Re-Writing Your Resolutions

by Karissa Peyer

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this month?  Even if you did not formally announce it or frame it as a resolution, perhaps you still had thoughts of exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking or getting more sleep.  According to statisticbrain.com, over half of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions and the most popular resolution is to lose weight or eat healthier.  Despite all these resolutions, nearly 50% of people fail to carry out these behavior changes beyond the end of January! So how do you stop yourself from joining this statistic?

There are a number of theories (Bandura, 1989; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Prochaska & Velicer, 1997) discussing what it is that makes people stick with health behavior changes, but they have many common threads. Among these is to identify WHY you are making the change, what barriers or supports are in your environment, and tracking your progress.  Below are some tips for sticking with your goals this year:

  1. Know your “Why.” If you know your “Why” you will find your “How.” Spend some time to really think about why you are trying to make this change. What benefits do you expect to see if you are successful?  What will happen if you fail?  How does this change affect those around you? The answer to this question is different for everyone.  While it sounds good to say that you are going to eat healthier because you want to lower your cholesterol, if the truth is that you just want your spouse to stop nagging you, own it!
  2. Adjust if needed. Maybe your original goal was to go to the gym five days a week but you’ve been struggling to make it just two nights a week. Cut yourself a break and acknowledge that two is more than zero! It is better to back off a bit than to quit completely.
  3. Identify barriers. This goes along with #2. What are the things that made it hard to hit your 5 day/week goal? Maybe you’re more likely to make it to the gym if you go in the morning because work or family commitments tend to eat up more time than expected in the evening. Perhaps you struggle with your healthy eating or smoking cessation goal in certain social situations. Identifying these triggers will help you to plan for them.
  4. Find your support. There’s a wealth of research (and personal experience!) showing that people are more likely to stick with behavior changes, especially exercise if they are receiving social support. This be a friend who meets you at the gym, a group exercise class where you make friends and people will notice if you miss, or just sharing regular updates with a friend or on social media to hold yourself accountable.
  5. Track, track, track. Keep track of your progress, including notes about what worked and what didn’t. This can be a reward in itself when you look back at the end of the week and see how much time you spent at the gym or how many vegetables you ate! Adding notes about what you enjoyed or tricks and tips that helped you stick to your goal each day will be good reminders when you struggle in the future.
  6. Reward yourself! While better health is certainly a reward on its own, sometimes we want something more immediate and more tangible. It is ok to reward yourself sometimes for your hard work! Make a contract with yourself to treat yourself to a new workout outfit or a new pair of shoes after 15 trips to the gym. Buy yourself that awesome new dinner set to eat all your healthy food off of when you stick to your meal plan.  Just be sure your reward doesn’t negate all your hard work! A scoop of ice cream for hitting your target at the gym is great – an entire gallon just spoils all that effort!
  7. Most importantly, find what works for you! Your initial goal may not be going as planned, but that’s no reason to quit.  Evaluate your plan, make changes as necessary and keep working at it!

Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory. American psychologist44(9), 1175.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York ; Plenum.

Prochaska, J. O., & Velicer, W. F. (1997). The transtheoretical model of health behavior change. American journal of health promotion12(1), 38-48.


file-phpKarissa Peyer Contact

Karissa L. Peyer, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Physical Activity and Health Promotion. Karissa’s research focuses on physical activity, childhood obesity and behavior change in both children and adults. Karissa enjoys running, biking, swimming and hanging out with her dog, Mika

 

MIND-ful Superfoods

by Joel Anderson

These days, we’ve all probably heard of superfoods. Numerous lists online and in magazines describe the superfoods you should know and eat. But what makes a food a superfood? And is this sound nutrition or just hype? Will you really benefit from including these superfoods in your diet?

Foods are often given the “super” moniker based on nutrition density, whether that be vitamin and mineral content, levels of antioxidants, or amounts of healthy fats or other macronutrients. The antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties of these foods often lands them into this category. Most often, these foods are plant-based. While more exotic foods such açai, mangosteen, and goji berries are often on these superfood lists by virtue of their antioxidant profile, more common foods such as kale, blueberries, and salmon are considered to be superfoods, too. But will incorporating these superfoods improve your health or provide you with a nutritional edge?

As much as we might sometimes like the idea of a magic nutritional bullet, one food or nutrient alone will not solve all nutritional ills or halt a chronic disease in its tracks. More current human nutrition research focuses on overall dietary patterns rather than on specific foods or nutrients. Our dietary patterns have more to do with our overall eating habits and the variety of foods that we consume, as well as the form in which we consume these.

