10 Reasons Why You May Have Weight Gain after Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery and weight management are a long-term commitment that require a great deal of follow-through. It is important to keep to the plan that your bariatric health professionals have in place for you, otherwise it can be easy to go in the reverse direction.  Remember your team is there to support you throughout this journey, through both ups and downs.

The below is a list compiled from years of many, many patient experiences, in no specific order.  As you can see, it is all about behaviors.  All of these points are so important in long term weight loss success following bariatric surgery. Here are 10 reasons why you may have weight gain after bariatric surgery:

1. Getting too comfortable: Allowing yourself those extra handfuls or those few weeks without exercise, the “I’ll start up again once this passes” mentality.  It all adds up! After the honeymoon phase in the early months following your procedure, things change. It becomes easier to eat more and not be as strict/regimented. Remember, you go through many phases in your weight loss surgery journey. That is why you should talk out a new routine every so often and stay on your toes. Try to take care of “red flags” early before they can spiral out of control. This will help you stay focused and on track as life changes and throws you some curve balls along the way.

2. Not being mindful: You may THINK you are eating exactly the same way or very similar as you did in the beginning, but in fact are not.  A handful of nuts here, few hours later another, grazing on little things throughout the day–this can easily happen without even realizing. Tracking food intake a few times per week is a really helpful and important tool to stay mindful and see what you are taking in. We recommend apps such as MyFitnessPal or LoseIt, but you can use a notebook or your notepad on your phone and be fine too.


3. Not following up with your surgeon and dietitian: Follow up care is crucial to any bariatric surgery program.  Again, you never want to get too comfortable. You want to utilize your team that is there to support and guide you through this journey. Bariatric surgery experts will give you accurate information– and remember, everyone is different with their needs. It is better to discuss concerns and issues in person, face to face with the experts vs just listen to a peer or someone from an online group. We are here to help you, guide you, keep you motivated– not to judge you or yell at you for certain behaviors. We recommend following up with us (nutrition) every 3-4 months or more often as needed. Weigh ins on our body composition scale are always encouraged as well.  You should make sure to follow up with your surgeon regularly to discuss any medical concerns and to get the recommended blood work.

4. Not utilizing the surgery: You have build in portion control! If you stop eating your protein first (and enough of it in general), graze throughout the day vs eating balanced meals, not drink enough fluids, eat/drink together, etc…you are not fully utilizing the amazing tool you were given by your skilled surgeons.  Too little protein can lead not only to less satisfaction and fullness, but can contribute to muscle loss.  Muscle loss is not something you want– muscle is key in metabolism.  Empty calories, such as sugar/sweets and refined carbohydrates, don’t fill you up prior to surgery and unfortunately it stays that way even afterwards.

5. Poor sleep: Not getting enough zzzz not only to exhaustion and less physical activity the next day, but an increase in fat storing hormones (one example being cortisol) which can in turn pack on the pounds. Studies also show people have more cravings for high carb/sugar foods when sleep deprived.  Sleep really plays such a huge role in weight management, and the recommendation, which is hard for many, is at least 7-8 hours per night.

6. The all or nothing diet mentality: Remember, the goal of bariatric surgery is to NOT DIET AGAIN! You were given an amazing tool and jump start, but then you need to take over from there.  This is about behavior changes, routine changes, psychological changes. No more light switch, on or off, it is time for long term, sustainable changes now that you have built in portion control. Try to avoid describing foods as “bad” and “good.” Or you “cheated” and “failed.” We all have days we may have given into our cravings, have been more hungry, or just were so tired we barely moved. It is all about balance. No need to strive for perfection, just progress. You can’t beat yourself up over it, we have to learn from our mistakes.

