Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Lindsey Recker

Recent Posts by Lindsey Recker:

Dietitian Connection: Is Your Supplement Safe

Dietitian Connection logo_ColorDid you know federal law doesn’t require the potency, purity, efficacy, or safety of dietary supplements to be proven prior to being put on the market? In fact, most dietary supplements are already being sold before the Food and Drug Administration’s safety monitoring role begins. This means you could be taking a supplement that doesn’t even contain what is listed on the label, or that contains significantly different amounts than it claims to contain. This is concerning, as data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted in 2017-2018 revealed that close to 60% of U.S. adults reported taking a dietary supplement within the last 30 days, and this percentage is predicted to be on the rise.


So how do you tell if the supplement you’re taking is safe? Fortunately, there are
independent (not involved in the sale or production of the supplement) third-party organizations that test dietary supplements to ensure their safety and quality, such as the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and US Pharmacopeia (USP). Products that have been third-party certified typically have a stamp of certification somewhere on the label. However, prior to taking any supplement, you should always speak with your primary care physician/health care professional to ensure it is necessary, safe, and will be beneficial for you, as many supplements can have unintended side effects or may interact with other drugs or dietary supplements. You can visit the Food and Drug Administration’s website to learn more about dietary supplements and how they are regulated.

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Topics: supplements vitamins Dietitian Connection

Food and Your Mood

GettyImages-1084344284There is a very clear, well understood relationship between food and physical health, but
are you aware of the connection between food and mental health? You’ve probably found that feeling happy, sad or bored can make you more (or less) inclined to eat, sometimes even triggering cravings for specific foods. However, not only does your mood affect your food choices, but your food choices can affect your mood! For example, did you know that more than 90% of serotonin, the hormone that plays a role in controlling sleep, digestion, mood and more, is produced by bacteria in the gut? Low levels of serotonin may contribute to depression, anxiety and other mood problems, which is why it is essential to maintain a healthy gut!

One of the most important things you can do to balance your gut microbiome is to ensure you consume plenty of pre- and probiotic rich foods, such as the following:

Prebiotics (“food” for already existing beneficial bacteria in the gut; helps to increase the
good amount of bacteria in the gut) found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as:

  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Beans, chickpeas and lentils
  • Garlic
  • Oats
  • Onions

Probiotics (beneficial bacteria in the gut) found in many fermented foods, such as:

  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Yogurt
  • Certain cheeses

Consider keeping a food journal if you find your food choices are a result of your mood.  When logging your food along with how you are feeling at the time you select the food may give you insight to your own connection between your mood and food.  Consider speaking with a registered dietitian or your physician for assistance with your food habits.Don't miss the next Dietitian Connection Subscribe to our blog

Topics: food Dietitian Connection

How to fix Not-So-Healthy Eating Habits that Lead to Overeating

GettyImages-912446890At some point in our busy lives we eat a quick meal, or get so busy we forget to eat.  Our jobs can leave us working while eating lunch, not truly taking the time to sit for the meal.  Check out these four "not-so-healthy" habits and how you can work to fix them to avoid overeating during your meals. 

Not-So-Healthy Habit #1: Eating too quickly. You may have heard that it takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to send a signal to your brain that it is full. While the exact amount of time likely varies from person to person and the amount of food consumed, it is typically true that satiety doesn’t occur immediately after consuming something and therefore, if you’re still hungry right after eating something, you should allow yourself a few minutes to see if satiety kicks in, or if you truly are still hungry. Additionally, eating too quickly can cause you to swallow air, which may result in GI discomfort such as gas and/or bloating, and poses a risk for choking.

THE FIX: To help slow down the rate at which you eat, try taking smaller bites, chewing more slowly and thoroughly, putting your utensil down between bites, including sips of water between bites, and making conversation throughout the meal if eating with others.

Not-So-Healthy Habit #2: Skipping meals. Overeating can also result from skipping meals or following irregular eating patterns. For example, some individuals may use compensatory thinking after skipping meals, such as, “I didn’t eat anything all day, so it is OK for me to eat whatever I want tonight.” Similarly, skipping meals may lower your inhibitions, making it more likely for you to choose unhealthier food options. Additionally, skipping meals can disrupt your metabolism, blood sugar levels, and mental and physical performance.

THE FIX: To prevent skipping meals, it is important to establish a regular eating schedule. There is no “one-size-fits-all” eating regimen: three meals a day may suffice for some, while others prefer 5-6 “mini meals” or snacks. If an irregular appetite is the issue causing you to skip meals, try eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. If you find that time is the problem, plan your meals/snacks in advance (i.e., the night before) and keep plenty of portable snacks on hand (ex. granola bars, apples, oranges, trail mix).

Not-So-Healthy Habit #3: Eating while distracted. Similarly, to when an individual eats too quickly, eating while distracted may interfere with the body’s ability to signal satiety to the brain, thus increasing the odds of overeating. If you aren’t focusing on what you are eating and how you feel while you are eating, you may not recognize when you’ve had enough.

