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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Enjoy tasty food without too much fat, sugar, and salt

If this were 1990, people would laugh if you suggested adding avocado to toast.  Fat was the enemy and low-fat and fat-free products including cookies, crackers, cheese, salad dressings took over the grocery stores. Thankfully science has progressed, and we know now that some fats are better than others.

olove oil and olives

Better fat choices result in better health.

The types of fats we consume on a regular basis matter.  Avocado has become popular because of its neutral taste, creamy texture and health benefits. High in monounsaturated fat, antioxidants and potassium, avocado can be incorporated into salads, Mexican dishes or added on top of toast. One study found that adding sliced avocado to a burger reduced markers of inflammation in participants’ blood compared to controls consuming a burger without avocado.  Other fats with health benefits include polyunsaturated fats like nuts and seeds, and monounsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil and canola oil.

On the other hand, we need to limit both saturated fat and trans-fats.  Saturated fat, which is solid at room temperature, should be limited to 10% or less of total calories according to the American Heart Association. These fats typically come from animal products such as beef, bacon, butter, full fat cheese and other full fat dairy products, poultry skin, and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil. Trans-fat, (also called hydrogenated fat), is created when hydrogen is added to a liquid fat (typically vegetable oil) and made into a solid fat. Trans-fat should make up even less of our calorie intake. Experts advise no more than 2% of calories come from trans-fat. Diets high in saturated and trans-fat have been linked with heart disease and stroke.

Sugar in limited quantities is okay.

It’s your birthday? Eat cake! But not every day is your birthday. To date, there are no research studies to support the benefits of a diet high in refined sugar. Sugar, when combined with fat, butter, flour and eggs in desserts and baked goods provides additional calories without any nutrients. Excess consumption of sugar may lead to obesity, dental carries and heart disease. Clearly, less is best.  The US Dietary Guidelines suggest no more than 10% of calories coming from sugar.

Looking back, we did not realize that when companies reformulated foods to reduce fat, they increased the added salt and sugar; but now we know. For example, fat-free cookies or salad dressing are higher in sugar than their regular counterparts. As fat-free foods became more popular, people didn’t pay attention to serving sizes or calorie consumption, and consequently, gained weight. Excess sugar in our diet not only causes weight gain, but contributes to the development of diabetes and heart disease.

Excess sodium consumption is linked to the “silent killer”.

In addition to limiting sugar, saturated fat and trans-fat, consumers are wise to limit sodium in their diet. Research has established a link between diets high in sodium with hypertension, “the silent killer”. While we need some sodium in our diets to maintain normal fluid balance in our cells and maintain normal nerve and muscle function, most of us consume too much. The US Dietary Guidelines suggest no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day. Sodium is present primarily in processed foods and adds up throughout the day from breakfast meat, canned foods, frozen meals, salty snacks and fast food.

How can you keep “extras” on your plates in a healthy way? Here are five tips to get you started:

  • Use unprocessed fresh or frozen poultry and fish over red meat and pork, especially highly processed products like bacon and cold cuts.
  • Include meatless meals more often using tofu, lentils, and beans to reduce fat intake.
  • Choose seasonal fruit for dessert such as berries, pears and citrus fruit.
  • Eat unsalted or lightly salted snacks like mixed nuts or seeds in place of chips and pretzels.
  • Use fresh or dried herbs such as cilantro, garlic, or onions to flavor foods instead of bacon, table salt, and high sodium seasonings like adobo.

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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!

 

Article adapted with permission from: foodandhealth.com

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Creamy Avocado Egg Salad

For many people, the Easter season brings with it the tradition of coloring and decorating eggs.   But what do you do with the eggs afterwards – eat them or throw them away?  Aren’t eggs too high in cholesterol?  Questions about eggs and cholesterol come up throughout the year; and always a bit more often around Eastertime.

Not only are eggs nutritious, it’s been shown that an egg a day is safe to eat for most people. The evidence to support this comes from huge studies that have followed hundreds of thousands of people over decades.

I love eggs and really enjoy egg salad. It makes a quick lunch or easy dinner as long as I plan ahead and keep a few hard-boiled eggs in the fridge. In recent years, I’ve discovered that avocado (another one of my favorites) makes a nice addition to egg salad instead of mayonnaise.

But, are avocados healthy?

