7 Tips for Making Healthy Choices while Eating Out


Happy March! I feel like yesterday I was putting up my Christmas decorations, and now it is already March…where has the time gone! Throughout the year we find that we face different nutritional and health challenges. Continue reading “7 Tips for Making Healthy Choices while Eating Out”

Stay Healthy This Winter

Tips for staying healthy during the winter. - www.cobornsblog.com

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I know what you are thinking: it’s cold outside, it gets dark early, and that all makes it difficult to be active, eat nutritious and try to stay fit and healthy during these long winter months.  That is why I want to take this opportunity to revitalize your desire to be well with some easy tips to keep you going through these harsh winter months.  Doing so will not only keep you in a better mood, but it will keep your immune system functioning at high speed, helping to prevent you from getting sick.

First, remember it’s not just being active and it’s not just eating right; both are important in combination with each other.

Tips for staying healthy in the winter: Join a gym with friends - www.cobornsblog.comJoin a Gym

For fitness, if joining the gym is in your budget and motivates you to exercise on a regular basis, that is awesome. Bring your friend or spouse along to keep it fun and to keep you committed. It’s warm indoors, plus it’s an opportunity to get out of the house and around others who share your passion for fitness and health.  There are usually fun classes offered to mix it up or you can use the equipment.

Keep in mind even just walking or biking is excellent exercise; even if just for 20 minutes, it really is better than nothing. Don’t forget your iPod with your favorite music! That is sure to amp up your energy level!  If you are still struggling like I am, and I am really struggling with this one personally because I don’t have the motivation myself, I will definitely be recruiting one of my friends.  When I lived with my cousin, we would go to the gym every night, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I honestly looked forward to it. It was a way to unwind and have some girl time. We would walk alongside each other or ride bikes and just chat about our day and before you know it, there went an hour. Try to spend your time doing “mindless” exercise… rather than “mindless” eating.  It doesn’t have to be “typical” ways of working out at the gym, either. What about playing tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball, or swimming at your gym? Sometimes all it takes is getting a new workout outfit, or new gym shoes, or even just a fun water bottle or gym bag!

Tips for staying healthy in the winter: Live an active lifestyle - www.cobornsblog.comLive an Active Lifestyle

Okay maybe the gym isn’t your thing, then be active in other ways. This is where the “living an active lifestyle” comes in.  These are all the tips, such as: taking the stairs, parking father away from the building, walking some extra laps around the mall when running errands, or having a family outing at the bowling alley or the roller-skating place instead of going out to eat.

Or how about embracing the winter and playing winter sports such as skiing, sledding, ice skating, hockey, or snowshoeing?

Tips for staying healthy in the winter: Stay active at home - www.cobornsblog.comStay Active at Home

Maybe you feel like staying in the house. Okay then, how about lifting soup cans, doing sit ups and pushups during commercials, or putting in a workout DVD? How about jump roping in your living room or buying a treadmill and setting it in front of the TV? O you can play an active Wii game with your kids! Guess what? Cleaning your house is even considered a form of activity! Did you know you can burn nearly 200 calories in an hour?!

Now for the eating right part…

First and foremost, don’t engage in another one of those fad diets. Just eat real food. Here are some basics to healthy eating:

  1. Eat enough fruits and vegetables – at least one of each with every meal – and add more at snacks! Remember, all forms count: Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice.
  2. Consume healthy fats, such as avocados, olive oil, canola oil, Smude’s sunflower oil, and nuts and seeds.
  3. Incorporate lean proteins. But don’t OD on the protein part. The average adult really only needs about 50 grams per day.
  4. Substitute refined grains for whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and oatmeal, to name a few.
  5. Limit added sugars to 25 grams per day; this does NOT include whole fruits or 100% juice.  However, this does include honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and raw cane sugar.
  6. Reduce sodium intake to 2300mg/day.
  7. Be aware of your portions.

This is what your plate should look like at each meal, including breakfast. ChooseMyPlate.gov

Keeping track of your progress really seems to work for a lot of people. It makes them aware of their daily needs, they can make goals based on that, and then track their progress. If you start to track, be sure to reward yourself when you reach those goals.

