom eating…but I didn’t feel bad about it.  Sometimes chips & cookies are fine, if you normally eat healthy foods.  And if you were wondering if the others ate the chips & cookies – well I didn’t stare and analyze what others ate but I’d say a good majority had at least one of the treats, if not both!

The meeting wrapped up around 4pm, and we headed directly to the opening session where both the ADA President and Suze Orman spoke.  Wow – Suze Orman was inspiring to listen to!  I think tons of dietitians were taking notes on how they can have more money 🙂 The opening session finished at 6pm, and we had to go directly to a networking event that our group (Nutrition Entrepreneurs) was hosting with another DPG (dietetic practice group) called DBC (Dietitians in Business & Communication).  We hosted a joint networking social, and it was a blast!  There were 300 people at the cocktail party and there was tons of food!  I took photos for you to see.

Chicken Skewers

Great presentation, right?  Sesame crusted chicken skewers with asian coleslaw.

Chicken Skewer

I had one, and ate all of the coleslaw which was light & refreshing.  I had one piece of chicken which was good, but there were too many sesame seeds and it was a tad on the dry side.


Assorted Bruschetta





Mashed Potato Topping Bar

Mashed Potato Topping Bar.  They had mashed yukon gold potatoes, purple potatoes, and yams that they put in a martini glass and you added your own toppings.  Loved this idea!  I was full after my first plate of food though, so I didn’t have any.

There were some other things I didn’t get photos of: more cheese with crackers, smoked salmon appetizer, 3 types of dips with pita, cajun chicken skewers and probably a few other things!

Here’s my plate of food:

My Plate

I had 2 triangles of pita with some hummus (the hummus was one of the best parts, not sure what they put in it!), 1 cajun chicken skewer (I did not like this at all, and left it), vegetables (grilled asparagus, white asparagus, zucchini, pepper, a few pieces of cheese (pecorini & cheddar), bean bruschetta, and fruit.  It doesn’t seem like a lot but with the chicken skewer and coleslaw from earlier I was full and knew I wanted to save room for dessert!


They had a lot of mini desserts to choose from plus fruit.  The berries were so delicious!  I also chose the mini chocolate chip cheesecake and a chocolate mousse.  Both were fantastic, I finished the event full but satisfied and not overly stuffed.

Just to let you know I did not drink this weekend.  Being 1 mile in the sky, you are already prone to dehydration and some “icky” feelings; I didn’t want to add to that!

FNCE Day #1

I’m back from Denver, Colorado and boy was it an amazing weekend!  I learned so much, networked with amazing colleagues, and am back completely pumped to be in the field of nutrition.

I flew to Denver Thursday evening and got in around 8pm (10pm Eastern time).  Knowing my flight was over dinner time, I packed food with me.  That afternoon I picked up a salad from California Pizza Kitchen, since it is very close to my office.  I got a half BBQ chicken salad, without the tortilla strips.  I ate the salad, plus the bread and a honeycrisp apple on the flight.  I know some people are embarrassed to bring food on a plane, but personally I think it’s better to bring something that you will enjoy and keep you full than being starving!  I met my friend Pam at the airport.  Her brother and his girlfriend picked us up and brought us back to their house to spend the night.

Friday morning, we ate breakfast and decided what to do for the day.  They thought we would enjoy the Rocky Mountain National Park, I agreed!  For breakfast, they had 2 flavors of Special K cereal with skim milk as well as fresh strawberries and grapes.  I have never had Special K before, and while it was tasty, the lack of fiber left me hungry soon after.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Between the hours of 11:30 – 12:30 my stomach was rumbling so I ate a Luna bar and a mini box of raisins:


The Rocky Mountain National Park was gorgeous!!!  Here’s a photo of Pam & I:

We saw lots of Elk, did you know the males are about 1,100 pounds!  Check out this photo up close:


Here’s another photo:

We left the park around 2pm, and were all rather hungry.  In Colorado there are tons of Mexican restaurants, so we decided to try one out.  Since I wasn’t starving from my snacks, I ordered the Chicken Fajita Salad without sour cream.  It had chicken, peppers, onions, cheese & guacamole.  I asked for the dressing on the side too.  But the “fajita” was cooked in quite a bit of oil so that was the dressing.

The salad was ok – I’m not a fan of green peppers and as I mentioned it was oilier than I would have liked.  But I still ate it.  I had a few chips with salsa before the salad came and a few more dipped in my guacamole, probably about 10 in total.  I avoided the green peppers, had some of the cheese and ate the chicken & onions with the lettuce.  Wasn’t my favorite meal, but it did the job of filling my tummy 🙂 And I didn’t leave super full, which can happen too quickly if you’re not careful at Mexican!

Later in the day we checked into our hotel in Denver.  We had a Nutrition Entrepreneurs board dinner that evening.  They are always so much fun, and a great way to kick off a fun weekend. We met at the restaurant Twelve, which serves Modern American food and changes their menu monthly to accommodate for seasonal ingredients. They first brought out the most delicious bread. I had a slice of each with a shmear of butter – the brown bread was absolutely amazing.

I wasn’t starving for dinner (the late lunch really held me well!).  So I skipped an appetizer and ordered a main dish only.  I went with the Scallops:

Diver Scallop, Red Beet, Celery-Root Fuji Apple Salad

The scallops were fantastic, perfectly cooked.  And the salad was light yet refreshing and paired really well with the scallops.  It was a filling meal, but didn’t leave you weighed down.

If you’re curious what the other dietitians ordered.  Some had 3 appetizers: salad, squash soup & mussels (that was a popular order).  Several people ordered the beef, which was described as:  slow braised beef shoulder, barley “risotto”, king trumpet mushroom:

By the time we finished our entrees, it was 10pm and I was fading.  Instead of staying for dessert, I called it a night with several other people and I went back to my hotel.  Even though the dessert menu was very tempting, my sleep won over.  Especially with our board meeting the next day starting at 7:30!

So, in case you were wondering, dietitians eat white bread with butter, beef and dessert 🙂  This is where moderation fits in.  None of the portions were extremely large either, so even if some dishes were heavier, you didn’t have to eat a huge quantity.  If you are in Denver, I highly recommend the restaurant Twelve!


I am heading out of town today for ADA’s FNCE: Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo.  It’s in Denver, Colorado and I’m going out one day early to explore the area with a colleague.  Saturday we have an all day board meeting for my Nutrition Entrepreneurs group and then the conference is Sunday, Monday & Tuesday.  I’m really looking forward to some educational lectures.

As an RD you have to do continuing education to maintain your RD status.  I went to FNCE 2 years ago when it was in Philadelphia, but last year it was the weekend of my wedding.  I’m excited to go this year!

I will try to blog while there, but I’m not sure of internet access or time availability.  But I will be sure to take photos of all my meals eaten so you can get an idea of how I eat while I travel and particularly how groups of RDs eat when together since I know that is something people are always curious about!