The EatSmart Blog

Providing Tools and Tips to Live Healthier, Happier Lives

Archive for the tag “nutrition”

9 Things Not to Do When Starting a New Diet


Embarking on a new weight-loss plan can be daunting. There are so many different ideas, theories and diet plans, that it can feel impossible to figure out what works best for you. As if that weren’t enough, some TV shows feature extreme weight losses that are nearly impossible for anyone to achieve in real life. By comparison, you may feel disappointed in slower progress with your own weight loss.

Despite all the challenges a new weight-loss plan presents, you can set yourself up for success by having realistic goals and avoiding these very common diet mistakes.

Do not expect instant resultsmaxview

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see big weight loss results each week. According to the CDC, evidence show that it’s safest to lose between 1 to 2 pounds per week. Healthy weight loss is part of an ongoing lifestyle, and it can take time to see results from new diet and exercise habits.

Do not cut out major food groups

We know there are a lot of gluten-free and dairy-free products out there, but if you don’t suffer from food allergies or sensitivities, you may be missing out on essential nutrients. Cutting out entire food groups can also lead to strong food cravings and binge eating, which would defeat the purpose of eliminating these foods.

Do not skimp on meals snacks

Skipping meals or eating tiny portions may seem like a great way to lose weight, but it can end up leaving you hungry. Feeling hungry can lead to poor food choices or eating too much at your next meal. Instead, opt for 3 balanced meals and 2 or 3 small healthy snacks per day. A good way to understand portion sizes is to measure foods with a kitchen scale, such as our Precision Digital Kitchen Scale. The recessed platform makes it ideal for containing foods when weighing them.

Do not make too many changes at onceegg

It’s tempting to change your diet completely and start a new exercise regimen at the same time. However, making many big changes will feel overwhelming and those new healthy habits will go by the wayside.  Instead, make small changes once a week, such as bringing a healthy lunch to work each day. Once you’ve mastered one new habit, add a new challenge, such as increasing the intensity, or duration, of exercise.

Do not rely on willpower alone

Willpower is important, but it’s not always reliable when tempting foods are available. It’s especially difficult if you’re hungry or tired. Instead, set yourself up for success by removing the temptation. If you know you can’t resist cookies or chips don’t keep them in the house. If you really want a treat, you’ll have to leave the house to indulge yourself.

Do not cut back on sleep

Establishing new healthy habits can take extra time out of your day. Don’t cut out sleep so you can exercise or cook healthy meals. A good night’s sleep lets your muscles repair from exercise and helps balance the hormones that regulate hunger. Sleep deprivation can cause you to crave sugary and fatty foods and leave you less inclined to work out.

Do not think that it’s “all or nothing”

Don’t think that you must do everything perfectly every day or else your diet is ruined. Truthfully, no one is perfect and slip ups do occur. One mistake is not going to wreck your efforts. Learn from what you did, think about how to prevent it in the future, and move on. Your next snack or meal is another chance for success.

Do not perform exercises that you hate

Don’t choose activities based on how many calories they burn – focus on exercises that you enjoy. When you don’t enjoy your workout, you’ll make excuses to avoid doing it. You’ll stay more consistent if you look forward to your exercise. Not a fan of spin class? Don’t force it. Instead, take a dance class or hit the elliptical machine. With so many varieties of workouts available, find something you enjoy.

Do not forget to yourself accountable

When you hold yourself accountable, you are more likely to achieve your goals. To help stay on track, you can join a weight loss group, find a diet buddy, or use a diet and fitness app. Regular weigh-ins are another way to hold yourself accountable. Our Precision Plus Digital Bathroom Scale has a roomy platform that allows you to stand comfortably while weighing yourself. The large display has a cool blue backlight that is easy to read.
body fatIf you prefer a scale that provides more data, we recommend our Precision Body Fat Bathroom Scale. The Body Fat Scale measures weight, body fat, body water, body muscle and bone mass using electrode technology and it beeps when your weight is locked in so you can step off the scale to read it more easily.

For EatSmart approved recipe inspiration, visit the following:

Quick and Easy One-Pot Recipes
Slow Cooker Oatmeal Recipe Round-Up
15 Easy Slow Cooker Soup Recipes
Awesome, Healthy Apple Recipes
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Easy, No Cooking Required Summer Recipes

Do you have a tip that helped you lose weight? Share it with us by tweeting to @EatSmartscales.



Quick and Easy One-Pot Recipes


Cooking dinner sounds less intimidating if you only have one dish to clean up afterwards. That’s why we have gathered 7 delicious, easy one pot meals. No mess, no stress!

