Produce Picks to Add to your Plate this Fall

Article from Lindsay Martin, MS, RDN, LDN

The sun sets sooner, the nights are getting cooler and wool socks are starting to sound like a good idea under a warm blanket. This is the perfect time to celebrate the seasonal produce gems of autumn! Next time you’re at the local market, here are some Fall favorite produce picks to fill up your basket.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is full of fiber and beta-carotene, which provides its vibrant orange color. Beta-carotene converts into vitamin A in the body, which is great for your skin and eyes. To balance pumpkin’s sweetness, try adding savory herbs, such as sage and curry. Check out our other blog post for more “Benefits of Pumpkin.”

Beets

Beets are edible from their leafy greens down to the bulbous root. The leaves are like spinach and are delicious sautéed. The grocery store most likely will carry red beets; your local farmers market may have more interesting varieties, such as golden or bull’s blood, which has a bullseye pattern of rings. The red color in beets is caused by a phytochemical called betanin, making beet juice a natural alternative to red food coloring. Beets are a source of naturally occurring nitrates and may help to support healthy blood pressure. Roasting or steaming beets whole takes the fuss out of peeling — the skin easily slides off after cooking. They also are delicious raw, shredded and tossed in salads or thinly sliced and baked into chips.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are full of fiber and vitamin A. Sweet potatoes also are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Try them as a breakfast side dish or serve them at any meal. 

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a fun, kid-friendly vegetable that is a lower-calorie and gluten-free alternative to grain-based pasta. Cut it in half to reveal a pocket of seeds; scoop those out and pop the two halves into the microwave or oven and cook until tender. Scrape a fork into the flesh and spaghetti-like strands appear! Voilà! Toss with pesto or marinara sauce for a quick veggie side dish.

Kale

Kale — we can’t get enough of this luscious leafy green and with good reason. Kale is a nutrient powerhouse. It tastes sweeter after a frost and can survive a snowstorm. If you plant kale in your garden, you can dig it out of the snow and serve fresh salad in January! One cup of raw kale has only 8 calories and is loaded with vitamins A, C and K as well as manganese. Kale is great sautéed and cooked in soup, but also is excellent raw in salad; simply remove tough stems, slice into thin slivers and pair with something a bit sweet such as carrots or apples. One advantage of using kale for your leafy greens is that you can add your dressing ahead of time; the kale becomes more tender and delicious, not wilted.

Pears

When we can buy fruits year-round, we tend to forget they have seasons. Pears are the most delicious in the fall when they’re at their peak. Pears are unique in that they do not ripen on the tree; they will ripen at room temperature after they’re picked. How do you know when they are ready to eat? Check the neck! If the fruit near the stem gives to a little pressure, it is ripe. There are a wide range of pear flavors and textures. And, just like apples, some are excellent eaten fresh while others are best cooked or canned for the winter. Try pears on the grill, poached in red wine, tucked into a panini, pureed into soup or a smoothie, or simply sliced with cheese and wine. If you eat the peel too, one medium pear has 6 grams of fiber. 

Okra

Okra commonly is fried, but also is wonderful in other forms. Around the world, chefs cherish the thickening properties of the seed pods in dishes from Louisiana gumbo to Indian curries and other stews. If you wish to minimize the thickening property, try okra briefly stir-fried. The pods are high in vitamins K and C, a good source of fiber, an excellent source of folate and low in calories. At the market, look for pods that are no longer than 4 inches and are bright green in color and firm to the touch.

Parsnips

Parsnips are cousins to carrots — they have the same root shape but with white flesh. They’re typically eaten cooked, but also can be eaten raw. One-half cup of cooked parsnips is full of fiber (3 grams) and contains more than 10% of the daily values of vitamin C and folate. Try these pale beauties roasted, pureed into soup, or mashed. You can even top a shepherd’s pie with mashed parsnips instead of the traditional mashed potatoes!

Cranberries

Fall is the time to get to know these tart berries and their wealth of nutritional benefits. They contain a compound called proanthocyanin which may prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to your bladder wall. Fresh and dried cranberries pair well with a variety of meats and poultry. Fresh cranberries can be eaten raw but often are cooked or used as a garnish for those fancy seasonal mocktails/cocktails. Dried cranberries are delicious in grain and vegetable salads and make a healthy snack on the go but be careful of the portion sizes- they also have added sugar.

With all these in season vegetables and fruits, hopefully you will be able to grab them and gain some of these helpful benefits during these Fall and Winter months.

9 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System During Flu Season

9 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System During Cold and Flu Season

We all love this time of year and dread it at the same time. Those beautiful Christmas lights and falling leaves look pretty until you realize it also means cold and flu season has arrived. 

With the recent pandemic added to the annual flu season, we all tend to have the same question: How do I best strengthen my immune system? 

 

WASH YOUR HANDS

This is a very commonly known tip that we’ve all come to hear this past year. It seems that everywhere we turn there is a sign reminding us to wash our hands and with good reason! But did you know that many people don’t know how to wash their hands correctly? 

To properly wash your hands and clear them of germs, you should wash behind your fingernails, between your fingers, and scrub the back of your hands. Doctors also say you should wash for at least 20 seconds to help ensure germ-fighting action. 

 

HUMIDIFIERS HELP 

Humidifiers have been all the rage this past year and there are many reasons why they’ve stuck around. One reason is that viruses have a hard time sticking around if there is no moisture in the air. 

