No Bake Fall Energy Bikes

We’ve been talking a lot on Instagram about combatting low energy, and today I am excited to share NEW fall recipes that can help you fuel for your day to give you more energy!

These no bake energy bites feature some of my favorite fall flavors, are super easy to make, and can be meal prepped on the weekend to eat throughout the week. Simply put them in an air tight container and keep them refrigerated for up to 5 days to eat for morning or afternoon snack throughout the week!

Get your go-to fall snack recipes below.

Pecan Pie Energy Bites

Servings: 6 (2 bites per serving – 12 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • 1 Cup dates, pitted
  • ¼ Cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend well.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites

Servings: 9 (2 bites per serving – 18 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • ½ Cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ Cup raisins
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ Cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. First combine the wet ingredients of peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites


Servings: 8 (2 bites per serving – 16 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • ¼ Cup natural creamy almond butter
  • ¼ Cup ground flax seeds
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ Cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the almond butter, honey, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix well. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Substitutions:
*Dates can be substituted for raisins
*Natural peanut butter and almond butter can be used interchangeably
*Honey can be substituted with maple syrup, however it might make the bites more malleable

Written by Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern

Stop Connecting Fullness with Shame

One of the most common questions we hear while working with clients is:

“What should my portion sizes be?”

Believe it or not, this is not a black and white answer. Although the portion plate is a great guide to get us started, that’s exactly what it is – a guide. The absolute BEST indicator of what portions we should be eating is from listening to your own body! 

Part of rejecting diet culture is learning to listen to what our body is telling us instead of external diet rules such as “you can only have ½ Cup of rice at a meal” or “you are not allowed to eat after 7PM.” One aspect of listening to our body is honoring our hunger and fullness cues. Our bodies are SUPER smart and know what they need. Therefore, if we honor our hunger and fullness cues, our portions will be exactly what our bodies need that day. 

Keep in mind these portions may vary day to day. Our bodies are not robots and our needs change daily. For example, if you did an intense HIIT workout, it is likely you will need more energy, and therefore be hungrier, the next day to help you replenish your energy stores lost during the workout. Same goes for when you are on your period! Our bodies expend a LOT of energy during that time shedding our uterine lining so it makes sense that we would need more food during this week.

Understanding Hunger and Fullness

The first step to learning to honor your hunger and fullness cues is to understand what hunger and fullness are. Let’s dive into some science!

Our bodies have two main hormones that regulate our appetite: Leptin and Ghrelin. Leptin signals the feeling of being full and ghrelin signals hunger. If we are honoring our hunger and fullness cues, these two hormones work in complete homeostasis. When you need more energy, ghrelin increases. When you have replenished your energy stores and no longer need fuel, leptin increases. Unfortunately, constant dietiting often throw off this homeostasis by ignoring biological hunger. 

Diet culture teaches us that being hungry all the time is “good” and feeling full is “shameful.” We do things like chug water or chew gum to distract ourselves and suppress our hunger. Overtime, this can throw leptin and ghrelin out of sync. After years of dieting, we can lose our ability to feel hunger and fullness entirely. Additionally, the more we ignore our hunger, the more our hunger hormone (ghrelin) increases. This makes your body think it is in starvation mode, stressing it out and causing it to hold on to fat stores to compensate. In our practice, we talk primarily work with clients on eating MORE to reach their goals – not less!

In order to reach our goals, it is key to build back our trust with your body’s natural cues.

Keep in mind that there are many different ways to feel hunger and fullness. Everyone is different and there are not right or wrong ways to experience it. Here are some common signs of hunger and fullness:

Common Signs of Hunger

  • Stomach growling
  • Feeling panicked/stressed
  • Dull ache in throat
  • Cloudy thinking, unable to concentrate, headache, thoughts about food and eating
  • Irritability/”Hangry”
  • Sleepiness/lack of energy

Common Signs of Fullness

  • Heaviness/bloating
  • Fewer thoughts about food and eating
  • Decreased desire to eat
  • Pleasant and relaxed mood
  • Energy changes: Either re-energized or for some, drowsy for others

As we are learning to look for and honor these sensations, keep in mind that there are a lot of aspects that can get in the way of feeling and responding to hunger and fullness cues. These are called attunement disrupters. Attunement disrupters may include distractions, thoughts, rules, beliefs, and a lack of self-care.

