EMS Nutrition #10 – Healthy Dessert Recipes

March 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

You know, it really is hard to admit when you fall of the wagon, but I think I’ve been run over by a wagon wheel. The past two weeks I feel like I’ve fallen off the fitness wagon. I’ve not stopped working out, but instead of five days a week it’s probably 3 and I’ve definitely gotten less strict in my eating/drinking habits. I think we all have those moments, unfortunately mine has lasted longer than I would have liked. So, in my attempt to jump back on the wagon/train/whatever, I’m back with the healthy recipes.

Healthy Dessert Recipes

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/strawberry-oatmeal-bars-recipe/index.html

I found this recipe the other day.  It’s amazing. You can add any filling, or even bake without a filling. You can also add dried fruit to increase the healthiness. Not only are they cheaper than buying the standard cereal bar at the store, they provide

Grilled Fruit – http://bbq.about.com/od/fruitrecipes/tp/10fruit.htm

As previously stated, fruit is a great natural sweet food that can be used as a substitute to your normal desserts. Grilling fruit adds a different texture/taste and can be a healthy variation of your standard foods!

Strawberry Shortcakehttp://www.mayoclinic.com/health/strawberry-shortcake/NU00562

This is a healthier version of a strawberry shortcake. The link actually also provides nutritional information.

Apple Piehttp://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/apple-pie-2/

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a healthy recipe, but it does have fruit, so that counts right?  I think though we have to have that one fall to recipe that allows us to splurge. So, this is my “splurge” (well, at least one of them).  This is one of those recipes I make and then take to the fire station for my husband to share with his shift.

So, those are a few recipes. There are many others. Don’t forget to look at post #9 for the alternatives to baking ingredients (including applesauce).

With all areas of eating covered, next week I’ll begin looking at taking care of ourselves mentally.

Until then…stay safe and don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn)!


EMS Nutrition #9 – Healthy Dessert Options

March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

For some people the end of dinner signals a time for a cup of coffee or a cigarette.  For me, it means it’s time to consider dessert.  Maybe it’s because I LOVE to bake and like to try things and then bake them myself.  Or maybe it’s because I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth.  Whatever it is, one of the things to remember during healthy eating is that you don’t have to completely cut out desserts. It just means that you have to consider some healthy alternatives to what you might normally make and eat.  This week I’m going to focus on some baking alternatives/snaking ideas and next week I’ll share some healthy recipes for some great desserts (and maybe a few not so healthy desserts!).

Dessert Considerations

1.  If you have a craving, choose to indulge!  Have you ever had that craving that just won’t go away?  Mine normally looks like this:

When I have a craving, I don’t go for some healthy alternative.  I go for a small serving size of my actual craving. Otherwise, I’ll just keep eating foods until I feel like I’ve met my craving, which normally ends with me eating what I wanted to begin with (in much larger quantities).  It’s okay to have an off moment and indulge in something that isn’t so good for you, if only to make sure you aren’t over indulging later.

2.  Consider desserts and snacks that are naturally sweetened. This will eliminate a desire to add refined sugar to your dish, packing on the calories

3. Consider dark chocolate- Dark chocolate has received recent news coverage as an anti-oxidant. Dark chocolate (must be dark, not milk)

4.  Consider altering your recipe – I’ve read lots of writing about substitutions in your recipe to make a dessert healthier, and while I will admit to not having tried most of them, the reviews I’ve read and heard are that some of the substitutions are wonderful. For instance, substitute unsweetened applesauce for some of the fat additives. Or, consider honey as a sweetener instead of sugar. Because it is in liquid form, you need to use only 3/4 cup honey for every cup sugar.  Additional substitutes can be found at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/366614-healthy-sugar-substitutes-in-baking/

5.  Never underestimate the power of fresh fruit – Some of the best desserts I’ve had have been cold/frozen fresh fruit. It’s naturally sweet flavors and the cold make it seem like a much better option than some of the other unhealthiest choices.  If you’ve never had frozen grapes, you are missing something!

Next week I’ll share some of my favorite healthy dessert recipes (and my not so healthy dessert recipes).

Until then, stay safe and remember to follow me on twitter (@stickysidedwn).

EMS Nutrition #7 – MMMM…Dinner

February 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

If I had to choose one dish for dinner for the rest of my life it would probably be a toss up between pizza and pasta. I could eat carbs for the rest of my life for every meal.  And for the longest time, I didn’t see any problem with that.  But as I got older my body was showing me there was a problem with how many carbs I was eating.  With the lifestyle e change that my husband and I have made, I”m definitely paying more attention to what I eat.  And dinner has probably been one of the biggest changes I’ve made.

