Start your Healthy Lifestyle with 3 Food Diary DOs

Three Food Diary DOs

Start Your Healthy Lifestyle out with Food Diary DOs

Last week, I wrote about something I am very passionate about – Living a Healthy Lifestyle. Often there comes a point in our life where you find yourself asking “how did I get to this point in my life, am I even happy right now?” For me, I asked myself this question when I finished my MBA and Dietetic Internship. My two-year program became a blur and I was starting to question what I was doing with my life. I wasn’t healthy like I promoted myself to be and I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was. Something needed to change to get my health back on track and the first thing I knew I wanted to work on was my nutrition (shocker, I know).

The first step I took to working on my nutrition was starting to track my food. I used, and still continue to use, MyFitnessPal. This was and still is the best step you can take to start living a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, I believe it’s only fair to let you know the DOs when it comes to food tracking since it can be a dangerous activity depending on how you go about it.

Three DOs When it Comes to starting a food diary

DO start off by just tracking what you normally eat.

When it comes to starting to track your food, you might think you need to change everything and instantly become healthy. Thinking about changing everything is exhausting and can end up backfiring on you. When you first start tracking your food don’t make changes to your diet. Instead, log everything and look at your nutrition overall. Having a log of the foods you eat over the course of a week can offer some extra insight. From there you can zone in on what foods are common in your diet, what foods aren’t so common, and how they are contributing to your overall health – which brings me to my next DO.

DO look at your nutrients.

When I use MyFitnessPal I jump from two screens the most – my actual food diary and my nutrients nutrition. I find it extremely important to understand how your diet holds up when it comes to your macronutrients. {Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat, and protein.} Our body survives on the nutrients we provide it so it becomes important to look at our nutrients as a whole. Are you lacking in protein? Have an overconsumption of carbohydrates? If you are interested in more than macronutrients, the screen also shows your micronutrients as well.

DO write notes throughout the day

Ever notice you’re ready for bed at like 5 pm only to realize you haven’t eaten since 10 am? When it comes to tracking your food, one thing I always like to do is make notes on my food diary. I usually note when I am extremely tired, feeling sick, have a headache, or feeling anything really. Our nutrition is so important that it really can affect our overall health for the day. During my first part-time job there were days I skipped lunch and thought nothing of it but then it came to driving to my next part-time job and I was hard to stay awake. I was able to make the connection of not having enough fuel in my body due to skipping lunch. By creating notes in my food diary I was able to see patterns and make changes for the better and see improvement.

At first it might seem like a chore to track your foods, but in the long run, it can help you get a better understanding of your nutrition. To this day, I frequently go back to tracking my food for a week or so just to do a “macro check” on myself. I also continue to learn more about myself with my extra notes throughout the day.

Take that step to creating a healthy lifestyle and start tracking your food to learn more about your nutrition. As a Registered Dietitian, I work with many clients trying to build a healthy lifestyle and my first approach is starting with a food diary. I have seen great results when clients truly focus on their nutrition.

Now, my question for you today is: what is your DO when it comes to tracking your food?

Leave a comment below or share on social media with #FoodDairyDOs

And…Stay tuned for next week’s – The DON’Ts for tracking your food!

Food Diary DOs


The 5 Best FREE Apps for Living a Healthy Lifestyle

My top 5 FREE apps to help live a healthy lifestyle

With the amount of time we spend on our phones these days, why not utilize FREE apps to help live a healthier and happier 2017.

5 Free Healthy Apps


Living a healthy lifestyle starts with putting nutrient dense foods into your body. The best way to look at your diet is to track it. MyFitnessPal makes it easy to track your food items by having a large database, allows you to scan the product’s barcode, and allows you to input your own recipes. When it comes to tracking your diet, it is important to look at your macronutrient breakdown. Focus less on the calories and more on fueling your body with nutrient dense foods that offer great benefits.

Not about the calories, about living healthy


Ever wonder if something is a good source of fiber or potassium? Fooducate has a feature called “Food Finder.” Within this feature, you scan your food products barcode and a grade will appear on your screen. Based on the nutrient content of the product the grade can be good or bad. The best part about this feature is that it explains why it got the grade that it did. Plus, the app also provides healthier alternatives. Learning more about your food items becomes important when trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

Nike+ Training ClubFree fitness app

During the winter, it can be hard to get motivated to head to the gym so why not stay at home and do a workout. Nike+ Training club offers guided workouts that you can do at home, with little to no equipment, or in a gym. Not sure where to start when it comes to strength training, check out the apps 4-week bodyweight only program to help learn basic form. With workouts focused on interval workouts, you are sure to sweat and get stronger in no time, all in the comfort of your own home.


