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Flexibility

Friends, are you flexible?

You are psyched and ready; tomorrow is the day. You made the decision to lose weight once and for all. You picked the perfect plan, stocked the fridge with the healthy foods, tossing out the junk.  You’ve joined the gym and partnered up with a friend to motivate and keep you on track.  You feel stronger than ever.
 
 Is there anything you are forgetting?  What about flexibility?  If you want to achieve success–real success, the kind of success that sticks–you are going to need to be flexible.
 
The flexibility that I’m referring to has nothing to do with achieving a yoga pose.  Nope!  This is about having a flexible mindset.  The ability to assess your progress and when you feel that you are not meeting your goal, change your mindset.  Sometimes schedules change and we are unable to workout at that “exact” scheduled time.  This is when we need a flexible mindset and not give up.  We have to find a way to fit that into the day at another time.  If you want to achieve your weight loss goal, you have to put yourself first by making sure there is time for you each day.
 
With weight loss, your mindset is just as important, if not more important than the diet and exercise program you choose. Without a flexible mindset, your chance of success decreases. People who can’t adapt when things don’t go as planned often feel defeated and discouraged. When you are busy beating yourself up, rather than using the time to recreate the plan, progress stops.  Many people give up trying if they do not have a flexible mindset.
 
Consider this scenario:  You commit to joining a weight loss program that includes weekly meetings, counting calories and attending exercise classes.  You begin and all is going well.  Then a vacation is planned or a business trip pops up and your optimism and enthusiasm plummets.  You did not plan and prepare for this and you do not have the “healthy” foods for the trip and no way to exercise.  THIS is where the “flexible” mindset has to be front and center!
 
Without a flexible mindset, obstacles such as this are seen as outside forces that get in your way and derail the plan.  You start telling yourself that you can’t possibly lose weight while you are away; you’ll probably gain back what you’ve already lost, so why even bother. Your lifestyle won’t allow you to be successful at losing weight and keeping it off, so you just throw in the towel and stop trying.
 
With a flexible mindset, on the other hand, the business trip announcement gets you to start thinking creatively.  You decide to call ahead and ask the hotel if they can put a mini-fridge in your room for your healthy foods and snacks.  You also review the fitness center and sign up for a few early morning classes. Before eating out, you review the restaurant’s website for the healthy items.   While travelling, use your extra time away from home to get an extra walk each day.  Remember, if you were at home, you would be using some time to tidy up the house so use that time away to get exercise!


 
Folks that have a growth mindset believe success depends on hard work, practicing new skills and seeking knowledge along the way.  Challenges in the path are opportunities to learn and grow. They look to others who have been successful with similar goals and seek advice, and it inspires them to work harder at their goals.
 
Clearly, the decision to adopt a growth mindset can mean the difference between weight loss success and failure.
 
While working on your weight loss journey, use some of these tips to adjust your mindset.  This will help you develop a more flexible approach to your healthy lifestyle plan:
 
1. Become aware of your self-talk, and learn to recognize when you are approaching a situation with a fixed mindset.
 
Positive self-talk is a game-changer when it comes to living healthy. We are our biggest critics, which means adjusting the way we talk to ourselves can turn our brains into motivation machines. Remove thought processes from your brain such as, “This idea will never work,” “I have a slow metabolism and can never lose weight,” “If I don’t have an hour to spend at the gym, why bother going at all?” and “The only way to lose weight is to never have anything but lettuce and water.” Getting rid of these kinds of statements in your brain will allow for more positive thoughts when you need to be flexible.
 
2. Reframe your thoughts to a growth mindset.

No matter how carefully you’ve planned for success, there will always be forks in the road:  Use some of these phrases to support positive self-talk: 

  • I’ve never tried this before. Let’s see what happens.
  • I’ll stop blaming my metabolism and work hard every day to lose weight.
  • A short workout is better than none. I’ll take the dog for a walk and go to the gym tomorrow.
  • Rigid diets never work for me.  This time, I am going to create a healthy eating plan to support sustained weight loss. 

3. Drop the extremist attitude.
 
Believing you are either “on” your diet or “off” your diet or you’ve been “good” or “bad,” is discouraging and can lead to you throwing in the towel the minute things get challenging. Remember you are seeking progress, not perfection.  Set intentions, not resolutions!
 
