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Feel pain in a tooth? Your first thought might be, “I need to go to the dentist”. Need help with your taxes or finances? You’d probably go see an accountant or financial planner. Car need a tune-up? Take it to the mechanic! All of these are no-brainers when you’re in need of some help. Yet, when you’re in need of some nutritional guidance, seeing a registered dietitian (RD) may not be your first thought. Many people typically go to their friends, family members or a google search to determine what steps they need to take to get their eating on track. Read on to learn the difference between a registered dietitian vs nutritionist and how a registered dietitian can benefit you!


Registered Dietitian vs. Nutritionist

What is the difference between a registered dietitian vs nutritionist? While the term nutritionist may seem more natural, there is unfortunately no regulation around the term. This means anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. In other words, seeing a nutritionist means you could be working with someone who actually does not have any knowledge in counseling someone about their diet or food intake. On the other hand, registered dietitian is a highly regulated term. To be a RD it is required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a health related field, as well as complete specific coursework approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

RDs also have to complete an accredited, supervised practice program at a health care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation and pass a national exam. Lastly, RDs have continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration on an ongoing basis. Some RDs may call themselves a nutritionist, but do so by choice because the public is more accustomed to it. When choosing to see someone for nutritional guidance, it’s okay to be choosy! You can ask them about their educational background, their approach to nutrition counseling, and what their specialties are. This can help you feel more comfortable with putting your trust in him or her.

Looking for Answers in Other Places

Earlier I mentioned going to friends, family members or Google for answers. Unfortunately, these methods may lead to a confusing and misinformed outcome. For instance, your friend’s diet may not work with your body or lifestyle. You might try it out, but not see the same results as they do. This can leave you feeling discouraged. In addition, you might try a google search for information about dietary changes to help with diabetes, digestive issues or clearer skin. What may happen is you’ll end up with conflicting information from different sources which can also leave you feeling discouraged or frustrated. Stop wasting your time with this and start finding the answers to your many nutrition and health related questions! Registered dietitians are the food and nutrition experts and here’s why.

Related: no time for an appointment? Here’s the next best thing – check out this list of the top 10 registered dietitian-approved books and documentaries.

What Can an RD Do for You?

There is a lot that a registered dietitian can do for you! Seeing a dietitian on a one-on-one basis or in a group setting can help you develop the knowledge about how to fuel your body the best. What’s great about working with a dietitian on a one-on-one basis is you’ll get personalized advice for your specific needs, challenges and goals. Together, the client and the RD can create an individualized approach to help you navigate nutrition, eating and your overall wellness. RDs can help you with managing various health conditions such as:

  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • blood pressure
  • kidney disease
  • cancer
  • gout and other conditions

RDs can also help if you are experiencing digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and gas), Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance and other food sensitivities.

Food Allergies

RDs also help people manage food allergies. If you’re interested in changing your weight or relationship to food, a registered dietitian is a great resource because RDs are trained in a patient-centered approach. The RD will work with you to help you reach YOUR goals in a way that you can feel good about.

Sticking to a Plan

Maybe you feel that you already know what or how to eat, but just aren’t following through with your plan. RDs can help with that too. Sometimes it’s not the education or knowledge that influences changes in behavior; rather, a change in our attitude, beliefs and values is needed. With a RD you’ll start to learn how you can make sustainable, realistic changes that can have a big impact on your long term health and wellbeing.

Diet Experimentation & Training Programs

Interested in trying out a vegetarian or vegan diet? Want to know more about how to fuel your exercise routine or sporting event like a marathon or triathlon? Just want to find out more about what to look out for when grocery shopping? RDs can helps with that too! Seeing a registered dietitian for a group event is a great way to learn more about a specific topic and be with like-minded people who have similar questions as you.

Meet with a FFC registered dietitian today and discover what you’ve been missing!

Post written by FFC West Loop registered dietitian Emily Marshall.

About Emily

Emily Marshall is a registered dietitian at FFC West Loop. She loves building relationships and working one-on-one to help people with nutrition, how it fits into their lives and overall health. Want to set up a complimentary consultation with Emily? Email her at emarshall@ffc.com!

 

We’ve often heard that snacking between meals can wreck a weight loss plan. However, FFC registered dietitian Alicia Huggler has helped guide members to re-think snacking. If you’re on an exercise program, it’s important to stay fueled. Rather than banning all snacks, swap out the processed, packaged stuff for healthy snacks that taste good too. Look for foods that use whole ingredients, avoiding refined sugars, syrups, and oils. The more “whole” foods you have, the more fiber and complex carbs you’ll get…fueling future workouts. These peanut butter cookies with quinoa flakes are great for a healthy snack. The dates and banana will help you satisfy your sweet tooth without worrying about crashing an hour later. Plus, the quinoa flakes pack an extra protein punch and have loads of fiber. Make a batch on the weekend, enjoy as a quick pre-workout snack in the morning or snack on a few after work before you head to the gym!

