National Nutrition Month!

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Get to Know Us and Join the Celebration!

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? While we believe that every month should be celebrated in good health, this month in particular let us help elevate your health education to a new level! Our team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists at Elizabeth Baron Cole & Associates are among the top qualified experts who provide reputable advice and practical methods to improve our individual and collective medical, health, dietary and fitness status. Learn more about our individual dietitians by clicking here!

For over thirty years, our practice has served our Westside and Santa Monica community for the better, and since 1930, our parent organization, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has promoted well-being to the population at large. Every March, dietitians all around the country celebrate the benefits of proper nutrition. This month, we have put together a few of our favorite ideas to help influence your health for the better. Remember, small changes all add up to create a lasting effect! Follow along below for our simple suggestions to guide you on the path of well-being.


The following tips scratch the surface of the vast depth and breadth of knowledge we provide our patients on a regular basis:

1)    Make Healthy Substitutions Whenever Possible

  • Unsweetened sparkling water or decaf, unsweetened iced tea, instead of soda
  • Vegetables, legumes or whole grains instead of processed, white starchy foods
  • (make ½ of your plate veggies)
  • Use olive oil or avocado puree in place of butter
  • Low-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise
  • Nuts (in moderation) instead of croutons in a salad

2)    Eat Natural Foods Colorful Selections

  • Minimize processed foods, sweets, candies, beverages
  • Opt for whole foods ex) whole grains, plain Greek yogurt, hummus, nuts and seeds, and legumes

3)    Make Your Plate Colorful

  • Colorful foods optimize nutrient density and disease prevention
  • Incorporate a large amount of colorful vegetables (and a modest amount of fruit) to make your plate attractive and to ensure consumption of a wide spectrum of nutrients

4)    Add Variety to Your Protein Choices

  • Every protein source has its benefits and pitfalls.  Incorporate different forms of protein to decrease taste bud boredom and increase the benefits of each individual source
  • To add fiber, B-vitamins, and iron: choose legumes
  • To add heart healthy oils: choose fatty fish
  • To add iron and B-vitamins: choose lean poultry and grass-fed red meats
  • To add calcium, Vitamin D, B12, and phosphorus: choose low fat dairy
  • To add lecithin, Vitamin E, and choline: choose eggs

5)    Create a Positive, Healthy, Eating Environment

  • Ensure your meals are taken in a relaxed, pressure free environment.
  • Take time to slowly savor and chew each bite, allowing your body to sufficiently digest your food and reflect fullness cues.
  • Avoid eating in from of the television or computer, as this may lead to mindless eating and overconsumption

6)    Start Your Meals with an Advantage

  • Add a salad, veggies, or veggie-based soup, and 8 oz. of water before your entrée. This ensures low-calorie, healthy options will be eaten first and will fill you up, allowing for easier weight control.

Try to focus on just one of these tips per week, incorporating multiple ideas as the weeks go on.


Celebrations: The Gift of Health

Celebrations: The Gift of Health

We celebrate many traditions over the holidays, but how about celebrating personal accomplishments such as mastering challenges and attending to your own health, weight and fitness goals?  The following tips can help you succeed in minding your health this holiday season.  Celebrate your "self-care" efforts.   Aren't you worth it?

See Your Success

Visualize how you intend to handle potentially precarious eating situations.  Write, review, and post your plans days before arriving at holiday gatherings to make it easier to implement your ideas.

Burn Calories

Walk, hike, bike, garden, or exercise in other ways the day before, the day of, and the day after parties and holiday meals.  Strive to exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days/week.

Buffer Hunger

Arrive at gatherings without being over hungry.  Snack one hour before the event.  Try moderate portions of veggie soup, veggies, low fat cheese, cottage cheese, hummus, nut butter, or nuts.

Alcohol Effects

To avoid overconsumption, keep from drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Snack at least 15 minutes before drinking alcohol.

It's Just Another Meal

Consider holiday gatherings as "meals" rather than as "feasts".  Serve yourself modest portions.  Eat mainly protein and veggies with a hint of starch.  Select only samplings of your favorite indulgences to avoid deprivation but allow for progress.  If you sense that samplings will trigger overeating, stay away from them entirely.

Feeding Physical Hunger

Before eating, try to distinguish physical from emotional hunger.  Serve yourself only the amount of food that will satisfy your physical hunger.  When you're comfortably full, stop eating.

Suspend Seconds

Wait 10 to 20 minutes before going back for small portions of "seconds".  It takes your brain this long to register fullness.

Mindful Eating

Be conscious, not passive. Eat slower, chew well, focus on the taste and texture of the food. Aim for comfortable fullness and satisfaction instead of becoming overfull.