Many have heard or read about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. First examined by Ancel Keys following World War II, the Mediterranean diet has an abundance of vegetables and fruits. The style of eating has received a lot of attention over the past several decades given the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease. In fact, this is what led Keys to study the dietary pattern in the 1950s. The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are supported by nutrition research over several decades. As a graduate student, I co-taught a course on the Mediterranean diet.

A similar dietary pattern that’s getting more buzz lately has been termed the MIND diet. In this case, MIND stands for the Mediterranean-DASH diet intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND). The DASH diet refers to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension dietary plan supported by research funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Older adults who follow the DASH and Mediterranean diets most closely have higher levels of cognitive function. However, the MIND diet score is more positively associated with slower decline in cognitive function than either the DASH and Mediterranean diets alone. In the case of the MIND diet, there is an emphasis on a few key superfoods for which there is a solid body of research. Specifically, the MIND diet focuses on the inclusion of dark leafy greens (think kale, collards, and spinach) and berries, like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Why these?

A number of research studies reported a slower decline in cognitive function with higher consumption of vegetables, with the greatest protection coming from green leafy vegetables. And while all of these studies found no association between overall fruit consumption and cognitive decline, one study did find evidence that berries may have a protective effect on the brain related to cognitive function. While the MIND diet needs further research, this dietary pattern, which includes some key superfoods, may be a great way of maintaining or improving brain health that might have beneficial effects overall given the emphasis on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.


file-php Joel Anderson Contact

Joel G. Anderson, Ph.D., CHTP, is an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee College of Nursing. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and a certificate in Advanced Clinical Dementia Practice from the University of Michigan. Dr. Anderson completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies at the University of Virginia. Dr. Anderson’s research interests involve the use of non-pharmacological strategies to enhance symptom management and caregiver support in dementia.

Crock-Pot Cooking is Convenient Cooking

By Reston Hartsell and Tsz- Kiu Chui

September is the month of the year that gets us excited about fall. Temperature fluctuations have many, including myself, hopelessly optimistic about cooler temperatures, leaves changing colors, Labor Day festivities, and plenty of college football. Rather than looking forward to the sea of orange that fills Neyland Stadium on game day, others view September as the month prior to seasonal pumpkin treats (Starbucks fans rejoice!). While it is exciting to think all of the activities and festivities that occur during the month, it is worth mentioning that September runs the gauntlet for health awareness issues, such as Childhood Cancer Awareness; Blood Cancer Awareness; Ovarian Cancer Awareness; National Food Safety Education; Healthy Aging; National Childhood Obesity Awareness; Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN); and even National Yoga Awareness!

Your health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”1 To prevent disease, physically speaking, we all can do our part to eat our fair share of pumpkin treats (Kidding! Moderation is the key!). On a more serious note, taking care of our social well-being is key when we are stressed and overworked. When I need to decompress and reflect, I often reminisce about the fun times of playing Catch Phrase during the holidays or thinking of memories of staying up too late telling stories with friends. Of all places, the kitchen table was where these fun times occurred, and I often didn’t want to remove myself from the fun to cook or clean up the dishes. Yet, eating is a special event that allows us to further be in communion with those around us. If you should find yourself away from the table making a meal, why not try something easy like cooking with a crockpot?

If you are like me and want to find more time to be with your friends, while cooking at the same time, I recommend getting “crocky.” Yes, I’m creating a word, but stick with me for a moment. The art of getting “crocky” is the state of cooking in a crockpot (or slow cooker), while simultaneously enjoying one’s social environment, preferably in one’s home with or without a glass of wine. Crockpots are convenient, affordable, easy-to-use, and fun! There are numerous uses for crockpots that range from snack mixes to desserts. However, for the sake of our physical well-being, delicious nutritious crockpot cooking is key. If you are busy, tired and overwhelmed with work, crockpots may offer you an escape from the routine question of asking yourself, “What should I make for dinner?” Rocky Top, it is time to get “crocky!” Let’s make September the month to bring back the crockpots. Happy September, Crock Potters!

Caramelized Apple Slow Cooker Oatmeal

breakfast-pic1

Want a hot and ready-to-eat oatmeal for breakfast?  Try this recipe!  You can simply make this before you go to bed and enjoy your freshly cooked oatmeal in the morning!

 

 

 

View recipe: http://nourishingjoy.com/caramelized-apple-slow-cooker-oatmeal/

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

 soup-pic2Craving for soup? You can make it as simple as this recipe.  More importantly, it’s easy and delicious!