Active by PopSugar

Like Nike+ Training Club, Active is an app that offers both videos and guides for fitness. Choose from workouts that target certain areas or do a full-body workout. There are also workouts that can be followed for cardio exercises as well. No matter your workout schedule, there is always something to choose from on the Active app.


You always hear people talking about drinking enough water, but do you know if you are really drinking enough water? Waterlogged is a water tracking app that makes it easy to see how much you have had to drink for the day. You can add your favorite water bottle amounts to your home screen. That way tracking your water bottles is just a click away. Remember, if you are active it is extra important to stay hydrated to ensure you are achieving optimal performance.

Technology doesn’t always have to be the enemy. Utilize these FREE apps to help you start living a healthy lifestyle today! Do you love an app that isn’t on the list, comment below and let others know about it!


#10 MGM: Choose The Best Option

Mighty Goal Monday: Choose the Best Option

#10 MGM: Choose The Best Option

In today’s world, most of us are on the run and sometimes we have to eat out to get through the day. It happens, no one is perfect and sometimes there are no other options. But what you order can also be hurting your healthy lifestyle. When it comes to eating out, you do not have to deprive yourself from flavor instead just working on choosing more wisely when you are out.

This week I challenge you to choose the best option when eating out.

When most people think about a healthier meal when eating out, they automatically think they can only have a salad. Trust me, the salads might not be the best choice because the dressing alone might make your salad more calories than a burger.

How to Help Choose The Best Option

Check out the menu before you go out

If you know in advance where you are heading to eat, go online and check out the nutrition. Think about what you are thinking of having and look at the nutritional information on the item. Focus on calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat to start with. From there, look at other menu items that are similar to what you are thinking about and determine the best option based on the nutrition and your taste buds.

Order First

When you get to the restaurant be the first one in your party to order. When you hear what other people are getting you might change your mind about what you are getting. You did your research now is the time to stick with it and get the plate you have been dreaming about all day.

Look for Specific Keywords

Do not have time to check out the menu beforehand, no problem? Look for specific keywords on the menu that can help you determine the best option. Healthy keywords include baked, broiled, roasted, grilled, and steamed. Unhealthy keywords include fried, creamed, braised, buttered, a la mode, battered, and crispy.

What makes it the best option?

Look at the ingredients

Ingredients tell the story of your meal. When you look at the ingredients, look for food items that will protein, fat, or carbohydrates. Protein ingredients include meat, chicken, fish, beans, cheese, and eggs. Fat can be tricky to determine at some restaurants and in general. When looking at the ingredients you want to choose meals that are high in your “good” fats or your monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, ingredients like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Carbohydrates can be made up of pasta, rice, bread, vegetables, and fruits.

Protein Stands out

When looking at the ingredients, it might be best to focus on the protein sources. It is best to ensure that your meal has protein in it to help keep you full after the meal. Many restaurants are good about ensuring there is protein within their menu items. When in doubt focus on the protein.

Best options at common restaurants

Curious about what are some of the best options at restaurants? Below is a short list of healthy options at common fast food restaurants.

  • Egg White Delight McMuffin – 250 calories, 29g carbs, 17g protein, 8g fat
  • Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich – 360 calories, 44g carbs, 37g protein, 6g fat
  • Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad – 350 calories, 27g carbs, 37g protein, 12g fat
  • Protein Bistro Box – 370 calories, 37g carbs, 13g protein, 19g fat
  • Ham & Swiss Panini – 380 calories, 46g carbs, 19g protein, 11g fat
  • Reduced-fat Turkey Bacon & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich – 23 calories, 28g carbs, 16 protein, 6g fat
  • The Gladiator Taco – 280 calories, 16g carbs, 17g protein, 17g fat
  • Triple Threat Taco – 250 calories, 17g carbs, 17g protein, 12g fat

Curious what other Registered Dietitians eat at fast food places? Check out this great article by SELF – 12 Things Registered Dietitians Order When They Get Fast Food.

When life gets busy it can be easier to just grab something out for a quick bite to eat. There is nothing wrong with that, but it becomes important to choose the best option that can help maintain your healthy lifestyle. Take time to check out menus and find healthy alternatives to your go-to meal now.

