Posts Tagged ‘Protein’

Holiday Eating Guide: 5 Tips to Avoid the Extra 5 Pounds

MD 2011 |

The holidays are here, bringing family feasts, festive baked goods, toasty foam-topped beverages and tantalizing cocktails.  Throw 3 feet of snow in the mix along with sub-zero temperatures and you have the perfect storm for holiday weight gain.  The House Call, MD team has put together 5 tips to help you make it through December without picking up any extra holiday weight.  This way, you can have your holiday bundt cake and eat it too!

Read the rest of this entry →


12 2010

Healthy Weight Gain without the Burger and Fries

by Leah Frankel, MS, RD |

With over half of American’s classified as either overweight or obese, there is a plethora of information available on weight loss (not that we recommend the unusual “grapefruit diet” your Google search pulled up). While most of us in America are trying to lose weight, have you ever thought about the people out there trying to gain weight? According to the Center for Disease Control (2003-2006), approximately 1.8% of adults are underweight. Adults are underweight for a variety of reasons including a desire to be thin for aesthetic reasons, medical conditions and poor dietary intake (which is common in the elderly). As with being overweight, there are risks associated with being underweight; we’ll discuss these risks as well as common reasons for being underweight and walk you through how to gain weight in a healthy manner without a diet of burgers and fries.

Read the rest of this entry →


09 2010

Eating for Two: Your Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

MS, RD |

You’re standing in the checkout aisle at the grocery store when you glance over at the newest entertainment magazine and see that yet another celebrity just lost all the weight she gained during her pregnancy in record time and looks even better than she did before the baby. You’re thinking to yourself, “Why can’t I lose my stubborn pregnancy weight?” One of the reasons many women have difficulty losing their post-pregnancy weight is because they don’t know how much weight they should be gaining during their pregnancy. While you are eating for two, you’re not eating for two adults!  We’ll discuss appropriate weight gain during pregnancy, what essential nutrients women need during pregnancy, some diseases that can develop during pregnancy and finally some tips to help lose weight after the big delivery.

Read the rest of this entry →


07 2010

Get the most out of your dollar…without the Dollar Menu

by Leah Frankel, MS, RD |

With increasing numbers of Americans now unemployed or taking salary cuts, it’s not surprising that people are trying to save money any way possible. Cutting back could mean only one double chocolate espresso ventichino per week instead of your normal five or carpooling to work instead of driving.  Many people worry that cutting back in terms of food costs may mean more trips to fast food joints and less fruits and vegetables.  In fact, there has been a boom in fast food consumption recently due to our current economic status.  We’re here to discuss tips for maintaining a healthy diet even in these hard economic times, compare a typical fast food meal to one prepared at home (looking at both price and nutritional value) and prove to you that you can continue eating healthy even if the economy has let you down!

Getting in your 5-a-Day

When cutting the cost of your grocery trips there is a concern that fruits and veggies will be the first to go, however there are a variety of ways to continue to eat fruits and vegetables without breaking the bank. In general, fresh fruits and vegetables are least expensive when they’re in season; for instance, it is best to buy asparagus and grapefruit in the spring and grapes and eggplant in the fall. Not only are foods fresher and more flavorful when they’re in season, they’re cheaper.

While fresh fruits and veggies are great, you can still get essential nutrients from frozen or canned items.  Canned and frozen items last longer than fresh items and prices won’t fluctuate seasonally as with fresh foods. When choosing frozen or canned foods, make sure there are few additives, such as sugar, salt or sauces, since these additions make the foods less healthy. For example, when buying canned fruit, choose fruit canned in its natural juice instead of in heavy syrup or frozen vegetables without added salt or sauce.

There’s no question that people are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they’re easily accessibly which is why many people turn to the freshly cut versions in the grocery store. Next time, instead of buying their pre-cut fruits and veggies, cut your own when you come home from the grocery store to save money.

Finally, you can always grow your own small garden with fresh herbs, veggies or fruit (depending how much space you have) and enjoy inexpensive produce right in your own backyard.  It always tastes better when you’ve grown it yourself!

