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 It’s that time again!  Families have begun to gather the much needed school supplies, backpacks, and new clothes in preparation for “Back to School.”  We all know that one of the keys to success during the school year is having good school supplies and all the right tools.   While supplies and new clothes get us ready to enter the classroom, we must remember that young minds need nourishment to absorb all that knowledge.  As you and your family begin to prepare for this school year, it’s a great idea to begin thinking about ideas on how to nourish your child daily.   We have all heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” this statement is true, especially when preparing young minds to enter the classroom. 

 Starting the day off with breakfast provides the body with key nutrients and energy to enable your child to learn.  Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to have less tardiness, higher school attendance, overall higher test scores, and fewer hunger-induced stomach aches.  Students who eat breakfast have been shown to have better muscle coordination, concentrate better, and solve problems more easily.  Studies have also shown that children who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. 

 Try to start your child off right with a balanced breakfast that includes foods from the fruit, grains, milk and meat and beans groups.  Check out these easy breakfast ideas below to help you nourish your child for a healthier and more successful school year!


Breakfast Ideas:

 -          Whole-grain Waffles: Spread with peanut butter and sprinkle with raisins or dried cranberries.  Add low fat yogurt or milk as a side.

 -          Make instant oatmeal with low fat milk instead of water and sprinkle in raisins and chopped walnuts or almonds

 -          Add lean ham and low-fat cheese to a toasted whole-grain English muffin

 -          A whole grain muffin with a side of fruit and low fat yogurt

 -          Blend  a breakfast smoothie with low fat milk, frozen berries and a banana

 -          Stuff a whole-wheat pita with a sliced, hard-cooked egg and low fat shredded cheese


egg sandwich


Egg Sandwich


·         2 large eggs

·         1 tbsp. finely chopped dill

·         1 tbsp. finely chopped chives

·         kosher salt

·         black pepper

·         2 English muffins, toasted

·         2 slices Cheddar

·         1 plum tomato, sliced


1.      Crack the eggs into a measuring cup. Add the herbs and a pinch each salt and pepper and whisk with a fork to combine. Divide the mixture between two 7-ounce glass bowls and microwave on high until cooked through (they will rise), 30 to 45 seconds.

2.      Top each English muffin with the cheese, tomato and egg.


PER SANDWICH 325 CAL, 15.5 G FAT (7 G SAT FAT), 214 MG CHOL, 507 MG SOD, 18 G




Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics




Research is limited on the correlation between sugar intake and arthritis.  However, this is becoming a trending topic and researchers are starting to complete more trials and collect more information related to this.  One study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition collected information from a group of women and their intake of soft drinks.  Data was collected over a 20-year period and the results showed a positive correlation between higher intake of sugar and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.  Those who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day were 63% more likely to develop arthritis compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month.


            Some clinicians and researchers suggest that arthritis is not caused by the diet. For example, a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that bacteria produced by internal body functions cause arthritis and related inflammatory diseases.  Therefore, even though the diet may not be the direct cause of rheumatoid arthritis, the excess amount of sugars being put into the body may create the perfect feeding ground for harmful bacteria that promote inflammation.


            There is much more research to be done on this topic; however, we do know from many other studies about the human body that excess sugar intake is never recommended.  Sugar should be consumed in moderation and is best when coming from natural sources such as fruit rather than processed foods like cake and cookies.

Resources (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) (JAMA Internal Medicine)



Kombucha (pronounced kom-BOO-cha), or ‘Booch’ for short, is a cool fizzy beverage that hit the market in health food stores a few years ago.  This fermented drink that is made with tea, bacteria, sugar and yeast actually has been tracked back to ancient China.  This interesting concoction started out as a rage among the health-seeking crowd around 2010 and has continued to gain popularity with many individuals now making their own Booch at home.  Also, known as the “mushroom tea” even though there are no real mushrooms in it, the name is derived from the slimy sludge that floats near the top of the bottle.  This flat, pancake like sludge, is known as the SCOBY (for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).  The SCOBY is where all of the microorganisms live and is used for homebrewers to produce smaller cultures and share with their friends.  Some of you may be thinking “Ewww”.  So why is this new fermented sludge drink so popular?


Kombucha has gained popularity specifically in the Complementary and Integrative Health world.  Kombucha continues to be popular with individuals wanting to use it as a probiotic or for detox purposes.  Kombucha is thought to stimulate the immune system, prevent cancer, improve digestion and improve liver function.   However, there have been other reports claiming that Kombucha produces adverse side effects such as stomach issues, allergic reactions, liver damage, toxicity and metabolic acidosis and infections.  Research is very limited at this time on Kombucha; however, several scientific articles link home brewing to many of the adverse effects.   Kombucha is often brewed in homes under nonsterile conditions, which makes contamination very likely.  Since Booch has gained such popularity among celebrities and health seekers, many companies are now brewing this slightly tangy tasting drink, which makes it a bit safer. 


So should we all be consuming Kombucha? For some individuals this tangy fizzy drink is refreshing and invigorating; however, for others they can’t seem to get past the vinegary taste and compost smell.  Kombucha packs some of the same prebiotics found in yogurt and kefir; however, due to the lack of evidence available at this time, it is unclear if Kombucha tea can deliver on all of its health claims.   


