The Benefits of Breakfast

Author: Rosetta Danigole, Lead Nutritionist at UMC

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Are You a Breakfast Eater?

Studies show that there are many benefits to choosing a healthy breakfast every morning.

First, there’s the energy factor. Your brain needs glucose from food – especially good carbohydrates such as whole grains, fresh fruits and low-fat dairy products – in order to work well.

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What Happens When You Skip Breakfast

When you skip breakfast you may end up with a brain-energy slump by mid-morning.

Skipping the benefits of breakfast can lead to an increase in LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels, according to researchers.

Going without breakfast means you likely will eat more throughout the day. People who eat breakfast, on the other hand, get their metabolism humming and tend not to consume as many calories during the entire day, so they wind up weighing less than those who don’t get the benefits of eating breakfast.

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You may be jeopardizing your long-term health. One study found that those who skipped breakfast were more resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance increases the risk of developing diabetes.

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If you are not a breakfast eater and have a hard time eating in the morning you may just have a bad habit.  To start breaking that habit try a light breakfast such as a banana and a glass of milk or even a cup of low fat low-sugar yogurt and fruit.  You may just need to re-train your system to accepting food in the morning.

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Lastly, what are the good and bad breakfast choices?

  • Try not to load up on caffeine — one cup is a good limit, but if you need two cups maybe try a cup of hot tea as it is higher in antioxidants.
  • Avoid muffins, large bagels, sweet pastries, sweetened cereal, & high-fat meats such as bacon.
  • Eggs are good choices (high in protein and not the cholesterol offender as once thought). Studies say to it is good to include eggs 3 to 4 times per week; preferably organic and high in omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Try whole grains coupled with high quality protein such as eggs and oatmeal or yogurt and fruit.
  • Don’t forget the healthy fats such as almonds/walnuts/or flax seeds.

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…But What About Grits?

Here in New Orleans we love grits and a lot of folks ask dietitians about that. Grits are made from corn and is not that bad in and of itself but it is a refined food. Include it occasionally for breakfast but not daily as other options offer more nutrients.

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About the Author

Rosetta

As the lead dietitian at University Medical Center New Orleans, Rosetta Danigole manages clinical dietetic operations. She is a member of the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition and belongs to the clinical dietitian practice group. She has been a dietitian for 35 years.

 

A Healthy Plate is a Happy Plate: 20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits & Veggies

Author: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists

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Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.

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Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day:

  1. Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.
  2. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.iStock-485076210.jpg
  3. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.
  4. Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
  5. Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.
  6. Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.*
  7. Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.
  8. Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the- run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.iStock-832079576.jpg
  9. Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.
  10. Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
  11. “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings.
  12. Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
  13. Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and with low-fat cheese.iStock-140256741.jpg
  14. Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.
  15. Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce and rice dishes.
  16. Make fruit your dessert: Slice a  banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
  17. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.iStock-530627641.jpg
  18. Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.*
  19. Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
  20. Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.

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*See “Color Your Plate with Salad” at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets for more tips on creating healthy salads

For a nutrition consultation with our dietitians, please call (504) 702-5700 to schedule an appointment.

 

 

To learn more about healthy lifestyle choices, visit our new Primary Care Center at 2003 Tulane Avenue or www.umcno.org/primary-care.

 

 

For information about the UMCNO Cancer Kitchen, which happens every other month at Simplee Gourmet, email Laura Kerns or call her at (504) 702-3691.

 

 

 

Feast Your Eye On This: A Thanksgiving Menu You Won’t Regret

Author: Rosetta Danigole, UMC Lead Clinical Dietitian – Nutritional Services

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Thanksgiving is almost here.  It’s time to feast and spend time with family.  But while Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season brings joy to many, it can also be the cause of food anxiety.

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Take a deep breath – traditional seasonal fare also offers plenty of good opportunities for healthy eating.

The fall season offers so many nutrient packed foods that can nourish not only your body but your spirit. Listed below are some dietitian approved tips for avoiding overindulging and taking the worry out of those holiday meals.

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Remember always that healthy eating is a lifestyle. Moderation is the key to staying on your healthy eating path through the holidays.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare tomorrow’s feast or sit down to enjoy.

Make it healthy:

  • Choose seasonal foods. Roasted fall vegetables add a festive touch to the table. Think about sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips.  It’s a simple dish but these roasted vegetables combined with olive oil and low sodium herbs can be a good start to a healthy meal.
  • Add winter squash to your holiday table. Roasted, baked or steamed, winter squash makes a delicious and nutritious side dish.  Add your favorite spices such as nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon for a healthy alternative.
  • Make the cranberries a hit. Cranberries contain powerful anti-agers. Try to find either fresh or low sugar canned instead.
  • Prepare a guilt-free dessert. Baked, poached or roasted fall fruits are a great alternative to sugary pies and other sweets. Try apples and pears and even apricots, peaches and plums sprinkled with holiday spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

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Enjoy it!

  • Start with nuts. Instead of munching your way through the sour-cream dip before dinner, pick the walnuts out of the nut bowl. Eating 12 halves 30 minutes before a meal will convince your brain you’re not all that hungry.)
  • Practice the flip. Try this tip –it’s called flipping” your meal: Make the side dishes the main choices along with your white-meat turkey. Make the higher calorie choices a small side dish. When everyone else is waddling out, you’ll be feeling great.
  • Find a healthy balance. Try to balance your plate with lean proteins, heart healthy whole grains and veggies. If those options aren’t available, just remember to pace yourself.
  • Eat some of everything. Yes, including the pumpkin pie.  Just be mindful of portion sizes. To be sure you are getting the right portion size, use your hands. For the average woman, the palm of your hand is two to three ounces – your thumb is equal to one teaspoon. Take less and savor it more. You’ll end up feeling better after.
  • Dig in to the turkey. Turkey breast is super lean: just 44 calories, 1 gram of fat and no saturated fat per skinless ounce.
  • Don’t reach for seconds right away. Still hungry after your first serving? Wait 20 minutes, have a glass of water, and check in with your body before going for seconds.
  • Stay hydrated. Add sparkling seltzer water to cranberry or pomegranate juice for a festive, low-calorie drink (and it’s alcohol free, if so desired). Pomegranate juice is loaded with anti-oxidants and helps fight inflammation.

As you navigate the rest of the holiday season, remember that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts; moderate in alcohol; lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.

For a list of healthy New Orleans-style Thanksgiving recipes, download our free recipe book.

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Happy Thanksgiving to all!