4. Look at obstacles as opportunities to challenge your creative self.

Whenever you hit bumps in the road or “plateaus”, get creative to stay on track.  This will make you confident and give you  a sense of pride when you’re able to devise a strategy that allows you to stick with the plan.   Keep gym clothes packed in the car for those impromptu opportunities for a quick walk.  Be the one that brings the “healthy” dish to the party to avoid all the yummy yummies at the table. 
 
5. Try something new and different.
 
Boredom with routine can kill even the best intentions. Stay invested in your journey by switching things up every so often. New healthy foods and recipes keep your plan interesting. Shake up your exercise program by trying different equipment or classes at the gym.
 
6. Look for non-scale victories.
 
Success in weight loss is not just the number on the scale.  Make sure to celebrate all the non-scale victories:

  • I can now bend down to tie my shoes.
  • I can fit comfortably into the seat on the plane.
  • I am no longer winded after climbing the stairs.
  • My kids can reach their arms around my waist to hug me.

Losing weight and keeping it off is often a journey of trial and error. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. What works for you at one stage of life, may not at another. Rather than choosing a fixed diet and exercise program, try a flexible one that leads to healthy lifestyle habits.  

Remember that having that “flexible” mindset with not only healthy eating and exercise, but with all aspects of your life, will bring better health both mentally and physically and much happiness and contentment for you.

Be well!

Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Group Lifestyle Balance Coach

RECIPE: Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Let your slow cooker do all the work for this super easy recipe! Perfect for those busy weekdays and nights.

Ingredients – Makes 8 servings

2 pounds (32 ounces) chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 cup salsa, homemade or purchased
1 cup petite diced canned tomatoes (choose low-sodium)
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning 
1 cup onions, diced fine
1/2 cup celery diced fine
1/2 cup carrots, shredded

1 medium red bell pepper sliced/chopped
3 tablespoons sour cream, reduced fat (optional)

Top with low-fat shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

(add as many vegetables as you’d like for increased fiber and nutrients)

Directions
Salsa Chicken is easy to make; just put all the ingredients in a slow cooker and let the machine do the work. There are infinite variations, and your family is guaranteed to like each one. 
6-8 hours to prepare; 15 minutes of active cooking time
Makes 8 one-cup servings of chicken. 

Place the chicken in a slow cooker. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the meat then layer the vegetables and salsa on top. Pour a half cup water over the mixture, set on low and cook for 6-8 hours. The meat is cooked when it shreds or reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. When ready to serve, break up the chicken with two forks then stir in the sour cream. (optional)

Nutritional Info

  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 180
  • Total Fat: 4.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 72.4 mg
  • Sodium: 240.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 7.5g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 27.3g

April Workshop Recap – Sleep Hygiene and Energy!

So, What is Sleep Hygiene anyway?
Sleep hygiene is just a term used to describe good sleep habits.

Statistics show that at least 40% of American adults are sleep deprived. Now that work days are extended and we carry our work in our pockets and look at it 24/7, sleep issues have gotten worse for a lot of people. It is super hard to shut work off these days. Would you agree?

Our day lives drift into our night time depriving us of good sleep!

Some in the medical community consider sleep as our most underrated health habit.

Many health care providers have said that getting enough sleep is just as important as good nutrition, physical activity and wearing your seat belt.

Some things that can be affected by lack of sleep: Mental clarity drops, making us less productive throughout the day. Making sound decisions at work becomes more difficult with lack of sleep.

How bout decreasing our energy level and making us more sedentary (not wanting to exercise), mood dip, reaching for unhealthy foods (comfort food), no one wants to cook when they’re tired. Overall a sense of lethargy or fatigue (loss of interest in activities or socializing).

Consider this: whoever said, “I’m tired and want to eat broccoli and run a marathon!” SAID NO ONE EVER!! When we are tired, we want comfort food and a couch. Being tired will make us choose unhealthy foods and avoid exercise.

Think about this:
If you have been trying to drop a few pounds and feel like you are eating healthy and exercising but the scale is not cooperating, check your quality of sleep. If you are lacking sleep, your metabolism will be flat and will store fat. It will be too tired to burn calories for you. Think of sleep as putting gas in the tank for the car to run.

Just like eating healthy or activity, even when we know what we “should be doing”, it’s doesn’t mean that it’s that simple.

