Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Linkedin button Stumbleupon button Youtube button

Portions Out of Control

healthy-foods-grass-fed-beef-512x342The portions, servings, helpings, slices and amounts of what we eat have grown dramatically over the past two decades.
The bigger-is-better motto has taken over the food industry, in conjunction with mass marketing to convince us to buy bigger sizes in order to save money. Supermarkets and restaurants use the promise of better value as a way of pushing extra food onto customers.

Pizza pies were 10 inches in diameter back in the 1970s. Today the average size for a pizza is between 16 and 18 inches!

A Hershey chocolate bar weighed 0.6 ounces its first year on the market. The standard bar now weighs 1.6 ounces. That’s almost three times its original weight!

All of the most popular burger restaurants have increased the size of their hamburgers. The original Burger King burger weighed in at 3.9 ounces, and today a Double Whopper is 12.6 ounces. McDonald’s original patty started out at 1.6 ounces, and now the Double Quarter Pounder is 8 ounces – that’s five times more meat!

Even diet food has grown in size. During the 1990s, Weight Watchers introduced their Smart Ones frozen meals with larger portion sizes. Lean Cuisine offered Hearty Portions, with 100 more calories than the original meal.

Starbucks once offered the “short” cup of coffee at 8 ounces, but it is no longer on the menu. The smallest cup you can order is the “tall.” At 12 ounces, this cup is nearly twice the size of what was once considered a regular cup of coffee.

When Hot Pockets advertised that they had added 10 percent more filling to their microwavable sandwiches while keeping the price the same, their sales increased by 32 percent.

If you compare the new edition of the classic cookbook The Joy of Cooking to the original, you will find identical recipes for cookies and brownies, except that the new recipe makes fewer servings: for example, 16 brownies instead of 30. The modern portions are twice as large.

The Olive Garden restaurant chain offers the “Never-Ending Pasta Bowl,” with unlimited refills of pasta for only $8.95.

Portion Distortion

Bigger portions mean we eat more than we need. When a larger portion is placed in front of us, we tend to eat 30–50 percent more! Most often, we don’t even realize that we are eating more.

Women ate 31 percent more, and men ate 56 percent more when served a 12-inch sub sandwich instead of a 6-inch sandwich.

When cooking, people poured 4.3 ounces of oil from a 32-ounce bottle, but only 3.5 ounces from a 16-ounce bottle.

Moviegoers ate 61 percent more popcorn when given the larger container than they did with a small size.

Snackers poured about twice as many M&Ms from a jumbo bag (103) than they did when given a smaller package (63).

Adapted from The Portion Teller, by Lisa R. Young

Registered Dietitian versus Nutritionist

Detox-Body-WrapThe distinction is important! Anyone can use the term nutritionist, even without any formal education or training. Unlike the credential RD, it’s not a professionally regulated term,
which means that there are no minimum qualifications for a person to call him or herself a nutritionist. A nutritionist is commonly defined as a person who advises people on dietary
matters relating to health, well being and optimal nutrition. Since the term is not regulated or credentialed, it is also often used by people without training who may actually do harm
by giving inappropriate advice. Therefore, when you hear the term “nutritionist” you need to request more information about the person’s qualifications.

A Registered Dietitian (RD) has at a minimum:

1) graduated with a baccalaureate degree from a US accredited university or college
2) graduated from an accredited undergraduate dietetics program
3) completed a 900 hour industry-related internship, and
4) successfully passed the national registration exam

An RD must also maintain his or her credentials with continuing education. Most RD’s have even more specialized training & education.

Dietitians promote sound nutrition through education, help prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits, scientifically evaluate clients’ diets, and conduct research. The letters “RD” after a person’s name signifies that he/she has completed all requirements established by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (the credentialing agency for The American Dietetic Association).

Registered dietitians (RD’s) work in a variety of employment settings including health care, business and industry, public health, education, research, and private practice. Within each
of these settings, RD’s specialize in different areas of the nutrition field such as chronic health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular, and renal diseases; weight management;
allergies and food sensitivities; personal chefs; sports nutrition; child nutrition; and much more. With food and nutrition being a vast field, specialization is common among registered

For more information contact Donna Wolf RD, CLT at 858-335-2140.

