May 2021 - Certified Nutritionist Dallas |

5 Simple Steps To Reduce Sugar Intake

The dangers of sugar are very real. Despite how little we hear about its consequences, it is one of the unhealthiest things we consume on a daily basis. Reducing sugar is essential to promoting health and wellness. If you really want to see a major improvement in your overall health and wellbeing, reducing sugar intake is one of the best steps to take.

Here are 5 simple ways to drastically reduce your sugar intake:

Start Small

This is really important when you want to make a healthy change. Starting small will make it more manageable and keeps you from feeling overwhelmed to quit altogether. Start concentrating and tackle one area that’s contributing to extra sugar intake. If it’s soda, decrease your portion each week, coffee, try drinking it black with no added sugar or creamer. Small changes lead to big and lasting results.

Use Less Ingredient 

One simple way to consume less sugar is, to use less! Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, top it with fruit. Instead of drinking juice, swap for water. Reaching out for the store-bought cookies for snacks or dessert, try one of the dessert recipes in the Healthy Desserts Made Easy cookbook.

Healthy Swaps

I do not believe in giving up everything or feel deprived and neither should you when trying to eat less sugar. There are so many options in the Healthy Desserts Made Easy cookbooks such as Chocolate Mousse, Low-Carb Lava Cake, Caramel Muffins, Banana Bread, Cherry Sorbet, and more. This is one of the reasons why I put together this recipe book. They’re low in sugar and taste amazing. 

Retain Your Tastebuds

The good news, your food preference can actually change. As you start to eat healthier food, your tastebuds will begin to become more sensitive to subtle flavors from fruits and vegetables and not need so much sweetness to satisfy. Give it time and be patient with yourself. Slowly, your preference will change and you’ll crave sugarless!

Reduce Stress Level

Stress and lack of sleep only increase sugar cravings. When you’re well-rested and managing your stress levels will decrease your sugar cravings. So the next time you’re craving sugar, take a step back to see if you’re really craving sugar or if you’re tired or stressed out. Be attuned to your body and listen to the clues and signal to rest. 

Now you have all the tools, but you have to implement them to actually make changes. So let’s take action today to live a healthier lifestyle.

6 Steps To Make The Healthiest Delicious Salad.

Want to know the most simple way to get your four servings of vegetables per day? Put together a nice, big salad. 

One sizable salad every day is the perfect way to get your daily servings in all at once — giving you the flexibility with other meals and making sure you’re always on track with your nutrition

The basics of building a super-healthy sexy salad

Start with local, seasonal produce from your farmer’s market or grocery store, then add protein and a healthy dressing and you’re good to go.

Follow this guide daily to optimize your metabolic health, energy, and overall well-being!

Step 1:  Pick your base – greens or grains.

There are so many nutritious greens you can use as the base of your salad, like some of the following:

  •  Lettuce — The darker or redder, the better — so think romaine and leaf lettuce (vitamin C, folic acid, potassium).
  • Leafy greens — Jazz things up with spring mix, baby spinach, and kale or arugula (beta-carotene, antioxidants). 

Tip: Steer clear of the iceberg and other pale lettuce. They’re high water content which means fewer nutrients.

Step 2:  Create some color and load up on veggies.

Vegetables are low in calories, but high in nutrients, meaning the more you add to your salad, the more nutritious it will be. Try some of these, too. The possibilities are endless!

  • Red, orange, yellow, or green peppers (vitamins C, B1, B2 and B6, folate).
  • Avocado slices (over 20 vitamins and minerals, heart-healthy fat).
  • Tomatoes (fiber, vitamins A, C and K, potassium, manganese).
  • Red onion (fiber, phytochemicals).
  • Pomegranate seeds (vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, potassium, calcium, antioxidants).
  • Red, purple or yellow beets (folate).
  • Sweet potatoes (vitamins A and C, manganese)
  • Brussels sprouts (vitamins C, A, and B6, folate).
  • Asparagus (vitamins A, E, and K, folate).

Tip: Swap bread for 2 tablespoons of corn or peas per serving to your salad. They’re high in starch just like bread. 