Let’s unwrap it together:

You will continue to hear this from our workshops: SELF CARE: First, commit to making yourself a priority. You do not need to always be number one on the list, but definitely take a number!

Develop some evening rituals to help you relax before bedtime.

Here are a few ways to start some healthy habits for sleep hygiene:
Get up at the same time every day and go to bed around the same time each night. Keeping a schedule will help your body get into that rhythm and be ready for sleep at the same time each night.

How bout a warm bath or shower before bedtime. This can be very soothing and help you relax.
How bout a foot soak with lavender essential or and Epsom salt. This will help the body rest and decompress and signal the body that it is time for bed. SELF CARE!

Dinner should be at least three hours prior to bedtime. Have a light snack an hour before bedtime if dinner was several hours earlier. This will help you stay asleep and not wake up at 2AM.looking for snacks. Something light is good like a piece of fruit and a small protein of some sort. Greek yogurt or small amount of cottage cheese with fruit is a good snack. Apple with nut butter or how bout a string cheese or handful of nuts or seeds with a cup of decaf herbal tea. Earthy Andy’s Golden Latte here!
Make sure to cut off caffeine intake early in the afternoon because it can definitely keep you awake. Chocolate is definitely a stimulator too. Avoid it at night.

Regular meals/activities/taking meds/doing chores keeps your inner body clock running smoothly. This way the body knows the routine.

Do not eat, talk on phone, play cards or games on your phone in bed.

Avoid cigarettes and alcohol six hours prior to bedtime.

Keep a Gratitude Journal: Just for YOU! Write down three things that you are grateful for from this day. A smile from a stranger, hearing your child laugh, little things. This does not have to be huge but just yours and part of your day.

Avoid tough workouts before bedtime. This will only stimulate you making it harder to calm the body for immediate sleep.

How bout 5 minutes of meditation and deep breathing to calm your mind and body. There are a lot of aps that will play calming music, waterfalls, other nature sounds, etc. Look for an ap that suits you!

Make your bedroom a haven for sleep. Soft colors like sleepy blue, grey or lavender help transform your bedroom into a calming, inviting environment. Keep the lights low, temperature comfortable and have comfortable bedding to make an inviting area to rest.

Here’s a big one that some of us fight:

Avoid social media and technology 1-2 hours prior to bed. This can be hard but it so important to your sleep. Our phones and laptops emit blue light which can disrupt our sleep patterns.
Unplugging from social media and email early in the evening is also incredibly grounding and allows you to be present for yourself and loved ones.

Put your phone, laptops, etc. in another room if this does not cause you too much stress.

A lot of people keep their phones right beside them at night and each time they awake, they are looking at the phone, making it harder to go back to sleep.

Consider a digital alarm clock or putting your phone on night-mode.

If you find this too stressful to remove your phone from your room, put it on silent, dock it across the room. Try starting with this and then maybe choosing 1 or 2 nights/week to dock it in another room. Take micro steps to get used to the idea of healthy change. Remember taking small steps can only help make it a regular part of your lifestyle. We cannot fail if we take small steps.

We all have stress for sure so do not take it to bed with you. Try to solve problems prior to going to bed. Prior to bedtime, make lists of what you want to achieve tomorrow and be done with it. Stewing about things in bed will only have you tossing and turning or produce shallow sleep.

If you try some of these things and still struggle with sleep,
how bout considering a sleep diary to see how things are really going. Jot down each night for a few weeks what your bedtime routine is and how many hours you actually sleep. Make some adjustments from looking at your results.

Remember, self-care is our responsibility! Sleep is a big part of our lives and we need to take advantage of getting good quality sleep to be at our best.

My hope is that you take some of these ideas to improve your sleep hygiene and give your “self” care a boost and, as always, be well!

Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Group Lifestyle Balance Coach

RECIPE: Cold Quinoa Salad

Cold Quinoa Salad

Cold Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup (uncooked) quinoa of your choice
Chopped veggies (I like cucumbers, sweet pepper, onion and cherry tomatoes)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Fresh Lemon
Salt Pepper

Directions:
Cook quinoa according to package directions, drain well.
In a large bowl add quinoa, chopped veggies and mix well.
In a small bowl: mix together olive oil, vinegar, lemon.
Add the mixture to the quinoa and veggies and mix well.
Add Sea Salt and Black Pepper and mix well.
You can add more vinegar or lemon to your taste.

