Seventh Day Adventist’s Mindful Practices

Original Image by Bobbi Bowers via Flickr


By: Nikki Nies

While studying for my RD exam, I’ve come across and have been quizzed on various ethnic cultures and dietary restrictions. As you have seen, I’ve read more about dietary practices during the Lenten season and have delved further into what Kosher really means. Up until now, I’ve had a pretty good idea about what those dietary practices entailed, but the diet of Seventh Day Adventist is foreign to me. Do you feel the same way? Not quite sure what Seventh Day Adventist means?

Join me in the fun of learning all the details now! While the Seventh Day Adventist church promotes autonomy, the relationships in the church are meant to call one another higher, to live as positive examples of God’s love and devotion. In regards to diet and health, this means:

  • Gluttony and excess are to limited
  • The key to wellness is balance and temperance
  • Limit alcohol, tobacco and mind altering drugs, which can affect clear minds and wise choices
  • It’s believed a well balanced vegetarian diet that emphasizes legumes, whole grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables and sources of vitamin B12 will promote optimal health
  • Like the MyPlate guidelines, Adventists are advised to limit processed foods, sugar, sugar substitutes and food additives.

To remind you, a vegetarian diet has more benefits than the costs of the abstinence of meat. A vegetarian diet continues to provide evidence of lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes,obesity and/or high blood pressure.

Being vegetarian isn’t a requirement to be part of the Seventh Day Adventist church, yet many of the church go beyond the vegetarian diet,either eating raw foods or vegan. One of its founders, ellen White’s vision for the Seventh Day Adventist included eight principles for a healthy lifestyle: fresh air, sunshine, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, nutrition, water and trust in a divine power. The second part of the White’s vision included the establishment and devotion of health reform, health education and treating the ill in a new way.

As you can see, Seventh Day Adventist’s dietary practices are very similar to those of vegetarians, if not more strict. I’m proud to see the founder, White’s vision and principles for the church have been upheld since inception in the 1860s. For any of you that are practicing Seventh Day Adventist’s are there any key practices that I’ve missed? What personal practices do you follow in your daily life?


For Under $10, You Could Buy ALL This!

By: Nikki Nies

There’s a common argument that “healthy” food is too expensive to purchase on a regular basis and that dollar menu fast food restaurants and less nutrient dense foods (i.e. soda) is a deal that can’t be passed up.  However, I politely disagree.  I will let the following picture speak for itself!


As we all know, investing in one’s health is a long term relationship! So, grab those grabs in the produce aisle why don’t you!

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Healthy Eaters=Attuned Eaters

attuned-eatingBy: Nikki Nies

Healthy eaters=attuned eaters=you are tuned into what your body needs and wants, choosing foods that make you feel good while you are eating them and after. You don’t eat a lot of highly processed foods, and because of that don’t have a much of a taste for them. You cook at home frequently, even if it means preparing simple meals. You tend to use fresh, whole foods but don’t shy away from lightly processed convenience foods like canned beans and frozen vegetables to make life a little easier. When dining out, you intuitively stay close to your core healthy eating habits, making nutritious choices that still appeal to your taste buds, but aren’t afraid to splurge on special occasions.

Do you consider yourself an attuned eater? What benefits do you see with being a more attuned eater? What barriers in your life and/or environment limit your ability to be best attuned to your eating habits?Say no to diets once and for all, gaining more with fewer restrictions!

Photo Credit: Your Path to Fit 

10 Ways to a Healthier YOU!

Health-Map-471x282By: Nikki Nies

Being honest with ourselves’ goals and future lifestyle changes is the best thing to do moving forward.  While one might have the best intentions of losing weight, as we all know, learning how to walk is essential and part of the foundation of learning how to run.  With that said, with the New Year upon us, there’s no better time to jumpstart healthier changes.  BUT, while there are ten suggestions to a healthier lifestyle, you know, deep down, what changes will stick and what changes are not realistic to implement.

You don’t have to implement all ten changes, as that may be too overwhelming and backfire in the long run, but incorporating one or two ideas that best fit into your daily routine can provide insurmountable intrinsic and extrinsic benefits.