THE FIX: The next time you’re eating a snack or meal, be sure to sit down in a quiet, comfortable setting and unplug from all distractions such as your cell phone, computer, or TV.

Not-So-Healthy Habit #4: Over-restricting intake. Over restricting your intake can also lead to overeating. For many people, the idea of not being able to have something only makes them want it more. The same is true with food. Restricting certain food groups can also restrict certain nutrients that your body needs to function properly. For example, when an individual aims to restrict all carbohydrates, they are also restricting the good components of carbohydrates, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

THE FIX: Rather than banishing the foods you love and depriving yourself of them, try allowing yourself to have them more frequently - just in moderation. For example, if you’re someone who finds yourself swearing to never eat ice cream again at the top of every week, only to find yourself indulging in an entire pint by Friday, try allowing yourself a small bowl or serving of ice cream several times each week to satisfy your cravings.

Take the time to enjoy your meal using these tips to avoid overeating at lunch today! What tips did you find to be helpful?

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Topics: diet and nutrition healthy diet Dietitian Connection

Making Healthier Choices When Eating Out

GettyImages-1334022358Eating out at restaurants or on the go doesn’t have to break the calorie bank or bust your diet. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your order healthy when eating out:

At your favorite Italian restaurant…
  • Pass on the breadbasket or limit your intake to just one slice.
  • For pastas and pizzas, choose a tomato sauce, rather than a cream-based sauce, for fewer total calories and grams of fat.
  • Top pastas and pizzas with plenty of vegetables - green and red peppers, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and onions are all great options!
  • Order a side of seasonal vegetables or side salad with your entree.
  • Request a “to-go” box before your order arrives. When it gets there, place half of the entree in the box to take home with you.
At your favorite burger/chicken joint…
  • Stick with a single patty, rather than ordering a double or triple burger.
  • Choose grilled chicken rather than chicken that is breaded or fried.
  • Skip the soda and opt for a healthier alternative such as water, low fat or fat-free milk, or unsweetened tea!
  • Go easy on special sauces, which are often high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium!
  • Order a salad, baked potato or a fruit cup as a side in place of French fries, which are often high in calories, fat and sodium.
At your favorite Mexican restaurant…
  • Pass on the chips and queso as a starter, or have salsa or guacamole in queso’s place, for fewer calories and less saturated fat.
  • Choose brown rice over white rice, as it is higher in fiber which will help keep you fuller for longer!
  • Skip the sour cream and opt for lighter and healthier toppings such as tomato or corn salsas, or avocado!
  • Select lean proteins such as fish or chicken, rather than beef or steak.
At your favorite sandwich shop…
  • Load up on the vegetables - tomato, green and red peppers, lettuce and spinach to name a few.
  • Choose whole grain or whole wheat bread when possible. Or forgo the bread completely and ask that your usual sandwich toppings be served over a bed of greens.
  • Ask them to go easy on the high calorie toppings, like cheese, mayonnaise and other condiments.
  • Skip the potato chips and opt for a healthier side.
At your favorite Asian restaurant…
  • Skip deep fried sides and starters, such as wontons, crab rangoon, and egg rolls.
  • Choose brown or steamed white rice, rather than fried rice or noodles.
  • Avoid entrees with heavy sauces, such as those with “General Tsos”, “Sweet and Sour” or “Kung Pao” in the name.
  • Select lean proteins, such as shrimp, fish or chicken, rather than beef or pork entrees.

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Topics: healthy eating food choices Dietitian Connection

Nutrition for a Healthy Heart: Are all fats bad?

GettyImages-1279631867 (1)When it come to health, certain fats can have a positive effect, whereas other can negatively impact your health. All fats are equal from a caloric standpoint meaning they all contain 9 calories per each gram of fat no matter the type.  There are 3 main types of fat - saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that the
average individual aim to consume around 20-35% of total daily calories from fat. For an
individual who consumes around 2,000 calories each day, that is anywhere from 44 to 77 grams
of fat per day. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of fats and their effect on your
health and the food sources in which they are found!

Saturated Fats - The “Not So Healthy” Fats

Decades of research have shown that, when consumed in excess, saturated fats can
increase the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels in your blood, which could increase your risk of
heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death for adults in the US. Saturated fats
are primarily found in animal-based foods such as beef, poultry, pork, full-fat dairy products
(butter, cream, cheese, whole milk) and eggs, but can also be found in “tropical” oils such as
coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.
The American Heart Association (AHA) advises healthy individuals to consume less than
5-6% of total daily calories from saturated fat. For example, someone who consumes 2,000
calories per day should try to stay below 120 calories from saturated fat, or about 13 grams (9
calories/gram). You can decrease your saturated fat intake by opting for lean cuts of meat and
poultry without skin, choosing low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and swapping tropical oils for
vegetable oils, such as olive or canola oil.

Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats - The “Healthy Fats”

For optimal heart health, the AHA recommends making the majority of the fats you
consume monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, while limiting saturated fats.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are both found in high amounts in various plant
based oils. Monounsaturated fats are rich in olive, canola, peanut, safflower and sesame oils, as
well as avocados, peanut butter, and many other nuts and seeds. In contrast, polyunsaturated
fats are found in soybean, corn, and sunflower oils in addition to walnuts, sunflower seeds,
soybeans and tofu. Polyunsaturated fats provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, nutrients
the body is unable to produce on its own. Additionally, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
rich oils are a good source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant, which is often lacking in the standard
American diet. To increase your intake of these “healthy” fats - try consuming fatty fish
like mackerel, salmon and sardines at least twice a week, opting for plant-based oils over
“tropical” oils such as coconut and palm oils and incorporating more nuts and seeds into your daily diet.

Benefits of meeting with a nutrition coach >

Topics: diet and nutrition heart healthy healthy choices Dietitian Connection

Nine Nutrition-Related New Year's Resolutions to Set (and Stick To!)

GettyImages-1313903358We are on the brink of a New Year and those looming resolutions start filling our head with what we should do or consider changing.  Keep a positive mindset to not allow resolutions to fall to the wayside in the New Year, allow them to become lifestyle changes.  Know that when you fall short, it's ok to give your self a restart.  Check out these nine nutrition-related New Year's resolutions to not only set, but stick to. 

  1. Maintain or achieve a healthy weight. While this is a common goal for the New
    Year, maintaining or achieving a healthy body weight is essential for reducing
    your risk of many health related complications, including heart disease,
    decreased immunity, diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis, and infertility. Learn
    how to assess your weight status here.
  2. Move more. Moving more often and participating in regular exercise can help
    you achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic
    conditions, and even improve your mental health. The CDC suggests working
    your way up to anywhere from 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise to 150
    minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
  3. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Fruits and vegetables are low in
    calories, but high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent
    snack or side dish! Despite all of their benefits, only 20% of Americans meet their
    daily fruit intake recommendations, while just 10% eat enough vegetables!
    Adults should aim to consume around 1 ½ - 2 cups of fruit and 2 - 2 ½ cups of
    vegetables per day. Visit MyPlate.gov to determine what counts as “1 cup” of
    your favorite fruits and vegetables.
  4. Eat and drink fewer added sugars. Added sugars are sweeteners and syrups
    added to foods during preparation to increase their sweetness. Added sugars
    contribute calories, but offer no other essential nutrients. When consumed in
    excess, it can be difficult to achieve a healthy eating pattern without taking in
    excess calories, which can result in weight gain and obesity, heart disease,
    and/or type 2 diabetes. Added sugars include brown sugar, corn and maple
    syrups, honey, molasses, and raw sugar. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans
    suggest limiting added sugar intake to less than 10% of total daily calories, or
    about 50 grams of added sugars each day for someone consuming about 2,000
    calories per day.
  5. Cut back on your salt (sodium) consumption. Consistently high intakes of salt
    can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of
    the leading causes of death for adults in the US. Despite the American Heart
    Association’s recommendation to consume <2,300 mg of sodium daily, the
    average adult actually consumes closer to 3,400 mg of sodium each day, almost
    150% of what is recommended! Although it is a common misconception to
    believe that salt intake can be controlled by simply removing the salt shaker from
    your table, about 75% of salt intake actually comes from prepared and packaged
    foods, such as pasta sauce, soups, canned foods, and condiments.
  6. Consume less saturated fat. Like salt, excessive consumption of saturated fat
    can affect your LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart
    disease. Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products, including beef,
    pork, lamb, poultry (especially with skin), eggs, cheese, butter, and other full-fat
    dairy products. They are also found in tropical oils, such as coconut, palm and
    palm kernel oils, and many baked and fried foods. The American Heart
    Association suggests consuming <5-6% of total daily calories from saturated fat.
    For an adult who consumes around 2,000 calories per day, that is around 120
    calories, or about 13 grams of saturated fat each day (9 calories/gram fat).
  7. Cook at home more. In addition to helping you save money, cooking at home
    more often can help you reduce the total amount of calories, fat, and sodium
    consumed at that meal, making it easier to manage your weight and overall
    health.
  8. Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol is associated with various short- and long-term
    risks, such as accidental injury, violence, certain cancers, high blood pressure,
    and mental health issues. Alcohol is also a source of calories and does not offer
    any nutritional benefit. Most professional organizations agree that men should
    limit alcohol intake to <2 beverages per day and women should try to consume
    <1 alcoholic drink per day.
  9. Drink more water. Adequate water intake is essential for maintaining healthy
    digestion, removing wastes from the body, and preventing dehydration. The
    amount of water you should consume is based on many factors including your
    age, body size, and activity level, as well as the climate in which you live. The
    easiest way to determine if you are drinking enough water is to observe the color
    of your urine. If you are consuming enough, your urine should be a pale yellow,
    whereas if you are not, it will likely be a very bright or dark yellow. Speak to your
    physician or registered dietitian/nutritionist to determine your individual fluid
    needs.

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Topics: employee health and wellness diet and nutrition Dietitian Connection