This keeps well in fridge for up to one week. Enjoy as a side or added to a salad.

Be well!

RECIPE: Avocado Snow Pea Slaw

Avocado Snow Pea Slaw

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

1 tsp. grated lime zest, plus Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil
1 (8 oz.) pkg. fresh snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
1 large avocado, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced (half-moons) seedless cucumber
2 Tbsp. toasted sliced almonds

Whisk together lime zest and juice, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Gradually add oil, whisking until combined. Stir in basil. Add snow peas, avocado and
cucumber; gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts: 253 calories per serving
Total Fat: 22g (3g Sat.Fat), Cholesterol: 0mg; Fiber: 5g; Protein: 3g; Carb: 12g; Sugar: 4g
(1g Added Sugar); Sodium: 275mg; Iron: 2mg; Calcium: 48mg

VEGAN, GF, High Fiber

(Recipe Source: Health Magazine; April 2021)

National Nutrition Month® AND Giveaway!

National Nutrition Month®

Hello friends!

Welcome to National Nutrition Month®.

National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics®. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. In addition, National Nutrition Month® promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.

Each week in March, we will discuss good nutrition habits and ways to make improvements to your meals.  We will discuss exercise and talk about the importance of making it a part of your lifestyle.

First Topic:  Personalize Your Plate:

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to eating healthy.  It is all about eating a variety of healthy foods.  All cultures have their certain ways of preparing dishes with certain cooking methods, spices, etc.  You can make any dish healthy by altering the way it is prepared.

To personalize your plate, use the following recommendations:

Make vegetables and fruits the largest portion of the plate.

Protein should be present at every meal.

Choose whole grains over processed grains.

Choose low-fat, fat-free dairy products.

Make water your first choice for hydration.

Don’t forget to include regular physical activity. 

Stay tuned each week in March for Nutrition tips, wellness and exercise tidbits.

Sign up for our March 24 Nutrition workshop to receive loads of nutrition information, wellness tips, exercise tidbits, recipes, and more!

The first 3 members to sign up will receive a free coaching session with one of our wellness coaches and the first 20 members to sign up will go into a drawing for a brand new Ninja® Blender!!

I look forward to this month of sharing with you, an abundance of nutrition and wellness information to help you on your journey to elevate your wellness!

Be well!

Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Group Lifestyle Balance Coach

RECIPE: Cabbage Soup

For all of you soup fanatics out there, we have a delicious and healthy cabbage soup recipe just for you.  We love it for its versatility and ease of preparing.  Chances are, you already have everything in your pantry or fridge!  I double this recipe to have plenty of leftovers for the week (great for freezing too). 

(1/2) head cabbage or about 3 cups
(1) can stewed tomatoes
(2) large carrots
(2) celery stalks
(1/2) yellow onion
(2) garlic cloves
(1) cans of beans – your choice – I use pinto and cannellini (drained and rinsed)
(8 oz) mushrooms (I sautèe these on the side with a small amount of onion and garlic, salt & pepper and add after the soup is done) 
(1) 32 oz. low sodium vegetable broth 
Salt & pepper 
Your choice of spices – thyme, basil, fresh parsley, lemon pepper, red pepper flakes all work well 
Splash of apple cider vinegar
(1) tsp. lemon juice 

In a medium to large pot, sautèe carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients (except mushrooms) and simmer until cabbage is tender/wilted. 
For those of you who like a more robust flavor, you can add 1 – 2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon (beef flavor). If you want to add greens, kale or spinach works well – add during the last few minutes of cooking time. 


Enjoy! Let us know how you liked it and your variations.

Happy National Nutrition Month!

A Heart to Heart

Hello Healthy Friends,


February is National Heart Health Month. Heart disease kills more people in the US than any other disease! It is the number one killer of women. It is important for us to know how to take care of our hearts. Eating a heart-healthy diet, getting regular exercise and controlling stress are important things that we can do for our hearts. Dietary fiber, which is very important in keeping us healthy, can be found in many foods. The body cannot use fiber efficiently for fuel but it is an important part of a heart healthy eating plan. It can help with heart disease by helping to reduce cholesterol. Fiber sort of sweeps through the arteries like a broom, sweeping out the bad fats that build up and cause high cholesterol. That is the best way I can describe the goodness that fiber does!

