3 Top Exercise at Home Tips

Not sure how to fit an effective workout into your new schedule?


Here are my 3 top tips for free, effective, any ability workouts on YouTube (that I actually use) when I don’t have time to go to the gym, or it’s just to cold/hot/crazy outside:


1. For total body conditioning, toning, and getting your heart rate going, Autumn Calabrese from BeachBody is my go-to because she always has someone in the group showing an adaptation (ex: stepping instead of jumping), she recommends stopping forwater/pausing the video whenever needed and she has 10 minute, 20 minute, 30 minute etc., length videos. You can use weights, or not, it’s up to you! Any workout is better than no workout!


2. For yoga, I like Yoga With Adriene because you can literally type in anything into the YouTube search bar (ex: 10 minute post-run yoga for hamstring stretch, or 7 minute wakeup yoga) and she has it. She’s calm, knows her stuff and is comfortable to watch (some videos are a bit racy on YouTube for yoga). All you need is a mat, but you could do the workout without a mat too.


3. For people who like to dance, I love the Fitness Marshall. He teaches you how to dance to popular songs like Britney Spears, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, etc. Over the years, the dances and song choices (and backgrounds of the video) have seriously improved. I can’t get enough of the Fitness Marshall! You will not only burn a TON of calories, you will be laughing the entire time. Now get going and start your workout!FitnessMarshall

Healthy BBQ Side Dishes

Love to attend or host BBQs, but don’t love the typical meat-focused menu? Try something new this summer and bring protein-packed iron-boosting lentils to the party!

Here are some lentil-buying tips to get you started (click on the recipe link below for recipes and everything else you need to know about lentils):

The most commonly found lentils in grocery
stores are split red lentils and whole green
lentils – often these can be found near the rice
or soup mixes, or ethnic flavours aisle of your
local grocery stores.


Healthy Fats Healthy Heart

Need to lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol or raise your “good” HDL cholesterol? Eat some heart healthy avocados! This green pitted creamy tropical fruit can be swapped with your usual butter to upgrade your heart health. Click on the PDF below for some example meal plans to make it easier for you to plan your day the heart healthy avocado way. Thank you Hass Avocado Board for these healthy meal plans and recipes!


Performance Nutrition Update

Last month, I spent some time at Division I Duke University in North Carolina learning the latest in college sports, pro sports, and military performance nutrition. Check out some behind-the-scene photos of Duke Football. You’ll notice a strength record with the name Paul Asack on it. He is an amazing athlete I used to run track with in the summer (a long time ago… proud of you Paul!). Bonus: My dietitian colleagues from all over the U.S. and I completed a sweaty strength and conditioning workout on an indoor turf Duke Football practice field (see photos included in post).

What does a dietitian do for a sport or military performance team, you ask?

The role of a dietitian for a performance team:

  • Dietitian provides resources to coaches (education, support, recommendations)
  • Collaborate on protocols and strategies used
  • Collects and consolidates data, stays current on research
  • Body composition, performance supplements, vitamin supplementation
  • Members of performance team: athletic trainer, sports medicine physician, sport dietitian, strength & conditioning coach, sport psychologist, clinical psychologist, sport scientist


Questions a dietitian may ask an athlete/performance team member:

  • Tell me about your current eating habits.
  • How many times do you eat per day?
  • How many times do you eat outside of your home?
  • Do you avoid any foods?
  • Do you take supplements?
  • Do you know which supplements are banned by the NCAA?
  • How much water do you drink before, during, and after a workout?
  • How easy/difficult is it for you to maintain your weight?
  • What are your weight goals?
  • How important is this to you?

Fun facts:

Did you know 74% of female D1 athletes did not meet the minimum recommendations for carbohydrates and 50% did not meet the minimum needs for protein in a 2013 study of 52 D1 athletes?

Dietitians can calculate your fluid needs, carbohydrate, fat and protein needs depending on your sport and your position in your sport (ex: pitchers need more calories than third basemen).

How are Traditional Sport (Athletes) similar and different to/than Tactical Athletes (Soldiers)?

There are many similarities and differences like regular access to food and fueling stations and variable access to food and sanitation. The biggest one is outcomes:

Win/Lose vs. Life/Death 


UMass Students and Zing Bars!



Last week, the Nutrition students attending UMass Lowell kept their blood sugar steady trying tasty Zing Bars as I discussed with them the many pathways to becoming dietitian. This was my second time talking to the students at UML. Thank you for having me back Professor Keyes! These bright students will all go far! They asked GREAT questions. For example, “Should I join AmeriCorps?” The answer is YES!