Share your #mightygoalmonday accomplishments and tips

#9 MGM Recap: Re-evaluate your diet

Last week, I really focused on getting a bigger picture of what my diet really consists of. Since I find myself eating most of my meals out of my lunchbox in the car, I learned that all my meals are the same. I do not have a large variety in my diet and can tell I am missing some nutrients. By taking the time to re-evaluate my diet, I now have a new perspective on my diet and areas of improvement I need to make. What were some of your areas you need improvement in when it comes to your diet?

New to Mighty Goal Monday?

Check out why I started this blog series and other Mighty Goal Monday posts.

#7 MGM: Explore Your Cooking Skills

explore your cooking skills

#7 MGM: Explore your cooking skills

As our worlds get chaotic, it becomes harder to get into the kitchen and cook up a delicious meal. For some, there is not enough time in the day to cook meals. Others do not believe they have the skills to create different dishes. Whatever your reason is, it is time to change that. Right now, I rarely am in the kitchen cooking my meals, something that I am working towards changing and inspired this week’s Mighty Goal Monday – Explore your Cooking Skills.


This week’s Challenge: I challenge you to get into the kitchen and explore your cooking skills by cooking at least 2 different meals.


Why it is important to explore your cooking skills.

Many individuals believe that it’s too late to learn how to cook, but that is not the case. It is never too late to learn how to cook! You never know what you can do until you step out of your comfort zone and that is the same for cooking. There are great benefits to exploring your cooking skills.

Just the basic cooking skills can make a difference

You do not need to be a gourmet chef to create a great family dinner. Boiling water, chopping up vegetables, and cooking grains appropriately are very basic cooking skills that are used in many recipes. You don’t have to get fancy with everything. Start small and build up your skills as you become more comfortable in the kitchen.

There is always something new to learn

Ever start something new only to get bored with it six months later? Cooking is not like that. No matter what your cooking skills levels are there is always something new to try when you start to get burnt out. There will always be new recipes to try or a new popular skill to learn.

Cooking allows you to control what is in your meals

Cooking is essential when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle and helping with weight loss. When you eat out, you do not exactly know what is being put into your meals. Yes, you know most of the ingredients but do you know how much salt or butter they are using in the recipes to add more flavor? By working on your cooking skills, you can learn to mimic some of your favorite restaurant recipes and put a healthy spin on them.


Where to Start

Not sure where to start? Check out some of the resources I look at when I have a question about cooking.

Kitchen Cheat Sheets from BuzzFeed

Kitchen Cheat Sheet Guide on Basic Cooking Skills from SodaPic

Spoon University offers great recipes for beginners and college students that are trying to eat healthier and not burn anything in their dorm rooms.

Pinterest and Youtube are great for finding specific information on skills that you have and how you can accomplish them.

Already a great cook but just don’t have the time?

You already might have great cooking skills, but you might not have the time to use them. If that is the case, maybe think of alternatives that you can do to make more time for cooking.

Make time in your Google Calendar

Google Calendar now offers the goals features which can be great to plan time for family dinners. Once you answer the questions about your specific goal, Google Calendar automatically sets the time and dates that work best in your schedule. This is honestly one of my favorite features of Google Calendar now.

Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is a meal delivery service that does the prep work for you. I recently got the opportunity to try this amazing program. After a long day at work, I came home to a box filled with materials for three meals. Each meal’s materials were in their own box and the recipe booklet was included. I was able to cook my meals in about 30 minutes and enjoy all the delicious and fresh flavors. They offer great packages and take the meal prep out of the picture so you just have to focus on cooking. A Win – Win in a chaotic life.

No matter what you end up cooking this week, just remember to have fun and never stop learning something new to help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Let the #MightyGoalMonday community know what you cooked this week!

Do not forget to share your achievements, tips, and/or comments with me and the #MightyGoalMonday community. It is much easier to accomplish goals when you have others completing the same goals.

Share your #mightygoalmonday accomplishments and tips


#6 MGM Recap -Make Time for Lunch!

This week, I was able to sneak away from my computer long enough to enjoy my yogurt and peach outside on a bench. This week was challenging for me to take time away from my work, however, I made it possible by taking mini breaks to enjoy snacks and a portion of my lunch outside. Just because your week is busy does not mean you can’t step outside for five minutes at a time throughout the day. Continue to stop and enjoy your lunch as time goes on and hopefully you will be able to truly take a quality lunch break.

New to Mighty Goal Monday?

Find out more about why I started this blog series and what other MGM’s you have missed and can start at any time.

Together we can accomplish small but MIGHTY weekly nutrition goals.

I received a complimentary box from Hello Fresh but this post is not sponsored and all thoughts are my own.

