How to Host a Chill and Healthy Dinner Party

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As we head into the third weekend of the #COOK75 challenge, it’s a great time to talk about alternatives to dining out with friends. Why not host a dinner party instead of going out to eat?

If hearing the phrase “dinner party” stresses you out, don’t worry! I am not a super formal person myself, and a dinner party doesn’t have to big this big ordeal with invitations, and seating charts. You can simply invite friends over for dinner without having all of that stress!

I’ve broken hosting a chill and healthy dinner party down into 5 easy steps. Not only will you save money by eating/drinking at home, you will likely be eating more healthy whole foods (and less processed foods) and won’t have anyone waiting for your table. You can stay and enjoy yourselves for as long as you would like!

5 Healthy and Chill Dinner Party Tips

  1. Don’t make the invite list too big. A dinner party is more intimate than a party-party, and 2-6 guests is a good starting point. You can feasibly cook for 4-8 people in a “normal size” kitchen without having to batch cook, and also have enough plates, silverware, and glasses for everyone.
  2. Ask your guests for food allergies/preferences before choosing recipes. After you send out your invites (and yes this can totally be a text – we’re chill, remember?) the next step is to ask what kind of food they want to eat. This is the time that the guest will typically mention a food allergy or preference. You can then start looking for recipes, and if you’re not sure if it fits within their allergy/preference don’t hesitate to run it by them. You don’t want to make anyone sick, so it’s always better to check if you’re unsure! When I’m in need of some culinary inspiration, I always browse the Blush Nutrition Recipe eBooks for ideas.
  3. Opt for a one pot or sheet pan meal. Make it easy on yourself with a meal that seems fancy, but is in fact very easy to make. If you want to have separate dishes because of food allergies or preferences, try making the meat/veggies on a sheet pan, and then serving a grain on the side. An example of this would be making the Sheet Pan Chicken Parmesan with Italian Veggies from my Winter Recipe eBook and serving whole wheat pasta or cauliflower gnocci on the side. Make sure to test out the recipe first! Don’t let your party be the first time you try something – take notes on your first round to make it easier on yourself on the day of the party. If there are steps that you can prep in advance (like chopping veggies or cooking grains) you can do that a couple of days before as well.
  4. Collaborate! While some more formal blogs/books might tell you that a dinner party host/hostess must make every dish at the party, we are living in 2019, and you do you. If your guest asks if they can bring something, and you feel you could use the help, say yes! Ask them to bring an appetizer (like a cheese board with crackers and nuts) or a dessert (like berries and dark chocolate).
  5. Add fresh flowers to the table. Skip the stress of name cards and fancy place settings, and spruce up your table with some simple fresh flowers! I always have fresh flowers from my garden on our table, and I find it elevates the table while also sending a welcoming feeling.

Do you have any dinner party questions/struggles? Send me a message here!

5 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease in Women

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Contrary to popular belief, heart disease is not a mans disease. In fact, heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the U.S. claiming the lives of every 1 in 3 women. This is more than all forms of cancer combined.

Research from the American Heart Association shows that 80% of heart attacks and strokes are PREVENTABLE with early diagnosis/treatment, a healthy diet, and exercise.

This year, I am honored to serve as one of the leaders for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.  As a private practice Registered Dietitian, the prevention of heart disease is one of my core values, and something I talk about with EVERY client that walks through my door.

how it works

What is atherosclerosis and what causes it? Hardening of the arteries. Causes of plaque build up and atherosclerosis include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking. All of these damage the inside layer of the artery. ATHEROSCLEROSIS IS REVERSIBLE!