7. Not eating actual, balanced meals/grazing: It is so vital to have nourishing and balanced meals. The surgery works best with meals, incorporating protein, fiber, maybe some healthy fats.  Balanced meals will keep you fuller longer, help to avoid those night time cravings, and prevent unneeded snacking throughout the day. Not only that, you will get the nutrition your body/organs need to function properly. A car cannot run without gas. Little bites of food throughout the day will not only add up in calories, but will never truly satisfy your hunger.  It will also result in less fluids and less hydration since you aren’t supposed to eat and drink together. In a perfect world after bariatric surgery: eat–>fill up–> wait about 20 minutes–> drink your fluids, and in a few hours if you’re hungry again you eat the necessary food.

8. Not exercising, or not exercising effectively: Once you are nourishing and hydrating your body enough, it is so important to start your exercise regimen. It is really the key to maintaining your weight loss. (and lowering stress, building muscle, helping energy, endorphins, among so many other reasons!)  It will keep your organs strong, your mind clearer, may even help you reach your fluid goals.  Most importantly, it will help you build muscle, which will help to boost your metabolism. It will really come in handy on those days where you may have been off your routine a bit. Each pound of muscle can burn an extra few hundred calories per day, even while you sit at your desk at work. It can be easy to lose muscle in the first year following surgery, so you want to make sure you are building your strength back.  Many gyms now offer bariatric surgery specific wellness programs with special rates.

9. Not attending support groups: Studies actually prove that coming to support group helps keep the pounds off! Once every few months or make it a monthly outing. There is always something you learn from each meeting. It is a way to connect with your peers, get back on track, and get motivated again. You should try to put time aside in your schedule to attend– remember, self care and YOU time is really important.

10. Unrealistic expectations: You want to have realistic expectations about the surgery and outcomes when you decide to have bariatric surgery.  It will help keep you positive and remain motivated. (which also helps keep the pounds off!) Try to avoid comparing yourself to others, everyone is their own unique individual with their own needs. You have to take into account everyone has a different body type, starting weight, age, etc. Statistics also say it is completely normal and part of this process to gain back 5-10 pounds.  Focus on your individual goals and you will get to where you want to be.

Whether you had bariatric surgery 15 years ago or are freshly out, the Dietitians at LBS Nutrition are here to help you with specific, individualized recommendations and to guide/support you on your journey to wellness!


What’s the scoop on protein?

Are you wondering what the best sources of protein are? Best absorbed protein powders? Or why it’s even so important? We have the scoop (no, not the scoop that comes in the protein powder tub) on protein!

Types of Protein

When it comes to protein, most people think of meat, chicken, and eggs. These are great sources, but there are so many additional sources of protein that don’t get enough attention. The following protein amounts are estimates, and will vary according to size, brand, etc.

Meats/ Chicken/ Seafood (per 3 oz, which is about a deck of cards or the palm of your hand)

  • Tuna, Halibut, Octopus, Salmon, Tilapia, Anchovies, Sardines: 21-25g
  • Steak: 23g
  • Lean ground beef: 18g
  • Pork chops: 26g
  • Chicken: 24g
  • Turkey: 24g

So pretty much about 7 grams of protein per ounce of any of them- use that #!


  • Eggs: 6-7g per egg
  • Greek yogurt: 23g per 8 oz (1 cup) serving
  • Cottage cheese: 15g per 1/2 cup serving
  • Cheese: 8g per 1 oz
  • Milk: 8g per 1 cup
  • Whey or Casein protein powder: 24g per scoop

Dairy and Meat-Free Options (yes you can get enough protein without meat!)

  • Navy beans: 20g per 1 cup
  • Lentils: 13g per 1/4 cup
  • Peanut butter: 8g per 2 Tbsp
  • Nuts: 6g per 2 oz
  • Tofu: 12g per 3 oz
  • Edamame: 8g per 1/2 cup
  • Green peas: 7g per 1 cup
  • Quinoa: 8g per 1 cup
  • Vegan protein powder: 20g per scoop
  • For more, check out this blog post


Best Absorbed Protein Powders (the following information was found here)

Which protein powder is the best option? That depends on a lot of individual factors, but generally speaking, whey protein tends to be the best option. It is quickly absorbed by the body, which is important for muscle growth and recovery. Here is some information about additional options, each of which have their own benefits.