#4 MGM: Increase Your Water Intake

Mighty Goal Monday - Increase your water intake

MGM #4 – Increase you water intake

Staying hydrated is essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, I know it can be challenging to not only know how much you should be drinking but also to make sure you reach the recommended amount on a daily basis. There are days, I can tell I am not well hydrated because I usually am in a fog for the rest of the day. But there are also days where I know I am never letting go of my water bottle. Meaning that I know I need to work on being more consistent. (FYI, I’m always working on completing the Mighty Goal Monday challenges as well.)

This week’s Challenge: Increase your Water Intake by Drinking at least 70% of your recommended intake at least 5 times this week.

Let me explain.

Some of you may believe that the recommended amount of water is always 8 cups. As time has gone on, that recommendation has since changed. What I learned and practice in my Dietetic Internship was individuals water consumption should range from 30mL/kg body weight to 35mL/kg body weight. Now that can be confusing if you are not calculating nutritional needs on a daily basis like I am.

*Please note that this is a general range for individuals if you have a medical condition that requires more or less water intake go off your medical doctor’s recommendations.*

Here is an easy way I like to look at it.

There are 30mL in 1 ounce (and 8 oz equals 1 cup) Since the minimum amount of water you should be consuming is 1 oz/kg body weight, you can calculate your minimum water intake by determining your weight in kg.

A Simple Calculation

Your weight in pounds/2.2 = your weight in kilograms(kg).
Your weight in kilograms = the minimum amount of water in ounces you should be consuming
To determine the number of cups you should be drinking, take your ounces divided by 8.

Confused, please contact me and I can help you understand it better.

Again, for this week’s challenge, I want you to increase your water intake by consuming 70% of your minimum amount of water at least 5 times this week. You can do it!

Water & Your Body

I am sure you have heard before that your body is mostly made up of water, about 60%. Which means it is important to replenish your fluid levels throughout the day to compensate for your losses. Water loss in the body occurs through urination, sweat, fecal matter, and even respiration. Without enough water within your body, problems could occur. Water is essential for maintaining every system within the body, as well as, carry nutrients from your body. On top of this, water is also needed to help prevent constipation. So if you ask me, water is pretty essential in our bodies.


“If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.” – This phrase is very common in the medical field and is true. By the time your brain sends out thirst signals, your water levels have already be depleted, causing dehydration to occur. When dehydration occurs it is possible to become light-headed, dizzy, or confused. If these symptoms occur, especially while being active or outside, please take some time to drink some water to replenish your depleted water stores. Additional health consequences can occur if dehydration is an ongoing problem.

Benefits for staying Hydrated

Improve your workouts.

Maintaining a good hydration status is important when wanting to improve your performance. Drinking water before, during, and after a workout can reduce fatigue from occurring, as wells, improve your endurance.

Boost your Mood and Brainpower.

Drinking water is important when it comes to your brain. If you notice yourself starting to go into a fog, whether it be through mood or thinking, drinking water can help. Studies have shown when dehydrated, there is a negative decline in both cognitive thinking and overall moods.

Ways to increase your water consumption

Carry a water bottle with you

Always having a water bottle (especially a reusable water bottle) is necessary if you are always on the run or sitting at a desk. When you have it on you, you are more likely to drink water opposed to not having a water bottle at all. My water bottle collection is always growing and I feel empty if I don’t have one with me. My favorite water bottles are Tervis water bottles because they are durable and double insulated. (I’ve had my Tervis cup for over 6 years now and it’s still my favorite one to carry!)

Try different alternatives to water

I am not talking about drinking soda or coffee. Instead look for sparkling waters or flavored waters. When choosing alternatives to water, make sure there are no calories or sugars as water does not have either. LaCroix is a great sparkling water brand that offers a large variety of flavors.

Infused Water

Adding real fruits can be a great alternative to plain water. I bought this pitcher and fell in love with it. It is so easy to make a large batch of infused water and have it throughout the week. My favorite fruits to infuse are strawberries, watermelon, lemon, lime, and orange. Another refreshing combination is cucumber and mint! The best part about infused water is you can make them whatever you are in the mood for or whatever extra fruit you might have. The possibilities are endless.

Overall, staying hydrated is essential when it comes to living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Start this week off strong with a large glass of water with breakfast, on your commute into the office, or with your morning workout.

Do not forget to share your achievements, tips, and/or comments with me and the #MightyGoalMonday community. It is much easier to accomplish goals when you have others completing the same goals.

