9 Tips to Pack Your Snacks & Meals Full of Nutrient-Rich Foods

By Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Dietitian and Nutrition Counselor

9 Tips to Pack Your Snacks & Meals Full of Nutrient-Rich Foods

You should enjoy your diet! Believe it or not, nutrient-rich foods are familiar, easy to find, and represent the five basic food groups, therefore achieving balance and building a healthier diet can be simple and stress-free! Continue reading 9 Tips to Pack Your Snacks & Meals Full of Nutrient-Rich Foods

How Can I Get Enough Calcium in My Diet If I Follow a Vegan Lifestyle?

By Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Dietitian and Nutrition Counselor

For those of you who choose to follow a vegan or even vegetarian lifestyle, you know best that sometimes one needs to get creative with their food to get all of the necessary nutrients for a healthy diet. Today I’d like to focus on just one of these necessary nutrients, calcium. Below you will find plenty of options for calcium-rich foods that are considered vegan, plus compare which ones are best for absorbing that calcium into your body.

How can I get enough calcium in my diet if I follow a vegan lifestyle? Continue reading How Can I Get Enough Calcium in My Diet If I Follow a Vegan Lifestyle?

It’s about time you tried a Green Smoothie!

By Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Dietitian and Nutrition Counselor

Many people are busy today with work and activities other than preparing meals. You may want to try this smoothie recipe as a fun addition to your meals.

One good suggestion is taking this to work with you after you have prepared it and frozen it in freezer cups. Then, throughout the day, you are able to take out of your lunch bag and let it defrost. Shake well and it is ready to drink!

Try a Green Smoothie

Reasons to hop on the Green Smoothie craze:

  • It can contain all the fruits and vegetables that you need daily.
  • It can also have additional ingredients based upon what you have on hand.
  • Protein powder can be added in the form of soy, whey, rice, or casein. If you do add one of these, you can consider this smoothie a complete meal!
  • It tastes great! See for yourself if this is something that would be tasty for breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner!

Note: It is best to use a high powered blender. Don’t have one? Then just remove some of the peel from citrus.

Mmm Green is Good!

Green ingredients can often vary based upon your tastes. (But, not all greens are easy to blend!) Try these ingredients at your own pace:

  • Seedless cucumber, 1/3 to 1/2 English version
  • 1-large bunch Spinach (or Kale!), fresh and cleaned (sometimes it helps to freeze in advance)
  • 1-Kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 1-Avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1-Lime, whole including the rind, cut into at least 8 pieces

Try adding these for additional flavor, texture, & nutrition!

  • Bananas
  • Cuties or mandarin oranges, including the skin
  • Grapes
  • Flax Seeds, 2-Tbsp. or Flax Seed Oil
  • Plain or Greek yogurt

These smoothies provide all the nutrients that a meal could provide. They are especially high in antioxidants, B complex vitamins, minerals, such as iron and potassium, and are high in fiber.

Just another way to increase our nutritional strength without all the fuss in the kitchen!

Calories: 16-oz. portion for 175 calories; with 2-scoops of protein added, 16-oz portion for 375 calories. For more helpful nutritional advice and recipes, tell us a little more about your goals! Or check out our ongoing health & nutrition programming for everyone from children to adults!

There are MANY more possible green ingredients to include in smoothies. What are some of your own suggestions? Do you drink green smoothies?

3 Healthy Food Products Worth Trying

By Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor

Every year we have changes in the rational of what makes for “good health” and what makes for “good food” products to support this health plan. This year we are following many new low cholesterol food selections and also we are looking at foods that are gluten free. You may be interested in taking a look at these items:

  1. Farm Fresh Eggland’s Best All Natural, Vegetarian Fed Hens Eggs:

    Eggland Broccoli Frittata These eggs are low in cholesterol (only 175 mg), but quite high in vitamin D, B12, and E. They are made from real shell eggs, but have no antibiotics, animal by-products, or added hormones. The eggs, I can tell you, are rich and delicious. (Check out this recipe for a Broccoli & Cheddar Frittata using Farm Fresh Egg.land’s Best All natural, Vegetarian Fed Hens Eggs.–I’d suggest also adding 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon of fresh basil to boost the flavor without adding calories!)

    Just how are these eggs produced? As mentioned, these are real eggs. Hens are fed a special combination of all-natural, vegetarian feed of healthy grains, canola oil, and an all-natural supplement of rice bran, alfalfa, sea kelp and vitamin E. And for our use at home, still comes out a natural egg. They are more expensive; but research has shown that these eggs, even consumed twice daily for a week, will not contribute to a higher cholesterol level. They may be worth a try!