How to decide what to buy

With grocery stores carrying many options, it can be overwhelming choosing healthy and cost-effective foods, but there are some easy ways to make better choices.

Shopping at warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club can save you money but only if you know what to buy there.  Depending on the size of your household, you might not benefit from buying fresh fruits or vegetables at these stores since they’ll go bad before you can eat them. However, items that can be frozen, such as meat or fish, or foods that are prepackaged in “normal” sized containers, such as pasta or cereal, may help you save money since they can be purchased at a discounted price and won’t spoil before you have a chance to eat them.

Almost every grocery store chain has its own brand of generic food items. The store’s brand is frequently less expensive than the other brands and is usually nutritionally equivalent.  We’ve found that in some instances, as with yogurt, the generic brands are higher in protein and lower in calories (and cost!) than their brand name equivalent.

Have you ever looked at a 4 lb bag of rice and tried to compare it to a 15 lb bag of rice in terms of cost?  Not an easy task without some serious arithmetic.  Next to the price of each item in the store, there is a cost per unit that helps you determine which product gives you the most bang for your buck!  Let’s look at an example, the 4 lb bag of rice may cost $0.50/ounce and the 15 lb bag of rice may cost $0.40/ounce, therefore the 15 lb bag is a better value assuming you can eat 15 lb of rice!

Lastly, and potentially most obviously, use coupons and stock up when foods are on sale. It seems like such a simple task but cutting out a piece of paper and bringing it to the store with you can save you thousands of dollars a year!  As with buying foods at Costco, the money you save by stocking up when items are on sale at your local grocery can really add up.  Remember to only buy as much as you can eat before it spoils or you’ll find yourself throwing your money straight into the trash.

Meal Time!

While all of these tips sound great, they’re really not much use if we can’t use them to create healthy meals.  Unless you’re cooking for a football team, it’s likely that your recipe will provide more than enough food for you and your family. While some people are ok eating spaghetti and meatballs all week, most of us aren’t so we need to be creative when it comes to leftovers. Depending on what you’re cooking for dinner, your leftovers can either be frozen, like a chili or meatballs, or transformed into a different meal, for instance turning baked chicken into chicken tacos or chicken salad.

Planning your meals and snacks in advance means you’ll be less likely to eat out since your kitchen will be stocked with plenty of food. Spend some time during the weekend planning out your meals for the upcoming week.  If you have kids, involve them in the planning process. Once you’ve planned your week, bring a grocery list to the store to prevent multiple trips to pick up forgotten items.  Keeping snacks readily available at home and at work will prevent snacking at the vending machine or an afternoon trip to the drive through or coffee shop.

Aside from saving money, there are many health advantages to preparing food at home.  Since you’re cooking the food yourself you can control the amount of butter or oil that’s added to your food, eliminating excess fat and calories from your diet.  You can also control the ingredients that are in each dish which is especially helpful if you or someone you are cooking for has an allergy to certain foods.  Finally, cooking at home allows you to control the portion sizes; in case you hadn’t noticed, the portion sizes at most restaurants are 2 (sometimes up to 4) times as large as they should be which can lead to overeating.

The Facts

For those of you that still don’t believe us, we’re going to prove that you can get a more nutritious meal and cost effective meal by cooking at home.  What follows is a comparison of a day of eating at fast food restaurants to a day of eating meals prepared at home.

Meals/Snacks from the grocery store:

Item Cost
¾ cup shredded wheat $0.27
1 cup non-fat milk $0.19
1 small apple $0.50
6 oz non-fat yogurt $0.48
¾ cup cranberry juice $0.18
TOTAL: $1.62
Item Cost
2 slices whole wheat bread $0.25
3 oz turkey $1.86
3 slices tomato $0.30
½ cup baby carrots $0.17
1 small banana $0.40
¾ cup non-fat milk $0.14
TOTAL: $3.12
Item Cost
4 oz salmon $2.49
1 cup wild rice $1.00
1 cup broccoli $0.52
1 cup garden mix salad $0.08
½ cup fruit salad $1.00
TOTAL: $5.09
Item Cost
Snacks (2 per day)
1 oz mixed nuts $0.35
1/2 cup grapes $0.50
6 crackers $0.07
2 tbsp peanut butter $0.13
TOTAL: $1.05