Patience Wins

Be patient with your efforts.  Small positive changes are better than none.

Sampling Counts

While in the kitchen or at gatherings, be mindful about "sampling" food.  Small bites can add up to a full meal of calories in no time.


Frosting= 60 cal. per Tbsp
Chocolate Chips= 100 cal. per 2 Tbsp
Candy= 100 cal. per piece
Cookie Dough= 120 cal. per bite
Cookie= 150 cal. per medium size

Olives= 50 cal. per 7 whole Olives
1 Cracker with cheese= 55 cal.
5 chips with dip= 130 cal.
Peanuts= 100 cal. per 20 pieces
6 hours d'oeuvres = 500 cal (average)


Each Item Below is Approximately 100 Calories

Meats, Eggs, Cheese

Shrimp Cocktail............16 pieces
Sushi............3-4 small pieces
Cheese Cubes............1"x1" piece
Turkey............2 oz.
Deviled Egg............2 halves
Quiche, cheese & bacon............2"x2" piece
Lean roast beef............1 1/2 oz


Truffle or See's Candy
............1 piece
Cookie............1 small
Pecan Pie............1.5"x1.5" piece
Pumpkin Pie............2"x2" piece

Veggies, Dips, Nuts, Chips, Crackers, Bread

Veggies (raw)............4 cups
Guacamole or Hummus............4 Tbsp.
Ranch Dressing............1 Tbsp.
Dinner roll............1 small


Apple Cider............6 fl. oz
Hot Cocoa............4 fl. oz
Wine............3 1/2 fl. oz
Gin/Vodka.Run............1 1/2 fl. oz
Beer............8 fl. oz
Eggnog............3 fl. oz
Mixers: Tonic Water, Coke, Fruit Juice............10 fl. oz, 8 fl oz, 6 fl. oz


31 Days of Self Care





  • Strive to stay the same weight, get leaner or lighter throughout December.
  • Eat and drink sensibly.
  • Eat every 3 hours. 
  • Drink 8-10 cups fluid daily (water preferred).
  • Carry healthy snacks to use throughout the day. 
  • Snack 30-60 minutes before going out to dinners or parties.
  • Approach holiday dinners as “meals” rather than “feasts”. 
  • Eat plenty of veggies and protein before having a small amount of starch. 
  • Don’t go back for “seconds”. 
  • Eat only samplings of your favorite indulgences; savor them slowly.
  • Snack at least 15 minutes before drinking alcohol.
  • Alcohol: 100 calories = 4 oz. wine or 8 oz. beer or 1.5 oz. hard liquor.
  • Strategize how to manage difficult eating situations.




  • Strive to stay the same weight, get leaner or lighter throughout December.
  • Exercise: 5 days weekly, 30-60 minutes each time, with purpose (avoid injuries).
  • Exercise with fervor the days before, the day of and days after parties. 
  • Exercise early in the day before taking care of holiday tasks.
  • Secure ample exercise time by minimizing and simplifying errands and responsibilities.
  • Remove obstacles: Exercise alone, at or close to home, if time is limited.
  • Ask others to join you in recreational exercise before or after holiday meals.
  • Organize group walks or hikes rather than being indoors to eat together as main focus. 

Surround yourself with those who support your goals.  We are available to you, as your personal experts, to secure your success. 

Thanksgiving: A Feast or Meal


Thanksgiving time creates thoughts of family, friends and plenty of irresistible foods.  Boundless temptations can make it challenging to stay with healthy choices. Yet, Thanksgiving can support your best goals once you start thinking of it as a “meal” rather than as a “feast.”  

Arrive Moderately Hungry
Strive to avoid over-hunger in preparation for this meal.  Eat normally earlier in the day and arrive at the Thanksgiving event reasonably hungry.  If you’re not famished, you can think more clearly, select your food more wisely and eat slower. 
Reframe Your Thoughts
Think of Thanksgiving as a “meal” not a “feast”.  Visualize deriving pleasure from the quality rather than the quantity of the food.  Pace yourself, eat slowly and savor each bite.  Strive to eat calmly to the point of comfortable fullness.  Save room for a sampling of your favorite dessert.
Remind yourself that you don’t have to overindulge on Thanksgiving.  You can arrange to have Thanksgiving themed foods for the next several days.