Share your #mightygoalmonday accomplishments and tips

Together we can accomplish small but MIGHTY weekly nutrition goals.

Mighty Goal Monday #3 Recap

Were you able to eat a balanced meal for at least 8 meals this past week? A balanced meal contains all the food groups to provide all the nutrients your body needs. I hope you got creative and found a new recipe that incorporates all the food groups. I was loving my taco salads that I loaded up with veggies, beans for protein, cheese & yogurt dressing for dairy, thin pretzels for grains that I ate with salsa, and a side of fruit. As time goes on, I hope you find it easier to make balanced meals without even thinking about it.

New to Mighty Goal Monday?

Find out more about why I started this blog series and what other MGM’s you have missed and can start at any time.


#3 MGM: Eating a Balanced Meal

#3 MGM Eating a Balanced Diet

Mighty Goal Monday #3 – Eating a Balanced Meal

It’s no secret that most Americans (including myself) are not eating a balanced meal 100% of the time. I know there are days where I am struggling to get fruits and vegetables in my diet. (I am not perfect and one of the main reasons I started Mighty Goal Mondays – to help myself as well.) With Mighty Goal Monday #1 and #2, we worked on incorporating more vegetables and fruits into our diet. So it only makes sense to work on eating balanced meals more frequently.

This week’s challenge is to consume a balanced meal for at least 2 meals at least 4 days this week or consume at least 8 balanced meals throughout this week.

When you break it down this is about 40% of your meals, if you consume three meals a day the whole week. By starting with a small goal like this, you can focus more on the quality of your goals over the quantity behind the goals.

What is a balanced meal?

A balanced meal consists of consuming food items from all five food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. When you look at your plate, ½ of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, ¼ of your plate should be protein, ¼ of your plate should be grains, and you should have a serving of dairy on the side. These guidelines have been developed from MyPlate, the nutrition standards that replaced the Food Pyramid in 2011.

Why is it important to consume a balanced meal?

When it comes to consuming a balanced meal, the health benefits are amazing.

Variety of Nutrients 

Not only are you increasing flavors throughout your plate but you are also consuming a large variety of macronutrients(carbohydrates, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

Weight Control

By having a proper balanced diet, you are consuming the recommended amount of foods groups. You most likely are increasing your fruits and vegetables and decreasing your carbohydrate and fat intake. (Something that can be challenging at first but worth it in the long run.) With a balanced meal, it allows you to get a better control on your diet and increase your consumption of nutrient dense meals.

Decrease in Disease Risks

Diabetes and Cardiovascular Heart Disease are common medical conditions that exist today. With both of these diseases, a poor balanced diet can be a risk factor. Therefore, it becomes important to maintain balanced meals to help protect you from certain disease that can be associated with poor diets.

Easy ways to make your meals balanced

Bring back fruits and vegetables at the dinner table

In the 2015 Study of America’s Consumption of Fruits & Vegetables, it was concluded that the decrease in vegetable consumption is a result of the common vegetable dish being removed from the dinner table. When I was a kid, there wasn’t a family dinner that did not have a vegetable dish on the table. Something that back then I would dread eating but now something I make sure to incorporate at family dinners. This can be something simple like raw fruits and vegetables or steamed vegetables.

Make dishes that contain the right amount of all food groups.

Crockpot meals and new one-pan dishes are a great way to get a balanced meal. However, when making the dishes it becomes important to put more vegetables in dishes than the grains and protein. Something that might be hard at first but will help in the long run.

Here is a great resource of 30 Dinners from 30 Dietitians.

Get a plate or product to help you out

Portion controlled plates are a great tool when it comes to wanting to eat balanced meals and watch your portion sizes. I really enjoy portion sized tupperware since I am usually eating on the run. There are so many products out there that can help you reach the goal of consuming balanced meals.

So start this week off strong with figuring out what meals you are really going to focus on consuming balanced meals.

Social Media Mighty Goal MondayDo not forget to share your achievements, tips, and/or comments with me and the #MightyGoalMonday community. It is much easier to accomplish goals when you have others completing the same goals.

Don’t forget to use #mightygoalmonday and #nutritioninchoas on your social media posts so I can repost.


Together we can accomplish small but MIGHTY weekly nutrition goals.

Mighty Goal Monday #2 Recap

How did everyone do with Mighty Goal Monday #2? I personally find myself craving fruits more because of the natural sugar found in them. My sweet tooth gets the sweetness that I am looking for and my body is getting great vitamins and minerals. A WIN, WIN in my book. So personally, it was easier for me to increase my fruit servings. However, just because I increased my fruit servings I knew I still needed to maintain my vegetable servings from MGM #1. Remember as MGM continues, it is important to still build off the past posts.