As U.S. food prices continue to rise, shoppers are challenged to find more economical ways to buy groceries and prepare healthy meals. Here are 10 tips for stretching your food dollar.

1. Plan Menus and Make a List.

A sure way to overspend is by wandering aimlessly through the aisles and tossing whatever looks good into your cart. Instead, plan menus and write a shopping list that corresponds with the store aisles. Look for menu planning and recipe help on your supermarket’s website. Many feature tools for planning and pricing meals.

2. Use Coupons and Rewards Cards.

Did you know the Sunday inserts in your local paper have anywhere from $50 to $75 worth of coupons in them? Clipping coupons or printing them from websites can save you 10 to 15 percent on your grocery bill.

Also consider joining your supermarket’s shopper’s club. Not only will you enjoy price specials, but you may receive additional coupons for items you regularly purchase at check-out or by email.

3. Buy Store Brands.

The Food Marketing Institute reports 60 percent of shoppers say they are economizing by buying store brand products (also known as private label). Private label brands are often 15 to 20 percent less expensive than their national brand counterparts while the quality of the food may match the national brand.

4. Buy On Sale and In Bulk.

Cruising the aisle for sales on shelf-stable items or products you use regularly is a great way to save money. However, buy larger quantities only if you have proper storage space and will use the food before it spoils.

5. Compare Unit Prices.

Use the “unit price” (price per pound, ounce or pint) to compare national brands with store brands, or bulk and economy-sizes with single-serve or regular-size packages. Many stores show the unit price on a shelf tag.

6. Read Food Labels.

Compare nutrients using the % Daily Value in the Nutrition Facts panel. Five percent or less is low – try to aim low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Twenty percent or more is high – try to aim high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

7. Shop the Perimeter.

Fresh produce, meats, dairy and breads tend to be on the outer perimeter of supermarkets, so start there before hitting the inner aisles for other necessities.

8. Shop Seasonally.

Fresh produce often costs less when it’s in season Visit a local farmer’s market or join a produce club to take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. For produce not in season, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables (with little or no added salt or sugar) are a nutritious option.

9. Keep Foods Safe and Prevent Food Waste.

Use dating information (“sell by” and “best used by”) to help select the freshest foods at the market. Put cold and frozen foods in your shopping cart last and store them right away in the refrigerator and freezer. Once you’re home, store foods so those with the oldest “sell by” dates will be used first.

10. Pay Attention at the Check-Out.

Make sure prices ring up as advertised or as indicated on the shelf label, especially for sale items. Some stores will even give you the item free if they make a mistake on the price.

Food Group Economics 101

  • Produce: Seasonal produce usually offers the best value for your money. However, for produce that isn’t in season, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables may be more economical.
  • Grains: Count on whole-grain breads, cereals, pastas and other grain products to add variety to your meals at a low cost. Buy in bulk when possible and cook them yourself rather than buying quick-cooking or pre-seasoned varieties.
  • Dairy: Look for special sale promotions for milk, cheese and yogurt. but avoid purchasing more than you can use by the expiration date.
  • Protein: Calculate cost per serving, not cost per pound, when buying meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Eggs, chicken and turkey are usually your most economical choices. Also consider vegetarian sources of protein like beans, peas, peanut butter and nuts


Back to School Packing a LunchboxOn hectic mornings, take the time to pack a nutritious and safe lunch for you AND your children with these tips.

Keep it Clean

Start off each day fresh by washing lunch boxes and lunch bags with warm, soapy water after each use. Be sure to wash your hands before, during and after preparing lunches, and make sure counters and surfaces are clean to prevent cross-contamination.

Before they eat, remind your children to wash their hands or pack a moist towelette or hand sanitizer in their lunch container.

Keep it Cool

Perishable foods should not be left out of refrigeration for more than two hours, but many students don’t have access to a refrigerator at school. Help keep your child’s lunch safe by packing it in an insulated lunch bag or lunch box and including an ice pack or frozen beverage container.

If refrigeration is unavailable at work or school, consider substituting perishables with shelf-stable foods, such as trail mix, individual boxes of cereal, granola bars, bagels, carrot and celery sticks, whole fruit, dried fruit, single-serve applesauce and whole-grain crackers with peanut butter.