Attunement Disrupter Examples:

  • Eating while multitasking (watching TV, on phone, reading, driving)
  • Food rules (“I can’t eat after 7pm”)
  • Working through lunch break
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Not controlling stress levels properly
  • Not getting proper amount of sleep

If you are struggling to recognize hunger and fullness cues, reflect on these disrupters. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you overly stressed? Are you skipping meals? In order to re-regulate hunger and fullness hormones, we recommend eating every 3-4 hours and engaging in daily self-care activities.

Using Hunger and Fullness Cues as a Guide

In order to use hunger and fullness as a guide to portion sizes and meal timing, we recommend clients practice ranking their hunger and fullness levels after each meal and snack using the hunger and fullness scale below.

When you are getting ready to eat a meal or snack, ask yourself, “Where am I on the hunger and fullness scale?” Ideally, you’ll be between a 3 and a 4. When we drop below this, we tend to overeat as a natural body response to extreme hunger.

Halfway through your meal, pause for 10 seconds and check in with your body. Ask again “Where am I on the scale now?” You may choose to stop eating or continue based on what your body is telling you. Eat until you are comfortably satisfied at a 6 or 7.

“What if I fall below a 3 or eat to the point I am above a 7?” 

It happens to everyone and this is very normal! The hunger/fullness scale is NOT a rule – so start with showing yourself compassion. Shame is not a helpful emotion and does not promote progress. Avoid beating yourself up. It’s about progress not perfection!

Take this time to reflect with curiosity instead of judgement. Did dropping below a 3 impact your food choices and your hunger and fullness the rest of the day? Could you have done anything differently to avoid getting overly hungry such as packing a snack or prepping lunch that morning? If you overate, why do you think that happened? Could you practice being more mindful at meals and slowing down in the future?

Instead of dwelling on the fact you got too hungry or overate, acknowledge it, reflect with curiosity, and then move on to your normal routine.

*You deserve to have dinner even if you overate at lunch!* There is no need to “compensate” or “make up” for overeating.

Conclusion

Diet culture praises hunger and shames fullness – leading us to ignore our natural body cues and eat according to external rules. This not only leads us away from our health goals but also can damage our relationship with food. The truth is our bodies are super smart and tell us what they need through mechanisms like hunger and fullness hormones. Practice using the hunger and fullness scale and keep a log to help you see if you are getting too hungry or too full throughout day. 

If you are interested in ditching diets for good and understanding your hunger and fullness signals more in depth, we would love to help! Click here to schedule your FREE 15 minute phone call session today to learn more.

-Written by Allison Walters, RD, LD

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Walnuts

Fall is officially here, and I am LOVING these cooler temperatures. Being in the third trimester in hot and humid weather is not a good look – and I am grateful for the opportunity for more outside time.

That first cool fall morning always makes me want to do one thing – BAKE! When I saw that Starbucks had Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins on their menu I knew I had to create something similar to have ASAP.

Check out my spin on this recipe which features walnuts for some extra protein and crunch. Be sure to pin or save this recipe for later!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Walnuts

Yield: 18 Muffins

Muffin Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 Cup avocado oil
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 Cup almond milk (you can use oat milk or skim milk here as well)
  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients

  • 8oz low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line 18 muffin tins with liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin, oil and sugar by hand. Stir in the eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda until combined, but not over mixed.
  3. Add in the whole wheat flour and stir. Stir in the milk. Lastly, stir in the all purpose flour and walnuts until combined (but do not over mix) and set aside.
  4. Combine the cream cheese filling ingredients together using an electric mixer or mix by hand until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the 18 muffin tins.
  6. Make a small indentation in the top of the muffin with the back of a spoon for the cream cheese filling.
  7. Drop 1-2 Tablespoons of the filling onto the top of each muffin. You can use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture into the indentation you made.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy!
  10. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or freeze for later!

