Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Angie Scheetz

Recent Posts by Angie Scheetz:

The Confusing World of Nutrition Bars

ThinkstockPhotos-614978722.jpgThere are so many nutrition bars out there that I am sure it can be a challenge to pick one that is the best. So how do you know if the bar you are choosing is the healthiest option for you?

With anything, when it comes to your food and nutrition, the key is moderation and balance. You should be choosing a bar that you like the taste of and that works for your schedule and habits. The goal is to try to eat as many whole, fresh foods as possible and decrease the packaged foods with giant ingredients lists of things you might have trouble pronouncing. However, these bars can be a nice backup for snacks to keep in your purse, car, gym bag, or desk drawer for those times when you need fuel and don’t have other options.

Choosing a Nutrition Bar

Here are some good rules of thumb to follow when it comes to these convenient bars.

Protein: Choose one with at least 5 grams and no more than 15 grams. This will help keep you full and is what makes these bars have more staying power than a regular granola bar or candy bar. Too much protein will make the bar have an unpleasant taste, or more ingredients will be added to cover the added protein taste. Also, this bar is intended to be a snack to hold you over until mealtime, and not to replace the quality protein you should be getting from meals.

Fiber: Choose one with more than 3 grams. Fiber is another thing that will help keep you full, so choosing a bar with staying power will help keep you satisfied until your next meal.

Fat: Choose one with mainly heart-healthy fat. Check the label and make sure the saturated and trans fat content is low and the majority of fat is coming from mono or polyunsaturated fats like you would find in nuts.

Carbohydrates: Choose one with mostly whole grains and 15 grams or less of sugar. This can be tricky because a lot of bars have added sugar to make them taste better. Try to steer away from the ones that are a fancy candy bar and choose one that is lower in sugar.

The Most Nutritious Bars

Here are a few bars that meet these requirements:

Was your favorite not on the list, or did it not meet the requirements? Remember, if you are choosing a nutrition bar occasionally, it can fit into a balanced diet and complement your healthy eating.

Benefits of meeting with a nutrition coach >

Topics: nutrition fiber snacks protein healthy eating

NIFS Nutrition: 10 Healthy Snacks for Road Warriors

travel_snacksWhether you are traveling for business or for pleasure it typically means most meals are eaten out or on the go.  This can be challenging to make the most balanced choices and keeping your eating on the right track.  You want to try foods special to that region, you are busy and grabbing the first thing that sounds good, you don’t have access to a grocery store for more fresh foods can all be challenges while traveling.

The following 10 healthy snack ideas can help to keep you satisfied between meals and allow you to make balanced decisions at lunch or dinner.  These are snacks that you can bring from home that don’t require any refrigeration or utensils.  These can be easily thrown in a purse, bag or suitcase and readily available for you to grab at snack time.

Trail mix – Grab a handful of your favorite lightly salted or unsalted nuts, a handful of dried fruit, and a handful of high fiber cereal and toss in sandwich baggies for a high fiber and shelf stable snack.

Fresh fruit – Bananas, apples, pears, grapes, and citrus fruits are great options to grab from home for a sweet and tasty snack.  If you are concerned about the fruit bruising or spoiling during traveling, consider grabbing the squeezable fruit pouches.  Just be sure to pick the ones with only fruit and vegetables listed in the ingredients. 

Peanut butter sandwich – These aren’t just for kids!  2 slices of whole wheat bread can provide 8 grams of filling fiber and 2 Tbsp of peanut butter can provide 8 grams of protein.  This delicious and portable snack is perfect for traveling away from home. 

Hardboiled egg – This snack will provide you with all of the essential amino acids your body needs.  They can go a few hours without being refrigerated, so try to eat them as a morning snack if possible.  Or if you have access to a refrigerator, they will stay good in their shell for up to a week.

Jerky – This portable protein snack comes in many options such as beef, turkey, chicken, venison, and bison.  They are typically low in saturated fat and calories.  However, these can be loaded with sodium and not so good for you nitrates.  Look for lower sodium varieties and jerky with very short ingredient lists. 

Nutrition bar – These prepackaged bars can be confusing since there are so many options on the market.  Check out my blog with tips and suggestions, but as a rule of thumb grab a bar with less than 15 grams of protein, more than 3 grams of fiber, 15 grams or less of sugar, and mainly heart healthy fats. 

If you forget to grab snack when you leave home, here are some options that can be available for purchase.

McDonald’s fruit and yogurt parfait – This snack size treat has 150 calories and 4 grams of protein.  Save 30 calories and 40 mg of sodium when you skip the granola topping. 

