National Nutrition Month: Plan to Better Health

National Nutrition MonthLet’s be honest, shall we? We all know we could eat better, if we had the time and the motivation. But time is lacking, and it’s hard to get motivated when you’ve made big changes before and experienced less than stellar results. If you’re tired of the vicious yo-yo cycle, you need something more realistic: small, attainable goals that build on each other to produce big results.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we’ve rounded up our easiest, most effective tips to cut calories, manage cravings, and improve nutritional quality. Because after all, weight loss isn’t just about losing weight – it’s also about improving the nutritional quality of our diets. Try adding one challenge a week. By the end of two months, you’ll have reduced hundreds of calories from your diet and be on the way to a healthier, slimmer you. It won’t be fast weight loss, but stick with it! Yo-yo be gone!

  • Look at your beverages! Don’t just assume a beverage is healthy because it’s not a soda. Teas, vitamin water beverages, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, and coffee drinks can have hundreds of calories. Committing to only drinking water or other zero-calorie beverages could help your weight loss process.
  • Read food labels. It will increase your awareness of portion size and calorie content.
  • Consider your energy needs.The average, moderately active adult needs 10-12 calories per 1lb of goal weight. There are many resources available, like, for that provide nutritional information. Calories matter!
  • Measure, measure, measure! Stop eyeballing and start measuring your food and ingredients. Commit to measuring portion sizes for one week, minimum. A few extra calories can make a big difference over the course of weeks and months.
  • Learn to manage hunger by increasing your vegetable consumption. Non-starchy vegetables are so low in calories that you can eat a lot of them (aiding satiety) without adding a tons of unnecessary calories to your daily intake. Eat up!
  • Pay attention to added sugar. Did you know that nearly 80% of foods in the supermarket have added sugar? Adults should consume no more than 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar every day. And yet, the average American consumes 41 teaspoons! Yikes! Sugar can hide in products that don’t taste sweet. Things like salad dressing and marinara sauce are common culprits.
  • Ask yourself if you really need a snack. Often, boredom or other emotions can cause us to eat when we aren’t even hungry. Find a distraction instead. The best distraction removes you from “temptation areas” like the kitchen or house. Go on a walk or run an errand.
  •  Know how to indulge moderately. It’s ok to include your favorite treats as part of your daily diet, just make sure that you follow the suggested serving size. Moderate indulgence means knowing how much to have (remember your daily calorie limits from #3), and enjoying it as a part of a healthy diet.



Bedtime Bites: Best PM Snacks

Let’s be honest: everyone loves to eat, and we learn very early on that snack foods are pleasurable. Whether they’re sweet, salty, or cheesy, snack foods are tasty and calorically hefty, and they’re a huge driving force of the obesity epidemic. The average American consumes 500 calories from food and beverages consumed between meals each day (586 for men and 421 for women, respectively). If you’re in need of only 80% of those calories, that’s an extra ten pounds a year!

However, there are times when snacking is in order. If you account for those calories in your daily caloric consumption, there’s nothing wrong with snacking, and it often is necessary: long days, where consumption needs to be stretched out over many hours rather than in three square meals.

We’ve all been in the position where we have calories left to consume before bed: there’s the telltale belly rumble, the void begging to be filled with a nibble or nosh. Bedtime looms on the very near horizon, and now we’re left with a dilemma: go to bed hungry, or eat a smart snack? The smart snack is the more favorable option, but…what makes a smart PM snack, exactly?

String Cheese
According to Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., author of Blood Pressure Down, string cheese is a good choice for a bedtime snack because it provides just enough filling satiety without being too hard to digest, which might disrupt sleep. For a little extra protein, consider wrapping a piece of low fat cheese in a slice or two of deli turkey.


Nonfat Greek
Yogurt The low fat content makes this easier to digest than higher fat dairy products, and probiotics can help reduce indigestion. Top with sliced strawberries or blueberries if you need a little something extra.

Nonfat Chocolate Pudding
Calcium-rich, pudding is the perfect healthy dessert, one that’s easily digested thanks to its low fat content. You can even add a little whipped cream for a quick dessert. Try out one of our non fat puddings.

Bananas have a lower fiber content than other fruits, providing filling satiety and pleasant sweetness without all the fiber-induced burpy-ness of an apple. Eat as is, or blend with ½ cup nonfat milk and cinnamon for a sweet banana smoothie.