Mac and Cheese with Greens (Gluten Free & Vegetarian)

mac and cheese with greens

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of easy dinners that encompass everything you need to feel satisfied in one pot. This one pot family friend meal is just that – the pasta has both carb and protein, the Palmetto Gardens kale is your veggie, and then you of course have cheese for more protein and taste!

It’s a great spin on a classic dish! You can make this mac and cheese two ways: eat it right off the stove top or bake it for a more crispy crust.

You will have half a bag of Palmetto Gardens Kale leftover to make another batch of mac and cheese – or you can check out my Southwestern Kale Power Bowl here. Happy cooking!

Mac and Cheese with Greens (Gluten Free)

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 12oz Chickpea or Red Lentil Pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Bag of @Palmetto Garden’s Kale (~5.5 Cups)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Cups 2% Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper, to taste
  • 8oz Gruyere Cheese, shredded
  • 8oz Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Cup Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Optional: If you would like to bake your Mac and Cheese, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until it is al dente, about 7-9 minutes. Strain the pasta and set aside.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add half of the kale, garlic and black pepper. Cover and cook until it starts to wilt. Stir and add the remaining kale. Cover and cook another 3 minutes until it is all wilted (avoid over cooking as the kale can get bitter). Remove the cooked kale and place it in a large bowl, and set aside.
  4. Whisk the milk and cornstarch together in a bowl until smooth. Add to the Dutch oven over medium heat along with the butter, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens about 5 minutes. Add the Grueyere and Cheddar and continue to stir until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  5. Add the pasta to the saucepan and stir to combine. Gentle fold in the kale and serve!
  6. Baked Option: Pour into a 13×9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the mac and cheese and baked on 425 degrees F until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Serve.

This post was sponsored by Palmetto Gardens

kale

 

What I Learned as a Diabetic Educator From My Glucose Test

Blue and Peach Engagement Greeting Facebook Post

Hi everyone – Christie here! It is the week of my due date, and before I head out on maternity leave I thought I would share my 2nd trimester update with y’all. (Get my 1st trimester update here!)

There are so many milestones and markers that come along with a progressing pregnancy. Every week it can be both exciting and scary to see how your body and baby are changing. I know one big milestone that I had been curious and nervous about was my 28 week glucose screening. As a Certified Diabetes Educator, I was interested to see the process first hand, but as a first time mom I was pretty nervous. During this appointment, you do not have to be fasting and you are asked to drink a 50 gram glucose drink (called glucola) that is about 10 oz within a 5 minute period. This is used to screen for gestational diabetes which can be defined as either diabetes that develops during pregnancy due to an increase in placental hormones, among other factors, or pre-existing diabetes first recognized during pregnancy.

The morning of my glucose test

Prior to my appointment, I ate a fairly normal breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and 1 Cup of strawberries. I knew it was so important to continue to eat normally prior to your test! At the appointment, the nurse gave me the 10 oz bottle and “started the clock” to drink it within 5 minutes. For those who are not used to eating a lot of sweets or sugary beverages the drink is a little startling. It tasted like a flat orange soda or overly sweet sports drink. It is amazing how quickly 5 minutes goes by and I had to chug the last few sips. I was then taken to the exam room to wait the 1 hour prior to getting my blood drawn. Honestly, the hardest part was not being able to drink any water during this time. I felt a little shaky and my heart was definitely racing while I waited. After 1 hour it was finally time to get my blood drawn and I was feeling pretty faint at this point. I was told I would be called with the results in a day or two.

