One-Dish Wonders!

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By Helen Agresti R.D.

saladheartThis time of year brings shorter days and less time to prepare healthy meals at home. I try my best to prepare dinner at least 5 nights a week. However, without proper planning, home cooking doesn’t always happen.

I wish I could use the most common excuse of not having enough time in my day but let’s face it, there’s plenty of time in our day for something this important. Especially on Sundays, there’s sufficient time to execute a game plan for the week ahead.

There’s nights during the week that are filled with client meetings and kids activities which makes the idea of ordering out very enticing. Convenience food is everywhere and it certainly contributes to the rising rates of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and other health related disorders. With that in the forefront of our minds, here are a few one-dish wonders that will satisfy you and your healthy family:

Healthy Baked Chicken Marsala


No-stick cooking spray

4 chicken breasts

1/4 c white cooking wine

1/4 c marsala cooking wine

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Spray casserole dish with no-stick.

3. Pour half the white and marsala wine in the casserole dish.

4. Sprinkle half the onion, garlic, rosemary, and salt on top of wine.

5. Place chicken breast on top.

6. Pour the remainder of the white and marsala wine over top of chicken.

7. Sprinkle the remainder of the onion, garlic, rosemary, and salt on chicken.

8. Bake 20-25 min. or until internal temp of chicken reaches 165 degrees F.

*If you have time, allow the chicken to marinate in a Ziploc bag with all the ingredients prior to baking.

Waist Slimming Quinoa Salad


• 3 cups Quinoa, cooked

• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

• 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze

• 1/2 c seedless cucumber, diced

• 1 avocado, diced

• 1 mango, diced

• 1/3 c cilantro, finely chopped

• 1/4 cup red onion, chopped

• 1 lemon, juiced

• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


Combine all ingredients. Serve warm or cold.

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 (3-4 lb.) store bought rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded
• 1 (32 oz.) box fat-free and low-sodium chicken broth
• 2 (14.5 oz.) cans chopped stewed tomatoes
• 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
• 1 (4 oz.) can green chilies, chopped
• 1/2 cup salsa (mild)
• 1/2 cup salsa conqueso (medium)
• 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
• 1 Tablespoon cumin, ground
• 2 cups Mexican cheese
• light sour cream
• tortilla strips

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker except cheese, sour cream, and chips.

2. Cover. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top with sour cream, cheese and chips.

Healthy and Happy Eating!

– Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children. For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti and on the web

Eating Right On Vacation

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By Cole Millen

saladplateSo, you have dieted in preparation for a great vacation and you are looking good. How are you going to keep the weight off during your relaxation time? Not to worry. It is possible to eat well on vacation and come back without having to fight the scale for your pre-vacation body.

You might not know it, but your mission to keep the weight off starts before you are on vacation and while you are leaving. You will be tempted to catch a quick meal on the road or at the airport because you had to spend time getting all of your last minute vacation needs together. Either pack yourself a healthy snack from home or fill up on healthy food before you go. You will be too full to hit the fast food places at the airport which will save you both calories and cash!

Room Service
Forget about ordering in and room service when you are at the hotel. Hit the Internet and find the nearest market. Stop there for healthy foods at mealtime and put healthy snacks that do not require refrigeration, such as fruits, in your hotel room. If you have a fridge in your room, stock it with the foods you were eating on your diet. Above all, skip the drinks in the hotel and your mini-bar. The calories in these will destroy any diet. Both your midsection as well as your credit card will be extremely grateful!

Reading Reviews

One of the major factors that I found that has made a tremendous impact in my travels, was when I began to read the reviews on the areas and restaurants of where I was staying before hand.

One of the major factors that I found that has made a tremendous impact in my travels, was when I began to read the reviews on the areas and restaurants of where I was staying before hand. Without this knowledge, it is practically a free for all when you get to where you are going and this is what often leads to unhealthy eating and expensive spending. I did a poor job of this in the past and paid the ultimate price with weigh gain. My most recent trip, I stayed in a hotel and I searched the destination’s reviews and ended up with the best option for my personal eating habits. Looking up the reviews on your hotel and surroundings can be a difference maker when you are trying to be healthy on your travels. They offer important information such as whether or not they have a pool to exercise, continental breakfast, workout room, healthy restaurants available/ nearby, as well as local markets. Make sure to do your homework prior to your departure.

Unless you are vacationing alone, you are likely to wind up at a restaurant at some point, even if you do not want to eat out. That is okay. Go straight for healthy dishes like salad and fish. Order steamed vegetables in lieu of starches like bread, pasta and potato. Do not order anything fried. If you are at a restaurant that sells huge portions, ask for a take-out container as soon as your meal arrives. Dump half of it in the container and save it for later. You will be less likely to overeat if you make that commitment right away.

