Tips to Recover from Holiday Overeating

holiday-overeating

Why does holiday overeating make it hard to return to normal eating habits?

1 – Stomach is physically larger – Overeating causes the stomach to become enlarged and it can take more food to provide the same feeling of satisfaction.

2 – Lack of sleep – This is probably the biggest culprit for me. I do not usually get good nights sleep during the holidays as we travel between families. A lack of sleep leads to elevated levels of the hormone ghrelin which causes you to feel hungry.

So, what can you do to recover from holiday overeating?

Get sleep.

First, go to bed at a reasonable time and waking up at close to the same time every day. This will allow the body to get back into its normal routine and better balance the hormones ghrelin and leptin (hormone that impacts your feelings of satiety).

Drink more water.

Drink a good 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning and a smaller 8-ounce glass about one hour before bed. Drink about 6 ounces of water with each meal and/or snack. If you are dehydrated you can feel false hunger pains, when what you really need is a drink of water.

Clear out the junk.

If you still have remnants of the holidays lingering in the house (i.e. Christmas candy and desserts) it’s time to throw them out. Out of sight, out of mind. Remove the temptation now.

Double up on vegetables.

It may take a few days or a week to feel satisfied again with a normal size portion of food for your meals. Instead of having a larger serving of protein, grain, or dessert, have a second helping of vegetables. Vegetables are a bulky, high fiber food that will help fill your stomach and keep you feeling satisfied longer.

Keep healthy snacks on hand.

Just because you throw out the Christmas goodies doesn’t mean you won’t have a craving for a snack during the day. Keep healthy options on hand, such as fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, fresh vegetables, and string cheese.

Do you struggle to turn healthy changes into long term habits? If so, you can access the free report How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Lifelong Habits HERE.

 

This article was originally published by Lisa Nelson RD and re-published with permission.

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How Food Can Affect your Mood (+ mood boosting recipes)

Evidence suggests that in addition to impacting our physical health, what we eat also plays a role in how we feel.  Food directly affects the structure and function of our brain and, ultimately, our mood as well.

You can test this out for yourself.  Pay attention to how you feel when you eat different foods.  You may notice that you feel better or worse depending on what you eat  — and not just in the moment, but the next day as well.  Healthier choices can help you feel better by boosting your mood, giving you more energy, and helping you think more clearly.

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Use these seven moods boosting tips and start feeling better today.

Eat regularly.  If your blood sugar drops you might feel tired, irritable, and depressed. Eating regularly and choosing foods that release energy slowly will help to keep your sugar levels steady.  Slow-release energy foods include whole grains (such as oats, farro, whole wheat bread), nuts and seeds, beans and lentil, whole fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado).

Quick tips:

  • Eat a balanced breakfast to get the day off to a good start.
  • Instead of a large lunch and dinner, try eating smaller meals spaced evenly throughout the day.
  • Limit (or avoid) foods that make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly such as sweets, processed refined grains, sugary drinks, and alcohol.

Stay hydrated.  If you don’t drink enough fluid, you may find it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. You might even start to feel constipated which is sure to put you in a bad mood.

Quick tips:

  • Aim for about 6-8 glasses of fluid a day.
  • Plain water is the healthiest option.
  • Tea, coffee, juices, and smoothies all count towards your fluid intake but be aware that these may also contain excessive caffeine, sugar, and calories.

Get your 5-a-Day.  Vegetables and fruit contain many of the minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, and fiber we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy.  Eating a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients. In addition, fiber will keep you feeling satisfied between meals and this is useful when you are trying to manage your weight.

Quick tips:

  • Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables all count towards your 5-a-day.
  • As a general guideline, one portion is about a handful, small bowl, or a small glass.
  • For ideas on how to get your 5-a-day, visit Fruits and Veggies: More Matters

Mind your gut.  Sometimes your gut can reflect how you are feeling emotionally. If you’re stressed or anxious this can make your gut slow down or speed up.  For good digestion you need to have plenty of fluid, regular exercise, fiber, and healthy gut foods including fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, beans and lentils, and fermented foods such as plain yogurt and kefir, natural sauerkraut or kimchi, and miso.

