Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Lindsey Recker

Recent Posts by Lindsey Recker:

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

GettyImages-1343544200With inflation at a 40 year high and grocery costs up close to 11% when
compared to 2021, saving money at the store has become a priority for many. However, when trying to save money at the store, many individuals cut back on the pricier yet healthier items, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources, even though it’s not necessary! Here are some tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy diet while shopping smart and saving money at the store:


1. Have a grocery store game plan. Make a list of the meals and snacks you plan
to eat throughout the week and the foods you will need to make them. Sticking to
this list will help prevent you from buying things you do not need, which often
results in wasted food and money.
2. Join your store's loyalty or rewards program. Often, these programs are free
and automatically apply savings at checkout, requiring minimal effort from the
consumer!
3. Buy “in-season” and/or “local” fruits and vegetables when possible. Fruits
and vegetables that are local and/or in season are typically cheaper to produce
and ship, resulting in a lower price for the consumer compared to
exotic/hard-to-find or out-of-season produce. Use this link to see what produce is
currently in season!
4. If you have freezer space available, purchase frozen fruits and vegetables
without added salt or sauces. Typically frozen fruits and vegetables are just as
healthy and are a fraction of the cost when compared to those that are fresh.
5. Buy canned fruits and vegetables. When purchasing fruits, try to buy those
that are packaged in 100% fruit juice. When purchasing vegetables, look for
those that have “no salt added” listed on the label, or simply rinse prior to
preparing/cooking to help wash off some of the salt added for preservation.
6. Grow your own! Grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs to cut back on
packaging costs.
7. Check the “sell by” or “best by” date to ensure you are buying the freshest
items.
8. Compare your options. Compare and contrast different sizes and brands to find
the most cost-effective option. Looking at the “price per unit” can help you find
the best deal!

When you know a certain food or drink will get used, buy in bulk or
purchase value- or family-sized items. For produce and meat, anything that isn’t
used can be frozen for later use.

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Topics: healthy food choices grocery shopping Dietitian Connection

Dietitian Connection: Have a Healthy Halloween

GettyImages-1175585064Halloween is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: candy… almost everywhere! While candy is a tasty treat, as with most things, too much can have its consequences. Most candies provide very little nutritional value and are full of added sugars, one of the nutrients the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest most individuals limit in their diet. Added sugars provide calories (4 calories/1 gram of sugar) and when consumed in excess, can result in dental cavities and difficulty achieving a healthy dietary pattern within an individual's caloric limits, which may result in unintentional weight gain. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t or can’t indulge in foods containing added sugars, like Halloween candy! Instead, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides a recommended daily limit for added sugars, advising individuals to consume no more than 10% of their daily caloric intake from added sugars. For perspective, someone who consumes 2,000 calories/day, should consume no more than 200 calories from added sugars, or less than 50 grams of added sugars each day. This year, be mindful of how many grams of added sugars you’re consuming from Halloween candy and try to keep your total daily added sugar intake below what is recommended based on your recommended caloric intake.

Curious about how many grams of added sugars your favorite Halloween Candy has?

  • Reese’s Cup® (3 miniature cups): 13 grams added sugars
  • Kit Kat® (4 mini/fun size bars): 17 grams added sugars
  • Brach’s® Candy Corn (12 pieces): 22 grams added sugars
  • Twizzler® (3 fun size pieces): 12 grams added sugars
  • M&Ms ® (2 fun size packs): 16 grams added sugars
  • Twixx® (3 mini/fun size bars): 8 grams added sugars
  • Crunch® (2 mini/fun size bars): 14 grams added sugars
  • Butterfinger ® (2 mini/fun size bars): 14 grams added sugars
  • Milkyway ® (4 mini/fun size bars): 19 grams added sugars
  • Snickers ® (3 mini/fun size bars): 13 grams added sugars
  • Hersheys® (2 mini/fun size bars): 13 grams added sugars

What is your favorite Halloween sweet treat? 

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How to properly fuel your body, pre/post workout

GettyImages-1363588189Fueling your body before and after exercise is essential for ensuring you will have enough energy to both perform and recover. However, it is important to choose the right  foods, and to consume them at the appropriate time, to optimize your nutrition. What and when you eat varies depending on the individual and their preferences, the type of activity being performed, and whether the food is being consumed before or after physical activity.

Pre-Exercise Nutrition
Ideally, you should aim to eat within 1 to 3 hours of exercise. When you should eat will
depend on the amount of food that is to be consumed. Allow 3-4 hours for a large meal (400 calories or more), about 2-3 hours for a smaller meal (200-300 calories), and one to two hours for a snack (100-200 calories) to digest. Eating too close to physical activity may result in gastrointestinal discomfort or impaired performance. Everyone’s body is different, so try
experimenting to see what time frame is best for yours. Similarly, consume familiar foods that you know will not cause stomach discomfort during activity (common culprits include
fried/greasy foods and high fat/very high fiber foods).