Avoid Drinking Your Calories: Drink Swaps

This is the 3rd month of Nashua Nutrition’s 6-month plan. For this month’s challenge we ask you to cut down the soda and sugary juices. Drinks that contain added sugar and added flavors have a high-calorie count. Think about the fact that a can of soda (12 fl.oz) can have about 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar. That’s about 8 teaspoons of sugar! If you swap a few of your high calorie, high sugar drinks for low a or no-calorie drink you will save a few hundred calories a day.

Check out some of our favorite swaps that not only help you consume less calories and sugar, but may also help you lose weight.

Nashua Nutrition - Drink Swaps

Visit the Nashua Nutrition Store for low calorie, high protein drinks.

Easy Way To Cut Calories

We all know by now that calories are essential to weight loss, right? If you’re still not acquainted, a quick primer: Energy balance determines how much you weigh. If you consume more calories than you need, you’ll gain weight. If you create a caloric deficit (by eating less than you need) you’ll lose weight.

Weight loss is ultimately a numbers game. A deficit of 3,500 calories equals 1lb of weight loss. Therefore, to lose 1lb per week, you need to create a daily deficit of 500 calories by reducing your intake. How do you reduce your calorie intake without sacrificing the food that you love, or worse, feeling famished? Here are some easy ways to cut back.

zoodles - nashua nutrition

Try zoodles. Zucchini noodles, that is. A small, specialized peeling tool allows you to create zucchini noodles, boosting your intake of micronutrients and fiber with practically no calories. You get a larger serving size and cut out needless calories from pasta.

Give up the wine. As well as beer, and other sources of alcohol.  Alcohol does not help you stay full, and it can increase your risk of breast cancer. A mere 5oz of wine (just over ½ cup) contains 120 calories. Have a glass three days a week and that’s an extra five pounds in a year.

Use the 75% rule. Instead of changing what you eat (giving up the foods and tastes you love), you can change how much you eat. Try eating ¾ of your typical portion size of grains, fats, and protein, and fill up the remained of your plate with low-calorie vegetables.

open faced sandwich - nashua nutrition

Try open-faced. Open-faced sandwiches are a Scandinavian tradition. By eating a sandwich on one slice of bread instead of two, you can trim your meal by 100 calories.

Stop snacking! America’s endless grazing has grown out of control. Snacking was rare in the 1970’s, when we first began tracking weight data, but has grown more and more common as obesity trends have emerged. Now, we consume about 500 calories a day in snacks alone! Trade out all your snacks for sliced veggies, sans sauce or dip. You can also find some low-calorie snacks and treats at our store.

No Cook Meal Prep Ideas

You’ve probably heard coworkers, friends, and family members overpraise the virtues of food prepping. “I do three hours of cooking every Sunday!” they tell you chirpily.

Food prepping is great way to eat well and save money. However, if you’d rather spend three hours of your time doing something more exciting, you can try our “no cook food prep” idea.  This is a great way to prep food that is an easy, healthy, go-to options sitting in the fridge, but you don’t spend hours cooking these meals.

If you assemble a virtual “fresh bar” of ingredients that can be mixed and matched to create no-cook or low-cook meals- things that you can grab and go, or dishes that can be assembled in less than 5 minutes. Our favorites?

  • Veggies: Go big here! Broccoli, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, different lettuces and herbs, radishes, cabbage, onions, sprouts, beets, snap peas, green beans, and asparagus can all be housed in different containers and used for salads, snacks, and stir-fries.
  • Proteins: Hard-boiled eggs, portioned deli meat, canned tuna or salmon, cottage cheese, yogurt, and string cheese.Nashua Nutrition Meal prep - fruits
  • Carbs: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and other “hand-held” fruits are perfect, fiber-filled sources of carbohydrate that require no prep. Simple!
  • Sauces: Portion cups of salad dressing, hummus, or cooking sauces to grab and go and put in a pan with some protein and veggies.

All said, there are still times where it’s just not going to happen, or when you crave something you just don’t know how to prepare healthfully. Let’s face it, creamy dishes and high-cal, slim-downs take time and energy, and sometimes you want something that tastes indulgent without having to spend two hours researching on Pinterest.