 

 

View recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/89539/slow-cooker-chicken-tortilla-soup/

Company Pot Roast

pot-roast-picYou can’t leave pot roast out when cooking with your crock pot!  This recipe might take a little more time for preparation in advance, but it’s going to be well worth it.

 

 

 

View Recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/company-pot-roast

Snack: Pumpkin Nutella Slow Cooker Granola

 pumpkin-nutella-picIt’s Fall! You got to have pumpkin! Try this easy recipe with your crackpot to make your own seasonal granola.

 

 

 

 

View Recipe: http://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/2014/10/22/nutella-pumpkin-slow-cooker-granola/

 

For More Crockpot Recipes Please Visit The Link Below:

http://greatist.com/eat/healthy-crock-pot-recipes-for-breakfast

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/slow-cooker-favorites

  1. Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.

img_11373Reston Hartsell Contact
UT Knoxville

Reston is a graduate student in the Healthy Eating and Activity Laboratory. He received his Bachelor’s of Science in Health Sciences from Furman University in Greenville, SC. He is a dual graduate student seeking a Master’s of Science in Nutrition with a concentration in Public Health Nutrition and a Master’s of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Education. His hobbies include cooking, ceramics, tennis, and being outside.

headshot-22 Tsz- Kiu Chui Contact
UT Knoxville

Kiu is originally from Hong Kong and is currently a graduate student pursuing her Master’s of Science degree in Public Health Nutrition at UT.  She’s also a registered dietitian, who practiced in both clinical and community settings, with a passion to inspire people to enjoy healthy food.  When Kiu is not in school, she’s probably traveling, making Chinese food or playing volleyball.

A Wish for My Children

By Sarah Colby

I have two sons.

One is six feet and 125 pounds and can’t gain weight. He is mostly sedentary and eats atrociously. A few years ago, when he got a respiratory illness, he got worse fast. He did not have the 10 pounds to lose that he lost. It was scary and to this day, I wish I could personally thank the inventors of the medicines that saved his life.

My second son is about six feet, three inches and well over 300 pounds. He goes to the gym, is physically active (much more than my first child but still less than I would like) and eats a pretty healthy diet. He was 18 pounds at 2 ½ months of age, wore size 16 shoes by the time he was 12 and has always been as far above the growth charts as the charts are wide.

The ultimate irony- I am a childhood obesity prevention researcher.

Obesity is a worldwide public health crisis. Medical cost associated with weight-related illnesses may cripple our economy. Many overweight or obese children of today may become young adults with diabetes. If things continue unchanged for those young adults with diabetes, what will it do for the workforce and economy if they begin to lose their eyesight, kidneys, or feet when they are barely even middle-aged? Will our children grow up to be healthy enough to take care of their own families, contribute to society, or to protect our country? Sound dramatic? It is a realistic concern. And that does not even begin to address the human suffering that occurs at every point of this spectrum.

This threat has been widely recognized and many are dedicated to changing the outcome of this story. The great news is that among young children we are beginning to see positive changes in the overweight/obesity trends. The efforts to reach families, schools, and communities, through education, programs, policies, systems, and environmental change appear to be having an impact. That investment of research funds and time may be making a real difference.

So what patterns of healthy eating might be making a difference? In general, most of us need to consume a variety of foods, in moderation, more natural and unprocessed, enough fiber (we almost all need more beans), lean proteins, more water, and eat all the colors. No, sorry, colorful candies don’t count. If you absolutely want to cut something out of you and your child’s diet- added refined sugar. That is the one thing that I can say is fine for almost everyone to cut completely out of their diets.

eatinghealthyfood
http://www.investitwisely.com

So if I know all of this, why do I still have one child seriously underweight and one child obese? Because it is not that simple. We don’t have all the answers, but we don’t give up. I talk to them about food not because they should look any specific way, but because I want them to be happy, healthy, and living the life they want to live. It is hard to be happy when we hurt and if we get sick from the way we eat and live, then we hurt. I teach my boys to enjoy healthy food and be active. Our job as parents is to provide healthy foods at every meal or snack, have regular meal times, let our kids see us enjoying eating healthy foods and being active, cook meals with our kids, eat together as a family, not use food as a reward or a punishment, and then, here is the key, not focus on what they are eating or their weight. That is the most and best we can do until we have more answers. I also believe that teaching my boys to love and appreciate their bodies and that they are beautiful the way they are, is most important. Weight matters not because we all need to look a certain way or fit a certain body type, it only matters because it impacts our health and our lives. Celebrate you, love you, accept you and live the life you want to live. That is what I wish for my children.


colbyheadshot

Sarah Colby Contact
UT Knoxville

Dr. Colby is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of Tennessee. She is an obesity prevention behavioral researcher with a focus on health communication through novel nutrition education strategies (including marketing, arts and technology). In addition to her focus on novel communication strategies, she has research experience with young children, adolescents, and young adult populations; community-based participatory action research; Latino and Native American populations; food security issues; and environmental and economic influences on food behavior.

