Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

5 Healthy Tips for Your Super Bowl Party

Everyone is gearing up for Super Bowl 50! Whether you’re a devoted fan, love the game or  just love to socialize during the game, we’ve got 5 simple tips to help you stay mindful and make healthier choices without missing a second of the action.


Bring something healthy and simple.

That way you have at least one healthier option to turn to during the party. H3 Fitness Coach, Chris Varano makes a low fat spinach dip with some Greek yogurt and vegetable soup mix and spinach. It’s that simple and very yummy.

And if preparing something is a ‘foul on the play’ in your mind, H3 Registered Dietician Felicia Hackett suggests buying store bought hummus with pre-cut vegetable tray. Hummus is always a hit and it’s always great to sneak in as many veggies as you can.

Be a Mindful Host at Half-Time

Make smaller portions of dips and put out smaller portions of chips while putting out bigger platters of fruits and vegetables.

Edamame hummus

Be sure to put water bottles next to the beer and other beverages so everyone sees there’s water available. You can even hand out/offer a water bottle to every guest when they are getting settled. Our RD Felicia Hackett pulls out these healthy tricks to help guests make healthier decisions while still allowing them to enjoy a little indulgence.

Turn Commercial Breaks into Fit Breaks

To stay active without missing a play or a hilarious commercial, Fitness Coach David Chesworth chooses squat jumps as his go-to fitness move. From a seated position on their chairs/sofas they would stand up and clap their hands – those who want high impact could add a jump after they stand. They could do 10 squat jumps for each commercial that airs or do 10 every time their team scores.

We’ve given you the game plan and now, it’s time to use it. Enjoy Super Bowl 50, everyone.

We’d love to know what you’re doing to stay on track during your Super Bowl Party. Share your plans with us in the comments!



What myths do people believe are true when it comes to nutrition?

by Hilton Head Health Registered Dietitian, Felicia Hackett

“What is good for me and what is not? How many calories does this have? I heard this and my friend told me that. I saw on TV that…”


Nutrition confusion is common. We are bombarded with clever nutrient marketing. When we are unable to make sense of it we tend to turn to our old habits, habits that are not conducive to our health and lowering our risk for chronic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, and Cancer. Keep reading to demystify some common nutrition pitfalls.

Bananas give you belly fat.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial for weight loss and maintenance. Considering the highly packaged, processed food culture we live in, villainizing a piece of fruit is not logical. Foods that are packed with added sugar, salt, and fat are what create more belly fat than a banana. A 6” banana is packed with nutrients, providing not only fiber but a good source of potassium and Vitamin C.

One key recommendation from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for a healthy eating pattern includes incorporating a variety of fruits, especially whole fruits. Bottom line is that if you like bananas, eat bananas

Vegetarian and Vegan diets lack adequate amounts of protein.

When we think protein we tend to think of animal sources- meat, yogurt, and cheese. There are many other foods that provide an abundance of protein. The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. What are pulses? Pulses are crops like legumes, peas, beans, and chickpeas. Not only are they a good source of protein but they pack a punch with fiber. For example, a 1/2 cup of kidney beans packs 8g of protein and 6g of fiber. Other benefits of increasing pulse intake are that they are economically accessible and fosters sustainable agriculture. So, yes! Vegetarians and vegans eat adequate amounts of protein plus reap all the additional benefits of food cost and helping the earth.

Juicing is great!

Juicing is not a long term solution for maintaining weight loss. You may be getting vitamins and phytochemicals in your juice but you are lacking fiber. Fiber is beneficial for GI health, lowering LDL cholesterol and on top of that has anti-inflammatory effects. Juicing makes you miss out on an important part of our diet. If you do like drinking your fruits and vegetables, try a blender so that you are getting all the benefits of the whole food.


Back to the Basics

Get back to basics in 2016 and focus on foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans. Build your nutrition not on nutrients but on the colorful foods you see in the produce section. Focus first on eating plant-based foods and by default you will increase your fiber intake while decreasing added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.  Set an intention to make each and every eating occasion count. It does not take long before your body starts reacting positively to the changes you make. You may not be seeing it on the scale right away but internally your body is going to be thanking you.



7 Tricks to Ordering Take Out

by Hilton Head Health Registered Dietitian Felicia Hackett

When eating convenience foods we have to remember that those are the foods that tend to lack vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Because of that you have to purposefully choose foods that are going to help with weight loss and weight maintenance but more importantly living well.

restaurant, healthy food,

Look for entrees that have a vegetable in the name.