Peanut Butter Cookies with Quinoa Flakes (Gluten-Free, Vegan and Kid-Friendly)

Level: medium

Servings: 13

Ready in: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates, (200g, 7 oz)
  • 1 medium ripe banana (110g)
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup almond meal (sub brown rice)
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Related: colorful AND delicious Egyptian spiced avocado corn radicchio lettuce cups will get you out of a food rut – try the recipe now!

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment on a non-stick silicon baking mat.

To make the cookie dough: in a food processor, combine the dates, banana, peanut butter, and vanilla. Add 1/4 cup of water. Puree until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add the almond meal, quinoa flakes, salt, and baking powder. Puree until combined.

To portion and bake the cookies: portion about 2 teaspoons of dough onto the cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch in between cookies. Once you’ve portioned all of the cookies, wet your fingers with a little water. Gently push down the cookies to flatten. Shape into pretty, round disks, if needed.

Bake the cookies 15-18 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through cooking. The cookies will be golden brown on the bottom when ready.

Remove and let cool 10 minutes before serving or storing.

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week. Freeze in an air-tight plastic bag (or wrap in foil) for longer.

*Chef’s tips:

  • Use roasted peanut butter that has no added ingredients. Check the ingredients list to make sure there’s no added oil, sugar, or syrup.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can also puree the wet ingredients in a blender. When they’re smooth and creamy, transfer the wet mixture to a bowl, then stir in your dry ingredients.
  • For extra texture, add chopped peanuts, currants, or mini vegan chocolate chips.

Yield: about 26 cookies.

Post written by FFC group fitness instructor Katie Simmons.

More about Katie: Katie is a group fitness instructor at FFC and is also a personal chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. You can see more at www.plants-rule.com. You can also see more recipes at www.facebook.com/plants-rule and follow her on Instagram at @chefkatiesimmons.

Post written by FFC group fitness instructor Katie Simmons.

More about Katie: Katie is a group fitness instructor at FFC and is also a personal chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. You can see more at www.plants-rule.com. You can also see more recipes at www.facebook.com/plants-rule and follow her on Instagram at @chefkatiesimmons.

 

 

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/13 of a recipe (2 cookies)

Amount Per Serving

  • Calories 125.05
  • Calories From Fat (28%) 35.21

% Daily Value

  • Total Fat 4.13g 6%
  • Saturated Fat 0.6g 3%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 128.25mg 5%
  • Potassium 166.69mg 5%
  • Total Carbohydrates 20.77g 7%
  • Fiber 2.23g 9%
  • Sugar 12.86g
  • Protein 3.11g 6%
  • Calcium 1.31mg <1%
  • Iron 30.89mg 172%
  • Vitamin A 7.35IU <1%
  • Vitamin C 0.46mg <1%

 

 

Oatmeal muffins were first introduced in American cookbooks in the mid-1800s. They are similar in size and shape to a cupcake, but can be healthier for you if you include the right ingredients! Check out a list of the different types of oats, their benefits, plus a recipe for easy blueberry oatmeal muffins below!

What are the different types of oats available?

There are 5 main types of oats. They include:

  • Instant oats: oats that have been steamed and flaked.
  • Rolled oats (also called regular or old-fashioned oats): oats that have been steamed and rolled into flakes that are thicker (and thus take longer to cook) than instant oats.
  • Steel-cut oats (also called Irish oats): you get the whole oat kernel, cut up. These take about 20 minutes to cook.
  • Scottish oats: these are like steel-cut oats, but instead of being cut, they are ground.
  • Oat groats: this is the whole oat kernel — no cuts, flakes, or grinding. They take longer to cook than other oats. Give them 50-60 minutes to cook, after you bring the water to a boil.

What are the benefits of oats?

Benefits of oats range from lowering cholesterol to protecting us against free radicals.

  • Oats contain beta-glucan fiber. This particular fiber can aid in lowering cholesterol and can strengthen your immune system.
  • Oats also have polyphenol compounds that have antioxidant properties that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

What are some healthier oatmeal toppings?

Healthier additives to incorporate into your oatmeal muffin (or just oatmeal!) recipes include:

  • Nuts such as walnuts or nut butter such as almond butter or peanut butter
  • Blueberries, bananas, unsweetened applesauce or other fruit
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice etc.
  •  

Bonus: instead of white flour (which has little to no nutritional value) put rolled oats in a blender to make your own oat flour!

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 17 minutes
  • Total Time: about 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray large muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  • Mash banana until smooth.
  • Add banana, oats, beaten egg, baking powder and vanilla to a bowl.
  • Stir until just combined.
  • Stir in blueberries.
  • Using a large spring-release scoop, fill muffin tins with batter. (I usually fill to the top; these muffins don’t rise very much.)
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking for 12 more minutes.
  • Allow muffins to cool slightly in the muffin tin for a few minutes. Removing them while hot will likely cause the muffins to break apart, as they are very moist.

Original recipe written by Paula Jones – you can find it here: www.callmepmc.com.

For more information on how to incorporate healthy foods into your daily lifestyle please reach out to FFC Park Ridge’s registered dietitian, Alicia Huggler, at ahuggler@ffc.com

Post written by FFC Park Ridge registered dietitian Alicia Huggler.