1. Drink more water! Aim for 16 oz. of water with each meal and snack

2. Plan at least one more meal per week in advance.  Meal ideas :


  • 1 cup egg whites, 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • Flatbread sandwich with 3/4 cup egg whites, lean meat, cheddar cheese, spinach, onions and black olives
  • 2 scrambled eggs, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and Canadian bacon on an English muffin

Lunch/Dinner: 1047445.large

  • Chicken and flank steak, 1/2 cup white rice and 2 cups steamed vegetables
  • 4 oz. extra lean ground turkey, 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, 4 cups spinach with olive oil and vinegar dressing
  • 4 oz. salmon, 2 cups broccoli with 2 tablespoons of organic unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. turkey breast, 1 oz. raw, unsalted nuts, sliced cucumber
  • 6 oz. oven roasted chicken breast 1, 1 cup vegetables and 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, 4 oz. tilapia and 1 cup steamed green beans
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup fat free cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Banana and peanut butter smoothie
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon natural nut butter or 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 cup oatmeal and protein shake
  • Fresh pineapple and yogurt
  • Handful of almonds and an apple
  • Carrots and hummus
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Brown rice cake with almond butter and string cheese

3. Make meat proteins a side dish, not main entree of meals

4. Follow the 80/20 rule-with healthy options 80% o the time, but still having the occasional indulgence

5. Instead of concentrating on the number of calories consumed, focus more on the variety of colors and foods you’re eating from the increased intake of fruits and vegetables

6. Gradually cut down on calories where you are willing to make lifestyle changes you can live with

7. Be patient and realistic–remember that small changes do make a difference and that it’s more important to FEEL better!

8. Sharing is caring! Share your latest achievements via social media! Post on Facebook the latest meal you made, take a picture and upload to Instagram of the view at the top of a mountain you’ve hiked and/or follow motivational and inspirational quotes on Twitter

9. Use the outdoors as your gym will decrease excuses of working out.  While it’s winter, indoor swimming, hiking, rock climbing and biking are great year round exercises!

10. Find a partner, a support system and/or accountability buddy to encourage, confide and motivate you to make healthier choices.

If you need more information, please search and contact a Registered Dietitian near you! Keep us posted on your lifestyle changes! What healthier lifestyle additions are you adding to your day to day life? Good luck!

Photo Credit: Care2 and Green Bean Delivery 

Pearly Whites for the Long Haul

By: Nikki Nies

With 3/4 of adults having a certain level of periodontal disease, whether its the simple gum inflammation to the damage to soft tissue and bone that support the teeth, these issues can be prevented with proper oral care, which includes brushing, flossing and a healthful diet.

Thank you Health Perch for sharing this great infographic!


Photo Credit: Health Perch 

Chili’s Hot Flavors + [Some] Nutrients

By: Nikki Nies

Unlike a typical restaurant review, which includes the evaluation of wait staff service, ambiance, and/or décor, we’re reviewing restaurants a bit differently! Sensational Sustenance is redirecting one’s attention to the nutrient content of specific menu items! We aim to not only evaluate the flavors in the entrees, but how nutrient rich entrees are in relation to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans using our own proprietary score sheet:  Healthy Food Critic’s Ultimate Review Form for Restaurant Entrees.  I recently made a trip to Chili’s to check out what dishes they have and Chili’s Restaurant Evaluation!

Described as a “family-friendly chain serving classic Tex-Mex & American fare in a Southwestern-style setting”, Chili’s originated in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but has done a tremendous job in expanding to a national level, with over 1500 locations ubiquitously found throughout the 50 states.  Since inception of their Tex Mex regular menu, the company now proudly offers a nutrition menu, allergen menu, vegetarian menu and offer veggie burgers supplied by Kellogg Company.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Chili’s, so my first impression of it’s menu as “vibrant” “loud” and “inviting!” I was ready for a delicious ride of flavors!

While perusing the menu, I chuckled that the Lighter Choice (LC) options were in the back of the menu.  While the acronym LC is sprinkled throughout the menu, it’s not until you’ve passed the appetizers, make your own burgers campaign, the quesadilla section and pass Go to collect your $100 that you reach the LC section.  With a closer look at the LC section, there’s an explanation of the dishes under 650 calories or less that a consumer can grasp the concept of LC.  After debating between salmon or tilapia, I opted for the Mango Chile Tilapia (550 calories) described as “with 6 pepper blend, drizzled with spicy habanero mango glaze and topped with chopped mango, cilantro, house made pico de gallo and fresh diced avocado.  Served with rice and steamed broccoli” at $10.99.

Original Image by Mike Mozart via Flickr
Original Image by Mike Mozart via Flickr

When I ordered my tilapia, I was asked if I wanted to the broccoli and/or rice with the tilapia or if I wanted any of the other sides Chili has to offer.  I thought about ordering the Spiced Panko Onion Rings, Homestyle Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Southwestern Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes with Black Pepper Gravy, Sweet Corn on the Cob, Black Beans and/or Cinnamon Apples.  However, if you deviate from the original menu listing, the alternative options to broccoli and rice didn’t seem to elevate the nutritional content of the dish. Therefore, I kept the order as is.

hvkWhen the dish arrived, I was pleased by vivid variety of flavor, with the distinct mango and habanero smelled great! The visual layout of the dish, a rectangle dish instead of the usual circular dish, made it easy to eat–combining broccoli or rice with the tilapia for a good blend of flavors.

