What to KEEP in your New Years Diet!

New Year’s Segment

Every New Year the #1 resolution is weight loss and often times people start with restrictive diet that cut out many foods and food groups. in turn leads to most of us falling of the wagon by February!  You can keep a wide variety of foods in your diet and still lose weight if you keep an eye on portion size and focus on nutritious foods like Wheat Foods…

A recent study concluded that both low-carb and low-fat diets produce similar weight loss. The bottom line:  it’s the calories, not the carbs.

Carbohydrates are an important part of our nutrition requirements. They provide energy and help give us focus and concentration.

Even if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, it’s recommended to aim for 6 servings of grains per day, 3 of which should be whole grains. And remember that enriched breads and pastas count too, because they also contain important B vitamins that your body needs every day.

Here are some examples of healthy and lower calorie meals that you can include into your diet if you are watching your calorie intake this New Year!

  1. Toasts are all the rage this year! There are countless options:
    1. Berry, cream cheese and basil toast
    2. Banana, PB, Chia Seeds
  2. Lunch
    1. Grain Bowl
  3. Dinner
    1. Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnuts Tossed with Penne Pasta

Cutting Back on Added Sugars!

Are you interested in cutting back on sugar? Sugar hides in lots of places we forget to look. Sugar, whether natural or processed, is a type of simple carbohydrate your body uses for energy. Fruits, vegetables and dairy foods naturally contain sugar.  “Added sugar” refers to sugars and syrups added to foods during processing.  Sugar raises inflammation throughout the body, increases triglycerides, and boosts the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine gives you a high, the more sugar you eat, the more you want. How much sugar are we supposed to have in our diet?

6 tsp for women (100 kcals) and 9 tsp for men (150 kcals)

1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams of sugar

Americans get more than 22 teaspoons — or 355 calories — of added sugar a day, which far exceeds these recommendations.

By cutting back on sugar you can stop the blood sugar roller coaster! There is no need to eliminate all sugars, but you can start paying attention to how much added sugar is in your food and slowly cut back.

1/3c dried fruit = 27 g = 6 tsp–Watch your portions!

½ c Grapes = 7g = 1.7 tsp–There are no added sugars in natural fruit!

Avg snack bar = 20-30 g = 5-6 tsp

KIND Nuts & Spices Bar = 5 g = 1.25 tsp– A great choice for an afternoon snack!

Flavored Oatmeal = 12 g = 3tsp Oatmeal is a healthy food but try to sweeten it yourself

Plain Oatmeal = 0 g

A small smoothie can contains 60 gm = 15 tsp–Choose wisely and watch your serving!

Greek Yogurt with fruit = 30 gm = 7.5 tsp

100% juice = 36 gm = 9 tsp

12-ounce soda = 40 g = 10 tsp

How to be satisfied and consume less sugar:

  1. Picking your sugar- Fructose, the natural sugar found in fruit and certain vegetables, doesn’t make you feel like you need another sugar hit again, mainly because the fiber in those foods slow down digestion and help keep your blood sugar level stable.
  2. Eat breakfast-Ninety percent of sugar addicts skip breakfast. They wait and get a big hit of sugar at 10 a.m. When you eat breakfast, you prevent the drop in blood sugar that makes you crave sugar later.
  3. 100- If you must have a cupcake or a candy bar, stick to 100- to 150-calorie portions.
  4. Despite what you may have heard, there’s no nutritional advantage to honey, brown sugar, fruit juice concentrate or other types of sugar over white sugar.
  5. Opt for reduced-sugar varieties of syrups, jams, jellies and preserves. Use other condiments sparingly. Salad dressings and ketchup have added sugar.

Cutting Back on Added Sugars-Show Me St.Louis Segment

Safety in the Kitchen!

Food Safety on Show Me STL

Tips to keeping your food safe

  1. Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces (if you use a dish towel, wash in hot water cycle)
  2. Consider using different colored cutting boards for different foods (red-meat, green-produce) this will help prevent cross contamination.
  3. Eggs-avoid eating raw and undercooked eggs
    1. Davidson’s Eggs are natural, hormone free, antibiotic free and kosher
    2. Use pasteurized eggs in dishes that call for raw eggs.
    3. 4 out of 5 cases of salmonella sickness are from raw eggs, kids 4 and under are 4 times more likely to get foodborne illness.
    4. A “P” stamped on egg = pasteurized
  4. Wash produce with warm water and a brush
  5. Follow expiration dates
  6. Foods are not good for extended periods of time just because they are in the refrigerator or freezer—see chart below