How does cholesterol build up? LDL or “bad” cholesterol crosses into the artery wall, white blood cells come in to digest the LDL and this forms plaque. A heart attack happens when that plaque is inflamed and it can rupture

#LABGOALS:

  • Decrease LDL cholesterol “lousy”
  • Increase HDL cholesterol “happy”
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Decrease blood pressure

Here are my top 5 ways that you can prevent heart disease starting NOW:

  1. Start heart disease screenings in your 20s. This should include talking with your physician about your family history, and having blood pressure/cholesterol/glucose checks. Back in the day these screenings didn’t start until our 40s, however knowing your numbers now, and establishing heart healthy habits in your 20s will help decrease the chances of any complications in the future.
  2. Focus on cardio + strength. When you think of the best exercise for your heart do you automatically think of cardio? While aerobic exercise (running/biking/swimming) is definitely important in lowering your LDL and Triglycerides (bad cholesterol levels) and elevating your HDL (good cholesterol levels) – research has shown that adding in 20 minutes of strength training to your regular routine 3-4x per week can help lower your blood pressure (and keep it there). Blood pressure is known as the silent killer, and keeping it within normal limits decreases your chances of having a heart attack.
  3. Eat red meat in moderation. Sorry paleo/keto followers – if you have high LDL and Triglyceride levels (bad cholesterol) those fad diets are NOT for you! While I do support a lifestyle where all foods can fit, it’s important to focus on lean proteins the majority of the time (80% of your intake) to improve your heart health. Research published by the American Heart Association reports that swapping red meat for nuts/fish/poultry can decrease your heart disease risk by 19-30%.
  4. Fill your plate with produce! Did you know that adding just 1 more cup of fruits or vegetables to your day could decrease your chances of cardiovascular disease by 13%? Focus on making half of your plate non-starchy vegetables at each meal, and get bonus points for choosing a fruit or starchy vegetable as your carb!
  5. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. While a healthy diet and exercise are very important for preventing heart disease in women, research shows that if we don’t have an adequate amount of sleep per night those benefits can be diminished. Not sure how to get to that magic 7 hours? Try setting a bed time (and using your phone’s bedtime alarm to help you remember), establishing a caffeine cut off time, and put your phone on the opposite side of the room to eliminate distractions and blue light (which can make it harder to get to sleep).

February is Heart Month, and please join me in the fight against the No. 1 killer of women by clicking here to donate to the Upstate South Carolina – American Heart Association to continue to spread the word of prevention. Together we can beat this disease!

5 New Years Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

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Do you make New Years Resolutions?

Research shows that 80% of people let their resolutions fade by the second week of February. Why? There are many reasons but some of the top reasons is that they are not S.M.A.R.T. goals, or they are too restrictive (things like cut out carbs, cut out alcohol, stop eating after 7PM).

I am not a big fan of taking things away, and would rather focus on the positive. Avoid putting a negative spin on your resolution to increase your chances of success!

Here are 5 resolutions you can actually keep throughout 2019!

  1. Find an exercise that you love. My husband and I joined a gym two years ago in preparation for our wedding. I had always read stories about people finding their community, but never had experienced it myself, but that was because it wasn’t a perfect fit for ME. This year I encourage you to find an exercise that you love, whether it is at a boutique fitness studio, by signing up for a 10K ,or joining a local curling club. Whatever it is, make this year the year you find the exercise that doesn’t feel like work to you!
  2. Show daily gratitude. In the 2018 Healthy Holiday Challenge we focused in finding the real meaning of the season by writing down one thing that we were grateful for each day. I encourage you to continue this into 2019! You can simply write it down in your phone, or pick up a gratitude journal. A healthy lifestyle is about more than just what you eat, and how often you exercise. Slowing down, and enjoying the joys of life is equally as important!
  3. Make time for YOU. To this one you might say “easier said than done,” however until you decide to put yourself first and focus on your health and wellbeing, you are never going to reach your goals, or be able to help others. This year commit to finding ways for putting yourself first, whether it is asking for help around the house so you can exercise/read a book, or saying “no” more often (FOMO is so 2018).
  4. Master meal planning. Meal planning is about thinking ahead of your busy schedule, and implementing a plan to make your life easier. Make 2019 the year that you master this life skill that will help you reach your health goals, save money, and decrease stress. It takes time to learn it, but I promise you, it’s worth it!
  5. Eat more vegetables. I know that this probably sounds super elementary, but focusing on eating more vegetables in 2019 will not only help you feel better – it produces results. I use the portion plate which features 50% non-starchy vegetables with all of my clients with goals from weight loss, to decreasing blood pressure or cholesterol, to improving blood sugars, to getting conquering PCOS and getting pregnant, to decreasing inflammation, and SO much more.

