Enjoy a Healthy Breakfast

The Most Important Meal

Katie Schlemer, RD, LDN

We all know the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but how many of us actually follow through and live up to this saying? Common problems for incorporating a healthy breakfast are that we either skip it altogether or end up eating something unhealthy. Below are some tips for getting the most out of our breakfast meal!


The problem: I skip breakfast.

The excuse: I’m not hungry when I wake up in the morning.

The fix: Nobody said you have to eat breakfast the second you wake up! It’s okay to wait an hour or two before eating. Make sure to schedule in a time to eat if you will be at work or busy with errands. The key is to plan for your breakfast by having something healthy on-hand.

The problem: I skip breakfast.

The excuse: I don’t have time to fix and eat breakfast.

The fix: Make time for it! Start your day a little bit earlier by setting the alarm 15-30 minutes before you usually get up (and don’t hit the snooze button!). You can also consider preparing your breakfast the night before. A recipe such as overnight oats can be made in advance. If you find yourself short on time at home, plan ahead and bring a healthy breakfast to work with you. Quick and easy grab-and-go foods could include items such as hard boiled eggs, fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, granola bars, sandwiches, or toast.

The problem: I eat breakfast, but I know it’s not healthy.

The excuse: My office always has _____ (doughnuts, bagels, muffins, etc).

The fix: Consider talking to your coworkers or managers about changing this! Maybe you can convince the office to order healthier items like a fruit tray. You can also compromise by keeping the food in the break room or conference room. People often make healthier decisions when the unhealthy choice is out of view or inconvenient to get to. In any case, being prepared with bringing your healthy breakfast can limit the temptation to get a doughnut. If you go in to work starving, it’s much harder to deny free food!

The problem: I eat breakfast, but I know it’s not healthy.

The excuse: It’s too expensive to eat healthy.

The fix: It all comes down to planning ahead. Eating healthy, affordable meals can be done! Getting dollar menu fast food items may seem like the cheap fix, but making smart groceries in advance can be even cheaper! Buying in bulk can lower the total cost. For example, a 42-oz container of quick oats from Wal Mart costs only 8 cents per serving! Doing the prep work yourself can also save money. For example, hard-boiling a carton of eggs will be less expensive than buying a cafeteria hard-boiled egg. Another money-saving tip is to buy produce in season. For example, citrus fruits like oranges, satsumas, and clementine tend to be less expensive in the winter whereas berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are in season during the summer months.

Katie Schlemer, RD, LDN, is a Registered Dietitian and a Diabetes Educator in the Touro Diabetes Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Saint Louis University and completed her Dietetic Internship at Tulane University. Katie counsels individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Her goal is to help individuals learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to live well with diabetes.

Staying Hydrated

Stay Hydrated to Beat the Heat

Monica Taylor, MS, RD, LDN


During the summer months in New Orleans, as the heat and humidity kicks into high gear, we all can be left feeling a little drained. It can be a challenge just to walk out the front door some days. Focusing on getting enough fluids can help prevent dehydration and heat-related illnesses. It can be tough to maintain your fluid balance during the sweltering summer months. Here are some tips on how to stay cool and quenched when the mercury rises:

How Much Water Do We Need?

• According to general recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, men should drink at least 13 cups (3 liters) of water a day and women nine cups (2.2 liters).

• Vigorous exercise in hot and humid weather can be challenging and even dangerous. Exercise cautiously by decreasing the intensity or duration of your workout and choosing to do so during the cooler parts of the day (early morning, later in the evening). During outdoor exercise that lasts = 90 minutes, drink additional water before, during and after to maintain hydration. Outdoor exercise that lasts >90 minutes may also require you to replace electrolyte losses with a sports drink.

• Thirst or dry mouth is a good indicator that you need to drink more water. If you’re thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.

• Pay attention to your urine. Pale yellow and clear means that you are well hydrated. If it’s dark, it’s time to drink up!

How to Get It?

• Drink up! Water is the best hydrator. If you prefer a little flavor, try adding a splash of fruit juice or keeping a pitcher of water infused with fruits and herbs.

• Watch it! Alcohol, sugar and caffeine should be limited as they contribute to fluid losses. I know it can be tempting to cool off with frozen summer treat like a daiquiri, frozen coffee or the New Orleans summertime staple- Snowballs, but these drinks can pack a dehydrating doozy and a lot of extra calories.

