January Newsletter


In This Issue
5 Nutrition "Hacks" for a Healthier 2018
Immunity and Nutrition, a Win-Win Situation
A Note from Lauren...

Follow us on Twitter to receive nutrition & health tips as well as information about upcoming events! 


Follow us on Twitter 

Nutrition Energy
In the News!

Lauren Antonucci, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDE, CDN

Join Our List

Join Our Mailing List
Become a fan!

Find us on Facebook 

Visit our Website!


Issue: #87 January 2018
5 Nutrition "Hacks" for a Healthier 2018

I wrote this Nutrition Hacks piece for a guest blog post and giveaway on one of my favorite blogs...Erica Finds.  I am sending it out here for all NE followers to see and give you a chance to enter in the giveaway to win a 60-minute consultation with me!  The giveaway ends Sunday, 1/22 and the winner will be chosen and notified on Monday, 1/23.  Find more information here at Erica Finds...

I say this every year, but I can't believe that another year has begun. It's the time for us all to assess our goals from 2017 and set new intentions for 2018. When doing this, it's great to first honestly assess what worked and what didn't. Simply making the same resolution again and again won't result in achieving it. How many times have you said, "This is the year I will FINALLY [fill in the blank]?" How will this year be different?

I'm not a New Year's resolution maker or advocate. I prefer to continually assess my goals, achievements, failures and intentions. That said, January is as good a time as any to make lasting and meaningful changes to bring us closer to our goals.

So, here are my Top 5 Nutrition Hacks that you can start now. You can choose to tackle them one at a time or start all five today. Either way, you'll be happy you did.

1. Keep a Food Log for 3-5 Days. [Get my Nutrition Energy food log   here.]

I know you've heard this before, but when is the last time you've done it? Writing down everything you eat and drink for 3 to 5 days can be enlightening, humbling and appalling all at once! [Ask Erica about the time she did this with me years ago. Hint: there were a lot of mini Cadbury Creme Eggs.]

I ask my clients to keep food logs when we first meet and periodically thereafter. They record: time of day, hunger before and after eating, foods eaten and any thoughts/feelings or comments around eating.

Nine times out of ten, my clients come in with great insight and suggestions for changes after completing this exercise.

You may find that:
  • You haven't eaten a piece of fruit all week, or
  • That you've ordered in take-out 3 out of 5 nights this week, or
  • That you visit the office snack room way more often than you thought, or
  • That you're eating way more food while you cook (or wait for) dinner than you thought.
Weight loss, sports performance and improving overall health are all achievable goals that require honest assessment, planning and perseverance. This is the assessment phase and it is absolutely imperative. You can use this log as you continue on with the remaining hacks.

2. Go for the Low Hanging Fruit. [Pun intended! Sorry, I could not resist.]

Do you have at least one bad nutrition habit that you're aware of that continually prevents you from reaching your goals? Most of us have at least one. Now's the time to finally rid yourself of that unwanted habit. Whether it's drinking a sugary coffee drink every morning or eating more nuts (or chips) than you intend to each night while watching TV, make today the day you change that habit.

Here's how to do it:
  • Focus your attention on changing ONLY that one habit for the next 1-3 weeks.
  • Write down your NEW habit everywhere you can (on your fridge, as an alert on your smartphone, on your Facebook page) and make it known.
  • Your NEW habit should include what you WILL do instead of your old habit. Like, "I will drink tea with 2% milk instead of my usual chai latte-and save myself $5 and a few hundred calories daily."
I know you want to clean up your eating all at once. But think about it, how many times have you tried to change the same habit? if you invest 2-3 weeks to finally change this habit, and then move on to #3 or another habit, won't that be amazing? Yes, it will be. So, try it, and then please  tweet me or post on my  Facebook page to let me know how it went.

3. Plan Your Produce Intake for the Week (at least one serving of produce with each meal and snack). 

Let me explain. You know you should eat 2-3 servings of fruit and 4-5 servings of veggies daily, right? And you like fruits and veggies right? [If not, please stop reading  tweet or   Facebook message me IMMEDIATELY and I'll help find ways for you to enjoy some of each!]

So, what is preventing you from eating your delicious produce servings daily? In my 15 plus years as a Dietitian, I've found that planning and habituation play huge parts in making health changes last.

Planning your produce may sound strange, but will help tremendously. Once per week plan the fruits and veggies you'll eat and when (time of day and day of week) you'll eat them.

Planning at least one fruit or veg with each meal and snack, then make your shopping list. Bonus points: Go right to the store to make your purchases or use an online ordering system to ensure your produce is on its way.

After doing this for 2-3 weeks it will become a habit. In my house, we refer to foods in ways that I realize may sound strange to others. "Breakfast Fruits" are those we generally eat for breakfast at home because they don't transport well. When I ask my kids which "Lunch Veggies" they want this week, they know I mean things that will cut and travel well together in the reusable container we pack our veggies to-go in daily.

Bottom line: Make a plan for which fruits and veggies you'll routinely eat and when. Create some healthy produce habits and they'll stick!

4. Cut Corners Wisely.

We all wish we had more time and more money, right?! Since both are limited, we need to make careful and intelligent choices with both. Think about this as making some trade-offs.

I save money by cutting up melons myself, but sometimes buy pre-cut squash to save time. This means I'm more likely to cook the squash during my hectic evenings with my busy family of five.

Think in terms of some possible trade-offs:
  • Which healthy foods will you eat more of by spending a bit more on (prepared) and which you can save on by preparing your own?
  • Do you need to buy the fish already cooked or is it the veggies/side dishes?
  • Would you be better off making and freezing turkey meatballs or another protein on the weekend to save time and then free up time to make more veggies Monday-Friday?
Working on these important trade-offs with clients makes all the difference in terms of their long-term success. Time and money are two major reason why resolutions/diets/goals fail.