 

According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), “Each year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food.” It’s important to know that foodborne illness is the most common during the months of November and December. Many of these outbreaks have been linked to foods commonly served during the holidays, such as turkey and roast beef. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take, like considering food safety temperatures and other basics, to keep you and your loved ones well this holiday season!

Preparing Food

First, it’s important to know the basics of food safety. Following these steps every time you prepare food will help prevent foodborne illness.

1. CLEAN: Take the time to wash your hands, clean your kitchen cooking surfaces and utensils, and wash your produce before you use it. Do you know how long you are supposed to wash your hands for in order to effectively clean them? It’s about 20 seconds or the length of time to sing happy birthday to yourself. It’s important that all kitchen surfaces and utensils are clean prior to cooking, as well as right after cooking so as to prevent the spread of bacteria and reduce your chances of bringing pests, such as mice or ants, into your house.

Produce must be cleaned before eating or cooking because it may also be harboring bacteria or other pathogens from the grocery store or from the ground it was growing in. I like to wash my produce in a nice clean sink filled with water with a splash of white vinegar added to it. I let the dirt fall to the bottom of the sink as the produce soaks in the water, then I take it out and rinse it well and allow it to air dry.

2. SEPARATE: Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meat away from fresh produce on surfaces and in the fridge. This is an important one. Raw meat is especially prone to containing bacteria and other pathogens and must be kept separate from ready to eat foods. The best way to thaw meat is in a shallow dish with a lid in the refrigerator overnight and up to 2 days. This is to ensure that that the meat or fish stays at a safe temperature throughout the entire thawing process.

It also ensures that no drippings or juices from the thawed meat accidentally touch other foods in the fridge. Always use separate cutting boards and utensils when handling raw meat and produce. Clean the area that was used to cut or handle raw meat with a disinfecting cleaning solution before placing other foods or produce in that area.

Cooking Food

3. COOK: Use a cooking thermometer to consider food safety temperatures in order to tell when all the bacteria has been killed during cooking. This is the only way to determine if your food has reached a safe temperature. According to the Food Safety Inspection Service, hot food must be kept hot at a temperature above 140 F. Leftovers must be reheated to 165 F. It is recommended to cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F before removing the meat from the heat source.

For safety and quality, allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Poultry should register 165 °F to be considered safe to eat.

Related: with little to no calories, spices pack a surprisingly interesting and powerful punch. Check out these 6 to always have on hand!

4. CHILL: Never let perishable food sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. I often see this at parties and gatherings. Dips, catered food, appetizers, and main courses are typically left to sit out for hours for guests to nibble on, but the longer a food sits out at room temperature, the more opportunity it has to harbor pathogens that cause foodborne illness. Make note of how long the food has been sitting out for and store it into Tupperware containers in the fridge or freezer before two hours. Otherwise, you’ll have to throw it away.

Remember, your freezer is your best friend when it comes to storing food you’ve prepared and saving it for another day. This can save you time in the long run, but a good tip is to put a label on the container of food you put in your freezer and keep tabs of what you have stored away. Freezing food will keep bacteria at bay, but the quality of the food may not be as good after a year of being in the freezer. For best quality use frozen foods within 6 months. Check to make sure your freezer and fridge are at the correct temperatures. The refrigerator should be at 40 °F or below and the freezer at 0 °F or below.

Following the food safety basics are the main ways to prevent foodborne illness all year round and can make the difference in saving you a trip to the hospital or emergency room. Many people may have been in contact with food that has been contaminated with harmful pathogens, but fortunately their immune systems have been strong enough to fight it off. Those who are more prone to developing foodborne illness are children younger than 5 years, adults aged 65 and older, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems due to medical conditions such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, alcoholism, and HIV/AIDS; or to receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Emily Marshall.

 

With the weather getting colder, it’s getting easier and easier to stay inside – so much so that you might start to feel a little cabin feverish! Don’t worry – the global flavors of these easy lettuce wraps (that are also vegan AND gluten-free) are a light, delicious way to elicit the wonders of the world – without stepping foot into the ever-dipping wind chill. These Egyptian spiced avocado corn radicchio lettuce cups are packed with delicious, healthy flavor and work for more than just dinner. Serve them as a light appetizer at a party or serve them to your kids for a fun hands-on dining experience. Crunchy, creamy, and refreshing – these lettuce cups are satisfying any time!

Easy lettuce wraps recipe for vegan Egyptian Spiced Avocado Corn Radish Salad

Level: easy
Servings: 6
Ready in: 10

Ingredients

  • 1 head radicchio lettuce *
  • 4 ears corn
  • 6 small radishes, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds**
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each: paprika, coriander, turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro, to garnish

Easy lettuce wraps: Egyptian Spiced Avocado Corn Salad recipeDirections

To prepare the radicchio: use a small paring knife to cut a circle around the core of the lettuce.  Remove the core. Gently peel off the radicchio leaves, one at a time, until you have reached the small heart of the lettuce. Wash and rinse the radicchio leaves. Set aside to let dry.

