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Hello! I hope you’re staying safe and healthy. In light of COVID, many of us are going through a shift in schedule and routine. Please take time for wellness by staying in touch with loved ones, staying active and eating healthy. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me, I’m happy to help. I am still offering 1-on-1 nutrition coaching services, however they are all conducted virtually until further notice. In the meantime, if you are looking for some light reading on healthy diet and lifestyle, including tips on meal prepping, grocery shopping, plant protein and much more, check out Meta Nutrition Healthy Living Blog. In collaboration with Meta Nutrition, I, along with other registered dietitians, cover some of the most popular nutrition topics and questions that you might also have! If you have suggestions on what you’d like to learn more about, send me a message. I hope you enjoy.

Until next time,

Julie

How to organize the fridge for better food storage

Top Shelf: Ready to eat foods, leftovers, prepared salads, cooked meats, herbs. They should be covered or placed in sealed containers. They’re stored away from raw foods to prevent cross contamination.

Middle Shelf (Shelves): Continuing with leftovers, dairy products, eggs, cream, yogurts, cooked meats.

Lower Shelf: Raw meats, poultry, fish. They should be individually wrapped or in sealed containers. These foods should be stored at the lower shelf to prevent drippings and cross contamination into other foods.

Fruit and Vegetable Crisper: Fruits and vegetables. Drawer should be kept closed. The crisper drawer is intended to extend the life of your fruits and vegetables. Be careful not to stock this drawer too tightly to allow adequate ventilation.

eggs nutrition

Demystifying common questions about eggs

Common question about eggs #1: “Is it healthier to only eat the egg white?”

It’s neither healthier nor unhealthy to only eat the egg whites. The reason is the egg white and yolk provide different nutrients. Their nutrients really don’t overlap (except for protein and small amounts of Vitamin B’s). If you’re only eating one part of the egg, you’re missing out on the other nutrients. Your decision to eat different parts of the egg may be influenced by what it’s been said about egg’s cholesterol content and their risk to disease, but it should also depend on the overall nutritional quality of your diet. To further clarify egg’s role in disease risk and to answer the burning question of how many eggs should you eat in a day, keep reading.

To help visualize the difference in nutrients, look at the comparison below. It’s obvious that the egg white is low in calories due to the fat free content and it’s a good source of protein, but it doesn’t provide many vitamins or minerals. On the other hand, a whole egg provides more calories (nearly 4x more than the egg white alone) and it has a substantial amount of cholesterol, but it has many more vitamins and minerals.

Common question about eggs #2: “How many whole eggs can I safely eat in a day?”

Most people’s concern with eating whole eggs is due to the egg yolk’s high cholesterol content. It’s an understandable concern, considering one egg yolk has 187 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol. Some health experts recommend a healthy adult to have under 300 mg of dietary cholesterol a day, so an egg yolk would provide more than half of the day’s worth, seems like a lot right? While older dietary recommendations have mostly given cholesterol a bad reputation, it’s important to keep in mind cholesterol is necessary for many of our body’s physiological and structural functions, including construction of the cell membrane, hormone production and other vital functions. For the most part, our body can produce its own cholesterol. We also get some dietary cholesterol from foods such as eggs. But don’t lay off the eggs just yet. Eggs are a tasty and affordable source of high quality protein with many healthful vitamins and minerals. Sure, they have cholesterol however, more recent studies have suggested that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t seem to stimulate an increase in cholesterol levels the way foods with saturated fat and trans fat do (saturated and trans are often found in processed foods such as desserts, baked goods: cakes, cookies, pastries, donuts and croissants, sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and ribs or ice cream — foods that are best eaten in modest portions, sparingly).

Getting back to the question, most healthy adults can safely eat up to 7 whole eggs a week. For egg whites only, more could be safely eaten since it’s a great source of protein. Additionally, I recommend to consider one’s health history and look at the other sources of dietary cholesterol in the diet. If not contraindicated by medical conditions and your diet consists majority of whole foods, minimal processed foods and mostly limiting added sugars, trans fat or saturated fat, you might even consider having 1-2 whole eggs a day without a problem.

Eggs are a natural powerhouse of nutrients, so enjoy some eggs in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.

10 ways to use avocado in your next recipe

Who doesn’t love avocados? This fruit is loaded with nutrients, uniquely creamy and delicious and it’s versatile for so many tasty dishes. We’ll start with the nutrition it offers and then get into a list of 10 easy avocado recipes to highlight this amazing fruit that many of us love.

Nutrition
According to Haas Avocado Board, 1/4 of a whole avocado provides 60 calories, 6 g fat (which 3.5 g are monounsaturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 0 g trans fat), 0 g sodium, 190 mg potassium, 3 g total carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber and 1 g protein. It also provides magnesium, iron, Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin B’s, Vitamin E.