• Eat up! Certain foods contain water too. Fruits and vegetables contain the highest percentage of water: salad greens, watermelon, grapefruit, cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes, berries, bell peppers. They all contribute to your fluid intake.

• Set a Timer. If you’re one of those who can never seem to remember to drink during the day, try setting a timer to go off every 20 to 30 minutes and take a drink. Keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times.

• Cool it! Go for a cool beverage instead of the coldest beverage you can find. It will be easier for your body to absorb, and less likely to give you a stomach cramp.

Other Pointers

• Wear light, loose fitting clothing to allow air to circulate around you.

• Try to avoid direct sun exposure. Find the shade, and protect yourself by wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

• Hungry? Drink a glass of water. The mind often confuses the feeling of thirst for hunger.

Hydrating Recipes:

water with watermelon and basilStrawberry-Lemon Basil Infused Water

4-6 strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ lemon, sliced
Small handful of basil, muddled

Directions: Fill a pitcher with the above ingredients. Cover with cold filtered or sparkling water. Place in fridge and let the flavors infuse for at least an hour.

Watermelon, Tomato, and Mint Salad

1 (4-4.5 lb) watermelon, cubed
3 large Creole tomatoes, seeded and cubed
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 cup crumbled feta

Directions: Mix the above ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and chill. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving. If desired, season with salt and pepper. Substitutions: Goat cheese for feta, basil for mint, splash of lime juice.

Monica Taylor, MS, RD, LDN Monica Taylor, MS, RD, LDN is a Clinical Dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She also received her Masters of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. She has experience in medical nutrition therapy, clinical nutrition, nutrition education and nutritional counseling. 


Mid-Year Resolutions

Sticking with Healthy Goals

Katie Schlemer, RD, LDN

step classAs we start off the New Year, we tend to make health resolutions that quickly fade. Now that we are mid-year, let’s take this opportunity to make some realistic, healthy, gradual, and permanent changes that will improve our lives for years to come.

In today’s day and age, we want results fast. Unfortunately, as far as weight loss goes, the best results are slow and sustained. Losing about 1-2 pounds per week has shown to help people make gradual but permanent changes to their diet and exercise plans. One reason is because when we enroll in a fad diet that promises quick weight loss, it makes us drastically change our diet. Whatever that fad diet promotes is such a big change from our normal habits that we end up sticking with it for a while, but eventually “fall off the wagon” and go back to our old habits. Instead of overhauling everything in the diet at once, try working on small steps toward a healthier lifestyle. If we make small, gradual modifications, we tend to make them permanent! Try to focus on one area of your diet at a time.

Write it Down

One way to know how to start modifying your diet is to keep a food journal for a few days. This helps you to identify how much you currently eat in a day and to highlight the possible problem areas. For example, maybe your meals are healthy but the snacks in between are high in calories. Or maybe you notice that you have a bad habit of mindlessly snacking in front of the TV. You can keep a food journal the old-fashioned way by writing everything down or by using web-based or smart phone-based apps such as My Fitness Pal or Lose It.

group of people with dumbbells and steppers

Make SMART Goals

Another tool to use for goal setting is to make SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. When creating a goal for yourself, especially diet- or exercise-related, make sure to define it well. For example, instead of saying “I will exercise more,” define it! For example, say “I will start walking 1 mile in City Park for 20 minutes on 3 days per week: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.” As your exercise tolerance increases, update your goal by either increasing the duration (length of time or distance-i.e. 1 ½ miles), intensity (how fast or hard you exercise- i.e. walking 1 mile in 15 minutes), or frequency (amount of times you exercise- i.e. 5 days per week: Monday-Friday).

Having Support

In order to stay on the right track, it helps to have some support. Enrolling a friend to walk with you can keep you motivated to continue with your exercise routine. Asking your spouse to eat the same healthy meals as you can diminish the temptation to deviate from your meal plan. Even sharing accomplishments, such as losing 5 pounds, with loved ones and friends can boost your confidence in your health goals.

>> Click for more touro.com/livingwell.

Katie Schlemer, RD, LDN, is a Registered Dietitian and a Diabetes Educator in the Touro Diabetes Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Saint Louis University and completed her Dietetic Internship at Tulane University. Katie has been counseling individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes for the past 3 years. Her goal is to help individuals learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to live well with diabetes.

Eating Local

 Is Local Food Better?