Good luck! Please reach out anytime you have a question or would like to learn more.  I always offer grocery tours; it’s a perfect environment to learn, hands on, more in depth about healthy eating.

Be sure to pick up a few of these tips from each category and you will be on the track to better overall health and wellness.

Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s, Inc. Registered Dietitian

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5 simple changes to make in the New Year

5 simple changes to make in the New Year! www.cobornsblog.com

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com

Many Americans decide to change their diet and exercise in the New Year. While this is a great goal, we sometimes tend to set goals that are too hard to achieve and by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, we are eating the entire box of chocolates. So here are five changes you can make that are simple and a little more obtainable.

Add more fruits and veggies

I know this sounds very cliché but it is so important.  Veggies not only provide us with amazing nutrients and antioxidants but they are also low in calories and full of fiber, to keep us feeling fuller for longer, preventing us from eating extra calories throughout the day that can lead to excess weight gain.

One of our 5 simple changes for you to make in the New Year: Add more Fruits and Veggies to your diet. Read more at www.cobornsblog.com

All forms count

  • Fresh
  • Frozen
  • Canned
  • Dried
  • 100% juice

Yes that’s right I said canned and 100% juice! Here are some of my favorite ways to add more servings each day.

Breakfast – I always have 100% orange juice with my breakfast and I add blueberries and bananas to the top of my whole grain waffles.

Lunch – For lunch, I always have a side salad with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers and mushrooms.  It doesn’t need to be a huge salad or the main dish.  Then I always have a fruit cup in 100% juice. When I have soup, I always open up a can of veggies and pour it into my soup. Are you having a grilled cheese with that soup, why not add a tomato and spinach leaf?

Dinner – For dinner, whether I am making stir fry, hot dish, or fajitas, veggies are always the main component. When my mom made tator tot hot dish (gotta love MN cooking) she would add two pounds of beef and one bag of mixed veggies.  When I make it, I add 1 pound of beef and two bags of veggies, if not more.  Plus I always serve a veggie on the side.  With fajitas, who says meat has to be the main part? The peppers and onions sautéed in olive oil are what brings in the real flavor.  Don’t forget the guacamole made with 100% avocados.  For stir fry, try to have a ratio of two to one for veggies to meat.  Remember a fruit cup always makes a good dessert!

Limit your added sugars

One of our 5 simple changes for you to make in the New Year: Limit your added sugar. Read more at www.cobornsblog.com

Fruit in any form, and 100% juice does NOT count as an added sugar.  Honey, agave nectar, 100% maple syrup, evaporated cane juice, and raw organic sugar DO count as added sugar. And I’m sure you know regular sugar and high fructose corn syrup also count as added sugar.  Look for these ingredients in the labels of your favorite foods and try to make a better choice. Remember added sugars are just extra calories with very minimal if any nutritional value.

Limit your sodium

One of our 5 simple changes for you to make in the New Year: Limit your sodium. Read more at www.cobornsblog.com

Sodium is hidden in so many foods, always be on the look out for this! It is recommended to get no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, unless you had a heart condition, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or African American.  Those risk factors reduce your daily intake to 1500mg/day.  Look at the nutrition facts panel, just because it says “reduced sodium” doesn’t mean its “low sodium.” Challenge yourself to add up your sodium throughout the day.  I guarantee you will be shocked! Remember the sodium amounts are PER SERVING, so if you have two servings of a food item you need to double the sodium amount.

Be activeOne of our 5 simple changes for you to make in the New Year: Get Active! Read more at www.cobornsblog.com

When I say this I don’t necessarily mean to exercise or go to the gym for an hour a day.  I mean lead an active lifestyle ALL day.  Park your car farther from the building, take the stairs, walk an extra lap around the store on your next shopping trip, clean your house, lift soup cans during commercials, shovel your driveway, walk to get the mail, host walking meetings, walk during your break at work. All of these little things will add up to a healthier lifestyle and your body will thank you!

