5 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and as a Certified Diabetes Educator, this month means a lot to me. One of the top goals we hear from our clients is that they do not want to end up with Type 2 Diabetes like their relatives did, or they don’t want to start (or stay) on medication. When people think of diabetes, they often think they’re doomed …but the good news is that your genes don’t have to dictate your reality!

Here are 5 ways you can decrease your risk of developing Gestational diabetes, pre-diabetes, and ultimately Type 2 diabetes:

    1. Know your numbers! Getting annual lab work completed that includes a fasting glucose reading and Hemoglobin A1c can clue you in on your risk level, and can be imperative in monitoring how your lifestyle changes are affecting your health. The fact that nearly 90% of Americans who have pre-diabetes don’t know that they have it speaks to the importance of knowing your own numbers.
    2. Take a Passagiata. We all know that the European way of life is a little more laissez-fare compared to us high wired Americans. I think they’re onto something. After meals, you will see most Italians taking a stroll outside. This passagiata, which means “post meal stroll”,  can make a huge difference in your blood sugar. When you eat, your blood sugar goes up and when you walk, your muscle cells are able to uptake more glucose (sugar) to be used for energy. So instead of chilling on the couch after dinner, take a quick stroll around the neighborhood or even just walk in place in front of the TV if you can’t go outside. 
    3. Veg-Out! “Eat your vegetables!” is something that probably still rings in your ears from childhood. However, mom’s instructions are just as important now as they were then. Making 50% of your plate non-starchy vegetables (think: leafy greens, mushrooms, peppers, cauliflower and broccoli) is a great way to increase nutrient density on your plate and increase fiber. Increasing fiber in your diet helps slow your digestion which slows the rise of post meal blood sugar. Remember this tip at holiday dinners and parties this year. If you can make sure 50% of your plate is veggies that will naturally prevent low nutrient, higher calorie foods from covering the entire plate.
    4. Eat consistently throughout the day. Eating breakfast within one hour of waking up, and eating a meal or snack every 3-4 hours throughout the day can help reduce your risk. Why? Because not only will you have consistent energy levels throughout the day, it also decreases the risk of overeating (carbohydrates) at the next meal, or bingeing on snacks/sweets. 
    5. Maintain a healthy weight and avoid yo-yo dieting. A healthy weight is totally different for everyone and is highly individualized. However, research shows us that maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding yo-yo diets (which are shown to result in weight GAIN rather than loss) significantly reduces the risk of  chronic illnesses like Type 2 diabetes. If a weight loss is recommended by your doctor, a healthy weight loss of 0.5-1 pound per week for women, and 1-2 pounds per week for men is the way to go in addition to checking your blood sugars and A1c (see tip #1 above). And don’t feel like you have to go crazy with the weight loss! According to a study done by Diabetes Journal, just a 2 pound weight loss correlated to a 16% reduction in Diabetes risk.

Want to learn more about Diabetes prevention or management? We are here to help. Click here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call with a Registered Dietitian.

-Written by Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM – Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group

Autumn Broccoli Salad

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This Autumn Broccoli Salad features seasonal fruits and vegetables with an easy to make homemade Greek yogurt dressing – making it a perfect side dish for your next holiday gathering!

This recipe is for the nights you find yourself saying, “I have to bring a side dish to a party, but have no time!” Just chop up your seasonal vegetables listed below, and whisk together a few simple salad dressing ingredients, and there you have a nutritious side dish that all your friends and family will love!

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Creamy salad dressing typically use mayonnaise as the base. For extra protein, we decided to swap mayonnaise with Greek yogurt in this recipe. The tang of yogurt and sweet hints of honey pair together nicely on this salad.

Enjoy this salad as a simple side to dinner, or enjoy it as your meal prep for the week! For a light lunch, try adding chicken or salmon on top for your source of protein.

