Easy, Healthy Weeknight Dinner: Sheet Pan Potatoes, Sausage, and Vegetables

Easy, Healthy Weeknight Dinner: Sheet Pan Potatoes, Sausage, and Vegetables

Here is one my family’s new favorite dinners: Potatoes, Sausage, and Vegetables roasted on a sheet pan. 

Why I love it:

  • Versatile
  • One dish meal
  • Can use leftovers
  • Inexpensive
  • Super tasty!
  • Everyone loves it (one of the few meals we all love)

Here’s how to do it:

Wash and cut into bite-size pieces your favorite potatoes and vegetables (white potatoes, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, green peppers, red peppers, broccoli, asparagus, onions, etc.). Toss the potatoes and vegetables with olive oil in a large bowl.  Spray a sheet pan with non-stick spray.  Spread vegetables and potatoes evenly on the pan.  Sprinkle your favorite seasonings on top: kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc. Dice your favorite sausage (deer sausage, chicken sausage, pork sausage, etc.) into bite-size pieces and sprinkle over the vegetables.  Roast in the oven at 425 degrees until the potatoes are soft.  Serve with fruit and a glass of milk on the side.   Yum!

Please share: What’s your favorite easy dinner?

You can eat what you love and still be healthy!

You can eat what you love and still be healthy!

“This is my mom and she loves chocolate”

A few months ago I was outside with my 2 youngest daughters and we started talking to someone walking by.  My little ones were probably enthralled with the person’s dog.  But anyway, out of the blue, my 3-year-old said, “This is my mom and she loves chocolate.”  I started laughing at the randomness of this comment and have thought a lot about it since. Yes, both statements are true.  I am her mom and I do love chocolate. 

Why do I bring this up?  Because I think many people have the misconception that my being a dietitian means that I don’t eat sweets and only eat healthy foods.  Some people think my kids never eat junk food and we must not have any candy or chips in my house.  This is not true!  I want to write about this today so you can see that I am just like you…I love chocolate and my husband loves chips.  I have kids that love junk food and candy (and they like some vegetables and nutritious foods too). I crave desserts just like you and want chocolate when I’m stressed out.  At various times in my life I have worried about my weight and health and been on both sides of the dieting spectrum.  I know what it’s like to hate your body and I know what it’s like to love your body.  And not only have I been through it, I’ve seen hundreds of my clients go through it as well.

I am here to share with you today, that you can break through whatever bad eating habits you have, poor body image, dieting scars, etc.  You can find the middle ground between health and “eating whatever you want.”  I’ve done it, my clients are doing it, and you can too.  It feels so amazing to feel comfortable in your own skin, to eat nutritious foods most of the time, and include the sweets/treats/junk foods a little of the time.  It’s so rewarding to go to the doctor and get a good report on blood work, realizing that you can do it!  You don’t have to be in the gym for 2 hours every day (but it’s OK if you like that) and eat only chicken breast and broccoli (it’s OK if you like that too).  There is way more to life than just that!  We can love chocolate (or French fries, or chips, or anything else) and still feel good in our bodies, be healthy, and live well.  

Will you give me a chance to show you that eating what you love AND meeting your health goals is possible for you too?  Simply comment on this post and I will put you on my waiting list for new clients. 

Websites for healthy, nutritious and easy recipes

I don’t know about you, but I am easily overwhelmed by the amount of recipes on the internet.  Really, I have a love-hate relationship with recipe searches.  I LOVE being able to find any recipe I can think of and many that I never thought of.  I HATE that there are so many options and I have no idea which version of the recipe is going to taste the best.  That’s why I have stopped doing general recipe searches and now just go straight to my go-to sources.  It frees up my time by not scrolling through 20 versions of Asian Chicken, for example, and makes me feel so much more confident when I have a website or two that I can trust.  I wanted to share one of those sources with you today:

www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov

These are the reasons I love this website:

  • You can search by ingredient
  • You can search by food group or type of dish
  • You can save recipes into your “cookbook”
  • You can view recipe books
  • You can print your recipe book
  • You can view recipe demos
  • You can refine your search by cost, cuisine, diet, and cooking method

With all of these options, what’s not to love about USDA’s What’s Cooking? Best of all, is it saves me time by going to only one place when I’m making my weekly menu.

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Please share: what is your favorite website for recipes?

Is citric acid bad for you?

Is citric acid bad for you?

