Happy New Year!

Happy 2018! When the New Year rolls around, we like to look forward to all the things we can accomplish in the next 365 days ahead of us.  Many people have health, fitness, or nutrition goals, and our team at Texins is ready to help you meet those goals.  This New Year, I’d like to introduce myself to you all as the new dietitian at Texins.  My name is Morgan Johnson.  I’ve worked in the fitness and corporate wellness realm for the past two years and am excited to put my experiences and expertise at work here at Texins.  Before we dive into all things nutrition, I want to tell you a little about myself.  I graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) with an undergraduate degree in Human Development and Masters’ in Human Nutrition. With my diverse education, I’ve worked in many different environments – from a pediatric hospital, an adult hospital to corporate wellness and tele-health.  When I’m not talking about food, you’ll likely find me doing CrossFit.  I am a Level 1 trainer, and teach a few classes a week at my local box.  My favorite vegetables are sugar snap peas and Brussels sprouts.  My favorite “fun” food is ice cream.  My husband and I have two dogs; their names are Ellie and Bear.

Now that you know a little about me, I look forward to getting to know you – the TI employees and Texins’ members.  To help me get to know some of you, let’s play a little trivia game.  The first 10 people to answer this question correctly (either email me the answer or stop by and see me!) will receive a complimentary water bottle!

Question:  Which Alabama football coach is my dog (Bear) named after?

My office is located in the Texins Fitness Center on the weight room floor, or you can contact me via email at mrjohnson@ti.com

If you have any topics, questions or suggestions for future blog posts, please let me know.  I hope to see and hear from ya’ll in the future, and be on the lookout for the next blog post in February. 

When should you incorporate snacking into your daily routine?

When should you incorporate snacking into your daily routine?

Do you find yourself walking by the candy dish in your office multiple times per day?  Research shows that the average individual goes by the office candy dish 7.7 times per day.  If each piece of candy is 22 calories, eating a piece each time you walk by would equal 44,000 extra calories and 12.5 pounds of weight gain per year. As you can see snacking can add up, so it is important to be purposeful when incorporating a snack into your daily routine.

When is it appropriate to incorporate snacking?

·         When more than 5 hours passes between meals

o   If you find yourself going long periods of time between meals without eating and you end up overeating at your next meal, it would be beneficial to incorporate a snack on your way home from work or even midafternoon to hold yourself over until dinner.

·         Before or after working out

o   You want to incorporate quick, easily digested carbohydrate and protein before and after your workout to maximize your performance.  Pre-workout nutrition will fuel your body for your workout and post-workout nutrition should be consumed within 30-60 minutes of exercise to replenish your muscles.

·         Before going out to eat or going to an event with food

o   If you have an event where you know food will be served, it may be a good idea to consume a snack ahead of time to help fill you up before the event.  It will help satisfy you, so that you are less likely to overeat at the event. 

·         If you are truly hungry

o   Evaluate your hunger – Are you bored? Did you just walk by an enticing smell? Are you stressed? Are you actually hungry? If you have physical hunger, make sure to incorporate a snack into your routine.

If you want to know what you should snack on, please refer to my previous nutrition fuel blog post: Quick and Healthy Snack Ideas for the Office.

Let me know if you have any questions about this blog post at staci@ti.com.

Are you getting enough fiber?

Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? A lot of individuals are not getting enough fiber through their nutrition. Women need 25 g of fiber and men need 38 g of fiber each day. Fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, and grains. Fiber has many health benefits ranging from improved digestion to increased satiety to cholesterol control.

Let’s start with the different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber. It is important to consume both soluble and insoluble fiber.

·         Here are some forms of soluble fiber:

o   Oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, strawberries, flaxseed, squashes (winter, butternut, acorn, pumpkin), barley, and vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables).

·         Here are some forms of insoluble fiber:

o   Fruits with edible peel or seeds, vegetables, whole grain products (such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, and crackers), bulgur wheat, stone ground corn meal, cereals, bran, rolled oats, buckwheat, and brown rice.

How should you incorporate more fiber into your diet?

1.       Slowly increase the amount of fibrous foods you consume.  When you quickly incorporate more fiber, it can cause digestive issues.  I recommend slowly increasing your fiber intake.

2.       Try incorporating beans/legumes instead of meat in one meal per week. A good example would be making a vegetarian bean chili recipe.

3.       Add beans/legumes into soups, stews, and salads.

4.       Incorporate more whole grains into your diet. You can try choosing wheat bread over white bread or whole wheat pasta over white pasta.

5.       Increase your fruit and vegetable intake by making sure your meals contain fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

6.       Eat whole fruits and vegetables instead of juices.

7.       Try having fruit for dessert.

8.       Make sure your plate has at least 3 colors of fruits and vegetables at each meal.

9.       Make sure you are hydrating as you are increasing fiber intake.

10.   Start your day with more fiber by incorporating grains like oats.

Let me know if you have any questions about this topic.  Have a great week!

Stay Healthy on Vacation

Stay Healthy on Vacation

Vacation is a wonderful time to relax with your family and friends.  Sometimes we can overindulge on treats while on vacation, but it does not have to throw you off from achieving your health goals.  There are ways to be healthy and stay active while on vacation.

