Spring Menu Inspiration

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The fresh air and vibrant colors of Spring inspire our menu this season.

The flowers and trees bloom as do our palates for colorful fruits and vegetables. Broccoli, strawberries, mango, peas, mint, carrots, green beans – their rich colors reflect the abundance of antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamins that these fruits and vegetables are chock full of. Their crispy and juicy textures are showcases for their fiber and water content.

The spring is a celebration of longer and brighter days that inspire you to be outdoors and the season inspired us to create even more grilled and roasted menu items. Don’t forget, your Fresh Diet meals can be taken to your local park – enjoy a picnic or an early season trip to the beach. Our curried chicken salad with apples and raisins in a pita can be taken just about anywhere!

Here are a few more thoughts just to wet your appetite for spring:

Welcome the flavors of yummy carrot and cinnamon to your menu with our new carrot cake. How will you be able to resist cinnamon french toast souffle or carrot pancakes on your early spring mornings!

How about a Coconut Crusted Mahi Mahi that reminds you that we are getting closer to the summer and vacations.

And there’s nothing better than fresh berries when strawberries are at their peak…For a snack you can’t beat at the end of the day, try the strawberry shortcake ricotta cups.

All of our new recipes are inspired by nature and the welcome changes of spring when cold days and early darkness disappear bringing much awaited lightness to our days.

3 Fad Diet Truths

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Spring Clean your Diet
From the Nutritionist

Find your daily rhythm, ditch the detox fads and spring ahead to healthy permanent weight loss. Whether you are preparing for spring break or bikini season which is just around the corner, here is my guide to the most common diet fads and how to ensure you don’t get caught up in them!

1. Lemons lemons and more lemons: Countless plans out there tout the master properties of lemons for increased weight loss, curing upset stomachs, and guaranteeing inches lost when consumed alone with no solids for increments of 10 days at a time. Lemons do have lots of great attributes: Lemons are a powerhouse for cleansing the liver, increasing metabolism and helping when we hit that plateau during weight loss and lemons are packed with vitamin C providing immune health and improved digestion. However, be wary of those lemonade cleanses which can decrease metabolism, decrease energy and lack essential nutrients the body longs for including fiber, healthy fats, calories for energy and multiple vitamins and minerals. At least one 8oz glass of water with fresh lemon is a great addition to any diet and can definitely aid in weight loss. The key is balance and incorporating it into your healthy lifestyle. Lemons are not a quick fix solution.

    1. 2. Just juice: Juicing has become a phenomenon of sorts. While they’re available fresh pressed, cold pressed, over the counter, and even shipped over night, this sensation definitely has its pros and cons. Things really get dicey when we talk about juice cleanses for days at a time. Just a 3-day cleanse to lose 5 pounds! A 7-day cleanse for permanent weight loss! Lose inches in days with these super food juices. Wow – That would be magic! So, what should we believe? Whether you are looking to fast, juice or just detox remember these tips. Juicing can spike blood sugar in many individuals when consumed in large volumes and as the sole source of energy for days. Many juices are high in sugar and lack the best components of these so-called superfoods including fiber, phytonutrients and a large number of vitamins and minerals. A better alternative would be having smoothies containing the whole foods. The idea of detoxing can work wonders for training our taste buds, getting back on track after holidays or vacations and simply clearing out our digestive system, but balance is critical to success. Next time you decide to embark on a juice fast or cleanse, consult your Dietitian on tips for your specific body, health and goals.

3. Cut the carbs: We are all guilty of this at some point or another whether trying to fit into those jeans, preparing for a trip or dialing down the bloat. We also likely know what follows when we eliminate carbs from our diet and reintroduce them later…weight gain. Let me begin by mentioning that healthy carbs found in whole grains are not the cause of weight gain and do contain fiber, minerals and many even double as proteins like quinoa. The real goal is to choose the right carbs, watch our portions and have them earlier in the day to avoid bedtime bloat. The worst feeling is hitting your goal, taking a bite of a sandwich and immediately gaining 3 pounds. Trust me I have been there. But consistency wins the race. Ultimately we want to live our life, eat healthy, travel, socialize and yes… even eat out. This is all possible when we keep in mind the fundamentals of healthy ingredients, balancing portions and keeping a healthy gut. When our digestive system is working at its fullest potential we can efficiently absorb nutrients and eliminate waste helping shed those pounds permanently.