The other day someone asked me about Citric Acid and if it is harmful.  She is trying to eliminate harmful foods from her and her family’s diet.  In just a few short paragraphs, I will answer that for her and you.

Citric acid is weak tricarboxylic acid found in citrus fruits.  The highest food sources are lemons and limes.  Although you won’t find citric acid listed in any database or calorie counting app, citrus fruits have been tested in labs to determine amounts. 

You can find citric acid added to foods as a preservative.  It has a sour and acidic taste.  It is commonly used when canning tomatoes and in products that you add to fresh fruit to prevent it from turning brown.  I have some in my cupboard for science experiments and home-made bath bombs!

Citric acid is perfectly safe.  Your body breaks it down and excretes it through your urine.  In fact, it may even be helpful in preventing calcium oxalate kidney stones.  Studies show that citric acid can prevent the stones from forming.  Studies are mixed on whether drinking lemon or lime juice can treat current kidney stones.  But if stones are a concern for you, it certainly won’t hurt.

Bottom-line, there is no need to worry about citric acid in your food.  There are more important things to think about…like what’s for dinner?

Please share: are there any food additives that you are concerned about and you want me write a blog post about?

How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

One of the quotes I love to share with my clients is:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

No matter what kind of goal you have: financial, health, dream vacation, etc., it begins with a single step.  A baby step, as I like to call it.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we look at the big picture: pay off the car, lose 100 lbs, or go on a cruise.  I’ve noticed for some people it seems so daunting that they don’t even try.  That’s when it’s time to break it down into manageable steps.

First, take out a big sheet of clean, white paper (or your favorite color) and jot down all the steps you need to take to reach your goal.  Second, choose the very first step that must be done.  Third, do it!  The first step doesn’t have to be big.  The best part of taking a step is that you are moving towards your goal, which helps build your confidence. Then the next day, take another step, and the next day another one, and another one until you’ve done it!

You’ll find as you take baby steps day after day, your confidence will improve, your overwhelm will decrease, and you will feel better.

Please share: what baby step are you going to take today?  Comment below or on my Facebook page.

How many times a day should I eat?

One of my frequently asked questions is, “How many times a day should I eat?”  I’ve got the answer for you!  Research shows it’s ideal to eat at least 3 times per day and then the rest is up for you to decide.  Eating at least 3 meals a day is ideal for managing appetite hormones, metabolism, and hunger.  There is no research to support whether snacks are necessary for weight control.  For some people, eating snacks causes them to overeat because they snack on cookies, chips, and soda.  For others, snacking is necessary because they don’t like to eat big meals.  That’s where personalization comes in.

How many times a day should you eat? It’s up to you!

My suggestion is to keep a food journal and track your mood and energy level based on your meals and snacks.  See if you do better with 3 snacks and 3 meals or just 3 meals (or anywhere in between). 

To take it a step further, pay attention to how the snacks and meals make you feel. Do some snacks weigh you down and others energize you?  Does eating big meals make you feel sleepy or satisfied?  Pay attention to trends and use that to guide you in how many snacks and meals are ideal for you.

And if you need help with your meal plan after that, check out my services to see which is the best fit for you.

Please share: do you prefer to snack or not to snack?

The Most Nutritious Food

The Most Nutritious Food

A client asked me the other day, “what is the healthiest food to eat?”  What do YOU think the answer is?  I said, “Beans.”  Beans are one of the most nutritious foods for a few reasons:

  1. They are a good source of complex carbohydrates.  That means they are digested slowly and will give you a nice steady stream of energy. 
  2. They are a good source of protein.  Protein is essential for strong muscles, a healthy immune system, and hormone balance.  It also keeps you fuller longer.
  3. They are a good source of fiber.  Fiber also keeps you fuller longer and keeps your bowel movements regular.

Beans are inexpensive and versatile.  They can be added to salads and soups, main dishes, side dishes, and even desserts!

Please share: what are your favorite ways to eat beans?  What would you say is the most nutritious food?

Are you burned out? There’s an App for that.

I know you’ve felt it before…you dread getting up in the morning and dragging through one more day.  Burn out is real.  And it can take a toll on your health: it is associated with heart disease, insomnia, obesity, and anxiety.  Can you relate?  If so, check out this infographic from Happify. 