  2. LÄRABAR snack bars:

    LARABARS The “original fruit and nut bar,” according to the company. They are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan and kosher. Each bar is small but contains enough fruit to equal ¼ cup of fresh fruit. They each are 190 calories, so they are equal to any health bar recommended as a snack serving. The fiber and protein is fairly high. As most gluten free users can find it hard to find good food products, these rank high for taste and satisfaction. They are a little more expensive, as are most gluten free products. They would be worth your trying.

  3. Yonanas Banana Ice Cream Maker:

    Recently purchased at Target for $49.00, this machine was demonstrated at our Scamp Kids Nutrition program this summer at Elite Sports Club-Brookfield. Kids enjoyed seeing the bananas become a smooth ice dessert right in front of their eyes. Primarily, the machine works with bananas only, it can also handle additions such as strawberries, pineapple, and kiwi fruits. The object was to demonstrate yet another way of incorporating fruit into the children’s diet, and in a fun way.

    The machine is easy to operate and to clean up. I would still suggest an adult being nearby. Bananas are high in antioxidants and potassium. Children can participate preparing the bananas by peeling the skins off and placing in the freezer for 24 hours before making into the dessert. Overall, this is a fun activity for the entire family.

Staying in touch with new products and new appliances will help to increase the choices that you have to improve the quality of your diet and to keep your selections interesting! What new health foods or kitchen gadgets have become your favorites lately?

For more helpful nutritional tips & recipes, let us know a little bit more about your goals and we’ll get you in touch with our Registered Dietitian, Rita. You are also more than welcome to check out our other health & wellness programs offered at Elite Sports Clubs.

8 Tips for Knife Safety in Your Home

By Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition & Diet Counselor

For class presentations at Elite Sports Clubs, we have often spent a fair amount of time talking about knife safety for preparing foods. It is a serious matter, as we often have children helping for food preparations. And keeping them safe, and ourselves, should be a primary goal. Purchase the best possible knives that you can as it is an important part of a wonderful meal. A good idea for a gift!

Knife Safety-Elite Sports Clubs

The safe use of knives is imperative for obvious reasons. There are only a few rules to remember, but they are crucial:

  1. A sharp knife is a safe knife. Using a dull knife is an invitation to disaster. If you try to force a dull knife through the surface of a food product, it’s more likely to slip and cause an injury. Also: if you do happen to cut yourself, a sharp knife will result in an easier wound to attend to.
  2. Never, ever grab a falling knife. The best way to avoid having to think about this rule is to make sure your knife is always completely on your work surface, without the handle sticking out into traffic areas. Inevitably, however, it will happen from time to time that you or someone else will bump a knife handle, resulting in a falling knife. We all have a natural instinct to grab for anything that’s falling. You must overcome this inclination. Remember: a falling knife has no handle. Just get your hands and feet out of the way.
  3. Use the right knife for the right job. Many knife injuries occur when laziness induces us to use the knife at hand rather than the correct knife for a job. Place your knife inventory where it is easily accessible so you won’t be tempted to make this mistake.
  4. Always cut away from – never towards – yourself. Sometimes this is a hard rule to follow. Again, don’t be lazy! If the angle is wrong, turn the product around. Or turn your cutting board around. By the way – if your cutting board doesn’t have rubber feet, you should place it atop a damp kitchen towel to make sure it doesn’t slide while you’re cutting.
  5. When you have a knife in hand, keep your eyes on the blade. This rule stands whether you are cutting something or carrying a knife. The simple fact is: you’re unlikely to cut yourself if you’re watching the blade, especially the tip. Another idea, don’t talk and cut.
  6. Carry a knife properly. If you’re carrying a knife through the kitchen, especially a busy kitchen, there are often people, and better, pets hurrying around. You must get used to the idea that the only way to walk with a knife in hand is to carry it pointed straight down, with the blade turned towards your thigh. Keep your arm rigid. You don’t want a family member going to the emergency room with a puncture wound from your knife.
  7. Never, ever put a knife in a sink full of water. In addition to soaking probably being bad for your knife handle, putting a knife in a sink full of (likely soapy) water is just asking for trouble. Wash your sharp knives by hand (not in a dishwasher!) and put them away immediately.
  8. Always cut on a cutting board. Don’t cut on metal, glass or marble. This will ultimately damage a knife’s edge.

At what age did you start including your children in the cooking of meals? When did you let them start using knives in the process? How did you teach them about knife safety?

Coming this Fall: “All in the Family Nutrition” a health and nutrition program offered by Elite Sports Clubs’ Registered Dietitian, Rita Larsen that involves each member of the family. Members work together for family-centered nutrition planning for meals and set goals for improved health and wellness. Each family member also monitors his or her own food intake. Plans are made for meal selections, grocery shopping, eating meals out, and making better snack choices. Offered by appointment to fit your family’s schedule. Contact Rita for pricing options and availability to start your “all in the family nutrition” program today!