Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

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.

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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

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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.

boxing electrolytes 300x300 The Truth about 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.)

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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.

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Sign 2: The Gills

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

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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.

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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 300x237 Indulge Over Labor Day Weekend & Stay On Track

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.


Unwise, Better & Best Food Choices

unwise better best 300x300 Unwise, Better & Best Food Choices

Anyone that comes to Hilton Head Health (H3) can remember hearing these three very important words from our Director of Education, Bob Wright:

“Unwise, Better, Best”

Those of you reading today’s blog that are new to this phrase are about to learn a simple but pivotal tips to help you achieve your balanced, healthy lifestyle.

During the summer there are: holidays, weekend cookouts, dinner and cocktails with friends on the weekends and sometimes weekdays, plus sweets and goodies waiting for you in the office. Not to mention right after summer there’s a myriad of well-know holidays, that we won’t mention, ready to do wreck havoc on your healthy diet.

Prevent the disruption of your healthy diet; get into these healthy habits to make better food choices:

1. While at a cookout, party or event, scan the food options before you eat and categorize each option into 1 of 3 choices: unwise, better or best. Weigh each choice considering where each food option would lie on a unhealthy to healthy scale. Use that to scale to guide you with your food choices.

2. If you have a treat, make sure you eat it slowly and mindfully. Savor every single bite. This tip helps with not only treats but your daily food intake. By taking time to eat and taste your food, you’re able to easily gauge how full you are getting and this can help prevent overeating.

3. Don’t underestimate calories. More times than not, half of an entree or salad has more than enough calories for a full meal. Something on a menu might sound healthier than other items but you might want to double-check calorie counts using websites/apps like: My Fitness Pal, SparkPeople and Calorie King.

Could you use more healthy guidance from our Healthy Lifestyle experts? Email us your questions at; you’re question could be the inspiration for our next post.



Health and Nutrition Experts Weigh in on Weight Loss Myths

Our Health and Nutrition Experts weighed in on the weight loss myths and shared simple healthy lifestyle tips on Power Up Your Health with Ed Forteau. Hilton Head Health Director of Education Bob Wright and Registered Dietician Lindsay Martin talk about decreasing your plate size, why you should hide your danger foods, what to eat before/after a workout and more to help you on your weight loss journey. Plus, they shed some light on a few weight loss myths

Listen to all their health and weight loss tips from episode 31 here:

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70-Calorie Skinny Strawberry Ice Cream

Nothing says summertime like smooth, creamy ice cream! But it can be difficult to stay on a healthy track with all the extra fat and calories in average ice cream brands. Since summertime is right around the corner, we decided to share our Healthy Kitchen Skinny Strawberry ice cream recipe. The fresh fruit and touch of honey gives the perfect sweetness without adding excess calories from processed sugar. You can have all the delicious flavor of this summertime favorite without any of the guilt.

ice cream 225x300 70 Calorie Skinny Strawberry Ice Cream


2 pounds Strawberries, chopped

2 cups Skim-milk

1 cup Half and half

¾ cup Honey

½ tablespoon Vanilla extract

4 each Egg yolks


• Plan ahead and freeze your ice cream bowl.
• Place chopped strawberries in a blender, blend until smooth.
• In a large sauce pan on medium-low heat combine: strawberries, half and half, skim milk, 1/3 cup honey, and vanilla extract.
• Whisk constantly. Warm milk mixture to about 120 degrees.
• In a separate bowl combine egg yolks and remaining honey then whisk.
• Once milk mixture is warmed, slowly drizzle milk mixture into egg mixture whisking constantly. *This method is called tempering; slowly warm the egg mixture to avoid scrambling eggs.
• Once egg mixture has warmed and about half of the milk mixture is added; add the entire milk mixture and the egg mixture together in a large sauce pan on the stove top. Turn to medium-low heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
• Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
• Pour strawberry mixture into frozen ice cream bowl and churn until fairly firm.
• Remove from ice cream bowl and place in an airtight container in the freezer.
• Enjoy on a hot summer day!


Serves: 24
Serving Size: ¼ cup
Calories: 70
Fat: 2 grams


3 Tips to Being King (or Queen) of the Grill

The weather’s getting warmer, the grass is growing and school is coming to a close, you know what that means? It’s almost outdoor grilling season. The thoughts of fresh grilled vegetables and tender, juicy barbecue comes to our minds here in the H3 Healthy Kitchen. So whether you’re thinking about pulling out the grill this coming Monday for Memorial Day, wating until the first day of summer in June or even holding out until July 4; we want to share 3 simple, healthy grilling tips to ensure the most delicious food comes off your grill this summer.

1. Don’t overcook your meat: This mistake can turn a great cook out into a tough situation, quickly! Have your meat thermometer on hand to check the internal temperatures of your beef, lamb, pork, seafood or ground meat. If you need a quick reference on the best temps, check out our handy dandy chart.

2. Be sure to properly season your meat: Marinate or season any meat at least 20 minutes prior to grilling. Using acidic marinades with white wine, lemon, lime, etc. help to flavor and tenderize meats.

3. Make your own Barbecue sauce: Skip the store bought sauce and  treat your family and guests to the amazing flavor that comes with tasting fresh sauce. Plus, you can enjoy the sauce that much more knowing you created it without all the extra unhealthy calories from those free sugars. Here are 2 of our H3 favorites – Mustard BBQ Sauce and the Original H3 BBQ Sauce.

These are the 3 basic tips to get you into the King of the Grill position with your family. If you want to go a step further, we have best practices for charcoal, gas and electric grills. Test out your new or improved grilling and marinating skills with our Cilantro-Lime Chicken Skewers recipe. Yum.

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Cilantro-Lime Chicken Skewers


4 4oz. Chicken breasts, each breast cut into 6 pc.

1/2 Fresh pineapple, large chunks

16 Wooden skewers, soaked in water


1 Cup Chicken Stock

4 Fresh limes, juiced and zested

1/4 Cup Fresh chopped cilantro

1 Tsp. Minced garlic

1 Tbl. Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Tsp. Crushed red pepper

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/4 Tsp. Ground pepper


  • Combine first 7 ingredients for the marinade, then set aside.
  • Arrange chicken and pineapple on skewers, alternating chicken and pineapple.
  • Lay skewers in a single layer cover with marinade wrap and chill, leave to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Remove skewers from marinade and grill skewers.


Number of Servings: 4 (4 skewers/person)
Calories: 170
Fat: 4


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