To make the Egyptian spiced avocado corn filling: husk and wash the corn. Cut off the kernels from the cob. Place into a medium bowl. Trim and dice the radishes. Halve the grape tomatoes.  Pit and dice the avocado. Add these to the bowl with the corn. Add the sunflower seeds, cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Taste to adjust seasoning.

To make the radicchio cups:  Fill each radicchio cup with about ½ cup of the avocado corn filling.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.

* Radicchio lettuce tip: radicchio is a bitter salad green, adding an interesting flavor to balance the sweetness of the corn and the richness of the avocado. If you don’t enjoy the bitter flavor (or if making this for kids and picky eaters), swap out the radicchio for bibb or even romaine lettuce.

** Chef’s calorie tip:  If you want to reduce the amount of calories in this recipe, swap out the sunflower seeds for a can of chickpeas or a cup of raw, sprouted beans. The chickpeas and beans will be lower in fat, while adding extra fiber and protein.

Yield: 12-16 lettuce cups (5-6 cups of just the filling).

Post written by FFC group fitness instructor Katie Simmons.

More about Katie: Katie is a group fitness instructor at FFC and is also a personal chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. You can see more at www.plants-rule.com. You can also see more recipes at www.facebook.com/plants-rule and follow her on Instagram at @chefkatiesimmons.

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/6 of a recipe (about 2 or 3 lettuce cups).

Amount Per Serving

  • Calories 262.38
  • Calories From Fat (57%) 148.42

% Daily Value

  • Total Fat 17.74g 27%
  • Saturated Fat 1.9g 10%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 219.74mg 9%
  • Potassium 679.02mg 19%
  • Total Carbohydrates 23.82g 8%
  • Fiber 6.31g 25%
  • Sugar 6.85g
  • Protein 8.53g 17%
  • Calcium 16.78mg 2%
  • Iron 42.75mg 238%
  • Vitamin A 519.82IU 10%
  • Vitamin C 9.92mg 17%

 

For Your Pinterest: Easy Lettuce Wraps: Egyptian Spiced Salad Lettuce Cups

Easy plant-based Egyptian spiced salad lettuce cups

Whether resolving to spend less on eating out, trying to keep up with a busy day (which doesn’t leave much time to escape the office) or simply because you want to improve your diet, bringing your lunch to work has a ton of different benefits. Read on to learn the necessary components in a quality, balanced lunch for adults and kids alike, plus some easy, healthy lunch ideas for work (or any other time you need convenience!).

Healthy Lunch Component #1: Lean Protein Source

When it comes to healthy lunch ideas for work, one of the singular most important components to consider is a lean protein source. By starting with a lean protein source, you’ll ensure the lunch is filling and helps you stay focused for the rest of the afternoon.

  • Chicken or turkey breast, shredded or chopped
  • Canned tuna or salmon, no salt added
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Edamame
  • Chickpeas
  • 3-bean salad
  • Babybel cheese
  • Turkey burger or Beyond Burger

Healthy Lunch Component #2: Complex Carbohydrates

Make sure you round out the protein with a complex carbohydrate to add fiber, natural energy, and satisfaction. [Remember, growing kids and those looking to maintain weight and/or build muscle need more of these than those looking to lose weight.]

  • Baked potato
  • Whole fruit or mixed cut-up fruit
  • Triscuits
  • Whole or sprouted grain wrap or bread
  • Corn, cut it off the cob for easy eating
  • Whole grain pasta salad
  • Brown rice

Healthy Lunch Component #3: Healthy Fats

A little goes a long way in this section! Add a bit of healthy fats for awesome flavor and to control cravings later in the day.

  • Peanut or almond butter
  • Handful of mixed nuts
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole or sliced avocado
  • Olives

Related: this healthy “New-Tella” recipe uses different kinds of nuts plus dates and cocoa to cure that sweet craving, without going overboard!

Healthy Lunch Component #4: Non-Starchy Vegetables

Once you have the proper portions of each of the sections above, pile on the non-starchy vegetables. These provide more filling fiber and less calories, allowing you to keep on eating! This list could go on forever, but here are a few that are lunchbox-friendly.

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers
  • Spinach salad
  • Homemade zucchini chips
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Leftover stir fry, roasted, or grilled veggies

Putting It All Together: Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work

Bento is a word mostly encompassing Japanese culture, with Chinese origin, meaning “useful thing” and “convenient”. A “bento” box is a great way to combine the components above into a satisfying and easy healthy lunch for work! Here are a few combinations to consider for your next meal!

  • Stir fry with chicken or beans, veggies, and brown rice.
  • Tuna or salmon packets on top of greens with roasted chickpeas or quinoa and balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Cabbage, carrots and bell peppers mixed with quinoa and shrimp, topped with peanut dressing.
  • Sandwich on sprouted grain bread with chicken breast and hummus, side of raw veggies with more hummus!
  • Corn tortillas with veggies, beans, or leftover meat. Top with greens and guacamole.
  • Hard boiled eggs, mashed with avocado on top of brown rice cakes. Leftover roasted veggies on the side.
  • Tuna or chicken salad (try plain Greek yogurt in place of mayo) in lettuce wraps, fruit on the side.

