Wedding Registry Picks For A Healthy Kitchen

Wedding Season is almost here, which means that bridal shower season is upon us! I get a lot of questions from my wedding wellness clients about my favorite kitchen tools for a healthy home – which prompted me to make this list.

If you are engaged, here are my 25 Registered Dietitian approved registry picks for a healthy life together! (PS if you’re already married and you didn’t get these for your wedding, it’s not too late! They also make great birthday, holiday and anniversary gifts too.)

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  1. Food Scale. THE key to a healthy balance. You don’t have to weigh everything, but it’s always super handy to have a food scale on hand to measure oz of meat, nuts, vegetables and more. Also it doubles as a mail scale to make sure your invites don’t need extra postage…
  2. Salad Spinner. Buying whole heads of lettuce and cutting it or fresh salad greens is WAY cheaper and healthier than buying the prepackaged bag stuff. A salad spinner can save you a lot of money and help you eat healthier!
  3. Sous vide. This cooking technique has been called the most percise way to cook. It cooks without any oil or fat, and all of the food is melt in your mouth good.
  4. Spiralizer. Chances are you have seen zoodles or sweet potato noodles on Instagram (unless you have been living under a rock). A spiralizer can help you eat more vegetables by turning them into pasta!
  5. Herb Keeper. Cook without salt by adding lots and lots of fresh herbs to your dishes! This herb saver can keep all of your parsley, cilantro, rosemary, mint and more fresh for weeks – it’s a must have!
  6. Herb Scissors. The easiest and most effective way to cut green onions and more!
  7. Citrus squeezer. Get fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice without all of the preservatives of the bottled stuff with this awesome gadget.
  8. Garlic press. If you made any of my recipes, you know I love cooking with garlic! It adds lots of flavor (and smells amazing) without adding a lot of salt. I love this press because it bascially cleans itself.
  9. Salad dressing shaker. Avoid the high sugar dressings in the grocery store and make your own! I love this shaker because it has recipes on it to give you some inspiration as well.
  10. Small food processor. This 4 cup processor is perfect for making your own sauces (think low salt and low sugar), chopping nuts and also comes in handy for my avocado mousse recipe!
  11. Tea kettle. Herbal tea on a cold night is one the most comforting things – it also is low in calories. Try having a hot cup of tea when you’re on the couch instead of snacking during your favorite show – you might find it very satisfying!
  12. Air popper. Air popped popcorn is a very high fiber and healthy snack! Not to mention it is less expensive than buying prepared popocorn.
  13. InstantPot. Not only does this gadget combine a slow cooker and a pressure cooker – it cooks whole grains VERY fast! It has been a great addition for our kitchen, mainly for making quinoa quick.
  14. Vacuum sealer. Keep your lean meats long with a vacuum sealer. Purchase them on sale, seal and freeze. It’s also great for leftovers!
  15. Thermometer. Cook your meats to the correct internal temperature to avoid food poisoning. I love this thermometer because it is magnetic and is easy to find on the fridge, and the probe is very easy to clean.
  16. Pasta measurer. Stick to 2oz portion of pasta per serving with this gadget!
  17. Kitchen Mat. Cooking at home will not only save you money, it is also going to help you eat healthier. Of course this also means more dishes. I love this kitchen mat for time spent at the kitchen sink – my feet and back never feel tired with it!.
  18. Small liquid measuring cup. Measure oil, lemon juice and vinegar for recipes in an accurate way in a liquid measuring cup. I actually have 2 of these because I use them all the time!
  19. Sheet pan. You need a good sturdy sheet pan with great sides for lots of healthy and easy sheet pan dinners!
  20. Le Cruset Essential Oven. This is the best for one pot dinners, soups and the high sides make it perfect for sauteeing a large amount of vegetables!
  21. Avocado slicer. Stop cutting your hand when you’re trying to cut an avocado. This tool can cut, remove the pit and slice an avocado – making it the perfect addition to your kitchen.
  22. Pepper mill. Keep the salt low in your cooking and pump up the flavor by adding fresh ground pepper! Not only is it beautiful, it’s also so fun to use.
  23. Muffin tin. These are not only for whole grain muffins – you can also use them for healthy grab and go breakfast egg muffins!
  24. Small collander. A necessity for your kitchen to rinse and wash berries or to strain and rinse a can of beans. I use mine all the time!
  25. Water bottle infuser. Bored with the taste of water? Add in some fresh fruits or herbs into the infuser and flavor your water the healthy way.

