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What makes a food super?

In the world of nutrition, a superfood is defned as a nutrient-rich food beneficial for health and wellness.  Though there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are typically packed with large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals.  So which foods make the cut?  The list is surprisingly long; however, here are some examples.

1.       Fruits and vegetables: Of course, blueberries make the cut onto most top ten superfood lists. Studies show that blueberries contain greater amounts of antioxidants than any other berry; however, blackberries, cranberries and raspberries are not too far behind.  There is not one single fruit or vegetable that provides you with the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals for each day.  The key is: to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables that aim to provide you with high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, zinc, etc. Aim for a variety of at least five colorful servings of fruits and vegetables every day.


2.       Fish: The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week due to its rich source of protein, omega 3’s and low amounts of saturated fat. Fatty fish has been linked to optimal brain and heart health. Fish is also loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D.


3.       Complex Carbohydrates: foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber in the diet are also a good source of B vitamins, which provide energy to the body. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, squash, beans, peas, lentils and yes, even white potatoes are examples of fiber rich complex carbohydrates.   



4    4.        Avocado, walnuts, sunflower and flaxseeds are all rich in mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fat sources can have a beneficial effect on your heart when eaten in moderation and replaced with saturated and trans fat.  Studies have shown these healthy fats can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats also contribute to vitamin E in the diet, an antioxidant most Americans need more of. 






Fad Diet

Have you ever thought “If I could just go on a really low calorie diet for a little while, I would lose these extra pounds, and life would be so much better?” If so, you are certainly not alone. Every year thousands, if not millions, of people try fad diets and various weight loss products hoping to find the magic bullet. The problem is there really is not a quick-fix diet or a miracle product that leads to healthy, long-term weight loss.

Certainly, there are fad diets out there that will cause quick weight-loss. However, they are too restrictive, and often too boring, to be sustainable. In some cases, they can even be harmful to your health. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) website defines a fad diet as “a diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy or unbalanced diet.” UPMC also suggested you ask yourself the following questions to recognize if a certain plan is actually a fad diet:

·         Does the diet promise quick weight loss?

·         Does it sound too good to be true?

·         Does it promote a certain company’s product?

·         Does it lack sound research to back up its claims?

·         Does the diet include a list of “good” and “bad” foods?

If the answer is “yes” to one or more of the above questions, the diet is probably a fad diet. Restrictive, fad diets not only can cause you to miss out on essential nutrients, but they can end up slowing down your metabolism. This can lead to extra weight gain once you go off the diet and return to your usual eating patterns.

            So, what does work? The answer is a healthy, well-balanced eating plan along with a well-planned exercise routine. It is also necessary to address behavior issues such as emotional or mindless eating. This may not sound quick, easy or glamorous, but these are what research continues to show are necessary components for healthy, sustainable weight loss. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a total diet approach to healthy eating. The Academy states “All foods can fit within this pattern if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity.”

Please keep in mind that the above information does not apply to people who have been diagnosed by their healthcare provider with food allergies or food sensitivities. For those individuals, avoiding the foods proven to cause a serious allergic reaction or other adverse symptoms is a must. Stay tuned to the Nourish blog for more sound advice and tips on how to improve the quality of your diet and manage your weight.




Don’t Let Bacteria Pull Up a Chair at Your Table This Summer

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and were able to enjoy the beautiful weather. I saw many families outside enjoying fun activities and having picnics together. This a great time of the year to enjoy spending quality time with family and friends outdoors, but when food is involved you must be mindful of food safety. Warm weather provides an opportunity for foodborne bacteria to multiply rapidly and you definitely do not want to allow this at your table.

Follow these simple guidelines for safe food handling when eating outdoors

1.  Wash, Wash, Wash

  •  If soap and water is unavailable, bring disposable wet wipes to keep your hands and surfaces clean at all times
  •  Clean your produce before you pack it in the cooler
  •  Do not reuse platters or utensils
  • Serve items from the grill on a clean platter using clean utensils 

2.  Organize Your Cooler Contents

  • Do not cross contaminate
  • Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood securely wrapped and away from your other raw or prepared foods

3.   Keep Food at the proper temperature

  • Cold food should be kept stored at 40° F or below
  • Place cold food in a well insulated cooler with ice and consider packing meat, poultry and seafood while it is still frozen so that it will remain colder longer
  • Preparing meat from a frozen state will take ~50% longer to prepare than if using fresh meat
  • Consider packing your beverages in a separate container to minimize the amount of times that the cooler is opened, allowing the perishable foods to remain colder longer
  • Only take out the amount of meat from the cooler that will fit on the grill at one time
  • Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F
  • Consider keeping hot food in a well-insulated cooler until ready to serve
  •  Do not leave hot or cold foods sitting out for more than 2 hours or 1 hour in temperatures above 90°F

