Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Talking to an RD

MixedBerriesNutritionTwinsMarch 13 is National Registered Dietitian Day and a great time to share how seeing an RD can help you and your community! This marks the day that dietitians across the country are recognized for all their hard work in helping people to get healthier and happier. We feel so fortunate that we chose this profession—we love helping our clients to enjoy eating healthier and to reap the rewards of it. After witnessing first-hand how much we could positively affect the lives of others as registered dietitians, we set out to reach a larger audience by writing our books, Fire Up Your Metabolism, The Secret to Skinny and The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure:100 Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty (January 2014).

As nutritionists and personal trainers, it’s important for us to incorporate all aspects of nutrition to help everyone whether it is obesity, diabetes or sports enhancement. We agree with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics top 10 reasons you should be talking to an RD today!

1. Registered Dietitians can help you plan a balanced diet if you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes. It can greatly affect your diet if you aren’t careful so get the proper advice from an RD!

2. With each community hurting for more wellness programs with the obesity epidemic in America, dietitians can help get those programs started. They can help fight for backing by the government to make a difference in eating healthy and help communities become physically fit!

3. Registered dietitians can work with food scientists on new healthy foods for the local grocery stores and markets. They can phase out the bad foods or at least make them healthier for consumers to make healthier choices.

4. Dietitians specializing in sports nutrition can help you to become fit – the healthy way! You’ll see results when following and setting healthier goals!

5. Registered dietitians can help you manage meals and create a plan for you, whether you want to lose weight, become more physically fit or just had a major surgery that curbs your appetite! They are the best to talk to about this.

6. If you’re a Mom or even a Dad that just doesn’t cook and has no cooking skills, RD’s can help you find the basic culinary skills to get healthier and simple foods on your table, homemade!

7. If you’re suspecting a family member or maybe even yourself of having an eating disorder, an RD can help you overcome this challenge and help you to eat healthier again!

8. Registered dietitians can help create healthier food choices in the community whether it be a food drive or even a farmers market, they can help get the resources you need to create a large impact!

9. New moms can benefit greatly with making sure their babies are getting the adequate nutrition they need for a normal and healthy weight gain.

10. Registered dietitians can help with the elderly to make sure they are also getting the adequate nutrition they need to stay healthy, such as Meals on Wheels programs.

Now you know the many benefits to seeing an RD! There are obviously so many different ways an RD can make an impact on you personally or in the community. Don’t be afraid to find one in your local area and start asking questions to make a healthier and happier you!

About the Authors:NutritionTwins

Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos, a.k.a. The Nutrition Twins®, are twin sisters, registered dietitians and personal trainers with over a decade of experience helping thousands of clients boost their energy naturally, get healthier, happier and in tip-top shape. They have been featured as experts on major TV shows/ networks and popular press ranging from The Doctors, Good Morning America Health, Fox and Friends and Discovery Health to USA Today, Health Magazine and Vogue. They are experts and bloggers for msn’s health site, Fitbie and for the host of Dancing with the Stars Brooke Burke’s site, They are authors of Fire Up Your Metabolism (Simon and Schuster), The Secret To Skinny: How Salt Makes You Fat (HCI Books) and The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure: 100 Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty, due out in January 2014. They live in New York City where they enjoy running and biking to keep fit as well as chasing after Tammy’s twin daughters. Follow the Nutrition Twins on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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No New Year’s Resolutions

NewYearsResolutionsErinMacdonaldGood-bye, 2012. Hello, 2013. Many people look at the starting of a new year as a metaphor for a new beginning. With what would you like a fresh start in the New Year? Are you going to make “resolutions” like everyone else? Have you made resolutions in the past, only to find that you didn’t or couldn’t achieve them? Been there, done that. It doesn’t work. This year, resolve not to make any resolutions.

We all start out the year with the best intentions. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Manage stress better. Exercise more. Save money. Improve our relationships. Sound familiar?

So why, by February 1st, have we slipped back into our old habits?

