Promoting Healthy Lifestyles at Home, School, and in the Workplace.

Get Active Howard County Nutrition Team Coordinators

(This page will be updated throughout the year to provide you with the latest nutrition ideas.  

Becky Ramsing, MPH, R.D. - Tambua Consulting
Christine Lothen-Kline, MPH, R.D. - Health Promotions on Call

Becky Ramsing and Christine Lothen-Kline are registered dietitian's, and nutrition and public health consultants.  Christine own's and operates Tambua Consulting and Health Promotion on Call in Howard County, Maryland.

HEALTHY BREAKFAST  (Tips from Becky Ramsing, MPH, RD)

Quick Smoothie!

Peanut butter smoothie
•    10 ounces skim milk or plain soy milk
•    1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
•    1 medium banana
•    Make it: In a blender, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. 

Quick ideas for tasty breakfasts: 

•    a bowl of whole grain cereal offers fiber, added vitamins, and calcium from the milk 
•    a yogurt parfait with cereal and sliced bananas or berries
•    a peanut butter sandwich with sliced apples
•    fruit and a cheese stick 
•    try a tortilla roll up with peanut butter and a banana.  
•    or instant oatmeal with dried fruit 
•    beat an egg in a small bowl and microwave it for 1 minute. Turn it into a sandwich with a whole grain bagel or English muffin. 
•    make a smoothie using dairy and fruit
•    or even leftovers from last night’s dinner!

Make ahead oatmeal
Oatmeal keeps remarkably well in the fridge!  You can make it on Sunday then enjoy it all week!

The Recipe: To make four servings, place 1 cup steel cut oats (or 2 cups rolled oats) in pot, along with 4 cups water or milk and a pinch of salt.  Follow package directions and cook until oats are almost soft and most of the liquid is absorbed.  You can add cinnamon and spices, raisins or dried fruit, sliced banana, frozen berries, honey, or any other mix-in! Add a splash more water so oatmeal is slightly more wet than normal and let cool.  Place in 4 containers (pint-sized glass jars work well.  Refrigerate for up to four days.

In the morning, grab a jar, remove the lid and microwave for 2 minutes or until warm.  Add milk or soymilk and a handful of nuts and enjoy

The old cliché "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" has a lot of merit!  Eating breakfast starts your day of well.
* Breakfast eaters do better at work.  Eating breakfast improves concentration and helps with memory tasks.  And, it gives us more energy for the day.
* Breakfast eaters weigh less.  It may not actually be related to the amount of calories they eat.  Eating something soon after 
•Breakfast eaters do better at work.  Eating breakfast improves concentration and helps with memory tasks.  And it gives us more energy  for the day.
•Breakfast eaters weigh less.  It may not actually be related to the amount of calories they eat.   Eating something soon after waking up kicks your metabolism into gear.
•Breakfast eaters may eat healthier overall!  There is some evidence that breakfast eaters make healthier choices throughout the day and end up with more important vitamins, minerals and fiber!  This could be that when we miss breakfast, we tend to replace it with empty calories and miss out on important nutrients.  
So, what makes a good breakfast?  A balanced breakfast of carbohydrates, protein and fat results in  a more gradual release of energy over the entire morning, maintains blood sugar levels and delays hunger until it’s time for lunch.  Beyond this, almost anything goes!  Does it have to be breakfast foods?  Not really!
Build a breakfast by starting with good ingredients, including at least 3 food groups, such as: 
1.    Whole grains:  high fiber cereal, whole grain bread or English muffin, oatmeal, small waffle or pancake
2.    Protein:  peanut butter, egg, lean ham, vegetarian sausage 
3.    Dairy:  low fat  milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
4.    A Fruit or vegetable:  fresh, frozen or canned


Lunch breaks are becoming a thing of the past for many people says Christine Lothen-Kline, Registered Dietician (Health Promotion on Call) .  One web-based survey found that only one third of us consistently take a lunch break, while the other two thirds either eat at their desk or don't take a break at all.   Here are tips from Christine that will help you improve your lunch habits?

Christine's Tips:
♦​ Maximize nutrition   The reality is, that while it is very easy to get plenty of calories, fat and sodium with only one or two meals every day, it is more challenging to get the nutrition that is needed for our optimum physical and mental health.

♦​ Prevent overeating later   Is ino uncommon for people who skip a meal to think it can help them lose weight.  Unfortunately, it is more likely to do the opposite. What happens wehn we have gone a long time without eating.  I don't know about you, but I know that, not only am I more likely to overeat, an apple and cheese stick is just not going to cut it!  That is when wee are more likely to crave fast food, junk food and other foods that we are trying to eat less often.

Maintain energy, focus and good mood    One of the most common questions I get asked is how to improve energy.  Two of the best ways to do that is to stay hydrated and eat at regularly scheduled times throughout the day!  If our tank is empty, then we need to refuel.  Eat every 4 to 5 hours to keep your energy, mood, and focus at optimum levels.

♦​ Pack a healthy lunch    Packaging a lunch is the best way to save money and have the healthiest meal.  Below are links to easy, healhthy Lunch options.

Cheap, Healthy Lunches for Work

24 Easy Healthy Lunches to Bring to Work

10 Quick & Healthy Brown Bag Lunches

♦​ Choose a healthy frozen meal     While "fresh is best", sometimes "better" is more doable than "best".  Stocking up on a couple of frozen meals at work can be a great back up plan instead of eating out or missing lunch altogether.  Generally speaking, look for frozen meals that have 400 - 600 calories, less than 500mg of sodium, less than 2 grams of saturated fat and no trans fat.  Also skip choices that have mystery ingredients on the label.

So take the time to plan (and EAT) a healthy lunch.  You will be happy you did!

To your health!

What about eating out?:

♦ When you are eating out, pay attention to the menu and don't be afraid to ask questions.  
♦ Look for foods that are baked, broiled or steamed rather than fried or prepared with a heavy cream or cheese-based sauce.
♦ Order lean proteins, such as fish, beans, legumes, and lean cuts of chicken, pork and beef.
♦ Select whole grains like brown rice, whole oats, quinoa, and other grains and breads with the words "whole grain".
♦ Choose water instead of sugary sweetened beverages.  This will also help you stay hydrated.

For more tips and resources, visit TIPS FOR EATING HEALTHY WHEN EATING OUT