  • Dairy-based and contains lactose
  • Digested and absorbed most quickly
  • Promotes muscle growth and recovery


  • Dairy-based
  • Digested and absorbed slowly
  • Steady release of protein and amino acids to muscles
  • Still a good option, but whey protein wins for better absorption


  • Easy to digest and absorb, but eggs are a common allergen
  • Made from egg whites without yolks
  • Complete protein (contains all essential amino acids)
  • Good for muscle growth and recovery

Pea protein:

  • Vegan
  • High in fiber
  • Contains many amino acids, but not a complete protein
  • Absorbed slower than whey, but faster than casein
  • Look for mixed vegan protein powders that contain pea, brown rice, hemp, etc. for more of a complete protein

How Much Protein Should I Eat At Each Meal?

A study done by the Journal of American Dietetic Association found that the body has a difficult time absorbing more than 30 grams of protein at one sitting. If you choose to eat more than this at one meal, it’s likely that your body will not properly absorb it, and you will not reap the benefits from it.

Protein Tips

Smoothies are another great way to pack in multiple protein sources. When you use protein powder, nut butter, and milk together you will reach great amounts of protein.

It’s also important to eat protein after working out. Your body needs the proper nutrients to build muscle, and will readily absorb protein following a workout. This is the optimal time for absorption! Make sure to eat a balanced meal after a workout.

As always, we need to stress balance. Consuming both meat-based and plant-based sources of protein will be best for your health because of the additional benefits that both options have to offer. Meat-based tend to have more protein per serving, and have vitamins and minerals that are difficult to find in plant sources. Plant-based proteins have healthier fats, fiber, and also have vitamins and minerals not found in meat sources. So, your best bet would be to have a balance.

If you’re unsure how much protein you should be consuming, how to pair it with other foods, or you just need some new meal and snack ideas, come in and see your dietitian! The dietitians at LBS Nutrition LLC will make a realistic plan tailored to your individual needs.

A Fruitful Discussion About Fruit

There is so much conflicting information as to whether or not fruit is good for you. One day the news is saying that fruit is filled with vitamins, and the next they’re saying that its sugar contributes to high blood sugars and weight gain. So what’s the truth – is this type of sugar good or bad for you?

As with most things nutrition related, the answer isn’t so easy. That’s why we have this blog 😉


Sugar Content

Ever hear that snacking on fruit is great when “watching your weight,” because it curbs sugar cravings? Turns out it curves cravings because it contains a lot of sugar – it is satisfying your craving, not curbing it. Is snacking on fruit a healthier choice than eating a Snickers bar? For sure. No one would argue that. But the problem lies in eating a whole fruit platter or half a watermelon on a hot summer day and thinking you did yourself a favor. Sure there are many health benefits of fruit, but at the end of the day it can still be consuming a massive amount of sugar if you are not having it in moderation.

An important thing to note is that the fruit in sugar isn’t the same as table sugar (the kind you bake with and put in coffee) and isn’t absorbed the same way either. Yes, sugar is sugar, but it turns out that fructose from fruit isn’t as awful for us. Hooray!

This is a helpful resource if you are wondering about the nutrition content of a particular fruit.


Additionally, the fiber in fruit helps to slow the absorption of the sugar. Fruits with the most fiber (~5 g per serving) are apples, pears, blackberries & raspberries-– these are best to eat, especially if you are trying to keep your blood sugars controlled. They also help contribute to the 30-35 gram goal per day that adults need! Lastly, they are less addicting– it is much easier to eat some apple slices than to stop after a few pieces of juicy, sugary mango or watermelon. Be aware of the sugar content in store bought or homemade fruit juices because there is typically no fiber to slow the absorption of sugar (or fill you up!). You want to stick with balanced smoothies, because you are using the whole fruit and keeping the fiber. Another benefit of smoothies is that you can add protein powder, which slows the absorption of sugar as well. Also, you can mix some veggies into your smoothie (think beets, carrots, greens…) and get more fiber. Bonus if it has fat too (like avocado) because, you guessed it, it slows the absorption of the sugar!