  • Eggplant parmesan, broccoli and chicken.

Ask for double vegetables.

  • Red curry with double vegetable or shrimp lo mein with double vegetables.

Have one starch.

  • Skip the side of bread and just have the rice or potatoes that come with the meal. Mexican takeout? Pass on the tortilla chips and salsa and have 3 small corn or flour tortilla tacos with a side salad. Instead of queso choose a small order of guac to go with your yummy tacos. Both are energy dense foods but guac has healthy fats and vitamins that cheese does not.

When you get a choice between a baguette, chips, or an apple,

Choose the apple and have it for dessert and if you are full from the meal stick it in your bag or car for a quick pick me up later in the day.

At ice cream shops have the smallest size they offer.

  • Sounds crazy but the “baby” size or dog friendly size would be a great portion.

strawberry ice cream, healthier option, small order

Take the food out of the takeout box and place it on your 9” plate.

  • Half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. If you have a slice of pizza, size down the slice so that it does not overhang on the plate and then make sure there is room to fill half of your plate with those non-starchy vegetables.

Mini-size fast food options.

  • Stopping at fast food, have a kid size meal and if you feel hungry order a side salad

It is easier said than done but like anything else that we succeed in we have to practice. Convenience, quick-serve, and fast foods are in the world we live in. You have to make it work for you or it’s going to work you. Practice, practice, practice choosing better and soon enough it will become habit.



To Diet or not to Diet on Christmas

Hilton Head Health Registered Dietitian, Felicia Hackett

Christmas cookie,

The food is made with love and holiday cheer. Family and friends have finally arrived. Throughout the house, there are homemade sugar cookies and gingerbread men that are perfectly or not so perfectly frosted, tasty dill dip in a bowl made of rye bread, peppermint candy canes, yummy cheese and crackers, and red and green foiled candies. For dinner, the buffet is set with an attractive basted turkey or honey glazed ham, grandma’s stuffing, classic green bean casserole, buttered mashed potatoes, and candied yams. After dinner, the whipped heavy cream topping is placed next to the pecan and pumpkin pie signaling that dessert is ready.

How does that sound for a Christmas day spread?

Pause for a moment and think what Christmas means to you and your family. For me, it is about breaking bread; having a friendly and engaging meal in a comfortable, inviting environment with the people you hold dearly to your heart.

“Food for thought: have we been so engrained in our tradition that breaking bread has now become breaking habits, nutrition habits in this case?”

Intuitively, food that is familiar is food that we like.

Pump the breaks on holiday foods like the ones listed above and begin shifting your mindset to more nourishing foods. Experts agree that wholesome, healthful foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are linked to positive health outcomes. This Christmas nourish yourself and choose not to diet. If we are in the dieting mentality we hold feelings of guilt and regret for enjoying foods that we have, over the years of dieting, labeled “bad”.

Feelings like these only damper the holiday spirit.

To Diet is the practice of eating food in a regulated and supervised fashion to decrease, maintain, or increase body weight. To Nourish is to provide food necessary for growth, health, and good condition. In contrast to dieting,  if we practice having a nourishing mentality we are expressing feelings of satisfaction and contentment. To keep on track this December, ask yourself a simple question before you eat, Is this food nourishing?

  • Create a menu that highlights steamed, baked, or sautéed vegetables with fresh herbs.
  • Decrease the amount of added sugars in your day by using half the sugar the recipe calls for in candied yams and like foods. And instead of honey glazed ham, try smoked ham; or just like salad dressing have the glaze on the side.
  • Add whole grains to the menu by making a whole wheat bread stuffing, a recipe right from our blog.
  • Cut down on dessert options, because having variety of desserts quickly becomes a tasting of the variety of desserts.

This Christmas, give yourself a gift by tossing out the dieting mentality and embracing the concept of “to nourish”.



How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

by Hilton Head Health Registered Dietician, Felicia Hackett, RD

The holiday season is here and our healthy lifestyle has now become part of our holiday wishlist. Here are some strategies to help you optimize your healthy choices during this special time of year.


Be a Thoughtful Grazer

Focus on expressing gratitude rather than ruminating on food this Thanksgiving. Spend your time connecting with family and friends or practicing being thankful for your year of accomplishments. Try occupying your mind and body with activities like getting together for a flag football game or entertaining your guests.

When you do reach for food, grab for nutrient dense fare made of vegetables or fruit. Skip on the creamy and choose herbs and spices as flavor enhancers. For dessert think sliver not slice or dollop, not scoop. Make the Thanksgiving beverage a low-calorie Thanksgiving herbal iced-tea like cranberry vanilla or make that holiday wine a wine spritzer.