You do not have to hit the gym while you are on vacation, but go right ahead if you enjoy it. You will get plenty of exercise just enjoying your surroundings. You are probably in a nice climate in a beautiful location if you are on vacation, so make the most of it. Go for a walk or jog. Go rafting, hiking, swimming or even shopping. Just stay on the go when you can. When you cannot, stick to salad and lean protein that day.

At the end of a vacation following these tips, you will be sure to come home healthy and with a little more cash in pocket.

– This article was written by Cole Millen, an avid traveler and health enthusiast who has devoted his craft to helping others stay on track during their travels. This most recent post was inspired by his stay in a Las Vegas hotel where finding healthy food can be as difficult as winning in the casino!

Pre-school Obesity

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exerciseFrom Your Health Journal…..”A great article from My San Antonio written by Jessica Belasco about pre-school obesity. Obesity is on the rise all over the world, affecting adults and children. So many children face obese related illness such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, asthma, weak joints, and heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, high triglycerides, high insulin). There are many contributors to this epidemic, including large amounts of sedentary time – homework, technology….as well as poor dietary habits. According to a new report, public health officials are worrying about excessive weight gain in the first months and years of life. More than 20 percent of children between ages 2 and 5 already are overweight or obese. Not much research has been done in helping these young children reduce the obesity problem, as much of the attention goes to older children and adults. In San Antonio, health officials believe that interventions among minority preschool children can help them develop more healthful habits. So many of these pre-schoolers eating habits are established at such a young age, which is where working with parents is essential. Please visit the My SA web site (link provided below) to read the complete artilce.”

From the article…..

Parents fall in love with chubby-cheeked infants with pudgy thighs. As children grow, their parents encourage them to clean their plates to fuel their development.

But public health officials are worrying about excessive weight gain in the first months and years of life. More than 20 percent of children between ages 2 and 5 already are overweight or obese, according to an Institute of Medicine report released in 2011, and this can set them on a dangerous trajectory toward lifelong obesity. And minority children are at a higher risk.

While mountains of studies have focused on obesity prevention in older children and adults, there hasn’t been as much research looking at young children. But researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have found that interventions among minority preschool children can help them develop more healthful habits. Their study about a pilot program for preschoolers ran in the journal Childhood Obesity in October.

“So many of their eating habits are established at such a young age that this is where we’re really needing to work with parents and get the parents’ buy-in,” says Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center and a co-author of the study. “In the Latino culture, a healthy baby is a chubby baby. They do gain that cute baby fat, but we’re seeing nowadays so many parents letting them have so much sugared beverages and so forth at such an early age that they kind of become addicted to sweets and salt.”

The goal of the local study, called “Míranos! Look at Us, We Are Healthy!” was to create environments both at school and at home to help kids develop healthful lifestyle habits. The intent was not to promote weight loss, because the kids are growing, but to promote healthy weight gain.

The results were positive: Kids who received the intervention showed increases in outdoor physical activity and consumption of fruit, vegetables and low-fat milk, as well as higher gains of gross motor skills, compared to the kids who did not receive the intervention. They were more willing to drink water. And the intervention controlled their weight gain.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Children And Diets

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junkfoodFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article in the Irish Examiner by Áilín Quinlan entitled Is it right to put a child on a diet? that I wanted to promote here to send some readers to their site. One question I do get asked often is about dieting for kids, which this article touches upon. This article first starts be discussing the plight of a young girl and her mother – as the child had been gaining weight, and the mom was trying to help her keep the weight off.

Now, this article comes from Ireland, and as many of my regular visitors know, I have been discussing obesity around the world lately to show that it is not just a problem in the US – but in Ireland, a study was performed to see if people felt children were overweight. In the Growing Up in Ireland Study (2011), 54% of parents of overweight children, and 20% of parents of obese children, reported their children were ‘about the right’ weight for their height. So, in ‘many’ cases, children and their parents thought all was well. The question then arises, is it safe for children to diet? My answer is it depends on the child and the family. First, no child should diet without discussion with their child’s pediatrician, dietician, or nutritionist. Most people do not properly apply a diet to a child, and neglect many food groups. Professional help is essential. Usually, for me to be okay with a diet for a child, they are morbidly obese, and need help immediately. Most children are still growing, and with a regular exercise program, correct portion size, reduction of liquid candy, and healthier snacks – most kids will be on the path to a better weight and healthier lifestyle. Regardless, please visit the Irish Examiner to read the complete article, the link is provided below.”

From the article…..

When Dara-Lynn Weiss decided to come ‘the heavy’ with her overweight seven-year-old, she couldn’t have imagined the controversy.

The New York writer’s account of putting her daughter, Bea, on a diet and micro-managing everything she ate, even in public, has provoked debate in America, and here, where two in ten Irish children are obese or overweight.