Exercise First
A refreshing exercise session may help compensate for any excess calories eaten at dinner.  Depending on your effort, 30-60 minutes of strong exercise could burn 150-300 or more calories.
Social Strategies
Surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive of your positive nutrition and lifestyle choices.  Connect with them throughout the event.  Temper your involvement with those who make it harder for you to take care of yourself and your personal goals. Instead of rushing through dinner, take time to talk, reflect, and delight in the company of others.  Eating slowly gives your body time to register fullness (usually 15-20 minutes).
Drink to Fullness
Before the meal begins, drink 8-12 ounces of water.  This will help fill any void in your stomach and put a dent in your hunger.  It will also provide faster fullness, satisfaction and can make it easier to curb your total intake.
Smaller Plates
Our brains tend to register a “full plate” as being equally satisfying, whether the plate is large or small. This Thanksgiving, try to use a smaller dinner plate of 8-10” diameter to avoid overconsumption. 
Be Selective
Before your dinner plate is in your hands, survey the entire table of options.  Identify which healthy foods will occupy most of your plate including plenty of veggies and turkey breast.  Be discriminating about which high calorie foods you might serve yourself.  Select only little “samples” of indulgences.  This way, you’ll feel less deprived but also victorious knowing that you’ve made wiser choices overall.
Eat Your Courses in Order
Eat your salad and/or veggies first, followed by your protein, then starch, and end with only a small bit of dessert.  Filling up on healthier options first may minimize your need for rich, heavy foods.  Before dessert begins, recognize that you’re no longer physically hungry.  Use that awareness to guide you toward savoring only a sampler of your favorite dessert.
Above all, celebrate and delight in the true spirit of this holiday.   Be thankful for the big and little things bringing you joy this season.   Approaching this meal with a positive perspective using the techniques listed above, can translate into healthier choices … another thing for which to be thankful.

Halloween Sweets: Taming the Treats



October brings one of the sweetest holidays of the year, Halloween.  Even the slightest sweet tooth can make it challenging to maintain healthy choices as this candy  based season kicks off.  To help you and your family tame the treats and sweets of Halloween and strike a balance between indulgences and deprivation, think in terms of priorities and moderation.  The following tips target ways to blend fun and health.

Whether you are going trick or treating or to a party, eat a nutritious, filling meal before heading out.  It is easier to make wise choices and consume less if you’re not over-hungry at the start of the evening.

Rethink the purpose of Halloween.  Emphasize that the “fun” of festivities is about being together with friends and family. Deemphasize the focus on sweets as the sole purpose of this holiday. As an alternative to candy, give fun prizes to trick-or-treaters such as notepads, puzzles, bubbles, mini pumpkins, etc. 

Think of candy and other indulgences as “sometimes” foods to be eaten occasionally, carefully selected, slowly savored and intentionally eaten rather than forbidden.  If it’s truly worth it, choose indulgences you enjoy but are also able to eat in moderation.
Do not purchase types of candy that may trigger out of control consumption.   Less preferred types may make it easier to eat fewer.  Choose the “fun” or “mini” sized types for easier portion control. 

“Out of sight, out of reach, out of mind” truly works.  Immediately after Halloween, gather excess candy and get rid of most or all of it.   Keep very few sweets; donate the rest to a charitable organization.
The average American consumes 22 teaspoons, equal to 88 grams, of “added sugar” daily found in sweets and other foods that have sugar added during processing.  We recommend children consume less than 12 grams (3 teaspoons), women less than 20 grams (5 teaspoons) and men less than 28 grams (7 teaspoons) “added sugar” daily. Diabetics may benefit by consuming even lower quantities.  Be selective and precise about the type and portion of candy and other sweets you eat before, during and after Halloween.  Consult a qualified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to determine your personal needs. 




12 grams sugar = 1 tablespoon sugar or 3 sugar cubes

4 grams sugar   = 1 teaspoon sugar or 1 sugar cube

Fun-Size Bars

3 Musketeers           
12 grams / 3 sugar cubes

Almond Joy               
10 grams / 2 ½ sugar cubes

16 grams / 4 sugar cubes

Kit Kat                
10 grams / 2 ½ sugar cubes

Milky Way               
12 grams / 3 sugar cubes

Reese's PB Cup           
12 grams / 3 sugar cubes

10 grams / 2 ½ sugar cubes

10 grams / 2 ½ sugar cubes










Candy By The Piece

M&Ms - Plain / 24 pieces
12 grams / 3 sugar cubes

Skittles / 12 pieces
12 grams / 3 sugar cubes

Starburst / 2 pieces
12 grams / 3 sugar cubes

Tootsie Roll / 2 midgees
12 grams / 3 sugar cubes

Mini-Size Bars

3 Musketeers
4 grams / 1 sugar cube

Almond Joy
8 grams/ 2 sugar cubes

8 grams / 2 sugar cubes

Hershey's Miniatures
4 grams / 1 sugar cube

Kit Kat
6 grams / 1 ½ sugar cubes

Milky Way
6 grams / 1 ½ sugar cubes

Reese's PB Cup
4 grams / 1 sugar cube

4 grams / 1 sugar cube

8 grams / 2 sugar cubes


Autumn Time Change: Keep Your Fitness Rhythm

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Autumn is the time to change our clocks and adjust to shorter days. During this transition from summer to fall, our exercise routine can get disrupted.  Determine how to align your healthy fitness habits into the months of fall.  The following tips can help.