Honey Garlic ShrimpHoney Garlic shrimp

Get the recipe from Kevin and Amanda.

Vegetarian Pasta Primavera

Get the recipe from Oh My Veggies.

Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls

Get the recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

Seven Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Get the recipe from Mama Miss.

Enchilada Pasta

Get the recipe from Taste and Tell.

Summer Seafood Stew

Get the recipe from Feasting at Home.

Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Rice

Get the recipe from Carlsbad Cravings.

Have a favorite One Pot Meal Recipe? Tweet us @EatSmartScales!

Why You Should Be Eating Chia Seeds and 7 Easy Recipes

ESP_chia_seeds_pinterestWhat are chia seeds and why should you be eating them? Chia seeds, yes the ch-ch-ch-chia of TV fame, come from the mint plant and are incredibly healthy for you. These little seeds are provide a massive amount of nutrients with few calories! High in protein and fiber, they have been proven to aid in weight loss and even reduce blood pressure.

Fun fact: “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” Legend has it that the Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds to fuel performance.

Here’s what a serving of chia seeds looks like: Chia-Seed-Serving-Kitchen-Scale

Here are a few reasons why you should be including these seeds in your diet:

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants help protect our cells from the damages of free radicals which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer. They can also keep our skin in great condition, which may translate to fewer wrinkles!

They’re a good source of protein

A serving of chia has 4 grams of protein. That may not sound like a lot but when paired with nuts or other proteins it really adds up.

Chia seeds are packed with fiber

Two tablespoons of chia sees have 10 grams of fiber. That’s twice as much as a bowl of oatmeal. Fiber keeps the body regular and can help prevent chronic disease.

They’re full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A one ounce serving of chia seeds has nearly 5 grams of omega 3’s, which is the same amount found in 4 ounces of salmon. That’s great news for anyone who is not a fan of eating fish every day!

Chia seeds are high in calcium

Chia seeds provide 18 percent of your daily calcium needs, perfect for those who stay away from dairy. Calcium is essential for bone health.ESP_chia_seeds_list

Chia seeds are tasteless so throw some into your favorite oatmeal or smoothie recipe for an added nutrition boost. When they get wet they become gelatinous, making them perfect for jellies, puddings and smoothies.

For those feeling a bit more creative, here are 7 super simple recipes:

Blackberry Chia Seed Jam by Two Peas and Their Pod

Strawberry Chia Seed Smoothie Bowl by Tastes of Lizzy T

Chia Fresca by Oh She Glows

Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding by Minimalist Baker

Cheesy Chia Seed Crackers by The Iron You

Peanut Butter Chia Seed Energy Bars – Low Carb and Gluten Free by All Day I Dream About Food

Chocolate Banana Chia Seed Smoothie by A Beautiful Mess

What’s your favorite way to eat chia seeds? Tweet to us @eatsmartscales.

Slow-Cooker Curried Vegetable Lentil Soup

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb and that seems to be the case in 2016.  With temperatures still chilly in much of the country, it is a perfect weekend to make a simple, comforting soup.  This slow-cooker vegetarian soup is easy to make and tastes great.  Enjoy!


  • 2 cups uncooked lentils
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans/chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

For cooking instructions visit Dishing Out Health.

About the Author: Jamie Vespa is a Registered Dietitian and health food blogger with a passion for food, fitness and getting creative in the kitchen. Jamie’s blog, Dishing Out Health, offers nutritious recipes to help prove that eating healthy can taste just as good as it feels.

Heart Healthy Honey Basil Fruit Salad

Here at EatSmart, we’re continuing to celebrate Heart Health Month with another nutritious recipe! This week, we are featuring a Honey Basil Fruit Salad, which blends together 3 healthy fruits with a sweet, quick and easy dressing.

A key ingredient in the salad is strawberries, which are great for maintaining a healthy heart because they are naturally free of sodium, cholesterol, and fat! Strawberries can help control three risk factors of heart disease:  high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high homocysteine levels.

The salad is also loaded with raspberries. Raspberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, and when combined with an overall a healthy diet, have the potential to lower your risk of heart disease.


Head over to With Salt & Wit for the recipe, which was created by Megan, who is an artist in the kitchen with a serious passion for creating healthier meals without compromising flavor. Enjoy!

Top Nutrition Tips to Follow When Training for a Marathon

Marathon Nutrition Tips

During your marathon training, you’re going to substantially increase your weekly mileage and the stress put on your body.  You will also burn a lot of calories during conditioning workouts.  You need a diet that will accomplish two main goals during this 4 – 5 month time period. First, you want to maximize the results of your training by fueling to perform, and second, you want to eat to optimize your recovery.  This article will help you put together a nutrition plan for a balanced diet that will assist you in achieving these goals.