Two days later

“You did not pass the glucose screening.” Two days later the nurse called me to tell me that my blood sugar came back at 161 mg/dL. This was decently above the 140 mg/dL cut off for the screening. I was honestly in shock. She went on to tell me I would need to schedule a 3 hour glucose tolerance test at a lab as soon as possible. That meant I would have to drink double the sugar in a 100 gram 10 oz glucola and stay for 3 hours to have my blood sugar tested at each hour. I knew how bad I had felt from the 50 gram drink and was really nervous about how I would make it through 3 hours, while fasting this time! I went the following Monday and this time the drink tasted almost more like syrup and I thought I may throw up during that first hour. My body did not know what was going on. Fortunately, I was able to drink water throughout this one and I sat in a chair and read to distract myself. In order to pass this 3 hour test, you have to have at least 3 of 4 normal readings from the fasting (< 95 mg/dL), 1 hour (<180 mg/dL), 2 hour(<155 mg/dL), and 3 hour (<140 mg/dL) glucose checks.

Then I got the news

Once again, 2 days later I received the call from the nurse, “you failed the 1 hour and 2 hour readings, you have gestational diabetes”. Luckily, I was able to share that that since I was a dietitian and certified diabetes educator I felt confident in what I was doing.
However, even though it is my job and I have an extensive knowledge of diabetes and nutrition, I was devastated. I couldn’t help in that moment feeling like I had failed or done something wrong. The only risk factor that I had for gestational diabetes was that I’m over 25 years old. I immediately started thinking about the worst case scenarios of how my baby may be negatively affected. I thought of all the clients who had come to me in the past describing this feeling that I was now experiencing first hand. After about an hour of throwing myself a pity party, I went to the pharmacy and picked up my blood sugar meter. I have continued to eat how I normally would with balanced meals of lean protein, high fiber carbohydrates, vegetables, and unsaturated fats. I make sure all of my snacks contain both carbohydrate and protein. I walk everyday and do yoga some days. I have been checking my blood sugar 4 times per day for the past 6 weeks with only 2 readings outside of normal range.

The takeaway

The bottom line is that gestational diabetes can have serious adverse effects on you and your baby if uncontrolled, but it is not impossible to maintain well controlled blood sugars with diet and exercise. It does take a little extra thought and time, but ultimately it has helped give me even more focus on what I am putting into my body and listening to what my body is telling me that it needs.

I want anyone reading this to know that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes does not mean you failed or you did anything wrong.

I’m thankful that I now can understand first hand what women with gestational diabetes are experiencing and can speak to the actual experience. Here are my top tips for moms with gestational diabetes!

5 Simple Steps to Maintain Well-Controlled Blood Sugars in Pregnancy:

  1. Know Your Numbers! A lot of women are afraid of checking their blood sugar because of the needles or fear of “failure”, but this is truly your best tool in knowing how your diet and exercise are affecting your blood sugar and your baby. These numbers are not a reflection of your self worth.
  2. Eat every 2-3 hours to help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Eating smaller portions more often will also prevent you from getting too hungry which could lead to overeating and heartburn later.
  3. Carbs + protein are your best friend when it comes to maintaining good blood sugar control and managing your hunger. Eating carbs alone may spike your blood sugar and cause nausea. It is important to eat carbohydrates throughout the day (don’t avoid them!) to give you and your baby energy, but always make sure to pair with a protein like whole grain bread with peanut butter or a piece of whole fruit with a cheese stick.
  4. Daily Movement! Nothing new here, it is always so important to keep your body moving. During pregnancy you don’t have to be doing crazy cardio workouts to get benefits. Simply walking for 10 minutes after meals can help your body use the sugar in your bloodstream for energy. It can also help improve circulation in your lower legs to decrease some of the swelling you may be experiencing.

Diabetes is my specialty, and if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes or just want some extra help with nutrition throughout your pregnancy, I would love to work with you. Click here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call!

3 Unique Ways to Use Your Ripe Brown Bananas

I always feel the need to buy bananas whenever I stroll through the produce section of the grocery store. Is it because of their flavor? Or does it have to do with the fact that they are only 49 cents or less per pound? Either way, I always find that before I know it, my once yellow bananas were forgotten on the counter and are now too brown to be eaten by themselves.