New to Mighty Goal Monday?

Find out more about why I started this blog post series and what other MGM’s you have missed and can start at any time.

#2 MGM: Increasing your Fruit Intake

Mighty Monday Goal #1 Recap

Well, MGM #1 is in the books. How did everyone do?! Personally, I know I could have done better as there was a day during the week I didn’t have one single serving of vegetable! So I get it when someone says “I went the whole day and didn’t even realize it.” Which goes to show how little we think about our nutrition sometimes and how important it is to reverse that.

This week I want you to do your best (we are only human) to still work on adding more vegetables into your diet, as well as, incorporate this week’s Mighty Goal Monday.

Increasing your fruit intake

This week’s Mighty Goal Monday is: Increase your fruit intake.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, 80% of the U.S. population is consuming less than the recommended amounts of fruit. This is a HUGE percentage, but I definitely can see this in both myself and my clients eating habits.

The Dietary Guidelines recommend the following daily fruit consumption.

  • Women ages 14 & Up should consume 1.5-2 cups a day
  • Men ages 14 & up should consume 2-2.5 cups a day

This week, I challenge you to increase your fruit intake by 1 cup/serving per day.

Again, for some you this might be pretty easy to do, or you might already be getting the recommended amount everyday. Others (like myself) may struggle to reach the recommended amount each day which makes it important to put forth the effort to try our best.

How much is a serving?

Since it can be hard to determine how much is really a cup of fruit, here are some common fruit serving sizes.

Apple – 1 small apple (2.25” diameter) or ½ large apple (3.25” diameter)
Banana – 1 large banana (8” to 9” long)
Grapes – 32 grapes
Grapefruit – 1 medium grapefruit (4” diameter)
Orange – 1 large (3 1/16” diameter)
Peaches – 1 large peach (2.75” diameter)
Pear – 1 medium pear (2.5 per pound)
Plum – 3 medium or 2 large plums
Strawberries – about 8 large strawberries
Dried Fruit – ½ cup

Health Benefits of Fruits

There are so many great benefits to incorporating fruits into your diet. Not only can they help curb your sweet tooth with their natural sugars but they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Common nutrients found within fruits are Vitamin C, potassium, and  folic acid. By increasing your intake in fruits you also are lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes. All the more reason to enjoy fruits in your diet!

How to increase your fruit intake

Shop Smart

When it comes to purchasing fruits, look to see what fruits are in season or on sale at your local grocery store. Pears, cranberries, and pomegranates are all fruits that are in-season now. (Try putting pomegranate seeds on your avocado toast for extra flavor, it’s delicious!) Also, shop your local Farmer’s Market. Fall is a great time for a Farmer’s Market and the fruit is usually ready to eat right at that moment.

Buy pre-cut fruits

Constantly on the go? Look for pre-cut fruits in your grocery stores. Not only will this save tons of time but you can grab and go on your way out of the door! Fruit platters are a great way to get a variety of pre-cut fruits.

Creating dishes with fruits in them

You don’t have to eat fruit by itself. Make a fruit salad with all the fruits you enjoy. Mix fruit into your yogurt, oatmeal, or cottage cheese. Make a dessert packed with fruits!

Here are some of my favorite fruit recipes.

Homemade Applesauce – Since fall is a great time to go apple picking, I always make homemade applesauce. This is a great recipe from Healthy Ideas Place for homemade applesauce.

Blueberry Avocado Muffins – Gimme Some Oven

DIY Fruit Pizza – Mitzi Dulan, RD

Get creative when it comes to ways to increase your fruit intake!

Start the Week of Strong!

Social Media Mighty Goal MondayStart tomorrow morning off with a serving of fruit at breakfast and continue to increase your fruit intake by 1 cup each day. It might be challenging for some and easier for others but that is part of the journey. No matter where you are on your journey to living a healthier lifestyle, you can continue to make small improvements that lead to greater accomplishments.

Remember, it can be a lot easier to reach your goals when you have a support team behind you. So don’t forget to share your progress and challenges with the Mighty Goal Monday team!

I’ll make sure to repost every #mightygoalmonday or #mgm I see!

Together we can accomplish small but Mighty weekly nutrition goals.


#1 MGM: Adding Vegetables into your Diet

The time has come to kick off Mighty Goal Monday and to say I am excited is an understatement.