I strongly recommend including “Super Foods” in your diet. While you can look this term up and find many different lists, I don’t intend to promote my own extensive list here. Instead, I will share some basic concepts, identify some real food options and then allow you to craft up your own plan based on your tastes.

While training for a ½ or full marathon, endurance athletes need carbohydrates to fuel their muscles. A diet that provides enough carbs will ensure that the runner has sufficient energy to complete long or difficult training sessions like hill or track workouts. However, training for a marathon does not mean you can simply eat pasta 2-3 times per day. Instead, it’s more a matter of timing your meals, so your carbs are eaten a few hours before your training.

If you’re running in the morning, meals such as oatmeal, whole grain bread with peanut butter, bananas or low fat yogurt are excellent choices.  I also like to have a sports drink. How much you eat depends on the timing of your workout.

It’s important to minimize processed carbohydrates because many nutrients are lost during processing.

An excellent example is consuming whole-grain bread, which includes “whole grain” as the first ingredient, as opposed to multi-grain bread, which includes enriched grain. I typically think of packaged food as processed food.  This may not always be the case, but it’s often true.

Other excellent carbohydrates include brown rice, beans (legumes, not green beans), fig bars and potatoes (sweet are best, but others are excellent to fuel your workouts).  Instead of snacking on cookies and chips, try fresh fruit or low fat Greek yogurt, provides protein, in addition to carbs.

As discussed above, a balanced diet is key. In addition to carbohydrates, you will need to add protein and the American Dietetic Association recommends that athletes get 20-35% of their calories from Fat.(1)

To counteract the stress and break down of your muscles from extended training, you must focus on your protein intake (2)

Essential proteins are included in foods like low fat beef and pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, tofu, nonfat or 1% milk, beans (legumes), nuts and pseudo grains like Quinoa.  In addition to protein, Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. I look for recipes that include mixed vegetables and quinoa.  Make a big batch and keep it in the refrigerator as an after workout meal or snack.  My list isn’t comprehensive, so if you enjoy other healthy proteins, feel free to consume them as a part of your nutrition plan.

My preference is to minimize packaged protein bars because many are simply “glorified” candy bars.  Also, be cautious about consuming recovery shakes, because they can be high in sugar. Instead, use a small scoop of protein powder that doesn’t include sugar and add fresh fruit, unsweetened soy milk and non-fat Greek yogurt.

To balance your diet, get in the habit of eating green and other colored vegetables and fruits every day.  Consuming a variety of fresh produce ensures you get nutritional benefits not available from a package.

Eating for recovery includes:

  • Reloading muscle and liver glycogen stores
  • Consuming protein to assist with muscle repair
  • Re-hydrating
  • Maintaining the immune system

Ingesting carbohydrates after training is just as important as before.  You need to replenishing glycogen stores so you can have fuel for future workouts. Starchy vegetables and bananas are also excellent post-workout carbs. (3)

Try to consume your carbs and proteins as soon as possible (no later than an hour) after your workout.  You don’t need a full meal, instead, eat small portions to ensure proper recovery.

Most athletes will finish a run or training session with some kind of fluid loss due to sweat. Just like loss of glycogen stores, fluids and electrolytes must be replaced or it can impact future training.  My rule is to drink 125-150% of the estimated fluid lost within four to six hours after exercise. Including sodium (sports drink) into your recovery fluid can assist in replacing the electrolytes lost through excessive sweating.

Rigorous training can temporarily weaken the immune system. This occurs while training is in progress and can continue to impact the effectiveness of the immune system for hours afterward if carbohydrates aren’t consumed soon after the workout.  I like to eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein which reduces the body’s hormone response to exercise.  Antioxidants from food help provide the rest of the natural defense. (2)

My top 7 power foods

  1. Spinach – protects your muscles from damage, keeps your bones strong, keeps energy high
  2. Oatmeal – high in carbohydrates and iron, add fruit and flax to nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  3. Whole Grain Bread – high in carbohydrates with some B vitamins and iron
  4. Sweet Potatoes – excellent starchy post workout carbohydrate, high in fiber
  5. Oranges – excellent source of vitamin C and folate, helps to keep LDL cholesterol in check
  6. Salmon – helps boost immunity, provides a lot of protein, excellent recovery food
  7. Beans (legumes) – excellent source of protein and carbohydrates

BONUS: Ground Flaxseed – Boosts immunity, blood flow and possibly endurance.  Sprinkle on cereal, oatmeal or include in homemade muffin recipes.