If you are interested in trying Zing Bars, you can purchase Zing Bars at Wegmans and Star Markets. You can also purchase the bars at zingbars.com. Zing Bars are created by dietitians (so you know you can trust the nutrition and quality!) and they are vegan, gluten-free AND non-GMO. Bonus: They also fit amaZINGly well in small pockets!

8 Tools You Should Have in Your Kitchen

Image via The Wire Cutter
Ever rent a house instead of staying in a hotel? Have more control over your meals by having access to a kitchen at all hours of the day and night. Cook with local ingredients, spare yourself endless mediocre meals at tourist traps, and spend more time relaxing, knowing that you know what you’re eating!
Use these 8 kitchen essentials in your home & pack them in your travel kit!
1. Twelve-inch skillet: A good skillet is where most meals come to life and others go to burn. Good options are: sturdy, warp resistant, have heat distribution, and oven-safe handles so you can go directly from stovetop to oven. You can buy a French-style carbon steel skillet for about half the price of expensive models (around $60 for a 12 inch), and they’re every bit as reliable. Carbon steel skillets build a patina similar to cast iron skillets (another inexpensive option), so they become nonstick the more you use and season them. They also can be used on ceramic cooktops, whereas cast iron skillets cannot, as they scratch the surface and cause cracking. Carbon steel skillets are extremely durable.
2. Fish spatula:  A fish spatula features a stiff, slotted metal blade that flexes just enough to dislodge delicate fish fillets from the skillet or grill. The blade is long enough to support an average-size fish fillet and prevent it from breaking under its own weight when transferring it to a platter.In addition to flipping fish, this spatula is good for stirring sauces; acting as an impromptu strainer; removing food from the oil when frying; prying the errant, stuck cookie off a baking pan; or any number of soon-to-be-discovered tasks.
3. Heatproof rubber spatula: Rubber spatulas are great for everything from spreading frosting on a cake to scrambling eggs to getting that last bit of something out of a bowl. Over the last few years, the trend has been to make most rubber spatulas heatproof, which keeps them from melting at the bottom of the pot while stirring.
4. Tongs: A good pair of tongs should be sturdy enough to flip a heavyweight steak but precise enough to transfer cherry tomatoes without squashing them. You can use the same type of tongs for the stove and grill. One medium-size pair, about 14 inches long, with a solid spring, is appropriate for 98% of your tonging needs.
5. Wooden spoon: In an age of plastic, wooden spoons have become a rarity. They don’t scuff pan bottoms, are lightweight and, in addition to stirring sauces, they can be cross-utilized. Even the cheapest versions seem to last for years.
6. 8-inch chef’s knife: “A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one.” A dull knife causes you to force your way through the food, increasing your chances of slipping and cutting yourself, whereas a sharp knife glides through the food with little effort. All you have to do, in theory, is put the knife in the right spot and let it do all the work. A sharp budget knife is more valuable than a dull high-priced knife, at least in the short term. A knife is only as good as you treat it. Sharpen it regularly, keep it clean, and don’t abuse it by hacking through bones!
7. Honing steel: This is the steel rod that chefs slide their knives against at an approximate 20-degree angle.  Honing steels reduce burs and inconsistencies on the knife blade that result from constant use. Diamond-coated and ceramic rods are more expensive but tend to be more effective. Regardless of the type, it’s safe to assume that behind every sharp knife is a blunt honing steel.
8. Whisk: You can make do with a fork when you’re in a bind, but whipping cream is nearly impossible. A whisk can blend ingredients thoroughly and quickly, incorporate air into egg whites, and form an emulsion between yolks and oil.
Image via Williams-Sonoma
Adapted from: The Essential Kitchen — Nine Items You Shouldn’t Cook Without, By Bryan Roof, RD, LDN, Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 14 No. 10 P. 104

Organic Complete Plant-Based Protein Shakes

Looking for a nutrient-packed protein drink that’s not full of ingredients you have no idea how to pronounce? Try #Orgain Organic Nutrition complete protein shakes. This shake is good for athletes, people who are too busy to sit down to eat, vegetarians, people who are trying to get more protein in their diet and anyone trying to boost their nutrition without weird ingredients. My personal favorite flavor is iced mocha. Orgain drinks are Gluten-Free, Soy-Free and Non-GMO. It’s also great for those of you trying to eat a more plant-based, natural diet without artificial sweeteners, hormones, and food colorings. Click the link below for coupons to try a shake today! 
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