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Autumn Broccoli Salad

Serves: 6

Total Time: 10 minutes

Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups kale, chopped
  • 3 Cups raw broccoli, chopped
  • ½ Cup red onion, diced
  • 1 Red apple, diced
  • ⅓ Cup slivered almonds

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoon organic honey
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Massage kale in a large bowl and set aside. (Note on how to massage kale: put kale into a bowl and squeeze with your hands. Massage kale for 1-2 minutes until soft)
  2. Add all other salad ingredients to the large bowl with kale. Mix together using large wooden spoons.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a separate medium-sized bowl. Pour on top of the salad, and mix again.
  4. Allow the salad to sit for 30 minutes before serving (This allows the kale to absorb the dressing making your salad more soft and enjoyable to eat. Or just put it in the car and head to your party!)

Notes:

  • Apples can be substituted with dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds
  • This recipe is gluten free and vegetarian
  • To make the dish dairy-free/vegan, swap the Greek yogurt for ¼ Cup tahini and 2 Tablespoons of water

If you make our Autumn Broccoli Salad, let us know! Share your creation on Instagram and tag @britanyjonesrd for a chance to be featured on our stories. 

-Recipe and photography by Gabriella Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern

Let the Kids Eat Candy

 

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Are you shocked to hear a group of Registered Dietitian’s in support of Halloween candy? We understand why you might feel this way, but hear us out. We have partnered with Power Kids Fitness to teach kids that all foods fit and promote a healthy relationship with food. Yes, that includes candy!

The trouble with taking candy away during Halloween (or any holiday) is that kids learn that candy is associated with guilt, shame, and restriction. Studies show that children who have regular access to candy and treats tend to eat them moderately, while children who recognize them as forbidden foods tend to load up when available (even if they aren’t hungry). If we teach kids that treats are shameful, they will never learn how to manage them as adults. Keep reading for our top three tips on how to manage the Halloween candy this year.

Top 3 Halloween 2019 Tips:

  1. Develop a predictable meal and snack structure with nutritious foods for kids to follow throughout the week. The more structure kids have around their normal meals/snacks, the easier holiday treats will be for them to navigate. This will also help kids develop and recognize their hunger and fullness cues, which will prevent them from overeating treats, or any other foods.
  2. Make treats a regular thing throughout the year. This will make holiday’s like Halloween seem more normal, and it will prevent the risk of binging. Kids have an amazing intuition for their hunger and fullness, and the more we support them in developing these cues, the less likely they will be to over do it.
  3. Have fun the night of fun, and then save the rest for later. Enjoy your time sorting, trading, and eating candy -and then save the rest to have a couple of pieces as a part of your regular meal structure for a few days after Halloween.

To learn more about our work with Power Kids Fitness to end childhood obesity in Upstate South Carolina, check out their website here

10 Healthy Grab & Go Snacks

The dietitians at the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group are big snackers. Homemade trail mix, fruit and nuts, and veggies and dip are some of our favorites! We are also very realistic and we know that we can’t always expect to carve out the time to prep snacks during the day and sometimes it’s easier to reach for a prepackaged snack (especially when traveling). With the aisles of snack options to choose from, the snack choosing decision can be intimidating.

“What snacks should I buy?” “What ingredients should I avoid?” and “How can I tell if it’s healthy?” 

When shopping for snacks, we recommend looking for options that feature a protein and/or good fat. Most prepackaged snacks are carbohydrate based (which is fine), and adding fat and/or protein to a carbohydrate will slow down digestion keeping you fuller longer. It also keeps your blood sugar and energy levels more stable. The next thing we look for is real ingredients! We like to stick to whole foods as much as possible. Check the ingredients label. What is the first ingredient? Look for whole foods such as nuts, whole grains, or fruit. The less ingredients in a pre-packaged snack, the better! 

We’ve put together a list of just a few of our favorite packaged snack options to make it easier for you! From protein bars to chickpea puffs these snacks can either be picked up at the grocery store, or ordered online and delivered straight to your door via a service like Thrive Market.

10 Healthy Grab & Go Snacks

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Somersaults 

Somersaults are crunchy salty sunflower seed bites that have 6g of protein, making them perfect snacks to take with you on the go! They are also nut free and great for kids with food allergies.

