Salad do’s and don’ts

Salads are typically considered a “safe” choice when following a weight-loss meal plan. That’s partly true; salads are a great way to pack more veggies into your diet, but they can interfere with your weight-loss efforts if you aren’t careful. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep your salads weight loss friendly:

  • Do use the “2/3 rule.” Two-thirds of the salad is made up of dark leafy greens like spinach, arugula and romaine, and colorful veggies like red peppers, shredded carrots and snap peas, while one-third is devoted to small portions of healthy fats (nuts, olives, avocado) and lean proteins (chicken, fish, hard-boiled eggs).
  • Do survey the salad bar. Salad bars offer a plethora of tantalizing toppings. Slowly survey the salad bar. Allow yourself time to mindfully decide on the toppings that will add flavor and fun to your salad — and contribute to your weight loss efforts — before adding them to your plate. Tuna, pasta, and bean salads are often high-calorie, so it’s best to avoid these.
  • Do think outside the bowl. Preparing the same salad day-after-day can become boring and unappetizing. Avoid getting into a salad rut by experimenting with interesting ingredients such as fresh herbs, navy beans, lentils, sprouts, and kiwi slices. Explore a local farmer’s market for new ideas to keep things interesting.
  • Do be wary of salads when eating out. Restaurant salads aren’t as healthy as you might expect. They can be thousands of calories, laden with sodium, and contain trans-fats. Check out this link for the worst salad offenders.
  • Don’t overdo it with the toppings. Adding a variety of toppings to salads can be fun, but not all toppings are created equal when it comes to calories. Calorie-dense toppings, such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds and cheese, can contribute upwards of 400 to 600 additional calories if portions are not kept in check. For example, ¼ cup of dried fruit + ¼ cup nuts + 1 ounce cheddar cheese + 2 Tablespoons of sunflower seeds = ~500 calories.
  • Don’t drench with dressing. Dressing is one of the easiest ways to add excess calories to your salad. Creamy dressings are typically higher in calories, but that doesn’t mean your go-to vinaigrette can be poured on without hesitation. Use dressing sparingly by measuring out 2 Tablespoons and then pouring it onto your salad. When eating out, use half the amount of dressing that comes “on the side.” There is the option of making homemade salad dressing and controlling the ingredients that go into it. The dressing below will tastefully dress a four-serving salad.

Easy Balsamic Dressing

  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced shallot or red onion
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Cracked pepper to taste

Measure ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

– Mary Ligotti-Hitch, R.D. is a registered dietitian with the Weight Control Center at Beaumont Health Center. Did you know that the center offers cooking classes to kids in the community? View a list of upcoming classes here.

Spring clean your diet

Image by Christine Sponchia, Pixabay

Spring finally arrived! Most people are familiar with the term “spring cleaning” and typically associate it with a thorough cleanse of their home. However, “spring cleaning” can apply to overall health, too. From taking walks outside to grilling lean proteins and vegetables, there are many ways to better your lifestyle. This spring I challenge you to incorporate some of the strategies listed below into your lifestyle to help better your health and overall well-being.

  • Do a deep clean of your refrigerator and pantry. Throw out any expired food, but also try to rid your home of any “trigger” foods, like candy, cookies and chips. To prevent waste, consider giving these foods to a loved one or bringing them into work as a treat.
  • Go grocery shopping and restock! Make sure a variety of healthful food options are always available. Think fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
  • Start with beverages. Try to drink 64 ounces of calorie-free fluids daily. If you don’t love plain water, try using flavoring drops like Stur Liquid Water Enhancer or infuse your water with your favorite fruits.
  • Eat every three to four hours to help keep your appetite at bay and prevent eating large portions. Eat breakfast within the first two hours of waking up and space your meals accordingly.
  • Try to have at least two servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Aim for a variety of colors and get creative. Put fruits in cereal or try salads as an easy snack.
  • Reduce fried foods. Take advantage of grilling outside, think grilled chicken, kabobs and chicken sausages. If you love fried foods, treat yourself to an air fryer to reduce calories and harmful fats.
  • Swap out your grains. Replace any “white” product like rice, bread or pasta with 100 percent whole grain or whole wheat. The fiber helps keep your gut healthy and keep you full.
  • Get moving! Enjoy the fresh, warmer air and blooming flowers by taking a walk!. Try to move for at least 30 minutes each day.

– Megan Jozefowicz, RDN, is a clinical dietitian at the Beaumont Weight Control Center in Canton.

Is breakfast truly important?

breakfast, granola and banana

You may have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how important is it to you? Studies show that eating breakfast regularly can decrease your risk for obesity and diabetes. Additionally, many breakfast foods offer several nutrients that you may not get during other meals, such as calcium, fiber and vitamin C. Often times people think that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight, however it can actually have the opposite effect. Studies show that skipping breakfast is strongly associated with overweight and obesity because rushing out the door in the morning without a balanced meal can lead to consuming larger portion sizes later in the day.