Grocery store grand total: $10.88

Meals/snacks from fast food:

Item Cost
Breakfast: McDonalds
1 Sausage McMuffin $1.00
1 serving hash browns $1.00
1 medium orange juice $1.99
TOTAL: $3.99
Item Cost
Lunch: In-N-Out
1 Hamburger Combo meal
1 order fries Combo meal
1  medium coke Combo meal
TOTAL: $4.75
Item Cost
Dinner: KFC
3 Crispy chicken strips $3.99
1 biscuit $0.50
1 small corn on the cob $0.38
1 side mac and cheese $1.49
TOTAL: $6.36
Item Cost
Snacks (2 per day)
1.69 oz bag M & M’s $0.65
2 oz bag Doritos $0.99
TOTAL: $1.64

Fast food grand total: $16.74

Nutrition Facts:

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Fiber
Grocery store 2,064 calories 120 grams 67 grams 272 grams 36 grams
Fast food 3,038 calories 90 grams 133 grams 374 grams 19 grams

We know what you’re thinking, “I only eat off the dollar menu” or “I only eat healthy fast food items.”  Let’s assume that you really do choose less expensive fast food items that also happen to be the restaurant’s healthier choices (unlikely but we’re pretending).  The problem is that many people would have ordered two 99¢ hamburgers instead of one or a large shake instead of a medium soda.  It’s hard to make consistent healthy and economic choices when eating at fast food restaurants.  When we compare breakfast we see that even items off the dollar menu are more expensive than a well-balanced meal at home.  It is possible to make healthy choices when eating out, but we’ll save those tips for another day.

Questions? E-mail Leah:


1. Nutrition facts obtained for fast food restaurants obtained from:,,

2. Price of groceries obtained from:

3. Nutrition assessment of grocery foods completed via:


04 2010

Meatless: The Ins and Outs of Vegetarian Eating

by Leah Frankel, MS, RD

VegetablesHave you ever looked at your recently-turned-vegetarian friend and wondered what the heck they are thinking? With more and more people now considering themselves vegetarians it makes us wonder, “How do they do it?”  You’re probably wondering why someone would ever want to give up meat. Additionally, aren’t vegetarians missing some key life-sustaining nutrients.  We are omnivores for a reason.  We’ll learn about the different varieties of vegetarians, why people chose a vegetarian lifestyle and what nutrients vegetarians need to be sure they include in their meals to have a well-rounded diet.

Types of Vegetarians

By definition, a vegetarian is someone who doesn’t consume meat, poultry or fish.  The spectrum of vegetarians is vast and we’re here to help you decipher the differences. Even within each classification of vegetarian, there are variations depending on the individual’s needs or reasons for becoming a vegetarian.

Pescatarian: A pescatarian is someone who eliminates all poultry and meat but consumes fish and seafood. This has become increasingly popular due to health advantages of fish consumption or as a first step in becoming a vegetarian.

Delicious SaladSemi-Vegetarian: Someone that follows a semi-vegetarian diet follows a vegetarian diet the majority of the time but occasionally eats meat, fish or poultry.

Lacto-ovo Vegetarian: People who follow a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet avoid meat, poultry and fish; however they do eat dairy (lacto) and eggs (ovo). In addition, some people are either lacto vegetarians (consuming dairy, but not eggs) or ovo vegetarians (consuming eggs, but not dairy).

Vegan: A vegan is a person that, in addition to not consuming meat, poultry or fish, does not eat any foods that are of animal origin including eggs, dairy, gelatin and honey. In addition, many vegans refrain from wearing leather or other products made from animals, as well as products that are tested on animals.

Reasons to “Go Veggie”

Religious reasons: A variety of religions promote vegetarian or vegan diets including Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Seventh day Adventists. Each religion encourages a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons including health benefits (in the case of the Seventh day Adventists) and respect for living creatures (as seen with Buddhism).