Avocados are a beautifully colored fruit, and they stand apart from most fruits by providing monounsaturated fats. They are anti-inflammatory, heart-healthy, and support the functioning of our brain and nervous system. Avocados are healthy and much more nutritious than mayonnaise.

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Creamy Avocado Egg Salad is a regular on my menu these days. If you’ve never had it, you don’t know what you’re missing. Here’s my healthy egg salad recipe. I’d love you to give it a try and let me know what you think.

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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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Stop stress eating with these 3 tips (+ stress busting foods)

Stress is one of the most common causes of overeating and weight gain.

Can you relate? Your day gets busy, life feels overwhelming, and you find yourself (without much thought) inhaling some junk food because you think it’s going to make you feel better – and it does for about a minute. Maybe you turn to sugary food to “boost energy” or to help you deal with your feelings of anxiety, frustration, anger, or sadness. All the while you’re gaining weight and feeling worse instead of better.

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As much as you want to stop stress eating, it’s hard to control because (ironically) it happens when you’re stressed. It’s not enough to just tell yourself not to do it. In fact, trying NOT to stress eat can actually intensify stress and make you want to eat more. It is possible however, to break this stress eating cycle.

A plan to successfully control stress eating is not just about food. In fact, it doesn’t start with food at all. A few non-food strategies and a bit of practice can make a huge difference. It takes persistence and creative ways to calm and successfully soothe yourself.  The goal is to rewire your brain to identify certain non-eating behaviors as comforting, and to use those behaviors when things start to feel stressful.

These three stress busting strategies can help you to calm down and take control.

STRATEGY 1:  Be aware and take care
Much of stress eating is so unconscious that it happens automatically, and you may not even realize it. Before you can make changes in your behavior, you need to be aware of what you are doing. Keeping a journal can help. Write down where and when you stress eat. Was it during work or late at night when you were alone? Do you notice any patterns? Try to determine whether or not you were physically hungry. At first you may be journaling after the fact, but eventually your awareness will increase, and you will catch yourself before you stress eat. This is the goal; and then you can decide to NOT stress eat and do something else to cope.

STRATEGY 2:  Stop – N – Swap
If you remove stress eating from your life, you need to replace it with something. Write down a concrete list of all the healthy swaps that can get you through your day. Here a few simple examples.

  • Change your routine. If you have stress-eating rituals that have become bad habits, try something different. For example, if you’re in the habit of stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts on the drive home from your stressful job to grab a coffee and always end up getting a donut, change up that routine. Bring a healthy snack to eat on the drive home and take a different route to avoid the Dunkin’ Donuts.
  • Stretch and move. Stress builds up in our body and then creates more stress and discomfort. If you can’t change the external circumstance at the moment, you can still be kind to yourself and stretch out your neck or your back. Stand up, move around, and go for a walk if possible. Try to create comfort in your body in ways that don’t involve eating.
  • Breathe deep. It’s physically impossible to become more stressed and more relaxed at the same time. When you start relaxing – even just a bit – you reverse the cycle of growing more and more stressed or anxious. Focus on your breath for just a minute or put your hand on your abdomen and breathe. Try a quick breathing exercise. Slowing down your breathing can trick your body into thinking you are going to sleep, which in turn relaxes you. Close your eyes. Stare at the blackness of your eyelids. Slowly breathe in and out. Count each time you inhale and exhale. Continue until you get to 10.
  • Sleep. Stress is exhausting and adequate sleep is necessary to recover. Aim for at least 7½ hours of sleep a night. You’ll be more productive and better able to focus, and less likely to have cravings. Make sleep a priority.
  • Make a list. Instead of stress eating, boost your effectiveness with a plan. Write down three things you want to accomplish for the day and one nurturing thing you will do for yourself.

STRATEGY 3: Practice Yourself Calm
In addition to the strategies mentioned above, there are many other ways to calm yourself without eating such as journaling, meditation, connecting with others, distraction, guided imagery, aromatherapy and other ways to pamper your senses. Try out these techniques when you aren’t craving food, so you know exactly what to do before you really need them.

FOODS THAT HELP REDUCE STRESS

There are certain foods that have specific nutrients that can have a calming effect on the body.

Tea. Green, black, and white teas are packed with flavonoids; natural antioxidants that may help blood vessels relax and lower blood pressure. If you are sensitive to caffeine, go for decaffeinated varieties. And be sure not to add sugar or an artificial sweetener to your tea. Dark chocolate, red peppers, citrus fruits and berries are other flavonoid-rich foods.

