Claxton Dietetic Solutions Articles

Food Drive Fun!
I would say we have officially entered the season of food drives, especially here in east Tennessee. As Thanksgiving approaches in 3 weeks many organizations and businesses are sponsoring food drives to help those less fortunate than ourselves by providing them with shelf stable food to fill their pantries and plates. And their main need?  Canned foods. Typically, most people go to their cupboards and find those cans that have moved their way to back of the shelf and decide to donate those. And that is completely fine! But how can we provide those less fortunate with the best nutrition? What canned foods provide the most bang for their buck? Below I have outlined a few canned foods that pack a powerful nutrient punch in their convenient long-lasting package.   1)      Beans- Beans, whether black, white, green, kidney or navy, provided plant based protein and fiber to meals. They do lose folate in the canning process but their iron and calcium content is comparable to the dry beans you soak and cook at home. To decrease the sodium content of these beans, rinse them before using (reducing up to 35% of their sodium content!) and don’t add salt to the dish at the table. 2)      Corn—Canned corn delivers the same amount of fiber as fresh at 25% less cost. Canned corn does lose vitamin C during the canning procedure, but the prolonged heating that comes with canning actually boosts antioxidant activity. 3)      Pumpkin—Pumpkin is high carotenoids and these compounds are actually made more available through cooking and canning. Another plus: Canning ups the calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin K content of pumpkin 4)      Tomatoes- Canned tomatoes have lycopene released through the preservation process. And they come in just about any form you would need them (diced, chopped, whole, etc.) 5)      Tuna (in water)- This is a lean protein option high in omega 3 fatty acids which studies have shown can help relieve depression and anxiety by strengthening the synapse connections between neurotransmitters. 6)      Chick peas- Similar to the bean group, peas are a lean protein source, that are full of fiber. You can use these in soups or even place on top of a salad. Choosing theses canned foods to donate in your local food drive ensures those on the receiving end are getting versatile, healthy food options. You could even go the extra mile (which most dietitians like to do anyways 😊) and tape recipe suggestions to the cans to make meal time even easier for those who get them! You can even use the most recent recipe posted on our recipe page! Happy donating!
Exercising When It's Cold Outside
As I sit to write this blog post, I am surrounded by Halloween candy. Chocolate, sweet, sour, tart, you name it, someone at my office is trying to hand me candy. And Halloween is just the beginning of the holiday season, soon followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. That means, my friends, it’s only the beginning of cookies, cakes, treats, etc.  And rightly so! Holidays are for celebrating and celebrating usually involves a treat (or 2 😊). But for some people, especially those on weight loss journeys or even those simply trying to maintain their current weight, the holiday season can be intimidating as it throws many challenges our way. My biggest piece of advice for balancing calorie intake and calorie output is 1) moderation and 2) exercise. Today we are going to talk about the second one, exercise. Now that the weather is cooler and daylight savings time is this weekend (bringing night time around  5:30 PM) exercising outside is not really an option anymore. And the early evening darkness may make it hard for you to find the motivation to leave the house and go to the gym after work. So what do you do? I have highlighted 5 exercise apps below that you can utilize indoors and most of them don’t require any equipment at all. Pricing for these apps is also listed and are very reasonable. Read on for more information. New Apps: TRX: This app offers real-time coaching on a variety of exercises- running, functional training, yoga, suspension training (requires equipment you have to buy ahead of time), or cycling. TRX does offer a 14 day free trial and subscriptions are $4.99 monthly or $39.99 annually. FITON App: This one is FREE and gives you the ability to personalize your profile by choosing how often (how many days) and for how long (duration of exercise) you want to work out and selecting your favorite types of exercise. Prenatal and postnatal exercises are available as well. Some require equipment, others do not. And did I mention it’s free?! Gixo: This app provides live trainers! They are available for 15-, 25-, or 40-minute sessions and guide you through running, walking, HIIT, or strength routines. Gixo offers a 7 day free trial, then subscriptions are 19.99/month or 14.99/month if you sign up for an annual contract. Studio Tone It Up: Who run the world? Girls! This app is geared towards women only. The coaches guide you through workouts like cardio, yoga, barre, boxing, strength training and kettle bell. They offer new classes every week which helps prevent you from burning out. They offer a 7 day free trial and then subscriptions are 12.99 + tax per month. Yoga Wake Up: This app encourages you to start your practice as soon as you wake up by playing calming music that eases you into 10 minutes of morning stretches. This is a great first step for first time exercisers or those who aren’t ready to commit to expending a lot of time or energy. Subscriptions are $9.99/ month, $34.99/6 months, or $53.99/year Any of these sound like great indoor exercise options to me and all are cheaper than a monthly subscription to a gym! Head on over to the recipe page for a no bake pre/post exercise snack option! Happy exercising!