Starbucks protein box (1/2 the box) – The full box is 380 calories which is more along the lines of a meal than a snack, but if you have someone to split with or a fridge for the leftovers, ½ the box is a great snack option.  Apples, grapes, a hardboiled egg, multigrain muesli bread, cheddar cheese, and peanut butter are all included.  

Wendy’s small chili – At only 170 calories and loaded with 15 grams of filling protein, the small chili is a great snack option.  Beware of the toppings though…the cheese will double the fat content and add 60 calories to the cup. 

Subway apple slices and cheese slice – For a perfect combination of fiber and protein, grab a bag of apple slices and 2 pieces of cheese for a snack around 100 calories total. 

The most important tip is everything in moderation!  Enjoy your travels, try something new, and get out there and explore the new city!

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Topics: nutrition healthy food choices nifs nutrition news

NIFS Nutrition News: Six Foods to Increase Vitamin D in Your Diet

Are you struggling with the winter time blues? Is it cold and dark and dreary in your part of the country? When was the last time you felt and saw the sun? You could be lacking Vitamin D and this can lead to depression and a lower immunity to fight colds.  So, if you aren’t able to get your much needed 15 minutes of sunlight each day to acquire your body’s Vitamin D needs then here are some other ways to get it in until we have some sunshine in the spring!

    1. Fatty Fish – salmon, mackerel, canned tuna, and sardines.  3 oz of salmon provides 450 IU of ojandeggsVitamin D…almost all of the 600 IU that are recommended daily. The canned tuna and sardines are an inexpensive way to get in seafood, heart healthy omega 3’s and 150 IU of Vitamin D per serving. Another bonus is the long shelf life if you haven’t been to the grocery store to get fresh protein choices.
    2. Milk – Almost all cows’ milk in the US is fortified with Vitamin D.  A lot of other dairy products are too, but not ice cream or cheese.  Typically an 8 oz glass of milk has 100 IU’s of Vitamin D and most yogurt has around 80 IU for a 6 oz container.  If you are choosing soymilk or almond milk, most are fortified but check the labels to be sure.
    3. Fortified Orange Juice – If you aren’t a fan of milk or have lactose intolerance, 100% orange juice is an option.  Typically an 8 oz glass has the same amount of Vitamin D as a glass of milk (100 IU).  Just make sure you are buying the fortified kind!
    4. Egg Yolks – Eggs are a great way to get in Vitamin D.  However, you have to eat the whole egg and not just the whites to get the benefit.  One egg yolk has 40 IU’s. 
    5. Fortified Cereal – Another way to double up on Vitamin D is to choose a fortified cereal to have with your milk or glass of OJ at breakfast.  1 cup of Multi Grain Cheerios provides 90 IU’s of Vitamin D.  Add that with the milk and you are close to 200 IU’s!  Just be sure to choose cereals that are labeled fortified with Vitamin D.
    6. Supplements – If you still have trouble getting all of your Vitamin D needs met through food and the sun, an alternative is to take a supplement.  The upper limit dose for individuals over age 9 is 4000 IU per day.  Consuming more than this can lead to higher blood calcium levels and increased risk of kidney stones.  Always talk to your physician before starting a supplement.

Recent studies have found that nearly 3 out of 4 individuals have either a Vitamin D deficiency or borderline deficiency.  Most of this is due to the increase of being indoors compared to our parents and grandparents.  Longer work hours, longer commutes in a vehicle, and more screen time indoors definitely plays a part.  Get outside, incorporate more of the foods above, and chat with your doctor about supplementing.  All of this can mean a healthier immune system, stronger bones, and lower risk of some cancers. 

Follow us all month long via social media for tips from our registered dietitians using #NIFSNutrition!

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Topics: healthy food choices healthy diet nifs nutrition news

NIFS: Nutrition Labels Get a Much Needed Face Lift

Blog Author: Alyssa Furman, NIFS Intern

man reviewing food label resized 600The Food and Drug Administration is announcing the biggest overhaul to Nutrition Facts labels since 1994.

The new labels are geared toward society’s evolution in nutrition and dietary recommendations that have occurred over the past 20 years. Some of the biggest proposed changes include an adjustment to the serving size, making calorie counts more prominent to consumers, exposing any added sugar, and declaring nutrients such as Calcium and Vitamin D.

According to leading experts, the change in serving size will become “more realistic” since consumers are now eating more than two decades ago. For example, ½ C serving of ice cream will turn to 1c. This does not mean that we should consume more, but just make people aware of what they are actually consuming. A bottled beverage, such as soda, needs to provide accurate nutritional information for the entire bottle, not split between multiple servings. If someone buys a bottle, they are going to drink the whole thing, not measure out a serving.

