healthy eating

Big changes coming to nutrition facts labels, see what's in store

You may have noticed a few things changing on the back labels of your favorite food products. The FDA has enlisted changes to help make nutrition information easier for consumers to both see and understand. The label updates were supposed to go into effect by this July, but the deadline has since been extended to 2020. Take a look at the nutrition labels of your favorite products to see if they've made the required changes. 

One of my very first blog posts was on the updates that are coming to our nutrition facts label. Read it here to learn about the label changes, what a 'serving size' actually means, nutrients you may be lacking, and more. Westfalia Technology shared the infographic below with me that also sheds some light on the new updates.

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Are You a Normal Eater?

I shared this post with my newsletter subscribers a few months back for National Eating Disorders Awareness week. For monthly emails with similar content sign up to receive my monthly newsletter here.

 
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In my practice, I try to emphasize that there is no right way to eat or a universal perfect diet. Everyone's bodies and nutrition needs are different. As women in particular (but men too) we can struggle with food and food rules and what 'healthy' and 'normal' 'should' look like. We get wrapped up in foods we label as 'good' or 'bad' or 'clean' or 'healthy' and go through periods of undereating and overeating. It's stressful. And to me, that's not 'healthy' and shouldn't be 'normal'.

Today, I wanted to share with you a definition of 'normal eating' from two of my esteemed colleagues. This happens to be National Eating Disorders Awareness week, so let's use it as a reminder to show a little self-respect, not judge our food choices or our bodies, ditch the food rules, the diet mentality, and the under eating/overeating cycle.

Ellyn Satter is a highly regarded dietitian known for her work with child nutrition and raising healthy eaters. Robyn Kievit Kirkman is a dietitian, certified eating disorder and sports nutrition specialist, nurse practitioner, and my mentor. Through years of experience in the nutrition field, they have both created definitions of Normal Eating. I combined my favorite parts from the two below. Visit their websites (linked above) for more practical tips and information.


NORMAL EATING

  • Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied.
  • It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it - not just stop eating because you think you should.
  • Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food.
  • Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad, or bored, or just because it feels good.
  • Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way.
  • It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful.
  • Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be under eating at times and wishing you had more.
  • Normal eating is relearning your own way and changing your thoughts, feelings, and actions around food and your body.
  • It is not letting the scale mandate your feelings for the day.
  • Normal eating is baking and eating cookies at 10 PM with a friend, or eating pasta or a leftover cheeseburger and fries for breakfast.
  • Normal eating is trying a food trend but knowing there are no ‘perfect’ foods.
  • Normal eating is maybe trying vegetarianism for a few years but then perhaps deciding animal protein really works well for you, your body, and your movement goals.
  • Normal eating is not what or how much others eat, it’s what YOUR body needs in that moment, that meal, that day.
  • Normal eating is knowing our appetites change meal to meal, day to day, and honoring this process.
  • Normal eating is keeping these words out of thoughts and conversations about food and your body: good, bad, sorry, should, can't, and healthy (or unhealthy, and certainly ‘clean’!).
  • In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

 
What does normal eating mean to you?
 

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Curried Lentil Stuffed Peppers

 
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I have been loving these stuffed lentils lately! They take no time to make and the ingredients are super simple. Even my meat-loving boyfriend loves them! They'd also be good in an acorn squash, but I find peppers cook a little quicker.

In our house, meals can be somewhat challenging. While, I'm not a vegetarian, I prefer to focus on more plant-based meals, while my boyfriend is all about juicy burgers and rare steak. We try to share the cooking responsibility so we get a good mix of vegetarian and meat-centered meals. There are a few things we've found we can make to be half veg/half meat - but more on this later. This is something we can agree on. He also likes stuffed acorn squash with quinoa.

What are your favorite meals to satisfy the meat and veggie lovers in your life?


 

Ingredients:

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3 small-medium, or 2 large bell peppers
2 large carrots, diced
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup diced mushrooms
1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup red lentils (or any color would work)
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth*
2 handfuls of spinach

*note: The amount of broth varied depending on the brand of lentils I used. I would start with 1.5 cups and add more as need

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. 

2. Prep the peppers. Slice each pepper in half and remove the seeds. Place in a baking dish, filled with about 1cm of water. Cover with aluminum foil. Place in your preheated oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until peppers have softened and cooked. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium sized pot, heat a dash of oil over med-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and mushrooms and saute for a minute or so until the onion begins to soften.

4. Add the curry, ginger, turmeric, and tomato paste.

5. Add the lentils and broth. Cook until the lentils are soft and have absorbed the majority of the broth.

6. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat.

7. Spoon lentil mixture into the pepper halves. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!