In those circumstances, it’s best to have some go-to meals stashed in the freezer. These easy, portion-controlled options give you a taste of the flavors you love, without the extra 700+ calories that would come from restaurant fare or a “traditional” recipe.

Between cheesy macaroni, pepper steak, and chicken alfredo, you’ll be sure to find something that will fulfill even your “darkest” cravings, and be ready with a quick blast in the microwave. Check out all of our frozen low-calorie dinners and entrees.

What is the best way to use these dinners? Get creative! Turn fettuccine alfredo into a rich, garden-fresh entree by adding a bag of frozen veggies and some lemon zest, or combine cheese steak macaroni with sautéed peppers and onions. Find a new combo that’s super-satisfying? We’d love to hear!

How To Tighten Skin After Weight Loss

It’s the elephant in the room after undergoing tremendous weight loss. You have lost weight, and now have a lot of extra skin you’d like to be rid of.

Tighten Skin - flabby arms

Although weight loss benefits many areas of our lives, it can take a toll on our skin. When we’re gaining weight, it stretches slowly, over a period of weeks and months and years, to accommodate our growing girth.

Unfortunately, when we shrink back down, the skin is unable to reduce itself at the speed we are losing weight. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to improve the tautness of your skin. Although surgery is indeed an option, most people would rather avoid it if necessary.

If you have some extra skin you’d like to minimize, consider trying these tweaks before talking to a doctor or dermatologist about other, more invasive procedures and therapies. Some of these methods, although simple, pack surprisingly potent results when performed repeatedly over a period of months.


Exercise can be divided into roughly three categories: resistance exercise, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching. Although all three are important with regards to total health (including weight loss and weight maintenance), resistance training can help increase lean tissue in areas that are difficult to tone with cardiovascular exercise.

While cardiovascular exercise burns more calories overall, it typically increases muscle tone only in the lower body, because of its weight-bearing nature. Although swimming provides a whole-body cardiovascular workout that efficiently tones from head to toe, the majority of us rely on running, walking, cycling, or elliptical trainers, all of which focus on the lower body, rather than the upper body.

As such, upper body tone often lags behind lower body tone, especially when weight loss has occurred: sagging skin on arms can be bothersome, but resistance training shores up muscle underneath so that skin lays slightly flatter and is less inclined to jiggle.

If you’re new to resistance training, consider booking one or two sessions with a personal trainer. A personal trainer can walk you through some effective upper body exercises and assure that you’re performing the routine properly, with the right weights or materials (hand weights, bars, resistance bands, machines, etc).

Add resistance training to your workout. Developing a solid base of muscle can help reduce sagging flab. Toning exercises create lean muscle and help anchor hanging fat to the body. Muscle also helps your problem areas appear more firm.


Our skin is the largest organ we have, and the quality of our diets affects the appearance of our skin- a diet that is high in carbohydrate causes your body to hold onto more water, which can make you look and feel bloated in all the wrong areas.

Try reducing your consumption of high-carbohydrate foods, and focus your diet on lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables and low-fat or fat free dairy. It’s also important to stay hydrated, which improves the appearance and elasticity of the skin.

Topical Remedies

There are a number of natural ingredients that work to promote skin health, reducing dryness and improving the appearance of the skin. Lotions with Vitamin E and Vitamin D, as well as collagen-firming creams can improve the tautness of skin.

Sugary Sweet and Sinful to Eat

Sugar found itself trending in 2014, but the trend status wasn’t a particularly positive one. Instead, it could be considered more of a “negative trend”- sugar was talked about, certainly, but the commentary was not at all flattering.

sugar consumption - nashua nutrition
source: Weight and Wellness

Between obesity, diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease, sugar consumption is proving to be, perhaps, more perilous than we could have ever anticipated.

Sugar consumption in the United States clocks in at an eyebrow-raising 22.5 teaspoons per day: compare that to the recommended intake of 5 teaspoons per day (as per the World Health Organization).

However, most of us would remain adamant that our sugar consumption is not all that high; Is it really possible that we’re consuming that much sugar when we eschew soda and pass by the office candy bowl?

As it turns out, it’s very possible, especially since much of Americans’ sugar consumption comes from “invisible” sources of sugar in products like ketchup, breads, and other prepared foods. These products don’t taste sweet in the sense that we associate with candy or soda, so they pass by undetected.