Science based information and diets

One of our 5 simple changes for you to make in the New Year: No Fad Diets! Read more at www.cobornsblog.comGet your nutrition information from qualified medical professionals.  Nutritionists, Wikipedia, and Dr. Oz don’t count.  Make sure you are talking to a registered dietitian; someone with the education and credentials to give you science based information that has been researched and validated.  Be wary of fad diets and know how to pick them out.  For example, if you are supposed to eliminate an entire food group like for example in the paleo diet, it is a fad diet.  If it has promising results and huge weight loss in a small amount of time, it is a fad diet.  If it is a special pill or potion, it is a fad diet.  Honestly, eating right really does come down to the basics, some of which are mentioned above.  You will not lose 10 pounds in a week doing this, but I promise you it is the most sustainable approach and your body will love you for it. Not only will you be seeing results in your weight, but your risk for chronic disease can decrease, your skin can look cleaner and your body will be functioning at a more optimal level! I hope I can help you to eat REAL food in REAL life!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Peace and Wellness
Coborn’s, Inc. Registered Dietitian


Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley - www.cobornsblog.com

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Why canned produce is just as healthy as fresh!

Why canned produce can be just as healthy as fresh. www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley

February celebrates heart month! Heart Disease continues to be the number one killer among Americans. It is essential that you are doing all you can to either treat your heart disease or prevent yourself from ever being diagnosed with it. Diet is one of the biggest forms of control you have in prevention and treatment of this disease. Be sure to click here and check out my blog from last February so you can make some heart healthy additions to your diet and lifestyle practices. Don’t forget, I provide complimentary heart healthy grocery tours and would love to point out some great options for you and your families.

Now on to this year’s topic….

National Canned Foods Month

Make a healthier choice. Choose No Sugar Agged fruits. www.cobornsblog.comWho knew that it was National Canned Foods Month? Did you know such a holiday existed? I am sure glad it does; this gives me an opportunity to tell you all about how nutritious canned produce is for us! I bet some of you are shocked to hear that! I understand why some of them do get a bad rap, most of the time it is the sodium.  Yes, it is true that most canned items do have a lot of added sodium.  But did you know that Coborn’s offers no salt added canned produce items? And did you know that by draining your canned foods for 2-4 minutes, you can remove up to 36% of the sodium? When combined, draining and rinsing them lowers the sodium by 41% (Produce for Better Health). Now you may be saying that is the case with vegetables, but what about the sugar in canned fruits. Either you can buy the fruit that is in 100% juice or no sugar added or you can rinse them as well to remove any excess sugar.  But I’ll share this fact with you, too – canned fruit contributes to less than two percent of the added sugar in most American diets.  Top sources of added sugar in the diet come from soda, energy drinks and sport drinks, grain-based desserts, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, candy, ready to eat cereals, sugars and honey, tea and yeast breads.

Focus on the positives

Why canned produce can be just as healthy as fresh. www.cobornsblog.comI am very excited to share with you some information on this topic, because so many people focus on the negatives and forget that there are a lot of positives.  If it was recommended to consume only fresh produce items, due to cost, do you know how many fewer produce items people would probably buy? AND… did you know that canned and frozen items are picked at the peak of ripeness and their nutrients are preserved by either being frozen or canned? On the other hand, the nutrients in fresh produce continue to break down as they sit on the shelf.  Ultimately ALL forms matter, canned, frozen, fresh, dried, and 100% juice.  According to Produce for Better Health, this maximizes nutrition, minimizes waste, saves money, and assures that there is always a variety of fruits and vegetables available.  “Exclusively recommending one form of fruit or vegetable over another ignores the benefits of each form and limits consumer choice” (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture).  “Ultimately, consumers believe they can actually achieve their fruit and vegetable consumption goals when they know that they can ‘count’ all forms toward their daily goal” (JADA).  These are all very important to note as “Americans are not eating even half of their recommended amount of fruits and vegetables” (Produce for Better Health).  Let’s focus on the real issue at hand; Americans are not eating enough fruits and vegetables!

“When primary shoppers were asked what factors made it most difficult for them to include more fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks, cost was among the highest concerns.  In fact, 44% said fruit was too expensive and 35% said vegetables were too expensive” (Produce for Better Health).