How Much Should I Eat?

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the recommended daily intake of fruit for an adult woman is 1.5 cups, and for adult males is 2 cups. Unfortunately, that is super misleading. Fruit should be measured in servings and not cups. We typically recommend about 2 fruits per day (but can be different for each individual) and try to have something with them for your snack, like nuts, some natural peanut or almond butter, or even a few olives. This way you will be held over longer.

*Also remember, 1 medium banana, grapefruit, and mango= 2 fruits, about 10-15 grapes is considered 1 fruit, and about 1 cup of berries.  Banana’s aren’t “bad”– they happen to be quite nutritious.  Just know that they count as two of your servings for the day and not one.

Vitamins and Minerals

Did I lose you yet? I know there is a lot to think about, but so far to summarize, you should really consider how much sugar is in the fruit you are eating so you can determine the appropriate amount of it to eat.

While that might make you want to shy away from fruit entirely, don’t forget that it is filled with vitamins and minerals, as well as some other healthy things like fiber and antioxidants. I’m sure you haven’t come this far without hearing about the importance of fiber from the LBS Nutrition staff, so I won’t explain the importance again. The vitamins and minerals found in fruit are abundant, and it doesn’t take 6 cups of fruit daily to reap the benefits.

Don’t forget that fruits aren’t the only foods with antioxidants!


What About Dried Fruit?

Dried fruits usually have a bunch of sugar added, which of course isn’t a good thing. Even when they don’t, people have a tendency to over eat dried fruit. Just 2 tablespoons of it is equal to eating 1 fresh fruit. So the amount in many of the pre made trail mixes can equal 2-3 fruits worth of sugar when you think you are doing “good.” In moderation, it could be fine, like adding a 1-2 teaspoons of craisins or raisins to your nut mix or your oatmeal. Generally speaking, fresh fruit is better.

The Verdict

Fruit can contribute various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to a well-balanced diet. To best reap the benefits, aim to pair fruit with fat. Fat helps you to absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, & K) which would otherwise not be absorbed. Try a handful of blueberries and pecans, a small banana and peanut butter, or a salad with walnuts and pomegranate seeds.


As with all things, consume in moderation. The sugar in fruit can really add up, without filling you up, so be cautious of your portion sizes. A cup is not always a serving size, and neither is a whole fruit. If you’ve been drinking a smoothie every morning with a banana in it, a whole apple with lunch, a huge bowl of melon as a snack, and strawberries as dessert but you’re struggling to lose weight, you may now have your answer. That’s over 44 grams of sugar in just fruit, without your meals even added in.

Questions or comments, feel free to contact us at lbsnutritionllc@gmail.com

Staying on Track at Work

Work can make staying on track with your goals fairly tricky, especially in certain environments.

Co-workers bring in donuts one day.

You work on the road.

You don’t have a microwave.

What do you do?


We have some tips for the difficult situations that might be presented to you!

Avoiding Temptation

It’s so nice to have a close relationship with co-workers, but that might mean homemade banana bread is brought in once a week, along with cakes, donuts, and cookies. How can you say no?

Keeping healthy snacks in your drawer can definitely help to avoid temptation, or at least minimize it.


Another tip? Make sure you like the snacks! It sounds silly, but you’ll never turn to the carrots you packed over a homemade slice of cake if you don’t like carrots or are in the mood for them. Here are some snack ideas that fit each category, depending on what type of snack you prefer.