So, as you plan dinner, here are some things to keep in mind.

1.  Watch your portions!  It is really easy to sit down at dinner and eat, and eat, and eat.  Unfortunately with dinner being the last meal of the day, unless you exercise late at night, those are calories that will not be burned.  With that in mind limiting the portions and helpings that you get is important.  Have you noticed that many restaurants have actually switched to smaller plates at dinner time.  Even restaurants have realized that portion control is important!

2.  Use whole grains!  One of the changes I’ve made to my pasta love is to switch to whole grains. They are actually less processed and healthier.  And honestly, except for the fact that cooking times increase by just a bit, I haven’t noticed a change (and more importantly, neither have my kids).

3.  Serve vegetables – Okay, this is one I’m not so good at.  If I serve vegetables it’s normally canned corn, mashed potatoes, or rice. One of the things to consider is to use the vegetables to add color to your plate. A colorful meal is most often a healthier meal (and no ketchup and mustard shouldn’t be the color).

4.  What your red meat! – You should attempt to limit your red meat meals to two a week. Consider using pork, chicken, or seafood to add variety to your meals.

5. What have you missed? – This may seem a bit funny, but consider this. Dinner is an opportunity you have to meet the needs of the food pyramid, to get the food group servings that you need. This is your last chance to make sure you’ve had a well-rounded nutritional day!

So, those are five items to keep in mind as you plan your next dinner.  Next week I’ll share some great dinner ideas, as well as websites for some great recipe ideas!

Until then, stay safe and don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn).

EMS Nutrition #6 – Healthy Lunch Recipes

February 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

As we discussed last week, lunches are an important way to make sure that you not only take in the portions of the food pyramid that you need, but also that you continue a day with strong food choices to help minimize the need and desire to snack.  Here are some great thoughts you should keep in mind when you are picking your lunch:


Sandwiches provide an opportunity to obtain two of the servings of whole grain, as well as a protein and vegetable. They are also a simple meal that can easily be eaten in the truck, or while staged at a post.  When making your sandwich choose a whole grain/whole wheat bread ensures that you are having a filling sandwich that provides long-lasting energy. When making the sandwich skip the condiments such as mayonnaise, butter, or cream cheese, and choose mustard, avocado, or olive oil dressing. Also, choose meats that are a lean cut. Some sandwich options include:

Turkey on whole grain with mustard and romaine lettuce

Nutella and banana on a whole wheat bagel


Salads, while harder to eat on the go, which we do so often during this job.  Salads provide an opportunity to get vegetables, meat, and fruit depending on the type of salad that you make/purchase. While the crunch of iceburg lettuce is nice, the darker, leafier lettuces are a better option that provide a deeper nutritional value. This leaves Romaine, spinach, and arugula as good salad options. For vegetables consider carrots, peas, and grilled eggplant. For a meat, consider shrimp and chicken as a topping. Use caution when adding a salad dressing. If you are like me, you find it easy to slather on the salad dressing, but this can add enough fat and calories to make the salad nowhere near as healthy. Your salad dressing should be oil based and only about 1 tbs worth.


While not the best meal to try to eat on the go or in between calls,  soup does provide an opportunity to get a large serving of vegetables and protein. Stew or chili is a hearty lunch choice that will keep you full all afternoon. Fill the soup with chopped carrots and beans for protein and add chunks of lean beef or turkey. Chicken noodle soup can also be a healthy lunch option, as long as you use low-sodium broth, a small amount of noodles and plenty of vegetables.

So, whether shopping at the store for lunch or eating on the go, consider your options as you choose what you want as your mid day meal.

Until next week!  Remember – follow me on twitter (@stickysidedwn)

EMS Nutrition #5 – What Makes A Healthy Lunch?

January 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Alright, so writing this post at 11:15 today means I’m probably going to continue to think about my lunch until I actually get a chance to eat it!  I really need to consider writing these posts when I’m not already hungry.

It’s easy to forget about lunch or miss lunch, especially in emergency services. You run a call that keeps you out while the rest of the shift eats a nice sit down lunch, you are relegated to whatever you can find in the EMS room at the hospital or whichever fast food service has the shortest line.  However, given these guidelines, you can eat a healthy meal both on the go and at the station.