Where do we get fiber? Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. These foods also keep us full longer and can help with weight control if you eat these regularly. Whole grains and beans tend to be higher in fiber than fruits and vegetables, but all of these are dietary sources and help contribute important nutrients. Make sure you vary your sources of fiber to get the heart healthy benefits.


Tips to increase fiber:
Mix in oats to meatloaf, breads or other baked goods.
Add beans into your salads and soups.
Add veggies to your sandwiches, pasta dishes or stir-fry dishes.
Blend fruits and veggies into your morning smoothies or use fruit to top cereals,
oatmeal, pancakes or make fruit your dessert!

How much fiber do we need everyday? Around 25 grams or more for women and around 38 grams or more for men is recommended. Your exact needs will vary depending on your energy needs. Consult with your physician to find out how much you need.

Important Note: Drink plenty of water as you increase the amount of fiber that you eat. This gives your body time to adjust and will help keep things moving through the gastrointestinal tract easily. If you are not used to eating a lot of fiber everyday, you may experience gas, bloating and discomfort if you do not drink enough water with it. Slowly increase the amount of fiber that you eat. Be gentle with yourself as you make healthy changes for your heart and for your wellbeing.

My hope is that you take care of your heart, mind, body and soul and, as always, be well!

Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Group Lifestyle Balance Coach

BALANCE

Hello Friends!
As I write this, I find myself thinking about how quick time passes. I usually dread January living in the Northeast area of the US. This month has gone by fast. Working in a metropolitan medical center, I see all kinds of people with one common complaint:

There is no time to take care of “ME”

This blog is dedicated to time and the word that I find myself using a lot is BALANCE. Who has this mastered?

I coach weight management and bariatric surgery patients on finding that balance between work and home life so that they can achieve their weight loss goals. The conversation’s are quite similar with every patient.

Quotes from convo’s:

“I do not have time for exercise since I work full-time”
“The gym is closed when I go to work and it’s too late when I get done working”
“I have no one to watch the kids while I work out”
“My pain is intolerable so I cannot exercise”
“I work too much and have no time to make healthy meals”
“I do not have any energy to make healthy changes for myself”

And my favorite:

“I’ve tried everything and I can’t lose weight no matter what”

If any of this speaks to you, read on for tips to find the Balance!

Start your day with a journal. I know, I know, there’s no time. Well, if you want to make healthy changes, the first thing to change is that. You have to make time for yourself! This could be a five minute break for just you every morning. Writing things in a journal can give you some empowerment and, sort of, control over your day. Trust me, I was skeptical as well but this has become an important part of my day now. It is a daily commitment that I will keep always. I use my journal time to first jot down what I’m grateful for.I then make my list of what I want and need to achieve today. These are two different lists because there are always going to be things we NEED to achieve and things that we WANT to achieve but may not get done today but keep for tomorrow. Let me just say how good it feels when you check off an item on the list when it’s completed!

If you are a meal skipper because you’re “too busy” or eating in the drive-through:

Plan, Purchase and Prepare
  1. Plan your week’s meals ahead of time
  2. Get to the store
  3. Meal Prep for the week

Developing this habit will cut down on stressing over what to eat and save so much money and you will be surprised at how much better you will feel to have this control. I find that most people keep this skill once they start it. This is a lifestyle change to help find the BALANCE!

Find 15 to 30 minutes most days of the week to get some sort of exercise. Stop thinking that you can only exercise in a gym. Have fun with this and involve the kids too by putting on fun dance music and have a dance party with them for cardio. Search the internet for free workouts on YouTube, Instagram or other online sources. All you need is comfortable clothes and your living room floor to walk in place, maybe add some handheld weights or stretch bands for resistance training. If you have joint pain or balance issues, look up chair exercises online or look to join a community pool for water walking. Doing a little bit each day will help you want to do more and will 100 percent help your energy level and improve your mood. Again, a lifestyle change to help find the BALANCE. I have yet to hear one patient say that they hate these lifestyle changes.

Making personal goals will give you energy and confidence that will bring better control over your day. These are steps to becoming healthier and happier.

My hope is that you start to make some of these lifestyle commitments for yourself and help to find the BALANCE and, as always, be well!

Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Group Lifestyle Balance Coach

The Power of Zinc

Hello Healthy Friends!