Liz Cabrera, RD, CSO, LDN, CNSC

Young woman on the market

The “Buy Local” movement has a lot of momentum, not only for the local economy but also for a healthy lifestyle. The question: “Is local food better?” gets asked a lot.  When produce is considered local, it is usually sold within 24-48 hours after being harvested as opposed to “supermarket” produce which may have traveled several hundred miles before reaching the consumer. Eating local also makes the consumer more aware of their food choices and how they get to the farmers’ market, road stand or grocery store. Since local produce is seasonal and picked at the peak of the season, both the taste and nutritional value are at their best. Seasonal produce is often cheaper due to a relative abundance and lower transportation cost.

Some health benefits of eating local include eating fewer processed foods which are usually high in sodium and sugar content; in addition to promoting the intake of more fresh fruits and vegetables rich in fiber and phytonutrients. These small changes in your eating plan can decrease the risk of developing certain cancers or heart disease.

Start Eating Local in Louisiana

  1. Shopping at your local Farmer’s Market

Visiting a farmer’s market can be a fun family activity. It can be enjoyable trying

new foods and engaging with the vendors to learn more about farming practices.

  1. Choose Restaurants that Source Locally

Restaurants that support local farms and growers not only support the local

economy but are able to offer seasonal menus.

  1. Shop at Stores that Label Food Origin

Look for signs marking the origin of produce and seafood.  More grocery

stores are labeling their produce and seafood / meat section. If there are no signs,

speak to the manager about having the local items in the store labeled as such.

  1. Learn what is in Season

Knowing what is in season will help you know what to shop for at your grocery store

or what to expect at the farmers market.  You may want to plan on trying a new

recipe with a seasonal item.

Local Produce to Enjoy this Summer

Berries:  Most flavorful and loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants – low calorie snack

Corn:  Enjoy grilled corn with some lemon juice or in a salad – a good source of carotenoids

Tomatoes:  Louisiana Creole tomatoes are a good source of lycopene and can be enjoyed in your favorite recipe or sliced with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Watermelon:  Although watermelon is approximately 90% water, it is also a good source of vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.  At 40 calories per cup, watermelon is a great summer dessert


Eggplant:  Most flavorful in the summer – contains phytonutrients and a is great high fiber veggie for a vegetarian meal

For anyone who enjoys food, summer offers the finest fresh ingredients. The key is to keep things simple and let the quality of seasonal ingredients shine through.

For more information on nutrition, click here to visit our Health Library.

Cabrera, LizLiz Cabrera, RD, CSO, LDN, CNSC, is the Lead Clinical Dietician for Touro Infirmary with over 25 years experience. Liz has advanced education and extensive experience in nutrition for a broad range of health conditions for which she provides nutrition support. Liz provides comprehensive nutrition care for inpatient and outpatient departments at Touro. In addition, Liz leads monthly healthy lifestyles community seminars and a nutrition after cancer cooking class.

Benefits of Eating Tomatoes

The Creole Tomato

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

As summer approaches, the vine-ripened locally grown Creole Tomato enters our farmers market. Creole Tomatoes are found along the Mississippi River, and its unique flavor comes from our warm climate and fertile soil. They are an essential ingredient in many New Orleans-inspired recipes. Most importantly, tomatoes are a good source of potassium, vitamin C and A.  When cooked they also provide lycopene, which is thought to reduce cancer risk, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.

growth tomato

Cold Tomato Salad

I love this one because you can keep it in the fridge a couple days for a quick add onto your dinner.

  • 4 sliced, peeled cucumbers
  • 3 Creole tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • ½ small red onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 cup fresh, torn basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Combine all ingredients together and serve chilled.

Farmers Market General Final_New Logo-page-001

Fortenberry, JulieJulie Fortenberry is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling. 


Processed Meat, Red Meat and Cancer – What You Need to Know!

Is Processed Meat a Carcinogen?

Liz Cabrera, RD, CSO, LDN, CNSC

In October 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that processed meats cause cancer. The WHO’s International agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified processed meat as a carcinogen–something that causes cancer.  It also classified red meat as a probable carcinogen-something that probably causes cancer.

Consumers reading these headlines may be reacting in one of two ways:

  1. I will never eat processed meats or red meat again!
  2. I do not care how bad it is for you, I enjoy my Gumbo and Jambalaya with lots of smoked sausage.