Having a few ready to eat meals prepared ahead of time can cut down on the morning rush that often leads to skipping breakfast. Here are two of my favorite “on the go” foods for breakfast that can easily be prepared ahead of time to make mornings a little easier.

Banana Walnut Overnight Oats


  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced


  1. Divide oats, milk, yogurt, honey, cinnamon and vanilla between two bowls or jars. Stir to combine.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, heat the oats in the microwave or enjoy chilled. Top with the walnuts and banana slices just before serving.


2 servings

Nutrition analysis per serving

  • Calories:  320
  • Fat:  13 g
  • Saturated Fat:  2 g
  • Trans Fat:  0 g
  • Cholesterol:  5 mg
  • Sodium:  55 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 45 g
  • Fiber:  5 g
  • Sugar:  20 g
  • Protein: 10 g

Apple Sandwich with Almond Butter and Granola


  • 1 medium apple, cored and sliced into rings
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • ½ cup granola


  1. Spread almond butter on one apple slice.
  2. Sprinkle granola over almond butter and top with another apple slice.
  3. Repeat using remaining apple slices and almond butter.


2 servings

Nutrition analysis per serving

  • Calories:  240
  • Fat:  10 g
  • Saturated Fat:  1 g
  • Trans Fat:  0 g
  • Cholesterol:  0 mg
  • Sodium:  40 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 34 g
  • Fiber:  6 g
  • Sugar:  13 g
  • Protein: 7 g

– Amanda Mazurek is a dietetic intern with Beaumont Health. The Beaumont Weight Control Center offers cooking classes to kids in the community. View a list of upcoming classes here.

Tips for holiday eating

girl holding plate of food

I chose this topic because the holidays are a time for family, friends, celebrating, and of course, lots of food. Throughout the holiday season, it can be very easy for people to overindulge. The average American gains approximately 1 to 2 pounds  during the holiday season. While this may not seem like a lot, it can lead to further weight gain. Here are some tips to enjoy the holidays without falling off the wagon:

  • Do not skip meals. Skipping meals often does more harm than good. When we go too long without eating to “save up” our calories, we tend to overindulge at meal times.
  • Include foods that are high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains with your breakfast to increase satiety before you run off to your holiday parties.
  • Grab the smaller plate (your plate should be 9 inches) at the buffet or bring your own.
  • portion control plate infographicUse this visual to help you control your portion sizes. Fill up half of your 9-inch plate with vegetables, 25 percent of your plate with turkey or your lean protein, and the remaining 25 percent of your plate with mashed potatoes or whatever starch you may be serving. Try to skip the dinner roll!
  • Try eating your salad and/or vegetables first, then eat your protein and lastly eat your starch. You may find that you start to fill up on vegetables and protein, eating less of your starch serving.
  • Eat slowly! It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full, so wait it out before you go back for seconds.
  • Try going for a walk or playing games with your family or friends after dinner to make sure that you are still getting some physical activity.
  • Give away some of your leftovers to family and friends so you aren’t tempted to overindulge once the holidays are over.

– Kaylie Roberts is a dietetic intern with Beaumont Health. The Beaumont Weight Control Center offers cooking demonstrations to the community. View a list of current demonstrations here.

– Adapted from:

10 positioning and latching tips for breastfeeding

breastfeeding baby latched onto mom's breast

1.  It’s important that mom is comfortable. For an upright feeding position, use a supportive pillow. Remember to have back support.

2.  Bring baby to you. Don’t hunch over baby as it can cause pain and be detrimental to your neck and back.

3.  Take a deep breath before positioning baby. This helps relax you and baby relaxes, too.

4.  Try to vary nursing positions. It takes practice to get into these positions, but well worth the awkward learning!

  • While you and baby are still learning to breast feed, I like the cross-cradle position.
  • When more confident and no discomfort, you can transition to cradle hold.
  • The football hold is also a good position to try when baby is newborn. As baby grows, discomfort can happen from baby kicking.
  • Try the side lying position. Some moms also like the laid back (also called biological) nursing position.

5.  Bring baby nose-to-nipple so baby can reach up, chin first to breast. This helps relax baby’s jaw and attain an asymmetric latch.

6.  If baby’s latch doesn’t feel right or you have pain lasting more than 10 seconds, detach baby and try again. Don’t compromise good latching. Nipple damage from poor latching takes a while to heal.

7.  Detach baby safely by putting pinky or finger with a shorter nail into side of baby’s mouth and listen for suction to break, then pull baby away from you. Do not pull nipple out of baby’s mouth. It can cause damage along the shaft of the nipple and cause discomfort.

8.  If struggling to get baby to latch for the first time, hold baby skin-to-skin. Babies regulate their heart beats, breathing, blood sugar and metabolism on mom and dad. Mom holding baby skin to skin facilitates latching. You can also get baby into a sucking rhythm on your clean finger and then transfer baby over to breast.