Step 3: Add some crunch 

The best way to give your salad a little extra spunk is with some crunchy toppings or some healthy fats.

  • Celery (vitamin A).
  • Cucumber (vitamin C).
  • Purple cabbage (vitamins A and C, iron).
  • Peapods (vitamins A and C, iron).
  • Edamame (vitamin C, iron). 
  • Broccoli florets (vitamin C).
  • Walnuts or almonds (fiber, protein, niacin).
  • Alfalfa sprouts (antioxidants).
  • Sunflower seeds or chia seeds (fiber, protein).

Tip: Avoid these high in fat, sodium, and low nutrients options: croutons, tortilla strips, wonton strips, and chow mein noodles. 

Step 4: Add fruit for a pop of flavor.

  • For an extra refreshing antioxidant and flavor boost, throw in some blueberries, or mandarin oranges. 
  • Apples are filling ( pair well with goat cheese or sweet potatoes) 
  • Pomegranate seeds have a tart taste( pair well with arugula, spinach or mixed greens)
  • Apple or pear slices (vitamin C, flavonoids).
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries (vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids).

Tip: Don’t go crazy on dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries, dates, and raisins as they’re higher in sugar than fresh fruit.

Step 5: Add protein (or not)

Not all salads need protein in order to be super filling. If you are looking for a more protein-packed salad, try:

  • Black beans, garbanzo beans, or lentils (fiber).
  • Chicken or lean beef.
  • Salmon, shrimp, or water-packed tuna (omega-3 fatty acids).
  • Hard-boiled eggs.
  • Tofu (heart-healthy fat, potassium).
  • Low-fat feta cheese, blue cheese, goat cheese, parmesan, or mozzarella (calcium, vitamin D). 

Tip: Pair up a small amount of cheese with your other favorite protein. Cheese is very high in saturated fat. 

Step 6: Dress it up.

No salad is complete without a dressing. Most pre-made, store-bought salad dressings are packed with sugar and other additives, so it’s best to DIY your own. it’s easy once you remember this basic trick: 

  • 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. 
  • Lemon juice (vitamin C, folate). 
  • Lime juice (vitamin C, potassium).
  • Asian-style dressing (sesame oil and rice vinegar with a splash of soy sauce)
  • For a simple vinaigrette try using red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil (heart-healthy fat).

Tip: Use less oil and more vinegar & citrus. Avoid high-calorie, high-fat Ranch, Thousand Island, and French dressings.

If you are starting off your salad or veggies intake, try starting once or twice a week to ease your way into a loving salad. If that’s too much for you, try experimenting with a hearty bowl of some leafy green, grain eggs, beans, protein, and add as many veggies mentioned above as you desire. 

A fruit salad will also help you get your 2-3 daily servings of fruit intake. 

If you don’t love salad or struggle with any leafy greens, veggies in any form are fine-be sure to get those 4 servings of veggies in any way you can. Slowly build upon each day. You’ll soon have more energy and feel better than ever. 

Quick & Easy On-the-Go Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to get in your daily nutrients, stay hydrated, and cool down. However, if you wish to take your smoothie game to the next level, then there are certain smoothie ingredients that you must know about! My 16 Smoothies Cookbook is not only tasty, but they are a healthy treat! These smoothies will help you spend more time in the kitchen or with family.  

Breakfast Smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1⁄2 cups plain fat-free yogurt
  • 3 to 4 bananas
  • 3 cups of strawberries, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup soy milk
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 cup of ice

Mix ingredients into a blender one at a time and serve.

Smoothie with banana and oatmeal for breakfast on a light concrete background. Detox menu.

Banana and Yogurt Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 3⁄4 cup skim milk

Set aside two or three slices of banana and place the rest of the banana in the blender. Add yogurt and milk. Blend until smooth and garnish with extra pieces of banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Mango Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1 banana, peeled 3 tbsp. Yogurt
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 cubes of ice

Add ingredients to blend one at a time and puree until smooth.

Pear Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 3 pears
  • 1⁄2 inch fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp. Fresh yogurt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. Cinnamon
  •  4 cubes of ice

Gradually juice the pear, ginger, and cinnamon together. Transfer to a blender and add yogurt and ice. Blend until smooth. 

