Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tips for Healthy Trick-or-Treating

Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something healthy to eat! So, that is not the original version of the song. But, I do work with pediatric patients and this is a common question during the latter part of the year. With all the celebrations that occur in the latter part of the calendar year, one of my most frequently asked questions is “how do I eat healthy during the holidays?”.  It is Halloween or Fall Festival time. So, here are a couple tips for eating healthy with candy.

Snack right

  • Make sure your kiddos are well-fed before going trick-or-treating. This can help prevent meltdowns and decrease the amount of candy they “need” while trick-or-treating.

Travel light

  • Have your children carry a small trick-or-treat bag. Once it is full, you can stop trick-or-treating. And, it can save the adults from carrying around huge sacks of candy for multiple children. It also allows for you to be finished trick-or-treating with less candy.

Set boundaries

  • You are the parent, so you are allowed to parent your kids. One part of parenting is setting healthy boundaries. These boundaries are helpful to prevent the ever dreaded candy tummy ache.
    • Choose a small zip-top bag or a set number of pieces of candy for your child to fill with their favorites. 
    • Also, it may be helpful to set a number of pieces of candy to eat per day. 


  • “It is better to give than receive.” Sharing candy is a great way to teach this lesson. After your child has chosen their favorite candy from the mother-load they received from trick-or-treating, they may choose who to share their candy with. Family (aka mom and dad), siblings, cousins, relatives, neighbors, or friends at school. 


  • Offer your child a chance to trade-in candy for a non-food prize or outing. For example, 10 pieces of candy gets them a small toy, stickers, pencils, erasers, side walk chalk, crayons, coloring books, or bubbles. For bigger prizes, 50 pieces gets them a trip to the zoo, children’s museum, or movies.

Have some fun, healthy snacks

  • I have seen some pretty cute fall snacks lately. Stayed tuned for tomorrow's post for healthy snacks!
Hope these tips are helpful to you! Have a happy and safe candy-filled (in moderation) Fall!

For more tips and tricks for healthy eating, follow RDtipoftheday on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Healthy Changes from Fast Food Favorites

I recently had the opportunity to speak at a weight management class for pre-teen girls and their families. During the breakout session, I had the opportunity to talk with 10 of the girls and their families. We talked through many of the struggles with food. One question came up about eating out. Can I eat out and be healthy? Can I eat out at all? Do I have to cook all my food from scratch? Can I make good choices while eating out?

I was happy to share that there are many exciting health changes in the food market. The menu-labeling act can help inform customers of what they are actually choosing. 

Knowledge is power.

I think that this act has caused some restaurants to think twice about what they are feeding their customers. One example is Burger Kings new “satisfries”. These fries are ~20% less calories and ~27% less fat than the normal fries. So, a small “satisfry” is reported to have 270 calories and 11 grams of fat compared to the normal small fry with 340 calories and 15 grams of fat.

Chick-fil-A has started offering more grilled options. Their Chargrilled chicken sandwich has 310 calories and 3.5 grams of fat compared to the original chicken sandwich which has 440 calories and 18 grams of fat. So, the grilled option has 30% fewer calories and 80% less fat.

On the kid’s menu, they also offer grilled items. The 6-count Nugget kid’s meal is 200 calories and 10 grams of fat. The 6-count Grilled Nuggets have 110 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. The grilled nuggets have 45% fewer calories and 72% less fat.

I am a big proponent of small, healthy changes leading to a healthy lifestyle. I am not saying to eat fried or “satisfried” foods every day is a healthy choice. But, am excited about restaurants offering healthier options to its patrons.

Have you made any healthy lifestyle changes lately?

P.s. This is not a sponsored post. These are my own options, and Burger King and Chick-fil-A have no idea I exist. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Packing Lunch in 6 Easy Steps!

You survived back-to-school or back to work time. Either way, bringing your lunch to school or work takes some . . . well work. But this planning can provide economical and health benefits. Here are some tips for making packing healthy lunches easy.

Stock your pantry and refrigerator
Keep your favorite food stocked in your home. Here are some examples to add to your favorite lunchtime staples.

·      Lean protein (tuna fish, peanut butter, nuts, and lean, low sodium lunch meats)
o   Add protein and a savory component to your meal.

·      Whole grains:  whole grain breads, tortillas, crackers, or rice
o   Add fiber and B vitamins.

·      Diary: low fat cheese, yogurt, and milk
o   Help you meet your vitamin D and calcium needs.

·      Fruit: fresh, frozen, pre-portioned, canned (in it’s own juice)
o   Add color, micronutrients like folic acid and vitamin C, fiber, and can help satisfy a sweet tooth.

·      Vegetables: bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber,
o   Add color, micronutrients, fiber, and crunch.

Keep it Simple

Pack a variety of food groups by following these six steps to help you build a balanced meal:

1) Choose a grain
2) Add a source of protein
3) Add a dairy
4) Choose a fruit 
5) Add a veggie 
6) Add a healthy fat

The goal is to include as many food groups as possible. This will help you build a better plate by add a variety of flavors and nutrients to your diet.

If time and energy are willing, make it fun! Try containers with multiple compartments and make your own Lunchables. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes. Or, leave a note of encouragement for your child or spouse.

Here are a couple of my real life examples.

From top left: 
1) Grilled garlic pepper chicken, steamed broccoli, crackers, and cheese. (fruit was a snack and is not pictured).
2) Spinach wrap with turkey, hummus, lettuce, and cucumbers. Grapes
3) Light chicken salad on a croissant with tomato and lettuce, cucumber, reduced fat ranch, peaches.
4) Turkey, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, and provolone sandwich with fruit salad (pineapples, strawberries, and blueberries)

For more lunch tips and tricks. Follow RDtipoftheday on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Enjoy!