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Trader Joe’s Turkey Jerky

Jerky is a great high protein snack option for your morning or afternoon snack (option to pair with a carb like a piece of fruit). The Trader Joe’s turkey jerky is low in saturated fat (so it will keep your LDL cholesterol low) is nitrate free, and is made from turkeys without growth hormones.

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Bada Bean Snacks 

Have you ever tried broad beans? We hadn’t either until we tried this snack! Beans are high in carbohydrates and protein making the perfect snack combination – not to mention it’s also portable and kid food allergy friendly (gluten free, nut free)

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RXBAR

Protein bars are a great option for snacks on the go. We like RXBars because they use minimal ingredients with nothing extra added. They also use egg whites as their source of protein instead of protein powder!

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Skinny Dipped Almonds

Chocolate covered almonds. Need we say more? These almonds are lightly dipped in dark chocolate to give you a sweet and crunchy afternoon snack that features protein and good fat to keep you full until dinner time. 

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Late July Organic Bite Size Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers

If you are a peanut butter cracker lover, you will love these sandwich crackers! They are an organic spin on a classic snack, and they taste great.

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Hippeas

Hippeas are basically the protein packed version of Cheetos (and who isn’t down for that?!) These light airy cheddar puffs are made of chickpeas loading the snack with both protein and carbohydrates for a completely satisfying snack!

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Biena Roasted Chickpea Snacks

Another power house chickpea snack! Beina has a variety of salty and sweet roasted chickpeas. They have a nice crunch similar to nuts. It’s also a great option for kids with nut allergies!

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Lara Bars

Lara Bars are great to keep in your bag, car, or anywhere you might need a quick snack. These bars are made of dates, nuts, and other dried fruits and taste like some of your favorite desserts. They all have 6 ingredients or less!

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Second Nature Trail Mix

Trail mix is always a great snack option, with dried fruit for a carbohydrate and nuts for protein/good fats. If you are traveling or don’t have time to make a trail mix, this option is a great second best.

 

Healthy snacking is not always easy, especially if you’re out and about. We always recommend having some snacks with you in case hunger strikes! what are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Let us know below!

 

 

How to Make Chia Seed Pudding

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Chia seeds are a pantry staple for the dietitians at the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group. We love them sprinkled on top of oatmeal, blended into smoothies, and even in homemade pudding! 

So what are chia seeds?

Chia seeds are tiny gray seeds that are nutrient powerhouses. The name “powerhouse” comes to mind because they are an excellent source of omega-3s, protein, fiber, and many other micronutrients. When added to a liquid, the seeds can absorb 10-12 times their weight in water creating a gel-like consistency. Because chia seeds can retain so much water, they actually help maintain body hydration. 

Because the seeds gel so easily, it makes them the perfect ingredient for a nutritious homemade pudding recipe. We’ve put together three yummy chia pudding recipes that are thick, creamy, and easy to make. Even better, each of these recipes uses only five ingredients or less!

Three Easy Chia Seed Pudding Recipes

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Chocolate Raspberry Chia Pudding

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup 2% milk or almond milk 
  • ¼ Cup Raspberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Chia seeds 
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder 
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple syrup

Directions:

  1. In any jar or bowl add milk first, followed by the chia seeds, cocoa powder, and maple syrup.
  2. Stir well with a spoon or fork. Let sit for one minute and stir again. This prevents clumping. Wait at least five minutes before eating for a healthy dessert, or place the pudding in the refrigerator to let sit overnight for an easy breakfast.
  3. When you’re ready to eat your chia pudding, stir and top with fresh raspberries. 

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Banana Nut Chia Pudding

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup 2% milk or almond milk 
  • 3 Tablespoons Chia seeds 
  • 2 Tablespoons Walnuts, chopped
  • ½ Banana, mashed

Directions:

  1. In any jar or bowl, add milk first, followed by the chia seeds, mashed banana, and walnuts.
  2. Stir well with a spoon or fork. Let sit for one minute and stir again. This prevents clumping.
  3. Wait at least five minutes before eating for a healthy dessert, or place the pudding in the refrigerator to let sit overnight for an easy breakfast.
  4. When you’re ready to eat your chia pudding, stir and top with fresh raspberries. 

