Top 3 Reasons Registered Dietitians Can Save Your Life

March 12th is National Registered Dietitian day! In honor of all my amazing dietitian colleagues, here are my top 3 reasons we will help save your health (and your life):

Just a few RD’s hanging out during internship orientation!

  1. Weight management: Working one-on-one with a registered dietitian allows you to receive expert knowledge regarding the most current science-based nutrition information. You will receive a personalized nutrition plan that works with your lifestyle. It’s about habit change! You will not get a “quick fix” diet to try and lose weight quickly. You will get a plan that you can make your own. A plan that leads to long term lifestyle changes and habit changes that helps you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight and feel better about yourself. You will become healthier as most people experience lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, normalizing blood sugar levels and less cravings as a side effect of weight loss and adopting healthier eating habits. These positive side effects can be life saving!
  2. Nutrition Education: Ever feel like your swimming in a sea of confusion at the grocery store? “Low-fat! Reduced Sodium! Sugar-Free!” Food marketers are very good at their job. They lure us in with their seemingly healthy claims to packaged foods. Registered dietitians clear up this confusion. We teach you how to correctly read the nutrition label, ingredients list and determine if these health claims are true or false. This education provides you with the knowledge and tools to make healthier choices and thus prevent chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
  3. Foodservice: Many registered dietitians work in foodservice at hospitals, schools or corporate wellness clinics. We make sure these institutions are following sanitary food preparation procedures as well as ensure the quality of the food served. This can help with patient recovery in the hospital, provide students with healthy food options in schools and can improve wellness in the corporate setting. Healthy food choices = healthier people.

Contact me today for your private one-on-one consultation with an experienced RD and start making healthy changes today: 415-763-5544 or kelsann.dickens@gmail.com.

Almond Meal: The Best Flour Alternative

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 Almond meal is a great substitute to flour and is versatile in many different recipes. It’s a great ingredient for those with celiac’s disease, gluten-sensitivities or if you’re simply trying to follow a low carbohydrate or Paleo eating plan. Added bonus: almond meal is a great source of protein and fiber!

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Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • Cooking spray or olive oil spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 475 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray or olive oil spray.
  3. Combine almond meal and seasonings in a shallow dish. almond coating
  4. Combine egg whites in a separate bowl.
  5. Dip chicken tenders into egg whites then into almond meal mixture. Coat chicken tenders a few times, then place on baking sheet. (I set up an “assembly line” to make it easier). assembly line
  6. Bake chicken for 20 minutes then flip over and bake for another 5 minutes.
Chicken + cauliflower rice

Chicken + cauliflower rice

Almond, Chocolate Chip and Oat Cookies

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This is my first attempt at healthy baking and what a success! Here are the substitutions I used to create healthier, better tasting cookies:

Sugar → honey

White/wheat flour → almond flour

Butter → coconut oil

Ingredients (makes about 36 cookies):

  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (and/or dried fruit per your preference!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease the baking sheet.
  3. Mix together oats, almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. photo 1
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry mixture: vanilla extract, beaten egg, melted coconut oil and honey.
  5. Mix ingredients well then add chocolate chips and/or dried fruit.
  6. Form “dough” into small round balls (as best as possible) and bake for about 12 minutes. ***TIP: refrigerate cookie dough for 1 hour. This allows dough to become more firm and easier to handle.
  7. Allow cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes and enjoy! (the cooling period helps cookies form together)

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Nutrition information:

(serving size = 1 cookie)

Calories: 94, Total Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Carbohydrates: 7g, Fiber, 1g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 2g

Simple How To: Garbanzo Beans–>Hummus

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Garbanzo Beans are a great source of fiber, iron and protein and are most popularly known in the form of hummus. Hummus is very easy to make and is a great dip with vegetables, whole grain crackers or on salads. Here is my easy how to make cilantro garlic hummus:

Cilantro Garlic Hummus

 

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Ingredients:

  • One 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh organic cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp. water

**Food processor**

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic and put in food processor along with juice of 1 lemon or lime, 2 tbsp. olive oil, garbanzo beans, cilantro and salt and pepper.
  2. Pulse until relatively smooth.
  3. Add cumin, water and additional 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
  4. Pulse until creamy and place in a container

Enjoy with celery, carrots, or any vegetable of choice for a healthy snack!

Grain Free Rice! Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice in 7 Minutes

As unbelievable as it may be, I just got my first ever food processor! I couldn’t be more excited to make the infamous cauliflower rice and found a recipe using lime and cilantro. I made it my own and it was absolutely delicious – a dish the whole family will enjoy!