Adding vegetables into your diet

This weeks goal is: Adding vegetables into your diet

In 2015, Produce for Better Health Foundation published the Study on America’s Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables. Within this publication, it was reviled that the average American consumes only 57% of the recommendations of vegetables every day.

At first, I was shocked to read this statistic, but then I thought back to my own diet. Looking back at my past week, there were days where I had no vegetables at all. I’m not perfect but this was a wake-up call for me and inspiration for a Mighty Goal Monday!

So this week, I challenge you to add at least 1 cup/serving of vegetable each day. 

For some, you might already be enjoying 2-3 servings of vegetables a day and that is awesome! If that is the case, try to add one more serving, whether it be another side dish at dinner or a snack.

Others (like myself) might not even have one serving of vegetables a day. Therefore, just by increasing your vegetable intake by one serving you are starting to build a healthy habit that will be great in the long run.

Why Vegetables?

As I am sure you remember from health class in middle school, vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals you body needs. Different types of vegetables offer different vitamins and minerals. Making it important to eat a wide variety of vegetables. For example, your dark leafy greens are packed with Vitamin K, red and orange vegetables contain Vitamin A, and most vegetables are filled with fiber.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines really broke down the average intake of vegetables compared to the recommended amount. Not one age group in both men and female have an average intake within the recommended vegetable intake. Which means the average American could be lacking in important vitamin and minerals due to such a low intake of vegetables.

Great ways to add vegetables into your diet

Know your Vegetables – Everyone knows your standard vegetables: carrots, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, corn, etc. However, learning about new vegetables can help increase new ways of enjoying them. Below is a table for the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines that provides a great breakdown of all different vegetables.

Know your vegetables

Bulk up Crockpot Recipes with Vegetables – When it comes to making dinner, I understand it can be hard if you are constantly on the go. That is why I have always loved Crockpot dinners, especially when the weather starts to cool down. Nothing is better than coming home to dinner already cooking. When it comes to adding the vegetables into the crockpot, always add WAY more than what is recommended. It is so much easier to eat vegetables when they are cooking in your favorite crockpot meals.

Make your Own Veggie Dip – Can’t eat raw vegetables plain. No problem! Make your own veggie dip with Greek Yogurt! These are some of my favorite recipes that take less than 10 minutes to make. Not only are you making a dip that you will like, but you are also making a dip that is packed with protein! Win Win!

Easy Greek Yogurt Dips by Family Fresh Meals (3 different recipes)
Lighter Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip by Cooking Classy
Pantry Greek Yogurt Buffalo Ranch Dip by Cupcakes & Kale Chips


Now what? 

Social Media Mighty Goal MondayStarting this week, I want you to try to add 1 cup/serving of vegetables each day to what you are already consuming. It might be challenging for some and easier for others but that is part of the journey. No matter where you are on your journey to living a healthier lifestyle, you can continue to make small improvements that lead to greater accomplishments.

It can be a lot easier to reach your goals when you have a support team behind you. So don’t forget to share your progress and challenges with the Mighty Goal Monday team!

Together we can accomplish small but Mighty weekly nutrition goals. 




Mighty Goal Monday

Mighty Goal Monday Coming Soon

I am excited to announce I will be starting  one of my first blog posts series!

MIGHTY Goal Monday 

With September just a week away, now is the time to start something new and fun. Like myself, I know everyone is living on the go in a chaotic life. However, that is not an excuse to use when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. With this in mind, creating a blog series around small achievable goals came to mind.

I personally see better results when I set smaller goals that I can achieve. Turns out I am not the only person like that either. According to a study done by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, when it comes to losing weight sticking with smaller goals helped keep weight loss on track. Short-term goals become more manageable which ultimately leads to a great chance of success.

Social Media Mighty Goal MondayWhat to expect

Every Monday Morning, I will publish a new MIGHTY goal so you are prepared to start the week of right! These goals will be achievable throughout the entire week. For some they might be challenging and others might already be completing the goals. Do your best, these goals are meant to help you start, get back, or advance a healthy lifestyle. No one is perfect but starting small can help make a MIGHTY impact on your health overall.

Ultimately, I hope to build a community that is focused on helping one another help achieve the goals. Get your friends and family involved as well! Having a strong support team at home or the office also makes a difference.

Remember to share your progress and achievements through social media and Nutrition in Chaos website and social media platforms.

Together we can accomplish small but MIGHTY weekly nutrition goals. 