  • Crunchy/ salty: roasted edamame, nuts, seeds, Whisp Cheese CrispsBeanitos
  • Savory: peanut butter and celery, hummus and veggies, cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs
  • Sweet: protein bars, store-bought protein shakes, peanut butter and fruit, cottage cheese and fruit, homemade energy bites (like these)
  • A little salty & sweet by creating your own trail mix- include nuts/seeds/crunchy chickpeas or edamame/a few raisins or raisins or a tsp of semi sweet chocolate chips/M&M’s… the list goes on (we will be doing a trail mix blog in the future, stay tuned!)

And another tip: stay hydrated and avoid getting too hungry! Temptation strikes when your stomach is empty. Keep a large water bottle on your desk so you have it ready for you when you need it. Also try to have a balanced lunch to keep you full, so if you do fall into temptation, it’s at least only a mini muffin and not a few vending machine items.


Hand-Held & Cold Meals

If you work in an environment where you’re moving around quickly, driving, don’t have access to a microwave, or just don’t have time for a sit-down meal, these might be the solution for you.

  • Protein pancakes: spread with peanut butter and roll!
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Overnight oats: balance it with protein/healthy fats
  • Baked egg bites: fill with veggies/some cheese
  • Wraps:
    • Tuna, chicken, or egg salad (Tip: use avocado instead of mayo!)
    • Deli meat, veggies, and cheese
    • Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and sautéed red peppers
    • Apple and peanut butter
    • Other tips: use Flat Out Protein Up or other high fiber wraps or lettuce for low-carb, and cut the wrap into bite-sized pieces if you need something quick to grab!
  • Quesadillas with grilled chicken and peppers
  • Rice paper spring rolls
  • “Sushi” wrap


I Forgot My Lunch at Home!

Have no fear! There are always healthy options hiding among the convenience store aisles of cookies and chips, or on the menu of fast-food junk.

Always aim to look for protein and fiber! A few balanced snacks can do the trick:

  • Nuts, seeds, or berries in plain yogurt
  • Fruit with nut butter packets
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Protein drinks
  • Protein bars
  • Burrito bowl: make sure to pack it with more veggies and lean meat than carb!
  • Turkey or black bean burger- with a small side
  • Chicken or chicken salad on a bed of lettuce, add some nuts or seeds
  • Tuna salad with carrots/celery on the side
  • Wraps with turkey or chicken
  • Sushi

Some stores to look for: Chipotle, Smashburger (the veggie fries are delicious), Starbucks (spinach feta wrap, protein packs), Wawa, Subway, and Chick-Fil-A have at least one of the options listed above!


Some of our Holiday Treat picks

Do not go into this holiday thinking you cannot enjoy some festive desserts while keeping up your momentum!

Try some of these delicious (and balanced) picks…

Baked Apples:


Core 8 medium apples without cutting all the way through to the bottom — leave about a ½-inch of uncut apple at the bottom — then cut away a little bit extra so there’s a well in each apple about ¾-inch thick. Put the apples on a lined baking sheet, then sprinkle each apple with cinnamon and 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and top with 1 teaspoon unsalted butter. Bake until the apple is very soft, 30–35 minutes. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with your favorite maple granola.

Flourless Brownies- Warning: 3 ingredients ONLY




3 medium, overripe bananas

1/2 cup smooth almond butter (or use any other nut/seed butter)

2 T- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (more=richer flavor)


Preheat the oven the 350 degrees, grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.

In a small microwave-safe bowl or stovetop, melt your nut butter. In a large mixing bowl, add the banana, nut butter and cocoa powder and mix very well.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for around 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.