Exercise When it’s Light

Our natural circadian rhythms can readjust to match the time change.  Switch your exercise time from light summer evenings to autumn mornings.  You’ll be more energized for the day and will feel accomplished. 

Modify Obstacles

Identify obstacles that keep you from following through with your exercise goals.   See how you can resolve, rearrange, or redesign obstacles that “get in your way” of self-care.  If you find this too difficult to accomplish, contact an RDN who specializes in lifestyle and behavior modification to help you embrace healthier habits. 

Activity of Daily Living

Just like with other routine daily activitiesdesignate time every day to being active.  Remove distractions (computer, phone…) and devote a block of time to taking care of yourself and your body.

Accountability Counts

To help you succeed, you may benefit by building in systems of accountability.  Create and sign a contract vowing to keep your commitment to yourself.  Keep it posted in an obvious place.   Read it often to remind yourself of your realistic goals and what matters most, your health.  Enlist support from close friends, family, or a professional.

Socialize Through Outdoor Activities

Encourage friends and family to become activity partners; they will probably appreciate the suggestion.  Rather than sitting and dining, consider converting social gatherings to walks, hikes, bike rides, etc.   If they can’t show up, do the exercise on your own.

Exercise When Your Kids Exercise

Parents tend to sit on the sidelines while their children practice with their sports teams.  Make this your exercise time too.  Speed walk around the field, campus, or neighborhood while your children are busy with their own activity.  On days when they’re not with their teams, arrange to exercise with them: walk, hike, bike, play Frisbee, soccer, basketball … any activity will do.

Tune Your Body During TV Time

As darkness occurs earlier, we tend to spend more time doing sedentary things such as watching more TV.  Tune your body during TV time.  Depending on your exercise potential, do standing lunges, lift hand weights or use household items such as filled bottles, cans, or heavy candlesticks as makeshift weights. Jog in place, do jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, stretches, use a treadmill, stationery bike or other cardio equipment.

Routine Tasks Get Fit

Incorporate household tasks into your workout routine: garden, car wash, dog-walk, etc.

Community Recreation Center Classes

Fitness, yoga and stretch classes held at community recreation centers are cost effective and geared for all levels of competency.

Don’t Let the Rain Stop You

Regardless of the weather outside, your body needs regular reminders of exercise.  When it’s wet outdoors, keep fit by using indoor exercise options: home, gym, recreation center, mall, etc.

50:50 Lunch Break

Spend half of your lunchtime fueling your body with nutritious food. Devote the other half to getting fit, and burning calories. 

Be Weather Prepared

Dress in layers of clothes that keep you warm, dry and shielded from cold wind.  Keep an extra set of exercise shoes and attire in your car.  Use reflective, bright clothing, especially if you find yourself exercising at daybreak, dusk or after dark.

Back to School Lunches & Snacks





The following ideas are general and do not take personal or social circumstances, food allergies/sensitivities, philosophies, specialized diets or medical conditions into consideration.    To discuss individual concerns and receive individualized counseling and dietary/behavioral suggestions, contact an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) who is highly experienced in pediatric concerns.

Children who learn about nutrition may make healthier food choices through their lifespan. They are naturally curious about how food affects their bodies.  Involving them in the selection and preparation of their meals and snacks will help them understand how diet directly affects their energy, fitness, mental acuity, test scores, mood and health. Be enthusiastic about their taking care of themselves and reaching their peak potentials through diet.

Tips for Parents

  • Include your child in planning their diet. 
  • With your child, create a list of their favorite and least favorite lunches and snacks.  Consider their tendencies toward crunchy or smooth, spicy or mild, hot or cold, individual items or mixed foods.
  • Together, design a calendar of weekly menus and shopping lists.
  • Bring your child with you to the grocery store or open-air market.
  • Encourage nutritious, satisfying foods. 
  • Healthy lunches and frequent snacks minimize after-school hunger and may curb carb cravings.
  • It’s okay if kids regularly repeat their favorite veggies and fruits. 
  • Provide easy to eat foods due to brief lunch periods, snack breaks and distractions.
  • Some children eat very little at one sitting.  Consider packing “appetizers” instead of a big sandwich and whole piece of fruit.
  • Some children like ingredients packed individually. They create their own sandwich or they may eat the ingredients separately.
  • Cut sandwiches into bite-sized pieces or turn them into fun shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Have your child select a lunchbox, thermos and water bottle with their favorite color or pattern. 