Before reading these rules, don’t forget the general considerations when choosing meals, including the food pyramid and portion control.  Here are two images to help:


Rules for a Healthy Lunch

1.  Eat Fresh Fruits – They provide a constant source of energy (not just a quick boost) and often help with the sweet craving. Besides the standard banana/apple choice, consider raspberries, kiwi, or frozen grapes

2.  Remember to eat your veggies! – It seems simple, but in order to get the appropriate number of servings of vegetables, you have to eat some with lunch and dinner. Consider adding it as a sliced tomato or two on your sandwich, or through a soup/stew. Or, get vegetables steamed as a side.

3.  Consider your calcium – While it’s easy to drink a glass of milk to get your calcium, consider low-fat yogurt, greek yogurt as an option. When combined with fresh fruit you have a great dessert for lunch.

4. Consider a healthier option – Where you might have previously eaten fried foods, consider another cooking option including baking or grilling.

Unfortunately, this job does not always allow for the best selection of foods. While you won’t always be able to choose the best foods, making good decisions based on the rules above may help you in the long run in maintaining a healthy diet.

Until next time stay safe!  And remember to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn).

EMS Nutrition #4 – What’s For Breakfast?

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, if you are like me, you were raised on the motto that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”.  As I’ve gotten older, the ability to eat a big breakfast has decreased. Mostly because I prefer a few more minutes of sleep versus the time it takes to make/eat/clean up a big breakfast. I’ll often skip breakfast, eat a smaller breakfast that I should, or eat something unhealthy and on the fly.  My other problem is that I need variety, so eating the same thing over and over again gets boring and I have a problem finding something to add to the rotation.  I’m working to improve my eating habits and hopefully can find something that fits the following suggestions.

What Makes A Good Breakfast

  • Your breakfast should contain at least two of the major food groups. I like to include dairy and fruit. – Recently my breakfast have been fruit smoothies – two frozen ice cubes of yogurt, half a cup of fruit, 8 oz of milk, and a protein powder).
  • Your breakfast options should include foods high in fiber and/or protein. This will provide you a source of energy that will last through until lunch, without the need for extra/excessive snaking
  • Limit high-sugar foods such as some cereals and breakfast pastries. These are often the easiest foods to eat, but provide energy for only a short period of time and are higher in calories
  • Make sure your drinks aren’t high in fat or sugar. Choose low fat milk, limit coffee, sugary juices or sodas. They provide little nutritional benefit and increase the calories.

Next week I’ll provide a few recipes and food ideas for breakfast!  Until then, make sure to follow on twitter – @stickysidedwn



EMS Nutrition #3 – Choosing the right foods

December 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Now that we’ve spent some time looking at what we have been eating and recognizing what we should eat, how do you go about shopping for it?

I have joked that I”m goign to begin skipping meals because the cost of groceries is just TOO high. It really surprises me every time I go to the grocery store just how much prices change in such a short period of time. But I also know that skipping meals is not the answer. That and I love food too much to actually skip a meal. So, I have to be cautious about how I buy and what I buy.  But, as we all know, eating healthy isn’t always a cheap or easy thing to do.

1.  Before you even leave the grocery store – eat a snack!  Have you ever shopped hungry?  I have, and let me just say, that I normally end up with buyer’s remorse when I get home. By eating a snack you are curbing your impulse buys just because you feel hungry as you shop

2.  Make your list (and if you are like me, remember to take your list with you). This will ensure that you don’t buy something just because it looks good on the shelf. It also helps if you make your list based on a planned menu. This will help you have a bit more control, and also make healthy meal choices. Plus it can save you money.

3.  Use the outer edge of the store to do most of your shopping. This is where the food with the highest nutrition can be found. Your fresh fruit, fresh meats, organic foods, etc. are on the outer edges of most standard grocery stores. If you are walking the aisles you are increasing the probability that you are getting higher processed foods, which means they lose nutritional value.

4.  Stick to your list. Don’t free-lance. If you stray from your list you are probably buying snack foods, or other foods with less nutritional value than you really need. You are also probably going more on impulse and buying things you don’t really need.

5.  If you have a craving, shop for that specific craving.  For example, if I want ice cream it’s normally chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. I don’t buy vanilla ice cream or rainbow sherbert, I buy chocolate chip cookie dough, but in a smaller container, so that I’m not OVER indulging.

From here we will look at various shopping needs – snack foods, good foods high in protein, etc., and some good healthy/easy recipes for cooking while on duty.  Until then – watch what you eat 🙂

remember to follow on twitter – @stickysidedwn

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