A Trial-By-Error Smoothie and Juice Adventure

By Lili’a Uili Neville

I love Netflix binges. I am a sucker for binging on documentaries because I rationalize that learning new things justifies spending an entire Sunday afternoon glued to the couch.

About three years ago, my husband and I had a weekend where we binged on food-related documentaries. Of the numerous ones we watched, “No Impact Man: The Documentary,” “Forks Over Knives,” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” were our favorites. While I highly recommend all three, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead sparked a smoothie and juice adventure in our kitchen.

The documentary follows an Australian man as he travels across the United States. He juice fasts for 60 days and then adopts a plant-based diet. We had never made smoothies or juices but were inspired to give them a shot.

To Include or Not to Include Fiber

We didn’t have a blender or juicer and really didn’t even know the difference, so our journey began with research.

We found that blenders don’t filter anything out. Everything that goes into the blender ends up in the juice or smoothie. Juicers pulverize whatever you put in and separate solids from liquids, so only the juice comes out.

There really isn’t a definitive answer about whether blending or juicing is better. In my opinion, it’s best to do some research on blending versus juicing and make a decision based on your dietary needs or preference. My husband needs a high-fiber diet, so we opted for the blender. Plus, I have a beverage preference for frozen margaritas!

Vitamix was the most highly recommended blender at the time—and probably still is—but was out of our price range. The Ninja brand of blenders had great reviews, too, and my husband’s coworker vouched for its quality and reliability.

Ninja Mega Kitchen System
Ninja Mega Kitchen System

I waited patiently for a sale and finally bought a Ninja Mega Kitchen System. I chose the kitchen system over other models because it has a built-in food processor and includes a 72-ounce blender pitcher, eight-cup food processor bowl and two, 16-ounce blender cups.

 

 

The adventure really began once we got the blender. We began by blending random veggies and fruits and forcing ourselves to drink every gross concoction we produced.

That was a bad idea that led to a lot of gagging—but also a lot of laughing!

Eventually, our trial-by-error method produced recipes that actually tasted good. But I really don’t recommend this hit-or-miss approach. I’m a big Pinterest user and recommend the site for finding smoothie and juice recipes. You can find healthy smoothies for breakfast, juice recipes for detox, smoothie ingredient “formulas,” or follow a juice and smoothie board.

Protein Smoothie Recipe

As a vegetarian and distance runner, I’m very mindful of my protein intake. I need to consume at least 60 grams of protein—especially on long-run days—so I have to be intentional about replenishing lost nutrients.

My smoothies always include a scoop of Garden of Life Raw Organic Chocolate Protein Powder. I like this brand because it’s vegan and better tasting than other protein powders I’ve tried. If you don’t need the extra protein, you can skip it or swap it for another supplement, such as flax or chia seed.

Ingredients:
1 banana
15 ounces plain Greek yogurt (Peach and strawberry are also yummy)
8 ounces Soy milk (Any type of milk is fine)
1 scoop Garden of Life Raw Organic Chocolate Protein Powder
2 to 4 ice cubes

Directions:
Put all ingredients in a 16 ounce blender cup. Blend. (Makes a 16-ounce smoothie drink.)

Veggie Juice Recipe

My husband loves chicken fingers, Taco Bell, Philly Cheese steaks and basically all unhealthy foods. He eats a vegetarian and (mostly) clean-eating diet at home, but he always splurges on meat and a deep-fried something-or-other side when we eat out. Since he’s prone to indulging in unhealthy foods, he likes to make veggie juices to ensure he’s getting essential vitamins—before he demolishes a large french fry.

He drinks each 72-ounce batch within 24 to 36 hours because there are no preservatives. Therefore, the juice can spoil. You can add most any veggies to this drink, but I caution against tomatoes, broccoli and carrots because the taste and/or texture gets funky. The sweetness of the apple and pineapple juice offsets the veggie flavors, so you don’t need to add honey, agave nectar or other sugar or sweeteners. Also, use natural apple juice and pineapple juice to avoid high-fructose corn syrup.