After evaluating the dish, I was able to retrieve further nutrition information on the mango chile tilapia on Chili’s website: 550 calories; 21 g of fat; 4.5 g of saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 70 mg cholesterol; 1600 mg of sodium; 56 g of carbohydrates; 8 g of fiber; 13 g of sugar; 38 g of protein.  In comparison to the evaluations’ healthy option measures, the tilapia met some, but not all parameters.  The breakdown:

Healthy Option Parameters1 Mango Chile Tilapia Nutrient Content
600 calories or less 550 calories ✓
At least 50% is fruit or non-starchy vegetables Contained mango, avocado, steamed broccoli and tilapia  ✓
Grain based item are at least 50% whole grains No indication of whole grain rice  
Total fat is less than 30% of total calories Total fat was 34.5% of calories–550 calories contain 190 calories from fat
Sodium is less than 750 mg 1600 mg
Low in added sugars N/A
Less than 10% of calories from saturated fat 4.5 g of saturated fat ✓

1Healthy Option Parameters are based upon the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for American

Visually, I would estimate I received ½ cup steamed broccoli, ½ cup rice and 3-4 oz. of tilapia.  Based on recommended healthy portions, I would say this was “just about [the] right” amount of food. In hindsight, I’m glad I stuck with the rice and broccoli as my sides as they added the right balance of flavors to counteract spiciness of the pico de gallo and habanero from the tilapia.

I was beyond impressed with the flavors of the mango chile and found the price was accurately listed.  In my eyes, fish is always, and appropriately so, more expensive than meat options. Again, in regards to this dish, my senses walked away very satisfied, rating the dish “liking very much.” The necessary flavors for an interesting dish were present, with evidence that thought was put into the development of the dish.

I understand Chili’s is promoting their “make their own” burgers, but instead of using LC as a obligatory side note, Chili’s could profit from using LC as a more health conscious fast casual restaurant.  They certainly scored better in my book in comparison to my recent trip to Maggiano’s.

Photo Credit: Printable Coupons

Millennials’ View on Nutrition

Original Image by William Murphy via Flickr
Original Image by William Murphy via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Food Insights shares reports on the results from six focus groups, composed of millennials, which are those persons born between 1980-2000, regarding their perception on nutrition and its impact on eating habits.  The good news: most millennials the importance of good nutrition. The bad news: many millennials do not always eat the way they know they should or like.  Many millennials thankfully perceive a healthy meal composed of lean meat, fruits, vegetables or a salad.  However, many millennials’ plates do not reflect these healthy foods, instead many plates have fried foods, red meats with little to no vegetables or whole grains.

What are the challenges millennials face on a daily basis:

  • Original Image by Michael Beck via Flickr
    Original Image by Michael Beck via Flickr

    Lack of time–easier to opt for “convenience” foods that are transportable with little to no preparation needed

  • Due to strong perception that eating healthy is expensive, many just opt for $1 and/or premade convenience foods–see eating fast food as an easier, less expensive way to get full quicker
  • Dining out with friends, family and colleagues is a vital part of millennials’ social activities–more likely to overeat and/or overindulge when out
  • Hard time exerting will power over temptations in the afternoon and late night
  • Many primary care physicians do not discuss complications and/or risks associated with excess weight or being overweight
  • Often skip breakfast
  • Unsure of how to apply health tips into their day to day lives
  • Lack of meal planning–not considered a priority
  • Lack of willpower–susceptible to emotional eating triggers and/or stress eating
  • Hard time keeping portion sizes in mind
  • Find it challenging to find health menu options.  Thankfully, Healthy Dining Finder can help guide millennials into a more healthy direction!

With millennials making up 25% of the American population and the future of the America, we need to make more of an  effort to debunk the myth that  eating well is “hard” or has to be “costly.”

On average, many millennials give themselves a C+ in healthfulness.  At least millennials are honest with their opinions.  Yet, we shouldn’t stop there.  Now, that we have a  better understanding of the disparity between what millennials know what they should eat in comparison to the reality of the eating habits, we can better direct our nutrition interventions to their habits.  Do you work with millenials within your practice? What challenges have you had trying to encourage healthier eating habits? Or are you a millenial yourself and find yourself starting health goals in the beginning of the day, yet releasing yourself of those health changes by the end of the same day? How can RDs help you best overcome those challenges?


Kids LiveWell

KLW_homepage_spot_ad_webBy: Nikki Nies

Dining out is meant to be filled with fun, however, a little planning ahead of time can make it healthy too! Thanks to the National Restaurant Association’s partnership with the Healthy Dining Finder on the Kids LiveWell Program, parents have more access to list of healthier restaurants options.