Here are my top 5 tips for being healthy on vacation:

1.       Bring a water bottle with you

Hydration is extremely important, even on vacation.  Bring a water bottle with you and fill it up as soon as you pass through security if you are flying.  Once you get to your destination, aim to fill up your water bottle as much as possible to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. You can always monitor your urine color to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day.

2.       Carry snacks in your travel bag

Bring snacks with you in your carry-on bag to enjoy while you travel or during your vacation. It is important to be prepared when hunger arrives. I recommend snacking on foods that are a protein or fat plus fiber.  Some travel snack ideas would be: jerky, dried fruit, nuts/seeds, trail mix, natural peanut butter, apples, dried chickpeas, protein bars, protein powder, and packets of tuna/salmon.

3.       Move during the day

Whether you are going to Europe or to Florida on a beach vacation, try to be active throughout the day.  Walking on the beach or walking from site-to-site can be a great way to stay active.  Make a step goal for yourself and challenge your whole family to hit that step goal.  We all need a little relaxation, but aim to be active when you can. You can also have fun with movement on vacation. Find opportunities wherever you are to play volleyball on the beach, go for a hike, bike ride through town, or go snorkeling.

4.       Meal plan like you do at home

If you are staying in a condo or house, plan out meals that you can cook for your family throughout your vacation.  If you have a fridge in your room, you can always stock your fridge with breakfast and snack items.  If you know you are eating at certain restaurants, I recommend looking at the menu ahead of time and planning what you are going to order.  If you are going to a buffet, try using a smaller plate and fill it with mostly vegetables and protein. If you have a plan going into it, you will be extremely successful.

5.       Make sure to relax and treat yourself

Try not to use vacation as an excuse to overindulge.  It is easy to get into that mentality so try to give yourself 1 treat each day. You can also split more decadent treats with others. I definitely recommend using vacation to get rest and relaxation, but try to keep your healthy habits in mind.

Let me know if you have any questions on how to stay healthy on vacation.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

It is hard to walk from your car to the front door of your house without breaking a sweat during this time of the year! It is very important to stay hydrated year round, but especially during the summer months where you are constantly losing water.  The goal is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.  That may seem like a lot, but did you know that you can receive hydration through fruits and vegetables high in water volume?

Here are some common fruits and vegetables with high water volume:

·         Cucumbers (96% fluid)

·         Celery (95% fluid)

·         Tomatoes (94% fluid)

·         Cabbage (93% fluid)

·         Watermelon (92% fluid)

·         Kale (91% fluid)

·         Broccoli (91% fluid)

·         Berries (91% fluid)

·         Carrots (87% fluid)

If you select fluid rich foods for 3 of your snacks or meals throughout the day, that should count for about 2 cups or 16 ounces of your daily needs of water.

If you struggle drinking water throughout the day, here are some tips to increase hydration:

·         Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up

·         Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day

·         Using a straw can help increase water intake

·         Alternate water with other beverages throughout the day and evening

·         Set a calendar reminder or alarm to drink water every 1-2 hours of the day

·         Dilute juices with water

·         Try tracking your water on an online application on your phone

·         Add fruit, herbs, or vegetables to your water to give it a different flavor (lemon, lime, mint, watermelon, cucumber, berries, oranges, etc.)

I hope this helps you stay hydrated throughout the day.  Let me know if you have any questions.

How to Create More Balance on your Plate

Have you ever looked at your plate and thought: “Am I eating the right nutrients”?  You are not alone and a lack of nutrient balance is a common problem I see when meeting with individuals on their dietary habits.

Breakfast is one meal where I constantly see a problem with nutrient balance.  Common breakfast items include: pancakes, cereal, waffles, bagels, toast, or oatmeal.  What do these menu items have in common? They are mostly carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are quickly broken down into sugar, which leaves you hungry within the next hour or two. Your meals should fill you up for longer periods of time.

If you add more nutrient balance, you will be full for longer periods of time and you won’t feel blood sugar fluctuations. There is a huge difference in satiety between cereal and eggs. Every meal you consume should include: (1) carbohydrate (2) protein, (3) fat, and (4) fruit or vegetable. An idea for breakfast would be a vegetable omelet with avocado, sweet potatoes, and strawberries. The eggs would be your protein, the strawberries and vegetables in the omelet would be your fruit or vegetable, the sweet potatoes would be your carbohydrate, and the avocado would be your fat. For lunch or dinner, this could be salmon with brown rice and roasted vegetables in olive oil.

Get creative with how you can add more nutrient balance in your meals.  Are you making beef spaghetti for dinner? Well, you can always throw vegetables in the sauce.  Zucchini, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach are all vegetables that go well in a marinara sauce. That is just one example for how to add nutrient balance to meals.  Think about what you can add to soups, stews, tacos, casseroles, and other family recipes.

I challenge you to look at your meals throughout the day and make sure you have 1 item from each nutrient category!

5 Tips for Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

Over the holidays, we tend to eat treats that we would not normally consume the rest of the year. That can throw us off our normal routine. The new year is the perfect time to incorporate healthier habits into your lifestyle and get back on track.

