Bits and Bites

News from Jen Messer Nutrition

Pumpkins are a great seasonal fall food to add to your menu. Lauren and Kate picked out our carving pumpkins at a local farm.

Pumpkin Season is here!

Here is my favorite Jack-o-lantern hack: Carve from the bottom!

Just cut a hole from the bottom of your pumpkin and toss out the circle for good. Scrape out the remaining seeds and guts from this bottom hole. Now it will be easy to illuminate your pumpkin. Simply place a candle on a flat surface and put your carved jack-o-lantern over the candle. No more reaching down into the pumpin to light your candle. I discovered this tip only after years of celebrating Halloween from the top down!

A simple pumpkin seed recipe.

Carving the pumpkin is only half the fun. You must also roast the seeds! I remember doing this as a kid every Halloween. Somehow the seeds always seemed to burn. Here is a pretty straightforward fool proof recipe. Pumpkin seeds carry a heavy health punch showing potential as a functional food ingredient!

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, rinse and then boil your seeds in salted water for about 10 minutes. Boiling helps get all the stringy fibers off of the seeds and helps to make the seeds salty and crisp when you roast them.

Strain the boiled seeds and remove any remaining pumpin pieces from the seeds. Next, season the seeds. Spray with olive oil and get creative with your favorite spice mixes; garlic powder, smoked paprika, cajun spice, tamari, salt, pepper. I might try nutritional yeast this year!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake in a single layer usually for 10-15 minutes or until desired crispness. Cool the seeds and enjoy as a snack, on salads, soup, in granola, or baked goods.

10 Tips for long term weight loss management

Now, with holidays on the horizon, some of my clients have voiced their concern over maintaining their successful weight loss. Research tells us that about five-ten percent of people who try to lose weight ultimately succeed. Want to know what really works?

For success tips I turned to the national weight control registry. You are eligible to join this research group if you have lost over 30 pounds and kept it off for one year or more. This registry collects data and shares what successful people have done to maintain their weight loss. Interestingly, the data shows some of what I learned along the way of my own 65+ pound weight loss journey over 20 years ago.

When you are armed with sound information and adopt new habits as part of your lifestyle it leads to long-term weight management. It is possible but also requires sustained behavior change. Temporary diets and sporadic physical activity don’t work.

Although these tips may not work for everyone they are clues we can use to build our own lifetime healthy habits.

  1. 90% of registry members exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day. The most frequently reported form of activity being walking. I personally think dogs are great motivators - I began running more frequently to keep our puppy happy and tired. Now that Lily is an old girl walking is more our speed.

  2. Of the registry participants 78% eat breakfast every day, and maintain a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends. Consistent eating patterns help regulate blood sugars and hormones that affect hunger. Although some studies have shown no discernible effect of eating or skipping breakfast on obesity it is a habit that registry participants take part in to a high degree. No harm in seeing if it fits with your lifestyle.

  3. 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. I like to say “use sit time as get fit time” and watch your active time it add up! One hour less of television could become your one hour of exercise per day. Get unplugged a few nights a week and start small.

  4. 98% of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight. This one is probably the most obvious - dietitian tip…get in your servings of veggies every day. Veggies are filled with fiber which slow digestion leaving us with feelings of fullness and are low in calories which allow us to enjoy healthy portion sizes. Not a big fan? Here are some tips.

  5. 89% of the sample reported modifying both dietary intake and physical activity levels to achieve their successful weight loss. I believe this is the secret sauce, rinse and repeat daily. Combining activity with good nutrition does a body good.

  6. Ninety-two percent of the sample reported that they exercised at home during their weight loss and about one-third of the sample regularly exercised with a group or friend. This is good news for COVID and lockdown status. We can do this! Even if you can’t make it to the gym find a small group or workout buddy. I’ve recruited my daughter Lauren as my workout buddy. Ask me about the medical, psychological, and metabolic benefits of resistance training. 🏋🏼‍♀️

  7. Current meal patterns reported by registry members suggest a habit of eating regular meals, including occasional meals eaten at restaurants. Sustainability is key to enjoying your new healthy lifestyle and this includes enjoying a bite out with friends and the foods that you love!

  8. 75% of registry members weighed themselves at least once per week. Weighing yourself can be controversial for some people - but if we discover that after a weight loss cycle the scale creeps up it is easy to get mindful about our intake again. Are we still filling our plate with 50% veggies?

  9. Previous weight-loss attempts Nearly 91% of the sample reported that they tried to lose weight previously. Before my successful attempt at weight loss I had tried other avenues. I believe it was a change in mindset that led me to a positive result. I realized that I needed to adopt a new way of life - not just change for a period of time.

  10. At least 85% of the sample reported improvements in their general quality of life, level of energy, physical mobility, general mood, self-confidence, and physical health. This is the big WHY, something I explore with my clients! We all want to feel our best. Building healthy habits, taking care of ourselves, and making time for your health is well worth the investment.

Got questions?

If you would like help managing your own nutrition get in touch. Go into the holidays feeling supported. I love helping people increase their energy, feel comfortable in their own skin, and normalize their biomarkers through wholesome nutrition! Please share my newsletter with anyone who might benefit from nutrition tips recommended by a registered dietitian.

I accept Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, FSA/HSA accounts, and private pay.

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