Posts Tagged ‘fiber in foods’

Bean Basics

January 20, 2015 1 comment

Depending on the variety, a half cup of cooked dry beans has about 120 calories, 7-8 grams protein and about 6 grams fibKnower.

Known as nutritional “powerhouses,” there are so many reasons to celebrate beans! Beans are low in fat and high in fiber and protein and also serve as good sources of folate, calcium and iron. Beans fit under not one but two food groups: vegetables and meat/protein. Nutritionally higher in carbohydrates than non-starchy vegetables, beans also count towards the goal of getting 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Benefits of Beans

Beans promote a healthy weight because of their high protein and high fiber content. Fiber creates a feeling of fullness that keeps you satisfied from one meal to the next. Depending on the variety, a half cup of cooked dry beans has about 120 calories, 7-8 grams protein and about 6 grams fiber. Check out the nutrient profiles for several beans in the table listed.

Reduce risk of disease: Research has shown that eating just a half a cup of beans several times a week helps reduce your risk of heart disease. There are also correlations between eating beans and reducing risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

How to Fit Beans into Your Routine

  • Pick a meatless meal (like the popular Meatless Mondays) for the week and use beans for your protein.
  • Buy frozen, dry or canned beans- they are all healthy! Rinse canned beans to reduce sodium by almost 40 percent.
  • Reduce gas-producing side effects with the following tips. If you are cooking dry beans, discard the soaking water and rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking. Take Beano, an over-the-counter gas remedy, prior to eating your first bite.
  • Kidney beans are great for chili and three-bean salad.
  • Pinto beans can be refried for dips or served as side dish. They are also popular in stews. You can buy fat-free refried beans for a healthier option.
  • Navy beans are perfect in soups, stews, or baked beans.
  • Lentils are great in soups and stews.
  • Garbanzo beans can be tossed into salads or used to make hummus dip.

Nutrient Profiles of Various Dried Beans: (Per ½ cup serving)

Baby Lima   Black Beans Black-eyed Peas Baby Lima Beans Pinto Beans Red Kidney Beans
Calories 114 calories 100 calories 115 calories 118 calories 109 calories
Carbohydrates 20g 18g 21g 22g 19g
Protein 8g 7g 7g 7g 8g
Fiber 4g 6g 6g 6g 4g
Fat 0g 0g 0g 0g 0g
Sodium 0g 3mg 3mg 2mg 4g
Iron 2mg 2mg 2mg 2mg 2mg
Folate 128mcg 179mcg 137mcg 147mcg 65mcg

You really can’t go wrong with any type of beans. Try incorporating these little gems into your routine and you will reap all the potential health benefits. Set a goal; aim to eat beans 4 times a week!

For information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services call 972.560.2655 or visit

What’s Really in Your Juice?

July 29, 2013 1 comment

Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Cooper Clinic registered dietitian shared ‘what’s really in your juice’ on Fox 4 Good Day.

Anytime I’m in the grocery store I love to check out the latest juices. They look so enticing with the juicy fruits and fresh vegetables on the labels, but I always check the nutritional values before buying a new drink. And sometimes I’m surprised by what’s really in my juice. Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Cooper Clinic was recently featured on Fox 4 Good Day sharing the facts about popular juices.

Meridan surrounded herself with a myriad of juice drinks and started the conversation by explaining—when choosing juices it all depends on the portion and caloric intake.

100% Juice

Sometimes we see 100% juice or we see the words ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ and think it’s a healthy option. Meridan said, “In reality it’s a glass of high-sugar, high-calorie and low-protein—which is pretty much a recipe for weight gain.”

Liquid calories are really the no. 1 contributor to weight gain in everything we take in as a nation.

Meridan presented a bottle of 100% juice labeled “citrus mango pineapple,” and explained that the no. 1 ingredient is apple juice, which is an inexpensive filler. There is minimal nutrient value in apple juice and it can result in cavities and weight gain.

You would think the 100% juice would be a healthier option, but it’s not if it’s filled with high fructose corn syrup. In the average bottle of 100% orange juice that you can buy in the airport or local convenient store there can be up to the equivalent of 22 sugar cubes. After drinking this bottle, you won’t feel full and you may crave more in calories later in the day.

Kids Drinks

We give kids packaged drinks in their lunch boxes, that aren’t really juice to begin with. If you read the ingredients, you can see they contain a lot of water and high fructose corn syrup. For example, a Capri Sun® contains the equivalent of eight sugar cubes. And the nutritional value of cranberry apple raspberry juice is not much better. Apple juice is again the no. 1 ingredient, and a glass contains the equivalent of 28 sugar cubes.

Fruit & Veggie Juices

Juices like Naked Juice® are everywhere with other popular juices in the refrigerated section of grocery stores. When you see these you think—that has to be healthy, it looks very organic. Yet even in one of these bottles featuring berries on the label, the no. 1 ingredient is—you guessed it, apple juice.

“When it’s all said and done if you’re somebody who’s never going to eat a fruit or vegetable, I would suggest a very small serving of this, otherwise you’re likely to gain weight. Of course if you need help adding fruits and vegetable to your diet a  Cooper dietitian can help out.”  And adding real fruits and vegetables has an added benefit—real fiber which can help with digestion.