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Strawberries and Cream Chia Pudding

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ Cup 2% milk or almond milk
  • ¼ Cup Sliced strawberries
  • ¼ Cup Plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons Chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Honey

Directions:

  1. In any jar or bowl, add milk first, then Greek yogurt, chia seeds, cocoa, honey, and sliced strawberries.
  2. Stir well with a spoon or fork. Let sit for one minute and stir again. This prevents clumping.
  3. Wait at least five minutes before eating for a healthy dessert, or place the pudding in the refrigerator to let sit overnight for an easy breakfast. Stir before eating

Notes:

  • If pudding is too thick, add a bit more milk and stir
  • Add liquids first before adding chia seeds
  • To make warm chia pudding, heat it in the microwave or add it on the stove with a splash of milk

-Written and photographed by Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern

Gabby Childers is from Greenville, SC, and is a senior Food Science and Nutrition major at Clemson University. She plans to become a registered dietitian after completing her undergrad. Gabby gets excited about healthy eating, food photography, and cultivating community through nutrition.

Our Favorite Grab and Go Breakfast Ideas

You’re laying in bed one morning. It’s warm, cozy, and dark under the covers. But that comfortable feeling is abruptly interrupted as you turn over and see the time on the clock. It’s 7:45, and you are supposed to leave the house at 8:00. Entering panic mode, you jolt awake scrambling around the bedroom trying to put together an outfit that looks somewhat presentable. As you’re running around the house like a chicken with your head cut off, you scramble to find your keys and head out the door. What you didn’t realize is that you left something behind. Five minutes down the road, your stomach begins to rubble. You forgot to grab breakfast. Does this sound familiar?

On crazy hectic mornings, breakfast can become the least of your priorities. Making a breakfast sandwich, scrambled eggs, or a picture perfect oatmeal bowl isn’t always the most practical options on days like these. During fast paced mornings, sometimes the best option is to quickly grab a pre-made breakfast and head out the door. 

Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work for you! The Registered Dietitians at the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group have compiled our favorite grab and go breakfast items. When searching for breakfast options, we like to make sure the meal includes not just healthy carbs, but also sources of proteins and fat. These two macronutrients are key in keeping your body feeling satiated. Next, we look for REAL ingredients. For example, if you were to look at the nutrition label of a protein bar, the first ingredient should be a whole food such as peanuts or oats (not soy or protein powder).

While prepping your breakfast at home is always our #1 choice – we have listed our favorite grab and go breakfast ideas to keep on hand during busy mornings. Some of these options only require a microwave while others require no preparation at all. Relax – we’ve got your covered!

you will want to bookmark this list for later!

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Made with egg whites, roasted potatoes, and cheddar cheese, this breakfast will keep you satisfied throughout the morning. To make it even better, this breakfast sandwich can be quickly heated up in the microwave and ready to eat!

BUY NOW: Good Food Made Simple Turkey Sausage Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich 

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Pop these waffles in the toaster, and you have yourself breakfast.  With 11 grams of protein, these will keep you full all morning long!

BUY NOW: Birch Benders Protein Waffles

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A perfect Mexican inspired breakfast bowl with egg whites, potatoes, black beans, salsa, and cheese all on top of a corn tortilla. Stores these in the freezer and heat them up in the microwave for a quick savory breakfast!

BUY NOW: Dr. Praeger’s Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Bowl 

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This bar is filled with a variety of whole grains such as oats, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa for a great balance of carbohydrates for energy and protein/good fats to keep you full until your morning snack. Find it in the breakfast aisle!

BUY NOW: Kind Peanut Butter Breakfast Bar 

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For all our oatmeal lovers, this one’s for you! These oatmeal cups are packed with protein from collagen and walnuts. For a fun add on, these come with a creamy nut butter packet!

BUY NOW: Purely Elizabeth Blueberry Walnut Collagen Oatmeal Cups 

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Muffin in a cup? Yes, please! Pop these cups into the microwave on a busy morning for a quick protein filled chocolate chip muffin!