If you are looking to make a long term change in 2019, please contact me to set up your FREE discovery call today!

Healthy After School Snacks

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Thanks everyone who came out to my Atheta G!rl Greenville healthy after school snacking workshop! We made these adorable and healthy butterfly snack bags (click here for the recipe) and reviewed healthy snack tips. Check them out below!

5 Tips for Healthy After School Snacking

  1. Snacking won’t ruin dinner! After school, you might feel like don’t want your child to eat so much that they are not hungry for dinner – however feeding your child a small, healthful snack after school can help to boost their metabolism, keep blood sugar from getting to low before dinner, and ensure that they are consuming adequate nutrients for their growing bodies!
  2. Focus on Protein + Produce. Whether it is carrots and hummus, yogurt and berries, or an apple and peanut butter – combining a protein with produce will help your child to build strong muscles and also ensure that your child is consuming key vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  3. Go for Whole Grains! Choosing a whole grain snack such as whole wheat crackers, brown rice cakes, or whole air popped popcorn will ensure that your child is receiving adequate fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These snacks will help slow digestion to stay fuller for longer, control blood sugar levels, and help with regular bowel movements.
  4. Low-Fat Dairy: The one and done. Consuming an after school snack containing low-fat dairy such as low fat yogurt, a low fat cheese stick or a glass or skim milk will ensure that your child is receiving the necessary calcium to help build strong bones and teeth, as well as carbohydrates + protein. Our bones can be seen as a “Bank of Calcium.” If calcium is not deposited over time, it will be withdrawn and used in different areas of the body. Consuming a low-fat dairy snack can ensure that your child is receiving adequate Calcium and Vitamin D for building strong bones!
  5. Get The Family Involved! Having your child involved in picking their snacks can help them build confidence and ownership in what they are eating. Bonus – they will take these healthy habits into adulthood with them too!

Questions? Contact Brittany to set up your FREE 15 minute appointment today!

Meet the Fall Blush Nutrition Intern: Taylor!

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This is my 7th year as a dietetic internship preceptor for Winthrop University, and I am SO excited for this year because it’s my first time taking interns in private practice! In the past I have taken interns while working in outpatient clinical and food service, but I am very excited to show my interns what being a dietetics intrepreneur looks like.

I’d like to introduce you to Taylor, who is interning with me this August/September. Keep reading to learn more about his background, interests, and being an #RD2Be. Be sure to tune in on Thursday September 6th for his Instagram story takeover!

Meet Taylor

Q: You are a dietetic intern at Winthrop University. Tell us a little bit about this internship and the requirements to become a Registered Dietitian.

 

A: Getting accepted into a dietetic internship is a required process that you have to go through in order to become a Registered Dietitian. You must first complete a bachelor’s degree and receive a verification statement from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. You then have to get accepted into a dietetic internship and complete a minimum of 1200 supervised hours through an accredited program. Once you complete your 1200 supervised hours, you are then eligible to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration national exam to become a Registered Dietitian. Registered Dietitians must gain licensure in their state of practice, and commit to a minimum of 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years.

Q: Where did you complete your Undergraduate studies?

A: I received my Bachelors of Science and was a double major in nutrition science and dietetics at the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs!

 
Q: What is your dream job?

A: My dream job is to work as a sports dietitian for a major professional sports team.

 
Q: Why did you choose to go into the dietetics field?

A: As a former competitive high school wrestler, I was able to first-hand experience the alleviating properties of nutrition. From struggling with disordered eating, to simply athletic performance, changing my eating habits completely changed my life as an athlete and a person.

I chose dietetics because I want to help people understand that nutrition doesn’t have to be as complex as we might think. I want to help people implement basic lifestyle and nutrition practices that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives to sustain long term success.

