Thursday, October 6, 2011

Healthy living is always in fashion

It's easy to feel like you're not leading a healthy diet. Sweets and carbs are very tempting and easy to give in to. It's important to make sure you're receiving enough daily protein. I'm guilty of not always maintaining a healthy diet. There's always room for improvement and change though. :)

Sargento has teamed up with dietitian Elizabeth Ward who focuses on “mini-meals” as wholesome snack options.

The idea is that a mini-meal snacking routine, complete with nutrient-rich and protein-packed foods like Sargento cheese paired with carrots or celery sticks, can help snackers avoid mid-afternoon slumps and fill in dietary gaps.

As a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association for nearly 10 years, Elizabeth was featured in nearly 1,000 print and broadcast interviews, including CNN, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, and ABC Radio News. She has also conducted numerous satellite media tours, and has appeared on ABC World News Tonight to discuss MyPyramid for Kids.

Ward has been a speaker at more than 140 professional meetings, including The American Dietetic Association, The Florida Dietetic Association, The Massachusetts Dietetic Association, The Pennsylvania School Food Service Association, The National Association of Catering Executives, and the Tenth International Congress of Dietetics in Paris, France.

I had a great opportunity to ask Elizabeth some nutrition questions. Sometimes you feel like you're making healthy eating choices, but you don't really know the truth unless you ask someone who truly knows about food.

What does Elizabeth recommend for healthy eating on-the-go?
On-the-go schedules can make it difficult to snack smart because we have less time to plan ahead. Instead of choosing wholesome snacks, it’s easier to grab low-nutrient foods, like chips, cookies and candy. It’s important to plan for healthy snacks that can keep you from binging and eating the wrong foods.

Nutritious mini-meals can help balance daily food intake, incorporate essential nutrients and stabilize energy levels. Mini-meal snacking can also help to reduce binges and cravings. Individually wrapped snacks that are never-processed, like Sargento Reduced Fat Colby-Jack Sticks and Reduced Sodium Mild Cheddar Sticks offer snackers easy, portion-controlled options that help limit calorie intake and provide a healthful on-the-go option.

What is the recommended serving of protein that one needs on a daily basis?
The best snacks combine fiber and protein to keep you feeling full for longer; adults require about 6 ½ ounces of meat, chicken, or seafood, or the equivalent, on a daily basis. Try incorporating protein-rich foods, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, nut butter, hummus and eggs in your snacking routine.

Is dark chocolate (for the health benefits) something that a person can have a little bit of a few times a week?
Dark chocolate has a number of health benefits, when it’s consumed in moderation. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can help prevent aging, and flavonoids to relax blood pressure. It also provides feel-good compounds that elevate your mood. It’s even good for your heart! Depending on your calorie budget, you can have dark chocolate every day. Eat the darkest chocolate you can; the darker chocolate contains more cocoa, which is what provides the health benefits. Unprocessed cocoa has the highest levels of beneficial compounds.

I thought her answers were wonderful and provided me with great insight as to how I can manage my diet better. I would have loved to ask her more questions, but I know she's very busy.

*Disclosure* Thank you to Elizabeth Ward and Sargento for this opportunity. I received complimentary coupons from Sargento for this post. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own and not influenced by anything else.

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