Guide for keeping perishable foods safe and at peak quality

Fresh Foods Refrigerator Freezer
Beef, roasts, steak 3–5 days 6–12 months
Pork roasts 3–5 days 4–12 months
Pork chops 3–5 days 4–6 months
Ground meat 1–2 days 3–4 months
Leftover cooked meats 3–4 days 2–3 months
Fresh poultry 1–2 days 9–12 months
Cooked poultry 3–4 days 4–6 months
Fish 1–2 days 3–6 months
Deli meats 3–5 days 1–2 months (airtight)
Hot dogs (opened) 7 days 1–2 months (airtight)
Bacon 7 days 1 month
Milk 7 days 1 month
Eggs 3–5 weeks Not recommended
Processed/hard cheese 1 month 4–6 months (airtight)
Berries 3–5 days (fresh) 9–12 months
Fruit (citrus, apples) 1 month 8–12 months
Vegetables 3–7 days 8–12 months
Dry Good Foods Dry Storage
Flour 12 months
Pasta 12 months
Cake and muffin mixes 6–9 months
Spices and herbs 1–2 years
Berries (dried) 6 months
Berries (canned) 12 months
Canned fruit 9 months
Vegetables (dehydrated) 1 month
Vegetables (canned) 12 months

College Care Packages

It is a great time to send your college student a care package. Most students are adjusting to new schedules, new routines and nutrition is taking a backseat! I am confident their rooms are filled with convenience foods and they have a tab at the local pizza restaurant. So to counteract lets send a package with some healthy snacks that can sneak in some much-needed nutrition.  Heidi and I talked care packages on Show Me St. Louis Monday! Here is a link to the video:

Show Me St. Louis Segment

What to Pack:

Instant Oatmeal

Dried Fruits and Nuts to make their own DIY Trail Mix

KIND Bars (a personal favorite)

Popcorn this is a whole grain food!


Laughing Cow Cheese (do not have to be refrigerated to ship)

Aseptically packaged milk (does not require refrigeration) could be soy, almond or cow’s milk

Inspired by Meatless Monday!

On Monday,  I did a segment on Show Me St. Louis highlighting the vegetarian diet. It was a fun show that I got to briefly speak about vegetarian diets and showed four recipes. I came home from the segment and proceeded to make myself the watermelon, pineapple veggie burger for lunch, one of the recipes I featured. My eleven year old quickly assessed my lunch and said, gross! I will admit, I have never put a large slice of watermelon and teriyaki sauce on my veggie burger. Well it was amazing! I asked her to just taste it. Luckily, I have a pretty good eater on my hands and she is typically willing to try anything even after she has labeled it gross. She took a bite and loved it. She asked me to make her one. I felt like I had just won the lottery! I am lucky to have great kids that are open minded to food and have sophisticated tastes. I do take some credit for this…any child of a pediatric dietitian is like a guinea pig when it comes to food 🙂 Keep offering your kids new foods even if they quickly shut you down. WORD OF CAUTION–Never get in a fight over food. Don’t push your child to try it just encourage and then  move on. If they do try the food remember to give them lots of praise for being brave. We want to reward the behaviors that we want repeated!!!!!!!

Vegetarian Diets and Recipes

Chia Seeds, Avocados, Bananas, Oh My!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Recipes from Show Me St. Louis Show on March 20th

 How to make a “chia-egg” Combine 1 Tbs. of ground chia seed with 3 Tbs. of filtered water and use as an egg/thickener.

Chia Seed Pudding


Chocolate Chia Pudding

4-6 servings

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup chia seeds

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam 



1 cup raspberries
1 tbsp chia seeds + 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp honey (try local!)

Soak chia seeds in water for 10 minutes
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined
Store in a glass jar in the fridge



Avocado Chocolate Pudding


Banana Ice Cream


Greek Yogurt


  • Do substitute Greek yogurt for buttermilk or heavy cream, two things you might not readily have in your fridge (who has buttermilk in their fridge?) Just water it down slightly to match the consistency.
  • Do put it in your ice cream maker, it freezes faster and creamier than regular yogurt. Plus the healthy bacteria will even survive a freezing!
  • Do be aware of the temperature. The longer your Greek yogurt is out of the fridge the thinner it will appear. A stint in the fridge will thicken it back up again, so give it a chill before you deem it ruined.

Do marinate! This is once instance where Greek yogurt’s clinginess is a good thing.

Do replace sour cream cup for cup in muffin and coffee cake recipes

Replace cream cheese with Greek yogurt in cheesecakes