How would you combine these groups into a delicious lunch? Let us know in the comments! Want more information on nutrition programs or to set up a free consultation? Email Amy at asilver@ffc.com!

Post written by FFC registered dietitian & nutrition coordinator Amy Silver.

 

 

For Your Pinterest

Bring Your Own healthy lunch ideas for work or any time you need a convenient meal

My friends and coworkers often ask me about weekly meal prep. I am very passionate about healthy eating. In multiple conversations with friends and coworkers, I have noticed most people want to do it, but find it difficult to justify the time and question the cost savings. As someone who has prepped meals for years, I am a firm believer that it saves time, money, and provides many health benefits.

Here are the common questions people ask me about meal prep:

  • What do you make during meal prep?
  • How long does it take to cook?
  • Does your food taste good at the end of the week?
  • Is it cheaper than eating out?

As a member of corporate America, I find myself constantly influenced by the dark side of donuts, candy, and/or some sort of processed food. In the beautiful city of Chicago, it’s even more difficult, having restaurant upon restaurant within blocks of my apartment calling my name with cuisine from around the world. I believe that life is short and you should enable your body to experience these great restaurants.

Notice that I used the word “enable” versus “treat myself.” What I mean by this is that I believe there’s always a balance between treating yourself and eating too much of the wrong stuff. With that said, I feel that one meal we can take control of and help us throughout our day is lunch. Lunch is the meal that creates the break in our work day. Regardless if you’re in corporate, hospitality, or health care, you need to eat lunch. It is far too easy to go with what everyone else is having (hamburger, processed sandwich, etc) and let this meal get away from us.

This is where meal prep comes into play and making a healthy choice can really be easy with weekly meal prep. Meal prep enables your body to truly enjoy cheat meals (I’ll explain that later) without the guilt. The purpose of this message is to not only answer the questions above but outline them in a way that logically proves that meal prep is worth your time and money.

Though you can meal prep for any time of day, I will keep this overview to lunch – as it’s the most common meal everyone asks about. Lets get started!

What do you make?

The answer to this questions depends on the type of food you eat. Personally, I prefer the Paleo lifestyle and my food choices are limited to lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds, and healthy fats. I look for a balanced portion of a protein, greens, and carbohydrates for lunch. This allows me to have my break during the day and be able to get back to work without the afternoon dip.

Here’s what a typical lunch may look like:

Meal prep tips

How long does it take to cook?

I start with skinning the sweet potatoes and throw them into the oven since they take the longest. I time the broccoli start time to end the same time as the sweet potatoes. Once those two are complete, I move onto the chicken and grill it outside, which takes roughly 30 minutes. The food prep and cooking time will take you roughly 1.5 hours in total.

Related: check out even MORE food prep tips for various steps in the process to help make this easy time, money and progress saver a regular part of your routine.

Meal Prep = Time Saver

I always like to compare this to the alternative. Let’s look at both scenarios of going to get food and bringing it back to your desk versus eating there. I did time trials by walking with coworkers to grab their lunch and I found that the average time was roughly 15 minutes to go there and back. Total time throughout the week is an hour and 15 minutes. Ok, we’ve saved some time!

In a different situation, let’s look at how much time is saved in comparison to when you eat at a restaurant. I began timing this trial from the time we sat down and began to eat. I excluded any sit down restaurants that included a server since the lead times varied by person and restaurant. I came to the conclusion of an average 15 minute eating time. Combining that with travel time, you’re looking at 2 hours and 30 minutes saved per week.

Does your food taste good at the end of the week?

This one intrigued me for a while as I did notice that my chicken would become rubbery or not taste as good toward the end of the week. A trick you can use to help your food last and taste better longer is with your freezer. I do my meal prep on Sundays and put Monday and Tuesday’s meals in the refrigerator. The rest goes into the freezer and I pull out one meal each day throughout the week. Monday, I pull out Wednesday, etc.

Is it cheaper than eating out?

Yes, meal preparation will save you money. Below is an outline of the cost comparison between purchasing groceries vs. eating out. Please note, I am measuring groceries for a single person, using the chicken/broccoli/sweet potato meal outlined above.

If you go out to eat each day, lunch costs anywhere from $6 (typical fast food options) to $10 (Chipotle, Panera, etc.) depending on where you go. Add a sugary Coke, that’s another $2.00. The numbers speak for themselves.

Final Thoughts on Meal Prep

Regardless if you’re training for a race, show, or looking for ways to be healthier, I am a firm believer that meal preparation can bring value to your day and life. You will not have to worry about answering the question, “What should I eat for lunch?” You have the opportunity to learn to cook new meals and try something new every week. Not only will meal prep save you money on a weekly basis, but you’ll get more out of your day. We can’t get more time in a day, but we can make the most of it.

For more about meal preparation and fitness, follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Post written by FFC Union Station member Omar R. 

 

Everyone feels run down, overworked, and just plain depleted at one time or another. Getting back to a wellness baseline with your weekly schedule will keep you feeling your best and ready to take on all that life throws your way. Here are a few tips on how to recover from burnout by getting back to the basics.