Mighty Goal Monday Posts 

9.4.16 – Adding Vegetables into your Diet 
9.11.16 – Increasing your Fruit Intake
9.18.16 – Eating a Balanced Meal 
9.26.16 – Increase your Water Intake
10.3.16 – Get Active
10.10.16 – Make Time for Lunch
10.17.16 – Explore your Cooking Skills
10.24.16 – Achieving Optimal Sleep
10.31.16 – Re-Evaluate your Diet
11.7.16 – Choose the Best the Option
11.14.16 – Try Something New
11.21.16 – Enjoy the Holidays


Eggstatic for eggs

Eggs are my best friend, and they really should be yours as well! I have at least two eggs, three times a week. So needless to say they are an essential part of my diet. Eggs have been known to have a bad reputation in nutrition. However, that is slowly disappearing and I could not love the science behind eggs more than I do now.

The Breakdown of Eggs

The Egg Nutrition Center offers a great informational page that shows the breakdown of an egg. But here is the quick rundown that shows how awesome eggs really are!

  • EggsThe average egg contains 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, and around 13 essential vitamins and minerals.
  • The protein found in eggs are required for building and maintaining lean body mass.
  • The egg yolk contains the most of the nutrients found within an egg. Nutrients include Vitamin D, Choline, and antioxidants to help decrease the development of cataracts.
  • Eggs are considered a complete protein since they contain all nine essential amino acids.

What the Research is Saying

Previously in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the recommendations were to only consume four egg yolks per week due to the high cholesterol content. Now in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, the recommended cholesterol levels are omitted because of new research studies being published.

In a recent study completed by the University of Eastern Finland, it was concluded that consuming a high-cholesterol diet or one egg a day did not increase the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Around 1,000 men aged 42 to 60, with no diagnosis of Cardiovascular Disease, participated in the study and were followed up 21 years later. The highest control group consumed one egg per day with an average cholesterol level of 520 mg. Based on the results, the study concluded that the consumption of eggs was not an associated risk of CHD.

Another study done by the University of Eastern Finland looked at the correlation between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes. This correlation has not been studied intensively and results have not been conclusive. However, in this recent study, it was found that men that consumed about four eggs per week lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by 37%. Opposed to men that only consumed one egg per week. Eggs contain nutritional benefits, like glucose metabolism and low-grade inflammation, which lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.

I understand that these research studies do have relatively small sample populations and there may be different factors associated with the research. But these are small research studies that are starting the conversation on how eggs can be accepted again in the American diet.

My favorite ways to enjoy eggs

Avocado Toast & Fried Egg

fried egg - ways to eat eggsIf I have more than ten minutes to enjoy breakfast, I always am making avocado toast with a fried egg on top. This flavorful breakfast is packed with so many healthy benefits. Avocados offer amazing healthy fats to help my brain function in the morning and of course my eggs are packed with protein and nutrients I need within my body. Pair this breakfast dish with a glass of 2% milk and you have a breakfast packed with protein to keep you full until your next snack or meal.

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

When I do not have time to sit down and enjoy breakfast, mainly because I am most likely running late. I reach for a premade breakfast burrito. There are so many recipes out there that are great for making freezer breakfast burritos. One of my favorite recipes is from Budget Bytes. Of course, I usually load mine up with eggs.

Hard Boiled Eggs on my Salad

Another great way to enjoy eggs are when they are hard boiled. Hard-boiling eggs is easy and can be done on a Sunday night when you are getting your upcoming lunches ready. Adding eggs to salads is a great way to add protein, helping you stay full.

Eggs and VeggiesWhile doing my egg research I came across a study conducted by Purdue University. It states that adding eggs to a salad filled with raw vegetables can increase the absorption of carotenoids. Carotenoids are fat-soluble nutrients that help decrease inflammation and oxidative stress. The fat inside the eggs helps increase the absorption. Results showed a higher absorption rate when participants consumed a salad with three whole eggs compared to no eggs at all.

Based on these findings, it also shows the importance of consuming the whole egg since the yolk contains the lipids to help with absorption. So get creative with your salads and experiment with your taste buds on which raw vegetables taste better with eggs. (My favorite is raw peppers of all colors with hard boiled eggs.)

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

Going along with hard boiled eggs, there are times where I am craving an egg salad sandwich. (I think my internship at a long-term care facility created that craving.) But, I am not a big mayo fan – the key ingredient in egg salad sandwich. Avocados save the day once again! Instead of using mayo, use a mashed up avocado. Season with some salt and pepper and throw on a piece of bread or enjoy with crackers. Something new and delicious!

As always, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you!