What to Eat For Breakfast on Mediterranean Diet

Are you following the Mediterranean diet? Here are four breakfast ideas to try:

1)     Fancy avocado toast – Upgrade heart healthy avocado toast by adding smoked salmon to some fiber packed whole grain bread. Drizzle with olive oil for extra flavor and heart healthy monounsaturated fat.

2)     Shakshuka – Fry up some tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs in olive oil and poach eggs for a delicious and filling breakfast. Dunk in some fiber rich whole grain bread.

3)     Greek yogurt with fruit and granola – Protein packed with probiotics, this yogurt is tart, but satisfying. Add in some fresh berries and whole grain granola.

4)     Overnight oats – Fiber filled overnight oats are simple, delicious, and make a great on the go breakfast. For additional protein, add in some Greek yogurt, walnuts for heart healthy fat, and sweeten with dates, fresh, frozen, or dried fruit.

Nutrition Advice From a Registered Dietitian to Manage Gestational Diabetes

  1. Make sure to eat meals and snacks with carbohydrates throughout the day for blood sugar stabilization. Eating too many carbohydrates at one time can cause blood sugar to rise too much

  2. Combine carbohydrates with protein and heart healthy fat. Combining foods containing protein and healthy fats at meals and snacks help slow carbohydrate absorption. For example, having nut butter with a banana for a snack instead of just the fruit or having tomato sauce with turkey meatballs on pasta instead of plain pasta with butter

  3. Eat a breakfast that is rich in protein and fiber

  4. Choose higher fiber whole-grain carbohydrates. Whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta (or chick pea pasta with a higher protein/fiber content). They are digested more slowly than simple carbohydrates

  5. Include non-starchy vegetables such as tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, spinach, carrots as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Aim for at least 3 – 5 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day. Choose fresh or frozen varieties with no added sauces or salt

  6. Choose whole fruits instead of juices as they provide us with more fiber and less added sugar. For fruits - one serving is equivalent to 1 medium piece of fresh fruit such as an apple or orange or 1/2 cup canned fruit – make sure to drain and rinse if in syrup

  7. Dairy also contains carbohydrates. Choose low-fat or fat free milk or yogurt. Opt for yogurt that has higher protein and fewer grams of sugar

  8. Ensure you have a protein source at all meals. Protein helps to stabilize blood sugar. This may include skinless turkey or chicken, fish (check fish that is appropriate for pregnancy), lean meat, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, or nut butter

  9. Limit portion sizes of sweets and sugar sweetened beverages. Split desserts if out to eat. Watch portion size if at home 

  10. Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat including full fat dairy, meat, and butter. Limit portions of starchy foods including white potatoes, bread, pasta, and rice

Simple Ideas to Add Healthy Fats Into Your Diet

Are you looking to add more healthy fat into your daily diet?

Here are five Dietitian approved ways:

1)Oils - Use olive or walnut oil as salad dressing. Add slivered or chopped nuts to your salad.

2)Avocado - Prepare avocado toast, add sliced avocado to sandwiches, wraps, or salads.

3)Flax seed - Sprinkle flax seed onto oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or in smoothies

4)Nuts & nut butter - Snack on nuts such as walnuts, almonds, or pistachios. Or, spread nut butter on toast.

5)Fatty fish - Enjoy fatty fish like tuna or salmon for dinner tonight!

Plant Based Diets

Guest post contributed by Dietetic Intern Emily Rex

In recent years, there has been a surge of research and talk about plant-based diets. When defining a food or diet that is plant based, it simply means that there is nothing that comes from an animal within that meal or daily diet. Within the realm of this post, plant based will be the term used to define a diet without any animal products but with an emphasis on whole plant-based foods.

           Plant based diets have become increasingly popular, even if it means having one day per week or one meal dedicated to eating meatless or plant based. Plant based diets cut down on the resources needed to produce food, which makes them an environmentally friendly and sustainable choice. For example, instead of a farm growing grain to feed to a cow to eventually use for dairy or meat, the grain can be used directly to feed humans.