Quick tips:

  • It might take your gut time to get used to a new eating pattern, so make changes slowly to give yourself time to adjust.
  • If you’re feeling stressed or anxious and you think it is affecting your gut, try some relaxation techniques or breathing exercises.

Manage caffeine.  Caffeine is a stimulant. It can give you a quick burst of energy, but then make you feel anxious and depressed, disturb your sleep (especially if you have it before bed), or give you withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly.  Caffeine is in tea, coffee, chocolate, soda, and other manufactured energy drinks.

Quick tips:

  • If you drink tea, coffee, or soda, gradually switch to decaffeinated versions.
  • You might feel noticeably better quite quickly if you drink less caffeine or avoid it altogether.

Get adequate protein.  Protein contains amino acids, which make up the chemicals your brain needs to regulate your thoughts and feelings. It also keeps you feeling full for longer and this can help with weight management as well.  Choose lean meat, fish, eggs, low-fat cheese, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), soy products (such as tofu and edamame), nuts and seeds.

Quick tip:

 

   Eat the right fats.  The human brain is made up of nearly 60 percent fat. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for optimal brain health but they cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources.  So rather than avoiding fats, eat them. Include healthy fats with your meals everyday – such as oily fish (salmon, sardines), olives and olive oil, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), seeds (such as flax, chia, and pumpkin), avocados, and eggs. Quick tip:

      • Try to avoid any product listing ‘trans fats’ or ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ on the label such as some store-bought cakes and pastries. They can be tempting when you’re feeling low, but this kind of fat isn’t good for your mood or your physical health in the long run. In addition, these foods tend to be high in calories and make weight management difficult.

 

   Check out these mood-boosting recipes mood-boosting recipes and begin cooking yourself into a better mood.

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Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD


If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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Slow Cooker Barley and Bean Soup

The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that all adults eat at least half their grains as whole grains – that’s at least 3 to 5 servings of whole grains every day. The average American eats less than one daily serving of whole grains, and some studies show that over 40% of us never eat any whole grains.  We need to work on this!

There are a variety of different whole grains you can incorporate into your diet.

One whole grain that tends to be forgotten is BARLEY.

If you’ve never eaten barley plain, the flavor can be best described as “rich” with a mild sweetness.  Barley can be prepared and eaten in many ways:  added to soups and stews, as a hot side dish, mixed into a cold salad, or for breakfast like oatmeal.

blue bowl soupNutritionally, ¾-cup cooked barley contains 160 calories, 8 grams fiber, and 6 grams protein. It’s an excellent source of manganese, selenium, and thiamine and a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and niacin.

There has been enough research documenting barley’s role in protecting heart health that the United States FDA allows barley foods to claim that it reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, it can also promote a healthy weight. Barley contains soluble fiber, which reduces hunger and enhances feelings of fullness.

arrowheadmillspearledbarley

Barley is located in the grocery store in the section with the dry beans and rice. You may see it labeled as “pearled barley.”  This means that the hull is “pearled” or scraped off.  This is the easiest way to remove the particularly tough inedible hull of barley. During this process some of the bran is removed too, however this does not make a significant difference in the fiber content.

Barley is different than other grains in that the fiber is distributed throughout the grain kernel, rather than being concentrated in the bran.  This means that even pearled barley has a rather impressive amount of fiber.  Barley has 17% fiber which is the highest of all the whole grains. Comparing it to other whole grain foods: brown rice contains 3.5%, corn about 7%, oats 10%, and wheat about 12%.

Tips for cooking barley:  combine one cup of dry uncooked barley with three cups of liquid. This will expand to about 3 ½ cups of cooked grain. Whole grain barley can take 45 – 60 minutes to cook when simmered slowly. It can be helpful to use a rice cooker since you can cook it almost unattended.

Check out this delicious recipe for Slow Cooker Barley and Bean Soup.