Restaurants that participate in the Kids LiveWell program promise to offer menu options that focus on increased fruit and vegetable intake, lean protein, whole grains and low fat dairy.  These provisions are on top of the limitation of unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium.  Do these menu options sound familiar? Perhaps, it reminds you of the Dietary Guidelines?

Criteria to be considered Kids LiveWell full meal including entree, side and drink

  • 600 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 770 mg of sodium
  • 2 or more food groups

Criteria to be considered a nutritious side item:

  • 200 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 250 mg of sodium
  • 1 food group

With more than 42,000 restaurants participating in this health initiative, your family should not have too much trouble finding healthy options that meet your taste preference. Restaurant  establishments include: Au Bon Pain, Bonefish Grill, Burger King, Burgerville, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Chevys Fresh Mex, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Corner Bakery Cafe, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, El Pollo Loco, Friendly’s, IHOP, Joe’s Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, Silver Diner, Sizzler, T-Bones Great American Eatery and zpizza.

Due to Kids LiveWell three year anniversary, make sure to check out promotional offers that can be used as supported restaurants!  With all these great offers, you can dine out guilt free! What menu option are you going to try next?

Photo Credit:National Restaurant Association


Halloween Hacks

thBy: Nikki Nies

I’m all for the holidays. Whether it’s the 4th of July or Thanksgiving, the holidays revolve around food. Rightfully so! It’s safe to say that with Halloween around the corner, the start of the holiday festivities are about to begin! However, with many holiday gatherings filling up your calendars, that doesn’t mean you have to walk away from every celebration filled to the brim yourself.

Whether you’re celebrating your first Halloween as a freshmen college student or hosting your very own Halloween party for the neighborhood, having a variety of treats that are guilt free are a great way to start the holiday season on the right foot! 63360bbe5e540b5f57690aeda50d994f

Depending on your own food preferences and palette,that can help you decide what foods are worth indulging in and which foods you want can pass up.  However, I’ve done some research of my own, finding that there are some recipes that aren’t completely loaded with sugar and fat. Why not try a healthier version of the favorite fall pumpkin bread, make a veggie man, microwave baked apples with dried cherries, healthier brownies,mini rice cakes and/or  spiced apple butter bran muffins!

Regarding prevention methods to avoid overindulgence with the Halloween treats. Some friendly suggestions:

  • Agree upon a  x amount of candy that will be limited every day prior to trick or treating
  • Before trick or treating, make sure to eat a snack and/or dinner to prevent caving into the chocolate cravings
  • Keep candy out of plain sight to avoid overindulgence
  • Consider “buying” back candy in exchange for some coins and/or paper!
  • Be a role model and eat candy in moderation. To avoid temptation, buy candy last minute and throw out leftovers.
  • Suggest use of nonfood treats–such as stickers, toys, temporary tattoos, false teeth and/or bubbles

Whatever your Halloween plans are, I hope you enjoy the night and be safe!

Photo Credit:The Family Room Blog and Pinterest


5 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

7-11 Healthy Options Trial

140929TonyBy: Nikki Nies

7-11 may be known for slurpees, but with the help of Tony Horton, the founder of P90X, 7-11 is rolling out “healthier” options to 104 of their flagship stores in Los, Angeles, California.  Not familiar with Tony Horton, perhaps, you’ve heard of P90X, which advertises its ability to change one’s body with intense workouts over a 3 month period.  Such promises for a dramatic body transformation is questionable, yet I’m willing to listen.  The line of healthier products will be distributed through the Tony Horton Kitchen (THK).

While, my initial reaction to 7 Eleven’s new health announcement was “glee”, I wish there was a registered dietitian attached to this project.  By no means am I snubbing Tony Horton, but it’d be great to have a certified food expert part of the conversation.  With that said, I’m still willing to read through what 7-11 has to offer as I want to encourage and applaud those making efforts to a healthier America.

7-11 will be offering:3020110–inline–cs7eleven04


  • Grilled Chicken with Blueberry Mustard on whole grain sub
  • Stacked Roasted Turkey Breast on whole grain flat bun
  • Salads
  • Spicy Quinoa Salad with Chimichurri Dressing
  • Curried Chicken Salad with Pomegranate Raita Dressing


  • Golden Roasted Turkey Breast Wrap with Chipotle Black Bean Hummus
  • Spicy Black Bean Hummus & Vegetables Wrap

Cold Pressed Juices [or High Pressure Pasteurized]

  • Apple, celery, beet, ginger, parsley, spinach, lemon
  • Apple, coconut water, lime, mint
  • Celery, apple, cucumber, spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, lime, lemon, wheat grass, clover sprouts
  • Carrot, apple, celery, lemon, beet, spinach, lime, parsley, ginger

For those in CA that have had the opportunity to try 7-11’s healthier options, what’re your thoughts? How’s the taste for the value? Is the food fresh?

Photo Credit:Red Peak Group and 7-11