4.  Cook meat, poultry and seafood to a safe temperature

  • Always use a thermometer to assure the proper cooking temperature has been reached
  • Steaks and roasts         145°F
  • Fish                             145°F
  • Pork                             145°F
  • Ground Beef                 160°F
  • Poultry                         165°F 

Have fun and enjoy safe picnicking at the same time

References: and

Healthy snacking is an important part of a well-balanced diet; but if you're not careful, bite-size snacks can become full-size meals. When calories are concerned, it’s a good idea to limit snacks to 200 calories or less.  Start by choosing snacks that have emphasis on a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, seeds, nuts and legumes.  Choosing these types of healthy snacks will satisfy your cravings and keep you feeling fuller longer.

 Try out some of these favorite snack recipes for you and your family!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bites    

PB bites


1/2 cup Chocolate chips

1 cup Oatmeal, dry

1/3 cup Honey or agave nectar

1/2 cup Peanut butter

1 tsp Vanilla extract

2/3 cup Coconut flakes, toasted

1/2 cup Flax seed, ground


Place all ingredients into mixing bowl and mix well. Roll into 2” balls and chill for one hour.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 Bite, Calories: 112, Fat: 7g, Carbs: 10g, Protein: 4g


Apple Cookies                         


1 apple

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup almonds, sliced

¼ cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup chocolate chips


Slice apple into thin rings and remove core.

Spread peanut butter over one side of ring. Top with almonds, walnuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.

Nutrition Information

 Serving Size: 3 slices 200 calories, 8g Fat, 3g Protein 


Fresh Homemade Avocado Salsa       



2 Tomatoes, diced

½ Vidalia onion, diced

1 Whole Cucumber Peeled, diced

1 Avocado, diced

1 Whole Lemon Squeezed

6 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped

4 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 T. Balsamic

2 T. Red Wine Vinegar

2 T. Honey


Dice tomatoes, onion, cucumber and place into medium mixing bowl. Dice avocado, add into mixing bowl and immediately squeeze lemon onto avocado to avoid browning. Add remaining ingredients; mix well, salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate 30 minutes or until serving. Serve with whole grain tortilla or pita chips.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: ½ Cup, 120 Calories, 8g Fat, 3g Protein

 12 Whole Grain Chips 130 calories



More snack ideas:

·          ¼ cup dried fruit and nut mix

·          1 small apple or orange

·          3 cups light popcorn

·          1/3 cup hummus + 1 cup raw fresh cut veggies (green peppers, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, celery,

           cauliflower or a combination of these)

·          ¼ cup cottage cheese + ½ cup canned or fresh fruit

·          1 cheese quesadilla (made with one 6-inch corn or whole wheat tortilla + 1 oz shredded cheese)

            + ¼ cup salsa

·          2 rice cakes (with a 4-inch diameter) + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter

·          5 whole wheat crackers (or ¾ oz) + 1 piece of string cheese

·          ½ turkey sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 2 oz turkey + mustard)

·          ½ cup tuna salad + 4 saltines

·          1 medium banana + 1 tablespoon peanut butter

·          Protein shakes/smoothies (1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt, 1-2 cups of berries)

·          Cucumbers sandwiches, filled with roast beef/turkey and low fat cheese

·          Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa

·          ¾ cup whole grain cereal with low fat milk


picnic basket


As the temperatures outside begin to warm-up, it’s time to start planning fun outdoor activities.  As we begin to dream of beach towels and waves, hiking and waterfalls, and just lounging out by the pool, we also need to consider how we are going to keep our body nourished, energized, and refreshed.  This can easily be accomplished by packing a healthy picnic basket for all those fun times.  Traditional picnic foods have normally included things like fried chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs, macaroni salad, potato chips and brownies.  These high calorie foods can definitely cause trouble for your diet, but the good news is that with a little substituting and making healthier choices we can enjoy a wonderful picnic without sacrificing our health.


Check out these three tips for preparing for a nutritious and healthy picnic:


1.  Start with the basics of Nature (Fruit and Vegetables)

Pack your basket with fresh produce including grapes, apples, bananas, peaches, berries and melon.  These fresh fruits will bring lots of flavor and refreshment on hot weather days.  Don’t forget to pack the veggies!  Vegetables can be consumed raw with  dips such as hummus or a lite veggie dip, or they can be used in some delicious recipes.  Try choosing a healthier version of macaroni salad or tossing together a nutritious version of broccoli slaw.  Many of our starchy mayonnaise based salads can be improved nutritiously by substituting colorful veggies for some of the starchy ingredients and substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise.