Good pre-exercise snacks/meals include:
● Cereal with fat-free milk and a piece of fruit
● Whole grain toast with mashed avocado or peanut butter
● A fried or scrambled egg with whole grain toast
● Low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit
● A fruit smoothie

Post-Exercise Nutrition
Typically, it is best to eat within 1 hour of an intense workout. If you’re unable to tolerate
a large meal after exercise, a small snack or meal (100-300 calories) should suffice until you’re able to stomach something more significant. Despite being finished with your activity or exercise, it is still necessary to replenish your energy stores by consuming carbohydrates and/or fats with your post-workout meal. Additionally, obtaining enough protein is important for muscle recovery and repair.

Good post-exercise snacks/meals include:
● A protein shake or smoothie
● Chicken, tuna or turkey on whole grain bread/toast
● Low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit
● Low-fat chocolate milk
● Hard-boiled egg and string cheese

Don’t forget to hydrate! Consuming a large amount of fluid prior to exercise is likely to cause an upset stomach, so try to stay hydrated throughout the day before and after exercising, and keep a water bottle with you during activity when possible! A general rule of thumb is to drink at least 8 ounces of water for every 10-20 minutes of exercise you complete.

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Topics: diet and exercise foot health Dietitian Connection

Alkaline Water: Is It Worth the Hydration Hype?

GettyImages-1352302431We all know it’s essential to stay hydrated in the summer and that the best way to do so is by drinking plenty of water. But is there a certain type of water, such as “alkaline” water, that offers better hydration? Here’s what our RD has to say.

Alkaline water is typically fortified with small amounts of “alkalizing” minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and/or sodium to increase its pH, making it less acidic. The pH scale is used to specify the acidity or basicity (alkalinity) of a water-based solution. The pH scale ranges from 0, highly acidic, to 14, highly basic. For perspective, some everyday liquids and their respective pHs include battery acid (pH = 0), tomato juice (pH = 4), baking soda (pH = 9) and bleach (pH = 13). While pure water has a pH of 7, alkaline water typically has a pH of 8 or 9.

Some individuals hypothesize that drinking water with a higher pH than that of the body’s blood - between 7.35 and 7.45 for healthy individuals - can help decrease acidity in the body by raising its overall pH. However, the pH of the body is tightly regulated by our kidneys and lungs and excessive acid build up is unlikely, unless an underlying health condition is present, such as kidney or respiratory failure, severe infection, uncontrolled diabetes, or physical muscle trauma. Even in cases such as these, a lot more would need to be done than drinking water with a slightly higher pH than that of the body. With a pH of closer to 2-3, stomach acid would likely neutralize the water immediately, regardless of how high its pH. And even if the extra “alkaline” in alkaline water was able to make it into our bloodstream, it would quickly be filtered by our kidneys and removed from the body by way of our urine.

Overall, alkaline water is still water; therefore, it is generally safe for consumption and serves its main purpose: to hydrate you. However, any out of the ordinary health benefits boasted on the label are likely just a marketing tactic. Nevertheless, alkaline water is a great choice for hydration, especially when compared to sugary, high-calorie beverages such as soda, sugary sports drinks, and/or juice. Be sure to stay hydrated this summer by drinking plenty of water - alkaline or not!

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Topics: hydration water wellness

Summer Food Safety: Eating Outdoors

Summer is the best time for outdoor activities and fuel in the form of food is needed to support the fun. However, food safety can be a challenge in the summer, with more individuals becoming sick with a foodborne illness than any other season, as the warmer weather is an optimal environment for bacteria to grow. Between leaving food out in the hot summer sun to accidental cross contamination on the grill - here’s how to ensure you’re keeping your food safe this summer.

  1. GettyImages-483116915Wash your hands.
    • As always, you should wash your hands before preparing or eating any food, however, it is especially important to do so before and immediately after handling raw meat.
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  1. Cook food at the proper temperature.
    • Utilize a clean thermometer to measure the temperature, rather than guessing based on how it looks. Fresh fish, pork and beef steaks/chops should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F, while eggs and ground beef (hamburgers) to 160°F, and 165°F for chicken and turkey.

  2. Store food properly.
    • Not only is it important to cook food to the proper temperature, but food must be kept at the appropriate temperature to avoid bacterial growth that can result in unsafe food.
    • Cold foods should be kept below 40°F and discarded if they reach a temperature of 70°F or higher.
    • Hot foods should be kept above 135°F, refrigerated within 1 hour if it’s >90°F outside, and discarded if they have been sitting below 135°F for >4 hours.

  3. Don’t cross contaminate.
    • Marinate foods in the refrigerator, rather than on the counter or outside. Dispose of marinades and sauces that have come in contact with raw meat/raw meat juices immediately.
    • Keep raw food separate from cooked food.
    • Use a separate utensil/serving dish for handling raw and cooked meats and other foods.

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Topics: food food quality Dietitian Connection

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