When you make a resolution, it’s usually a very large, over-reaching goal. Lose 30 pounds. How can you expect to lose 30 pounds as quickly as you want to, especially when it didn’t get put on overnight? Big goals with no game plan equal big failure. And when we fail, we beat ourselves up over it. After many years of setting up unattainable resolutions, and failing to achieve them, we’ve labeled ourselves as failures and thus have little hope for actually succeeding when we set out to try again. And yet we continue to try again. I give an “A” for effort, but unfortunately the outcome is the same because we haven’t changed the game plan and the results are the same.

Another reason we are doomed to failure is that we are very impatient. We want results and we want it NOW! That’s normal for a society of instant gratification. So, waiting for results is very difficult.

The solution? Take it slowly, be patient, and break those lofty goals into smaller, more achievable goals. Try U Rock Girl’s “Goal A Day” challenge.

You want to make changes that will last. This year will be different. You will succeed. All you need is a game plan. Here are the tools you need:

• Give yourself specific directions. Vague resolutions like “Lose weight” are doomed for failure. How are you going to do it? How many pounds? Over what time period? Do not give yourself too many options. Set focused goals, like “I will eat breakfast every day,” “Walk 20 minutes at lunchtime every day,” or “Only one glass of wine at dinner.”

• Give yourself inspiration. If your goal is to increase your strength, then find a picture of yourself when you were in better shape and tape it to the refrigerator as motivation. Make the inspiration reasonable – don’t put a picture of an elite athlete as your screen saver or you will set yourself up for frustration.

• Get motivated (and stay motivated). Take a look at the larger goal (Losing weight). Now break it down into little, attainable goals, i.e., bring lunch to work every day; drink 8 oz. water first thing in the morning; have a fruit or vegetable at every mini meal. When your goals are smaller and more easily achieved, you will feel successful. This feeling will encourage you to make more changes that will get you closer to your next mini-goal, and ultimately your big-picture goal.

Make your environments supportive of your goals. Your home and work or school are the two environments in which you spend the most time, so make sure they support the healthy changes you are trying to make. Get rid of your trigger foods and stock the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry full of fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans, lean protein, and healthy snacks, like NuGo bars. If you know you always crave sweets at 3 p.m., then have a healthy snack of some sweet berries and a protein, like Greek yogurt, to satisfy your craving and keep your hunger in check. Or try a NuGo Slim bar (I love the Roasted peanut flavor) which satisfies the sweet and savory craving. Other environments, like social, travel, and commuting are also situations in which you can make changes to keep you successful. If you know you’re going out for dinner, look at the restaurant menu on-line before you go out and decide what you’ll be ordering. Also, having a light and healthy snack before you go out to eat or to a party will help you from making a poor food decision or overeating.


Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes time and practice. You may occasionally fail or have a set-back. That’s ok and you should even expect that to happen. It’s how you deal with that set-back. Accept it, own it, figure out why it happened, and what you can do to prevent it from happening again in the future. By taking the time to assess your progress – what’s working and what’s not – you will be able to make the necessary changes to allow you to be successful in achieving your health and wellness goals.

About the Author:

Erin Macdonald, R.D. is a Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness Coach in southern California where she has a private practice and teaches cooking classes. She is the co-founder of U Rock Girl, a web site full of nutrition, fitness, and wellness information and recipes to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. She also writes a regular column for Oxygen Magazine, called “Easy Does It” and will have a new column in Clean Eating magazine called, “Ask the dietitians.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter




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Tips for Enjoying Gluten-Free Holidays, Wherever You Choose to Dine

The holidays tend to create anxiety for many people following special diets, including the growing group of people diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It’s no wonder, since so much of our culture today seems to revolve around socializing while eating. Whether it’s accepting an invitation to a holiday dinner party, attending a work luncheon, or hosting family for a festive dinner in your own home, there can be challenges to safely following your gluten-free diet. But with a bit of thought and advance planning, you can avoid getting “glutened” – and feel like you’re a full participant in the event.