Pomegranate Clusters


Makes: 20


1 cup CHOCOLATE CHIPS (Enjoy Life® are gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free)

1 POMEGRANATE (I used POM Wonderful®)


  1. Slice pomegranate in half and then into quarters. Place in large bowl of water and soak 5 minutes. Begin to break pomegranate apart under water, allowing arils to fall to bottom of bowl. Remove rind and membranes. Remove seeds from bowl, picking out any debris. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and blot gently with more paper towels. Arils must be completely dry. Let me stress that again, completely dry. To ensure this, I leave them out to air dry further for a couple hours or place them on a plate in a barely heated oven (that has been turned off). Any residual moisture will prevent the chocolate from binding to the arils and the clusters will fall apart.
  2. Line a mini muffin pan with 20 mini muffin cups/liners.
  3. Pour chocolate chips into a heavy-duty zip top bag, shake down into one corner. Place in microwave and heat in 15-20 second intervals, removing each time to knead. Continue until chocolate is smooth and viscous. Squeeze chocolate down into one corner. Snip off a tiny corner to make a makeshift piping bag.
  4. Drizzle chocolate into bottom of cups. Add a layer of pomegranate arils to each cup. Drizzle with more chocolate. Repeat so that you have four layers of chocolate and three layers of arils.
  5. Allow to harden in a cool, dry place.


Not so sweet- but still a fun treat

Pita Hummus Trees



Whole Wheat Pita (sliced into triangles)

Avocado Hummus

Sliced Tomato/red pepper

Pretzel sticks


Cut pita into triangles. Spread avocado hummus, sliced peppers/tomato and any other vegetables of choice. Stick a pretzel stick into pita.

Fruit snowman pops


Slice up banana, apple, and grapes. Assemble to make a cute snowman. The buttons can be made from dark chocolate chips or raisins. Enjoy!!

For nutrition facts, you can add recipes into myfitnesspal or email us at LBSNutritionLLC@gmail.com. Happy Holidays!


Finding Balance During the Holidays, LBS Nutrition Style

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are rapidly approaching, along with feelings of anticipation, warmth, and maybe even some anxiety. You may feel like you have made progress and have been doing well on your weight management journey, but now the holiday season has you surrendering. Many of you think that the holiday season is an excuse to give into temptation, because its just a few days, right? Others are biting their nails in fear that their hard work is going out the window.

Have no fear! We are here to help!

The holidays should be a time of laughter, positivity, family, and friends. It should not be a time to count calories, carbohydrates, or hide away from people in an effort to continue with your meal plan.

Remember: You have total, absolute control. Balancing family, friends, and health IS possible, and essential in life-long weight management.

We collected some tips for you to stay healthy and happy through the holidays, while balancing your goals and enjoyment. Yes, it really is possible!

1. Make a plan and keep yourself accountable

Try to avoid the “all or nothing mentality.” You can indulge in something without throwing away your whole day or week. Remember, you can’t gain 1 lb of fat overnight.

Enjoy all your favorite foods on one plate.  If you have second helpings, aim to make it consist of vegetables & lean protein. Have the stuffing and the pie on the first plate!

You can start and end the day on a positive note. Typically, holidays consist of a few special meals. This leaves room for a balanced breakfast packed with protein and fiber in the morning, and trying to end on a good note by avoiding food 2-3 hours prior to going to bed.

Have a game plan for after the celebration. Plan the day after so that you don’t get pulled into continuing all the indulgences. If you set yourself up with a plan, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Sometimes the plan may be throwing away some of the temptations or making sure guests take it with them.  This way, out of site, out of mind.

Stay accountable! Show up to your appointments and try to track what you’re eating as much as you can. Don’t let your accountability slip through the cracks. There is no reason to feel badly if you had a few days of over doing it. Just try to stay motivated and move forward, that is why following up with your Registered Dietitians during this time can be very helpful!


2. Don’t restrict meals prior to the big holiday gathering

A lot of people plan on eating extra calories for a big holiday meal, so they restrict calories before they go.

Don’t do this!!!!

This results in a mentality where you feel that you deserve to pig out because you “saved your calories.” This will inevitably result in eating more than you would have if you had eaten beforehand.