  1. Bean, A – The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition, Bloomsbury, 2013
  2. Dada, J. – Nutrition Today, March 2010, Runners Need Proper Nutrition and Hydration for the 26.2-Mile Stretch
  3. Fitzgerald, M – Performance Nutrition for Runners, Rodale Books, 2006.

Dan-LyneAbout the Author:  Dan Lyne is a long distance runner from Washington with over 36 years of running experience. He specializes in coaching runners to achieve their goals through his website,


Disclaimer: The content in this article is based on the author’s experience and thorough personal studies. Many resources for proper nutrition exist.  The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive guide or as a substitute for any treatment that has been prescribed by your doctor or physical therapist. There is no guarantee that you will experience the same results & benefits as presented and you accept the risk that the results can differ by individual.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Heart diseaseScreen Shot 2016-02-11 at 7.48.26 AM is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States. Eating a heart healthy diet can decrease the risk of developing both heart disease and heart attack by helping to lower cholesterol, sugar levels and blood pressure.

Two foods that are extremely beneficial to heart health are salmon and avocado. Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which decrease the inflammation that damages blood vessels and leads to heart disease. Avocados are also full of unsaturated fats that, when eaten in moderation, can lower bad cholesterol levels. Thus, this Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa recipe by Becky at The Cookie Rookie is a heart-health home run.  Enjoy!



  • 2 lbs salmon, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbs olive oil (I used light extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the Avocado salsa:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1-2 tbs finely chopped cilantro (depending on how big of a cilantro lover you are)
  • Salt to taste

Get the cooking instructions from The Cookie Rookie. 

The recipe is courtesy of Becky at The Cookie Rookie.  Becky loves to create delicious and easy recipes anyone can make and everyone will love!

5-Minute Lentil Tomato Salad

Did you know February is Heart Health Month?  Here at EatSmart, we are dedicated to bettering the lives of our customers through encouraging a healthy lifestyle.  We encourage our readers to learn more about living a heart-healthy life by visiting and exploring the American Heart Association website.

To do our part in celebrating Heart Health Month, EatSmart will be sharing heart-healthy recipes throughout the month of February.  This 5-Minute Lentil Tomato Salad, developed by Kaitlin at The Garden Grazer, which is loaded with lentils, a high fiber food known to reduce the risk of Heart disease, is a great way to kick off the month.  Enjoy!


15 oz. can lentils
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
1/8 cup chives (optional)
Salt to taste
Other additions: olive oil, basil, parsley, etc.

Click here for preparation instructions from The Garden Grazer.

The recipe is courtesy of Kaitlin at The Garden Grazer.  Kaitlin is vegetable enthusiast who loves animals, nature, matcha, positivity, kindness, and colorful food!  Stop by her website for lots of healthy recipes!

Top Reasons to Make Your Own Orange Juice

If you’ve ever had a glass of fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, then you know that the stuff you buy in a carton, a bottle, or (shudder) a can tastes almost nothing like it. There is simply no comparison. Why?

Say you’ve got a thirst for some OJ. You pop out to the store and pick out the best quality stuff you can find. It’s 100% all natural fruit juice, not from concentrate, with no added sugars or any additional ingredients. Sounds healthy, right? Compared to orange “drinks” with added colors and flavors, it’s a good choice. However, even the highest quality container of juice has been processed in some way, then packaged, then shipped. Each step away from the orange itself strips the juice of some of its nutrients and enzymes.

In the United States, 98% of all fruit juices are pasteurized or otherwise treated to kill potential pathogens. In the rare instance when you can find completely raw juice in the market, the bottle will have an ominous warning label stating that the juice may contain bacteria that can make you seriously sick.

That may well be true, but that’s because a bottle, or a carton, is not as good a vehicle for transporting orange juice as, say, an orange. The minute an orange is squeezed, the juice comes into contact with the air, with possibly contaminated factory equipment, unsterile surfaces, improperly sealed containers — you name it. The longer that juice is parted from the cellulose structure that protected it inside the fruit, the greater the odds that something will contaminate it. That’s why the argument for pasteurization is a pretty strong one.

The problem with pasteurization is that it depletes the vitamins and enzymes in the juice, according to many studies (though others argue against this.) Many manufacturers add vitamin C back into their orange juice to help compensate. Do you see ascorbic acid on the label? That’s vitamin C.