BUY NOW: Kodiak Cakes Chocolate Chip Muffin Cup 

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These pre-portioned nut butter packets are great to keep on hand for a quick snack or breakfast on the go. We suggest eating these with a piece of fruit such as a banana for a healthy fiber and carbohydrate source!

BUY NOW: Justin’s Peanut Butter Squeeze Pack + Banana

OatsQuinoaImageforWeb-1-600x600Chia seed pudding is a great option filled with fiber and omega-3s! Do you feel like you never remember to  prepare your pudding the night before? Chia Pods are here to help with their pre-packaged delicious chia pudding cups! (Note: some of these are high in saturated fat – so be sure to check out the label)

BUY NOW: Oats+Quinoa Chia Pod

0675_PerfectBar_Blueberry_Cashew_w_ingredients_600_1000xWhen you’re extra crunched on time, grab one of these Perfect Bars! The name says it all. These bars are filled with healthy ingredients that will get your morning started right (even if you’re running late).

BUY NOW: Blueberry Cashew Perfect Bar 

honey_fig_walnut-2-800x800Siggi’s simple sides contain one part Greek yogurt, one part crunchy toppings. This honey and fig flavor is giving us all the summer feels – is there a better combo out there? We think not! (Also have you seen Brittany’s fig tree on Instagram? It’s huge!)

BUY NOW: Siggi’s Honey Yogurt with Dried Figs and Walnuts 

Have any other favorite grab and go breakfast ideas? Let us know below!

Interested in learning more about healthy meals and meal planning? Contact the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group here

5 Tips to Lose Body Fat

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Have you ever come across a product that says it will help you “lose 10 pounds in a week?” Maybe you bought that product, tried it, lost the weight quick, and then gained it back the 10 pounds that you lost PLUS two more. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to burn body fat. Extreme fad diets may last in the short term, but they aren’t sustainable and can actually hurt your overall health.

Now that you know that fad diets and fat burning supplements aren’t the trick, what methods actually work? The Registered Dietitians of the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group are here to answer your questions with science based knowledge! First, let’s talk about what fat is. Fat is stored in the body when the number of calories consumed is higher than the number of calories burned. It doesn’t matter if it’s protein calories or fat calories or carbohydrate calories, if more energy is entering the body than leaving, the body stores extra energy as fat. 

Losing body fat and being able to sustain that new body fat percentage takes time and hard work – but it’s doable! 

Incorporating healthy habits into your every day is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Start slow, reach out for support, and give yourself grace during the process. Here are some habits to incorporate into your healthy routine that will promote sustainable fat loss. 

Lift Weights

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to solely do cardio to burn body fat. Strength training increases muscle mass. Muscle mass needs more energy to maintain its size, and when you have more muscle mass, your body needs to burn more calories (muscle mass is metabolically active vs. fat which is not). Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions a week incorporating all the major muscle groups. Functional movements such as deadlifts, squats, bent over rows, and bench presses, are excellent exercises that work many muscle groups at the same time. 

Move More, Sit Less

According to a 2008 Vanderbilt University study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the average American spends 7.7 hours a day sitting. To put that into perspective, that’s 55% of waking hours spent sitting down. Weight lifting is great for building muscle, but to maximize your efforts, be sure to stay active outside the gym! This is your chance to gather a team to play volleyball, take a walk after dinner with the family, or ride your bike down the street. To increase activity in your everyday routine, try taking the stairs, parking further away, or taking a 5 minute walk and stretch break at work.

Eat A Nutrient Dense Diet

Fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and lean proteins are all foods found in a nutrient dense diet. Looks for foods as close to their original form as possible. For example, veggie chips seem to be nutrient dense. I mean, “veggie” is in the name, so it must be healthy, right? Not necessarily. Real vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and broccoli are going to be a more nutrient dense option. Veggie chips have been broken down, dehydrated, and have unnecessary added sugar and salt. Diets with high sugar and salt intake can be inflammatory causing the body to hold onto extra water weight and fat. A good tip to keep in mind is to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. That way you know you’re getting fiber and nutrients in every  meal. Focus on lean proteins like lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds. 