Dark green vegetables. Veggies such as broccoli, spinach, kale and other greens are high in B vitamins, which can help fight anxiety. Research suggests people with low levels of these vitamins are more likely to have depression than those with normal levels.

Nuts. Almonds and cashews are rich sources of magnesium, a mineral involved in production of serotonin – a chemical produced by the body to help it relax. Like dark green veggies, nuts are high in B vitamins. They are also packed with healthy fat and some protein to reduce cravings and keep hunger at bay.

 

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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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Irish-style Sweet Potato Nachos recipe

In honor of the holiday, I’ve got a not-so-traditional nachos recipe for you.  This dish features Irish-style baked sweet potatoes with all your favorite nacho toppings.  Different and yet just as irresistible as traditional nachos.

Are you wondering if sweet potatoes are healthy?

Sweet potatoes have several health benefits including improved blood sugar regulation, improved vitamin A status, and reduced risk of several types of cancer. Other than that, they just taste great!

sweet potato nachos

Click the link and grab your Irish-Style Sweet Potato Nachos recipe today. Enjoy!

Lorraine

 

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Juicing – pros and cons + recipe

I get asked this question all the time.  What do you think of juicing? The short answer – it can play a beneficial role in any healthy eating plan if used properly.  Drinking a nutritious juice every once in a while (even everyday) can be healthy, but it can also do more harm than good when it’s taken to the extreme.  Consuming only juice for weeks is not the magic bullet proponents are claiming it to be; and it can be downright dangerous.

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So, what is juicing exactly?

Juicing is a process that extracts water and nutrients from produce and removes most of the fiber.  Advocates of juicing believe that without all the fiber, your digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to break down the food and absorb the nutrients.  Juicing is being heralded for weight loss, body detoxification, and the treatment and prevention of everything from the common cold to cancer.

Can juicing help me detox?

When it comes to detoxing by following a juice cleanse diet, there is no substantiated scientific evidence to affirm that the body needs an outside source to accomplish this. Our body does an excellent job of this on its own; our liver, kidneys, lungs, and intestines filter the unwanted toxins from our body and expel them through urine, bowel movements, breath and sweat.  From a “cleansing” perspective, the most beneficial natural colon “cleanse” is actually dietary fiber.  It is needed to produce regular bowel movements which remove waste and toxins from the body; in addition, fiber feeds the good bacteria in our gut that play an important role in keeping our immune system working properly.   Unfortunately, most of it is stripped away during the process of juicing.  Fiber offers other important health benefits as well.  It provides satiety keeping us feeling full after eating, lowers cholesterol, and regulates blood sugar glucose.  All of these benefits are missing from juice.

Will juicing help me lose weight?

Juicing can be part of healthy weight loss plan if done with care and common sense.  Along with the carbohydrates and micronutrients from juice, you will need to include adequate protein and fat in order to have a nutritionally complete diet to keep your body functioning properly.  Replacing all or most solid food with juice is not a good idea.  Initially you will lose weight because you’re cutting out all the fat from your diet and drastically lowering your caloric intake. But you’ll most likely put it right back on when you start eating whole foods again.

Is eating whole fruits and vegetables better than juicing?

In general, eating whole fruits and vegetables is better than juicing.  The healthiest diets include whole grains, lean sources of protein, healthy fats, and whole fruits and vegetables as well. For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, the latest recommendation is to consume nine servings or 4½ – 5 cups per day (2 cups of fruit and 2½ – 3 cups of vegetables).   However, if you find that you are not able to eat this much, then drinking your veggies and fruit in the form of a juice can be beneficial.  And if you’re willing to replace your usual midmorning doughnut with a juice, it’s hard to argue against that.

What about a Smoothie?

Another (probably better) option – blend up a smoothie.  Blending simply combines all the ingredients you place in your blender including the fiber. When trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, smoothies can be used as a meal replacement or snack.  Fruit and veggie smoothies can be a healthy addition to any eating plan as long as you maintain balance and portion control.

Click here to grab your tip sheet – Blend a Better Breakfast Smoothie.

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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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Tex-Mex Bean and Chicken Burrito

February is for love and heart health!  It’s American Heart Month.