But, did you know that brown bananas can still be eaten? As bananas begin to brown, they become more sweet, easier to digest, and they have a higher antioxidant content! So, instead of throwing away your brown bananas, let’s get creative and make good use of them! Check out our top 3 ideas below:

1 – Make Banana Bread

banana bread

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 3 Bananas, mashed
  • 1 Egg
  • ⅓ Cup Butter, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉ and lightly grease a bread pan (roughly 9x4x4)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together bananas, egg, butter, and vanilla until well-combined. Then add in the rest of the ingredients
  3. Pour mixture into the bread pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes
  4. Remove loaf from the bread pan and allow it to cool on a cooling rack

2 – Freeze Bananas to Use in Smoothies

ripe bananas

How to Freeze Bananas

  1. Peel your bananas first before putting them in the freezer. (I’ve made this mistake before and basically had to dig my way past the frozen peel in order to reach my banana.)
  2. Cut your bananas in half, slice them into coins, or leave them whole.
  3. Store peeled bananas in an airtight freezer bag or plastic container laying the pieces flat. This keeps your bananas from freezing into one large lump.
  4. Bananas keep in the freezer indefinitely, but are best used by 4-6 months.

Frozen bananas add texture to smoothies

If you have never tried adding a banana to your smoothie, please put it on your meal plan for the week! Not only do bananas add some sweetness and extra fiber, but they also add an insane creamy consistency to your smoothie! Add ½-1 frozen banana for that extra creamy texture.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana, frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon natural Peanut Butter
  • 1 Cup Milk (skim, almond, oat, etc.)
  • Optional: 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder

Directions

  1. Blend ingredients in a blender on high for 1-1:30 minutes until all ingredients are well-blended
  2. Pour into a large cup and enjoy!

3 – Make Cookies

cookies 1

Chocolate Chip Banana Breakfast Cookies

Serves: 5  (two cookies per serving)

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 1 Banana, mashed – enough to yield ½ cup 
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Cup Chocolate Chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Mix mashed banana and egg in a large mixing bowl until well-combined
  3. Add in the oats, cinnamon, sea salt, and chocolate chips until well-combined
  4. Add about two tablespoons of cookie dough onto the parchment paper. Repeat for the rest of the dough leaving at least two inches between each cookie.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cookies are golden brown and allow to cool on a cooling rack

Written and photographed by Gabriella Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern

 

5 Reasons Dieting is Hurting Your Health

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It seems like everywhere we turned in January, we were seeing information about another diet. This influx of diet spam caused everyone in our office to do a big 🤦Now, as South Carolina starts to ease COVID19 restrictions, unfortunately you can expect to see a resurgence of of diets talking about their solutions to the “COVID 15/19/30” or whatever they are calling it these days.

We pride ourselves in being anti-diet dietitians at Brittany Jones Nutrition Group. Have you ever wondered why we choose to practice this way? We speak up against trendy diets like Keto, Paleo, and Intermittent fasting because they aren’t sustainable for our clients, but also because diets are straight up harmful to our clients.

The Diet Cycle

The image above shows a typical diet cycle. Let’s walk through it using low carb diets as an example:

  • It’s Monday. You start your low carb diet, restricting delicious food items such as bread, pasta, potatoes, corn, and your personal favorite, French fries.
  • On Wednesday you start to feel really deprived. Maybe your spouse is eating French fries with their burger, but you order a salad because you are being “good.” You may also show signs of fatigue and irritability (remember, carbs are your main source of energy!)
  • On Thursday you start to really crave these foods. All you can think about is French fries.
  • On Friday the thoughts are consuming your life and eventually you give in to them. You don’t just give in a little bit. You give in A LOT. You go through the McDonalds drive through and order two supersize French fries and eat them all rapidly in one sitting.
  • Then on Friday night you feel guilty and beat yourself up for not being able to stick on your diet. You decide to start another low carb diet that is even more restrictive again next Monday. And the cycle repeats.

Sound familiar?!