Top 3 Nutrients for Eye Health

EyeHealthBlogPostFebruary is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month. Macular degeneration includes blurry vision, color brightness, lighting and facial recognition. Causes can be related to obesity, high cholesterol and family history among others. But wait! There is a bright side! Experts have long said lifestyle and a healthy diet are the best ways to keep eyes healthy. By making a few dietary changes we can not only help keep our eyes healthy but can also avoid the common causes of AMD with a healthy diet.

Top 3 nutrients for eye health:

Lutein: This is a nutrient found in many leafy greens and our retinas! By filling up on greens including spinach, kale, turnips, collard greens and broccoli, you will be filling up on antioxidants critical in the aging process. Lutein also greatly reduces the risk of cataracts which is when the lens becomes cloudy causing us to see things slightly “frosted” and blurry.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is critical for the function of our eyes and is long known to help improve vision. A carrot a day keeps the eye doctor away! Beta-carotene which is responsible for the orange pigment in many fruits and vegetables has been linked to Vitamin A and vision quality. Beta carotene acts as a precursor to Vitamin A deficiency which can lead to blindness, ulcers of the cornea, and excessive drying.

Omega-3: This fatty acid can be found in foods like salmon, fortified dairy and flaxseeds. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in our retinas and helps with the structural support of our eyes. It’s protective components in addition to those of Vitamin E and C can also help protect our vision.

These foods can significantly help keep our eyes healthy. Also note that excessive intake of sugar and carbohydrates can negatively impact vision by causing us to lose focus on how sharp images look. Also, high blood pressure actually causes blood vessels to bust in the retina impacting blood flow and function. Remember to fill up on a variety of colors and healthy fats to ensure you are not only protecting your vision but also the function of your entire body.

Healthy Valentine’s Day Swaps

 

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Hearts, kisses, candles, and candy-filled store shelves to remind us the day of love is upon us. Though Valentine’s Day leaves us surrounded by chocolate and other food temptations, that doesn’t mean we have to indulge and lose sight of our health goals. Stay on a healthy track and enjoy your celebration of love with the swaps below.

Gift: Instead of chocolates, give a fruit basket. All the sweetness without the guilt.

Portion-control: If you do choose to indulge in some chocolatey goodness, be mindful of portions. Have 2 to 3 pieces of bite-size chocolate or share your dessert with your partner. Also choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate for a heart healthy treat.

Date: If possible, include some exercise in your date, instead of only dinner. If you’re the planner, pick a physical activity like bike riding or indoor rock climbing together or even a spa date.

Food: If you find yourself dining on your date, order wisely. Choose grilled or baked fish or chicken, vegetables like broccoli or spinach, or have a salad with dressing on the side, and a fist-size of whole grains such as brown rice. Do not get lost in the sauce! Calories hide in sauces. Instead, use lemon, salsa, or balsamic vinegar. Compliment your meal with a glass of red wine instead of a cocktail, which can be loaded with sugar.

Celebrate love with your partner without sacrificing your personal health goals.

Care About Yourself

Love is definitely in the air but before you pour your heart and your savings into your friends and loved ones, take time to love and appreciate yourself. Caring about yourself is a wonderful thing, though sometimes easier said than done. However, it is important to love yourself inside and out before you are able to fully love another. Try these tips to get started on a lifetime love affair with yourself.

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  1. Accept your body: Everybody, more particularly EVERY BODY, is different. Accept and own your unique curves, muscles, hair, cellulite, freckles, and every other part of you. Embrace your perfect teeth and not-so-perfect legs because they are a part of you. Once you begin to accept and embrace your imperfections you become empowered. This empowerment within you then exudes vibrance, confidence, and poise.

Celebrate your best assets: It’s hard to stay healthy, active, and even motivated all the time. Don’t shy away from celebrating your health and fitness accomplishments. Show off your hard-earned thighs in your favorite pair of jeans. If you don’t love your body, how can you expect anyone else to? You’ve worked hard. Now kick up your heels and show off those awesome calves.