Ingredients:
1 banana
1 washed Romaine heart (can swap for kale)
1 washed green or yellow squash (or both if they are small)
1 washed cucumber
Apple Juice
Pineapple Juice

Directions:
Put all ingredients in a 72-ounce blender pitcher. (You may need to give the veggies a rough chop to fit them into the blender.) Fill the pitcher ¾ full with apple juice. Fill the remaining space in the blender with pineapple juice. Blend. (Makes 72 ounces of veggie juice.)

An Ongoing Adventure

Blending smoothies or juice is now a staple in our weekly meal plan. Sometimes I toss in a random fruit or veggie just for kicks, but mainly we stick to our trusted recipes or new ideas from Pinterest. I hope you’re inspired to give them a try, too!


 

Lili'a HeadshotLili’a Uili Neville Contact
UT Knoxville

Lili’a Uili Neville is a runner, environmentalist and health nut. Lili’a is the communications director in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity at UT Knoxville. When she’s not at work, she is underestimating how long it will take her to complete a craft project, telling funny stories about her dog and cat or having a classy date night with her husband.

How to Avoid the “Holiday 5”

By Keith Carver

It’s the annual holiday gauntlet. You know…the calorie trap that begins with Thanksgiving and culminates New Year’s Day.

Countless office casseroles and baked goods appear in break rooms all across Tennessee. Evening functions and holiday dinner parties fill our calendars. And if we aren’t careful, we can easily pack on unwanted pounds.

Listed below are a few suggestions to keep us on track during this dangerous eating season:

Holiday BakingTreat yourself. Tasty goodies are aplenty this wonderful time of year. Look at your calendar and create a battle plan for your days. Will you be attending the office holiday party? If so, eat a reasonable breakfast and lunch to prepare for your co-worker’s famed cheesecake. Knowing there’s a reward at the end of the day can help you from grazing in the hours leading up to the party.

Water with LemonDrink your water. Water keeps you hydrated and healthy during the winter months and also helps you feel full. Having trouble keeping up with how much water to drink? Try the 3/3 method: drink three glasses of water before lunch and three glasses after. Another tip is to drink a glass of water before attending a function. The sensation of being full will help you from overindulging.

LatteWatch for hidden calories in your favorite holiday drinks. Love eggnog and boiled custard? Remember that even a small glass of these holiday favorites can contain up to 350 calories. And those wonderful holiday beverages from retail drive-thrus? Some can pack a whopping 500 calories in even the smallest containers!

Tennis ShoesGet out and walk. It’s cold outside, but even a brisk 20-minute walk can make a big difference with your calorie count and metabolism. Take time to exercise every day during the holidays. Walk the dog. Park at the back of the parking lot. Take the stairs. Do whatever you can to increase your activity. Exercise not only helps with the battle of the bulge, it also helps you to…

Moon in SkyGet some sleep. Our schedules are packed with functions and shopping, but make time to rest. In addition to impacting your productivity and leading to mental fatigue, studies show a lack of sleep also can lead to mindless overeating during the holidays. You plan your days carefully during the holidays, but be sure to include your rest schedule, too.

I hope you find these tips helpful and encourage you to share your own below.

May you be surrounded by family and friends during this holiday season!


The Carver FamilyKeith Carver  Blog  Contact
UT System Administration

Keith is husband to an amazing woman and dad to three active children. He enjoys getting outdoors with his wife, Hollianne, fishing, watching his children play sports all over East Tennessee and reading biographies of historical figures. He currently serves as the executive assistant to UT President Joe DiPietro.

Raising Healthy Eaters: 6 Tips and Recipe Resources

By Melissa Powell

Confusion about child nutrition begins early, and conversations about breastfeeding and organic milk can be as polarizing as vaccines and spanking.

As a registered dietitian, former lactation consultant and employee of the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program, and the mother of a 5-year-old picky eater—encouraging and empowering young parents to raise healthy children is one of my greatest privileges.

The vast majority of parents want nothing more than to provide nutritious meals for their children, yet the cards seem stacked against us as Americans.

The standard American diet makes calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages far more accessible and cost-efficient than whole foods (Grotto & Zied, 2010). And, for those of us living in the southeast, the challenges are even greater.

In fact, a college friend moving from California to Mississippi was warned by her pediatrician about the poor food quality and obesity rates in this region.

Thankfully, the solution to the problem isn’t complicated—whole, fresh, real foods.