Strive for Wholesome Foods

To support optimal health and wellbeing, buy foods that are organic and free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, nitrates and nitrites.  Vegetarian, vegan, dairy and gluten free diets can provide optimal nutrition if selected and consumed wisely.   See a qualified RDN to confirm adequate nutrition intake and supplementation as needed.

A Few Smart Swaps

  • Whole grain bread, wraps, crackers or pretzels instead of white.
  • Whole fruit instead of fruit snacks or leathers.
  • Organic nut butter and fruit spread or banana for a healthy PB & J. 

A Few Alternatives to Sandwiches

  • Hummus, egg, tuna, or chicken salad with whole-grain crackers, pita wedges or wrap and veggies or fruit.
  • Whole grain pasta salad with legumes, cheese, chicken, or veggies.
  • Chili (vegetarian or meat based) made with beans.
  • Macaroni and cheese made with real cheese (dairy or non-dairy).

A Few Smart Snacks – Protein & Fiber are Key

  • Wholesome yogurt with cereal, granola, nuts or seeds.
  • Wholesome crackers, pita, veggie sticks or fruit with nut butter, hummus, guacamole or low fat cheese (dairy or non-dairy).
  • Unsalted nuts or trail mix.
  • Protein-based smoothie.
  • Wholesome nutrition bar.

We wish you and your children a happy, healthy school year!

Summer Hydration Tips

Summer Hydration Tips

How paradoxical.  We live beside the vast Pacific Ocean yet we face the most dangerous drought in history.  Water’s extreme importance influences critical factors, externally and internally.   

Rationing water for our own personal consumption is paramount for optimal health. Discover how and why hydration is so essential to our wellbeing, especially during the hot summer months ahead.
Approximately 65% of our bodies are composed of water.  It is the element upon which almost every mechanism of functioning is dependent.  It stimulates clearer thinking, transports nutrients, aids in metabolism, maintains cellular equilibrium, bolsters gastrointestinal system competence, drives removal of waste products, regulates body temperature, and provides countless other key functions as well.

Nerves in our stomach communicate with our brain signaling fullness based on stomach expansion.   You may hasten weight loss by cutting your hunger and calorie intake by drinking 8 oz. water before and during your meals. 

In addition, thirst is often mistaken for hunger, leading us to overeat, when our bodies actually need more fluid, not more calories.  Whenever you feel “hungry”, ask yourself if you’re truly physically hungry, or not.  Try drinking a hot or cold beverage instead of eating and see if all you really needed was liquid, not food. 

Strong mental focus, concentration and acuity rely on adequate hydration.  Conversely, fatigue and tiredness are often linked to dehydration.  To perk up your senses, try using a glass of water instead of using coffee or other liquid stimulants.

Reputable studies have determined that dehydration is not the source of all acne, but drinking more water may help flush out impurities in the skin, resulting in clearer, more glowing skin.

Typically, by the time we feel thirsty, we are already experiencing dehydration. 

  • At the Day’s Beginning - To give your body a strong foundation, drink 8 oz. water when you wake up and before you go out for the day.
  • After Voiding - Replace what your kidneys expel.  Follow your output (urination) with 4+ oz. fluid.
  • After Elimination - Easy, smooth transport of waste products through the GI system is reliant on adequate hydration.  Simply doubling your water intake may help resolve constipation.  This is especially important when eating a diet high in insoluble fiber.  Follow elimination with 4+oz. fluid.


  • Before exercise, drink 4-8 oz. water; during exercise, drink 3-5 oz. water every 20 minutes; after exercise, drink 8+ oz. water.
  • Intensity and duration of exercise affect hydration and fluid needs.   When exercise lasts less than one hour, water is best.  When exercise lasts longer than one hour and is moderate to high-intensity, use electrolyte based fluids.
  • Take breaks to hydrate throughout your routine.  When exercising outdoors, bring water with you or know where water fountains exist. 
  • Well-trained athletes perspire more than those who are less fit.   Extreme physical effort and elevated body temperature requires a more efficient cooling system prompting more extreme perspiration. 

Children can readily experience dehydration due to many factors, including extensive exercise (especially outdoors in summer heat), fever, and diarrhea.  This summer, be aware of children’s long hours at outdoor camps, sports programs, or days spent at the beach, park or pool.  Activity indoors during peak hours of sun exposure (10-2) can help protect against water loss.