Hosting the Meal Yourself
This is probably the most sure-fire way to ensure your meals will be gluten-free. Whether it’s a holiday cocktail party, dessert party, or sit-down family meal, YOU are in control of the planning, shopping, and preparation of the food. And with the wonderful gluten-free foods available today, you could easily offer up an entirely gluten-free spread, and no one would even know! You’ll be happy to know that if you are comfortable preparing a full holiday meal yourself, there are many holiday favorites that are easy to prepare gluten-free.

If hosting something on a large scale seems overwhelming, by all means make it “pot luck.” Prepare a few key dishes yourself (things YOU like) so that at least you’ll be able to eat your own culinary creations. Even if your guests bring things that are off limits for you, you won’t have to worry about cross contamination, since the food brought by others was prepared elsewhere and shouldn’t need to come into contact with your gluten-free items (just be careful of sharing serving spoons).

Accepting an Invitation to Someone Else’s Home
This can be one of the more intimidating options, since you don’t want to be sick – but don’t want to feel rude or left out if there’s nothing safe for you to eat. The best solution is to offer to bring a few of your own favorite items as part of the meal (your host or hostess will greatly appreciate this!). Ideally, this would involve a casserole or other main dish, a couple of side dishes, and dessert. If it’s a family member’s home, you may even have some say in planning and preparing the menu. In all likelihood, your host will welcome tips to convert favorite recipes into gluten-free favorites! Even something like homemade gravy can easily be thickened with cornstarch instead of flour.

Desserts can often present the trickiest part of the meal, but try to think outside the box. Consider “crustless” pies, crème brulee, pumpkin custard, or flourless chocolate cake (you’d be hard pressed to find someone that would turn THAT down!) Gluten-free cupcakes are always a hit with kids, and basic gluten-free sugar cookie mixes are relatively easy to find (or make yourself) if you’re a fan of traditionally decorated holiday cookies. Chances are, whatever you bring will be tastier than the gluten-filled options, and there won’t be any leftovers!

Dining Out
While we’ve always dined IN for Christmas, our family has actually dined OUT for several recent Thanksgivings. One year after attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City, we dined at a very celiac-friendly Italian restaurant called Sambuca (OK, so we got our turkey fix the next day with a traditional, home-cooked meal!). And this year, our extended family voted to give ourselves a much-needed break and go OUT to Wildfire restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. We selected this restaurant based on their careful attention to their gluten-free diners. We confirmed the gluten-free selections before making the reservation, and what a treat it was! Virtually every item of the menu was either gluten-free or could be tailored to be, down to the gluten-free stuffing and gravy, gluten-free croutons on the salad, and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

If you’re with a group of friends or colleagues that will be selecting a restaurant for a holiday get-together, don’t be shy about your dietary restrictions. There’s nothing worse than having to forgo most of the food while your dining mates gush over how great the meal is. Speak up and suggest one of your favorite “gluten- free friendly” restaurants as a good choice. A quick search on a site like GlutenFreeTravelSite will help you find GF-friendly restaurants (both chain and independent) in any town or city.

So whatever your choice – eating IN or eating OUT, dining gluten-free over the holidays can easily be done without feeling deprived, left out, or overworked!

About the Author: 

Karen Broussard is the founder of GlutenFreeTravelSite, a popular website that helps the gluten-free community find safe places to eat in their area — or wherever they travel. It includes thousands of user-submitted REVIEWS of restaurants, bakeries, markets, hotels, resorts, B&Bs, and cruises – both in the U.S. and around the world. Karen launched GlutenFreeTravelSite in 2008 — several years after her son Ryan was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at a very young age. She and her family found that dining out and traveling could be a real challenge for people following gluten free diets, and she wanted to provide a place where the gluten free community could go to share their experiences first-hand with others who also love to dine out and travel. 