Make your day more about the thanks and the giving and less about the thoughtless grazing.

December Holidays

Think Small Wins

The month of December is all about holiday parties and the bombardment of tasty food and drinks that come with them. Think small wins throughout the month long celebration.

“Small wins turn into transformative changes.”

Pat yourself on the back for skipping on the Christmas cookie or fruit cake. Go for the big win and challenge yourself to a “0” gain weight goal going into the New Year. This way you get after your New Year’s resolutions instead of thinking you have to lose pesky holiday weight first. Avoid tempting fate by not standing near the seasonal cookies, pies, and candies and position yourself away from the food; out of sight, out of mind.  Include more mindful food experiences that create mindful pauses like cracking almonds to get to the crunchy nut.

Last tip for the holidays. Take notice of your holiday nutrition behaviors and see if you can tweak it slightly so that it aligns better with your food and fitness goals. For example why not change Santa’s cookies to Reindeer food of carrot sticks.

Happy Holidays and cheers to family and friends.



Reduce Your Risk for Alzheimer’s by 35 Percent

alzheimer's disease, MIND Diet

The MIND Diet

Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the scariest and most costly chronic diseases. Fortunately, the evidence continues to mount that we have a greater impact on influencing our risk than many would believe. A recent study builds on previous research suggesting that lifestyle, specifically diet can have a dramatic impact on the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, led by Martha Clare Morris, PhD, found that those following their dietary approach rigorously, lowered their risk by 53%, encouragingly, those following it even moderately lowered their risk by about 35%.  Referred to as the MIND diet (acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), the dietary pattern was developed by blending elements of the Mediterranean and the DASH diets, both of which have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The Food Recommendations and Limitations

The dietary pattern emphasized the consumption of 10 brain healthy foods and limited the exposure to 5 foods that may increase risk.

The healthy foods were:

  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or a salad with romaine lettuce every day
  • One other vegetable every day
  • Three servings of whole grains a day.
    • A serving is one slice of whole wheat bread,  ½ cup of whole grain pasta or brown rice, or a bowl of whole grain cereal.
  • Beans every other day
  • One serving (about and ounce) of nuts per day
  • Poultry two times a week
  • Berries at least 2 times a week. The study found blueberries to be very ‘potent’ in brain protection.
  • Fish at least one time a week
  • Olive oil
  • One 5 oz. glass of wine per day.

Foods that were limited:

  • Red meats
  • Less than on tablespoon of  butter or stick margarine per day.
  • Full fat cheese, less than one serving per week
  • Sweets and pastries
  • No more than one serving each per week of fried or fast foods.

The Beauty of Simplicity

At first glance you may think, there is nothing new here, why all the excitement. First, of the results were impressive,  secondly, as Varanda R. Seth, RDN,CDE, spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, states “the MIND diet is fairly simple to follow. Having a green salad and one other vegetable a day and snaking on nuts is pretty simple to do. Many people already have poultry at least two times a week and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.” The other guidelines while challenging for some to follow, are not overwhelmingly difficult. And as lead research Dr. Morris points out once again, ”one of the most exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction (35%) in the risk of Alzheimer’s. I think that will motivate people.”

The Big Takeaway

The take home message from this study is that we have more control over our risk for Alzheimer’s Disease than many consumers believe. Dr. Morris sums it up by  saying that “With late onset AD, with that of older group of people, genetic risk factors are small piece of the picture. This study along with past studies have  yielded evidence that suggests that what we eat may play a significant role in determining who gets AD and who doesn’t.”




Healthy Trends: Infused Water

by Lauren Dearing, Hilton Head Health Food and Beverage Manager

Infused water is a delicious way to stay hydrated and a great alternative to sugary sodas and other unhealthy beverages. Here at Hilton Head Health, we’ve actually switched out our H3 Lemonade for infused water to help promote infused water as a healthier option for our Guests;  and to encourage them to make this refreshing drink at home. We’re even sharing a few, simple tips to give our subscribers and our Guests ideas to help make their own infused water creations!

Prepare It In Advance

The longer the infused water sits the more the flavor develops and depending on your fruit it can last in your refrigerator for a couple of days.

Fruit Preparations  

Cut your fruit into smaller pieces for a stronger flavor, whole strawberries have a milder flavor compared to strawberries that have been quartered.  Fruits with a skin, such as grapes or cranberries, should be cut in half so the water can infuse with the juices.