Children need at least six 8 oz. cups of water daily.   Additionally, they should drink 8 oz. water per hour while engaging in recreational outdoor summer exercise.  Add another 8 ounces per half hour of strenuous activity.

Children should be taught how to detect their need for hydration based on a quick urine check.  Clear/pale yellow nearly odorless urine indicates adequate hydration.  Absence of urination or dark-yellow, strong-smelling urine indicates dehydration.


  • Salt, Sugar, Carbohydrate, Alcohol
    These elements tend to increase needs for fluid.
  • Gender and Body Size
    Men generally perspire more than women and people with larger body size sweat more than those who are trimmer.
  • Air Travel, Temperature, Humidity, Altitude
    Plane flights and high air temperature, humidity, and altitude increase fluid needs.

Invest in a glass water bottle to avoid any potential leaching of chemicals from plastic water bottles (BPA and others) and to lessen your carbon impact on the planet. 

When adults and children don’t drink enough water, try alternatives that may be more appealing, thirst quenching and just as rehydrating: “spa water” (add mint, cucumber and/or sliced fruit to water), diluted 100-percent juice or sports drinks.  Ice cubes or popsicles made with fresh fruit can make hydration fun and yummy. 

To build a habit of regular fluid intake throughout the day, set a friendly reminder on your phone.  Also, keep your water bottle in sight while at work or keep a pitcher of chilled spa water in close reach while at home.

This summer, take measures to help modify the drought, but not at your body’s expense.  Enjoy the pleasures that come with substantial hydration.  It’s a critical and refreshing practice; you’ll feel the difference.

Spring into Summer Health

Spring into Summer Health

Quarterly Resolutions Review

Spring is here, to be enjoyed in full measure.  On the horizon is summertime swimsuit season.  Now is a good time to reflect on the resolutions you made at the start of the year.  Without judgment, review the goals you made in January.    See which ones may be working favorably and which ones need readjustment.  The following tips may help you reach your goals more easily.

Plan then Act

Write down the goals you wish to accomplish including practical, feasible dates by which you plan to achieve them.  If your goals are health or weight related, change may occur more easily if you become accountable to yourself through a tracking system.  Record your food intake, exercise, energy and other features that help you recognize smooth as well as tough spots.  Reinforce positive progress.  Integrate new strategies to make tough spots easier.  Reach out for help if you find yourself stuck or frustrated.

Small Changes, Big Success

To make progress easier, take the stairs rather than the elevator; swap out soda for water flavored with fresh fruit; snack on crunchy veggies instead of chips; have fresh or frozen fruit or yogurt instead of ice cream or cookies; prepare or purchase veggie laden meals to have wholesome food within reach; eat regularly to discourage voracious hunger; eat at home more often than dining out to keep temptation and portions in check.

Exercise Essentials

To succeed make yourself, your health and your body priorities.  Schedule your workouts as essential events in your calendar.  Exercise in enjoyable, practical ways, thirty to sixty minutes, five days weekly, whether at home, outside, in a studio, gym or your office.  Contact us if you’re having trouble getting started, staying consistent or falling short of seeing the results you expect. 

Reward Yourself

Preplanned rewards can help you stay focused and speed your progress.  Indulge in healthy rewards to celebrate your hard work.   Buy a new fitness outfit or sneakers, book a personal training session, go to a museum or the theatre, treat yourself to a massage or pedicure, plan a getaway, visit a loved one.

Reach Out For Success

Sustainable change takes time.  Try to be patient.   If you get stuck or frustrated, reach out for the support, strategies, accountability or personalized programs that will get you where you want to be.  We can help you.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Recently, Consumer Reports has pin-pointed exactly what GMOs are, why they are causing so much controversy and what actions consumers are taking to raise consciousness about their place in our food.

What are GMO’s?

Genetically modified organisms are created by altering the genetic makeup of an organism with the DNA of another organism such as a plant, animal, bacteria or virus. GMO’s where created so that crops could defend themselves against herbicides that would normally hinder their development.

Recent studies on animals consuming GMOs have suggested that genetically modified foods may have a negative impact on one’s immune system, liver and kidneys. Unfortunately, the government has taken few measures in restricting the use of genetically modified organisms in our food. 

In recent reports, Dr. Michael Hansen, an expert on genetically modified crops, states: “There hasn’t been enough research to determine whether GMO’s are harmful to people, but scientists around the world agree that GMOs have the potential to introduce allergens and create other unintended changes that may affect health.” 

Many people unknowingly consume GMO’s; according to the USDA, 89% of crops in America are genetically modified to be herbicide tolerant.

It is important to make educated choices regarding the foods we consume on a daily basis “GMO verification” allows us to identify which foods have been have been genetically modified.

