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Jun 17

National Dairy Month!

The first of June marks the start of 30-days devoted to dairy! Milk and other dairy products are loaded with tons of minerals like calcium and phosphorous as well as vitamin D and B12, and are a great way to fill your snacks and meals with more nutrients. 

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Here are a few tips of our own to increase your dairy consumption and help build strong bones and teeth!

  • Challenge yourself to drink a glass of milk with at least one meal a day for the next 30 days.
  • Try adding Greek yogurt to your meals to add extra protein and calcium. Yogurt parfaits for breakfast, Greek tzatziki dip with veggies, or a yogurt marinade for meat are all great options.
  • Top your salad with a serving of cheese for added flavor instead of heavy salad dressings and croutons. Feta is especially great for summer salads when paired with fruits like watermelon and cherries.
  • Have a sensitive stomach or lactose intolerance? Try kefir, a fermented milk product that is 99% lactose free! It's loaded with live bacteria cultures to aid in digestion, and can have upwards of 12 grams of protein per one cup serving! That's 4 more grams than traditional milk!

What is your favorite source of dairy?

Jun 16

Avocado Lovin'¬

Summer is in the air, which means avocado season is upon us. These green fruits are packed with nutritional goodness and can be added to many different recipes. Avocados combine healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats with fiber, vitamins C, E and K, folate and more. Check out this quick recipe from Avocado Central, where they mixed their avocados with hard boiled eggs for an amazing take on egg salad. Avocado Egg Salad (Serves 4) Avocado egg salad (Photo source Avocado Central) Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe Fresh Hass Avocado, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped chives (optional)
  1. Chop eggs; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine half of the avocado, vinegar, mustard and salt; mash until smooth. Dice remaining avocado and add to mixture along with eggs and onion; mix gently.
  3. Enjoy!
What do you pair with your avocado?

Jun 15

Sweatworking: the Newest Trend

Sweatworking is the new term that looks at incorporating physical activity into business meetings as seen in this article from Sweatworking is a great way to incorporate physical activity throughout your day. If you sit all day at work, perhaps getting a stand-up desk, or replacing your traditional chair with a stability ball, would give you the option to increase your activity. Another option is taking short 10 minute breaks throughout the day to walk around the office. At Viverant we incorporate sweatworking with our patients who work with our dietitians. We encourage our patients to arrive to their sessions ready to move in appropriate shoes. By walking outside or on the treadmill, bike, or using weights, we find a way to get activity in during their nutrition appointments. While this may become the new trend in the business world, at Viverant we encourage sweatworking as a great way to get more movement throughout the day. How can you incorporate some sweatworking in your day?

Jun 12

A Healthy Soft Serve Ice Cream

We all love the delicious and creamy texture that soft serve ice cream from Dairy Queen or McDonald's has, but with more than 25 grams of sugar and over 200 calories in a small vanilla cone, having one can leave us with feelings of guilt. Luckily we have found a recipe from Fit Foodie Finds that uses the natural sweetness of bananas and raspberries to make a delicious and healthy soft serve ice cream without all those added sugars and calories. You can even increase your protein by adding in plain Greek yogurt. So instead of reaching for that ice cream cone, reach for your food processor and whip up a delicious batch of this Raspberry Banana Soft Serve.

Raspberry Banana Soft Serve with Chocolate Swirl

Raspberry Banana Soft Serve(Photo source:

Ingredients for the Soft Serve:
  • 1.5 bananas, frozen
  • 1 cup raspberries, frozen
  • 1/4 cup + 1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
Ingredients for the Chocolate Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa/cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons water
Instructions: For the Soft Serve
  • Place frozen banana and frozen raspberries in a small food processor. Then, add in 1/4 cup of almond milk. Pulse and blend until everything is smooth. Depending on how soft/frozen your fruit is, you may need to add a few more tablespoons. Do it slowly. Once smooth, place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to harden up just a bit.
For the Chocolate Sauce:
  • Mix together all ingredients until smooth.
Yield: 2 servings What's your favorite fruit soft serve combination? Peanut butter and banana? Strawberry banana?

Jun 01

Top Your Salad Series: Fresh Fruit

A bed of lettuce is the base of every great salad. Most often salads are topped with vegetables or crunchy accessories such as almonds or croutons, but how about adding some fruit? With all the fresh fruit readily available with the arrival of spring, toss a handful of berries on your next bed of greens and enjoy the natural sweetness! top your salad series-fresh fruit Here is a list of our favorite fruit toppings: Berries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • Mandarin oranges
Other fruits
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranate seeds
Try pairing bright green apples with bleu cheese for a great combination of sweet and salty; mandarin oranges with water chestnuts to combine some crunch and sweetness, or toss strawberries on a bed of spinach with slivered almonds and poppy seed dressing. What is your favorite fruit to top your salad with? You may also like: Top Your Salad Series: Protein Punch

Jun 01

Coffee, Caffeine and Calories

Coffee contains a large amount of caffeine that can provide us an energy boost when we are feeling fatigued. But did you know that a delicious Mocha from your favorite Starbucks or Caribou Coffee can contain as much as 500 calories??? On top of getting our dose of caffeine, specialty coffee and espresso also offer a large dose of unnecessary sugars and calories. Coffee, Caffeine & Calories

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To cut the calories, try asking for skim milk, half the amount of sweetened syrup or little to no whip cream. All of these are great ways to cut calories without completely changing the specialty coffee flavor many of us love. Post a picture of you with your coffee of choice and tag us with #viverant.