What happens when we find ourselves following into this vicious cycle on a chronic basis?

Here are 5 reasons why being trapped in this diet cycle harms your overall health.

1 – Weight Cycling Increases Your Risk for Chronic Diseases

Usually when we fall into the diet cycle, we find ourselves losing weight during our restrictive diets only to later regain the weight back, and usually plus more. Then we do it all over again. This yo-yo weight pattern is called weight cycling. Research shows that weight cycling alone, regardless of your initial body size, increases your risk for cardiovascular events, osteoporosis, gallstones, hypertension, chronic inflammation, and eating disorders/disordered eating. The healthiest weight for you is when you ditch the diet mentality, break free of this cycle and learn to listen to your body’s needs when it comes to food and movement. 

2 – Dieting Harms Your Relationship with Food and Your Body

Research shows that dieting is strongly linked to a preoccupation with food and appearance, increased food cravings, and increased binge urges. At Brittany Jones Nutrition Group, we work on creating complete food freedom with our clients. Remember, all foods fit! We want you to be able to feel comfortable around all foods and get rid of the feeling that certain foods control your life. There are NO good and bad foods – and food has no moral value! Restricting foods will only lead to overeating them later. 

Diet rules also force you to ignore your natural hunger and fullness cues. They tell you that you can not eat after a certain time of day, that you have to fast in order to lose weight, and that it’s good to be hungry all day. These are all false claims that get you out of touch with your body. Our bodies are incredibly smart. They naturally crave a variety of nutrients and will tell you when they need fuel by showing signs of hunger. You do not question why you have to pee when you get the urge to pee, so why do we question our hunger?

3 – Dieting Harms Your Mental Health

Think back to when you did your last diet. How was your mental health during this time? Did you feel deprived? Did you cancel social events because there wouldn’t be something you were “allowed” to eat on your diet there? Research shows that dieting increases body dissatisfaction, reduces self-esteem, increases stress, and harms social life. Health is about SO much more than just what you eat and how often you exercise. If we neglect our mental health in order to improve our appearance, we often end up worse in the end. We are not just alive to lose weight and pay bills! There is so much more to life! Don’t miss out on the fun of life because you are concerned with appearance or eating “perfectly.”

4 – Dieting Can Cause You to Miss Out on Key Nutrients

Diets often restrict certain food groups such as fat and carbohydrates. When we restrict food groups, not only do we crave them more, but we also miss out on key nutrients! For example, carbohydrates are your main source of energy, provide fiber and B vitamins, and make your RNA and DNA. Fat is important for regulating our body temperatures and producing our hormones. All the food groups have a purpose! 

Another popular and risky diet is fasting. When we are only “allowed” to eat during certain times in the day, not only are we ignoring our natural body cues, but it is also incredibly difficult to get the nutrients and variety we need in that short period of time. 

5 – Dieting Increases Your Set Point

Do you remember learning about homeostasis in science class? Turns out our body is really good at regulating processes within our body to keep us alive. Just like it regulates our temperature, it also regulates our body size. Think of it as a thermostat for your weight. Many factors contribute into why we are the weight we are. Genetics, access to health care, access to nutritious food, environment, and movement all play a role. Where our body weight naturally falls when it is at homeostasis is called the set point. When we fall out of our set point, our body works tirelessly to do anything it can to bring it back to our set point. Our bodies do not know the difference between a diet and starvation. If we keep messing with this internal thermostat through dieting, your body views this as a famine and struggles to maintain control over your weight. During this period of starvation (dieting), your metabolism decreases and your brain releases less leptin, a hormone that triggers the feeling of being full. AKA your appetite physiologically INCREASES during a diet! After your diet fails, your body forces you to not only regain the weight back but it adds on extra weight to protect against future diets (periods of starvation). Therefore, your set point increases. In addition, people with a history of chronic dieting end up releasing less leptin overtime than they would have without the history of dieting. 

“Ok I Get it Now, but What’s the Alternative to Dieting?”