           If you choose to follow a plant based diet, ensure your meals are balanced and contain adequate amounts of protein and healthy fats. Healthy fats may include olive oil, chia seeds or flaxseeds, nuts, nut butter, and avocado. For protein sources, you may consider incorporating tempeh, tofu, nuts, seeds, nut butters, eggs, cheese, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese.

           An important point to remember is that if you eliminate meat and poultry from your diet, your diet will not automatically be a healthy diet if the focus is not to create balanced meals from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and plant based sources of protein. Any lifestyle modification does not happen easily overnight, so small steps of adding more plant based foods and recipes your diet can be helpful.

“Are eggs healthy”?

Guest post contributed by Dietetic Intern Emily Rex

“Are eggs healthy”? This question has been a reoccurring topic - are they beneficial or harmful to our health? The question stems from the assumption that dietary cholesterol is directly related to blood cholesterol, which causes fatty deposits and plaque buildup within our arteries, possibly leading to heart disease or stroke. We now know that dietary cholesterol is not the culprit of plaque buildup but rather saturated fats are of greater concern. Saturated fats, which are fats that remain solid at room temperature such as butter or cheese, play a more significant role in the production of cholesterol in the body than the dietary cholesterol that we would consume from an egg. Eggs are a source of protein and contain no carbohydrates or sugar.

Eggs can certainly have their place in a balanced diet, but proceed with caution if trying to lower your cholesterol. When looking to lower LDL cholesterol or the “lousy” cholesterol and raise HDL or the cholesterol we want to keep “high”, choose high fiber foods paired with your egg such as whole grain toast and healthy fat such as avocado. Consider trying egg whites as an alternative which contain zero milligrams of cholesterol and saturated fat.

Packaged Grab and Go Snacks for Busy Days

When it comes to snacking, it's important to pair a carbohydrate with some satiating protein to feel full for longer. With packaged items, ensure there's adequate protein and fiber, and choose the brand with the shortest ingredients list.

Here are four Elissa approved packaged grab and go snacks for busy days. These #simplesnacks are all non-perishable.

Skinny pop popcorn : Popcorn is a whole grain snack lower in calories and contains fiber. This particular brand has a few simple ingredients. Choose the individual pack to help with portions.

Trader Joe’s omega trek mix . #Nuts are an excellent, simple, and satisfying snack. They contain protein, fiber, and heart healthy fat.

Rxbars - These tasty and chewy protein bars use real food ingredients and have adequate protein and fiber. Our favorite flavors: chocolate sea salt and peanut butter chocolate.

Biena chick peas - Packed with simple and real ingredients, these crunchy and flavorful dried chick peas are a simple snack for the office, travelling, or to keep in your bag when on the go. Both sweet and savory options contain protein and fiber to keep you feeling full for longer.

3 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Cholesterol

Are you or your loved one interested in making lifestyle modifications to lower your cholesterol?

Here are three simple tips to help lower your cholesterol through diet:

1) Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Limit saturated fat intake found in meat and full fat dairy. Increase intake of heart healthy unsaturated fats found in nuts, canola and olive oil, and avocado. Recipe suggestion: avocado toast on whole grain bread drizzled with olive oil.

2) Fill up with fiber. Choose whole-grains like oatmeal and fill your plates with fruits and vegetables. You know what they say about beans. Beans, chick peas, and lentils are the magical fruits to fill up on fiber.Fiber helps to keep us full and reduces cholesterol absorption. Recipe suggestion: overnight oats topped with berries, flax, and walnuts.

3) Increase your good (HDL) cholesterol. Eat omega-3 fatty acids which are o.m.g so good for you! Certain fish, walnuts, and flax will provide you with omega-3 fatty acids. Aim to consume fish 2-3 times per week to help lower the LDL (“lousy”) cholesterol. Include salmon, tuna, and mackerel.