Our Registered Dietitians take an all foods fit approach in our practice, and there’s no reason to completely cut out your favorite fun foods such as cake on your birthday or a drink with friends. The key is to focus on nutrient dense foods most of the time, and occasionally have those fun foods. A healthy lifestyle is not about deprivation and we want to help you to focus on fueling your body without restriction. Celebrations and social events are important for your well-being too!

Drink More Water 

The body uses water to regulate internal temperature, transport nutrients to cells, digest food, and flush out waste. It seems so simple, but drinking more water can actually help burn body fat. The more hydrated the body, the more calories it is able to burn at rest. A dehydrated body slows down the metabolism to compensate, and a water-starved body will not be able to burn fat effectively. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces (ex. a 150 pound person should aim for 75oz water per day). Find a water bottle that suits your style and take it with you wherever you go. Having water with you at all times will help you increase your water intake and decrease the risk of dehydration!

Make Sure You Are Eating Enough 

Cutting too many calories too fast can actually do more harm than good, and unfortunately this is something we see frequently. Extreme restriction puts your body in starvation mode. It recognizes that it isn’t getting enough fuel, so it slows down the metabolism in response to conserve energy. It holds onto body fat because it doesn’t know when the next serge of fuel will come. Work with a Registered Dietitian to learn more about your personalized energy needs, and learn to listen to your hunger and fullness cues. 

Cutting body fat takes work, but if you incorporate these healthy habits into your routine, your results will last a lifetime! To lose body fat, focus on eating a nutrient dense dense diet, moving your body, and drinking lots of water. Incorporating healthy habits into your routine may not give you results as quickly as a detox tea, but the outcome is healthier, more sustainable, and less risky!

Interested in cutting body fat? Our Registered Dietitians can help ! Click here to set up your free 15 minute discovery call.

Written by Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD and Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern

 

Healthy Frozen Treats with WSPA

Every year the last few weeks of summer always feel like the hottest. Stay cool and hydrated with these homemade popsicles! They are easy to make, have less than 5 ingredients each and are a cool snack after a long hot day.

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Raspberry Lime Popsicles

Serves: 6 popsicles

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups raspberries
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 6oz water
  • 1 Tablespoon agave

Directions:

  1. Place the rapsberries, lime juice, water and agave in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Fill each popsicle mold to the fill line with the mixture,  insert popsicle stick and freeze for at least 6 hours
  3. To unmold your pops, run the forms under warm water for 10-20 seconds before eating!

Check out these great Zoku Classic Pop Molds, 6 Easy-release Popsicle Molds With Sticks and Drip-guards, BPA-free

Have nutrition questions or want to know more about becoming a Brittany Jones Nutrition Group client? Contact us here!

10 Things I’ve Learned in the First Two Years of Being an Entrepreneur

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Today is the two year anniversary of my private practice! On July 5th, 2017 I announced to my friends and family on social media that I had started a business – enabling them to hold myself accountable to pursuing my dream of being a business owner.

To be honest with you, I really wanted to write this blog post last year sharing what I learned in the first year, but I didn’t feel like I had enough experience to write it. While that sounds silly, I wasn’t in the place I am now with the confidence of where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going.

Two years ago I was working as a food service/corporate wellness RD for a large company in Greer, SC. The position was OK and the schedule made it easy for planning my wedding, but after the wedding I found myself very bored and not challenged enough. I started my private practice as a “side hustle” while working a full time position, seeing my clients at night after work and on the weekends. I did that for seven months before leaving the full time position to accept a virtual part time position in nutrition counseling, which created a perfect amount of breathing room to allow me to grow my business. I worked both that part time job and saw my private practice clients for another eight months. Though it has been two years that I have had my private practice, I didn’t actually gain the confidence in myself and finances to “take the plunge” into full time entrepreneur until October of 2018 – which was actually just 9 months ago! (I was so incredibly burnt out, I wasn’t sure how much longer I could do both)

I get a lot of questions about starting a business from other RDs and other local business owners in Greenville, SC – and I am excited to share with you some of the things I have learned in the past two years!