Ingredients:
(Serves 4)

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower
  • Handful of fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Dash of salt and dash of pepper

Directions:

1. Cut cauliflower into chunks and pulse in food processor until it becomes the consistency of rice.

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2. Set aside riced cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl.

3. Pulse cilantro in food processor until finely chopped.

4. Set cilantro aside in a different bowl.

5. Zest 1 lime and add to cilantro. Cut lime in 1/2 and add juice from 1/2 lime to cilantro.

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6. Heat cauliflower in microwave for 5 minutes, add cilantro mixture and olive oil and mix together.

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Allow cauliflower to cool for about 2-3 minutes then serve. I served mine with pork roast and spinach salad for a completely low carbohydrate and Paleo dinner!

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The BEST Healthy Treat Using Only 2 Ingredients

It’s simple! Chocolate + fruit = YUM. This Valentine’s day, make your sweetie a tasty treat that is heart healthy AND delicious. Only 2 ingredients needed. I opted to use both dark and white chocolate (because I love dark chocolate and my fiancé loves white chocolate). Dark chocolate has heart healthy antioxidants and when eaten in small amounts can actually be good for you! I used a variety of fruits but feel free to chose your favorite to dip in chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • Fruit of choice – I used strawberries, apple and banana
  • Chocolate of choice – I used dark chocolate and white chocolate
  • Parchment paper and a cookie sheet

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Directions:

  • Rinse and cut up fruit
  • Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  • Heat chocolate in a double boiler over low heat or microwave in a microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments (stirring every 20 seconds)
  • Dip fruit in melted chocolate and place on parchment paper on the cookie sheet
  • Refrigerate for at least 1hour

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Which Seed Reigns Supreme? Chia vs Flax Seed

Flax seed and chia seed have become all the rage! Whether you’re looking for a fiber supplement or omega 3 fatty acids for heart health, flax and chia seeds have many nutritious health benefits for your diet. But which seed reigns supreme?

Chia VS Flax Seed

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Both chia and flax seeds have a nutty flavor but chia seeds are more versatile in the kitchen. When mixed with water, chia seeds form a gel and can be used as a binding agent in place of eggs (great for vegans or those with egg allergies). Chia seeds pack a powerful punch to your health, too! Only 2 tbsp. chia seeds give you 9 grams of healthy fats, 12 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein! Add chia seeds to cereal, oatmeal, salads or yogurt for a heart healthy meal or snack.

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Flax seeds are found more popularly in baked goods such as baked breads, muffins or granola. By comparing nutrition labels, it’s easy to see that flax seed does not provide as many grams of healthy fats, fiber or protein compared to chia seeds – but 2 tbsp. flax seeds = 8 grams fiber which is still considered a great source of fiber! Fiber is important for heart health (it can help lower “lousy” LDL cholesterol) and promote a healthy digestive system. Add flax seed to dips such as hummus or yogurt or salads, granola and cereal for an added dose of fiber.

2 Must Have Munchies on Superbowl Sunday

As we gather around the TV for a day filled with food, friends and football – make sure there’s some healthy snacks available! Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable and works well in place of grains and starches. Cauliflower is a great source of vitamin C and can help strengthen your immune system. It’s also an excellent source of fiber and can therefore help lower LDL cholesterol (the lousy kind of cholesterol).

Try these 2 snack ideas to feed the crowd without derailing your diet:

Cauliflower crust pizza (serves 2-4) – adapted from hungryhealthygirl.com

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower (2 cups riced)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes *optional
  • Toppings of your choice: *I’m using marinara sauce, sliced bell pepper, onion and turkey pepperoni

Directions:

  1. Pre heat over to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove stems and leaves from cauliflower and chop into chunks and put in food processor. Pulse until cauliflower becomes similar in texture to rice. *Note: if you don’t have a food processor, I’ve used a cheese grater (pictured above) to grate the cauliflower to a “rice” texture.
  3. Place riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 8 minutes.
  4. Combine cooked cauliflower and all remaining ingredients into a medium bowl.
  5. Spread and press cauliflower “dough” out evenly over a baking sheet or pizza stone (about 1/4-1/3 inch thick).
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until dough is golden and cooked through the middle. Remove crust from the oven.
  7. Top crust with pizza sauce or marinara sauce and toppings of your choice (I used cheese, salami, bell peppers and onion).
  8. Broil pizza for about 5 minutes or until toppings are hot and cheese is melted. Allow pizza to cool 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (serves 5) – picture and recipe adapted from Mara Iaconi, NP

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Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (4 cups) cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese (3 ounces), grated
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place cauliflower in steamer or in a pan on the stove top and steam for 5-7 minutes or until tender.
  3. Transfer steamed cauliflower into a medium bowl and allow to cool.
  4. Mix in cheese and spices with cauliflower then transfer to 8″ baking dish.
  5. Drizzle milk over cauliflower mixture and cover with foil. Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Purge Your Pantry in 3 Easy Steps!