Here are five tips to help you:

1.      Drink more water

Make sure you are hydrated throughout the day by carrying a water bottle with you. Know how much water you are drinking and make a goal to increase that amount. Water will help us flush out some of those toxins from the holidays. If you struggle with drinking enough water, try adding fruit to it to give it a different flavor and set an alarm throughout the day to remind yourself to drink water.

2.      Move more throughout the day

Try not to be sedentary this week and make a goal to get more steps around the office. For example, take a conference call while standing, park further away, use the stairs, or even go outside for a walk. If you have an activity monitor, make a goal to get more steps in this week. It can be as simple as just moving more, so find what works best for you and your schedule.

3.      Increase fruit and vegetable intake

Eat your fruits and veggies with your meals. Fruits and vegetables have vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. The fiber can help us regulate digestion that might have been hindered from holiday eating. Of course, the nutrients in fruits and vegetables will give our body the nutrients it needs for optimal health.

4.      Get enough sleep

It is important to get back on track with sleep. During the holiday season, you might have friends or family in town, which can interrupt your normal sleep patterns. You should aim for seven to eight hours of good, quality sleep for your body to fully recover. Try to put electronics away an hour before bed and make sure you are sleeping in a cold, dark room to enhance your quality of sleep.

5.      Make sure your meals are balanced

Try to make sure every meal includes a protein, fat and carbohydrate, whether you are eating at home or at restaurant. Eating a balanced meal is the key to managing hunger and feeling satiated. A balanced meal will keep you full for longer and includes the proper nutrients your body needs to function. An example of a balanced meal is salmon with sautéed vegetables and brown rice or a vegetable omelet with fruit.

I hope these tips were helpful in helping you get back on track this year. If you have any questions about nutrition, feel free to contact me at staci@ti.com.

What Should I Eat When I have Cravings?

We all have those moments where we crave certain types of food. These cravings can be emotional or physical, and sometimes it can be difficult to identify the difference between the two types of cravings.  If it is a physical craving, it can help to regulate blood sugar by increasing meal frequency or making sure to consume protein and fiber every time you eat a meal or snack.  If it is an emotional craving, it can help to track your food and emotion when you eat that food in a written food log. If you track your food and emotion, you can identify your emotional cravings and begin to change it over time. 

Tips to Be Successful at the Grocery Store

Tips to Be Successful at the Grocery Store

Grocery shopping can be a huge burden to some and a big stressor to others.  We all lead busy lives, and it is hard to find time to not only go to the grocery store let alone cook a healthy meal for your family.  The grocery store has over 40,000 different products, so it can be a big time waster if you go through every aisle.  I am here to tell you can be in and out of the store and onto your normal life if you have a plan. 

Healthy Options for your Cookout

Healthy Options for your Cookout

Do you have plans this weekend to dust off that grill and host your friends for a cookout? Holiday weekends can be full of exciting plans with family and friends.  Whether you are going to the lake or hosting a pool party, holiday weekends don’t have to throw you off track. You can stay committed to your health and fitness goals by following an 80/20 rule.  You want to try to be 80% consistent with healthy habits which will leave 20% of the time to make more fun decisions

Meal Prep with a Crockpot

Meal Prep with a Crockpot

Today, I thought I would share some easy to incorporate crockpot recipes.  Even if you do not like to cook, the crockpot can be your best friend. If you know how to throw ingredients in a bowl and let it cook overnight, you can master a crockpot. Then, you might even have dinner for the week! Let me know if you try any of these recipes. Have a great week!

Meal Frequency

Meal Frequency

Have you ever wondered if you should eat 3 large meals versus 6 small meals per day? Well, today’s blog post is going to help answer that popular question.  Increased meal frequency can benefit some individuals, but it may not be for everyone.  Please, reach out to me if you would like an individualized recommendation or have any questions at staci@ti.com.  Thanks!

Stop Dieting and Make a Lifestyle Change

Stop Dieting and Make a Lifestyle Change

Let’s start to treat the word “diet” as a noun instead of a verb.  Last week, we talked about how a diet is a short term solution.  If we have a goal of losing 10 pounds, we want to achieve that goal long term.  In order to make a long term solution, we need to make a lifestyle change.  In this week’s blog post, I discuss how to start the process of making a lifestyle change.  Let me know if you have any questions. Have a great week!

The Problem With Dieting

The Problem With Dieting

There are over 40,000 weight loss programs out there promising quick results.  This week’s blog post discusses the main problems with dieting and why it is hard to see long term success. Nutrition just like medical advice needs to be individualized based on the person. Next week, I will discuss how you can get results without relying on a diet.

Why Breakfast Really is the Most Important Meal of the Day

Why Breakfast Really is the Most Important Meal of the Day

Your mom always told you that breakfast was one of the most important meals of the day.  We know our mom is pretty much always right so why is breakfast is one of the most commonly skipped meals.  This week’s blog post focuses on the importance of breakfast and includes a recipe.  I challenge each of you to consume a healthy breakfast this week! Enjoy this week’s post and let me know if you have any questions.