1. A coworking space is a great place to start
When I started my practice I was meeting with clients for nutrition counseling at their house, college, or at a coffee shop (and doing meal plans from my home office). This didn’t last very long, and once I brought on my 10th client I knew I needed a space. HIPPA was a concern for me, and I looked for a space that had a private meeting room that I could book when I needed to meet for a client session in private. A coworking space made for a perfect beginning! Not only did it involve less risk, but I also met a lot of other entrepreneurs in Greenville, SC and started to build my community. It also made the transition way less lonely knowing I always had someone to talk to! Last summer I got to the point where my client load had increased so much that I needed a private office space, and I started working with a realtor to find the perfect office to rent. My realtor was amazing and I was so lucky to have found our space on Halton Road. I moved out of the coworking office early, and started seeing clients in my private space in December of 2018 – and it has been amazing!

2. Network in your area
I know this is something you probably hear all the time, but honestly this is one of my favorite parts of being an entrepreneur. I love connecting with other business owners on social media and in our city. I have met with SO many amazing lady bosses and learned something from each and every one of them. Just like they always say – it’s all about who you know, and I have really enjoyed meeting so many new faces! (many of which have turned into clients of mine, partners, or leads) The networking, volunteer opportunities, and partnerships I have developed over the past two years have been crucial to building my brick and mortar practice. Don’t forget it’s all about collaboration not competition – so network with other people in your field too!

3. Be confident in your ideal client by doing self-discovery work
This is something that I wish I had done earlier. This past December I finally hired a business coach and one of the first things we did was self-discovery work where I answered: Who am I? What is my hero story? What kind of clientele do I want to help? Who is my ideal client, and why? I believe that I niched down too early (more to come on that below) and I think if I really dove into my story and the unique service I had to offer clients earlier in the process, I could have probably left my other jobs sooner.

4. Build your schedule for the life you want
Owning my schedule is one of the big reasons why I started a private practice. I recently took a personality test and found out that I am an “upholder.” I like to know what needs to get done and have clear expectations, but I also value time for my self care. I had a very hard time putting a job before myself/my family in the past. As a business owner, some weeks you work 40 hours, and some you work 100 hours (no joke!) BUT you don’t have to work 9-5 like you do in a corporate job. Start your day early/end later to attend that 11:30AM workout class, or go to the Post Office before it closes, or get your nails done at 9:30AM when they open. I knew that the life I wanted includes both killing it at work, taking care of myself, and being there for my family; being an entrepreneur was the best way to build the life I want.

5. Take the vacation
Take advantage of making your own schedule and take that vacation! The best part about being an entrepreneur is that you don’t have to take a set number of “vacation days” and can go on trips without asking for permission from your boss. Does it suck to come back? Yes, but I often will try to do a little bit while I’m gone to lessen the blow if it’s a long weekend. I have learned that after a long trip away (1+ weeks) to give myself 2-3 days to catch up on admin work and get myself ready for the week before seeing clients again. I get some of my best biz ideas when I’m out of the office – so this is a must!!

6. Build your team
If you’re just getting started, you don’t have to do this right away, but eventually you will want an accountant, a lawyer, and a business coach (here is an affiliate link to the coach Mandy that I used and love!). You are the expert in what you do, so let other people help you with the things you aren’t an expert in. And yes, you need someone else besides your spouse to talk to all about of these ideas!

7. Your clients will value you more than any employer ever will
This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned as a business owner in the past two years. I am someone who gives 110% in my job, and I never felt like my employer truly reciprocated for that effort. I have been so fortunate to have the most amazing clients who value my expertise and dedication to helping them reach their goals. I had to learn this when it came to valuing my packages, and my business coach helped me do that. Don’t base your rates off your salary at your last job – you’re worth more, and your clients will prove it.