Want to know more? Head over to my wedding wellness page!

Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian, newlywed and overall wedding wellness expert located in Greenville, SC. Be your healthiest self as you say “I do” and every day into your new life with Blush Nutrition! Offering meal planning, grocery shopping, nutrition counseling and more for brides, grooms and their entire wedding party. 

 

Finding Your Couples Cooking Style

Eat, Drink & Be ThankfulCooking for two has been something I have been helping clients with since I started my career. A lot of recipes are written for 4 servings, and cooking a big meal for two people is not always what you want to be doing.

Whether you are newly married, or empty nesters – my tips for finding your couples cooking style below can help!

Finding Your Couples Cooking Style

Healthy tips when for cooking for two

  1. Plan your plate. Focus on making 50% of your plate vegetables, 25% lean meat and 25% whole grains. This can look like a plate with some roasted chicken, brown rice and green beans OR combining a dish into a stir fry with shrimp over whole wheat linguini.
  2. Make a plan. Avoid trigger foods and situations by making a meal plan for both of you for the week! Go through recipes and cookbooks together, compare calendars and assign cooking duties for the week. What day will you choose to meal plan together?
  3. Choose recipes for 2 servings or choose 4 servings with leftovers. There are a lot of healthy cookbooks featuring recipes for 2, and several websites now are interactive with a feature to change the servings. ALL of the dinner recipes in the Blush Nutrition recipe books are written for both 2 and 4 servings. Check them out here!
  4. Look for one-dish meals. This will make it easier to prepare and clean up. Who wants to be doing dishes all night?! Some great options are sheet pan dishes, skillets and one pot dinners – one of my favorites is the chicken parm with italian veggies on page 34 of my winter recipe book!
  5. Cook once, use twice. Plan meals so that you can use the extra food in new dishes (or lunches). Cook brown rice, quinoa or whole grain pasta for one meal and use the remainder in a dish on another day. Same goes for meats – try baking all of the chicken for a meal and use the leftovers in sandwiches, salads and soups.
  6. Decide who’s chef. Take this time to catch up and build upon your relationship. Instead of having one person cook while the other one watches TV or does work, designate the “chef” and the “sous chef” of the meal. Same goes for dishes – one washes and one dries!
  7. Curate your dinner playlist. Make dinner and cooking fun by creating a playlist of songs you love to listen to while cooking and eating dinner. This keeps meal time more mindful by keeping the TV off, and it also helps build your relationship.

Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian and owner of Blush Nutrition. She offers nutrition coaching, meal planning and more. For more healthy weight loss tips, recipes visit BrittanyJonesRD.com, and follow @BlushNutrition on Facebook and Instagram.

How to Lose Weight & Keep It Off in 2018

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This year keep the weight off by doing one thing: stop dietiting! A healthy weight loss is one that can fit into your busy yet wonderful lifestyle – if a certain 21 day or 30 day “diet” doesn’t fit into that – it’s not the one for you.

Check out my healthy lifestyle tips to lose weight and keep it off in 2018!