Halloween Candy
It’s hard to believe it’s already late October. I sure do love it though! The trees here in Tennessee are gorgeous and the weather is finally cool. This is definitely my favorite time of year. It’s also the start of many festive holidays. First on the list…Halloween! We are about a week away from sweet trick or treaters coming door to door to collect candy. My boys (ages 3 and 1) are dressing up as Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. They don’t really understand why people dress up but they DO understand that if you do you get candy. They LOVE candy. Who doesn’t love candy, really? Adults and kids a like love a little sugar rush. But how do we as adults stay on track with food and weight goals during this time? I have outlined some of the most popular candies below. I separated them into 2 categories (chocolate and fruity) and then listed them high to low based on sugar content. I believe the sugar content is the most important piece of nutritional information to keep in mind, especially if you have diabetes. Calories and grams of sugar have been rounded to nearest whole number for easier reading. Remember, portion control and moderation is always the best piece of advice to hold onto. All foods can fit into your meal plan in moderation. Tell shame and guilt they can take a back seat this Halloween. Now, onto the details… Chocolate: Sugar High to Low Tootsie Pop (1 pop): 60 calories, 10 grams sugar Raisinets (1 snack size): 70 calories, 10 grams sugar KitKat (2 Piece Bar): 70 calories, 9 grams sugar Peanut M&Ms (1 snack size bag): 90 calories, 9 grams sugar Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures (2 mini cups): 90 calories, 9 grams sugar 3 Musketeers (2 minis): 50 calories, 8 grams sugar  Mounds/Almond Joy (1 snack size): 80 calories, 8 grams sugar Pay Day (1 snack size): 90 calories, 8 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber, high in protein Nestle Crunch Miniature (1 snack size): 60 calories, 6 grams sugar Hershey’s Special Dark (2 miniatures): 90 calories, 4 grams of sugar Fruity: Sugar High to Low Twizzlers (1 snack size pack): 50 calories, 10 grams   Mike & Ikes (1 snack size pack): 50 calories, 10 grams Jolly Ranchers (2): 50 calories, 8 grams sugar Air heads (1 snack size): 50 calories, 7 grams sugar Smarties (1 roll): 25 calories, 5 grams of sugar Dum Dum Lollipop (1): 20 calories, 4 grams sugar   After reading this information, will you be filling your candy bowl with different options? There is no right or wrong answer. Knowledge is power and hopefully this information will help you make informed choices on this spooky holiday. Head on over to the recipe page for a fun recipe to serve if you are hosting a Halloween party. Happy Haunting!  