A larger, bold font will be used in regards to calorie count at the top of each label. Consumers won’t be able to miss this one, as the FDA hopes this will have a true impact. By making packages easier to read, there is a good change the obesity rate will decrease, according to a recent study, which analyzed the positive effects of reading nutrition labels to lower overall BMI.

Currently Americans are consuming more added sugars that ever before. With an astounding 23 teaspoons per day, compared to the 6-9teaspoon recommendation from the American Heart Association. Have you checked the label of some of your favorite items? People may be taking in close to 15 teaspoons of added sugar just from one soda. It is very difficult to know how much of this added sugar is in the things we love to eat with the current information on nutrition labels. For example, you may see 18g of sugar in a container of yogurt. However some of this sugar is naturally occurring, which means it cannot be removed, like milk sugar, or fruit sugar. The problem is what is being added. Added sugars are NOT the same as natural sugar and they need to be distinguished on labels. Added sugars have been linked to many health issues such as heart disease or diabetes. Having an idea of such sugars will help consumers make more conscious choices.

New labels will also include facts on nutrients such as Vitamin D, Calcium, and Potassium. Facts such as these may help consumers to reach their Daily Recommended Values of such nutrients, as society as a whole is lacking in this department.

These new labels should be much simpler for consumers to understand as they rush though the aisles of their local grocery store in their busy schedules. There will be a 90 day public comment period about the changes, followed by a final ruling on label changes. If proposed changes are adopted, they will be phased in over the course of the next 2 years. 

What do you think of these new changes to the nutrition facts label?

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Topics: nutrition weight loss food label FDA

NIFS: Game Day Healthy Food Swaps

Article written by Alyssa Furman, Intern in Educational Services at NIFS.

footballThe countdown begins as the league’s top-ranked defense of the Seattle face the leading Denver offense on February 2nd. With the matchup set, there are no clear favorites this year, making this the must see game of the season. For football fans this means hours of what hopefully is a really great game. For food fans, this means a delicious feast to be shared among family and friends. If you are neither, well at least you can get a good laugh during commercials.

With a room filled with scrumptious eats and endless temptations, many people find themselves wreaking havoc on their New Year’s resolution diet.  Who can resist those mouth watering chicken wings or 7 layer taco dips? I know I sure can’t, but I also don’t want to spend countless hours filling up on greasy food, only to feel sick by half time.

I pulled together a few tips and swaps to help kick off your party. Your friends and family won’t even know the difference when you trade out for these healthy dishes (trust me I tested them on the pickiest of eaters) and you can indulge guilt-free all day long!

First off, some tips and tricks to make the best of your party:

1.    Workout on game day:

Score a first down by adding games that include physical activity.

  • Dance along with the music during half time or put on your own half-time show.
  • Take the fun outside and play a game of half-time tag football.
  • Make your own cheers with your favorite moves.

OR go on a morning run, leaving a little extra wiggle room for another sweet treat.

2.    Create a food-free zone:

Research has shown that if food is nearby and visible you are more likely to eat this food. Try to keep snacks and other party eats in another room, helping your guests cut back on unnecessary calories and mindless eating in front of the big screen.

3.    Downsize your dishes:

Instead of leaving out large bowls full of chips, try serving in small individual size cups so each person can stick to a serving on their snack instead of grazing over the bowl. Also leave out small plates making people feel they have a lot more than they actually do.

4.    Mindful eating:

Be mindful to not stand over the food table and graze. If you want to try a little bit of everything (like I do) fill up ¾ of your plate with healthy options, such as fresh veggies and fruit, and about 2 Tablespoons of dip. The left over ¼ of your plate can be used for sweet treats.

5.    Keep track of your drinks:

If you are going to drink, keep in mind that a beer or glass of wine has around 100 calories. So try and break up your drinks with a glass of water or low cal drink to save some calories.

Now for some food swaps… Whether you are hosting the party or simply a party guest, give these recipes a try (don’t tell your friends about the swap and see what they say) and eat guilt-free all night!