If you prepare lunches the night before, make sure perishable food items such as yogurt and meat or cheese sandwiches are properly stored in a refrigerator set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep it Healthy

When building lunches, choose whole-grain breads, low-fat or fat-free dairy options and lean meats and proteins. Also, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Just remember to wash vegetables and ready-to-eat fruit like apples and grapes, as well as peel-and-eat fruits like bananas and oranges to eliminate harmful bacteria that can spread during peeling or cutting.



You read labels at the supermarket so that you can make the healthiest choices for you and your family. But sometimes you get stumped: How do you decide between a container of pasta sauce with “reduced sodium” and another that’s labeled “low sodium”?

Here’s a guide to help you tell the difference between some similar-sounding label claims and ingredients that can trip you up. A basic rule of thumb for my own purchases,  if you can’t read it, pronounce it or even get close to sounding it out. . . .I tend to pass it up!

“Hydrogenated oils” or “partially hydrogenated oils”

Which is better? Neither (though some experts say PHOs should be banned entirely!)

Why? Both oils are commonly used in processed foods to help prolong shelf life and improve texture. But PHOs (a main ingredient in some stick margarines) are a major source of heart-harming trans fats, which raise dangerous LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol (the healthful kind). Hydrogenated fats, on the other hand, are similar to saturated fats. They might raise LDL, but they don’t have a negative effect on healthful HDLs.

Although fully hydrogenated oils may seem to have a slight edge, they’re not harmless. They’re still a source of saturated fat, and if a label lists hydrogenated oil, it’s possible that the food contains some trans fat. In 2013 the Food and Drug Administration proposed removing PHOs’ classification as a food that’s “generally recognized as safe”; the agency has yet to make a final determination. In addition to butter substitutes, you may find PHOs in cake icing, commercial baked goods, microwave popcorn and other foods.

Which is better? Whole grain.

Why? “Multigrain” sounds earthy and grainy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the grains are whole and contain all of the essential parts and nutrients of the original kernel. “Multigrain” just means that the food contains more than one type of grain. The only way to ensure you’re getting whole grains is to look for ingredients such as whole-wheat flour.

“Reduced fat” or “low fat”

Which is better? Low fat.

Why? You’ll always know what you’re getting when you choose a low-fat food: three or fewer grams of fat per serving. “Reduced fat” isn’t as straightforward. It simply means the food has at least 25 percent less fat than its regular version, which could be high in fat to begin with. And don’t get snookered by “light” or “lite,” either; they, too, can mean various things.

“Sugar-free” or “no added sugar”

Which is better? Neither.

Why? A “sugar-free” label means that the food has less than half a gram of sugar per serving. A “no sugars added” claim means only that sugar wasn’t added in processing. But if a food’s ingredients are high in sugars anyway, it could still pack a lot of calories.

“Excellent source of fiber” or “made with extra fiber”

Which is better? “Excellent source.”

Why? An “excellent source” or “high-fiber” food has a federally defined standard: It must have at least five grams of fiber per serving (20 percent of the daily recommended value, or DV); a “good source” must have at least 2.5 grams per serving (10 percent of the DV). By definition, a food with “extra fiber” should supply at least 10 percent more of the DV per serving than a similar food.

Which is better? Neither.

Why?Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are compounds added to processed meats such as bacon and ham to “cure” them, boosting shelf life, improving flavor and adding color. But both are additives you don’t want to consume in unlimited quantities because they’re associated with the formation of possible cancer-causing nitrosamines on meat and in the body. The government allows “no nitrates added” and “uncured” labels when meat is cured with celery juice or celery powder, but those ingredients can naturally produce nitrates.

“Low sodium” or “reduced sodium”

Which is better? “Low sodium.”

Why? For a food to earn a “low sodium” label, it must contain no more than 140 milligrams per serving. Even better but harder to find is a “very low sodium” food, which by definition has a scant 35 or fewer milligrams per serving. But because a reduced-sodium food needs to be only 25 percent lower than the regular version, it can still pack a lot of sodium.


Information gathered from:

The truth about how greek yogurt is made today, lacking vital nutrients and overloaded with unhealthy additives, compared to traditionally made greek yogurt that is truely fermented and sourced from grass-fed and pasture raised goat's and sheep's milk. Traditional greek yogurt is extremely nutritious and loaded with probiotic bacteria and healthy fats. Yogurt recipes included and recommended books for more info.