By the age of seven, Bea’s weight was worryingly high. “When we intervened, she was 20lbs above a healthy weight and 30lbs above average,” Weiss says.

Yet Bea did gymnastics and dance and regularly played in the park, and the family diet was healthy and didn’t include junk food.

So what was the problem? Quantity, says Weiss, who has written a book, aptly titled The Heavy.

Since the age of three, Bea, who loved food, had been overweight. Weiss decided to control Bea’s portions — but worried about the implications. “You’d be afraid of giving your child issues. You’d feel nervous about telling her to stop eating. At the same time, I knew she needed limits.”

That first, gentle intervention yielded poor results. “Bea gained 23 pounds in the year I was trying to help her,” Weiss says.

The family saw a paediatric nutritionist. Frightened by the numbers, Weiss decided to act the ‘heavy’. “I was very strict with Bea. This was a medical problem.”

Although the programme was not extreme, Weiss says she was “severe in my implementation,” because her daughter couldn’t fit into kids’ clothes. “She was shopping with me in adult stores. You’re terrified of the health implications, and also that your child’s experience of life is affected by being overweight — overweight children are made to feel bad about their weight. Bea complained and fought.

“We’d have dinner as a family and her brother would eat twice as much as her … but I had to be the enforcer.”

Weiss was tormented by doubts and the disapproval of others. Many people, including Bea’s grandparents, objected to the strict regime, but Weiss refused to yield. “You force your children to brush their teeth until they do it on their own — I felt, when Bea was seven, that I was forcing her to eat the right way.”

Bea is now a healthy weight for a nine-year-old. Yet Weiss is careful about preaching. “This is what I did for my family and it worked for us,” she says. “Every family is different and every child is different. The circumstances are so complicated, and I don’t agree with the one-size-fits-all theory.”

Things are not so different in Ireland, where child obesity is rocketing and, where, like Weiss, parents of overweight children are between a rock and a hard place.

If parents limit treats and portion sizes, they risk damaging their child’s self-confidence. Yet if they don’t, they may be putting their child’s health at risk.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Plants Over Meats

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healthyplateFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article I found recently in The Star Online written by Dr. Amir Farid Ishak simply called Plants Over Meats. I wanted to promote this article to my readers, and encourage you to visit The Star Online web site to bring them some traffic, but also to read this important article. Dr. Ishak starts off by stating how a nutrient-dense, wholefood, plant-based diet can save your life as well as suggesting readers to view the documentary film Forks over Knives. The main message of the documentary: that a healthy diet can help you avoid chronic diseases, medical treatments and surgeries. a whole-food, plant-based diet is able to control, reverse or prevent obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. With obesity on the rise in many parts of the world, many experts point to the fact the people are eating too many animal rich products as well as many types of processed foods – along with lack of physical activity. The bottom line, many of us need to educate ourselves on healthy diet. Taking some extra steps like purchasing healthier choices at the supermarket, and then preparing them at home takes a little extra effort, but is better for our health. Like most things, if done on a regular basis, healthy eating becomes habitual. Learning how to incorporate whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient rich foods into our diet will benefit your body in countless ways. Thousands of nutrients are required for our cells to function, to maintain health, to prevent disease, to fight invaders, and to recover from diseases and injuries. Overall, this is an excellent article to read, and full of very important information that may help many of you. Please take the time to visit The Star Online (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

A nutrient-dense, wholefood, plant-based diet can save your life.

IF you are health-conscious, and you have not yet seen the documentary film Forks over Knives, then I highly recommend that you do so.

The film is being screened on the international screen of one of the cinema chains in Kuala Lumpur, and they have promoted it through frequent advertisements.

The title is meant to convey the message that a healthy diet can help you avoid chronic diseases, medical treatments and surgeries. Indeed, the film provides compelling evidence that a whole-food, plant-based diet is able to prevent, control or even reverse obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases.

In contrast, it is a well-established fact that much of the health problems afflicting affluent modern Western society is due to their diet, which is animal-based, replete with all sorts of processed foods.

The film follows the work of several US doctors, scientists and nutritional experts that prove the effectiveness of the whole-food, plant-based diet in preventing and reversing the chronic diseases.

It is a documentary film filled with facts and real-life testimonies of those who have benefited from following the recommendations, and will be enjoyed only by those who have interest in the subject.

Nutrient-dense, whole-food, plant-based diet

The diet promoted by the film is in line with what I recommend. It is based on whole or minimally processed plants, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tubers, and legumes.

It excludes or minimises animal-based foods such as meat (including poultry and fish), dairy, and eggs, as well as refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.

However, I disagree with the exclusion of fish. There will always be controversy whether a vegetarian or even a vegan diet would even be better than a plant-based diet that allows some meat intake.

There are many promoters of vegetarianism for various reasons – religious, spiritual, health, eco-sustainability, etc – but I will restrict my discussion only to the health aspects.