What Are the “Basics”?

The main areas I focus on when I’m feeling depleted include:

  • Quality sleep
  • Nutritious meals
  • Self-care
  • Journaling
  • Connecting with others

While these seem like pretty tangible goals to maintain at the surface, these basic elements for a happy and healthy you are usually the first and easiest things to push to the backburner when our calendars are full to the brim day after day.

What’s a Personal Baseline?

What is your personal baseline you may ask? With this term, I’m referring to the point where you feel stable, secure, nourished & calm so that you can go out and be the best you while you are fulfilling all of your commitments to others and working towards your personal goals.

As an example, I feel my best when I eat healthy meals regularly, sleep at least 8 hours (even if 2 are just lying in bed & not actual sleep), working out in some capacity, (yoga, walking, Zumba), have a clean house, and a plan in place for the upcoming week. Everything on top of that, such as social events or fitting in a squeeze from my nephews are just icing on the cake.

That may sound like a lot, but if I have missed a workout due to a social event or grabbed a meal on the fly it won’t throw me off. However, if I have eaten crappy for a few days, had a few bad nights of sleep, come home to a messy house, haven’t seen anyone outside of work in a few days AND missed my daily work out then I will most likely be feeling frazzled – which will snowball into missed meetings, tardiness, forgetfulness and crankiness.

Taking time to check in with yourself to make sure your baseline needs are being met is a great way to ensure you are being the best version of yourself when you step into the world.

How to Make a Plan to Recover from Burnout (Or Prevent Burnout in the First Place)

  • Whether you work 9-5, 11-7 or nights and weekends, pick an afternoon or evening to map out your week so you can see when & where you need to be.
  • Plan for your meals as much as you can, and work towards cooking as many as possible.
  • Add exercise as an event on your calendar and aim for 30 more minutes and 1 more day a week then you currently at.
  • Pencil in some you time to journal, take a long bath; paint your nails or do something that allows you to check in with your mind, body & soul.
  • Connect with others either during one of the meals or on a walk.

Just like anything else, the more you practice the things that make you a happier you, the easier it becomes to make them fit in naturally to your day to day life.

Life Hacks to Preventing Burnout from a Busy Chick

Okay, so you may have a plan, but implementing it is a whole different story. Time and money seem to be the 2 biggest roadblocks people will bring us as to why they don’t take time for cooking, exercise and self-care. Remember, everyone has the same 24 hours in a day that you do – so make the most of the time you have. Here are a few tips for how to do that in each of the sections I mentioned above.

Nutrition & meal prep tips:

  • Wash & chop veggies for easy go to salads, hard boil eggs for protein on the go.
  • Make a big batch of soup for an easy lunch or dinner throughout the week.
  • Use a crockpot – the best invention ever for quick easy home cooked meals.

Related: need more meal prep tips? These hacks will help ensure you can actually stick to your meal prep routine!

Fitting in fitness tips:

  • Get up 30 minutes earlier OR skip TV after dinner & go on a brisk walk, jog or run.
  • Meet a friend for a workout instead of a meal – try a new class together through Groupon or Class Pass if they are offered in your area.
  • Plan to walk on your lunch break – even 10 minutes will be a great addition to your day.

Self-care tips:

  • Schedule it like you would any other important meeting, and don’t blow yourself off.
  • Look for fun ways to try something new for free. Sephora offers makeup classes regularly & local park districts often provide free or low cost events and classes.
  • Unplug everything. I mean it – start to unplug 30 minutes before bed, not looking at a screen of any kind… I bet you will fall asleep faster!

Related: insanely simple ways to practice more mindfulness in your everyday life.

Understanding Benefits of Routine

As I delve deeper into my own self-study, I have become fascinated with many different ideas and teaching, one in particular is Samskara. Yogic philosophy teaches that we are all born with a set of mental & emotional patterns that we cycle through over and over throughout the duration of our lives. These ideas and actions together create our conditioning. When repeated over and over a sort of groove is formed which can be hard to break away from. These grooves can be positive, negative, or somewhere in between. The most important factor is being aware of them, and understanding that they can be changed: you can always break an old pattern and create a new groove in your life.

Think of your morning routine, for me it involves brewing a cup of coffee – hearing the grinder, smelling it brew, and enjoying a hot mug before interacting with anyone else. I’m aware of this groove, I enjoy it and I am not trying to break it at this time.

As an example on the other side of the spectrum, when fall turn into winter and the days get shorter, my groove is to get a little mopey and blue. I exchange tea for wine and salad for carbs. A little of this is just going with the seasonal flow, but when I find myself falling out of my good habits that I worked hard to create, I make sure to get back into the positive groove(s) I created.

Why This is Important

I am a strong believer that knowledge is power, and even though most of this is basic stuff, it can be helpful for people to read what others do for wellness and to recover from burnout and keep the wheels turning in their lives, so I am sharing what I have found useful with you. Please join me in a class, I would love to be a part of your yoga journey!