  1. Start with S.M.A.R.T. goals. Your overall goal might be to lose a certain amount of weight in 2018, but how are you going to lose the weight? Set specific and measurable smaller goals to help you get to your big yearly goal.
  2. Use the portion plate trick. Make half your plate non-starchy vegetable at lunch and dinner – it’s easier than counting calories! This will keep the carbs and meat to the other side of your plate, keeping calories low and nutrients high. Keep in mind if you don’t use your carbohydrates for energy, they will get stored as fat.
  3. Cut out sugary drinks. This includes sodas, sweet teas and juice. Cutting out two sugary drinks per day could result in losing over half a pound per week. Remember, these count in the carb portion of your plate. Try regular, or infused or sparkling water for best results!
  4. Schedule your workouts. Write it down in your planner and reschedule if you have to – just like you would a doctor’s appointment.
  5. Eat Intuitively. Recognizing your hunger and fullness queues is the key to overcoming boredom eating. Figure out the best meal timing for you and gain a healthy relationship with food. It’s the opposite of dieting and counting calories – it’s listening to your body!
  6. Don’t eliminate an entire food group. This is one of the first signs of a fad diet! Eliminating a food group (unless it is for a medical reason) will not fit into your lifestyle in the long term. All foods can fit! Decide what you want that to look like.
  7. U.S. News & World Report’s WORST Diets of 2018: The Keto Diet, Whole 30 and The Dukan Diet. These are all very hard to follow, with lots of rules that make social situations awkward.
  8. U.S. News & World Report’s BEST Diets of 2018: The D.A.S.H. Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, The Flexitarian Diet. These are all healthy patterns of eating (many that incorporate exercise!) rather than “diets.”

Want to learn more about the best and worst diets of 2018? Join me on 2/15 for a Lunch and Learn with CoolSculpting Greenveille. RSVP here!

 

The Best Diets of 2018

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The results are in! The 2018 rankings of the best diets from U.S. News and World Reports are in and guess what?

The top picks all feature the same 4 things: fruits and vegetables, lean protein, heart healthy fats and whole grains.

Yup that’s right! The healthy eating tips you have heard time and time again are proven to work. No gimmicks, no expensive meals to buy – just basic nutrition education like you learn with a Registered Dietitian goes a LONG way.

The D.A.S.H. Diet has been ranked the #1 best overall diet for the 8th year in a row. This might be because D.A.S.H. is not a fad diet, it is a healthy lifestyle change.

D.A.S.H. stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and is research based. However, numerous studies have found that following the diet can not only help you reduce your blood pressure, but it can also help you lose weight, decrease your cholesterol, reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and lose weight.

D.A.S.H. Diet basics include:

  1.  Avoid added salt. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure. Aim for about 1500mg of sodium per day, this means avoiding adding salt to foods as you will most likely get all of this sodium in processed and prepared foods already in your diet.
  2. Increase your vegetable intake! Be sure half of your plate is non-starchy vegetables at each meal. This will help control your weight, blood sugars, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  3. Lean Meats. Decrease your red meat intake (especially processed like hamburgers and sausage) and focus on lean meats, poultry (no skin) and fish at least 2x per week.
  4. Avoid trans fats. Be sure to read the product ingredients and avoid any products containing hydrogenated oils as these can be very harmful to your heart’s health

Are you interested in following a diet that promotes a healthy lifestyle with results that last a lifetime? Contact me today!

 

Blush Nutrition One Day Meal Plan

I shared some of my healthy eating tips for the New Year with Scene on 7 on Monday. Learn how to spot a fad diet, how to have a healthier 2018 and my cauliflower rice burrito bowl recipe (featured at the end of this blog post)!

I am a firm believer in meal planning to help you reach your health and wellness goals! Through Blush Nutrition, I offer custom meal planning for my clients complete with recipe books and grocery lists. Check out my sample One Day Meal Plan below!

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Blush Nutrition One Day Sample 1550 Calorie Meal Plan

Breakfast 7:00AM 6oz Vanilla Greek yogurt with ½ cup blueberries and 1oz almonds (286 calories)
Snack 9:30AM 1 medium apple and 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter (216 calories)
Lunch 12:30PM Pomegranate Grilled Chicken Salad: 2 cups baby spinach, ½ cup pomegranate seeds, 1oz fat free feta cheese, 3oz grilled chicken breast (no skin) and 2 Tablespoons light balsamic vinaigrette dressing (486 calories)
Snack 3:30PM Balanced Breaks® Gouda Natural Cheese with Honey Roasted Peanuts and Dried Cranberries (170 calories)
Dinner 6:30PM Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl (386 calories)
  1544 Calories Total*

