How To: Cheat Days

Cheat days. You know what I’m talking about! Those days when you decide you can eat anything and everything you want because you’ve been doing a good job eating well. I think we should redefine the “cheat day.” Will they get you off track from your goals? It totally depends.

The problem with cheat days is that one cheat meal or three can lead to overeating. The idea of a cheat day is that you get to relax your diet a bit. The problem is that cheating insinuates something bad or wrong. It’s normal to treat yourself on occasion, enjoy food, and to enjoy the social aspects of eating. People that are too strict on “good” days will likely lose less weight than those that treat themselves because they are more likely to overdo their cheat days. By restricting yourself and then eating a large amount of sugar and fat there is a large negative impact on your blood sugar levels. This may leave you feeling groggy and rundown afterwards. I think we should call them “treat days” instead! Eating foods that you enjoy in moderation leaves you with something to look forward too instead of dreading each perfectly healthy and boring meal. Remember to assess your goals and use cheat days to your advantage.


Make “Treat Days” Work for You

  • Don’t cheat frequently. And plan around special occasions. One splurge will not ruin your entire lifestyle change. If you have a party, wedding, cookout, or event coming up make sure you use that as your day to enjoy some treats.
  • Get moving. Try to still be active on your treat day. Go for a long walk or attend a workout class or do it on a regular training day. This way you will work off some of those extra calories while still getting to indulge a bit.
  • Savor every bite. Don’t just scarf down that cupcake! (Of course I would choose a cupcake.) Savor it. This is your treat for working hard so don’t let the moment pass by so quickly.
  • Enjoy treats on occasion. Adding some healthy fats here and there or a piece of chocolate after a meal can really boost your mood and help you stay on track. Each day doesn’t have to be made up of just perfectly healthy foods! Naming foods as “good” or “healthy” isn’t a good idea either. Every food fits.


Three Things

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1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set two and ten year goals for lowering the sodium content in processed and prepared foods. This is awesome news! A diet lower in sodium can help prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. While eating fresh is always the goal, convenience foods may make an appearance on occasion. On average, most Americans intake is 3,400 mg of salt per day while the recommended amount is 2,300 mg per day. The two year goal from the FDA is to reduce the national average to 3,000 mg per day and eventually to 2,300 mg per day. Check out how to limit sodium in your diet and start today!

2. Do you know how to feed a happy, healthy gut? A balanced gut promotes a strong immune system and lower levels of chronic inflammation. Both great things! Fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps stabilize the gut microbiome. Probiotics help maintain and grow the population of already there good microbes which you can find in fermented foods. Healthy unsaturated fats encourage diversity of healthy gut microbes.  Do your gut a favor and make sure you’re getting enough fiber, probiotics, and healthy fats to fuel a happy gut!

3. There are five key health behaviors that can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. About half of American adults had at least one chronic condition (such as stroke, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) in 2012 – that’s about 117 million people! What! These five behaviors are absolutely attainable and should be goals for everyone. The behaviors are not smoking, exercising regularly, drinking in moderation, maintaining a healthy body weight, and getting enough sleep. I strive to always maintain these behaviors and you should too.


Drinking on a Diet

Summer nights are just around the corner which means plenty of happy hours, barbecues, and late nights to go around. Most of these events include drinking and generally food as well. It is possible to enjoy a few drinks while sticking to your healthy lifestyle and maintaining or losing weight. Remember: one 5 ounce glass of wine is 120 calories, 12 ounces of light beer is 110 calories, and 1.5 ounces of liquor is 100 calories – multiple drinks in one night can add up fast!

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  • Drink water between each alcoholic beverage – it is important to stay hydrated. Plus, you’ll feel better in the morning!
  • Eat a healthy meal before (or while) enjoying your beverages. Get in all those nutrients before your event. That buzz can lead you to make poor food choices! We all know that… right? Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to drops in blood sugar causing those late night cravings. Try to avoid the pizza, fries, and cheesesteaks by planning ahead. One night can lead to hundreds (yes, hundreds) of extra calories. Prep some healthier snacks before heading out so you’ll have something ready to eat when you get home.
  • Choose drinks lower in calories. These include a glass of wine, a glass of champagne, a vodka soda with a lime wedge, etc. By avoiding sweet mixers, mixed drinks, and heavy beers you are saving yourself calories and staying away from too much sugar.
  • Limit your drinking to one to two nights per week and limit your drinks per night to two to three beverages. It may seem silly to put limits on your drinking, but leading a healthy lifestyle includes cutting back on drinks.

Happy drinking!

Three Things


1. Is it surprising that young Americans drink more, eat worse, and stay skinnier? Well it seems that millennials have a lower obesity rate than that of Generation Xers and baby boomers. Millennials are classified as people between 20-36 years old. The data report came to the conclusion came to the conclusion that millennials have the least amount of disposable income leading them to choose less expensive, less nutritious foods. But, somehow millennials still have the lowest rate of obesity and it actually decreased since 2008. While it’s great that obesity levels among millennials has decreased, a healthier lifestyle with balanced nutrition is still the goal!

2. I occasionally keep a food diary. At one point I used MyFitnessPal then I transitioned to simply writing what I ate in a note on my iPhone and now I make mental notes. I enjoyed seeing my diet laid out in front of me, but now I feel confident in making the right choices when it comes to diet without a diary. The Wall Street Journal says there are new reasons to keep a food diary. Food diaries are a great way to help make a behavior and lifestyle change. They can be helpful in weight loss, identifying food allergies, and maintaining normal blood sugar levels. If you haven’t tried a food diary you should consider starting one to evaluate your diet.