Foods To Fight The Common Cold
Foods to Fight The Common Cold: About 3 months ago I laid out my plans for writing this blog and went ahead and predetermined what topics I would write about each week (one less thing to think about!). Who knew that I would come down with my first cold of the season the very week I would be writing about this topic! Talk about hands on experience. Let’s just say I will absolutely be taking this information to heart as I proceed into the coming weeks. As you guys know, the temperatures have dropped, and we are definitely into the fall/winter season now. Another way of saying that is we are officially into cold and flu season (yippee 😊). This weeks blog will highlight foods that will help you get through this season in one piece. I separated them into 2 categories: “Before/After” and “During” to help you better prepare and prioritize based upon most immediate need.  The “Before/After” category focuses on foods that help build and strengthen your immune system, in hopes that you will fend off or avoid getting sick in the first place. The “During” category focuses on foods to help ease pain and encourage healing once you have gotten sick. I will be utilizing the “During” category this week as I try and push this cold away. Before And/Or After A Cold Strikes: Avocados- You want your body’s baseline vitamin and antioxidant tank to be full. Avocados pack a one-two punch in that they contain both! More specifically, avocados contain vitamin E, which helps keeps the vessels within your body working properly. Dark, leafy greens- Fresh, whole or raw dark, leafy greens are great sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that help strengthen the immune system. Processing these greens is not recommended as it can denature many of those antioxidants and nutrients. Yogurt- Yogurt contains probiotics (the good bacteria!). A large part of our immune system is in our gut, so having enough healthy bacteria in there is crucial for optimal functioning. Oats- Oats contain a fiber called beta-glucan, which is well known for its cholesterol-reducing and immune-enhancing powers. They are also high in amino acids, (the building blocks of protein), and therefore the building blocks of antibodies! During A Cold: Citrus fruits- Citrus fruits are highly concentrated with Vitamin C which helps keeps our body’s immune system working optimally. Vitamin C will reduce the amount of time you suffer from the cold. Ginger- Raw ginger root is an herb that is known to improve the body’s blood circulation, calm the respiratory system and reduces inflammation. Because of this, ginger is specifically said to treat the coughing and fever that typically accompany colds. Garlic- This one is an oldy but goodie. And not one we think of often. Garlic acts as a decongestant and operates as an antioxidant. Lean proteins- The benefit here lies in the fact that proteins help build the antibodies that fight off illness! I hope this has been helpful! I am going to go sip some ginger tea and take my Mucinex now. Head on over to the recipe page for a delicious garlic shrimp dish. This dish highlights 3 of the helpful ingredients talked about today (garlic, lean protein and citrus fruit). Top with avocado and you will have yourself on powerful meal!  
Matcha Madness!
A new trend I have noticed in food recently is the influx of “matcha” products. I have to be honest, when it first started appearing on menus I had no idea what it was. So I did what all intelligent people do when they don’t know something…I googled it 😊. Matcha is the ground powder of specifically grown and processed green tea leaves. The word matcha actually means “powdered tea.” Because matcha is grown differently than regular green tea leaves it has a different nutrient profile, specifically more caffeine and antioxidants as it is made from the entire tea leaf. A single serving of matcha surprisingly equates to ten cups of green tea. So basically, it’s green tea, but better. Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits this powerful powder offers! Benefits: 1)       High in antioxidants - matcha is rich in catechins, natural antioxidants found in teas. Certain catechins have actually been found to have a 137 times greater presence in matcha than in other types of green tea. 2)       Boosts brain function- Thanks to the caffeine and L-theanine content, matcha has been found to improve attention, reaction time and memory, especially in the elderly. 3)       Helps with weight loss- Green tea is well known for its positive effects on weight loss. Benefits include faster metabolism and increased fat burning ability. And although most of the studies that elicited these results focused on green tea extract, matcha should have the same effect as it is made from the same plant. You can incorporate this powder into your diet in a variety of ways. Traditional matcha tea can be made by combining 1–2 tsp. of matcha with 2 ounces of hot water and mixing it together with a bamboo whisk. Now I know what you are thinking, do I have to use a bamboo whisk? The answer is, it’s up to you. But research shows that metal whisks tend to pass on a metallic taste to the matcha powder whereas bamboo whisks do not. This is not an exact science though so feel free to adjust the powder to water ratio based on your taste preferences. Matcha is known to have an “earthy” flavor so don’t feel bad if you don’t love it at first. If you want to incorporate this ingredient into your diet in a less concentrated way, try making a matcha latte, pudding or protein smoothie. One thing you will want to mention to your clients or keep in the back of your own mind is that this product is best had in moderation. Excessive amounts of matcha have been found to cause liver problems so stick to one or two cups per day and buy this product in organic form to ensure safe ingestion! Head on over to the recipe page and check out the Berry Topped Matcha Chia Seed Pudding! It’s always fun trying new things!