Instead of falling trap to the diet cycle, it is best to focus on finding balance. Strive for progress, not perfection! Instead of doing crazy diets that eliminate certain foods, remind yourself that all foods fit! Incorporate gentle nutrition by following the 80/20 balance and utilizing the portion plate.

Learn to listen to your body. Ask yourself: “What will nourish me and what will satisfy me?” before meals. Eat according to your natural hunger and fullness cues. Move your body in a way that feels joyful and good, rather than punishing it for what you ate.

Through rejecting diet mentality, finding food freedom, and moving joyfully, you will find the weight that is healthiest for you without sacrificing your mental health to get there.

Want to learn more? Click here to set up a FREE 15 minute discovery call with our CEO and Registered Dietitian Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD!

-Written by Allison Walters, RD, LD

5 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

Store-bought salad dressings are not only expensive, they often have a long laundry list of ingredients. We’ve written 5 easy salad dressing recipes that you can make in the comfort of your own kitchen with just a few simple ingredients!

How to Store your Salad Dressings

Store your salad dressings in a small plastic or glass container. Vinaigrette dressings can be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks while dairy-based dressings can be left in the refrigerator for up to one week. 

How to Use Your Salad Dressings

Salad dressings are not limited to be used on salads alone. Sure, they can amp up your lunch salad, but they can also be used for a variety of other dishes. Try using the Green Goddess Dressing and Greek Yogurt Ranch as a dip for your chicken strips, raw vegetables or potatoes. Or, try marinating chicken in the Lemon Basil Vinaigrette, Italian Dressing, or Honey Mustard for dinner this week!

Benefits of Heart Healthy Fats

Foods containing healthy fats should not be feared. Our bodies need fats to function the way they’re supposed to! Dietary fats are essential for maintaining energy and cell growth, while also serving as a cushion for your organs, and keeps your body warm! Fats help your body absorb nutrients (like the ones in your salad!) and produce hormones. The important dietary fats we see in these recipes are avocado, avocado oil, olive oil, and avocado mayo. 

5 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

 

Recipes by Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern

Foods to Boost Immunity

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With the COVID-19 and flu rates rising in South Carolina, we are getting a lot of questions on how to boost your immune system naturally.

Here Are 5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System Through Your Diet.

1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal!

The key to using food as a tool to fight against sickness is to eat as many different types of vitamins and minerals as possible. Making 50% of your plate fresh or frozen produce is an easy way to get an immunity boost!

2. Focus on whole foods as much as possible.

While all foods do fit in a healthy diet, processed foods like white bread/pasta/rice/crackers, deep fried foods, and packaged chips/snacks can cause inflammation in the body. To boost immunity, focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, nut butter, and whole wheat bread/pasta/rice/crackers to decrease inflammation and balance out your fun foods with some of these functional options. If you do choose to have Ramen, try adding some frozen veggies and some defrosted frozen cooked shrimp to increase the virus fighting power. 

3. Eat lean protein to strengthen antibodies.

Antibodies fight off disease, bacteria, and viruses. If you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, your body can’t make enough antibodies to help you fight whatever germs you pick up throughout the day. At meal time focus on lean meats like chicken/turkey/fish (not deep fried), and at snack time pair a protein like natural peanut butter, almonds, or a low fat cheese stick with a piece of fruit for an immunity boosting snack!

4. Hydrate!

Dehydration can lead to illness, so take this time to focus on getting in water throughout the day. Keep in mind that beverages like coffee/tea/soda/alcohol can dehydrate you, so if you are sick it’s best to stick with water and caffeine free hot tea as much as possible.

5. Stock up on these non-perishable items!

Here is a list of foods we would recommend picking up from the store: fresh and frozen veggies and fruit to go with every meal,  frozen brown rice or quinoa, frozen cooked chicken/shrimp, frozen meals (we love Healthy Choice Power Bowls), canned low sodium tuna, canned low sodium beans, whole wheat bread, air popped popcorn, nuts, and natural nut butter.