Health reasons: There are a number of health benefits associated with following a vegetarian diet including:

  • Lower rates of obesity

  • Decreased risk of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer

  • Longer lifespan

  • Reduced risk of food-borne diseases

  • Nutrient intakes that are closer to current nutrition recommendations

Ethical reasons: Some people choose to eliminate meat from their diet due to the treatment that animals receive, including how they are raised, transportation to slaughter houses, processes uDon't Eat Puppiessed to slaughter animals and believing that animals have rights, similar to those of people.

Environmental reasons: There are a number of benefits for following a vegetarian diet in terms of protecting the environment including: preserving water resources, preventing water pollution, preserving the earth’s ecosystems, and reducing the consumption of the earth’s resources.

Getting Your Vitamins from A to Zinc

In order to plan a well-rounded vegetarian diet there are a few nutrients that vegetarians and vegans need to be cognizant of and be sure to incorporate into their diet:

Protein: Most people assume it will be difficult to meet their protein requirements as a vegetarian, however most American’s consume twice as much protein as they need; most vegetarians are able to meet their protein requirements with a little planning. Daily requirements for protein depend on gender and body weight.  Symptoms of protein deficiency include edema (swelling, usually on the extremities), weight loss, thinning or loss of hair, general weakness, slowness in healing of wounds and bruises, headache, and difficulty sleeping. Vegetarian sources of protein include: beans, lentils, tofu, chickpeas, dairy (for lacto- or lacto-ovo vegetarian) and eggs (for ovo- or lacto-ovo vegetarian).

Silk SoymilkVitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is only naturally found in foods derived from animals. A lacto-ovo vegetarian likely will have an adequate intake but a vegan may not. Options for meeting your vitamin B12 requirements include taking a B12 supplement (pill form), eating foods fortified with vitamin B12, or receiving regular vitamin B12 injections from your physician (usually monthly).  Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia (particularly one subtype called megaloblastic anemia), fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, numbness or tingling in hands and feet, depression, confusion, and dementia.  Daily requirements for vitamin B12 vary by age and gender.  egetarian sources of vitamin B12: fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, soymilk, and soy products.

Iron: There are two types of iron: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is the iron found in hemoglobin (which carries oxygen in a red blood cell). Pistachios This form of iron is only found in animal products and is more readily absorbed than non-heme iron. However, non-heme iron’s absorption is improved when consumed with vitamin C (so be sure to include vitamin C in your iron-enriched meal).  Daily iron requirements vary by age and gender.  Symptoms of iron deficiency include anemia, fatigue, pale skin, weakness, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, cold hands/feet, and brittle nails.  Vegetarian sources of non-heme iron: pistachios, cashews, chickpeas, sesame seeds, dried fruits, and spinach.

Calcium: Since vegans and ovo-vegetarians don’t consume dairy, it’s important to ensure adequate calcium intake. Symptoms of calcium deficiency include twitching, seizures, and tetany (extreme stiffness and rigidity in your muscles).  Vegetarian sources of calcium: kale, collard greens, broccoli, legumes, figs, almonds, tofu, and fortified soymilk.

FlaxseedOmega-3 Fatty Acids: The primary source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish, so unless you’re a pescatarian it can be difficult to have an adequate intake. Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids do not contain the active form of the nutrient that your body needs so supplements with flax seed oil may be necessary. Daily omega-3 fatty acid requirements vary by age.  Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, dry/itchy skin, brittle hair, weak nails, constipation, depression, and poor concentration.  Vegetarian sources: soy, walnuts, canola oil, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds.

Will following a vegetarian diet make you healthier? Not necessarily. As people often forget, vegetarian diets can include plenty of unhealthy foods including french fries, donuts, pizza and ice cream. However, most vegetarians consume more fruits and vegetables, and eat less unhealthy fats (trans and unsaturated) than their meat-eating counterparts. Not ready to completely change your diet? Try going veggie once a week and discover fun new vegetarian dishes!


01 2010

WordPress SEO