* To find out your individualized calorie recommendations please consult a physician or Registered Dietitian

Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ Cup bell pepper slices
  • ½ cup onion slices
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5oz (½ Package) Steamfresh Cauliflower Rice, cooked
  • ¾ Cup (half 15.5oz can) low sodium black beans, rinsed
  • ½ Cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 100 calorie guacamole package
  • 1oz reduced fat Mexican cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, bell pepper slices, onion slices and black pepper. Sautee until vegetables are cooked, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large bowl add the riced cauliflower. Add the black beans in the upper left corner, the grape tomatoes in the upper right corner, the sautéed peppers and onions in the bottom left corner and the guacamole in the bottom right corner.
  3. Option to top with reduced fat Mexican cheese, mix, and serve!

Nutrition Facts (1 serving, without cheese): 386 Calories, 24.8g Total Fat, 3.3g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 0g Cholesterol, 524mg Sodium, 36.5g Total Carbohydrate, 10.8g Fiber, 10.1g Sugar, 9.7g Protein

Want to know more about my custom meal planning services? Contact me to set up your FREE 15 minute appointment!

Wedding Wellness Tips for Brides and Grooms to Be

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Planning your wedding is such an exciting time, from choosing the theme, to wedding bands – it truly is a once in a lifetime experience. However, being a newlywed myself, I completely understand the stress that comes with working full time and planning a wedding. In the midst of a million color swatches, loaded up Pinterest boards and trying understand what the difference between a peony and a ranunculus is – it is way too easy to lose sight of taking care of your health and wellbeing.

Check out my five easy wedding wellness tips that will keep you healthy for the big day!

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  1. Make time to invest in yourself. It’s true – there are just not enough hours in the day when you’re working and wedding planning. Your free time is easily getting filled up with what seems like speed dating photographers, and vetting out vendors. Make a decision today to invest in yourself during this incredible time – whether it is through meal planning, exercising or just taking time to do things outside of the wedding.
  2. Come up with a wedding wellness plan. Do you want to go grocery shopping every Sunday to avoid going out to eat several times per week? Do you want to set a goal to exercise 3 times per week or try a new spin studio? If you are using a wedding planning calendar, take a couple of minutes each week to mark your wellness items in your calendar and stick to it.
  3. Find an exercise that you love. Life is too short for crappy workouts. Do you love the idea of Zumba, but are slowly finding out that indeed your hips DO lie? (Sorry Shakira, it’s not you, it’s me.) Then give barre a try! There are SO many new boutique fitness studios out there and many have wedding wellness packages at discounted rates. BONUS: exercise is a great stress relief! Take it all out on the treadmill or in the weight room. You will feel way better afterwards, I promise.
  4. Use the 80/20 rule. You are engaged – let’s celebrate!! Take this time to focus on finding your healthy lifestyle balance, but don’t limit yourself so much that you don’t enjoy your engagement. The engagement party, the wedding shower, the bachelorette/bachelor parties – all of these are being thrown in YOUR honor! So don’t limit yourself to just eating vegetables. Eat healthfully 80% of the time and give yourself 20% of the time to splurge a little and enjoy the party (responsibly of course). The most important part is that after the party is over, that you just jump right back in where you left off. You didn’t fall off the wagon, you just took a detour for some celebrating. Now it’s time to get back to it!
  5. Bring your fiancé into the fun. Life is more fun with a partner, and that includes healthy eating and exercising. Talk with your fiancé about engaging on a path to wellness together as a team. Perhaps they would like to go to the same gym as you, train for a race with you, or help meal plan and grocery shop. It’s more than having an accountability partner, it’s a way to ensure the results you see last long after you say “I do!”

Does this all sound great but you don’t know where to start? Set up your first free 15 minute appointment now.