5. Pack Snacks for the Week.

Think about it for a second. When do you generally choose a snack to eat? Once you are already starving and stuck at work? In the morning when you are rushing to get out the door? Have you ever tried packing them in advance? If you have, you know how well it works.

Here's what I propose. Take 15 minutes on Sunday night to think through the week, what you have in the house and what you might be in the mood for. Then get packing!

Here are some ideas:
  • Pre-portion nuts and put them into small (ideally reusable) bags.
  • Scoop hummus into individual containers and pair them with snack baggies full of pre-cut veggies.
  • Pack healthy energy bars (with a short ingredient list) in your purse and gym bag "just in case".
  • Portion out granola into snack bags and tape them to the top of yogurt containers in the fridge.
You get the idea. Put in a little time and effort and get great results.

Each of these "hacks" will make a difference. The more of them you can master, the better. Anyone can start or even follow a "diet" for some amount of time...then fall back into old habits. The goal is to make lasting changes that you can live with AND stick to.

You know what I love about these "hacks?" They're all doable! Lauren has offered one Skype nutritional counseling session to a lucky reader. This is a $245 value! It can be redeemed in person if you're in NYC. Otherwise, the winner has through 3/31/18 to schedule and redeem a session with Lauren.

Want to enter to win? 
Please use the link to go to Erica's blog " Erica Finds" and scroll to the bottom of the article, to enter through the the Rafflecopter (looks like the picture below). 

The winner must be 18 years of age or older and the offer is void where prohibited. The giveaway runs through January 22. A winner will be selected and notified on January 23.
Recipes for Nutrition Hacks

So with my 5 hacks in mind, here are some quick recipes that can help set you on a path for a healthier 2018!
Breakfast  On The Go: If you are busy person on the go (like most of us) and have vowed to replace your bagel and cream cheese with something healthier, this recipe is for you. High in soluble fiber, which is good for your heart and gut, this quick breakfast also provides some healthy fat in the form of Omega-3s and helps you meet your fruit target by including antioxidant rich berries.
Overnight Oats
(adapted from Brooklynfarmgirl.com)

  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats (e.g. Quaker oats)
  • ½ cup milk (your choice - 2%, almond, coconut)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • ½ cup fresh or defrosted blueberries
  1.  Microwave frozen fruit as directed on package, drain excess water (30 sec or so)
  2. Put all ingredients in a jar or bowl, stir to combine.
  3. Cover and put in fridge.
  4. In the morning, splash a bit of milk on top, stir and enjoy! If you prefer it warm, heat in microwave.
Lunch : If one of your goals is to bring your lunch to work more often (even staring with one or two days per week is a great goal!) or to eat at home more often, this quick and easy recipe can be prepared in a snap, helping you to meet your goal.  By nature, salads are a good way to her you meet your vegetable target each day. In addition , this salad includes beans and hummus, which are packed with minerals and vitamins, sure to help you feel your best. Add some organic chicken strips or tofu or sardines to increase the protein content.
Mason Jar Greek Salad
(adapted from Holleygrainger.com)

  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • ½ lemon juiced or bottled
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic or garlic powder (optional)
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 1 tablespoon water if needed
  • ½ cup drained chickpeas
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons black or kalamata olives, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped romaine or other salad greens
  • 2/3 precooked chicken strips (e.g., applegate farms, bell evans organic chicken strips) cut into cubes (Optional)
  1. Mix hummus, lemon, garlic, salt and water together.
  2. Pour into bottom of mason jar then layer salad.
  3. If using chicken, reheat according to packaging.
  4. Start with chickpeas, (chicken - optional), cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta and lettuce.
Dinner : This recipe is one of my favorite combinations of healthy foods and flavors. Buying pre-packaged butternut squash is a time saver, and makes this meal a cinch to whip up. While it takes more time than the recipes above, this hearty vegetable based stew is a great addition to the weekday dinner schedule. Plant based diets have been shown to have protective effects against cancer, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes. Have you tried to go meatless one day a week? Maybe now is the time...!?
Curried Lentils, Squash and Apple Stew
(adapted from NYT Cooking by Tara Parker-Pope)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups of peeled butternut squash (0.5 inch cubes)
  • 10 ounces of baby spinach


  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat, sauté onion and carrot until almost soft.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, curry and salt, cook until fragrant.
  3. Stir in lentils, broth and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Add squash and apple, cover and simmer for another 25 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender.
  5. Remove lid and stir in baby spinach until wilted.
  6. Serve with in bowls alone or with brown rice or quinoa.

A Note from Lauren...

Wow this year is off to a cold start!  With the recent snowy days and the dropping windchill, I've been enjoying the hibernation, the bone-warming chai lattes and hot chocolates, and hearty stews.  While I don't give up my outdoor runs and winter activities when the weather gets worse, I do take time during these especially cold days to focus on stretching and mobility - keeping in tune with my body and working on small adjustments.

With the flu worsening in many areas of the country - especially with as many people we have here in NYC! - focusing on our health in all aspects is very important.  Keep it simple at home by making and eating healthy, hearty, and immune-boosting comfort foods (think oatmeal, stews, beans, etc.).  Try including more winter vegetables, like turnips, beets, and squash.  Maybe break out the slow cooker that's been on the top shelf since last year - and come home from work to a lovely smelling apartment!

Don't let the January cold get you down!  What do you look forward to when the weather get colder?  Do you have a favorite dinner or warm beverage recipe?  Tweet us @NutritionEnergy or let us know on  Facebook
Lauren Antonucci, Director
Nutrition Energy