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Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD


If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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Light and Fluffy Sweet Potato Pancakes

A lot of people ask me if sweet potatoes are actually good for them, which isn’t surprising considering the name suggests they’re loaded with sugar and starch. But don’t let their sweet nature fool you.  Sweet potatoes are off the charts nutritious making them a good choice for anyone interested in improving their health.  And if you’re working on weight management, a medium-sized baked sweet potato in its skin is only 100 calories!

Here are 7 health benefits of sweet potatoes:

Vitamin A.  A medium sweet potato has over four times the recommended daily amount of vitamin A which plays an important role in vision, bone development, and immune function. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, so be sure to eat your sweet potato with a little bit of fat, like a drizzle of olive oil, to maximize vitamin absorption.

Vitamin C. Like citrus, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, which helps fight infections, heal wounds, and absorb iron. A medium sweet potato provides about 35 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C.

Manganese. Sweet potatoes are a good source of manganese, which helps maintain normal blood sugar levels and optimal thyroid function.

Fiber. Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, a nutrient that bulks up food and keeps you feeling full longer. Fiber also regulates your bowels and lowers cholesterol. A medium sweet potato baked in its skin has 4 grams of fiber – the same as a ½-cup serving of cooked oatmeal.

Complex Carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes are made of complex carbohydrates that are released at a steady pace for a constant source of energy, so no sugar highs or lows to worry about. Eating the sweet potato skin will lower its glycemic index and provide additional nutrients as well.

Antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants compared to other vegetables. Antioxidants help reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Low in Calories. A medium sweet potato (2 inches in diameter and 5 inches in length) baked in its skin is only 103 calories making it an ideal choice to support weight management.

sweet potato pancakes with berries

One thing you’ve got to try for breakfast this fall are these super-fluffy, lightly spiced sweet potato pancakes.  You can’t taste the sweet potato outright making these pancakes a sneaky way to incorporate some veggies into breakfast. Topped with a drizzle of maple syrup, fresh berries, and chopped pecans, you’ll feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast.  Enjoy!

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Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD


If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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Eat Fruit! It’s good for you (+ delicious apple recipe)

Many clients ask me these questions.  Is fruit okay to eat?  Doesn’t it have too much sugar?

Yes, fruit does contain sugar.  However, the sugar in fruit is “natural” as opposed to “added” like the sugar found in cookies and other sweets.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans requirements – with at least half of this coming from whole fresh fruit.

Fruit is loaded with nutrients including fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; and some are a little more power-packed than others. For example, citrus fruit, apples, grapes, and all types of berries are particularly high in disease-fighting antioxidants. But you can’t go wrong with any fresh fruit. So, start with whatever is in season and local, and aim for variety.

dried apple slices

It’s apple season! 

Check out this infographic to learn more about which apples pack the biggest nutritional punch.

Keep hunger pangs at bay by snacking on healthy dried fruit with these Cinnamon Spiced Apple Crisps.

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Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD


If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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Your guide to making the best food choices

Energy density and nutrient density are two important terms to understand when making food choices.

Energy (or calorie) dense foods contain a higher number of calories per serving.

Nutrient dense foods contain a higher level of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients with little or no added sugars or fats that raise calories.

Think of the difference between potato chips and a plain baked potato, or sweetened yogurt and plain yogurt, or creamed spinach and steamed spinach. Adding fat or sugar to foods increases the calorie content, making these foods more energy dense.

bowl of potatoes

Most nutrient-dense foods are low in calories.

Choosing nutrient-dense foods more often allows you to consume a higher number of essential vitamins and minerals that promote good health, while avoiding too many calories that can lead to overweight or obesity.

Studies show that people who eat more nutrient-dense foods that are naturally low in calories (foods like fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, fat-free dairy products and lean sources of protein) weigh less than people who consumed more foods that are higher in calories and lower in nutrients.

Another benefit of nutrient-dense foods is that they are often high in water and fiber, which increases the volume without increasing calories. As a result, you can eat a larger volume of low-energy, nutrient-dense foods and lose weight while feeling satisfied.