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
  October is upon us and the first image that comes to my mind when I think about October is… pumpkins. Bright orange, sometimes white, peach even yellow at times decorate front porches, fireplace mantles, and fall festivals around your community. And even though I still refuse to buy my own real pumpkins in this 90 degree heat, I have decorated my fireplace mantle (in my lovely airconditioned home) with a variety of plastic pumpkins to help get the fall spirit flowing. Another way people engage this seasonal staple is through cooking and baking! Everywhere you look now there is a pumpkin spice flavored food or drink. Some favorites of mine include pumpkin bread/muffins, pumpkin rolls, and pumpkin pie (I have a sweet tooth, can you tell? 😊). Some of the more outlandish ones I have seen in stores include pumpkin spiced cheerios, pumpkin spice oreos, and pumpkin spice frosted flakes. Seems to be a bit much for me, but nonetheless, this ingredient is obviously a favorite among the people. And you are bound to come upon this topic in your practice whether it be through a conversation with a patient/client or even through chit chatting with your fellow coworkers. One question that I often hear is, “Doesn’t pumpkin have a lot of health benefits?” And my answer is always a resounding, “Yes!” But to take it one step further I have gathered the specific health benefits this fruit (yes, fruit!) brings to the table so you can help educate those you meet. See below the health benefits of both pumpkin and pumpkin seeds! Health Benefits of Pumpkin: 1)       Pumpkin is rich in carotenoids, which is known for keeping your immune system strong 2)       One of those carotenoids, beta-carotene, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It helps prevent cholesterol build up in artery walls and gives the pumpkin its yellow/orange color. 3)       Another carotenoid pumpkin is rich in, alpha-carotene, is believed to slow the aging process. 4)       Pumpkins have been known to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness. 5)       Pumpkin helps lower the risk of hypertension thanks in part to it’s potassium content   Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds: 1)       They promote overall prostate health 2)       They are comprised of L-tryptophan, a compound that has been found to be effective against combating depression. 3)       Research has shown that they help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation. 4)       There phytosterol content helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels   Sounds like its time to get cooking (or baking)! Make something for a work potluck or host a cooking demo for clients and get the conversation started. There is a pumpkin roll recipe waiting for you over on the recipe page right now! Happy eating!
Product Spotlight- Lean Cuisine Marketplace Bowls
Another week is upon us. Back to school for kids and back to work for (some) parents. I, myself am a working mom and find myself frustrated every Sunday night as I think about what I am going to bring in my lunch for the days ahead. A few weeks back I discussed ways to vamp up kids’ lunches and I get excited about implementing those ideas when packing my kids’ lunch, but rarely do I ever think about how to improve my OWN lunch! I am honestly just lucky if I remember to pack one. So this week I am talking about a new product that caught my eye as I walked the grocery store aisles. The products are made by Lean Cuisine and are a part of their line called “Lean Cuisine Marketplace.” These frozen meals are Asian style bowls and currently come in three varieties- Chicken Teriyaki, Vegetable Stir Fry and Chicken Pad Thai. It seems as though Lean Cuisine is stepping up their game with these products to go beyond the usual frozen macaroni and cheese, ravioli or glazed chicken. A snapshot of these products is written below. Chicken Teriyaki- This bowl has 310 calories, 20 grams of protein and uses broccoli, carrots and onions. Vegetable Stir Fry- This bowl has 420 calories and is loaded with a variety of vegetables, namely, mushrooms, snap peas, edamame, red/yellow bell peppers and bok choy. Chicken Pad Thai- This bowl has 430 calories and uses carrots, snap peas and scrambled eggs. Now I will warn you, the vegetable stir fry version is high in sodium so you may not want to recommend this version to a client (or eat it yourself) if there is a heart condition involved. The other 2 varieties contain an acceptable amount of sodium. But it’s like I always say…”You can’t win ‘em all.” Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight is avoiding burnout. I see so many people get stuck in a rut of eating the same 3-5 foods or meals and then get bored with healthy eating and decide to give it up. That’s why I was excited to see this product pop up on the shelves! I hope you are too. Pass this along to your clients, friends and family or just keep this in mind for yourself! Skip the meal prep this week and let Lean Cuisine do the work for you! Or, if you find meal prepping fun, head over to the recipe page and check out the chicken teriyaki recipe and make it yourself. Either way, happy eating!
Spice Things Up!