May 27

Improving Your Food Environment

Mindless eating may be triggered by a variety of factors, or may be a result of your ? food environment Ł. Review these tips on various situations and strategies to make the environment you are in a healthy one. Improving Your Food Environment

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  1. Convenience is Key
    • Prep veggies right when you are home from the grocery store so they are just as easy to grab as a bag of chips
  2. Social Eating
    • Pay attention to the conversations and then take a break to pay attention to your food
  3. Portion Sizes
    • Visual plate rule Ď half of plate made up of fruits and vegetables
  4. Food Conditioning
    • Instead of giving kids a ?treatŁ for a chore, use solutions for ?bribesŁ or rewards such as going to the park or having a friend over
  5. ?See-FoodŁ Diet
    • Out of sight, out of mind
  6. The Forgotten Food
    • Put everything on your plate that you want to eat and don't go for seconds
  7. Surveying the ?Table-ScapeŁ
    • Reduce number of items on your plate at one time, use skinny glasses and smaller plates
  8. Nutritional Gatekeepers
    • Repackage large boxes of food into smaller containers
    • Bring less unwanted food into your home, buy more healthy options
  9. Distracted Eating
    • Don't multi-task
  10. Eating Out
    • Try ordering half an entrÚe or share with a friend
  11. Fast Eating
    • Slow down, give your body time to decide when it is full
What will you do this week to change your food environment? Twitter: #mindless eating #mindful #food environment

May 19

What Everyone Is Saying About Farmers Markets

It's about that time when summer produce starts flourishing and vendors fill up the local farmers markets. From strawberries and apples, to zucchini and fresh basil, farmers markets are a great source of local and fresh produce. Farmer's Market Season

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Some open as early as the first weekend in May, but most markets don't begin sales until early June. Typically running until late September, the farmers market is a great way to support farmers in the area and get in-season, affordable produce. Keep an eye out for local honey, BBQ sauces and baked goods as they are commonly sold at the markets too! This year the Metro Transit is making farmers markets more accessible by offering free bus rides to and from the Downtown St. Paul Market on Saturdays from 5 am until 2 pm. Follow this link to download your pass for the bus now and get ready for delicious summertime produce! What do you look for at the farmers market?

May 04

Grilled Guacamole

Take your avocado appreciation to the next level with this incredible avocado-inspired mash-up: grilled guac

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  • 3 avocados (pit removed, skin still on)
  • 1 medium onion, cut in rounds
  • 1 red, yellow or green pepper cut in half
  • 1 roma tomato, halved
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Lime juice
  • ň_ tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat grill, oil the grate. Arrange first four ingredients on the grill. Be sure to place avocados flesh side don. Cook at high temperature, turning, until ingredients get some scorching and color, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Dice onion, peppers and tomato. In a bowl, mix and season with cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper. Feel free to add jalape˝os for extra heat, cilantro for extra flavor or diced peaches for sweetness.
  3. Spoon mixture into avocado halves.
  4. Serve with pita chips or just with a fork and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Hass Avocados.

Apr 29

Top Your Salad Series: Protein Punch

Spring has sprung, which means fresh, local produce is heading our way! Salads are a great way to add veggies to any meal, but they don't have to be the same boring old salad. Traditionally, salads may lack adequate protein if they consist mostly of greens, vegetables, dressing, and croutons. Making sure your salad is loaded with a healthy protein source is vital for keeping you feeling full all afternoon. Pick up some of these toppings to pack a protein punch to your salad. salad

(Photo source: Taste of Home)

  1. Try a meat
    • Grill up a chicken breast the night before and add sliced cold chicken to your salad. Pairs great with strawberries, almonds and poppy seed dressing. Add croutons, Parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing for a tossed Caesar salad.
    • Try thinly sliced beef with mandarin oranges, water chestnuts and an Asian-style ginger dressing.
    • Crumble bacon with blue cheese, or add tuna with a squeeze of lemon juice for a variety of creative options.
  2. Add some beans
    • Beans are an easy way to add protein, iron and fiber all-in-one. Most have a mild flavor, and add another dimension with their soft texture. Mix together garbanzo beans with cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado with balsamic dressing and add on a bed of greens.
  3. Go for grains
    • Grains are a great source of protein to keep you full. Toss wild rice, quinoa, or cooked barley on a bed of greens or enjoy your grain on the side such as a baguette.
  4. Don't forget the eggs
    • One hard-boiled egg added to your salad adds 6 grams of protein. A simple addition with a great protein punch. Not a fan Ď try tofu or edamame for additional protein.
How do you add protein to your salad? You may also like: Top Your Salad Series: Fresh Fruit

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