Click here to see the infographic from Happify: Experiencing burnout? Here’s how to recover

If you recognize any of the symptoms of burnout listed on the graphic, I encourage you to download the Happify app. It’s a great tool to improving your mental health—which then trickles down to physical health.   And then, talk to me.  Let’s figure out how we can change your diet and exercise routine to alleviate any symptoms you are experiencing.

Please share, what are the signals and signs when you are feeling burnout?

Help! What Food is Trying to Tell YOU

Help! What Food is Trying to Tell YOU

Do you have a go-to food or activity that numbs you out after a long day or an emotional event?  C’mon, be honest: is it scrolling through Facebook, playing a game on your phone, or grabbing a bag of chips?  If you’re an emotional eater, then you can relate.  What are those foods you gravitate towards when you want to feel better?  Chocolate? Ice cream?  Bread?  If you know what I’m talking about, chances are you also feel guilty about eating these foods. Well, I want to take that guilt away and instead teach you what these foods are telling you. 

Your body has an amazing and insightful secret to share with you:

When you reach for food and you are not physically hungry, it’s telling you “Something’s wrong!”  It’s shouting at you to stop and listen. 

It’s so common to plow through your day without ever stopping to listen to your body and see what it needs.  So, when you are craving food, think of it as a red flag.  Your body is saying, “Did you forget about me?   Something is wrong and I want you to fix it.”

Next time you find yourself reaching for your go-to food, notice is for what it is (a cry for help) and take these steps:

  1. Do a head to toe scan to find any areas of pain or discomfort.  Do you have a headache?  Are your feet hurting?  If so, do what you can to alleviate the pain or discomfort.
  2. If you find no obvious pain or discomfort, examine your feelings.  What are you feeling?  What triggered those feelings?  Did you have an upsetting interaction with a co-worker?  Are your kids stressing you out?  Are you mad at your best friend? Once you find the source, do what you can to fix it (that doesn’t involve food).

This is a learning process. It’s important to be patient and compassionate with yourself as you learn to work through difficult emotions and events.  But you can do it!  I’ve seen others learn how and I know you can too.

If you need help applying these steps, check out my programs to see which one might be a good fit for you.

In the meantime, please share: what are your go-to foods and why?

Stop the Food Fight

Stop the Food Fight

I know this is a personal question, but how do you feel about your body?  What do you think when you look in the mirror?  Are your thoughts positive or negative?  What do you think when you see models and celebrities?  Do you envy their slender bodies or do you think that you would not want to work as hard as they do to maintain that shape?   How do you feel about your relationship with food? Is food the enemy?  Take a few minutes to think about these questions, or better yet, discuss with a friend or write them in your journal.

Thinking about these questions can be eye-opening for some or painful for others.  I bring this up because my goal for all my patients is to accept their bodies where they are.  Next time you are in a crowd of people, notice the vast difference in our bodies.  No one person is the same and that’s what makes us unique. Life would be boring if we were all the same height, weight, and shape. 

Do you think that everything you see in magazines and TV is real?  You would be surprised how some of what we see is not real.  Illusions are created by the power of technology in the hands of the beauty industry who wants us to believe that we are not good enough as we are (so we will spend money on their beauty products).  This illusion of beauty and “perfect” bodies are all around us. So much that we don’t know what reality is anymore. Want to know what reality is?  Go to the mall or other public place and people-watch.  Reality is every day people in all shapes, sizes, and colors; real people with real struggles and real lives.  In my Stop the Food Fight class I’ll be showing you a few pictures of air brushed celebrities that will surprise you.  I know we can’t change the media and beauty industry, but we can change ourselves.  We can remind ourselves and teach our daughters and sons that what we see in the media is not always real.  Beauty has nothing to do with your weight or body fat percent.  It’s all about what kind of person you are.

My hope is that you can get to the point where food is not the enemy and your body is not the enemy.  You can do that by what I call, “Stopping the Food Fight.”  That means you learn to accept the diversity of our body shapes, just as you accept the diversity of nature.  And second you learn to nourish your bodies by honoring your hunger and fullness. How do you do that, you may wonder? 

1. Keep a food log of when you eat and WHY you eat.  Notice how the foods make you feel. 

2. Consciously observe the people around you and say positive things about their bodies (not out loud!) and your body (you can say them out loud!).  This is a gradual process that I love to take my clients through. 

If you need more help with this and want to discuss this with like-minded individuals, join me for my June Master’s Group where we are learning to “Stop the Food Fight.” 

In the meantime, please share: how do you feel about your body?