Some of its health top benefits include:
Monounsaturated fat content: The heart healthy fat that is also found in olive oil, sesame oil and nuts. Include monounsaturated fats in your diet to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, lower the bad cholesterol, and raise the good cholesterol. A quick tip on identifying unsaturated fats from saturated and trans fat (unhealthy fats) is to look at their ability to solidify at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are liquids at room temperature while saturated fats are solids at room temperature.
Vitamins and nutrients: Avocados provide the antioxidants vitamin E and C that are great for the skin and decreasing inflammation. They also provide tryptophan, a precursor to the “happy chemical” called serotonin that helps regulate mood. The combination of tryptophan, antioxidants and healthy fats makes it a powerful food for our brain and potentially can help with mood and depression (to learn more about the bidirectional relationship food and mood have, follow this link to todaysdietitian.com)
Satiety factor: Avocados contain both healthy fat and fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer. A whole avocado provides about 10 grams of fiber, making it an excellent source of fiber. (To read more about the benefits of fiber, follow this link to eatright.org). For those of us who are cautious about portions and calories, don’t be afraid of avocados for its touted high caloric content. It’s really a nutrient dense food! There are many other less healthy foods that provide just the same amount of calories, if not more, that don’t provide quite as many nutrients as an avocado. And the best part is avocados are easily shareable with others by cutting them into half or quarter sections, so do include this healthy and nutritious fruit in your diet.

Avocado recipe ideas
1. Guacamole
Easy guacamole recipe (source: thesassydietitian.com)
Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole (source: californiaavocado.com)
Creamy Greek Yogurt Guacamole (source: justataste.com
Kale Guacamole (source: makingthymeforhealth.com)
Tropical Guacamole (source: tasteandtellblog.com)

2. Avocado appetizers:
Avocado Cucumber Shrimp (source: natashaskitchen.com)
Avocado Crostini (source: joyfulhealthyeats.com)
Avocado Black Bean Dip (source: allrecipes.com)

3. Avocado Sushi
Avocado Cucumber Roll (source: loveandlemons.com)
Smoked Salmon and Avocado Roll (source: bbcgoodfood.com)
Crab and Avocado Hand Roll (source: thekitchn.com)

4. Avocado ice cream (source: asweetpeachef.com)

5. Avocado Salads
Avocado Tuna Salad (source: natashaskitchen.com)
Avocado Chicken Salad (source: healthystepsnutrition.com)
Mango Avocado Chicken Salad (source: therealfoodrds.com)
Chopped Avocado Salad with Eggs and Toasted Walnuts (source: jackieunfiltered.com)
Avocado and Grapefruit Salad (source: todaysdietitian.com)

6. Avocado Pesto Sauce (source: eatingwell.com)

7. Blueberry Avocado Pancakes (source: californiaavocado.com)

8. Avocado Yogurt Dressing (source: californiaavocado.com)

9. Avocado Smoothie Bowl Recipe (source: betternutrition.com)

10. Grilled Avocado Pizza (source: californiaavocado.com)

For the best avocados to eat alone or use in your recipes, follow this link to learn about how to choose, use and store avocados properly. It includes useful instructions and video tutorials (source: californiaavocado.com).

If you love avocados as much as I do and have some favorite avocado recipes you can share, message me! Thanks for reading.

What is a Jujube?

Jujube (pronounced joo-joo-bee) is also known as a red Chinese date. It’s a fruit with a name that’s not only fun to say, but it has health benefits that have long been recognized in Chinese herbal medicine. The jujube fruit can be eaten fresh or dried. If you get the chance to try one fresh, you’d be surprised how similar it tastes to a sweet mini apple. It’s crispy like an apple and it holds a seed inside, so don’t forget to spit that out. When jujubes are allowed to dry in the sun until they shrivel and brown, they are still edible, but they will taste more like a date. Commonly, the dried versions are used to make jams, desserts, teas or soups. This fruit is originally cultivated mainly in South Asia, however nowadays, it grows well throughout most of the southern half of North America. To buy them, they’re usually available at Chinese or Korean grocery stores, Chinese medicine halls, and Amazon.com.

Aside from its good taste, curious to learn more about this fruit’s health benefits? There’s good reason to add this into your diet. Keep reading to find out the great benefits it can provide.

  1. Its high in Vitamin C and fiber. Just a 3-oz (100-gram) serving of fresh jujube, or about 3 fruits, provides 225 to 530 milligrams (mg) of Vitamin C and 10 grams of fiber. For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 mg a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day. For fiber intake, it is recommended to have 25-35 grams of fiber a day.
  2. It may help promote better sleep. In Chinese herbal medicine, jujube has been traditionally prepared as a tea that was used against insomnia. While there’s a lack of strong evidence to support its effectiveness in fighting insomnia, people without insomnia may find it supportive of healthy sleep throughout the night.
  3. Antioxidants content may boost immunity. Jujube is rich in vitamin C, which is thought to have powerful antioxidant effects. In addition, this fruit is rich in several antioxidant compounds, including polyphenols and flavonoids, compounds that are naturally found in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, spices, herb, tea, dark chocolate, and wine. They can act as antioxidant to neutralize harmful free radicals that would damage our cells and increase our risk of conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
  4. Improve blood circulation. The fruit contains minerals like potassium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, and zinc, a combination of these minerals are necessary for maintaining a good heart health. Eating jujubes may help improve the blood flow in the body.

Intrigued to try jujubes? Have them fresh or used dried in a recipe. Below are some of my favorite recipes.

An easy Chinese red date (Jujube) tea (Credit to doyou.com)
Jujube tea with goji berries (Credit to foodbaker.com)
Jujube ginger tea (Credit to Golubkakitchen.com)
Chinese ginseng chicken herbal soup (Credit to Yummly.com)
Watercress pork soup (Credit to Yummly.com)