Feb 222018

For a lot of people in today’s society, snacks are an absolute must due to the insanely busy lifestyle that most of us lead. Snacks keep us energized throughout the day, and ensure our blood sugar levels maintain stable. Additionally, eating small snacks in between meals is beneficial in that it keeps us from totally overloading at actual mealtime. Healthy snacks include a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, are a good source of fiber, and are low in sugar. Below are some tips to consider next time you have a snack attack!

Filling Fiber- Food that include fiber makes us feel fuller for longer. Therefore, they are perfect for snacks! Small amounts go a long way, and fibrous snacks are an amazing way to “tide yourself over” until your next full meal. Popcorn, nuts, green veggies, apples, pears, prunes, raisins, and fiber bars are all great sources of fiber, as well as satisfying snacks.

Protein Punch- When it comes to snacking, it is important to get that protein punch you need. Though an obvious choice, protein bars and protein shakes make great snacks! They are super convenient and often require no preparation.

Carbo Combo- Snacks should not contain solely protein, but instead should contain a combination of protein and carbohydrates. This provides us with the best source of energy, and helps our muscles grow and repair. Protein/carb combo snacks are especially crucial before and after working out. Examples of such snacks include: apples with peanut butter, nut butter toast, greek yogurt with granola, cheese stick and a handful of nuts, veggies and hummus, or trail mix and fruit.

Curbing Cravings- Finally, it is important to use snacks to help curb unhealthy cravings. Personally, I always have a sweet tooth, and therefore, I usually look for snacks that are healthy, yet satisfy my sugary desires. Trail mix, cocoa dusted almonds, fruit, chocolate protein shakes, and frozen grapes all help me keep my sugar craving in check, while still keeping me content.

Snacks don’t have to be boring! Try something new! Simply remember to snack smart with snacks high in fiber, containing a combination of carbohydrates and protein, with a low sugar content.

Feb 092018

Though fun and delicious, restaurant food can be far from nutritious. It is impossible to avoid restaurants forever, and it is fun to treat yourself once in a while. The good news is, it is not impossible to eat healthy at a restaurant. Below are a few tips to follow when dining out:   

Choose your destination wisely: Before choosing a restaurant, assess all your options. Some locations clearly offer a healthier variety than others. Select a restaurant that you know provides healthy dishes. Most restaurants have their menu posted online. Therefore, you can know what kind of options are offered prior to going to the restaurant. Use the online menu to determine the restaurant where you wish to dine.

Plan ahead: As mentioned above, most restaurants provide menus on their website. Furthermore, most of these menus contain nutrition facts for their dishes. Using the menu and nutrition facts, you can easily plan ahead. With all this information, you can decide what you want to order before even stepping foot inside the restaurant. Knowing what you want beforehand will keep you from ordering junk food last minute.

Send in the subs: So suppose you choose a heavier entrée. Have no fear, simply send in the subs! Rather than pairing your entrée with the suggested fries or loaded potato, substitute a salad or fresh vegetable for your side. Subbing healthier sides can add important nutritional value to your meal and keep you from overconsuming calories and fat.

Listen to your body: One of the most important concepts to follow, regardless of what you ordered, is to listen to your body. When you’re feeling full, stop eating. Do not keep eating just clean your plate. Simply ask for a to-go box and eat the leftovers the next day. This allows you to still get your money’s worth, while not over-doing it.

Next time your friends want to go out to dinner, remember to choose the restaurant wisely, plan your order ahead of time, substitute unhealthy sides for vegetables or fruits, and listen to your body’s satiety signals. This makes for a guilt-free night out with friends that everyone can enjoy!


Feb 022018

February is AMERICAN HEART MONTH! The heart is an incredibly important component to our overall health, and therefore, it is our responsibility to take care of our hearts. Two of the best ways to make sure that your heart is in good shape is through DIET and EXERCISE!
Exercise: The American Heart Association recommends “40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week.” Lucky for you, all classes and training sessions offered at The Workout Company allow you to easily achieve this smart recommendation. Risk factors for heart disease include high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. However, exercising aids in lowering these measures, therefore, decreasing risks for cardiovascular disease.
Diet: Exercising a few times a week is not the only thing you need to do to keep your heart happy and healthy. It is crucial to eat an overall healthy and balanced diet to keep your heart in tip-top shape. A heart-healthy diet includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, high-fiber whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. However, a heart smart diet does not include excessive amounts of added sugars, trans and saturated fats, and sodium-rich foods. As previously mention, high blood pressure is a predominate risk for heart disease. One way to reduce blood pressure is by following a diet that is low in sodium (DASH diet). It is suggested that we consume no more than 2300 mg of sodium each day. Nonetheless, according to the FDA, Americans consume an average of 3400 mg of sodium per day. You would be surprised at the foods that contain heaping amounts of sodium! In order to avoid over-consumption of this heart-hurting mineral, be vigilant in reading nutrition labels, avoid packaged and processed foods, and eat fresh as often as possible.