Tips to reduce energy density and increase nutrient density:

1. Start lunch or dinner meals with a fresh vegetable salad to help you start to feel fuller. Use the least amount of salad dressing as possible. Dressing typically contains 100 calories or more per tablespoon — that’s the same number of calories in 14 cups of lettuce.

2. Eat a piece of fruit before a meal and you’ll consume fewer calories overall during the meal. One study showed that eating a whole apple before lunch reduced calories consumed at that meal by 15% compared to eating applesauce or drinking apple juice before the meal.

3. Choose a broth-based vegetable soup as part of your meal because the extra liquid in the broth, combined with the fiber in the vegetables, increases satiety with very few calories. One study showed that participants consumed 26% fewer calories and rated themselves as feeling fuller after eating a broth-based soup at the beginning of a lunch meal.

4. When you want something sweet, reach for fresh fruit like a handful of grapes or a small orange. Fruit contains both water and fiber making it a low-energy-density, high-nutrient-density food that contains a variety of nutrients including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote health with only 60-80 calories per serving.

5. Choose less processed foods like brown rice instead of white rice, whole grain bread instead of white bread, or whole grain breakfast cereal instead of a processed cereal. Whole grain foods contain more fiber, which helps us feel more satisfied after eating. They also contain more of the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

6. Instead of purchasing sweetened yogurt that contains more sugar and calories, choose plain yogurt and add your own fruit.

7. Replace energy-dense potato chips with nutrient-dense, low-calorie crunchy raw vegetables that are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Some fast food restaurants, such as Subway and McDonald’s, offer apple slices instead of chips or French fries to make choosing fruit easier.

Important take-away

Take responsibility for your food choices and eat to feel well.

Don’t get caught up in counting calories in a futile attempt to follow a strict weight loss diet.  Instead, use your knowledge of nutrient density to choose healthy foods most of the time and then, eat just enough by paying attention to your body’s signals of hunger and satisfaction.

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Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD

Reprinted with permission from http://foodandhealth.com


If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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7 Benefits of Eating Less Meat + best ever veggie burger

Have you ever considered going meatless as a way to improve your health? I’m not suggesting a full-fledged vegan lifestyle. I’m talking about taking meat off the dinner table one night a week – Mondays for example. There are many health benefits associated with substituting plants for animal products.

According to the Meatless Campaign, going meatless once a week can have the following health benefits:

  1. LIMIT CANCER RISK. Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
  1. REDUCE HEART DISEASE. Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, olive oil, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19 %.
  1. FIGHT DIABETES. Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  1. CURB OBESITY. Epidemiologic studies indicate that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and a lower prevalence of obesity in adults and children.
  1. INCREASE LIFE EXPECTANCY. Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality.
  1. IMPROVE DIET QUALITY. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intake of saturated fat and total fat.
  1. SAVE MONEY. Meatless meals are built around beans, lentils, vegetables and whole grains. These plant-based proteins tend to be less expensive and offer more health benefits than meat.

This is (by far) the best veggie burger I’ve ever had.  The taste is superb, and the texture is just perfect.

Vegan-Burger-Recipe-Photo-2-Copyright-CKatz

Here are some other ideas for Meatless Monday plant-based meals –

  • Tacos or burritos filled with beans, textured vegetable protein, or tofu rather than meat
  • Salad topped with beans in place of chicken or beef
  • Pizza with or without cheese and topped with vegetables, tofu or soy crumbles
  • Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce plus vegetables including mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and onions
  • Breakfast for dinner – oatmeal with fruit and walnuts, whole grain cereal with soymilk (or low-fat milk), or whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana
  • Chili with beans, textured vegetable protein and (soy or rice) cheese
  • Vegetable burger with lettuce, tomato, and guacamole on whole-grain bun

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Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD


If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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Salad dressings in my fridge (+ recipes)

Summer is a great time of year to be a healthy eater. Farmers markets and gardens are bursting with gorgeous vegetables in their prime. Summer vegetables are delicious when grilled, roasted, or stir-fried.