Processed VS. Fresh

Why canned produce can be just as healthy as fresh. www.cobornsblog.com“Fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruits and vegetables contain similar amounts of fiber and minerals.  Cooking fruits or vegetables does not destroy fiber or minerals” (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture) (USDA National Nutrient Database). Did you know that “most fat-soluble nutrients, including carotenoids, vitamin A, and vitamin E, are higher in processed fruits and vegetables?  This is true, in part, because the mild heat treatment in processed products allowed for greater bioavailability of lipid-soluble nutrients.  Processed fruits and vegetables may also contain greater nutritional value because some processing cultivars are more nutritious than fresh cultivars, as is the case with tomatoes” (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture) (Produce for Better Health).

Convenience and Cost

Who likes food that is easy and convenient? UM, HELLO – ME! I am assuming the rest of you answered with a big “YES!” Well guess what, you are in luck! Canned and frozen produce is already pre-cut , you just have to warm it up or in the case of fruit, just eat it! And you will have less waste because you can always put it back in the freeze after you take out the portion you want.

“Getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables costs as little as $2-$2.50 per day!” (Produce for Better Health)

After reading this blog, you have no excuses not to get in your daily needs of fruits and vegetables J

Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s Registered Dietitian

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Label Reading 101

www.cobornsblog.com - Label Reading 101

www.cobornsblog.com - Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley
Coborn’s Dietitian

Happy New Year, Everyone! What are your goals for the new year? Now I know you are probably expecting me to write about losing weight, exercising more, etc. But as you know, I already did that last year, so if you are interested in that blog please click here.

This year I want to encourage you all to focus on getting the facts right in all areas, but especially nutrition, of course. Because I am a supermarket dietitian I live in the grocery store and my number one job is to help you navigate through the grocery aisles and help you choose the most nutritious choices.

Label reading can be such a pain AND it can be quite confusing, so let me help explain how to read labels accurately and efficiently.

www.cobornsblog.com - Serving Size VS. Portion Size - What you are actaully eating1. Start with the Serving Size

  • Check the label for the serving size (the amount for one serving) and the number of servings in the package.
  • Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label. You can see this demonstrated in this graph.

2. Check out the Total Calories and Fat

  •  Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat.
  • Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of the food item. (Remember it is the number of servings you consume that determines the number of calories you actually eat).
  • It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight.

3. Let the Percentage Daily Values be your guide

www.cobornsblog.com - % Daily Values Chart

  • Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan:
  • Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5 percent DV of fat provides 5 percent of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat.
  • Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack
  • You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100 percent DV.
  • Five percent or less is low. Aim low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • 20 percent or more is high. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

4. Limit Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium

  • Eating less fat, cholesterol and sodium may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
  • Total fat includes saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat. Limit to 100 percent DV or less per day.
  • Zero trans fats; make sure there are no partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list either! That indicates trans fats even if the Nutrition Facts Panel says “0 grams.”
  • Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • High levels of sodium increase your blood pressure.
  • Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these nutrients.

 5. Get enough Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber

  • Eat more fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia.
  • Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients.
  • Remember to aim high for percentage DV of these nutrients.

 6. Additional Nutrients

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Sugar
  • Most Americans eat more protein than they need, so a percentage Daily Value is not required on the label. Eat moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans, peanut butter and nuts.
  • We want to limit our added sugar as much as possible

7. Check the Ingredient List/Order of ingredients

  • Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label.
  • Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities, those who wish to avoid pork or shellfish or limit added sugars or people who prefer vegetarian eating

www.cobornsblog.com - Product Claims and what they mean8. Package Claims

Many times you will see nutrition claims on the front of packages such as the examples below.  Learn about what those terms actually mean for the food product by taking a look at the chart shown here.

In case that sounds like too much work, I am sure you are familiar with NuVal.  If not, come and see me! Oh, and I will be blogging a TON about NuVal in March! Get excited for all things NuVal during March, National Nutrition Month!! Until then, Happy New Year to you and your families and friends! Make it a healthy one!

Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s Registered Dietitian


Click Here for more blog articles written by Ashley

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