Eat, remain satisfied, and make sure to hydrate. It can be difficult with all of the snacks and foods to pick on, but remember not to force yourself to eat just because its there. Sometimes try asking yourself, “am I hungry or just tempted?” Hydration is also very important, because the feeling of thirst can feel really similar to hunger. Plus, all of the extra salt is dehydrating. So don’t neglect your water. If you’re drinking alcohol, make sure you drink water or seltzer in between cocktails as well!


3. Try to do some sort of moving/exercise 

This can be fun and a great way to get the family and friends involved! Everyone will feel better after doing it, including you. You’ll feel less guilty and it will help in digesting the food. For people who have diabetes, it is also that best way to lower your blood sugar following a big meal. Remember too, your body doesn’t want to digest while you’re sleeping, as it can lead to gastric reflux or a stomach ache. Layer up and go for that stroll around the neighborhood. You ( and your stomach) will be happy you did! It doesn’t have to be hours long, 10-15 minutes is better than nothing.

The morning of the holiday meal, strength training is key. This helps to keep burning fat while you’re eating. Score! If your gym is closed, remember there are tons of exercises you can do using your own body weight at home. And, something is better than nothing, so fit in what you can!


4. Try some new menu alternatives

There are some easy ways to incorporate extra veggies and fiber into the holiday meal that actually taste great (and keep you full!)  Here are some ideas:

  • Mashed or riced cauliflower
  • Mashed sweet potato
  • Roasted root vegetables
  • Roasted brussels sprouts
  • Collard greens, spinach, or kale
  • Baked apples
  • Use high fiber bread
  • Quinoa or barley with veggies
  • Soups (a great way to sneak in a ton of veggies)

5. Don’t rely on January 1st as your savior

A lot of people go into the holidays with the mentality that January 1st will be the day they pick their goals back up. There’s no reason to drop them in the first place!

Just maintaining your weight is a great accomplishment in itself. Reframe your goals during the holiday season, and see the positive aspects of what you have accomplished.

Too much of a “new year, new you” mentality will wear off quickly. You have all year to establish new goals, and to accomplish them.

Don’t rely on January 1st to be your savior! Keep your balanced habits alive as much as possible, and add a few more once the new year begins. Small changes add up! No reason to set yourself up with huge, intimidating goals


6. Enjoy and stay positive

Most importantly, enjoy this time spent with loved ones and stay positive. No one is perfect and mistakes happen– it is how you bounce back that counts. Too much guilt and not enough positive reinforcement will result in less weight loss and weight maintenance.  So if you ate a few extra bites of something you weren’t planning on, think about tomorrow being a new day. And of course, your LBS Nutrition Dietitians are here to support you and motivate you when you need it! Just an phone call or email away.

Christmas Labels

Everyday Meals Made Easy

By: Sari Greaves, RDN, LBS Nutrition LLC Dietitian

Let’s face it. Your food choices have a huge impact on how you feel and function during the day. Making balanced choices and feeling your best may be easier said than done when you factor in a busy schedule. The good news for all you time-crunched eaters—with a few tricks, you can prepare easy, balanced meals that will satisfy a craving for something crunchy, sweet, or savory while providing you with sustained energy to conquer your day.

Straight from our home kitchen and into yours, the Registered Dietitians at LBS Nutrition LLC are serving up everyday, nutritious meals that will take the stress out of cooking. Fall into a healthy routine this season by experimenting with one new recipe a day. You will feel the powerful boost of a protein and fiber-packed meal to help you stay full. As an added bonus, these recipes get our stamp of approval for being big on taste and slimming on the waist.

Hungry for more? The Dietitians at LBS Nutrition LLC can create individualized meal plans that meet your personal health and wellness goals. (And that fit in your busy schedule!)

Greek Salad Roll-Up

When you need a grab ‘n go meal, wraps are a convenient way to enjoy a nutritious salad without a fork. In this recipe, we take all the healthy ingredients of a classic Greek salad and roll it into a high fiber wrap. Extra protein points for using the Greek yogurt dressing.