It is always important to read beyond the headlines to get all the facts and make an informed choice that may impact your health.

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Weight Loss Resolutions Not To Make and How You Can Turn Them Around

8 Weight Loss Resolutions Not to Make:

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

  1. Unrealistic goals: like “I want to lose 50 lbs”: Instead focus on realistic, approachable goals – “I want to lose one pound per week”. Healthy weight loss at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week is achieved through an ongoing lifestyle that includes long term changes in healthy eating and exercise routines.
  2. Fad Diets: They may promise big results fast, but the truth is fad diets don’t work! “Deprivation diets” are not healthy, and don’t help you keep the weight off long term. In fact, people often end up gaining more weight back when they resume their “normal” eating patterns again. A better goal is to eat a variety of properly portioned foods making sure your diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein.
  3. Restricting calories to lose weight: Severely restricting calories will result in weight loss, but is not a sustainable or healthy way to achieve results – and won’t last. Instead, try meeting with a Registered Dietitian to develop a healthy eating plan. Make your calories count by eating healthy foods with fiber and protein to give you energy and help you feel full longer.
  4. Juice-Only Cleanse: This may seem like a good idea after an indulgent holiday season, but will ultimately fail without a healthy nutritional balance. Instead, try a fresh vegetable juice full of nutrients with lunch or a protein shake for breakfast balanced with a healthy dinner. Be careful of sugary juice blends that can be extremely high in non-satisfying sugar calories.juice cleanse
  5. Daily weight-ins: Weighing yourself daily isn’t a great measure of weight loss due to the fluctuation in water retention, bowel movements, and hormones which can vary by a pound or two daily. And it can be discouraging. Instead, go for weekly weight checks and remember lasting progress is often slow and steady.
  6. Say No to Junk Food: Instead of swearing off junk food completely (which will never last), let yourself indulge occasionally in the things you love. If its mom’s apple pie, for example, enjoy a small slice of the real thing occasionally; just make sure your dinner plate is well balanced and properly portioned to balance.
  7. Exercise More: How many of us resolve to exercise more each January? Instead of making a general fitness promise, aim for more specific activity goals like “I’m going to exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week” or “I am going to attend 3 fitness classes per week”.
  8. No More Dining Out: Instead of totally swearing off restaurants, learn how to order smarter. Many restaurants offer lighter fair options, or will prepare entrees in a healthy preparation (minus heavy or sugary sauces) when requested. Also, keep in mind that restaurant serving sizes tend to be more than a single serving.


Fortenberry, JulieJulie Fortenberry, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling.

8 Steps to a Healthier You

Weight Loss in 2016

Liz Cabrera, RD, CSO, LDN, CNSC

If weight loss or maintenance is a goal of yours for 2016, the tips below are designed to help you set achievable goals you can stick with. Set yourself up for success by establishing realistic weight loss goals. This will keep you focused and motivated. Overly aggressive goals often end up hindering your weight loss efforts in the long run.

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Baked Sweet Potato Soufflé Plus Tips to Manage Diabetes during the Holidays

Managing your diabetes during the holidays

Valerie Burton, RN, CDE

The holidays are a time of celebration, thanksgiving, reflection …and eating. For many, a little bit of overindulgence here and there won’t hurt, but, for those with diabetes, bad eating habits can lead to long-term damage — such as high blood sugars and weight gain.

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7 Tips for Holiday Health

Maintaining Wellness during the Holidays

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

When we think of the holiday season, celebrating with family and friends may be the first thing that comes to mind. For many this also means a time for over-eating, guilt and weight gain. By implementing a few simple tips you can stay healthy through the holidays and still enjoy the season.

It is important to prepare for dealing with possible nutritional setbacks, as they are an inevitable part of life (especially this time of year). No matter how hard we try, the reality is we are not perfect – nor should we be. It is important to have a plan in place so that when we do slip, we are able to get back on track without sliding so far down that “unhealthy” slope.

Know yourself and your limits. Give yourself (a little) slack this time of year. The key is finding the balance. Ask yourself “would I be ok with gaining one pound after the holidays?” How about 10 pounds?”

Whether you are looking to just maintain weight or have hopes continuing with a weight loss journey, planning ahead is essential during the upcoming weeks. And in New Orleans, let’s be honest – it’s longer with Mardi Gras extending our holiday season well into February!

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