3. These six nutrition rules are apparently what everyone can agree on. I must say I do agree with everything, but I would make one change! There’s no need to buy a food scale. Make sure you have measuring cups and know your portion sizes using your hand! For example, three ounces of meat is about the size of your palm and a tablespoon is about the size of the tip of your thumb. Correct portion sizes can help you with portion control!


National Nutrition Month

Tomorrow is March and that means it’s National Nutrition Month! This years theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” The theme encourages everyone to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasure and social experiences food adds to our lives. Having a mindful eating pattern mixed with nutritious food and small indulgences is the best way to savor the flavor of eating right.


Ever wonder what a dietitian can do for you? Let’s start here: we can give you personally tailored advice that can be hard to find amidst all the generic and sometimes misleading advice in the media. We can help manage chronic diseases and help navigate food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities, and provide you with a weight loss program that will work for you!

Dietitian vs. Nutritionist

What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a nutritionist? Find a qualified dietitian in your area here. Or check out what I can offer you virtually here!

A dietitian is someone who earned a four year degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, completed an accredited and supervised practice program, and passed a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Dietitians also complete continuing education requirements to maintain their registration.

A nutritionist is a non-accredited title that can be given to someone who completed has nutrition coursework. Although, there are some individuals who have given themselves the title of nutritionist without having any previous training in nutrition.

P.S. March 9th is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! Feel free to send your favorite nutrition blogger a gift. 😉


Three Things


1. Many weight loss tips can be extreme or unacheiveable. These five tips are top notch! Have positive thoughts towards yourself and your body. Take each small goal met as as achievement. Don’t focus on what you think you can’t eat and instead focus on all the delicious things you can eat. Menu planning, grocery lists, and meal prep really do make all the difference. You will be more likely to stick to your plan if you are organized. Make specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals that will help you reach your overall goal. Lastly, eat fresh, whole foods. This will never change! Fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains will always be in style. Don’t fall for packaged diet food that can lead you to overeat.

2. Healthy fats were highlighted in my Mediterranean Pesto Bowl this week. Here are five more recipes showcasing healthy fats. Total fat intake should be between 20-35% of your daily calories. Great sources of unsaturated fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flax seed), and fish. Specifically, flax seeds, walnuts, and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and cancer prevention.

3. What do you eat when you’re stressed? I tend to go for a cupcake. But, I also go for them as a celebration or needed pick me up. A new poll shows the top five most comforting foods are pizza, chocolate, ice cream, mac and cheese, and chips… Duh. Cravings aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Learning how to work around them and indulge on occasion is key. An ounce of chocolate never hurt anyone – right?!


Three Things


1. A new study says it’s gotten harder to lose weight. An adult in 2006 had a higher BMI than that of an adult in 1988 with the same diet and activity level. Weight loss is really more complex than just energy in versus energy out. Some factors affecting weight loss noted in the study include amount of sleep, stress , exposure to certain chemicals, prescription drug use, and use of artificial sweeteners. Weight loss is still possible with all these factors aside. Don’t forget a friendly dietitian is always available to help! {Washington Post}

2. Caffeinated peanut butter? What? Yes. One tablespoon of this peanut butter has the same amount of caffeine as one cup of coffee. The caffeine comes from green coffee extract that is added to the peanut butter. I don’t know about you, but I’ll stick with my regular, natural peanut butter and a plain old cup of coffee! {Today}

3. Halloween is right around the corner and candy is now on every shelf. Thanks to Buzzfeed the ‘Try and Guess What Halloween Candies These Were Before We Smashed Them’ quiz was created. I scored 9 out of 13. Not bad. Don’t forget that it’s okay to indulge a bit now and then. Just don’t make it a habit! {Buzzfeed}


Happy Hydration

How much water should you drink a day? This is a common question that I come across often. Water makes up 60% of the human body. That’s a lot! Water plays a role in metabolism, aids in digestion, flushes out toxins, transports water-soluble nutrients, and aids in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. We would not be able to survive without water.

In general, we need 8-10 cups of water per day which is equivalent to 64-80 ounces per day. The adequate intake (AI) for men is 15-16 cups of fluid per day and 11-12 cups for women. This recommendation is increased if you exercise, sweat, or are not getting enough food that contain water (think: fresh fruits and vegetables). Add an extra 1-2 cups or more of water per day depending on your workout.

During a workout that lasts longer than one hour make sure to drink plenty of water to account for all of your fluid losses (sweat) and for a really strenuous workout add some carbohydrates and sodium (i.e. Gatorade or coconut water). The reason for this is that during prolonged exercise carbohydrates become necessary to provide a metabolic molecule to continue fat oxidation – fat is our primary source of energy.

Top Five Benefits of Drinking Water

  1. Increases energy – Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep your body healthy and happy! Dehydration can do the opposite. Stay energized by staying hydrated.
  2. Promotes weight loss – By staying hydrated you can more accurately assess your hunger cues. Sometimes hunger can be mistaken for thirst!
  3. Flushes out toxins – The kidneys and liver are the filter systems within our bodies. Water is necessary for removal of waste and by-products from metabolism.
  4. Key to radiant skin – Our skin is made up of cells which are mainly water. Drinking enough water can reduce dry, tight, or flaky skin – meaning preventing wrinkles and glowing skin!
  5. Aids in digestion – Water plays a vital role in digestion by keeping things moving within your intestines. Stay hydrates for your digestive health.

My favorite way to drink water is with a squeeze of lemon. What’s your favorite way to add flavor? Tell me below!