About Janet

After a series of stressful sales jobs, I was searching for an outlet that would challenge my body and quiet my mind. Hours of driving, phone calls, and paperwork were leaving me stressed out and frazzled. Yoga became that outlet, and ultimately a way of life.

While the physical postures challenged my body, I learned that the calming effect(s) yoga has on my mind allow me to approach life differently. In my quest to deepen my understanding of this mind/body connection that yoga offers, I journeyed to Nicaragua where I studied with Master Trainer Meghan Currie. Since then I have been sharing my love yoga with others. My teaching style is upbeat and approachable, making all feel welcome.

In addition to studio classes, I offer private sessions for those looking to delve deeper into the physical aspect of yoga, and am continue to teach at retreats worldwide. Have questions? Email me at jctkeogh@gmail.com.

Post written by FFC Group Exercise Instructor Janet Keogh.

 

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5 simple tips to recover from burnout & other wellness tips from FFC group fitness instructor

While some flavors and spices seem to transport us directly to the holidays, the truth is that the benefits we can reap from spices are so valuable, we shouldn’t just assign them to one season. Not only do spices provide great health benefits, but the enhancements they bring to food make them a no-brainer cooking addition (with almost zero additional calories!). Think about what completes the smell and taste of a dish – it wouldn’t be the same without the flavors that help make that final dish taste so delightful. Check out these 6 spices to have on hand that will improve your health!

Cinnamon

Out of all the spices to have on hand, cinnamon is one of the most widely used. Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, which helps protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. It can also improve some key risk factors for heart disease including cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.

Studies have shown that cinnamon can even dramatically reduce fasting blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. It not only tastes great, but also provides manganese, iron, and calcium. Many think of cinnamon in baked goods, but you can also branch out with some new sweet and savory ideas!

3 Ways to Use It

  • Make a salty/sweet treat by adding cinnamon to popcorn.
  • Flavor plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon and top with nuts/seeds.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon in your coffee or tea to add extra spice and flavor – or even your yogurt, like this recipe!

Ginger

Ginger is best known for its ability to ease nausea, motion sickness, and indigestion. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have benefits for not only your body, but your brain as well. It is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. All these things mean it is one of the most versatile spices to have on hand.

It has also been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain due to those anti-inflammatory properties. It may not have an immediate impact, but studies show it can be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. It is a very common ingredient in recipes and cosmetics. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil.

3 Ways to Use It

  • Cut up fresh ginger and add to boiling water with a little honey and lemon to make a soothing tea.
  • Add minced garlic to stir-fries for an extra kick.
  • Add to baked goods, such as the pumpkin gingerbread muffin recipe at the bottom of this post.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg contains phytonutrients including beta-carotene and beta-crypotxanthin. These can improve blood circulation to the brain and enhance sleep. The flavor and therapeutic actions are believed to be due to the oil it contains.

Because of its antibacterial properties, nutmeg can also effectively treat bad breath, gum problems, and toothaches – therefore, nutmeg is a common ingredient in many brands of toothpastes. It is also a spice that is used in many sweet recipes, but nutmeg can be used in a variety of other ways!

3 Ways to Use It

  • Sprinkle in milk in the evening to help achieve relaxation and induce sleep.
  • Add nutmeg to roasted carrots or winter squash for a unique savory side dish.
  • Mix with nuts, such as pecans, and roast in the oven for a tasty snack.

Related: using spices can drastically elevate your meal prep too. Need more tips on making sure meal prep is a part of your life? Check out this post!

Rosemary

The active components in rosemary are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic in nature. These powerful compounds include rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, betulic acid, and carnosol, which can boost immunity and fight bacterial infections.

Rosemary also may help ease indigestion and improve blood flow due to its stimulant effects. The aroma of rosemary alone has been linked to improving mood, clearing the mind, and relieving stress in those with chronic anxiety. Many use rosemary as a garnish, but there are a variety of other ways to use it.

3 Ways to Use It

  • Chop fresh rosemary and use in a variety of broth based-soups.
  • Sprinkle rosemary on bread dough before placing it in the oven to add extra flavor.
  • Flavor olive oil with dried or fresh rosemary for zestier salad dressings.

Sage

Sage is a member of the mint family and is also known for many antioxidant properties – which makes it one of the top spices to have on hand. Tea and essential oils derived from the leaves have been used to treat digestive and circulation problems, but it has also been used to increase concentration.

Sage contains vitamin K, an essential vitamin for the body that isn’t found in many common foods. Vitamin K is key in developing bone density and ensuring the integrity of our bones as we age. It is traditionally used in savory dishes, due to its peppery flavor, but see below for alternative uses.

3 Ways to Use It

  • Sprinkle in an omelet with vegetables for a new breakfast.
  • Add to pesto with other herbs for a great flavor addition.
  • Top sage leaves on meats such as chicken, pork, or lamb.

Turmeric

Turmeric is popular worldwide, although until recently has not been commonly used in the U.S. It contains Curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Turmeric is a common ingredient in Indian dishes, although you can find new twists on ways to incorporate turmeric into your daily lifestyle below!

