By Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

grilling mistakes picnicSummer is a wonderful time for picnics, barbeques, grilling and camping trips. Fun times, however, can quickly turn into very unpleasant experiences if you get food poisoning. Are you increasing your chances by making these mistakes?


Putting beverages in the same cooler as other foods

Each time a cooler is opened all of the items are exposed to the outside air and the temperature and quickly drop. Since beverage coolers are usually more frequently opened, keep your beverages in one cooler and your food items in a different cooler.


Going beyond 60 minutes

Many of us know that bacteria on food can rapidly multiply if food is left out more than two hours. Most of us forget, however, that when the temperature is 90 degrees or above, or the food is in hot sun, that the two hour rule is too long! The food safety experts at the government say if the temperature is 90 degrees or above, bacteria can multiple after 60 minutes. Yes, you are relaxing, but the bacteria are not. Watch the clock to avoid getting sick!


Using the same grill utensils

When removing your food from the grill, avoid transferring any bacteria from the raw or under cooked food.  Use a different set of tongs, spatula, or fork than you used on the raw food.  Or, thoroughly wash your utensils with hot water and soap before reusing them. Remembering this important tip will help you avoid serving your grilling masterpiece with a side of food poisoning.


The marinade or grilling sauce reused on the same meal

Before starting to marinate your food, divide your marinade or grilling sauce into two parts: one part to use with raw food in and another part to use as with your cooked or partially cooked food. The marinade or sauce you used with the raw food should never be reused.


By Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

grocery shoppingThe other day I was working with someone who wanted to make changes to her eating habits, but she found it challenging. As we discussed what she was having difficulties with, we both realized that a significant part of her struggles with food choices and
weight related to her grocery shopping habits.

She isn’t alone in this.  Many of the people I see for nutrition counseling have challenges with grocery shopping.


Have you bought it?

“You can’t eat it if you don’t have it,” I often say. That phrase is

How to wash fruits and vegetables

By Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

You have just returned from your garden, grocery store or
farmer’s market with fresh fruits and vegetables. Great! This is important step in feeling good, losing weight or keeping from gaining weight, and staying healthy.


Could those fruits and vegetables make you sick?  If you
don’t wash them properly, they could. Avoid getting sick and some potentially unpleasant stomach or intestinal issues by washing most fresh fruits and vegetables before using them or eating them.


What fresh fruits and vegetables should not be washed?

Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

emotional eatingOur attitude influences how our day goes. It can also affect our health and our eating habits, especially if we are prone to eating when upset.

Try what I call the “3, 2, 1” approach to make your days a little brighter. You may find that you are better able to handle the challenges of your day and less likely to engage in emotional eating.

3: Smile at least three times a day.

2: Get at least two other people to smile during the day. Sometimes just smiling back or saying “thank you” to the person in the checkout line makes a big difference – for both of you!

1: Laugh at least once a day, but in a good way. Laughs with “no way are we going to be able to…” don’t count!

By Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

One of the best ways to extend your budget and increase the amount of non-starch vegetables you eat is to try growing your own. A large IMG_4056garden – or any garden at all – is not needed.

Posted by Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

changing habits new startMay and June are often a time of new beginnings.  For some of us it is big events such as graduation or a wedding.  Others of us have different, less formal new beginnings:  starting this year’s garden, moving into our summer routines, or deciding to get back to working on healthier eating and activity habits.

Whatever your new start in this season, here are three things that can help you have a better chance at succeeding:

By Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

Ever since my great grandmother let me into her vegetable garden when I was about four years old, I’ve had a fascination with vegetable gardens. It certainly made me like to eat vegetables which is why I highly encourage adults and children to try their hand at growing at least one vegetable in a pot, window box, or garden.

By Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

herb, spices, reduced sodiumEnhance the flavor of your cooking by using herbs and spices instead of salt.

Save money, and try out some new flavors, by using bulk herb and spice section of your local health food store. You can buy as little as a half teaspoon of an item. You’ll often pay far less than you would at the grocery store and have much fresher, and therefore more flavorful, herbs and spices.

By Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out the sweetness in vegetables. Yet most people pour the oil over the vegetables and all of a sudden the calorie count for all of those lovely non-starch vegetables goes way up.

Each tablespoon of oil has roughly 120 calories. Using the “pour” method most people use 2 to 4 tablespoons adding 240 to 480 calories to the dish.

Use the method I show in this video and add only 80 calories to your dish!


By Lisa Garcia, RD, LD

winter sceneSalads are often a great way to add non-starch vegetables to your daily eating routine, but in the middle of a New Hampshire winter it can sometimes be hard to get enthusiastic about them. Or perhaps you are “lettuced out” as one of my patients said to me the other day.

Fear not! I’ve put together a list of budget friendly recipes to help enjoy salads in winter. To receive them, simply sign up for our tips and recipe newsletter by clicking here.

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