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7 tips and tricks of a dietitian

Published: Thursday, March 9, 2017 10:03 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 9, 2017 11:11 a.m. CDT

We’ve all seen similar headlines relating to nutrition on magazine covers and social media posts coming from the latest and greatest reality TV star or music artist, so what makes this article different?

It’s written by a Registered Dietitian, and more specifically one who works for Hy-Vee, whose “office” is essentially an entire grocery store. Every day I get to help people translate the science of nutrition into solutions that fit their lifestyle by navigating through the grocery store. Wednesday is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day and I’m excited to take my nutrition expertise beyond the aisles and share a few of my favorite tips and tricks.

1. Don’t cut out temptation completely. I don’t know about you, but when I’m told I can’t have something, it makes me want it that much more. So instead of cutting out your favorite temptation foods completely, shoot for once or twice a week. If you have a sweet tooth, try fulfilling your cravings with fresh fruit or smoothies, make your own ice cream out of bananas, or try a “better for you option” like Halo Top Ice Cream.

2. Use healthier dressings and dips. It’s amazing how fast calories, fat and sodium can stack up with dips or dressings. Choose dressings that are oil-based like vinaigrettes or brands that are yogurt-based like Bolthouse Farms and OPA. Use dips such as hummus or guacamole in place of mayo and butter on sandwiches or to add flavor to raw veggies like carrots, celery and bell peppers.

3. Snack smart. Snacking may help boost energy between meals, control appetite, and, if done right, can be a great way to supply your body with more vitamins and minerals. Another way to snack smart is being mindful of portions. Purchase foods that are pre-portioned for you or buy in bulk and portion into baggies. Choose between options such as nuts, string cheese, popcorn, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit and Beanitos™.

4. Transform pasta night. Instead of your traditional boxed white pasta, try a spiralizer to make your own noodles with zucchini. Or try using pastas made from whole grains, beans, peas or lentils. Lastly, load up on veggies including mushrooms, spinach and broccoli, and add a side salad to your meal to cut down on the portion of pasta you eat.

5. Use short cuts. Take advantage of Hy-Vee Short Cuts, pre-cut fruits and vegetables that are ready to grill and bake. Combine with eggs for an omelet, use the steamable bags as a quick side dish, or add to cooked steak, chicken or shrimp for a fajita, quesadilla, or stir fry like the Asian Veggie Stir Fry recipe below.

6. Use pre-cooked protein. Rotisserie chicken is a quick and simple solution to dinner. It is extremely versatile and can be used as a base for sandwiches, wraps, pastas, enchiladas, quesadillas, pizza toppings and more. Have canned salmon, tuna and chicken on hand to add to salads and entrees.

7. Utilize herbs and spices to please your palate. Life’s too short to eat bland food and there are so many ways to add flavor to your foods without adding fat or sodium. Fresh is a great option, but you can also try our Hy-Vee Select Frozen Herbs. I like to keep these on hand in case I don’t have fresh. I also take advantage of our bulk seasonings when I am trying a new recipe or experimenting to see if the seasoning pairs well before buying a whole bottle.

If you are looking for more tips and tricks or wondering if some of the “nutrition hacks,” check out our new website: https://celebrate.hy-vee.com/health. This site can direct you to the Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian nearest you and is full of “how-to tips and tricks.”

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