Supplement Navigation 101

By Laine Greenawalt MS ACSM-CPT, RDE

Dietary Supplements – How to navigate the advertising chaos and be an informed consumer.

Have you ever considered taking a dietary supplement? If so, you’re not alone. More than two-thirds of Americans take dietary supplements each year and the supplement industry was booming in 2016, generating 121.6 billion dollars. As a health professional, it’s exciting to know that the public has taken such an interest in their health. But with this booming industry also comes a plethora of information. Add this to the constant barrage of advertisements selling everything from weight loss to increased muscle size and you have dietary supplement wilderness that is often confusing to consumers. So how do you navigate the hype and determine if a supplement really is for you? Here are a couple things to consider before starting a new dietary supplement.

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Week 1 Lunch and Dinner Meal Prep

See below for recipes for lunch and dinner to get you through Monday-Friday. Prepare all ahead of time or break them up throughout the week!

Lunches For The Week:
Monday- Apple Turkey Sandwich + baby carrots
Tuesday- Buffalo Turkey burger on whole wheat bun + roasted broccoli
Wednesday- Turkey meatballs + whole wheat pasta + asparagus
Thursday- Buffalo turkey burger + brown rice + parmesan green beans
Friday- Apple Turkey Sandwich + baby carrots

Dinners For The Week:
Monday- Buffalo Turkey burger (no bun) + brown rice + roasted broccoli
Tuesday- Turkey meatball hoagie + side salad
Wednesday- Chicken Teriyaki stir fry + brown rice
Thursday- Buffalo turkey burger  + sweet potato fries + side salad
Friday- Lemon Ranch chicken + brown rice + side salad

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Weekly Meal Prep Set-Up

I can’t stress to my clients enough the importance of being prepared. When you are prepared you can make a better decision. It takes the guess work out of what to make and takes you out of situations where you are stuck and are forced to make a bad decision.

Even if you can’t prepare your whole meal ahead of time, I think it can still be extremely helpful to at least do what we call, “meat” prepping. Preparing your meats in advance allows you to take away the most time consuming part of the meal. Dinner on a week night should not take you more than 20-30 minutes,unless you are someone with a more flexible schedule who can balance cooking dinner on a regular basis. I recommend spending the bulk of your work on the weekend. After grocery shopping, it should only take you 1-3 hours to clean, cut, and cook. For some people, breaking apart the cooking into a Sunday and Wednesday night can better maintain freshness of meals but still create some ease during the week.

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Week 1 Breakfast Meal Prep

Below are overnight oat recipes for breakfast to get you through the Monday-Friday. Some recipes are doubled and are to be made for multiple days of the week!

Grocery list:

Dry oats (2 1/2 cups)
Skim milk (2 1/2 cups)
Chia seeds (1 tbsp. and 2 tsp.)
Honey (3 tsp.)
Walnuts (2 tbsp.)
Chocolate chips (2 tbsp.)
Banana (1 medium)
Natural Strawberry Jelly (2 tbsp.)
Mixed berries-fresh or frozen (1 cup)
Natural peanut butter (2 tbsp.)
Apple (1 small)
Cinnamon (1/4 tsp.)

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Apple Oatmeal Bake

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Ingredients:
2 c. dry oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 medium apple, diced
1 egg
1/4 c. honey
2 c. skim milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Combine oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
4. Dice apple in small bite sized pieces.
5. In another medium sized bowl, whisk together egg and honey. Add milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
6. Spread half of the oat mixture into the 8×8 pan evenly distributed. Add half the apple pieces.
7. Add the other half of oat mixture, then top with the rest of the apples.
8. Pour liquid mixture over oats in the baking pan so it is evenly distributed.
9. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
Yield- 12 servings
Calories – 100
Carbs- 20g
Protein- 4g
Fat-1g

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 c. skim milk
nutmeg, pinch
cayenne pepper, pinch
1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. whole wheat macaroni noodles, dry measure (whole box)
1/2 c. whole wheat breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, to garnish

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp. olive oil over each half of squash, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place 1 clove of garlic in each bulb of squash.
4. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Re-set temperature to 350 degrees after cooking squash.
5. Let cool slightly, scoop insides of squash into large bowl and mash with fork.
6. Add squash and 2c. skim milk to large pot, whisking until well combined. Add a pinch of nutmeg and cayenne pepper while stirring.
7. After a few minutes, add cheddar and parmesan cheese. Continue to stir to combine and melt cheese.
8. Spray a large baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange pasta noodles evenly over bottom of pan. Pour squash/cheese mixture over noodles. Mix until well combined.
9. Spread 1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs over top of mac and cheese dish.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until warm and tender. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup serving):
Yield- 10 servings
Calories- 280
Carbs- 45g
Protein- 12g
Fat-5g

Overnight PrOats

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Ingredients:
1/2 c. dry oats
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c. mixed berries
1 tsp. chia seeds
1 scoop protein powder (chocolate or vanilla both work great here)
1 tbsp. natural peanut butter

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a mason jar or tupperware container. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy cold in the morning!

Nutrition Facts:
Yield- 1 serving
Calories- 390
Carbs- 40g
Protein- 25g
Fat- 15g

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Banana Muffins

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Ingredients:
2 c. oats
2 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 c. plain greek yogurt
3 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Throw all ingredients, except chocolate chips into a blender or food processor. Blend until batter is smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Divide batter through 12 muffin tins.
4. Bake for 15 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Nutrition Facts (per muffin):
Yield 12 muffins
160 calories, 25g CHO, 5g pro, 5g fat

Student Spotlight: Shed 3 Myths in Less Than 10 Minutes by Therezia Alchoufete

Obesity and the Mind

Some research is suggesting that obesity can be associated with “addictive” qualities related to the stimulation of the reward pathway in our brains – somehow, food becomes the drug. However, to rid the body of a drug, the drug itself must be identified. It is still unclear what the exact culprit may be in the case of obesity, but here are some common weight-loss misconceptions that can be avoided by “detoxification” methods.

“BREAD IS THE REASON I CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT, SO I’M GOING TO QUIT ON MONDAY”

This idea of quitting an addiction “cold turkey” is common – but it is not effective. Usually, it will work for a short amount of time, and then old habits return. It is possible to “quit” a certain food for a few days, but you may begin to notice that you’re compensating with other types of food or constantly feeling hungry. Rather than give-up your favorite food completely, reduce your “dose”, or portion size, and train your body to eat less.

“MY FRIEND LOST 10 POUNDS IN ONE WEEK, SO WHY CAN’T I?”

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to weight-loss, and fad diets can create the illusion that there is a trick to seeing quick results. In reality, water-weight is being lost, and we may see the number on the scale decreasing rapidly – this makes the reward center in the brain happy. Then, suddenly, the number stops changing, and the withdrawal symptoms set in. That is when people relapse and find themselves returning to their tried-and-trusted methods of happiness – their usual diet.

“MY WHOLE FAMILY IS OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE, SO I’M DOOMED”

It is not uncommon for obesity to “run in the family”, but that does not mean a healthy weight cannot be achieved. There may be unhealthy food habits that are ingrained since childhood, and it may take some extra work to modify these ideas in the brain. Maintain those family traditions by making small recipe modifications to reduce fat content or eat less of Mom’s famous stuffing. Rather than re-training your mind to disassociate the food with the reward, modify the food itself and keep the reward.

 

 

 

Therezia Alchoufete

Coordinated Master in Nutrition and Dietetics

Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition

School of Health and Rehab Sciences

University of Pittsburgh