One of my good friends and fellow dietitian, Jessica Jones, reached out to dietitians across the nation to get their 'really easy tips' to being healthier in 2016. I met Jessica at my first official dietitian job at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY. We bonded immediately and only worked together for a few months before I moved hospitals and she moved coasts. But we've always kept in touch and now both live in the Bay Area! I'm so grateful to have her as a friend and colleague, and she has definitely made my move all the better.
Anyhow, lucky me was on her list and I provided one of my all-time favorite healthy eating recommendations. Click here to read the entire article featured on SELF.com. Congrats Jess!
P.S. I'm #4!
All last month I was swamped (but very happily swamped) with work for National Nutrition Month. On top of the full-time job at the hospital, I was creating and presenting lectures to students ranging from kindergartners to high school seniors and teaching them about healthy eating habits and the importance of starting now.
I LOVE teaching! Opening minds to new ideas and getting people to really think about how ‘you are what you eat’ is very rewarding and also hopeful that the newer and current generations will start making smarter choices and rates of obesity and related health conditions will start to decline.
My favorite moment came at the end of discussing the sugar content in popular beverages. A teenage girl looked at the 20-ounce bottle of ice tea she was sipping throughout the presentation and declared: “I am never drinking this again.” She had no idea that it basically was liquid candy nor did she realize the consequences of drinking it everyday.
Sometimes we take for granted what we know in our specialties, but it is so important to remember that not everyone is privileged to the same knowledge. And sadly, nutrition is one of those subjects that is not a standard in curriculums, which is why I jump on any opportunity I can to spread the health and wellness lifestyle message.
One of the main themes in all of the presentations was choosing healthier snack options. These are kids and their seemingly endless growing requires lots of snacks on tops of meals. Simply put, a healthy snack should include fiber, protein and healthy fats while excluding excessive amounts of sugar, salt, saturated fats and definitely without ingredients you cannot even pronounce. A snack’s goal is to provide you with enough energy to keep you full until the next meal so you can get through your busy day while being properly nourished. Oh, and it should also taste good!
Below is a new snack I made the other day that is just the perfect healthy sweet treat for any day, especially a warm day, and can even be served as dessert! There’s a bit of preparation, which is totally worthwhile because it has all the nutrients I just listed, is made from only three ingredients and natural sugars, and is about 150 calories per serving (perfect amount for a snack). This will definitely satisfy a juice or soda craving but actually provide positive benefits to your body! ;)
Try it out but also stay tuned for a future post on my favorite and go-to snacks!!
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding
Combine the chia seeds and coconut water. Stir well, wait five minutes and stir well again. Let the pudding rest over night (or at least a few hours until it begins to become gel-like).
When you are ready to eat your pudding, puree the mango. If you would like some texture, take 1/3 of the mango and dice.
Pour the puree over the chia pudding and top with the diced mango. Add additional toppings if desired (I used 1 Tbsp. of hemp hearts to add some additional protein. This brings the calories up to about 200 per serving - still okay for a snack.).
Serve and enjoy!
Yields: 1 serving
This year, I've just fallen so in love with pomegranates (maybe it's because they remind me of one of my best friends who introduced me to the fruit and who sadly for me is temporarily living overseas). I keep using the arils in my smoothies and to top my yogurt, oatmeal or salads, but I really wanted to try them differently - more of a dessert way. So, I broke out the mini muffin tins, melted down some dark chocolate, and began layering chocolate, almonds, coconut and pomegranates until the tins were leveled off. After they chilled, I popped them out, took a bite, and WOW!!!
Each bite just bursts with fresh and sweet goodness! These little taste satisfying, stress reducing homemade treats are full of antioxidants, flavanols, protein, fiber, 'healthy fats,' and believe it or not may even help reduce the risk of heart disease. But while healthier than a store bought processed candy bar, always remember: moderation is key and a little goes a long way!!
Chocolate Pomegranate Coconut Almond Cups
Start with a layer of chocolate and alternate the ingredients until the tins are leveled off. Chill at least 1 hour. Pop out of molds and enjoy! :D
Yields: 20 mini cups