Today marks the first day of fall so I am continuing with another fall themed blog post even if the temperatures outside are still reaching the lower 90s (sigh). Today I am talking about 3 popular fall spices and the health benefits they provide. Fall is a very fragrant season. I bet if you close your eyes and breathe in you can almost smell your favorite fall scent. Whether its from a candle or a latte or simply from your front porch, fall has many wonderful smells. And the spices we are talking about today are no different. Let’s learn a little bit more about cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Cinnamon- Cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants and thereby has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Some research has shown cinnamon contains more antioxidants than even superfoods like oregano and garlic. Cinnamon has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, helping to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. It also helps increase sensitivity to insulin in those with Type 2 Diabetes and lower fasting blood sugar levels. Nutmeg: Nutmeg has been shown to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol just like its cinnamon counterpart. It has also been shown to reduce flatulence and improve your memory and/or capacity for learning. For all you adults out there, this spice is also known as an aphrodisiac 😊. Cloves- Cloves contain fiber, vitamins (mainly vitamin C), minerals, and a contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant. Interestingly, cloves have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, helping promote better oral health. Lastly, cloves are rich in manganese, a mineral that’s involved in bone formation and is incredibly important to bone health.  Now let’s get practical about how you can apply this in your practice.  Acute care or community-based dietitians- include the aforementioned information about cinnamon in your nutrition education sessions. Maybe even provide a recipe card with cinnamon included!  Long term care dietitians- tell your patients about the health benefits of nutmeg and cloves. Help them experience the taste and smell of this spice by creating or picking a snack or dessert made with this ingredient. Partner with your activities director to ensure you are working as a team.  Foodservice dietitians- scan your fall/winter menu and make sure some, if not all, of these ingredients are included on your menu. Maybe create an informational graphic to hang in your cafeteria or dining hall to help educate residents on the health benefits of what you are serving them.  I hope this information has been helpful and you go forth feeling prepared with interesting health information. Here’s to hoping that talking about fall will bring cooler weather!
Tailgating Gone Healthy
Even if it’s still 90 degrees outside, fall is definitely on its way because college football has started back! Here in the south, college football is a big deal. Everybody has a team they root for. I personally went to the University of Alabama and love watching the Crimson Tide play. But whether you root for the Vols, the Aggies, the Tigers, or the Bulldogs, I think we can all agree that the tailgate party is almost as important as the actual game. And who is the biggest player at the tailgate party? The food!! Tailgates across the nation are spread with a smorgasbord of sandwiches, meats, snacks, beverages and desserts of all kinds. You don’t typically find a whole lot of healthy options on these tailgate tables though and with football season lasting until January, that can mean growing waistlines and unintended weight gain. So how can we as dietitians fight against this? What healthy items can we bring to the table that aren’t the cliché veggie or fruit tray? Well, I have done some research and come up with a few options! 1) Stuffed Mini Peppers: This is a perfect sized appetizer to bring to a tailgate party. The mini pepper “boat” provides vitamins/minerals and has less calories than a bread based bottom but is stuffed with savory ground beef and melted cheese that will satisfy even the manliest of men. 2) Kabobs: These can be fixed any way you want, based on preferences and food availability. You could try chicken, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil for an Italian theme or chicken, pineapple, onion, cheese for a Hawaiian theme! If you are vegetarian, just grill up an assortment of veggies! Peppers, corn, onions, even eggplant! 3) Black Bean and Corn Guacamole: Every tailgate party needs a good dip and who doesn’t love avocado these days? Avocados are already packed with fiber and nutrients and adding black beans and corn to the mix only kicks it up a notch. A definite win. 4) White Chocolate, Strawberry and Oatmeal Cookies: You will  make lots of friends if you are the dietitian that brings dessert to a party. The oatmeal base is lighter than a cake or brownie base and has added fiber and nutrients. You can even switch out the fruit inside the match the colors of your supported team (blueberries for Auburn or Michigan, etc.) Having a few healthy choices available at your party will help balance out calories ingested. Other tips (for you, your family or your clients) when it comes to moderating intake at tailgate parties include: 1)      Scan the entire area first: Look at all the is bring offered before getting a plate. Decide what ACTUALLY sounds good to you and remember you don’t have to eat everything just because it is there. For example, you may like guacamole, but on that particular day you may be more in the mood for a sandwich and chips. Go with what sounds good to you. 2)      Dial into hunger/fullness cues: Decide how hungry you are and portion your food based on that determination. Eat slowly and stop when you feel full. You may feel full before you get to dessert and that’s ok. Don’t yourself past your limits. If you really want dessert but have reached your fullness level, give it some time and come back for it later. All this talk of food and football has got me ready for the weekend! I hope it has for you too! Head over to the recipe page to find another healthy option to bring to your next gathering. Happy tailgating! And Roll Tide 😊.