My knowledge as a dietitian has influenced my parenting in lots of ways, and I’ve listed a few here in hopes you find them helpful:

Tip 1: Take advantage of your child’s sense of wonder and curiosity. Garden, shop and cook with them. Even let them make some decisions when it comes to the menu. I keep plastic dishes, cheap herbs/spices and boiled eggs in the kitchen so my son can create dishes of his own or peel the egg, while I cook dinner.

Tip 2: Everyone in the family should enjoy the same meal. Try not to accommodate pickiness. Offer one new food at a time and offer new foods with foods you know your child will eat. Last night we had lentil soup—a new food for my son. In addition to the soup, I gave him some easy side options that I knew he would enjoy, like applesauce and bread.

Tip 3: Children should try all foods offered, but should not be forced to clean their plate. The rule at our house is you must try a bite of everything. Right now the 5-year-old eats five bites. That’s one bite for every year. My husband is really good about asking him to tell us which food he likes most and why he doesn’t like something else. This seems to help us focus on learning about different foods, rather than focusing on my son’s picky eating.

Tip 4: Only purchase foods that you want your child(ren) to eat. If you don’t spend your money on it, it won’t be in the house and your family won’t be tempted. I find I worry less about what my child eats outside the home when I provide whole, fresh foods at home.

Tip 5: Teach children to listen to their bodies. No one else will teach your child about moderation. It’s up to you. If my son says he’s hungry, I offer fruits or vegetables. If that doesn’t appeal to him, then he must not be too hungry and can wait until the next meal. If he over indulges at a birthday party and complains about a belly ache, we talk about the links between the food we eat and how we feel, without shaming or policing him. We trick-or-treat, but we don’t keep the candy in our house from Halloween through Valentine’s Day. Once a holiday is over, the candy goes away. I know the time is quickly approaching when he will be making his own food choices, so I want to give him the tools he needs to make healthy decisions.

Tip 6: Teach traditions and manners. Meals should be peaceful and enjoyable for every member of the family. Our family tradition is to light a candle and read a devotion. We love Thoughts that Make Your Heart Sing at our house. I find this calms my son and signals a change in his activity level. He has grown to love this time each night. If someone is misbehaving at the table, they are asked to leave, then welcomed back when behavior improves. We eat as if my grandmother was at the table with us, where fun and laughter reign but manners are a must. Stay seated, napkin in your lap, inside voice, no phones/TV, etc. Because we practice this at home, eating out or at someone else’s house is no problem.

I’ll also share some resources for recipes and other ways of focusing on healthy eating habits for the whole family:

References
Grotto, D., & Zied, E. (2010). The standard American diet and its relationship to the health status of Americans. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 25(6), 603-612.


Melissa Powell and FamilyMelissa Powell Contact
UT Chattanooga

Melissa is a registered dietitian and dietetics lecturer in the Health and Human Performance Department at UT Chattanooga.  She and her husband, Chris, are the proud parents of a playful son, Craig. She enjoys time with her church family, taming her lab mutts–Mabel and Moses—wine with neighbors and traveling south for a beach vacation or visit with her nieces. Her favorite subjects are faith, food, farming, family, friends and football. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Samford University and a master’s degree in health education from UT Chattanooga.

3 Dietitian-Recommended Steps for Losing Weight

By Chelsi Cardoso

Did you know the majority of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese?

Being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of developing several diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

As a result of increasing health concerns, many adults want to lose weight. But despite the availability of weight loss programs, achieving and maintaining weight loss is difficult for many adults.

Understanding Weight Loss
Our weight is a reflection of energy balance—calories in versus calories out.

Weight loss occurs when we consume fewer calories than we burn or when we achieve a calorie deficit. This equation sounds simple, but the complicated part is that we need to make lifestyle changes—specifically changing eating and activity behaviors—to achieve a calorie deficit.

What behavior changes are known to help people achieve their weight loss goals? People who have successfully lost weight do the following:

  • Reduce caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day to assist with a slow steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week. A calorie reduction can be achieved with any type of diet.
  • Engage in 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity.
  • Limit television viewing to less than 10 hours a week.
  • Track the intake of all food and drink.
  • Measure body weight on a weekly basis.

So how can you begin to apply these changes to your everyday routine?

Let me share some key strategies with you that are known to be effective for weight loss and provide suggestions for starting a successful weight loss journey.

Step 1: Start tracking your current eating and physical activity. This allows you to see what adjustments you may need to make for weight loss.