Leaving aside the pasteurization debate (which will continue to rage on), consider that unless you buy organic juice, you’ll be quenching your thirst with a cocktail of pesticides and carcinogens — all the stuff that’s sprayed on conventional fruits. If you choose apple or vegetable juice, you’re also likely to find sulfites — a food preservative to which one in 100 people is sensitive. Sulfites have been banned on raw fruits and vegetables, but are still found in some juices.

Once an orange is squeezed, the juice begins losing nutrients immediately due to oxidation. Exposure to air causes food to break down — think of an apple slice turning brown. So, pasteurized or not, the vitamins and enzymes in your juice started degrading the minute the fruit was squeezed.

The volatile compounds that make fresh orange juice taste so amazing also degrade quickly. They’re not called volatile for nothing! Nutritional value aside, freshly squeezed juice tastes better, and that’s one reason why.

So the next time you’re thirsting for a glass of orange juice, just juice a couple of oranges, simple as that. I use a pretty, old-fashioned glass juicer. It’s the kind where you simply press and turn an orange half against the juicer part. The juice flows into the dish, and then I pour it into a glass. I also have an inexpensive electric citrus juicer, which I use when I want to make more than a single glass. For other fruits, more complicated juicers are necessary, but citrus juice is so quick and easy! There’s really no reason not to squeeze a delicious, fresh glass whenever it strikes your fancy.

About the Author: Kim Kash has been a writer and editor for over 20 years, many of those in the book trade with Daedalus Books. Topics she covers as a freelance writer for range from federal government policy to yoga, food and travel. She often writes for, which provides home fitness video programs and recently launched P90X2, which delivers an even more advanced fitness workout. The author of the bestselling Ocean City: A Guide to Maryland’s Seaside Resort (Channel Lake, 2009), Kim is a founder of the Greenbelt Farmers Market near Washington, D.C. Two years ago at age 40, Kim and her husband sold everything and moved to the Middle East. Since then, she has traveled to twelve new countries and has taken up sailing, diving, and rock climbing.


How to Talk to Your Children About Nutrition

If your kids had a choice, when it comes time to grab a snack, would they pick ice cream or an apple? Ice cream, of course! That’s a pretty typical reaction for kids and adults alike, and there is definitely nothing wrong with treats now and then. But, with the rate of obesity in the United States rising to higher levels than ever before, there is no time better to talk to your kids about nutrition. In fact, the rate of child obesity has risen to alarming levels in recent years, prompting lawmakers, school officials and even the First Lady to step in and advocate for the importance of nutrient-rich diets for young people. So, how can you talk to your kids about nutrition in a way that they will understand and adhere to?

First, you have to convey to them what nutrition is and why it’s so important. Try to steer clear of the word “nutrition” because your kids may start to tune you out at the first sign of adult-style jargon. In fact, you may not need to sit your kids down to have a formal talk about the matter at all. Instead, try integrating awareness about nutrition into your family’s daily life and talk to your kids about it in a natural way.

To convey the importance of nutrition to your kids, you can point out foods that are yummy and healthy for your body while you’re cooking or shopping in the grocery store. Tell your kids that fruits and vegetables are some of your favorite things to eat (hopefully, they are!) and tell them that, if you want to grow up strong and healthy, fruits and veggies will help. You can also explain to your kids that you really are what you eat. If you don’t eat enough, you will be too small to be healthy. And, if you eat too much, or eat too many bad things, you will be too big to be healthy.

Drive the importance of nutrition home by giving your kids examples of things that are not healthy to eat. Explain to them the difference between food and a treat. A spaghetti dinner or a turkey sandwich would be considered food. A can of Pringles or a trip to McDonalds would be considered a treat. You can explain to your kids that, sure, those types of foods may fill you up, but they don’t have any of the nutrients that your body needs, so they don’t count as real food for your family. But it’s okay to eat them once in a while for fun.

If your kids have idols they look up to who also have healthy bodies, you can reference those celebrities when you talk about healthy eating and let your kids know that their idols try to eat healthy, too. You can also point out celebrities who are not making good health decisions, and let the kids make their own connections.

Finally, make nutrition a fun thing in your household. In fact, try to make it nothing at all. If you integrate good nutrition into your entire life, your kids will naturally gravitate toward healthier foods, because that will be the only things available. Have fun with your kids by trying new fruits, making homemade juice, or trying new healthy recipes.

There are so many ways to introduce good nutrition habits to your children, but the best way to go about it is to always practice what you preach.

Do you have any good tips on how to talk to children about nutrition?

About the Author: This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey. She welcomes your comments at her email:

Photo Credit: Drinking Milk by Stuart Miles and Holding Carrots by Clare Bloomfield.

Post Navigation