Did you know that a healthy amount of zinc in your diet has been linked to an improved immune system and faster wound healing?  Some studies have linked proper amounts of zinc to reduced severity and duration of the common cold, may improve thyroid function, more effective blood clotting, and even decreased effects of age-related macular degeneration.  A June 2015 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry  found that zinc may also play an important role in regulating heartbeat — a potential advancement in the fight against arrhythmia-related heart failure. Zinc is an essential trace mineral, which means our bodies only need a small amount of it (8 mg for adult women and 11 mg for adult men) to maintain good health. While only a small amount may be needed, don’t underestimate the power of this mighty mineral. Here are 10 foods that can help you hit your zinc quota every day.

(1) Oysters are a zinc powerhouse that packs in 5.3 mg per medium oyster. The shellfish is also high in protein, relatively low in calories, and packed with other valuable vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B-12, iron, and selenium.

(2) Crab and lobster are both excellent sources of zinc. Per 3-ounce serving, Alaskan king crab packs in 43 percent (6.5 mg), and lobster provides 23 percent (3.4 mg), of the recommended daily value. Certain types of fish, such as sardines, salmon, flounder, and sole, also contain zinc, but in less potent doses. A wide variety of seafood is a great addition to any heart-healthy diet.

(3) Beef, pork, and chicken are not only packed with protein — they also provide a good helping of zinc. For the most nutritious cuts, choose lean meats with any visible fat removed, or skinless poultry.  Just three ounces (the size of a deck of cards) of roasted, skinless chicken breast provides 6 percent (0.9 mg) of the daily recommended value of zinc.  Eggs also contain zinc — 4 percent (0.6 mg) per large egg and also provide 6 grams of protein.

(4) Nutritious vegetables like mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and garlic contain zinc, as well as other vital vitamins and minerals.  Per cup of raw veggies, mushrooms and kale both contain 2 percent (0.4 mg) of the daily value of zinc.

(5) Legumes:  Foods like hummus, chickpeas, lentils, edamame, and black beans provide extra zinc along with other health benefits. Per quarter cup, hummus provides 7 percent (1.1 mg) of the daily recommended value of zinc, while chickpeas and lentils each pack 4 percent (0.6 mg), and edamame and black beans have 3 percent (0.5 mg). For relatively few calories, legumes are a great low-fat, high-protein food packed with vitamins, minerals, and lots of dietary fiber.

(6) Nuts and seeds are another great source of zinc,.  Toss an ounce of pumpkin seeds or pine nuts into your salad and get 15 percent (2.2 grams) and 12 percent (1.8 g) of your daily value, respectively.  Try a handful of cashews, pecans, or peanuts (technically a legume) on top of low-fat or fat-free yogurt or oatmeal.  Chia seeds provide 3 percent (0.5 mg) of the daily value of zinc per tablespoon.

(7) Whole grains are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and zinc.  Just ½ cup of cooked steel-cut oats provides 6 percent (0.9 mg) of the daily value of zinc, while the same amount of cooked brown rice has 4 percent (0.6 mg), and a slice of whole wheat bread contains 3 percent (0.5 mg). Another whole grain packed with zinc is quinoa.

(8) Breakfast cereals are fortified with a number of vitamins and minerals, including zinc.  One serving provides about 25 percent (3.8 mg) of the daily recommended amount of zinc. Check the nutrition facts label to see just how much zinc the cereal contains.

(9) Milk and yogurt are not only rich sources of calcium, but are also nutritious sources of zinc.  A 1-cup serving of fat-free or low-fat milk contains 7 percent (1 mg) of the daily value of zinc, while one cup of fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt provides 15 percent (2.2 mg). Add fat-free or low-fat milk to cereal, oatmeal, and smoothies, and try yogurt topped with granola and fresh fruit.

(10) Dark chocolate (the darker, the better) contains zinc:  60-69 percent cacao varieties contain about 5 percent (0.8 mg) of the recommended daily value per ounce, while 70-85 percent cacao varieties contain about 6 percent (0.9 mg). While dark chocolate may be your favorite source of zinc, to keep calories and sugar in check, stick to a one-ounce serving per day.

Even though our bodies do not need huge amounts of zinc, it is good to be mindful that we get it everyday by making healthy, nutritious choices with the foods we eat.

As always, be well!

Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Group Lifestyle Balance Coach

Source:  www.everydayhealth.com