We strive to help you become aware of genetically modified organisms and where they are found in foods.

Food Facts and Tips:

Look for these logos verified by the USDA Organic guidelines, which forbid the use of GMOs. All products with this seal have been verified non-GMO, meaning their       ingredients contain no more than .09% of GMOs.


Crops grown with a genetically modified seed may include corn, edamame, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and yellow summer squash. Additionally, 94% of soy crops     have been known to be genetically modified.

Animal products such as milk, eggs and meat may have come from animals that were given GMO fodder. Verify that these types of products are organic or non-GMO.

Be sure to check out the Non-GMO Project website at for a full list of restaurants and foods that abstain from using GMO’s.

How Healthy is Your Health Food Store?

How Healthy is Your Health Food Store?

Do you shop for health enhancing food?   If so, your intentions are admirable, but regardless of your efforts, you may not be getting all the advantages you imagine.  Nutrition claims, packaging design and missing information can seduce you into purchasing food that may be less healthy than they appear. Become supermarket savvy to get the edge that yields true benefits.
Organic butter is still butter, raw sugar is still sugar, and hormone free sausage is still sausage. Purchasing wholesome products that are pure, less processed and “cleaner” may carry elements of advantage, but at their core, the nutrition value and its impact on health risk may be identical to the original version.   
Many buzzwords and health food stores can be thought of as having a “halo effect”.  This is when one positive attribute of an item, concept or company is generalized to a positive belief about the entire entity.  Edward Thorndike, a psychologist known for his work in belief systems, behavior and reinforcement, coined this phrase and concept; it is akin to judging a book (food) by its cover.
Research strongly reveals that consumers are more likely to buy products with buzzwords that imply health promotion, regardless of the foods true nutritional value.   Advertisers and food manufacturers proudly display these buzzwords which help their product sell faster than their competitor’s version.   But the product should be considered in its totality.  Regardless of the product’s wholesome element, it could still raise risk of medical concerns (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc.)  Organic Oreos are still Oreo cookies; Whole Foods’ sweetened yogurt is still a sugar laden yogurt. 
The aisles and “grab and go” cases may have “halo labeling” such as “organic, locally sourced, free range, gluten free, whole grain, and vegan” but these products aren’t necessarily angelic.  We need to make our best judgements based on the facts, i.e. appropriate serving size and content of calories, fat, sugar, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber and protein as well as vitamin and mineral content.  Be sure the underlying facts suit your goals/needs.  Many markets and health food stores don’t provide these essential nutrition facts in their “grab and go” or deli case. In these circumstances, consumers often buy and eat larger portions of food making it harder to lose weight or achieve greater health. 
The “halo effect” of health food stores or health food brands can seduce us into thinking that any item at their Deli, Salad Bar, Hot Food, and Baked Goods sections may be suitable for health.  If no nutrition facts are available for analysis, err on the side of caution and purchase only small amounts of that food. 
By becoming supermarket savvy, a conscious consumer can avoid the pitfalls set by marketing strategists. 

  1. Rely on whole foods more often than prepared meals.
  2. Buy prepared meals as long as there is enough nutrition information available to judge its usefulness in your diet.
  3. Read labels—look at serving size and nutrition facts.
  4. Shop at markets where full disclosure of information is revealed.
  5. Go on an educational tour of a grocery store with your Dietitian/Nutritionist.

Purchasing “natural, organic, free-range, locally grown or fair trade goods” may show commendable behavior, but a true understanding of the product and mindful eating must be used when purchasing and consuming “health” food.
Always feel free to contact your Dietitian Nutritionist who has the authoritative answers that clarify your best selections.  

Healthy Shopping!

Sugar's Dirty Little Secrets

Sugar's Dirty Little Secrets

Americans may have a sweet tooth but this love for sugar is not so sweet for our health or waistline. A study recently published in JAMA has connected excess sugar consumption to heart disease. Sugar has also been linked to increased risk for type 2 diabetes as well as obesity.
On average, Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar daily.  This amounts to 350 empty calories which can increase weight by 36 pounds per year!  By contrast, the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization recommends only 6 teaspoons per day of added sugar for adult women and 9 teaspoons daily for adult men. “Added sugar” refers to sugar added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, including all sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. To determine the amount of sugar in a specific product, food labels display the total amount in grams right on the package (4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar).
Still wooed by sweets?  Check out the soon to be released movie, That Sugar Film,which follows the story of Damon Garneau, a healthy man who decides to experiment with a high sugar diet. Through his journey, Damon faces unexpected negative consequences.  Along the way, he learns many shocking truths consumers should know about sugar, the industry, and much more. This film will definitely give you pause next time you reach for a cookie!  Click on the link to see a preview of the film.