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of Americans?  Each year, more than two million heart attacks and strokes take place resulting in 800,000 deaths. Research shows that one in every three deaths results from heart disease and stroke.

Overweight is considered a major risk factor for both coronary heart disease and heart attack. Being 20% overweight or more significantly increases your risk for developing heart disease, especially if you are carrying excess fat around the middle.

Reduce your weight by just 10% and lower your risk of heart disease.

Maintaining a healthy weight and following a heart healthy diet and lifestyle can make a big difference in helping to prevent heart disease.  Take good care of your heart this Valentine’s Day.

Tex-Mex Buritto

Check out this simple + delicious Valentine’s Day recipe for Tex-Mex Bean and Chicken Burrito.  Make it a regular addition to your heart healthy meals.  It’s good for your heart and waistline!

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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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A Healthy Gut is Essential to a Healthy Weight

Okay, I’m about to throw you a curve ball.  Ready?  It’s possible that the reason you are having such a hard time losing weight is because the bacteria living inside your gut are out of balance.

Until recently, it was assumed that these bacteria (our microbiome) didn’t do much.  But now there is a growing body of research suggesting that the 100 trillion bacteria – about three pounds – living inside our gut play a huge role in our health and disease.   Researchers believe that this is especially true for the metabolic diseases that plague us today such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Exactly how the microbiome influences our weight isn’t known yet, but many researchers believe that it plays a role in processing food and helps determine how many calories and nutrients are absorbed.  Certain intestinal microbes may also alter our insulin (a hormone) influencing the way fat is metabolized in our body.

It’s complicated and we have much more to learn about this extremely complex system living inside us. We don’t have enough hard facts to make specific recommendations on the best probiotic (healthy bacteria) supplements for weight loss.  There are literally thousands of different bacteria and they interact with each other in ways we don’t understand.  Therefore, probiotic supplements that claim to promote weight loss are premature.  What we do know however is that our dietary habits can have a dramatic impact on the mix of beneficial and harmful bacteria in our gut.

Here are five simple steps you can take to support a healthy gut – inside and out.

1. Eat more fiber. Eating fibrous plant foods is an important strategy for improving the robustness of gut bacteria by providing raw material for fermentation which feeds them.  The diversity and number of plants you eat will be reflected in the diversity and number of bacteria in your gut; the more the better.  Aim for at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day; two to three servings of fruit, four to six servings of veggies, two to three servings of whole grains, nuts and beans several times a week.  Always be sure to drink plenty of water to work along with the fiber.

2. Make friends with fermented foods. Fermented foods deliver probiotics (live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health).  Greek yogurt and kefir, a tangy dairy drink that’s packed with healthy bugs, are a good start.  Look for products that say “live and active cultures” on the label and avoid those with added sugar that can feed undesirable bacteria.  Other gut health foods containing powerful probiotic include naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles; they contain both live bacteria and prebiotics (see below) that nourish good gut bacteria and support a healthy body weight.

3. Include prebiotic foods. Prebiotics are a type of soluble fiber found in certain plant foods that act as “food” for probiotics. They are like fertilizer helping probiotics grow and flourish in your gut.  Prebiotic-containing foods include Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, leek, asparagus, and banana. Eat some type of prebiotic food every day.

4. Eat less meat. A diet heavy in animal protein feeds a type of bacteria called Bilophilia that has been linked to inflammation in animal studies; and chronic inflammation is a major contributor to obesity.  If you are a meat-lover, it’s fine to include it in your diet but think of it as the side dish rather than the main course.  At least 3/4 of your plate should be filled with plant foods.

5. Skip the sugar. Sugar feeds the undesirable gut bacteria and causes them to thrive.  Studies have shown that a diet high in added sugar can lead to overgrowth of yeast species and other pathogenic bacteria. For the good bacteria to thrive, they require complex carbohydrates like vegetables, beans, and whole grains – not sugar.  So, when you get too many calories from added sugar (the average person eats more than 22 teaspoons a day!) the good bacteria will go hungry and eventually die off allowing for an overgrowth of the bad bacteria.  Stick with whole foods as much as possible and limit (preferably avoid) sugary highly processed junk food.

If you haven’t already, be sure to grab my 10 proven (non-diet) strategies today by clicking here.

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!


I’d love to help you eat healthy, lose weight, and feel awesome every day.

Let’s start with a conversation!

Call me at 732-494-1149 or send me an email.

Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD

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