15 Ways To Get Your 5-A-Day

When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, we’re reminded to eat at least “5 a day.” But for many of us, eating five or more servings each day can seem a bit daunting. Considering that we, on average, eat 3 meals a day, with 2-3 snacking occasions thrown into the mix, it turns out that there are plenty of opportunities to get our share of fruits and veggies. With the advantage of living in southern California, fresh options never go out of style. The following are suggestions that may help you enjoy your 5-a-day!

1. Buy in-season produce whenever possible (although we are in CA, our produce goes through seasonal phases as well)– at your local grocer or farmer’s market. In the summer months, it’s so delicious and refreshing to eat a variety of berries, stone fruits and melons, and hydrating veggies such as cucumbers, tomatoes and celery.

In cooler months, explore a variety of root vegetables, such as parsnips, sweet potatoes and onions. (To prolong their life, store them in a cool, dry place). And of course, fall brings a multitude of apple varieties to enjoy raw, baked or cooked.

2. Experiment with cooking methods. Fruits and vegetables take well to stir-frying, grilling, sautéing and roasting, and each technique brings out the flavors and textures in foods in delectably-different ways.

3. Round out your servings with frozen or canned varieties of your favorite fruits and vegetables. These options are economical and convenient, but be sure that you select packages that are low in sodium and sugar. Keep fruit on hand for baking, and vegetables for soups and stews, or add them to egg dishes (for breakfast, lunch or dinner). Frozen or canned vegetables can be cooked in minutes in the microwave, making a quick and easy side dish.

4. Don’t forget the herbs. Dried thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes, for example, can add depth of flavor and texture to any savory dish. Fresh herbs like cilantro, basil or mint are perfect complements to both fruit and vegetable dishes.

Fruits in summer and fall:
5. Take it up a notch and try mixing fruit and veggies together. Salads – a summer and early fall favorite – are perfect to experiment with; for example, add sliced stone fruit, or apples to a bed of mixed greens or baby spinach. Dress lightly with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar; season with black pepper, and top with cubes of your favorite goat cheese or feta

6. Grill peaches, plums or other stone fruit. Select firm fruit, cut in half, remove pit, and baste each half with vegetable oil. Place on grill, and remove when grill marks appear and fruit becomes soft but not falling apart, approximately 4-5 minutes. Slice fruit into bite-size pieces and add to your favorite salad, or serve as a refreshing side to your favorite grilled meat or fish dish.

7. Enjoy fruit as dessert. Serve a mixture of berries, or grilled stone fruits (mentioned above), with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. For a boost of flavor, stir vanilla or honey into the yogurt and serve with berries. Top with a few mint leaves for fragrance and embellishment.

Veggies in fall and winter:
8. Enjoy a medley of roasted vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, onions, and Brussels sprouts, are perfect for this type of cooking. Chop the veggies into similar-sized chunks (so they’ll cook evenly) and toss with enough olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and dried herbs, such as thyme or oregano so each piece is coated with the mixture. Spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet or roasting pan, trying not to overcrowd or overlap the vegetables. In a preheated, 425° oven, roast the vegetables for 15-30 minutes, being sure to check frequently to ensure your veggies are cooking evenly.  Vegetables are done when they’re tender, golden and carmelized.

9. Chop up a variety of veggies, such as peppers, onions, carrots, and mushrooms.
Heat up a sauté pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté veggies one at a time, starting with the onion and then adding longer-cooking  veggies like carrots, followed by the others. Season with dried herbs and cracked pepper at each addition. When veggies are soft, carmelized and oozing with flavor, add them to whole grain rice or pasta. If needed, add a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a fresh chopped herb such as parsley, and if desired, a grated hard cheese like Parmesan or Percorino Romano.

These sautéed vegetables can also be enjoyed as a side dish with your favorite fish or lean meat. Or add them to broth (let simmer in the broth for 20-30 minutes) for a quick and hearty vegetable soup. (Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables can be added to the broth, too).

11. Think mashed or pureed. Many root veggies take well to being mashed and pureed, especially parsnips, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes, as well as the perennial favorite, potatoes. Pureed veggies are delicious on their own, or they can be used to thicken soups, stews, and casseroles.

