For or Against the Grain?

for-or-againstThe ongoing grain debate is almost as controversial as the presidential election. Just as democrats and republicans have strong arguments to support their beliefs, so do defenders and opponents to grains. Some tout weight loss with the addition of grains, while others attribute them to weight gain. Another debate, along with may others, is their effect on blood sugar. So if you decide to include grains in your daily food consumption, let’s make sure you get the most nutritious bang for your buck! First let’s take a look at the 2 types of grains.

  • Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel, including the bran, germ and endosperm.  They are a source of many nutrients including dietary fiber, several b vitamins, and essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium.
  • Refined Grains have been milled and processed to remove the bran and germ. This is done to give them a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but at the same time, this process also strips them of dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Therefore, most refined grains are processed even further (i.e., enriched) to add vitamins and iron back. Fiber, however, is not added back to enriched grains.

Because of their lack of fiber, refined grains are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, this can cause blood sugar levels to spike and then quickly crash. These swings in blood sugar can drain your energy and leave you feeling tired and even moody. On the other hand whole grains are rich in fiber which slows the rate of digestion and causes a more gradual and lower rise in blood sugar. These effects will make you feel full longer and can also provide long-lasting energy.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that all adults eat at least half their grains as whole grains. The more of your grains that are whole grains, the better! Be sure when you read the ingredients list you look for the whole grains below.

                                                                                                                                                    * Whole Grains Council

With the Portion Plate we recommend that 1/4 of your plate be filled with whole grains or starchy vegetables. So if you do not eat grains, then why not try starchy vegetables. Although they are another highly contested food group, starchy vegetables contain healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Since they are higher in carbs and calories than other vegetables,  we recommend them as a substitute for whole grains (not in addition to). Some starchy vegetable options are beets, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and winter squash. So feel free to substitute a sweet potato or regular potato for rice.

Just to recap, when choosing to eat grains, go for the whole grains that are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber or substitute with starchy vegetables. Avoid processed grains that lack fiber and raise your blood sugar. Be sure and read your ingredient label.

Check out the butternut squash recipe below, it is just the right combination of sweet and spicy and it’s a great grain substitute! The Portion Plate gives it a thumbs up!

Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash

  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika –
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on your spice tolerance)
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375.
  2. Prep the squash.  OK, you are going to need to mentally prepare for this as it is a serious arm workout.  Peel the squash (I recon this is equivalent to doing 100 kb swings), cut in half (also a feat of strength) and then cut into 1-2 inch cubes.
  3. Spread the squash out over a baking sheet.
  4. In a small bowl, combine all the other ingredients. Pour over the squash and mix around to spread evenly.
  5. Bake for about an hour.  My oven is not very fast, so yours may be completed sooner.  Check it every 20 minutes and toss it around to cook evenly.  It should be tender and easily forked when finished.
  6. Enjoy!!

Recipe from:

Don’t forget if you have any questions you would like us to answer email them to or post on our Facebook page.

Have a safe and healthy weekend!


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Questions, Questions, Questions?!

question-mark-wallpaper How many ounces of protein in a portion?  What are the best fruits to eat? Can I eat potatoes? Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable? How high can I stack my plate? Do I have to eat vegetables for breakfast? These are just some of the questions we are asked everyday. So for the next several weeks we are going to answer your questions. If you would like to submit questions, please send them to or post on our Facebook page

We will explore each section of the plate:  fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and fats. Our blog will include subjects such as:

  • portion size
  • the best foods to eat in each food group
  • food prep tips and tricks
  • recipes (see below for a sample)

We will also touch on exercise, eating out and how to survive the holidays without packing on the pounds.

These next few months are going to be action packed with information!  Stay tuned and don’t forget to submit your questions!, Facebook page


  • Bacon and Egg Cups
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 pieces of Bacon (cooked)
  • Pan Spray
  • Salt and Pepper

Cook bacon per your usual method. (We suggest oven bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes on a foil lined pan.) Spray muffin tin with pan spray. Arrange 1 piece of bacon per muffin cup. Crack an egg in each with out scrambling so the yolk is still intact. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in 400° oven 10-12 minutes.

Tip:  We like to double the recipe and make ahead for the week. In the mornings just pop in the microwave and serve. If you like a runny yolk, you may need to experiment with the baking time and take into consideration the microwave reheat.

Bon Appétit!


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Surviving Holiday Parties

Here at beBetter we are halfway through our Season’s Eatings Challenge.  Season’s Eatings is a 6 week challenge that helps arm you with the survival skills and motivation to get through the holidays without gaining weight.