Kicking the sugar habit is easier said than done, especially for those of us who enjoy sweet treats as part of our regularly scheduled programming. After all, if we’re exercising and eating healthy, what’s a cookie a few times a week?

While we’d never condemn an occasional indulgence, it’s important to make sure that you’re really are eating moderately, and that means identifying and removing invisible sources of sugar from your diet.

That’s why we’ve made sugar reduction one of our January goals for the Nashua Nutrition 6 Month Plan.

The following tips can help you avoid sugar, and cope with the transition from sugar-saturated to sugar-free.

Avoiding hidden sugar:

  • Be wary around packaged foods, even if they look or sound healthy. Scan the ingredient list for the following words: sugar, brown sugar, glucose, agave, agave nectar, nectar, cane juice, cane sugar, honey, syrup, maple syrup, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup. While some of these are touted as being healthier than “regular” white sugar, the body processes them the same way.

Coping with a sugar craving
The best forms of distraction are “action distractions”, processes that mimic the sensations of eating or drinking, or actions that otherwise move you away from the source of sugar.

  • Chew a piece of sugar-free gum. The taste and sensation of chewing can help kick a craving to the curb.
  • Sip a cup of tea, coffee, or zero-Calorie flavored liquid (seltzer water, etc.). The warm liquid is soothing and provides the sensation of consumption.
  • Take a walk, or do an activity that requires you to move your body and concentrate- anything from yoga, stretching, knitting, even doing a puzzle, crossword, or playing with a pet.
  • Eat a sweet, lower sugar snack. Berries with yogurt, apples with cinnamon and low-fat whipped cream, and bananas with peanut butter are all good options.

Weighing Your Options: Is Weight Loss Surgery a Good Option?

Especially among medical professionals, the discussion regarding the appropriateness of bariatric procedures is a heated one.

With strong proponents on either side of the argument, who’s right? Is bariatric surgery a healthy, valid way to lose weight, or a dangerous tool that fails to promote healthy behavioral change

bariatric sugery - nashua nutrition

While the jury’s out on the appropriateness of bariatric procedures, both sides continue to collect evidence, through research and studies assessing the nutritional status, quality of life, and lifespan for patients who have undergone bariatric procedures.

Thus far, research supports the idea that morbidly obese individuals who undergo bariatric procedures lengthen their lives.

A decade-long study published in the January 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association, found that obese individuals who had undergone bariatric surgery lived longer than obese adults who had not received a surgical weight loss procedure.

When comparing these two groups (comprised of 2,500 individuals), obese individuals who had not undergone weight loss surgery were 10% more likely to die in the decade following the study: the surgical group reduced their likelihood of death to 14%, while 24% of the non-surgical group died within the 10 years of the study’s inception.

A second, larger study comprised of 29,000 individuals and published in the March 2014 Journal of International Cardiology, found that bariatric procedures reduced the likelihood of heart attacks and related deaths by 40%, relative to a group of obese individuals who had not undergone a weight loss procedure.

Bariatric Surgery: The Pros and Cons

There are undoubtedly many factors to consider when assessing the pros and cons of weight-loss surgeries (bariatric procedures).

bariatric surgery leads to longer life - nashua nutrition
source: consumer affairs

For many, the negative aspects of bariatric procedures simply pose too great a risk to warrant their use in common surgical practice. Whether through gastric banding or gastric bypass, weight loss surgeries are serious, invasive surgical procedures, and the possibility of infection and surgical complications is a very real one. Furthermore, the cost of these procedures is very high, and may not be covered by insurance.

Even when the costs and risk of bariatric procedures are accounted for, the fact remains that emotional and behavioral change is a requirement for a healthy recovery once the procedure has been performed. Most hospitals will not allow a patient to receive a bariatric procedure without first meeting with a team of psychologists and dietitians, who will assess the patient’s emotional readiness to undertake serious postoperative dietary and lifestyle changes.

Is bariatric surgery a good option for you?
Only your doctor and healthcare team can tell you whether or not you are a good candidate for a bariatric procedure. However, if you are morbidly obese and have a secondary condition because of your obesity (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), weight loss surgery may help reduce your risk of serious complications and death from those conditions.

If you decide to undergo bariatric surgery, Nashua Nutrition, offers bariatric products for pre- and post-surgery.