Photo: Jenna Marie Weddings

Conversation Has No Calories: Table Topic Ideas

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Food sometimes takes over as the star of the holidays, but don’t forget the true meaning of this season. Talk with your friends and family IN PERSON (and not on social media) – here are some table topic ideas for the holiday season!

Travel Back

Suppose you could travel back in time to see anyone in your family’s history. Who would you like to meet the most?

Bumper Sticker

Tell a friend or family member to speak on the bumper sticker (real or imaginary) on their car.

“Did you know that I once…?”

Every friend or family member shares an interesting story about themselves. Everyone then votes for each person as having told a fact or not. The person who gets the most votes (fact or not) wins!

Do you remember?

Have everyone at the table share their story about their: first day at their first job, their first car, the first time they used a computer or their first day at school.

Being 10 Years Old Again

Talking about childhood is always interesting. Assume you could go back in time and tell yourself some words of advice at age 10, what would you say? Everyone at the table shares their insight.

That sums it up for my healthy holiday blog posts in 2017! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year. See you in 2018!

 

Stress Less & Enjoy More This Holiday Season

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Between work (Q4 deadlines are real y’all), holiday parties, shopping and travel there is simply too much going on in-between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

This year try to get ahead of the stress by making a holiday stress prevention list. Simply make a list of what you expect from yourself (and your family) during the holidays. While writing this list you just might find your potential stressors. These are things you feel like you are expected to do, but perhaps don’t have time for, or you feel like don’t add value during this busy time. Once you have your list written, write down what changes you can make to prevent stress in that particular situation. Finally go through your list and make the changes that will make the most impact on your stress level. For example, if you are stressed about making a family dinner – don’t offer so many entree options or ask someone to bring a dessert/appetizer/side. If you have items on your list that seem unrealistic (like creating the most festive holiday atmosphere) now is the time to let them go!

This holiday season I encourage you to do less and enjoy more.

Choose 1-3 holiday activities per week (work holiday party, shop at the mall, write cards) and say “no” to the rest. Don’t forget YOUR needs! Take 3 minutes every day just for you during holiday season. Try something like:

  • Writing in a journal
  • Meditating
  • Stretching
  • Listening to calming music
  • Reading a book or magazine

What do you do during the holidays to enjoy more and stress less? Leave a comment below!

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: Red Kitchen Items

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Today I am excited to share with you some of my favorite kitchen items my decor theme color: RED! I chose red as my kitchen decor theme to continue a flow from our living/dining room into the kitchen a few years ago. I absolutely love how it makes our house feel warm and comforting, and this time of year it is particularly festive!

Here are some of my favorite kitchen items that double as great holiday gifts or registry items!

My Favorite Kitchen Items:

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Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron 3 1/2-Qt. Essential Oven

I cannot say enough about how amazing enameled cast iron is. Not only can you take dishes from cooktop to the oven, but it’s also super easy to clean. I use my red essential oven to cook soups all winter long, but also love the high sides for cooking high volume dishes like sautéed kale.

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Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Rectangular Covered Casserole

The beauty of enameled cast iron at a great price! The term “one pan meal” get’s a whole new meaning with this covered casserole – try layering potatoes and green beans on the bottom followed by a lean meat like chicken on top. Cover, cook and viola! This casserole dish is also gorgeous enough to take it right out of the oven and to bring it to a dinner party.

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Emelie Harvey Pie Pan

I had been dying to get my hands on one of these Instagram worth pie dishes all season and finally caved! The ceramic also retains heat very well – meaning you can take it out of the oven before your guests get here and it will stay warm for hours.

Fiestaware in Scarlet

We have a full set of Fiestaware in all different colors and I love the durability it has. We have had ours for over 3 years now and there are not cut marks on the plates and they hold up super well (even if you accidentally drop one in the sink while washing it).

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Silicone 5 Piece Tools Set

I love these red silicone tools from Williams-Sonoma. The handles are stainless steel and look sleek, while also offering comfort. You can put them in the dishwasher and they have held up very well for us!

And those are my holiday and registry picks for a red themed kitchen! Have other ideas? Message me