12. Keep ready-to-eat snacks on hand. Make a fruit salad and keep in a container in the fridge. Be sure to keep Greek yogurt on hand, too, for a creamy partner to the fruit salad.

13. Cut up vegetables such as carrots, celery, and peppers and place in small containers or bags; enjoy them at lunch or as a snack at your desk (or while you’re snacking in front of the TV).

14. Keep a bowl filled with apples, oranges, bananas, grapes in the fall/winter, and stone fruits in the warmer months, for a quick grab-&-go snack at home or on the run.

15. Roast kale, spinach or beet greens for a better-tasting-than-you-can-imagine snack.

Now that you’ve got all these helpful hints to get your 5-a-day, make it a daily challenge with the family and see who wins! It can be easy, quick and delicious!

Blog content shared from

Ever wonder how they come up with gluten free and what determines if it’s really gluten free or just maybe gluten “limited?” Well, in August 2013, the Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule that defined what characteristics a food must have to bear a label that says “gluten-free.”  As of August 5, 2014, any food product bearing a gluten-free claim labeled on or after this date must meet the rule’s requirements.

For those of you eating gluten free, this should be somewhat of a relief.  To learn more about what determines gluten, gluten free foods and the labeling of such, check out this site from the FDA.

Awhile back, it was common for many of us to sit down and eat three balanced meals a day. Occasionally we may have a snack here and there to hold us over or as a special treat but now there is food EVERYWHERE! There is food in the break room, vending machines at the office and on the street, at concerts, the movies, the drug store. . .it is everywhere! One might think that grazing throughout the day may keep us satisfied and our metabolism boosted. But in all actuality, grazing may cause many of us to consume more calories throughout the day which can lead to weight gain in the long run. The bottom line is: skip the unhealthy snacks and when choosing to eat snacks try them in place of a meal rather than in addition to your three larger meals.

Ideas for Easy Grab & Go Snacks: 

Hard boiled eggs- great stick-to-the-ribs protein

Instant oatmeal- Buy a big package of instant or quick cooking oats and pre measure 1/4 cup into snack size bags. Add your own cinnamon, raisins, dried cranberries or nuts, mix with water, pop in the microwave and BAM! a hearty, healthy snack. Doing it this way not only saves you money but saves all the added sugars in prepackaged instant oatmeals.

Trail mix- combine your favorite nuts, dried fruits and cereal for a great combination snack. Be aware of portion size here due to the nature of nuts and fruits being nutrient dense foods

Crackers and tuna- purchase some whole grain crackers and portion them into individual snack bags, buy some pouches of tuna and combine for a nutritious and delicous snack

Nut butters and fruit- keep a jar of peanut or almond butter handy and bring different fruits into work each day. When feeling hungry, spread a tablespoon or two over the fruit and enjoy!

Veggies and hummus- When you buy your groceries, once you get home, clean up the produce and make your own veggie snack bags. Add a side of hummus or dip made with greek yogurt and consume.

Rice cakes and nut butter- spread your favorite nut butter on a rice cake or two, top with nuts, raisins or fruit

Cottage cheese and berries- have a scoop of low fat cottage cheese with sliced melon or fresh berries, sprinkle with salt or drizzle with honey and embrace the tastiness

Popcorn- enough said!

Fruit and cheese- a little bit of carbs and a little bit of protein and fat, makes a well balanced snack

The options are endless! But if you find your self craving something bad or you want to make baby steps towards modifying your favorite snacks, here are some tips to help you snack on this and not that.

  • If you used to eat potato chips try having some popcorn or sunflower seeds
  • You love cream cheese and sour cream dips in any way, shape or form. Try having some humus, salsa or black bean dip
  • Soda- save yourself the calories and sugar and try some seltzer water or herbal iced tea
  • Ice cream sundaes- try a fruit and yogurt parfait with a touch of granola for crunch
  • You used to eat a personal pan pizza but now you can try a homemade pita pizza. Get a 6 inch whole wheat pita, topic with some fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, some diced ham or turkey and top with a light layer of cheese-whoa! Skinny pizza!!

I hope this snacking tips help. Just remember, anything outside of your regular meals is added calories and can lead to potential weight gain. If you prefer snacking rather than having three large meals, plan out 5-6 small meals and keep them lighter. Try these healthy ideas and remember, if there is any thing you need, we are hear for you!