What are your favorite game day healthy treats?
Topics: nutrition football big game healthy food choices wellness

NIFS Nutrition News: Pumpkin isn't just for pie

One of the most versatile and healthy foods out there also happens to be a favorite for most when decorating this time of year.  Pumpkins are not only something that can be used to spruce up your front porch in the fall but is also an excellent addition that should be incorporated into your daily eating routine!pumpkins

Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A, which helps with vision.  The carotenoid, beta carotene, in pumpkins is converted to Vitamin A for even more eye protection! This antioxidant has also been found to have a role in cancer prevention.  It is also loaded with fiber (3 grams for 1 cup), which we know is excellent for heart health.   One final perk of pumpkin is the amount of potassium it contains.  Electrolytes, especially potassium, are important after a hard workout, and 1 cup of pumpkin provides more potassium than a banana (564 milligrams vs. 422 milligrams).

Try these recipes to obtain all of the health benefits that pumpkin has to offer!

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Ingredients:

1, 15 oz can of pumpkin
1, 5 oz box of instant vanilla pudding, just the powder
1, 16 oz container of low fat cool whip
1/2 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon

Directions:

Mix pumpkin, pudding mix, cool whip, and pumpkin pie spice together by hand in a very large bowl and chill for several hours before serving.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve with fresh apples slices, vanilla wafers or ginger snaps.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 cup pumpkin (canned or freshly cooked)
1/2 frozen banana
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
pinch of ground ginger

Directions

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients

1lb ground beef
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
1 (15oz) can pinto beans, not drained
1 (15oz) can black beans, not drained
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, not drained
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil

Instructions

In a large soup pot, brown ground beef with pepper, onion, and a drizzle of olive oil. As the meat and veggies are cooking, sprinkle over chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion, powder, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. When the meat is cooked through, and the veggies are tender, add pumpkin puree, undrained beans, and the tomatoes with their juice to the pan. Cover and simmer until ready to eat.

Pumpkin isn’t just for pie!  These recipes can be included anytime during the day. 

For more information on pumpkin or other super foods, please contact Angie Scheetz, RD at [email protected] or 317-274-3432 ext 239.

 

 

Topics: employee health active aging healthy diet nifs nutrition news angie scheetz

NIFS Nutrition News: How to burn those calories consumed at the fair

midway at the fairIt only comes around once per year, so why not indulge with dinner at the fair?  Well some of your favorite fair foods might only be consumed once per year, but if you aren’t increasing the amount of exercise to go along with them, the extra weight gained can stick around for longer!  Here are some of the more popular fair food items and how far the average person would need to walk around to burn it off!

Top 5 State Fair Foods

  1. Elephant Ear –Average is 310 calories and 15 grams of fat – 3 miles / Funnel cake(6”) – 276 calories & 14 grams of fat – 3 miles
  2. Lemon shake up  - 254 calories – 2 ½ miles
  3. Deep fried everything (fried snickers – 444 calories & 29 gram so fat)(fried twinkie – 420 calories & 34 grams of fat) (one oreo – 98 calories – 1 mile) – 4.5 miles
  4. Corn on the cob – 250 calories & 12 grams of fat - 2.5 miles
  5. Corn dog - – 200 calories & grams of fat & 10 grams of fat – 2 miles

Ways  to save calories:

  • Think your drink – bottled water or sugar free lemon shake ups
  • Don’t arrive starving so you want to purchase everything in sight.  Have a balanced snack before you head to the fair.
  • Share with friends and family
  • Sit down and eat vs. walking and grazing
  • Wear comfy shoes to maximize your walking

Check out all booths and choose your absolute favorite….plus you will walk more scoping out the best booths! So enjoy your dinner at the fair and then get back to balanced eating tomorrow morning!Like what you just read? Click here to subscribe to the blog.

Topics: exercise nutrition walking nifs fitness management health and wellness fair food

NIFS Nutrition News: Is Gluten-Free for Me?

woman eating breadCurrently one-third of Americans believe they should be cutting down on gluten in their diet (based on research from NPD Group, a market research firm). However, is going gluten free the answer for everyone?

Eliminating Gluten for Celiac Disease

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley. For some individuals who are afflicted with celiac disease (about 1 percent of the population), this means their small intestine becomes inflamed when they eat these foods, which can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, lactose intolerance, joint pain, migraines, and many other symptoms. For them, eliminating gluten in their diet is key to alleviating these ailments. Currently this is the only cure for the disease.

Gluten Intolerance

Other individuals might be experiencing gluten intolerance. This means they do not test positive for the disease but could still suffer from some of the symptoms associated with celiac disease. For this population, gluten elimination is an option also, but this is not the same condition as celiac disease.

Gluten-Free and Weight Loss

A growing number of people have been eliminating gluten due to the promise of weight loss on this diet. The reason for the weight loss is due to the removal of a lot of products that are typically high in calories such as baked goods, bread, and pasta. The elimination of gluten does cut down dramatically on the number of calories that a typical person might consume in a day.