Cultivate a healthy respect for your body: Your body is a machine — sophisticated, intelligent and highly sensitive. Respect your body by learning and understanding what’s best for it. What may work for your best friend or significant other may not work for you. Find the foods that satisfy your body and the fitness routines that work for your physique and lifestyle. Be sure to follow a health and fitness plan that is motivating and fulfilling for your body and you.

Challenge your body: The human body is not only a machine, but a master at adaptation. What may be hard for you this month, may become second nature next month. If you find that the weight is no longer coming off or your workouts no longer challenge you, you’ve hit a plateau. Don’t get stuck, step it up! Try something new, add another layer, take another lap – always keep progressing. Health, like love, requires a lifetime effort.

Be realistic about your body: We’re often plagued by media images that are edited beyond recognition and these images rarely represent a variety of body types. If you’re constantly seeing beauty standards that don’t reflect your body type, it can be easy to become convinced that your body is flawed or unappealing. It may be a slow process, but we can re-train our eye to accept a broader, more inclusive definition of a beautiful body. Avoid comparing yourself to these concentrated representations of beauty. Remind yourself at every chance that you are beautiful.

 

Remember the way you treat yourself sets the standard for how others treat you.

 

Mediterranean-Inspired Menus

Our meals are created by renowned Chef Silvia De Antonio and inspired by Mediterranean Diet principles.

We know healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland and unfulfilling. That’s why our menus are designed with fresh, bold flavors and are perfectly portioned to leave your taste-buds as happy as your waistline.

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Heart Happy

According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. This is shocking to say the least, especially considering all the things we can do to prevent this. That’s right! There is hope. Fresh Diet not only follows Mediterranean principles scientifically proven to prevent and manage heart disease, but also offers the peace of mind of having one less thing to worry about. Worry, anxiety, stress, doubt and unhappiness can all contribute to heart disease. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t only mean exercising and balancing stress. It also means striving to be your best you. As we approach Valentine’s day what better way to approach heart health than with love- love of life and the people in your life.

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In our office we have the Holstee manifesto printed on our wall. This manifesto was created to remind us of what life is about: inspiration and purpose. Heart health is not only about eating healthy and exercising but it is also about our quality of life. Love of life can be present in so many ways, however many of us, including myself, can easily get caught up in daily conundrums. This week I conducted a happiness survey. I sampled random Fresh Diet employees at our main office. The survey was greeted with slight confusion and responses including “wow, that survey really made me think.” Overall it was evident that many employees have not taken the time to recognize their own happiness. In fact, when employees were asked if there was a gap between what they are doing in life and what they would like to do, 45% of employees agreed there is a gap. Whether you are feeling unhappy, lost, in limbo or absolutely amazing, here are a few things you can incorporate in your daily life to be well on your way to a healthy heart.

Self Nurture: Just a few weeks ago I found myself overwhelmed and slightly more anxious than usual. Many of us at Fresh Diet have started taking yoga classes just up the road from our office. This definitely came in handy when our instructor taught us how to stop, breathe, count to 5, exhale and be present. Repeat as many times as you need. As simple as it sounds, simply breathing, clearing your mind and finding your space of calm is the best way to handle those moments. As for your heart, not only will this decrease your blood pressure but it will help manage stress.

If you aren’t happy find a way to get happy: Sounds simple right? Being unhappy can cause inflammation, high blood pressure and stress on your entire body. The mind is a powerful thing. We can all find something to be grateful for, to love, to appreciate and to look forward to. When life hits you and troubled times are inevitable, always remember one thing you love and one thing you are grateful for and immerse yourself in that everyday — even if only for a few minutes. Not only will this calm you down but in turn it will decrease cortisol leading to healthier weight management and decreased stress on the heart. Place a picture of loved ones on your desk, incorporate diffusers at home and the office for aromatherapy and surround yourself with positive words, images and sayings. Little details can make the biggest impact.

  1. Path of perfection: Don’t get caught up in living someone else’s version on happiness. Next time you find yourself tempted to “keep up with the Joneses” remember the best prize in life is true happiness and love. Money can’t buy happiness. The best clothes, jewelry, cars, or homes can’t prevent heart disease. The intention is to self nurture your heart and connect this with your mind and physical body to be the best you in every aspect of life. Easier said than done? The true key is going day by day. Finding what makes you happy and surround yourself with it.