Step 2: Start setting achievable weight loss goals. Goals can make a difference when working on changing behaviors. Use the guidelines below to help design your weight loss goals:

Helpful goals are: Example
Positive “I will plan dinner menus with no more than 500 calories.” Instead of negative: “I will stop eating so much.”
Specific “I will walk 20 minutes on Tuesday after work.”Instead of vague: “I will get more physical activity.”
Something You Control “I will stop buying ice cream and ask my spouse to only eat ice cream when he eats out.”Instead of what you can’t control: “I will get my spouse to stop eating ice cream.”
Time Specific “I will lose 2 pounds by June 15.”Instead of open-ended: “I will lose 2 pounds.”
Small Enough So You Can Reach Them “I will decrease the number of times I eat out from 4 times a month to 2 times a month.”Instead of: “I will never eat out again.”
Broken into Small Steps “I will buy carrots and celery at the grocery store, cut them into sticks and put them in the refrigerator in small plastic bags for my lunches this week.”Instead of not broken down: “I will eat carrots and celery sticks for lunch.”
Related to a Reward “I will buy a copy of my favorite magazine if I pack my lunch three times this week.”Instead of: “I will pack my lunch three times this week.”

Step 3: Come up with a plan to help you achieve your goals. Achieving a healthy weight is more than following fad diets and changing what is in the cupboard. It’s about making lifestyle changes and sustaining those changes over time. Do a little research to find a plan that’s right for you, and talk with your health care provider if you have questions or need some guidance.

Use the comment section below to share other tips and strategies that have worked for you. Good luck!


Chelsi CardosoChelsi Cardoso Contact
UT Knoxville

Chelsi is a registered dietitian and a research associate III at UT Knoxville, where she manages the Healthy Eating and Activity Laboratory (HEAL) under the direction of Dr. Hollie Raynor. HEAL conducts research on factors that impact eating regulation and energy balance and that can be used to improve behavioral obesity prevention and treatment programs for children and adults. Chelsi enjoys powerlifting, cooking, watching sports, hiking and going everywhere with her two dogs, Capone and Angelou. 

3 Simple Slow-Cooker Recipes

By Melissa Powell

Fall is the perfect time to rekindle a relationship with your slow cooker—or crock-pot if you’re on that side of the debate!

The weather is cooling down, students are returning to busy schedules and football season is kicking off.

My slow cooker was a wedding gift eight years ago, and I’m always finding new recipes to add to my collection of go-to menus for our family.

It frees me from the kitchen and allows me to spend the cooler days hiking with my family or playing dominoes on the screen porch and watching the leaves turn.

This year, I’m going to try baking bread in my slow cooker!

If you’re interested in mixing up your weekly menu, try some of my favorite recipes. They’re easy and healthy, too!

Sunday Slow-Cooker Roasted Chicken

Adopted from Eden Thistle and 100 Days of Real Food

1 whole chicken (3-5 pounds)
1 onion
3-6 tablespoons Alchemy’s Mediterranean, Italian spice blend or another favorite brand or blend

Place chopped onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Rub spice blend all over the chicken. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions, and cook on high for 4-5 hours—or until meat is falling off the bone. There is no need to add any liquid.

Serve with your favorite frozen, steam-in-a-bag vegetable(s) for an easy Sunday lunch. Leftovers make great quesadillas!

Game-Day Sliders
Adopted from Chowhound Food Community

1 pork shoulder (3-5 pounds)
1 cup chicken broth/stock, low sodium
2 onions
4 garlic cloves
3-6 tablespoons Alchemy’s Fat Elvis Memphis Dry Rub or another favorite dry rub

Place chopped onion and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker. Rub spice blend all over pork shoulder. Put prepared meat on bed of onion and garlic. Pour broth over meat. Cook on low for 8-10 hours (high 4-6 hours) or until meat is falling off the bone.

Serve on slider buns with your favorite barbecue sauce and a side of slaw. This recipe also can double as barbecue nachos—another game-day favorite.

Meatless Monday: Vegetable Curry
Adopted from Cookin Canuck

1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup curry paste (or 2 tablespoons curry powder)
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 (14 ounce) can low-sodium chickpeas
1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can low-sodium vegetable broth
½ cup lite coconut milk
Toppings: cashews, fresh cilantro (optional)

Place onion, ginger, garlic, curry paste, sweet potato, chickpeas, tomatoes and vegetable broth in slow cooker. Cook on high for 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir in coconut milk, and cook for another 15-30 minutes or until warm.

Serve over basmati or white rice. Top with cashews and chopped fresh cilantro.