However, when eliminating these grains, individuals could potentially decrease the fiber in their diet, which we know is a necessity for Americans to help control weight and decrease the risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Also, if people are substituting gluten-free products, they are typically just as high in calories, fat, and sugar as the regular counterparts, so weight loss is not always a guarantee. In addition, these products normally cost two to three times as much.

Alternatives to Going Completely Gluten Free

A gluten-free diet is very restrictive and can be extremely challenging to follow. Instead, focus on reducing the intake of foods containing gluten instead of eliminating them. Also, try to incorporate more foods that are naturally gluten free: fruits and vegetables!

There are many ways in which you can achieve a healthy lifestyle without restricting yourself and going on the gluten-free diet.

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Topics: nutrition weight loss allergies calories health gluten

How to Burn off Easter Candy Calories

burning off candy caloriesIt's that time for another season of candy!  Actually, none of these candies would be considered healthy, but some of them are definitely better than others. Plus, with all things, it is important to keep in mind the importance of moderation, even when digging through your Easter basket. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular Easter candy choices and what you would have to do in order to burn them off.*

2 Dark Chocolate-Covered Peeps: 110 calories
How to burn it off: Walking for 30 minutes at 3 mph

4 Peeps: 128 calories
How to burn it off: Low-impact aerobics for 25 minutes

35 jelly beans: 140 calories
How to burn it off: Raking the lawn for 30 minutes

1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg: 180 calories
How to burn it off: Jumping jacks for 20 minutes

10 Cadbury Mini Eggs: 158 calories
How to burn it off: Ballroom dancing for 30 minutes

1 Cadbury Creme Egg: 150 calories
How to burn it off: Golfing while walking and pulling clubs for 30 minutes

7-oz. solid chocolate bunny: 1,100 calories
How to burn it off: Playing full-court basketball for 2 hours

6-oz. hollow chocolate bunny: 858 calories
How to burn it off: Running at a 10 min/mile pace for 90 minutes

*Calculations based on a 150-pound person.

Enjoy some of these once-a-year treats, but be aware that they should be included in an overall balanced diet. Try to make these goodies last much longer than just Easter Sunday!

When it comes to the kids, feel free to add some non-candy treats to your child’s Easter basket this year, such as a jump rope, plastic eggs filled with change, or a stuffed bunny. Make these items the focal point of the basket instead of the candy.

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Topics: exercise nutrition calories sugar healthy habits

NIFS Nutrition News: Making Resolutions Stick

2013By June 2013 only 46% of people will still be sticking to the resolutions they vowed to keep as the ball dropped and we said goodbye to 2012.  A recent study showed that the three most popular resolutions are finding more family and friend time, increasing or starting an exercise program, and trying to lose weight.  The tips below will help you stick to those resolutions so they will last all year long.

1. Spend more time with family and friends:

Say “no” to commitments that are not a priority.  Schedule weekly family time into your planner.  Play games, sit down at the dinner table together, and ask everyone about their day.  Make it a priority.  Also, aim for more time with friends.  Start a book club, meet for a walk or a cup of coffee, check out a new restaurant.  Make it a recurring event like the second Tuesday of the month, so it is easy to plan into your schedule.

2. Fit in fitness: 

Have a positive attitude when it comes to exercise.  Think of it as time you will have to yourself for the day, a way to boost your energy level, or simply a break from the stress of the New Year.  Make the most of the time you have allotted for exercise.  Include high intensity cardiovascular activities, resistance training, and stretching. Add activity into your busy day by taking the stairs, parking farther away, walking the dog, shoveling snow, and hand delivering a message to a co-worker instead of calling or emailing them.

3. Drop the weight:

Set small, realistic goals when it comes to weight loss.  A reduction of only 500 calories per day is a smart goal to set and is the equivalent of 1 pound of fat loss per week.  Do this by cutting out regular sodas or calorie-heavy beverages like flavored coffee and juices.  Swap vending machine snacks like candy bars and chips for fresh fruit, fat free yogurt, string cheese, and cut up veggies.  When eating out, decrease portions by taking half of the entrée home.  Each week try to tackle a new goal.  Keep adding new goals throughout the spring, summer, and fall!

 

Fresh starts like the New Year are a perfect opportunity to better ourselves.  Take your resolution seriously this year and work on these goals to improve your quality of life. Did you miss our NIFS Fitness Management Staff Resolutions blog?  Check it out here!

Topics: NIFS behavior modification goal setting new year New Year's Resolutions in Action health resolutions family