Avocado and Berry Smoothie 

Ingredients: 

  • ½ ripe avocado, flesh only 
  • 1 cup (125g) frozen berries 
  • 1 ½ cups (350ml) almond milk 
  • 2 tsp. honey 
  • 1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds 

Place all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Divide the smoothie mixture between 2 glasses and serve immediately. 

Healthy Snacking Tips

Did you know that when you restrict what you eat you only end up wanting that food even more? Let’s be real, we all snack. And actually, snacking isn’t “bad” for you if you do it in moderation and make healthy choices. 

Yes, we all have long days where we start craving something sweet or need something salty to help us snap out of the day, but if you’re smart about how you snack you’ll feel, and maybe even look, better. And who doesn’t want that? 

So, let’s toss the excuses aside and run through some of the healthy, nutritious tips to add to your daily routine. 

Here are my tips to snack happy:

Snack on what you love: when you give yourself the freedom to snack on the foods you love it can actually take the desire away to keep snacking. Think of this as a reminder to stop stressing so much over food. When you resist and deprive yourself it only causes those carvings to work in overdrive.

DON’T wait too long between eating: Going long stretches between meals without snacking can cause blood sugar to drop, setting off cravings and causing you to overindulge later

Put healthy snacks within eyesight: You’re more likely to pick a healthy snack if it’s convenient and within reach. Try putting fruit in a bowl on the counter, so you can grab an apple or orange next time you’re hungry.

Take your snacks out of the bag: When you snack straight out of a box or bag you’re more likely to overindulge. Put your munchies on a plate or in a bowl.

Take it with you: Think ahead and carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your pocket or purse so you won’t turn in desperation to the cookies at the coffee counter or the candy bars in the office vending machine.

It’s all about balance: I’m all about balance in life-true balance. You have to be honest with yourself and ask a sincere question if you’re truly eating in balance or if the scale has tipped heavily on one side or the other. 

My quick and easy go-to snack Ideas.

These tasty snacks have the right combo of carbs, protein, and fat—giving you a boost of energy and filling your stomach.

  • Apple with dates(taste like a caramel apple), 
  • a handful of dried fruit and nuts one tablespoon of peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers or toast  
  • sliced veggies dipped in hummus, 
  •  air-popped popcorn sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese
  •  pita chips with bean dip
  •  sliced avocado low-fat cottage cheese with fruit
  • almonds a fruit smoothie made with low-fat yogurt or milk

So go ahead and eat the daily dose of your favorite snack and happy snacking.

Cooking On The Go

Meal Prep is a quick and easy way to have delicious homemade food every day, especially if you’re finding yourself picking away disinterestedly at a salad from the nearby eatery every day. 

The key to The Busy Moms’ Cookbook is an effortless meal with minimal preparation and maximum flavor. You could make an entire meal ahead of time on the weekend, or only pre-cooking some ingredients – chopping veggies, steaming rice, and making sauces – to easily throw together an easy delicious work lunch on busy weekday mornings.

Either way, you’ll thank yourself when coming midday, you open your lunch box to a deliciously home-cooked meal that took up next to no time in your morning routine.

If you’re only a beginner in meal planning, here are my favorite easy-go-to meals (read: easy) make-ahead recipes, and you’ll be an expert in the art of meal prep in no time!

Breakfast recipes under 15 minutes

  • Prep Time: 3 minutes 
  •  Cook Time: 7 minutes 
  • Total Time: 10 minutes 
  •  Healthy Oatmeal 
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned  rolled oats
  • 1 cup water or milk
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Maple Brown Sugar

  • 1/2 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1–2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • splash of milk (optional)

Apple Cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup chopped apples, cooked or raw
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Banana Nut

  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon chia seeds

Berry Almond

  • 1/4 cup fresh berries
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped almonds
  • 1/2 Tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

Add ingredients to a pot: Add oats, water or milk, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla (if using) to a pot or saucepan over medium/high heat.

Cook: Bring mixture to a low boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes; stirring occasionally. Oatmeal is ready when the oats have soaked up most of the liquid and are creamy.