Melissa Powell and FamilyMelissa Powell Contact
UT Chattanooga

Melissa is a registered dietitian and dietetics lecturer in the Health and Human Performance Department at UT Chattanooga.  She and her husband, Chris, are the proud parents of a playful son, Craig. She enjoys time with her church family, taming her lab mutts–Mabel and Moses—wine with neighbors and traveling south for a beach vacation or visit with her nieces. Her favorite subjects are faith, food, farming, family, friends and football. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Samford University and a master’s degree in health education from UT Chattanooga.

Cholesterol, Cravings and Food Costs: My Experience with Clean Eating

By Susan Robertson

Following my physical in January 2014 to fulfill the Partnership Promise health insurance requirements, I received the report from my doctor that my cholesterol was too high. I also received a hand-written note that simply said, “Watch your sweets and get regular exercise.”

I exercised enough and ate relatively healthy, but the truth was that I didn’t exercise on a regular basis. And following each meal with a dessert was my weakness.

I was determined to lower my cholesterol the natural way and not rely on prescription medication. Through much research, I found that high cholesterol levels are caused by inflammation in the body and not enough movement; and inflammation can be controlled through consuming a diet rich with anti-inflammatory foods (i.e. almonds, leafy greens, fish, pineapple, etc.). You can read about anti-inflammatory foods on Dr. Andrew Weil’s website.

So, I made the decision to start walking every day and switch to a whole foods diet—no processed foods and very little sugar. There went my nightly handful of peanut M&Ms.

I started by shopping on the outside perimeter of the grocery store and buying only whole, organic foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean protein.

As far as beverages, I drink mostly water and black coffee. Fortunately, I never sweetened my coffee, so that was one habit I didn’t have to break.

I don’t deny myself any food. I still occasionally have a piece of cake or some ice cream, but it’s not a regular part of my diet.

Something I always hear from people is, “It’s so expensive to eat healthy.”

I agree, it’s not cheap, but neither are prescriptions, doctor’s appointments and hospital stays! I’m a strong believer in the Benjamin Franklin quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure.”

One way I’ve kept healthy eating affordable is by joining a community supported agriculture (CSA) group. With CSA farms, you pay a set amount for a year, and in return, you pick up a bin of fresh vegetables every week from April through early November.

This has allowed me to enjoy vegetables I had never eaten before, such as kohlrabi, and vegetables I would normally not buy, such as beets and fennel—which by the way are very good sautéed together with some olive oil and garlic!

I’m also a frequent visitor to area farmer’s markets for fresh ingredients, including goat cheese, grass-fed beef and free-range chicken. We’re blessed to live in a state with so many farms. Visit this site to find a farmer’s market in your area.

I started clean eating in an effort to lower my cholesterol naturally, and as an added benefit, I ended up losing 30 pounds!

In my first check-up following my lifestyle changes, my cholesterol also dropped by 30 points. And based on my most recent biometric screening, my overall cholesterol dropped another 15 points— all because of clean eating and exercise.

When I made the decision to eat healthier and get regular exercise, I never called it “a diet” because that sounds so much like a fad. I called it a lifestyle change, and it certainly has been a very positive one!

In case you have a sweet tooth, too, I’ve included one of my favorite recipes. Enjoy!

High-Protein Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 6 pitted dried dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
  • ¾ cups shredded coconut
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 medium eggs (or if vegan, 2 tablespoons finely ground flaxseed + 5 tablespoons warm water)
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons dried unsweetened dark cherries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons currants

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you’re doing the vegan version, whisk your ground flax and warm water in a bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it has thickened.
  3. Combine the coconut flour, almond butter and dates in a food processor. Process until it’s combined and the dates have broken into really small pieces—about a minute.
  4. Add the shredded coconut, applesauce, eggs or flax “eggs,” cinnamon, vanilla, salt and baking soda. Process for 30 seconds or until a wet dough forms.
  5. Add in the remaining ingredients, and pulse once or twice until the fruit is incorporated in the dough but chopped up.
  6. Drop the dough in heaping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Dip a metal spatula in water, and use the bottom to lightly press down each ball of dough. These cookies will not spread or rise so make sure to make them the shape you want prior to baking.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are golden on top and slightly brown along the edges.

Susan RoberstonSusan Robertson  Contact
UT Institute for Public Service

Susan handles communications for the UT Institute for Public Service. She enjoys spending time outdoors—hiking and documenting the natural beauty of East Tennessee through photography. Susan loves watching all sports, reading, cooking and fulfilling the needs of her demanding miniature dachshund, Wrigley.