3 Ways to Use It

  • Sprinkle onto rice to bring out a wonderful color and flavor to an originally bland side dish.
  • Simmer turmeric with coconut milk and honey to make a comforting beverage.
  • Add fresh or ground turmeric to smoothies – the pungent flavor is usually well-masked but you’ll reap all the benefits!

Try This Recipe: Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure raw honey
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine all wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients – be sure to not over-mix.
  • Scoop batter into muffin pan and distribute evenly.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes and until tops are golden brown.
  • Yields 12 muffins – store at room temperature for 3 days or refrigerate for 7 days.

Post written by FFC Gold Coast Registered Dietitian Chelsea Rice.

 

 

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6 Spices to have on hand that will improve your health pinterest pin

What is a resting metabolic rate? Resting metabolic rate, or RMR, measures how many calories you burn at a state of rest (as if you were sitting on your couch watching your favorite TV show all day).

Scientifically speaking, the resting metabolic rate (RMR) and the closely related basal metabolic rate (BMR) measure the amount of daily energy expended by humans. The utilization of energy in this state is sufficient only for the functioning of vital organs like the heart, lungs, nervous system, kidneys, liver, muscles, etc.

So Why Is Your Resting Metabolic Rate Important?

Why is your RMR so important? Knowing your RMR can help you understand how many calories you need to function, plus what you need to intake (or not intake) to reach your health and wellness goals. Having a higher RMR means you will burn more calories at a state of rest (yep – just for doing nothing more than simply existing!) which will also allow you to increase the amount of calories you can consume in one day to reach your goals.

How do you increase your RMR? A good fitness regimen that includes weight training is the only way to do it. You have to build your lean muscle mass. Here are 3 quick steps:

  1. Add weight training in 3-5 times a week
  2. Add cardio in 3-5 times a week for 15-30 minutes to help stay lean
  3. Eat frequent meals – about every 3 hours

Don’t worry ladies, this is not going to make you bulky; your bodies do not produce enough testosterone to have that look. If you are going for a very muscular look, however, it is possible, but it takes a lot of work, a proper weight lifting regimen and eating habits to get there.

Benefits of Increasing Your RMR

  • Burn more calories at rest, even while sleeping
  • Burn more calories during exercise and throughout the day
  • Higher RMR = higher amount of calories you can eat in a day to achieve your goals
  • Have more lean muscle on your body which will result in: lower body fat percentage, lower risk of heart attack/heart disease, lower risk of diabetes, lower risk of hypertension, and an increase your internal age.

Causes of Low RMR

What lowers your resting metabolic rate and how will it affect you? There are some factors you can control, and some you can’t – including the following:

  • Age: research shows that starting as early as your 20s your body starts losing 2-3% of lean muscle mass each decade. This is why a weight lifting program is so important to help fight the natural loss of lean muscle mass over that time period.
  • Hormones: generally, for most women, the thyroid and hormone production will slow down after the age of 40, which have an affect on your RMR.

Regarding what you CAN control, one of the biggest factors is exercise. You can control how much or how little you exercise. Exercise less, and you’ll end up with less lean muscle mass and a higher percentage of body fat. Not only will this result in a decrease of RMR (and our clothes not fitting the way we want them to), but more seriously, it can lead to adverse health problems such as:

  • Increase risk of heart disease and stroke – the 1st and 3rd leading causes of death, respectively, in the US
  • Increase risk of diabetes – the 7th leading cause of death in the US
  • Increase risk of hypertension
  • Increase of overall medical bills
  • Increase of sick days from work

Related: More metabolic myths… busted. Check out this post for 5 main myths about the metabolism and the truth behind them.

Is There a Resting Metabolic Rate Calculator?

There are many resting metabolic rate calculators out there on the internet that will give you estimates of what you roughly burn doing nothing. Some take more factors into consideration than others. For example, while some calculators may measure age, height and weight, some may measure those factors plus the type of work and activities you do. The more information that you can put in the more accurate it is going to be for your body type without actually going in and having an actual test done.

While these tests can be helpful, it is important to remember to consider what information you are receiving. As an example, I used this calculator (based on the the Mifflin St Jeor equation) but changed my activity level from very active to moderately active. If I wanted to lose a healthy 2 lbs per week, it drops me below 1700 calories to 1282 per day – which, for females and the healthy functioning of their internal organs, is way too low. Be careful what information you get and always consult with a registered dietitian before setting an exercise or nutrition program.

FFC has the proper equipment and can help you test for a more accurate RMR and BMR. You can actually set up an RMR appointment just by emailing metabolictesting@ffc.com. You can also click here to learn more information about the tests.

And why would accuracy be important? Let’s say your RMR is 1400, but based on a calculation you found online (not taking into consideration your fitness levels) told you your RMR is 1550. In reality you could be consuming an extra 150 calories a day because the results were based on the general population and not according to your own personal needs. Knowing your RMR/BMR can be very important to reaching your goals.

Of course, while all of this is important, the most important thing is to focus on eating healthy, keeping your portions in control, getting plenty of exercise, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of rest.

Post written by FFC contributor.