Have more questions? The Brittany Jones Nutrition Group offers virtual sessions to answer your questions even while in quarantine! Contact us here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call.

Nutrition Tips for the First Trimester From a Registered Dietitian

Brittany Jones Nutrition Group

Hi everyone 👋 Christie here, and I’ve got some exciting news to share with you…I’m pregnant!

Staring down at the pregnancy test, and realizing what it meant, was such an exciting and also overwhelming moment for me. I had experienced an ectopic pregnancy earlier in the year that required emergency surgery, and ultimately the removal of my right Fallopian tube. Needless to say 2019 had been an emotional year for my husband and I. This second pregnancy stirred up strong feelings of needing to protect this baby.

As a registered dietitian, one of my first instincts was to make sure I was eating as healthful as possible. I was doing all the “right” things –  taking my prenatal vitamins everyday and continuing to exercise regularly. I was feeling really good and was convinced that I would be able to eat “by the book” throughout my pregnancy. Then week 9 rolled around, and I felt like I was hit by a bus. All of a sudden, I was beyond exhausted, and the eggs and whole grain sprouted toast that I had eaten the day before made my stomach churn.

The term morning sickness can be really misleading because mine generally peaked right after lunchtime, and carried through until I went to bed. Everyone kept telling me that come week 12 I would feel better, almost overnight. However, I really didn’t feel completely over the hump until about week 16. First trimester fatigue, nausea, and vomiting are extremely common, and can make it hard to fuel for your day and your baby. Below are some things that I found tremendously helpful through my first trimester and into my second. I hope you find these tips helpful as well!

Nutrition Tips for the First Trimester of Pregnancy

1 – Eat smaller, more frequent meals/snacks.

I found that the few times I did feel better and tried to eat a larger meal, it usually led to me feeling very nauseated afterwards. Eating carbohydrate and protein combinations more frequently made me feel much better (see next tip for more). I tried to eat something every 3-4 hours if possible.

2 – Eat carbohydrates followed by a protein or fat.

The only foods that genuinely sounded good to me were carbohydrates like bread, fruit, crackers, cereal, or smoothies. There was one week where all I could stomach was potatoes and bagels. Eating yogurt, eggs, or meat just did not sound appealing to me. However, getting some protein throughout the day is extremely important and can actually help regulate blood sugar and prevent worsening nausea. For me I would eat some crackers first followed by a cheese stick, or a piece of fruit first and then seeing if I could add a handful of nuts after. Dinner was a bowl of plain whole wheat pasta and veggies to start, and then I would try to add some chicken or  cheese.

3 – Vitamin B6 can help with morning sickness.

I found that taking about 25-50 mg of a vitamin B6 supplement helped me the most with evening nausea when I was trying to sleep. However, during the day I focused on vitamin B6 rich foods like bananas, nuts, and potatoes. 

4 – Saved by citrus!

Far and away the best cure for my in the moment nausea was citrus fruits or citrus flavor. The height of my 1st trimester was in the winter so clementine oranges were in season. I would eat 3-4 of these a day! They were ALWAYS in my bag. The smell alone helped to make me feel better. Grapefruit sparkling water was also a lifesaver, especially in the afternoon/evening when the nausea would be the worst. Lemon ginger tea was also helpful and enjoyable on cold nights.

5 – Strive for Daily Movement.

Prior to pregnancy I was working out 3-4 days a week at Orangetheory, but once the nausea got pretty bad I had to take a step back for about 6 weeks. However, just going for about a 15 minute walk most days helped my nausea and overall mental state. Now I am back at Orangetheory a couple of days a week and walking other days!

The biggest thing to remember is to be gentle with yourself during this time.

Your body is going through A LOT of change during pregnancy, and some days you might be able to handle an egg and spinach omelet with avocado toast, and other days it might be all you can do to keep a banana and crackers down. Give yourself some grace and know that (for most) this is temporary. I know from experience this is easier said than done, but you are not alone! 

Want to know more about prenatal nutrition? This is one of my specialties, and I would love to work with you! Contact me here.