The average person gains 2-8 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.  And to make it worse, that weight tends to stay on. So, how can you beat the odds?

Here are some tips from our Seasons Eatings challenge on “How to Survive Holiday Parties”

surviving holiday parties

If you are a guest at a holiday party or meal:

  • Don’t deny yourself the traditional holiday foods you’ve enjoyed since childhood. Enjoy moderate portions of what is being offered. Concentrate on eating slowly and savoring the taste and companionship.
  • Don’t skip meals earlier in the day. You’ll set yourself up to overeat. Eat a small serving of protein before you go to a party so you don’t arrive hungry.
  • At buffets, give yourself permission to taste things that are new or holiday specific. No need to overindulge on everyday foods. (How many times have you tasted potato chips? If you pass, you won’t be missing out on any of the new taste sensations.)

If you are giving a party or hosting a meal:

  • Include foods with healthy fats. Healthy fats (like those found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts) help you feel satiated so you will get full quicker.
  • Incorporate protein-rich foods in your menu. Like healthy fats, protein is satiating. Eating protein also gives your body a bigger metabolic boost than eating carbohydrates because protein takes more energy to digest.
  • Send the leftovers home with your guests. You’ll have less temptation to splurge the following day.

Click here for easy and healthy recipes to serve or bring to your next party.

One final tip:  Enjoy the holiday season!  Remember it’s not about the food, it’s about family, friends, and fellowship!

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Nature’s “Spaghetti”

spaghetti-squash-pasta-e1346082784821-300x300Looking for a low carb, low calorie dish that is healthy and delicious?  Try spaghetti squash (nature’s spaghetti).  While weighing in at only 42 calories per cup, spaghetti squash packs a punch with an abundance of nutrients that include folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene.  You can add a variety of ingredients to the noodles and create a wonderful side dish or meal.

Spaghetti squash is available year around with the peak season being fall.

How to Prepare

  • Cut squash in half length wise. (If you place in microwave for approximately 5 minutes before slicing it is easier to cut)
  • Scoop out the seeds and fibrous strings
  • Place halves face down on a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
  • Roast at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Let squash cool so that you can handle it then take a fork and scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin. Presto…spaghetti noodles!

Serving Suggestions

  • You can add marinara sauce with or without meat.
  • You can add garlic, olive oil, seasonings and top with parmesan cheese for a basic, but tasty side.
  • You can add a variety of vegetables (onions, cabbage, spinach, kale, asparagus, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots…)
  • A portion plate favorite is to sauté garlic, olive oil, grape tomatoes and broccolini for a great side dish. Add chicken, shrimp, Italian (pork or turkey) sausage, ground beef, or any other protein and there you have it – a great meal!

The possibilities are endless!

No matter which program you follow, primal, paleo, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan or etc. you can add spaghetti squash to your diet.

Happy cooking!

Have any good recipes to share? Feel free to post them on our FB page

Or email us at and we will post them on our website.

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Tailgating and Portion Control?



With all the excitement and food at a tailgate is it possible to practice portion control?  As the saying goes “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”.  So plan your tailgate using these tips below:

  • Stock your cooler with plenty of water. Since we often mistake hunger for thirst, keeping hydrated will help you recognize when you are full.
  • You can have your chips and eat them too! Just be sure to bring the pre-portioned bags.
  • Veggies are a great vehicle for dip.  Try them with guacamole, salsa, hummus and other non mayo based dips.
  • Skewers are great for tailgates.  Load them up with your favorite meat, veggies, fruit or a combinations of the three.
  • Craving sweets? Bake mini muffins or cupcakes and make your cookies bite-sized.  Sometimes all you need is a few bites to satisfy your cravings.
  • Pack the paper plates! Make sure when snacking at a tailgate to use a plate. If you stay by the food table and pick without using a plate, you can’t visualize how much you have eaten. Studies show that you underestimate the calories consumed by mindless snacking.
  • Put the food on your plate and then walk away!

Now you are ready to pack your cooler, put your out your flag and cheer on your team! Be safe and have a healthy weekend!

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Are We Really That Much More Hungry?


What are those 350 extra calories really doing for us? Most likely, they are stored as fat.

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Looking to Grab a Healthy Snack?

Looking to Grab a Healthy Snack?

Make sure to read labels!

Strawberry Yogurt Breakfast Bar vs Organic Blueberries

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