Meridan demonstrated a common pour for a juice glass and compared it to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended four ounces a day for kids. “When we look at the amount kids are drinking you can see it’s really contributing to ill health and weight gain,” Meridan said. “If I could go from the standard American juice glass to the recommended four ounces a day, you could lose 10 pounds in a year! That is without dieting or exercise! That’s powerful.”


This is always your healthiest option. It is very important, especially in the summer heat to stay hydrated. Every cell in the human body requires water to function properly. When we don’t drink enough water, the cells begin to lose their function. Always keep a bottle or glass handy as you’re going about your daily routine.

The bottom line on juices—moderation is key. For more health tips from dietitians at Cooper Clinic, visit our website.

How to Build a Healthy Sandwich


The next time you make a sandwich, think beyond a boring piece of meat between two slices of bread. Get a bit creative and squeeze in most of the food groups for a high fiber, high protein and healthy fat combo meal. Here are some ideas on how to mix and match different ingredients to build a health savvy and satisfying sandwich.

Start with Wholegrains:

There’s a wide array of options beyond sliced bread. Check the food label for 100 percent wholegrain or wholewheat as the first ingredient and aim for 3 grams of fiber or more per slice. Fiber will give you staying power to keep you going through the day. Beyond bread, choose from any of the following wholegrains: wholewheat sandwich thins, pitas, Kaiser rolls, tortillas, bagel thins, English muffins and Flat Out wraps.

Go for Lean Protein:

For a heart healthy sandwich, go for a lean protein filling. On the deli route, pick healthier meats free of additives and nitrates and compare labels to find a lower sodium option. Examples are: turkey breast, chicken breast (deli sliced or fajita style), roast beef, lean ham, reduced fat cheese made with 2 percent milk, tuna, salmon or chicken salad made with low-fat mayonnaise. Get creative with tuna or chicken salad by incorporating some extra crunch and flavor with diced celery, onions, relish, water chestnuts, shredded carrots, chopped pecans or walnuts, raisins or dried cranberries.  Fill your sandwich with about a 3 oz. protein portion. Shop for canned tuna, salmon or chicken packed in water.

Pile on Produce:

Bulk up you sandwich with lots of veggies. The sky’s the limit! If they start falling out, you can enjoy a small salad on the side. Pile on leafy greens, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions rings. If you’re stuffing a pita or rolling a tortilla you can add shredded carrots or broccoli slaw. You might also enjoy thinly sliced apples or pears for a sweet kick with crunch.

Hale to Healthy Fats and Low-Fat Spreads:

Use all fats, including these healthy ones, sparingly because they carry a hefty calorie load. Add a small amount of hummus, avocado/guacamole (I like Wholly Guacamole), chopped olives, light mayonnaise, reduced-fat salad dressing, flavored vinegar or mustard (spicy, wasabi, honey or plain). Don’t forget to mix in chopped up nuts in your tuna or chicken salad.

The Finale:

To add color and crunch to your sandwich, skip the chips in favor of these other options: carrot chips, baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, sweet bell pepper rings, celery sticks, Cherub or yellow sunburst tomatoes, etc. And don’t forget fruit or fat-free yogurt for dessert!

To find more healthy lunch options and recipes from our Cooper Clinic dietitians, click here.

Maintain Your Weight Throughout Your 40s and 50s

ImageWe’ve all heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’ – this is especially true for women who are approaching their golden years. A 2010 study in the International Journal of Obesity found women gain an average of 12 pounds within eight years after menopause. The drop in estrogen decreases fat burning by 32 percent, the study notes. In the absence of estrogen, the hormone that is lost with menopause, women whose excess pounds once settled on their thighs or hips (in the form of subcutaneous fat) find the weight shifting to the belly as visceral fat wrapping dangerously around the body’s organs.

But there are preventive measures women can take to stay healthy when aging. Once women enter their 50s, they need about 1/4 to 1/3 fewer calories than in their 20s and 30s to maintain their weight, but you need the same amount of protein. So it becomes this challenge of doing more with less, and trying to pack more quality into fewer calories. This is because your metabolism, or the rate at which your body burns calories, slows down as you age.

Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Cooper Clinic, offers a plan to compensate for the changes in metabolism.

  • Don’t skip breakfast. It wakes up your metabolism – incorporate some lean protein such as eggs or egg whites. This is the time to have smart carbohydrates such as oatmeal or wholegrains.
  • Instead of three big meals, have several small meals to keep your energy up and reduce hunger and cravings.
  • Choose lean protein throughout the day.
  • Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables – they keep you feeling full and supply nutrients, antioxidants and fiber.
  • Drink lots of water (and have some tea) to stay hydrated.
  • Add extra fiber to help keep you feeling full.
  • Get some shut-eye. If you don’t get enough rest, it’s hard to lose body fat. Aim for 7-8 hours.

The other good news is that you can increase your metabolism rate by increasing lean muscle mass through strength training and aerobic activity. Your metabolism can also be affected by how frequently you exercise – the more physically active you are, the more you can boost your metabolism.

Meridan recommends the following:

  • Include resistance training two to three times a week to help boost weight loss and build bone density. Without it, women tend to lose bone density after menopause.
  • Commit to cardio! Do aerobic exercises at least thirty minutes four or five times per week, as the American College of Sports Medicine recommends. That can mean walking, jogging, biking, Zumba or any continuous movement. If you want more fat reduction, talk with your doctor about increasing the intensity or duration of your exercise.

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