It is a fact that vegetarians are generally healthier than meat eaters, as it is also a fact that meat consumption is linked to obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancers and other diseases.

However, vegetarians are not totally free from the “meat-eaters diseases” mentioned above. So it is also important to look into what vegetarians actually eat.

To read the complete article…..Click here

How Young Is Too Young To Diet?

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scaleFrom Your Health Journal…..”An excellent article from ABC News in Denver via the Tampa Bay Times called How Young Is Too Young To Diet? More than one-third of US children now are overweight or obese. The childhood-obesity rate more than tripled in 30 years. The White House (with the support of Mrs. Obama) has declared the epidemic a national priority. Worldwide, childhood obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic, as many experts are worried this could be the first generation of children to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Children are also showing risk factors for heart disease, with signs of high cholesterol and blood pressure – and many children have type 2 diabetes. Today’s article review discusses dieting for children. Many times, I do have a problem with parents putting their child on a diet, unless they get approved by a nutritionist, dietician, or pediatrician. Child and dieting is not necessary unless approved by professional, and should never really be done based on parental decisions. Many parents are not educated on doing it the correct way, and in many cases, neglect certain food groups needed for normal growth and development for children. Please visit the ABC web site to view (link provided below) the complete article.”

From the article…..

A couple of years ago, Dara-Lynn Weiss set out to do something that health experts have urged millions of American moms and dads to do: help her obese child lose weight.

At nearly 4 feet 5 and 93 pounds, then-7-year-old Bea would hardly rate a second glance from Jerry Springer. But her pediatrician declared she was in the 98th percentile for weight related to height, placing her within the definition of pediatric obesity.

On a physician-approved diet closely (and I mean closely) monitored by Mom, Bea peeled off 16 pounds and grew more than an inch over the course of a year, landing her at a healthy weight. Weiss — with her daughter’s approval — reported their experience last year in Vogue magazine, accompanied by glamorous photos.

Whatever applause there might have been, however, was drowned out by fury. Columnists and bloggers around the world accused Weiss of numerous offenses, such as being “the worst mother in the world.”

They thought the diet was too strict for such a young child. They criticized Weiss for “publicly shaming” Bea by sometimes declining rich desserts. They predicted Bea would develop eating disorders and hate her mother.

Even the doctor who provided the family with Bea’s diet got into the brawl, complaining the child didn’t stick with the weekly weigh-ins at her office.

Now Weiss has dusted herself off and turned the experience into a book, “The Heavy — A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet.” It stands out from the pack in the annual onslaught of diet-related books.

More than a third of American children now are considered overweight or obese. The childhood-obesity rate more than tripled in 30 years. The White House has declared the epidemic a national priority. “The Biggest Loser” is putting obese kids on prime-time TV, though apparently with far more sensitivity than the grown-ups get.

But what I hadn’t heard until now is a detailed account of a parent watching a beloved child become obese, despite careful guidance, healthy foods and opportunities to be active.

I would not have expected to sympathize with a woman who would take a half-finished hot chocolate away from her child when she found out that it had far more calories than the store advertised.

To read the full article…..Click here

Guest Post – Lindsey Smith, What Are You Really Hungry For?

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saladA few years ago, I remember having this really awesome day. One of those days where you just feel so fulfilled in every aspect of life. My career was in check, my health was on point, and I felt like everything was in alignment.

On the way home from a meeting, I stopped at the local farmer’s market and grabbed some fresh veggies for dinner that evening. I got home and made this wonderful spread and meals for the week. I sat down and ate very mindfully and with such gratitude.

Everything about this day was perfect.

Then 8PM came. I noticed myself urging for something more. So I headed to the fridge. I opened the door and looked inside. Nothing was looking too appetizing. So I opened the freezer and noticed a pint of my

Those six words, “What are you really hungry for?” changed my life.

favorite vegan ice cream. Just as I was about to grab the container, I froze. I thought to myself, “Lindsey, you just had an awesome day, and a wonderful homemade dinner. You’re not starved so what are you really hungry for?”

Those six words, “What are you really hungry for?” changed my life.

Although I had an awesome day, a delicious and healthy meal, and so many other things, the truth is—I was lonely. I came home to an empty house. My family lived an hour away from me. And I didn’t talk to a single friend or family member at all that day.

So when I asked myself this question, I realized that the vegan ice cream could never satisfy my deeper craving of being heard. I just wanted someone to share and listen.

Instead of the sugary ice cream, I settled for calling one of my friends and saying, “Hey, can you just hear me out. I had a great day and I just want to share with someone.”

So the next time you find yourself headed to the fridge or the pantry, ask yourself, “What are you really hungry for?”

The answer just might surprise you.

– Lindsey Smith, Inspirational Speaker, Author, Health Coach, The Real You/Food Mood Girl