The dining and travel reviews on GlutenFreeTravelSite are organized geographically and can be searched by state/country — or more narrowly by town/zip code. Visitors to GlutenFreeTravelSite will find many other helpful resources, including a section of the site devoted to national and regional restaurant chains offering Gluten Free Menus, a page of Colleges reviewed from a gluten free perspective, a page outlining the gluten free policies of all the major Cruise Lines — with links to reviews of each cruise line submitted to GlutenFreeTravelSite, a page listing Camps for gluten free kids, and many gluten free Trip Planning Resources. Other features of the helpful site include a monthly Featured Review (and contest!), a Blog, Articles, and Interviews with Chefs. You can follow GlutenFreeTravelSite on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


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8 Tricks to Portion Control

You’ve heard it before – one of the easiest things you can do to overhaul your diet, without giving up everything you love, is to scale back on the portions. Kind of like having your cake and eating it too, just that the piece of cake has become a sliver that won’t wreck your waistline.

For anyone that has ever followed a diet program where you have to purchase and eat their food, you’ve experienced portion control. Precise amounts of food are plated so that you eat just that amount and nothing more, allowing you stay within your calorie goal and achieve the desired weight loss. Yes, this method does work (for a period of time). The downsides of this type of weight control program are that they are expensive and they teach you nothing about shopping, cooking, and portioning out your food for yourself. Once you stop following the program, the old habits return, including larger portion sizes, and the weight creeps back on.

Let’s talk about how you can successfully master portion control without feeling like you have to weigh and measure everything.

1. Divide the Plate. Draw an imaginary line down the center of your plate. Fill one half with fruits and/or veggies. Divide the other half of the plate in half again and fill 1/4 with whole grains and the other 1/4 with a lean protein.

2. Pre-portion high-calorie foods. The bigger the package, the more you’ll eat. From this finding, the 100-calorie snack pack was born. Rather than fill up on these store-bought calorie-controlled packs (which are usually just junk food), make your own homemade 100-calorie packs using snack-sized zip top bags and 1/2 cup plastic containers. Keep nuts to around 100 calories by fitting them into an Altoids tin.

3. When you eat, just eat. Turn off the TV, put away the book, close the newspaper, shut down the computer, and stick the cell phone in the other room. Meal time should be devoted to enjoying your meal, uninterrupted. Use the time to notice the taste, texture, temperature, aroma, and visual appeal of your meal. Not only will you enjoy your meal more than usual, but you’ll also be more in tune with your fullness cues. If your brain gets the signal from your stomach to slow down or stop before you’ve polished off everything (this takes 20 minutes), then heed the message and wrap the rest of it up for later. Your waist will thank you.

4. Downsize your plates and cups. Rather than continue to eat off of the typical 12-inch dinner plates, which encourage larger portions, try plating your meal onto 8-inch plates. Same goes for bowls (use 1 cup ramekins) and glasses. Did you know that people drink less out of tall, skinny glasses than short, wide ones?

5. Limit choices. They say that variety is the spice of life, but it also encourages overeating and results in higher calorie intake. This doesn’t mean that your meal has to be Johnny-one-note, rather choose 3 items to feature on your plate, make sure they have lots of great flavor, and enjoy every bite.

6. Out of sight, out of mind. Office workers who kept candy in a clear jar on their desks sampled 71% more often than those who kept the candy in a desk drawer. So, keep the junk out of sight and replace the desk-top candy dish with a bowl of fresh fruit so that everyone can benefit.

7. Don’t drink your calories. If you’re watching your calories in the quest to drop some pounds, skip the juices, smoothies, and coffee drinks that pack in hundreds of calories. Even worse, these liquids empty out of your system quicker than food, leaving you hungrier, sooner. Then you’re left to search of something else to eat, which can result in a higher calorie intake for the day than expected.

8. Super-size good-for-you foods. This is the ultimate in reverse portion control. Think salads (watch the dressing), cooked vegetables, broth-based soups, crudité and healthy dips. Fill up on generous amounts of these foods at the beginning of every meal, which leaves less room for the rest of the food being offered. A few bites of your protein and whole grain and you realize you’re too full to continue.