 
Q: You live a healthy lifestyle everyday and also love fitness. Tell us about your experience being a group fitness trainer.

A: Being a group fitness trainer has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I have had the opportunity to train a variety of people from ages 5-85. Through this, I have had the privilege to watch and assist people of all ages and fitness levels in overcoming boundaries and achieving goals that they never thought they could. From someone getting their first push up to someone squatting 400 lbs, I love watching people push their limits, motivate each other, and understand that physical activity is for everyone regardless of your size, shape, gender, or age.

 
Q: What’s your favorite food?

A: If I had to pick a favorite dish or food, I would say definitely sushi. If there’s a restaurant that serves sushi, I’ve probably been there.

 
Q: What are you must excited about working as the Blush Nutrition fall intern?

A: I am super pumped about getting to help people make small lifestyle changes that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Following Brittany’s expertise and methods, she sets up her clients for long-term success, and I am super excited to learn from her and her methods.

 

Welcome Taylor and thank you for all of your hard work this fall to continue to build the Blush Nutrition brand!

Want to know more about a Registered Dietitian vs. a Nutritionist? Read this.

A Review of Freshly by a Registered Dietitian

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Meal delivery services are all the rage right now! I mean who doesn’t like having food for the week delivered to their door?

By this point I have tried them all, and while a meal delivery service is a “nice to have” I have not found that it is a forever fix for many of my clients. That being said, it is great for a busy week, the first week back from vacation, or even if you are traveling for work and have a kitchenette where you are staying!

The latest meal delivery service I have tried is Freshly, and I have to say I really liked it! The main reason Freshly appealed to me is for my really busy professional clients who sometimes just don’t have time to make dinner. Their meals are gluten free, focus on using whole foods, and their nutritionals check out with what I recommend for my clients. The best part? You don’t have to cook! The biggest thing I always said about other meal delivery services is that the nutritionals were almost just as unhealthy as dining out, yet I also had to make it. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to eat my day’s worth of carbs in one meal, I want someone else to make it for me 😂 Freshly is a balance between a delivery service with the ingredients to make a meal, and meals from the frozen aisle of the grocery store. They are made with fresh ingredients, and you can just pop them in the microwave or toaster oven. They are obviously better tasting and quality than frozen meals, and their calories are more optimal  too. Is anyone really ever satisfied from a 250 calorie frozen meal? I think not.

As I mentioned above, the nutritionals really check out, and many are carbohydrate controlled, and the saturated fat is pretty low. They are also very moderate in sodium (which is rare for prepared meals) and I love this about Freshly – they give you seasoning options right on the package!

Keep reading for a glimpse into my first week of the Freshly meal delivery service!

NOTE: Just like any other meal delivery service it auto renews and until you manually cancel they will keep delivering and keep charging you. You can skip several weeks at a time, but it’s something to be conscious of! 

IMG_4245MOROCCAN CHICKEN with Cauliflower Couscous

I think this was our favorite meal of the week! The cauliflower couscous was very rustic, and had a lot of texture. The sauce had amazing flavor and the chicken was very moist.

 

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CHICKEN & RICE PILAF with Green Beans & Carrots

The chicken was also very moist, and the veggies were very tasty all mixed in with the sauce.

 

IMG_4251GRILLED CHICKEN RISOTTO with Spring Peas

This was the meal that was probably the highest and saturated fat and carbs, however that was to be expected with risotto! The rice was very creamy, and the chicken was moist. Being a dietitian I really wanted a non-starchy vegetable with this one!

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SAUSAGE & PEPPERS with Tomato Rice

My husband had this one, and I didn’t get to try it, but it wasn’t as good as the Moroccan chicken he had the day before. The vegetables seemed overly cooked and he didn’t love the tomato sauce.

 

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BUFFALO CHICKEN BREAST with Loaded Cauliflower

I LOVE the idea of loaded cauliflower than potatoes here, and it keeps the carbs down and keeps the nutrients high (though the saturated fat is higher from the bacon and cheese here). The chicken left some to be desired though, as it just tasted like hot sauce on chicken – but maybe that’s because it’s not fried (which is a good thing).