9.  Compare your position with this visual of baby’s position when approaching breast.

mother's view while latching baby

10.  Check these signs of a good latch:

  • Baby’s mouth opens wide.
  • Baby’s lips are curled out (flanged) and cover about 1 to 1.5 inches of area below the nipple. This may be less for a small or premature baby.
  • Baby’s lower lip covers more of the areola than the upper lip.
  • Baby’s chin is pressed into the breast.
  • Baby’s cheeks appear to be full and rounded (not dimpling in).
  • Baby’s mouth does not slip off the breast.
  • Baby is supported in chest-to-chest position and baby’s neck is not turned.
  • Mom feels a tugging sensation without pain.
  • Baby shows signs of sucking and swallowing breast milk.

– Dennette Fend, RNc, WHNP, IBCLC, runs the Beaumont Breastfeeding Services in Rochester Hills. To learn more about the clinic and how to make an appointment, view this flyer.

Meet the pomegranate

pomegranate pic from Pixabay

Pomegranate (literally “apple or fruit of many seeds”) is originally from Persia, but crops are now grown in California. These are interesting fruits because we don’t eat the flesh or meat, instead eating the many seeds found inside.

How do I know if a pomegranate is ripe?

You can usually find them in local grocery stores between late September and early January. Ripe pomegranates are heavy, large and taut. As they’re stored, they tend to shrink and dry out, making them lighter and smaller. Ripe pomegranates bruise easily and can even split naturally; split specimens are perfectly fine to eat, especially if you find them at a farmer’s market. Avoid pomegranates with cuts or soft spots.

How do I store them?

Pomegranates can be left out on the counter for about a week without any problems. When refrigerated, they can last for several weeks; simply wrap the fruit in plastic and place it in the fridge.

How do I use them?

  • In drinks. Drop pomegranate seeds into calorie-free tea or sparkling water for color, flavor and festiveness.
  • Make pomegranate dip. Whirl some pomegranate seeds with roasted red peppers, walnuts, and a bit of fruity olive oil (season to taste with salt and pepper) to make a zingy spread perfect for spreading on whole grain crackers or serving as a dip with low-starch vegetables.
  • Add to salads. Pomegranate seeds glisten like little rubies and dress up any salad. Just sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds in your favorite green salad.
  • Great as a snack. Enjoy them alone as a refreshing, crunchy snack. Serving size of ½ a cup fits perfectly into most meal plans.

What is a pomegranate’s nutritional information?

Serving size: ½ cup of arils (seeds)

  • Calories:  80
  • Fat:  0g
  • Cholesterol:  0
  • Sodium:  5 mg
  • Potassium:  180 mg
  • Carbohydrates:  18 g
  • Fiber:  5 g
  • Protein:  1 g
  • Vitamin C:  4%
  • Iron:  2%

– Amy Stevens is a dietetic intern with Beaumont Health. The Beaumont Weight Control Center offers cooking demonstrations to the community. View a list of current demonstrations here.

The goodness of Greek yogurt

strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, granola with Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt isn’t the same thing as “regular” yogurt. Greek yogurt it has a thicker consistency and stronger, more tangy flavors because it’s strained three times, removing most of the liquid whey. This also makes Greek yogurt more concentrated, giving it more protein than “regular” yogurt.

Did you know that Greek yogurt:

  • Is packed with protein to aid in wound healing and prevent muscle wasting?
  • Contains calcium to ensure our bones and heart are strong and healthy?
  • Is a great source of potassium, which stabilizes blood sugar and blood pressure levels, strengthens muscles and bones, and boosts metabolism?
  • Contains probiotics that maintain and promote a healthy gut?
  • Has less lactose than regular yogurt resulting in less sugar and better tolerance in people with lactose-intolerance?
  • Isn’t the same across brands? Choose ones that are low-fat or fat-free, have a low sugar content (less than 6 g) and have high protein (more than 12 g).

While many people enjoy Greek yogurt right out of the container, it is more flexible than that. Consider:

  • Buying plain Greek yogurt and adding fruit, cinnamon, raisins, nuts or granola.
  • Making your own savory dip for vegetables.
  • Substituting mayo or sour cream in recipes for plain Greek yogurt.
  • Trying out this recipe for Greek Yogurt Chicken.

Greek Yogurt Chicken


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 5-ounce container of plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine yogurt, Parmesan cheese and seasonings.
  3. Spread over chicken breasts. Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and topping is browned. Serve immediately.


Makes 4 servings. Serving size equals 1 chicken breast.

Nutrition Analysis per serving

Calories:  280

Fat:  10 g

Saturated Fat:  3.5 g

Trans Fat:  0 g

Cholesterol:  15 mg

Sodium:  640 mg

Carbohydrates:  3 g

Fiber:  0 g

Sugar:  2 g

Protein:  46 g

– Beaumont Weight Control Center. The Beaumont Weight Control Center offers cooking demonstrations to the community. View a list of current demonstrations here.

Recipe adapted from