Serve with toppings: Transfer to a bowl and add toppings of choice. See flavor ideas below for maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, banana nut, and berry almond.

  • Lunch recipes under 30 minutes
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins

High Protein Turkey Salad 

  • 10 oz. (280g) cooked turkey breast, chopped 
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped  
  • 1 red onion, diced 
  • ½ cup (60g) dried cranberries, unsweetened 
  • ½ cup (70g) roasted almonds, chopped 
  • 4 tbsp. mayonnaise 
  • 4 tbsp. Greek yogurt  
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard  
  • salt and pepper 

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix until well combined.  

Serve the salad immediately with salad leaves, in a wrap or sandwich. Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

  • Dinner recipes under 60 minutes 
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins

CURRIED COD IN TOMATO SAUCE

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 
  • 1  onion,  chopped 
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder 
  • 2 tbsp. ginger,  finely grated 
  • 3  garlic cloves,  crushed 
  • 2 x 14oz. (400g) cans diced tomatoes 
  • 1 x 14 oz. (400g) can chickpeas, drained 
  • 4  cod  fillets (5 oz./140g each) 
  • zest 1  lemon,  then cut into wedges 
  • handful fresh coriander,  to serve  
  • salt and pepper 

Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large pan. Use a pan that has a lid! 

Cook the onion for 5 minutes, then stir in the curry powder, ginger and garlic. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Now, add in the tomatoes, chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. 

Cook for 8-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add in the cod fillets and cover them with the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5-10 minutes until the fish is cooked through.  

Once cooked, sprinkle over the grated lemon zest and chopped coriander. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. 

*Swap for any protein of choice* 

Serving suggestions: 

  • Rice 
  • Boiled potatoes

How To Freeze Soup + Thaw It Like A Pro

Avoid the heartache of freezer burn and mushy leftovers by learning how to freeze soup.

Soup is the ultimate make-ahead freezer meal. Because most soups can be stored in the freezer for at least three months, it’s a great dish to make on Sundays and enjoy for weeks to come.

What’s the Best Way to Freeze Soup?

It’s simple to learn how to freeze soup, follow along for our best tips.

  1. Prepare and let the soup cool completely.
  2. Next, pour soup into freezer-safe containers or bags. Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the container. If you are using a container instead of a bag, I recommend lining the top of your soup with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
  3. Label each container with the name of the recipe and an ‘eat by’ (three months from the day the soup is made) and place soup in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheat Soup

When you are ready to reheat the soup, you have a couple of options!

Thaw in the refrigerator. If you have time to thaw the soup in the refrigerator, I suggest taking the soup out of the freezer and letting it thaw out on its own in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

After the soup has thawed out, place the soup in a saucepan. Sometimes the ingredients in the soup will soak up a lot of the liquid in the soup when you freeze it.

If you thaw out your soup and it is lacking in the liquid department, add a half cup of liquid to the saucepan at a time until it reaches your desired liquid level.

Heat soup over medium/high heat. Bring to a boil then let simmer until you add additional ingredients (noodles and protein) and serve.

Thaw in a water bath. If you need to expedite the thawing process, place your bag or container in a warm water bath until soup loosens from the side of the container. Pour soup (which might still be an ice block) into a large saucepan.

Heat over low/medium heat until soup thaws completely. Add additional liquid and then bring to a boil and serve.

Microwave. We do not recommend defrosting any soup container in a microwave EXCEPT for a glass mason jar. Remove the metal lid from a mason jar and place soup into the microwave.

Use the defrost setting or set power to low and microwave soup for 5-10 minutes or until soup has thawed.

Heat soup in the microwave on high until soup reaches the desired temperature.

Don’t forget to add protein + noodles!

Pick up where you left off in your original recipe for adding cream or protein. As for noodles, boil noodles in a separate saucepan and add noodles to your soup before serving.

How Long Does Homemade Soup Last in the Freezer?

For best quality, soups will last about 3 months in the freezer, though certain vegetable-based broth soups can be safely enjoyed 6 months or more out.  If you don’t like pushing your luck with that guideline, use the classic test: when in doubt, throw it out. If it smells and looks funky, give it the toss.

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