 

 

 

IMG_4265ROASTED TURKEY with Quinoa Stuffing

WhileI had this meal in May and not around the holiday’s, it was very enjoyable! I loved the quinoa stuffing and the green beans were very crisp. The turkey was also moist and had a great texture and quality to it, and the gravy was good but not too much (I don’t typically like gravy).

 

 

 

Overall? I would recommend this to someone who is struggling to cook for one person and is trying to avoid eating out, or for someone who is looking to get through a tough week of work /travel stress. They were very good and the nutritionals really check out on this one!!

Have questions? Let me know!

 

Establishing Healthy Habits for Life

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Have you ever found yourself saying “I know what to do, it’s just making myself do it”?

Here are 5 easy tips to establish healthy meal planning and a consistent exercise habits now, to give you the results you have always been looking for. After reading this blog post, write down one thing that you would like to implement right away!

1 – Lifeong Habits Take More Work Than a Fad Diet

Congratulations on saying “no” to the yo-yo dietiting and “yes” to developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime! The secret to wellness is not only making changes you know you can hold on to, it’s starting slow, and building up. It’s going to be harder than following someone else’s rules for 21 days or 30 days – but the results will last longer too.

2 – Make Time for Wellness

It’s true – there are just not enough hours in the day and wellness doesn’t often just “happen.” There is no perfect time for weight loss, so make a commitment NOW to invest in yourself – whether it is through meal planning, exercising, or just taking time to do something for you. Establishing new habits, and avoiding going back to what’s easy takes time and dedication. Schedule an appointment with yourself in your phone, in your planner or on your family calendar to carve out this time and start to create a new healthy habit.

3 – Meal Plan the Easy Way

Meal planning does NOT mean that you have to plan for 21 meals including 7 dinners. Dinner is typically where we tend to end up in the drive thru line, or on the phone with the pizza place. Try planning for just 3-4 dinners and include leftovers into the plan. Many of my clients love meal delivery services, and this utilizes that same concept, but you will save even more money, and cook healthier! Start by putting your “events” in your calendar, and then build healthy meals and snacks around them!

4 – Schedule Your Workouts On Sunday

Take a look at your week ahead and schedule your workouts in your planner ahead of
time. Write it down in your planner and reschedule if you have to – just like you would a
doctor’s appointment.

5 – Be Realistic

It’s about progress – not perfection. This is a time to accept a broader form of excellence
rather than a narrowly defined one. We are not aiming for A+ on a test here, in all reality we are aiming for a really solid B. Did you set a goal to workout 5 times per week but have only gotten in 3? Congratulations you got in 3! Celebrate that win, and consider re-adjusting your goal to build up to 5 times per week – you might need to change up your schedule or ask for some help with your to-do list. Think about what needs to be done to get there, start slow, and build. Remember – you have the rest of your life to build these healthy habits and nothing ends in 21 or 30 days – it’s forever. Focus what works for YOU!

Want to know more? Your first 15 minute phone appointment is FREE! Contact
me here.

Nominated for 2018 Best of the Upstate “Best Weight Loss Services”

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Blush Nutrition has been nominated for “Best Weight Loss Services”!

Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD is the ONLY Registered Dietitian on the ballot, and casting your vote for Blush Nutrition will send the message that Greenville is looking for a sustainable weight loss service, and not a quick fix. At Blush Nutrition, my focus in on healthy small lifestyle changes, customized to each client, and everything I do is backed by research.

What’s the difference between a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist?

Simply said, all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritions are dietitians. A Registered Dietitian has additional qualifications that must be met, which include:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree with course work including food and nutrition sciences, food service systems management, business, economics, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry
  • Completed an accredited dietetic internship
  • Passed the national Registered Dietitian examination
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration (75 every 5 years)

Click here to cast your vote for Blush Nutrition – click on the “Health & Beauty” page and scroll down for Best Weight Loss Services.

Thank you Greenville for this nomination, I am honored!