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Mayo Clinic

When you’re craving a satisfying treat but want to keep your health in mind, a smoothie is an excellent way to curve that sweet tooth while keeping your calories in check. It is recommended to consume a MINIMUM of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day and I know myself how difficult that can be.  When I need an extra boost of fruits and vegetables, I add one of these delicious smoothie recipes into my meal plan as a healthy snack.


Packed full of vitamin C, potassium and fiber is one of my all-time favorite smoothie recipes:

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Sb banana recipe


1 cup of vanilla flavored low fat yogurt

½ cup of fresh/frozen strawberries

½ banana sliced

½ cup of skim milk

Ice chips (optional)


Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth


Berry Crunch Smoothie

 berry crunch recipe



1 cup vanilla low fat yogurt

¼ Cup granola

½ banana

½ cup of your favorite berries (I prefer raspberries or a variety blend!)

1/3 cup skim milk

Ice chips (optional)


 Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth


Spinach Banana Smoothie

spinach banana



1 banana

1 cup of spinach

1 ½  tbsp peanut butter

1 cup skim milk


 Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth


June 20th marked the first day of summer. This is one of my favorite times of the year because of warm days and outdoor fun.  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is prepare meals on the grill. You don’t have to limit yourself to just hotdogs and hamburgers. Grilling can be a very healthy method for preparing food. Fish, poultry, vegetables and some fruit can also be prepared on the grill. Consider trying the recipe below the next time you turn on your grill.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

Servings: 6


1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 ½ - inch cubes

1 ear corn, cut into chunks

1 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges

1 small red bell pepper, cut into chunks

1 small zucchini, sliced

·         Mix oil, vinegar and Chicken Seasoning in small bowl. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well.

·         Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Alternately thread chicken cubes and vegetables onto skewers. Lightly sprinkle chicken and vegetables with additional Chicken Seasoning, if desired.

·         Grill over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, turning frequently.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 176, Cholesterol: 42 mg, Sodium: 167 mg, Protein: 17 g, Total Fat: 8 gm, Fiber: 2 gm, Carbohydrate: 9 gm




Vegetarians and Muscles



                While the vegetarian diet doesn’t contain protein from meat products, it is a true misconception to believe that vegetarians cannot build muscle mass.  The type of vegetarian diet being followed by an individual must be taken into consideration when determining what types of proteins that can be consumed.  Listed below are different types of vegetarian diets:  

  • Lactovegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, eggs, and fish but includes dairy products
  • Vegan: Excludes all animal products, such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, and fish but includes eggs and dairy products

With a well-planned vegetarian diet, an individual can consume adequate protein and calories to promote muscle growth.   Optimal protein food sources include meat, eggs and dairy due to the fact that these products contain all essential amino acids that are required for sustaining life and building muscle.  Some plant based proteins do not contain adequate essential amino acids that humans require; therefore, it is very important to consume a variety of amino acids (protein) throughout the day to promote optimal intake.   Depending on which vegetarian diet that is being followed here are a few options that do contain all essential amino acids that can be included in the diet:

  • Dairy options: eggs (these are considered the perfect protein due to containing all 9 essential amino acids),  low fat yogurt and milk
  • Soy options: soy milk, soy yogurt, edamame, soy burgers, tempeh and tofu

Vegans who do not consume any eggs, dairy or animal proteins need to make sure to consume a variety of foods to optimize their intake of a variety of amino acids.  Some examples of food combinations that work perfectly together to enhance amino acid intake include:

  • Adding soy milk products to any meal.  Such as adding soy yogurt to breakfast or on a baked potato, adding soy milk to cereal or having a wrap or sandwich with soy cheese.
  • Consuming grains plus beans or legumes.  A classic example is rice and beans; however you can try other combinations such as quinoa and couscous with tofu, legumes and kidney beans.  Some other examples include cornbread and bean chili, tofu and brown rice, bread and split pea soup.
  • Consume legumes plus seeds, such as tofu and sesame seeds and chickpeas and tahini.

Let your taste buds be your guide to choosing your protein source, but keep in mind in order to build muscle mass adequate protein is required.

Key Take Home Message: You should consume protein at each meal.  Make sure that your protein sources are providing you with all of the essential amino acids for muscle growth and overall health.

Remember:  Eat five or six small meals per day that include protein. Keep in mind also consume a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and plenty of water.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th Edition


Chances are you know someone with type 2 diabetes. Over the past few decades the number of people diagnosed with this disease seems to have sky-rocketed. In America the increased rate of obesity, related to a poor quality diet combined with decreased physical activity, has set the stage for this growing health problem. Did you know that a condition called prediabetes often occurs before Type 2 diabetes develops? According to the American Diabetes Association, “In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for prediabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.”


The good news is that when prediabetes is identified and treated, the person may be able to avoid, or at least delay, the progression to type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, many people have prediabetes but don’t know it. Prediabetes often has no noticeable symptoms. Some people do develop patches of dark skin on certain areas of the body including on the neck, armpits, elbows, knuckles, and knees. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans. However, not everyone with prediabetes will develop this.


The best way to find out if you have prediabetes is to visit your healthcare provider for regular check-ups. Prediabetes can be diagnosed with a blood test in a doctor’s office or medical clinic.  Treatment generally includes lifestyle modifications that lead to a modest 5-10% weight loss.  These changes usually involve eating a healthier diet and increasing physical activity. In some instances, medication may be prescribed to help bring blood sugar back to normal range. For more information visit