2.  Rethink your main dish

Instead of picking up the usual Fried Chicken and French Fries, try planning ahead for a healthier meal option.  If you are in a hurry, try picking up a baked rotisserie chicken or some sandwich wraps or subs.  If you are thinking about grilling at your picnic site, then try turkey burgers and chicken, rather than the normal hamburger and hotdogs.  Both turkey burgers and grilled chicken will provide you with good protein and are a lower fat option.  To add to your main dish, don’t forget that you can grill some tasty veggies also.  Slice up some mushrooms, squash, onions, peppers and zucchini to make some tasty skewers that will add both nutrients and flavor to your dish.


3.  Finishing Strong 

 Most staple desserts for cookouts normally include cookies, brownies, cakes or something with chocolate.  First try substituting some of these high calorie choices out for a colorful fruit tray.  If you and your guests must have something sweet to finish off your tasty meal, then first remember portion sizes count.  Cutting that nice slice of cake in half saves not only calories, but your waist line.  Also, try baking healthier recipes for dessert, such as an angel food cake with sliced strawberries and lite whipped cream.  



 Healthy Picnic Food Ideas from WebMD



     Did you know that little calories you eat here and there, without even thinking about it, could be adding up on your waist-line? Did you also know that it is not just hunger or even emotions that drive us down the path to overeating? Our surroundings can actually encourage us to eat more. In his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think, Brian Wansink, Ph.D. points out that the average person makes over 200 food-related decisions every day. What drives those decisions is not always easy to explain.  Why do we choose to eat what we do? What controls the amount we eat?

            Dr. Wansink is the Director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.  He and his team have done extensive research to find out what influences people to eat the way that they do. What his research has uncovered could help you eat less, eat healthier and maybe even enjoy your food more. On the other hand, without paying attention, you may be at the mercy of your environment when it comes to food choices. Did you know the size of the plate, characteristics of the food packaging, and even the smells, colors and lighting in the dining room influence what and how much we eat?  Food companies, restaurants and marketers utilize these principles every day to boost their business, whether they are promoting healthy foods or not. Therefore, it makes sense to be an informed consumer if we want to make healthier choices.


            In the meantime, try these tips to help you take better control of your food choices and the amount you eat…

1.      Start with smaller plates. Use a 7-9” plate rather than a 10-12”. The smaller the plate, the less food it will take to make the plate look full.  When the plate looks full, we tend to think we have more to eat and feel more satisfied even if there is less food.

2.      Don’t go back for seconds and don’t be a member of the CYPC (Clean Your Plate Club). Leaving a small amount on the plate at each meal can save you lots of calories over time. This can lead to gradual, yet significant, weight loss

3.     Fill ½ your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Items like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, greens, mushrooms, onions and peppers are low in calories but help you feel full. They are also a great source of vitamins and minerals.

4.      Pace yourself. Try putting the fork down between bites. Take time to actually taste and savor each bite

5.      When snacking, portion out what you are eating and stop with one serving. Don’t sit down in front of the TV with an entire package. Eat items like nuts, trail-mix or popcorn one piece at a time rather than by the handfuls.

Remember the best way to avoid “mindless eating” is to pay attention and be aware of what you are doing. Take the time to be a “mindful” eater. You might be surprised to find what a weapon the mind can be in the battle against the bulge.


nourish blog post - Paul H. Broyhill Wellness CenterBreakfast is the most important meal of the day. It provides you with the energy you need to start your day and can also provide many other health benefits including weight control. Studies have shown that when people eat breakfast in the morning, they are less likely to eat a larger amount of calories during the day.

The ideal breakfast contains a good balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. Carbohydrates provide fuel for your brain, healthy fats enhance absorption of the fat soluble vitamins and protein provides a feeling of fullness.

Try these quick breakfast ideas to start your day the right way:

  • Oatmeal with a dash of raisins or dried cranberries and walnuts
  • Low-fat plain yogurt layered with your favorite whole grain crunchy cereal and fruit
  • Breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk and your choice of fresh or frozen fruit or a combination of both
    • If you want a thicker smoothie add an extra banana or extra frozen fruit
    • You can also use low-fat or Greek yogurt
  • Top a whole grain waffle with low-fat yogurt and your favorite fruit
  • Breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs and turkey bacon on whole wheat toast and your favorite fruit on the side

Don’t delay – eat your breakfast today