*If your water tastes a little too bitter try cutting off the rinds of your fruit.

Get Creative

You can start with 2 parts water and 1 part fruit if you’d like a more specific plan of attack but I’ve found that infused water is basically like soup; you just keep adding ingredients until it taste just right for you.

You don’t have to just stick with fruit for wonderful infused water, get creative.  Try adding herbs with your fruit such as mint, basil, cinnamon sticks, rosemary or if you feel you need some extra pizzazz add some sparkling water.  But most importantly HAVE FUN; there are no wrong answers when it comes to making infused water!

Here are a few of my favorite combinations:

  • Strawberries and pineapple
  • Oranges, cranberries, and rosemary
  • Lemons, limes, and mint
  • Strawberries and jalapenos
  • Apples and cinnamon sticks

What’s your go-to combination for infused water?



The Truth about Electrolytes

Most everyone has heard of electrolytes.  It may have been your trainer reminding you to replenish them after a workout, or your doctor telling you to replace them if you have been sick and are experiencing dehydration.

Electrolytes are basically salts, and salts along with water help to keep the electrical charges in our bodies working properly.  Sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous are the most common electrolytes.  Water acts as a carrier for the electrolytes.


Electrolytes are essential in helping to maintain optimal performance while working out.  When you sweat, your body loses both water and electrolytes.  If you are not properly hydrated both before and during your workout, it can lead to dehydration.  Symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte depletion include fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, muscle spasms and numbness.

Most commonly, we are encouraged to consume sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade, to satisfy the replenishment process.  However, these drinks are full of refined sugars, chemicals, additives, artificial colors, artificial flavors and a host of other ingredients you simply want to avoid.  Additionally, they are loaded with empty calories, as much as or more than soda.

You can easily make your own healthy electrolyte water replacement.  A basic recipe of citrus and salt will do the trick.  A piece of citrus fruit alone is an excellent and fast source of replenishment and provides natural sugars.  But citrus juice (from oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes) can be easily mixed with water (preferably distilled water as it is the purest; avoid tap water) and a little salt (preferably sea salt; avoid table salt) to create a quick and satisfying sports drink.  For a super charged energy drink, try using raw coconut water, which naturally has 13x more potassium than Gatorade and 2x more sodium than Gatorade.


¼ tsp. baking soda

½ cup orange juice


4 cups filtered water

¾ cup citrus juice (combine various types)

¼ cup raw honey or maple syrup

1/2 tsp sea salt



3 Ways to Know if You Have a Fresh Fish

by Executive Chef Hicham Elmadi

Having access to fresh fish is a major perk living here on Hilton Head Island, SC; along with the beautiful weather and beaches. We’ll let you in on a little secret about fresh fish. There are 3 simple steps to check on how fresh your fish. As the Executive Chef of True Restaurant at Hilton Head Health, I use these 3 tips to make sure we always have the freshest possible catch to serve to our Guests.

Last week, we received a wild freshwater striped bass and prepared it the same day. It was a beauty! (And it tasted as good as it looked.)


Sign 1: The Eyes

Check the eyes to ensure they are clear and bulging, not cloudy. If the eyes are sunken in, your fish may have been on ice more than it was in water.


Sign 2: The Gills

The gills should be bright pink or red but never brown. Brown means that fish is definitely not fresh.


Sign 3: The Fins

There should be a natural sliminess underneath the fins and they should be flexible, when you lift them up. Stay away from brittle, dry fins.


Use these 3 simple tips to make sure you always enjoy the freshest fish at home. If you have questions about other seafood, leave your question in the comments or send an email to



Indulge Over Labor Day Weekend & Stay On Track

umbrella_labor day1

Labor Day Weekend is upon us. It’s time to enjoy friends, family and food but sometimes that can be a recipe for disaster towards your healthy diet. Don’t fret here’s a few mindul tips from Bob Wright, Hilton Head Health Director of Education.

  • “Control the controllables.” Concentrate on what you’re personally accountable for to set yourself up for success.
  • Have a good balanced breakfast and maybe a healthy snack before the Labor Day buffet, this will help rein in hunger and empower you to make better food choices.
  • When you indulge, consume conscientiously. Eat treats mindfully. If you are going to have one, eat it slowly and savor every bite.
  • Have no say in what Auntie May whips up for the annual Labor Day feast? Don’t sweat it. If you don’t have as much control over the food choices, be sure to get a good workout in in the morning, and look for ways to stay more active during the weekend.

Find these tips and other tips to stay mindful while you indulge for the Labor Day Weekend on Eat This Not That.



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