Valentine's Day: Beyond the Sweets

Valentine's Day: Beyond the Sweets

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolates, candy and decadent desserts.  Yet there are plenty of ways to show your love without giving overindulgent sweets.  Express your affection while supporting your sweetheart’s health and well-being by using the following refreshing tips.

Time is the Essence   

Quality time spent together expresses love in cherished ways that candy can’t.   This could be the sweetest gift of all providing precious meaning and memories that last years longer than edibles.

Gifts of Active Time  

On Valentine’s Day, make time to get active together.  Depending on your mutual interests and levels of physical fitness, go for a good walk, hike or bike at a beach, marina, park, favorite neighborhood or mountain trail.  Offer to play tennis, golf, miniature golf, kayak, bowl, roller-skate, horseback ride, or take a yoga or spin class.

Gifts of Recreational Time

Show your love by spending time together engaging in favorite recreational activities.  Go to a museum, gallery, zoo, botanical garden, vintage book or antique store, performance, nursery, amusement park, pet store, outdoor adventure, cooking or dance class, seminar, etc.  Or, stay home and enjoy favorite pastimes: garden, cook together, frame photos, or have fun with household projects, painting, puzzles, arts and crafts, etc.

Gifts of Peaceful Pleasures  

People rarely give themselves the gift of peaceful pleasures.  Give a gift that fulfills your sweetheart’s desire for relaxation:  spa treatments such as massage, facial, manicure or pedicure, a gift box of various teas and an attractive tea cup, a good book, magazine subscription, or theatre or movie tickets.

Light Hearted Sweets

If you choose to give sweets, offer lighter options: fruit dipped in dark chocolate or sweets make from seasonal fruit with pink, red or blue Valentine’s themed hues: gelato, sorbet, parfait, low sugar cobbler, frozen yogurt, or smoothies made of berries, cherries, pomegranate, acai or watermelon.

 Shape Food With Heart

Simple changes can make homemade Valentine’s Day meals feel special.  Shape food to fit the day.  Use heart shaped cookie cutters for whole grain sandwiches, quesadillas, wholesome pancakes, waffles, French toast, fish or chicken filets or veggieburger, turkey or meat patties.  Arrange veggies or fruit in the shape of a heart. 

Teach Love Without Sweets

Teach others the true meaning of this day as a celebration and gift of love rather than focusing on merely giving chocolate and candy.  Help children see other ways of giving their love by making homemade Valentine’s cards using thoughtful words, poetry, colorful paper, glitter, and crafts. Decorate old shoe or gift boxes to fill with Valentine’s stickers, notepads, books, pencils, gift certificates or other fun surprises.

Spread The Love 

The act of giving induces a sense of well-being for the giver and receiver.  Volunteer, alone, as a couple or family, at a local charity, shelter or food bank.  This may be the sweetest inedible and most memorable gift of all.      

 Love Yourself

Give yourself the gift of your own positive recognition.  Take a few minutes to reflect on your life and things you appreciate about your body and yourself.   Consider writing down your thoughts and feelings and post them or keep them with you in your wallet as a friendly reminder of self-appreciation. 

Putting New Habits in Motion

Putting New Habits into Motion

January is a time to reset the unhealthy habits acquired during the holiday season and is a time to forgive yourself for any setbacks experienced during these treat-filled times.   In these times of change, remember the famous saying of Alexander Pope, “to err is human; to forgive, divine.”

  1. Establish an exercise routine
    Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.  Daily movement will help shed any of the holiday weight gain, and will ensure you are developing healthy habits to keep up for the entire year.
  2. Clean up your diet
    If you are easily tempted by holiday treats, clear them out of your house.  Throw out any food that will not provide healthy nourishment.
  3. Be forgiving of yourself
    Having one unhealthy meal in a day is no reason to give up on your health for the day.  Instead, vow to eat more veggies than normal the next day and make sure to drink plenty of water. 
  4. Stay hydrated
    Often we mistake our thirst for hunger.  Buy a colorful reusable water bottle to remind yourself to drink more water.  Drink a glass as soon as you wake up, one before every meal and one before you go to sleep at night.  See how much more energy you have when you are hydrated and notice how you skin glows when you drink more water. 

The whole year is ahead of you.  This leaves ample time to make small changes to equate to a long-term lifestyle change.  Rome was not built in a day; neither will all unhealthy habits diminish overnight.  This year, write down one goal per month you wish to work on and build on these goals every month.  By the end of the year you will have 12 new healthy habits that will seem second nature.

We encourage you to be open-minded to change and to be patient with your hard work.  We promise it will be worth your while.