Cook More, Stress Less


By Celina Scala

With the party-packed, calorie-laden holidays behind us, many of us now find ourselves shaking off our food hangovers and vowing to change our eating habits for the better. Yet even when armed with the best of intentions, we easily wind up feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to make time for healthy, home-cooked meals, and we find ourselves ordering takeout before February.

Making more meals at home, however, can actually be less stressful than you may think with just a little planning and simple shortcuts:

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Rush Embraces Healthier Snacking

By Mary Gregoire

More than 60 percent of the U.S. population is defined as being overweight or obese. Lack of sufficient exercise and consumption of higher-fat and -sugar foods often contribute to weight gain and can result in an individual becoming overweight or obese.

Rush Food and Nutrition Services managers are concerned about these statistics and are excited to introduce healthier options in the vending machines around the Rush campus. What began with the vending machines in the Tower is now expanding to other vending machines across Rush University Medical Center.

We partnered with our vending supplier, Ace Vending, to increase the number of Health on the Go items in snack machines to half of the items currently offered. These snacks meet Health on the Go guidelines, featuring reduced calories, fat, sodium and sugar, and increased fiber. Half of the cold beverage options will be juice, water or sugar-free sodas. The cold food machines will feature more salads and entrees, which also will meet Health on the Go guidelines.

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Making Informed Food Choices

By Kelly Roehl

March is National Nutrition Month, an annual nutrition education campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy habits.

While there are endless food options with the ease of online ordering and delivery services, it is up to you what you decide to put in to your body. The theme for National Nutrition Month 2012 is “Get Your Plate in Shape.”

As registered dietitians, we encourage our clients to think before they eat. Here are a few ways to “check” your meals to make sure you’re getting the right types and amounts of nutrients for a healthy weight and lifestyle:

Make half your plate vegetables with a side of fruit. Produce is packed with antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals to protect against chronic disease.

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Heart-Healthy Foods (And They Taste Good, Too)

By Heather Rasmussen

While Valentine’s Day reminded us that the heart is a symbol of love, fewer connect that symbol to our own personal heart health. As February is also recognized as American Heart Month by the American Heart Association, we should also focus our attention on lifestyle factors that can benefit our heart, whether through smoking cessation, increased physical activity or diet modification.

While this month highlights these key factors that impact heart health, our heart is something that deserves our attention all year round. How do we incorporate heart-healthy ingredients into our diet, and what are the mechanisms by which they function? Discussed below are a few key foods to incorporate into the diet on a frequent basis.

Oatmeal: The key to oatmeal’s success as a heart-healthy food is likely two-fold. First, oatmeal contains soluble fiber, a type of fiber that is unique in that it has the ability to trap cholesterol within the intestine, reducing absorption. This results in reduced plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. With 2 grams of soluble fiber per half-cup dry serving, oatmeal provides a good start toward the goal of 10 grams of soluble fiber a day. While oats have the highest proportion of soluble fiber compared to other grains, other good options include beans, peas, barley and citrus fruits.  Second, oatmeal is a low-fat breakfast item that can serve as an alternative to eggs, bacon and the donuts we gravitate to on our drive to work; when these breakfast items are replaced with a low-fat, low-calorie, high-fiber food, health benefits are soon to follow. Continue reading