About the Author:

Erin Macdonald, R.D. is a Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness Coach in southern California where she has a private practice and teaches cooking classes. She is the co-founder of U Rock Girl, a web site full of nutrition, fitness, and wellness information and recipes to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. She also writes a regular column for Oxygen Magazine, called “Easy Does It” and will have a new column in Clean Eating magazine called, “Ask the dietitians.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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Celebrate Family Fun Month with Moo Shu Vegetable Wraps and an Edible Sailboat

Are you looking for ways to involve your kids more in the kitchen? Having some basic cooking know-how is a wonderful life skill to teach your kids. From toddlers to teens, there are creative ways to make helping in the kitchen entertaining and interesting. As August is Family Fun Month, we wanted to share how you and your kids can truly have fun with your food while keeping it healthy and delicious. Aviva Goldfarb, Founder and CEO of The Six O’Clock Scramble, shares a recipe below that has both kid and adult appeal. See her post on PBS Kitchen Explorers for how to make this adorable sailboat and more fun snacks for kids. Food can be tasty and amusing!

Moo Shu Vegetable Wraps
Prep + Cook Time = 25 minutes
6 Servings

Far East goes South of the Border with these sweet hoisin marinated vegetables, wrapped in tortillas. The kids can tuck the vegetables deep in their wraps so they’ll hardly know they’re eating something so healthy. If you prefer a meatier meal, you can add cooked chicken to the wraps with the rice and vegetables.

-1 – 1 1/2 cup white or quick-cooking brown rice

-2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

-1/2 yellow or white onion, sliced into thin strips

-1 zucchini, cut lengthwise into quarters and thinly sliced

-1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

-8 – 12 oz. sliced mushrooms

-2 scallions, thinly sliced

-4 Tbsp. hoisin sauce (a Chinese marinade and dipping sauce)

-6 whole wheat or white tortillas, or use corn tortillas for a gluten-free option

-1 1/2 cups cooked sliced chicken breasts (optional)

-1 – 3 tsp. Asian chili sauce, Tabasco, or other hot pepper sauce, for serving (optional)

Cook the rice according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, while you chop and add the other vegetables. Stir in 2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce. Continue to sauté the vegetables for a few more minutes, stirring often, until they are tender but not mushy, 8 – 10 minutes total, from when you first added the onions and zucchini. (Meanwhile, prepare the smoothies, if you are serving them.) Remove the vegetables from the heat.

Put the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover them with a damp paper towel, and heat them on high power for 1 – 2 minutes until they are very warm and soft.

At the table, lay a tortilla on each plate and brush a little hoisin sauce (about 1 tsp.) in the middle of it with the back of a spoon. Add a scoop each of the rice, vegetables, chicken (optional) and a few drops of hot pepper or chili sauce (optional). Wrap the tortillas burrito-style.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Spice it up by adding the Asian chili sauce or hot pepper sauce to the wraps.

Tip: Hoisin sauce is an Asian marinade with a pungent, sweet-spicy flavor. If you or your kids have never used hoisin sauce before, start with just a little. If you enjoy the taste, you can always add more.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values)
Calories 280, Total Fat: 8g, 12.00%; Saturated Fat: 1g, 5.00%; Cholesterol: 0mg, 0.00%; Sodium: 480mg, 20.00%; Total Carbohydrate: 47g, 16.00%; Dietary Fiber: 5g, 20.00%; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 7g

About the Author:

Aviva Goldfarb is a family dinner expert who helps busy parents let go of all the stress at 6:00 and bring joy and good nutrition back to the dinner table. She is a mother of two and the author and founder of The Six O’Clock Scramble, an online dinner planning system and cookbook (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), and is author of “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010), which was named one of the best cookbooks of 2010 by on the Washington Post. She is also a weekly contributor to the Kitchen Explorers blog on, and often appears on television, radio, and in magazines such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Working Mother, Kiwi, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Prevention, and many others. Visit her boards on Pinterest for tons of healthy food ideas and fun and healthy kid snacks. Follow @thescramble on Twitter and like the Facebook page.


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