For some people though, eating cooked vegetables is a struggle and they much prefer their veggies raw in a salad or cut-up for snacks. I hear this from my clients on a regular basis. It’s not a problem though because raw veggies like leafy greens, carrots, onions, beets, mushrooms, and peppers are just as nutritious.

The problem is those bottled dressings that we often pour on top. As tempting as bottled salad dressings are for the convenience, most are loaded with sugar, sodium, preservatives, gums, and other artificial ingredients. It’s almost a crime to top a bowl of crisp, fresh, nutritious salad or plate of cut-up raw veggies with one of those store-bought brands. A simple solution is preparing your own dressing.

Now, I fully appreciate just how difficult it can be to get even the most basic dinner on the table some nights. Preparing salad dressing from scratch can seem like way too much effort. The thing is, homemade salad dressing is so absurdly easy to make that using bottle dressing doesn’t even make sense. With very little effort you can whip up a delicious vinaigrette or creamy ranch dressing in no time.

Here are 3 easy homemade salad dressing recipes. You’re likely to find one of them in my fridge on any given day. So, go ahead and give them a try. I bet you’ll find making your own salad dressing to be quick and easy, not to mention very delicious.

Lorraine

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Dining Out Strategies

Eating out in a restaurant can be challenging when you are trying to eat healthy and make weight-conscious choices. Things can get out of hand quickly when you are faced with too many options. It’s easy to consume more calories, fat, and sodium in just one restaurant meal than you need for the entire day.  With a little planning however, you can make your dining-out experience tasty, enjoyable, and weight-conscious. Before you go out to eat, come up with a dining-out strategy.

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Use these 7 tips to help you dine out without overdoing it.

  1. Be prepared for your dining out experience by checking out the restaurant’s menu ahead of time. Most restaurants have a web site showing their menu. This will allow you to pre-determine your entrée or at least narrow it down to a few choices.  You may not get specific nutrition information, but you can get a general idea of which dishes would be a better choice.
  2. Set the stage for success by starting your meal with a salad packed with veggies. This will help you fill up and feel satisfied sooner. Be sure to ask for salad dressing on the side so you can control how much you use.
  3. Choose a main dish that is steamed, grilled, baked or broiled instead of fried or sautéed; and avoid anything breaded as this typically means fried. Try to find an entrée that includes vegetables such as a stir fries or kabob. Or you can ask for extra vegetables on the side.
  4. Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies – and add little or no butter yourself. Be wary of dishes described as “seasoned” as that typically means salty or fatty. When in doubt, ask your waiter or the chef how the dish is prepared.
  5. If the main entree is larger than you want, set it aside or pack half of it “to go” immediately – before you start eating. Another option is to share it with someone. Or consider ordering an appetizer-sized portion or side dish as your meal instead of a full entrée.
  6. As a beverage choice, ask for water, unsweetened tea, or another drink without added sugar. Be especially careful when it comes to alcohol as the calories can add up quickly. Because your body can’t store alcohol and must metabolize it right away, other metabolic processes suffer. Your body won’t metabolize sugars and fats as efficiently during the metabolism of alcohol, and drinking can cause your metabolism to slow. This can contribute to weight gain, as can the empty calories found in alcohol.
  7. If you want dessert, consider ordering fruit. If that just won’t do it for you, ask if someone would like to share a dessert with you. Sometimes just a bite or two is enough to satisfy your taste for something sweet.

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Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD


If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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Vegetarian Quesadillas: delicious + easy + loaded with fiber

Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. However, foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits such as lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as helping you maintain a healthy weight.

High-fiber foods generally require more chewing which gives your body time to register when you’ve had enough making it less likely to overeat. Also, eating enough fiber during the day can help decrease your appetite because it slows down the speed of digestion and contributes to feeling full for a longer time between meals.  Furthermore, high fiber foods tend to have fewer calories than the same volume of lower fiber foods.

Be sure to consume adequate fiber every day

  • About 25 grams per day for women
  • About 35 grams per day for men

Check out this easy quesadilla recipe for a fun way to get some fiber in your diet. They’re tasty, nutritious, and easy to make; and each one contains 8 grams of dietary fiber!

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Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD


If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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