8. Listen to advice, and then put your own spin on it
A lot of biz owners, books, and podcasts are going to tell you what worked for them, and advise you on what to do. So just listen, think about it for a week or two, and put your own spin on it (including this blog post). In the end you really need to just listen and go with your gut – no one knows your business like you do. If it doesn’t feel right – it’s probably not. For a long time I was listening to podcasts and thinking “so-and-so did this – so I need do that too!” But after working with my business coach, I was able to set up a game plan, and tune out all of that noise. Take it all in, but really focus on what is best for the business to get you to your 5-10 year goals.

9. Enjoy the down time!
Some months will be booming, and others will be slow. In the past, during those slow months I would try to run specials or try a little too hard to get that new client who might not have been the best fit for my packages. I have grown to realize that it all balances out, and I am trying to enjoy the slow periods a little more by spending time with my husband, my friends, and traveling.

10. It’s OK to make a change
In May of 2019, one year and 10 months after starting my business as Blush Nutrition, we rebanded to the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group. When I started in 2017, I niched down to focus on wedding wellness, only to find that the Greenville market just couldn’t support something like that. (and I wasn’t getting a whole lot of online traction either) In this time I also realized that while I liked working with brides, I also loved working with young professionals, and teaching others to meal plan for success. I kept practicing under this name and when people asked what Blush meant I would say “well, I started out in wedding wellness, hence “Blush,” but it’s really expanded since then.” It all really came to a head when I was asked what my business name meant by an anchor on a news segment, and I couldn’t answer her. It was time for a change. I hired a coach, started at the beginning, and pushed forward for 6 months. At first it felt like a failure, but then I realized that businesses are meant to grow and develop just like we do professionally and personally – and I am so excited that my business has continued to grow with me! Not only did the rebrand align with where my practice is now, but by adding “group” to the name, we have also positioned ourselves to grow and become an expert nutrition center in Greenville, SC. It was hard – but totally worth it!

I could go on and on about the different things I have learned, and this list of 10 things is just the beginning – but I want to hear from YOU! What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email at brittany@brittanyjonesRD.com

Lastly THANK YOU for being here, for your support, and your encouragement. I could have never built this business without our amazing community, and I am so grateful for you all. Here’s to even bigger things in year three!

Popcorn Trail Mix 3 Ways

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Do you feel like you are running out of healthy snack ideas? A popcorn trailmix is a fun take on a classic snack that the whole family will love! It’s easy to make and store, and can also be packed as a healthy vacation snack.

We always recommend snacks that incorporate both carb + protein. Protein helps keep your body satiated by releasing appetite suppressing hormones, stabilizing blood sugar, and slowing digestion.

Air popped popcorn is a quick snack that is low in calories and sodium. When paired with nutritious proteins and fats, it can become a satiating snack. We prefer air popped popcorn over microwave popcorn because it is a whole food without any added processed oils (like hydrogenated oils in the “fake” butter) and is a great base for creating a trail mix.

Popcorn Trail Mix 3 Ways

Follow the recipes below by simply adding the ingredients into a large bowl and tossing them together!

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Chocolate Cranberry Popcorn Trail Mix (Serves 4)

  • 4 Cups air popped popcorn
  • ¼ Cup almonds and/or cashews
  • ¼ Cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ Cup dried cranberries

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Savory Popcorn Trail Mix (Serves 4)

  • 4 Cups air popped popcorn
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ¼ Cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
  • ¼ Cup dried chickpeas
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

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Tropical Popcorn Trail Mix (Serves 4)

  • 4 Cups air popped popcorn
  • ¼ Cup dried Mango
  • ¼ Cup coconut chips
  • ¼ Cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds

How to air pop popcorn:

  • Option 1: Place 3 Tablespoons of a single layer of popcorn kernels in the bottom of a deep pot with a lid on top. Turn the stove on medium heat. Carefully listen to the popcorn pop. The popcorn will pop vigorously at first. When the pops are roughly 5 seconds apart, turns off the stove. Wait a few minutes to allow the popcorn to cool and move to your desired bowl
  • Option 2: Here is the air popper that Brittany uses and you can get it on Amazon
  • Option 3: Buy your own pre-popped popcorn such as SkinnyPop at your local grocery store

-Written and photographed by Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern