Posts from 2016-10

Trick or Treat


Trick or Treat pic

Halloween is just a few days away and it is estimated that Americans spend approximately two billion dollars on Halloween candy each year. According to a poll conducted by Influenster, America’s favorite candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and North Carolina’s favorite is the Butterfinger.


Ghosts and goblins may not be as scary as the abundant Halloween candy you may have access to over the next few days. Weight management can always be a challenge, but even more so during the holidays. It only takes an additional 500 calories above what you need daily to lead to a ten pound weight gain per year. A couple of snack-sized candy treats can add up to more than 100 calories and contribute to weight gain. Below are some tips instead of tricks to help survive the potential calorie overload.


  • Consider buying candy the day of Halloween to avoid eating a large portion before the big day

  • Buy candy you don’t like so the temptation to eat it is removed

  • Buy less than what you think you will need to avoid a large amount of leftovers

  • Give your leftovers away or put them out of sight so you are not tempted to grab a bite every time you walk by the candy dish

  • Satisfy your sweet tooth by savoring one small piece of candy to prevent an all out binge

  • Consider handing out non food items this year such as bouncy balls, glow sticks, stickers or bubbles


Keep in mind that the secret to success is calorie intake, which means choosing appropriate portions and remembering that every bite counts. I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween.






Pumpkin Everything


 It’s that time of year again!  The Fall season is upon us and we start seeing that word everywhere, “Pumpkin.”  It seems that many brand name products believe that everything can use a little bit of spice……that is, Pumpkin Spice.  So far this season I have found pumpkin lattes, pumpkin Oreos, pumpkin protein bars, pumpkin chips, pumpkin cake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin Cheerios, pumpkin cookies, and the list goes on. For many consumers it’s all about the pumpkin signaling the beginning of the Fall season.  While many food industries take this ingredient to an extreme, and use it in many sugar filled products, let’s take a closer look at the pumpkin and it’s nutritious side.

  Pumpkin Facts

 ·        A cultivar of a squash plant, but considered a fruit.

 ·        1 cup of cooked, boiled, and drained pumpkin is 49 calories, 2 grams protein, and has 12 grams of carbohydrates.

 ·        Pumpkin is loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body.  Vitamin A is important for the maintenance of the immune system, important in growth and development and vision.  

 ·        1 cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A.

 ·        Pumpkin seeds are edible and nutrient rich.  Pumpkin seeds contain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols, which have been shown in some studies to help reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).  These seeds can be roasted as a snack. 

 ·        Pumpkin seeds can help boost your mood.  Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which is important in the production of serotonin in the brain that helps regulate our mood. 

 ·        Pumpkins are 90% water.

 ·        Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, by containing 3 grams per 1 cup serving.  Fiber helps keep you feeling full longer, which can help promote weight loss.

 ·        Pumpkin can help refuel athletes after a hard workout.  One cup of cooked pumpkin contains 564 mg of potassium compared to a banana, which has 422 mg of potassium. 

 This delicious fruit can be added to many healthy recipes to provide not only a tasty flavor, but also a nutrient packed punch.  While pumpkin is the taste of the season, make sure you are still conscious of all the other ingredients listed in your food choices.  Continue to pay close attention to those food labels for calories, sugars and fat as you choose your tasty treat. 


 University of Illinois Extension

Fall’s Bounty Part One – Fruits

autumn fruits

 In addition to crisp, cool mornings and mountains painted in beautiful colors, fall brings a harvest of delicious fruits and vegetables. This bounty can bring interest to your meals in terms of colors, textures, and flavors. In addition, they are great sources of vitamins and minerals needed for good health including vitamin c, folate and potassium.  Many fruits also contain a lot of fiber.

            Fruits that are considered “in-season” in fall include apples, pears, cranberries, grapes and pomegranates. Many people do not consume the number of servings of fruit that are recommended for them. Utilizing fruits in new and creative ways can help close this gap. Think of fruit as “nature’s dessert,” but don’t stop there. Remember, fruits can also be incorporated into entrees, salads, breads and other dishes. Check out the links below to find recipes to jazz up your fall meals.

 ·         Sausage-Stuffed Apples

 ·         Pomegranate, Pear and Avocado Salad

 ·         Cranberry Apple Coffee Cake

 ·         Healthy Chicken Salad With Grapes, Apples, and Tarragon Yogurt Dressing

 Stay Tuned for “Fall’s Bounty: Part 2 – Vegetables.”