Now that the holidays are over and the novelty of new years resolutions have dwindled, lets get serious – you need to purge your pantry and clean out the fridge in order to really start fresh in 2014. Make this year your year to be the healthiest and happiest you!

1. Check the ingredients list. If you don’t recognize the items listed and/or the ingredients list is a paragraph long – throw it out! Example: Luna Bar VS Lara bar (click each image to enlarge and read ingredients).

 

Luna bar ingredients list

Luna bar ingredients list

 

Lara bar ingredients list

Lara bar ingredients list

2. Check the nutrition label. If it has more than 8g sugar  per serving – toss it! Examples:

Low-fat granola VS Quaker oats (click each image to enlarge and read nutrition label)

Low-fat granola: 15g sugar per serving

Low-fat granola: 15g sugar per serving

 

Quaker oats: 1g sugar per serving

Quaker oats: 1g sugar per serving

Flavored Yogurt VS Plain Greek Yogurt (click each image to enlarge and read nutrition label)

Honey Greek yogurt: 24g sugar

Honey Greek yogurt: 24g sugar

 

Plain Greek yogurt: 7g sugar

Plain Greek yogurt: 7g sugar

*Added bonus: plain Greek yogurt contains more protein and calcium than regular yogurt

3.  Avoid rotting produce. Buy enough produce to last 1 week and shop for what’s in season. Example:

January-February: Brussels sprouts, pears, clementines, collard greens, dates, grapefruit, kale, leeks, oranges,  persimmons, sweet potatoes, tangerines, turnips.

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*Stock the freezer with frozen vegetables/fruits but check the ingredients list – make sure it contains only the vegetable/fruit and no added junk.  

Contact me today for a personalized pantry dive and/or grocery tour! 415-763-5544 or kelsann.dickens@gmail.com

Considering a Cleanse? Beware of 2 Important Facts

After the holidays, cleanses are all the rage. But are they healthy? Do they really rid the body of harmful toxins? And how should you transition from a cleanse back to whole foods?

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1. Are you cleansing for weight loss, to rid your body of toxins or both?

  • If cleansing for weight loss: keep in mind that a cleanse can help you lose weight but keeping it off is another story. Most of the weight you lose while cleansing can come right back on once you reintroduce whole foods or go back to an unhealthy eating routine after the cleanse.
  • If cleansing for detox: only cleanse for 3 days or less. Putting your body in a prolonged state of starvation may interfere with metabolism and blood sugar levels. Your kidneys and liver do a great job ridding the body of toxins on their own, especially when following a healthy diet and exercise routine. Instead of cleansing, switching to a healthy diet and adding more movement to your lifestyle may be more beneficial long term.
  • If cleansing for both: have a plan. After the cleanse is over, make sure you have an eating plan in place when you reintroduce whole foods. If your diet before the cleanse was not a healthy one – don’t go back to it!

2. How will you transition from a cleanse back to whole foods?

  • If planning to go back to your usual eating routine: unless you usually follow a healthy diet including a variety of foods (fresh fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and some whole grains) don’t do it!
  • If planning to start a new diet post cleanse: keep in mind that diets don’t work. Lifestyle changes need to be made in order to adopt new habits.
  • If unsure: do your research – look into paleo, low-carb or even plant based protein diet plans. Feel free to contact me for more information and guidance today: kelsann.dickens@gmail.com or 415-763-5544.

3 Ways to Re-Train Your Brain to Crave Exercise

Ever wish you were one of those people that just loved running? Or truly enjoyed sweating out your stress? According to new research, you can re-wire your brain to become one of those people!

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My brain has been re-wired to crave that summary after a run, not to mention the rush of endorphins I feel from the exercise itself. Other ways to train your brain:
  • Only watch your favorite movie or show on TV or on an iPad DURING exercise: walk/run on the treadmill, ride a stationairy bike or use an elliptical ***watch a whole series in a week IF you exercise daily.
  • Only listen to books on tape or that new JT album while walking or jogging.
  • Exercise in front of a mirror: seeing your muscles work gives you instant gratification that you’re doing something to change your body composition ***squats, lunges and bicep curls are great exercises to start with.