This Valentine’s day take time to love yourself and the people in your life who calm you down, make you a better person, and keep you excited! Life is short and stress may be inevitable sometimes, so let Fresh Diet take care of your food while you focus on your heart. Remember to love, be present, and be grateful. In the words of the Holstee Manifesto, “This is your life, do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. Life is simple.”

For the Win!

After Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest “eating” day in America. Wings, pizza, beer, chips and dips, chili — you name it and you’ll probably be eating it. It’s not uncommon to get caught up in the excitement of the game, food, commercials or let’s be honest, the halftime show. With the right game plan you can have fun and retain that healthy lifestyle you’ve been working so hard to maintain. Remember these 3 tips to skip the belly bulging foods.

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  1. Plan to win: Hosting a game day party at your house? Taking some goodies to a potluck? Don’t expect healthy options from everyone else in attendance. Whether you are in control or simply attending as a guest, a sure way to avoid caloric sabotage is by making healthier options a part of the spread. We recommend taking sliced veggies like carrots, cucumbers, celery and broccoli. You can use these high fiber and low calorie options to dive into dips that would otherwise be consumed with bread or salty chips.
  1. Start your day right: Anticipating a Super Bowl feast? Your first instinct may be to starve yourself until game time and that’s not a good idea. This would lead you to consume a larger volume of food at one time, which will not only leave you bloated but will take longer to digest. Maintain small portions by snacking between meals and drinking lots of water. Beer might be a requirement in some households but remember to start and end your Sunday with a warm glass of lemon water to help with digestion.
  1. During the game: Mingle, watch the game, and socialize! The worst thing you can do is hang out by the food or alcohol or sit for hours. By staying around these items you are more likely to keep grazing on calories you are not even aware you are having. Eliminate the temptation by watching the game, being attentive and mingling with other guests. Standing, walking around, and staying as active as you can will help reduce temptation and keep your body burning calories.

When in doubt think about how you will feel Monday morning at the office. There is nothing worse than feeling stuffed, bloated, and a little hungover. Stop this before it happens by preparing in advance and being mindful.

Wishing you a Sunday fun day no matter who you may be rooting for!

 

Power of Bacteria

blog 1-29Our bodies, our digestive systems and specifically our guts are filled with living bacteria. But all bacteria is not bad. Healthy bacteria exists and has many benefits including decreasing inflammation and helping to create a healthy environment for our gut to efficiently absorb nutrients and digest foods. When we don’t take proper care of the bacteria in our gut, we are at a higher risk of inflammation that can lead to disease and other health concerns. Use the tips below to create a healthy gut environment!

Stimulation is key: Gut bacteria plays a vital role in digestive health. In order to do so, it needs to be constantly stimulated by the right foods.  Leafy greens, colorful fruits and vegetables, and natural whole grains are always the best way to go. They stimulate the gut bacteria for healthy digestion. When gut bacteria goes unstimulated, they can eat away at our intestinal walls which weakens the lining and leaves us at high risk of inflammation and immune concerns.

Sugar, fat and all that: Try to avoid refined sugars and processed foods as they digest without stimulating your gut bacteria. I recommend consuming whole grains which will stimulate your healthy gut bacteria to function at its fullest potential.

Probiotics: Probiotics also play a critical role in gut health. By consuming probiotics found in, yogurt, kefir and kimchi –to name a few, you will replenish gut flora. Gut flora decreases bloating and boosts immune health. *Fun fact: Probiotics also contain live bacteria cultures that maintain healthy gut integrity.

Relax: Last but certainly not least, if you find yourself often stressed or irritable, this can result in digestive inflammation. When we get stressed out, our bodies respond which can take a physical toll on our health, specifically our digestive lining. It is important to calm down and try filling up on healthy foods so we can function better in our day to day lives. By doing this, you won’t just be more at ease, but you will be able to better manage your weight, decrease bloating and most importantly stave off potential diseases. *Just remember if something is eating away at you, bacteria will eat away at your gut.

For better immune health, stimulate your gut and your mind by making healthy choices.