With the right combination of diet and exercise, you can limit some of the risk factors for heart disease and keep your heart happy and healthy for years to come!
TODAY (Friday Feb 2nd) is NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY to spread awareness of heart disease!

Nov 062017




Whether you are running your kids 100 different directions or if work is constantly keeping you busy, you may find that it’s hard to eat healthy while in a hurry. Below I’ve listed some tips to help you even in a rush make healthy nutrient rich meals.

    1. Take advantage of crock pot dinners:  These are a great way to make really nutrient dense meals that don’t take up a lot of your time. Just throw everything in before leaving for work in the morning and then it’ll be ready by the time you come home from work, picking up the kids, etc. (www.skinnytaste.com has some great recipes to try).
    2. Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers: You can create an assembly line of sorts with tupperware and put away leftovers from dinner for tomorrow’s lunch in an instant.
    3. Plan ahead: I understand trying to plan ahead can be difficult when you are constantly on the go, but having a weekly meal plan or shopping list can make a huge difference in eating healthy while in a hurry.
    4. Eat out wisely: Know where some healthy options are near your office, home, etc. Find items that you like there, then add those to your weekly shopping list so you can prep those items at home.
Nov 042017



An area of nutrition that interests me the most is nutrition psychology. This field specifically looks at how food and nutrients affect people’s moods. Many individuals don’t realize the large role proper nutrition plays in mental health and overall well-being. 

Most people don’t know that this was actually an issue that I struggled with after losing my weight. I became so obsessive about how many calories I was consuming that my overall nutrition and well-being suffered. This lead to me speaking with a counselor for several months, until I was able to learn how to cope best with this issue. Flash forward to now and this is still an issue I deal with in my daily life. I’ve learned through many of my classes at ISU that to be my best self I need to properly fuel my body.


Nov 022017


Over the past 20 plus years or so portion size in America has doubled or even as much as tripled, this is a key contributor in the obesity issue we are seeing in children and adults today.  Many individuals have trouble understanding the difference between portion and serving. A serving is the measured amount of food, and a portion is the physical amount of food that is served. Below are some tips and tricks to help keep you on track.


  1. Understanding food labels  
  2. Understanding portion size
  3. Serve food on small plates/ bowls
Nov 012017


Being smart about eating during the holidays is always a challenge, below I’ve listed some helpful tips to help you all make it through.

1.) Don’t skip meals throughout the day in order to “save up” for the bigger meal later in the day (this typically leads to overeating later on).
2.) Pay attention to what you are consuming. Try to fill up more on whole grains, fruits, and veggies because these will keep you fuller longer.
3.) Go for a smaller plate instead of a large one, this is a simple way to avoid overeating.
4.) Fill at least half of your plate with lower calories options (fruits and vegetables)
5.) Get your family to go for a walk after you eat a meal even if it’s a short one.

Oct 312017

For those of you who do not know me, I’m Allie Ploense and have been working at the Workout Company for almost 5 years now. This semester I’m am doing some nutrition internship hours at the gym. Many of you probably do not know my weight loss story so I would love to share it with you all.

About 6 years ago I was playing at a softball tournament in the Wisconsin Dells, and suddenly the opposing team started making fun of my weight. I was devastated and spent several months feeling sorry for myself, then one day my dad suggested I join him at the Workout Company. Slowly but surely I began coming daily with my dad and using the machines and running on the treadmill. Once I become more consistent with working out I started tracking what I was eating on MyFitnessPal, and began having my mom cook healthier meals. Little by little the weight started coming off, I really did not even notice the change until one day my best friend’s mom pulled me aside and told me how good I was looking and to keep up the great work. After she noticed the change it just sparked something in me to keep going. After several months of hard work I ended up losing 90 pounds on my own, and have been fortunate enough to keep it off for the last 6 years. This major life change lead me to make the decision to major in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics at ISU.

I would love to help you all reach any weight loss goals you have, which is why I am opening up my services to all of you here at the gym. During the week I have set hours when I will be able to meet with you and they are as follows:

Monday: 6-10am
Tuesday: 10-noon
Wednesday: 8-10am
Thursday: 10-noon
Friday: by appointment
Saturday: 7-9am

If any of those hours don’t work for you please feel free to email me at aploens@ilstu.edu to set up an appointment. I cannot wait to hear from you all.!

Oct 272017

Individuals are always looking for a quick fix diet this typically leads them to a fad diet. Many of these diets have risk factors associated with using them. A fad diet is any diet that promises unrealistic weight loss or other health advantages that may promote a longer life without any scientific backing.
Like discussed above a typical fad diet plan will promote unrealistic weight loss, for example losing 10 pounds in a week. Other programs may promote unhealthy eating habits that don’t meet nutritional requirements, but not adequately meeting said requirements an individual could suffer physiologically. Typically as a result from programs like this an individual may experience weight loss but really its only water weight and lean muscle mass. It’s hard for anyone individual to maintain a diet that restricts their food choices, therefore individuals typically don’t maintain programs like these and will gain back weight and then some.