 

GET YOUR BEAUTY REST

Fatigue has a lot of side effects on the body with the major one being a detriment to your immune system. People who struggle with sleep tend to be more prone to illnesses such as the common cold and flu. 

 

STAY HYDRATED 

Water helps wash toxins from your body and keeps the respiratory system in top shape. If you have a hard time drinking water, you can always add in a packet of 4D to help you with your water intake!

 

EAT GOOD

Eating well has a major impact on your health, which will help you fight the cold and flu season. Whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and nuts can help your body fight off infection and combat seasonal viruses. 

 

GET MOVING 

Exercise is good for your immune system as well as your mental health. Studies have shown that exercise improves brain function, enhances mood, and helps bodies stay more active and younger. 

 

GET SOME VITAMIN D

Sunny days are more than just a pretty view! Vitamin D is a main player in the fight against common colds. Many people even take daily vitamins specifically with Vitamin D to help best protect their immune system. However, the best way to ensure your body is getting proper levels of Vitamin D is to step outside and let the sun shine on your skin. 

 

MANAGE STRESS

Stress, much like fatigue, has a major impact on your health and can cause you to become more susceptible to colds. Finding the proper routine that works for you can be key to keeping your health in tip-top shape. Try yoga, reading, or meditation to help manage your stress levels. 

 

AVOID STIMULANTS

This means that you need to ditch the coffee, smoking, and caffeinated drinks to help your immune system better heal itself. These can suppress the antibodies your body naturally has that help fight viruses. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also be taxing on the body. 

 

HOW DOES 4D HELP?

4D is jam packed with vitamins, amino acids, and minerals to help you feel your best everyday. Our product contains vitamins such as Vitamin C, D, and E as well as aloe vera, maca powder, and ginseng to help your body work its best. Try a combo box today and see what 4D can do for you!

Healthy Habits for the Holidays 

Article from Lindsay Martin, MS, RDN, LDN

We look forward to this time of year, all year long! Holidays only come around once a year, so
why not go ahead and splurge? Because gaining weight during the holiday season is a national
pastime. Year after year, the average American gains about 6 pounds from Halloween to New
Year’s Day– and keep the extra weight permanently.

But Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight, experts say. With a little know-how,
you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast.
After all, being stuffed is a good idea only if you are a turkey!

1. Get Active
Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your
favorite foods. Eat less and exercise more is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during
the holidays. Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and
especially the day of the feast.

Make fitness a family adventure. Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. For
many families, a turkey trot or a local 5k is something to make an annual tradition. This will help
motivate you before the feasts to be training for the run as well as keeping you accountable for
the day of the race. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity and enjoy the
holiday together.

2. Eat Breakfast
While you might think it makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, eating a small meal in
the morning can give you more control over your appetite. Start your day with a small but
satisfying breakfast — such as an egg with a slice of whole-wheat toast, or a bowl of whole-grain
cereal with low-fat milk — so you won’t be starving when you arrive at the gathering.

Eating a nutritious meal with protein and fiber before you arrive takes the edge off your appetite
and allows you to be more discriminating in your food and beverage choices.

3. Lighten Up
Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a few dishes to share, make your
recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. There is more sugar and fat in most recipes
than is needed, and no one will notice the difference if you skim calories by using lower calorie
ingredients.

Try using fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy. Use sugar
substitutes like Stevia or natural agave in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in
baked goods. Swap out sour cream for plain Greek yogurt in creamy dips, mashed potatoes,
and casseroles. And maybe even consider using less butter when able.

4. Proper Portions

Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. Before
you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide what you’re going to choose. Then select
reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without.

Don’t waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long. Fill your plate with small
portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable,
traditional foods. And don’t forget, let’s aim for half of your plate to be full of fruits and
vegetables.

5. Skip the Seconds
Try to resist the temptation to go back for second helpings. Leftovers are much better the next
day, and if you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overeat and have more room for
a delectable dessert. That peanut butter fudge pie or pumpkin pie is just too good to not have
any, right? Choose the best bets on the buffet. While each of us has our own favorites, keep in
mind that some holiday foods are better choices than others.

White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, thin gravy, and
pumpkin pie tend to be the best bets because they are lower in fat and calories. However, if you
keep your portions small, you can enjoy whatever you like.

6. Savor the Flavor
Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the
easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say.
Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots
of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.

7. Drink in Moderation
Don’t forget those alcohol calories that can add up quickly. Have a glass of wine or a wine
spritzer and between alcoholic drinks, enjoy sparkling water. This way you stay hydrated, limit
alcohol calories, and stay sober. If you’re looking for a flavorful holiday drink to give you more
immune health, focus with an invigorating blend of 30 vitamins, minerals, and amino acids try
this Holiday favorite-
​ ​


– 1 packet tropical punch 4D
– 5 ice cubes
– sparkling water

—mix and top with your favorite fruits
like oranges and cranberries to give a
festive look! Enjoy!

 

8. Be Realistic and Give Grace
The holiday season is a time for celebration. With busy schedules and so many extra
temptations, this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss.
This way, at the start of the new year you will be ahead of the game if you can avoid gaining any
weight over the holidays.

9. Focus on Family and Friends
The holidays are not just about the delicious bounty of food, it’s a time to celebrate relationships
with family and friends. The main event should be family and friends socializing, spending
quality time together, not just what is on the buffet—although that’s a perk to the gathering.