For the wraps: Makes 4 wraps

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ red onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic, from jar

1 cucumber, chopped

1cup cherry tomatoes, halved

¼ cup black olives, chopped with pits removed

2 chopped roasted red bell peppers from jar

2 cups baby spinach or dark leafy greens, chopped

4 boiled eggs, chopped

2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup feta cheese

4 whole grain wraps (60-90 calories each, with at least 5 g fiber per wrap) such as Tumaro’s or Flatouts

  1. In a bowl stir together first 12 ingredients, from oil through cheese.
  2. Divide mixture between 4 wraps.
  3. Drizzle with Greek yogurt dressing.

(373 calories, 20 g protein, 11 g fiber) + sauce

Greek yogurt dressing: Makes 4 ¼ cup servings

1 6-ounce container 2% Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons canola oil mayonnaise

½ cup cultured low-fat buttermilk

½ tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or chives

1/8 teaspoon each: salt and pepper

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until well combined.
  2. Pour sauce into an airtight container. Chill until ready to use.

( 71 calories, 6 g protein per serving)



Weeknight Do It Yourself Pasta Builder

Mix and match your favorite batch for less than 500 calories. Each recipe makes 4-8 servings depending on pasta box size. (8 oz. box yields 4 cooked servings; 1 lb. box yields 8 cooked servings) Make a batch and then top your serving with any of our Finishing Sauces. Precooked proteins help you bring it to the table in next to no time.

Pick your ingredients…

1 box of high protein/fiber pasta such as:

  • Explore Cuisine Edamame or Black Bean Pasta
  • Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • Fiber Gourmet Pasta
  • Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Pow! Pasta

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, hazelnut oil, walnut oil, or canola oil

Low-sodium broth as needed

Choose a flavor base and dice it up:

  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • Shallot
  • Yellow/white onion
  • 1 bunch of leeks or celery stalks

12-16 oz. your favorite protein (Pick one, or mix as many as you’d like)

  • Shrimp
  • Diced salmon
  • Skinless chicken breast strips
  • 95% lean ground beef
  • White beans (canned, rinsed & drained)
  • Canned tuna (packed in water)

1½ cups of your choice of vegetables (Choose one or mix!)

  • Broccoli florets
  • Sliced zucchini,
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Kale

½ cup grated cheese

  • Parmesan/pecorino/romano
  • Shredded asiago/fontina/mozzarella

Herbs to taste:

  • Sliced chives
  • Italian parsley
  • Thyme

To make…

  1. Pick your favorite pasta shape; cook it one minute less than package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water.
  2. Place your oil in a 12-inch skillet and warm over medium heat.
  3. Add your flavor base and gently cook until translucent.
  4. Add your protein and sauté on medium-high heat until browned. If using tuna or beans, stir until warmed through.
  5. Add your vegetables and continue to cook until fork tender or wilted. Add additional broth if more cooking liquid is needed.
  6. Stir in the freshly cooked pasta and the ½ cup of reserved cooking water and cook for a few seconds until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and herbs. Alternately, you can substitute the cheese and herbs with any of the delicious finishing sauces below.

Finishing Sauces: Makes 1 serving.

Ginger Hoisin (30 CALORIES) • 1½ teaspoons finely chopped green onions, 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, 1½ teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon peeled fresh ginger, ½ teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

Teriyaki Sauce (30 CALORIES) • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 minced garlic clove, ¾ teaspoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon water

Coconut Ginger (35 CALORIES) • ½ teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon Sriracha, 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon red curry paste, 2 tablespoons light coconut milk

Peanut Sauce (95 CALORIES) • 1 tablespoon water, 1½ teaspoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons chunky peanut butter, ½ teaspoon Sriracha, 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce, 1½ teaspoons rice vinegar

  1. For any of the above, just stir all ingredients until combined.


Mayo-Free Avocado Tuna Salad

Swap out the mayo in a traditional tuna salad for fresh avocado and olive oil to amp up your intake of heart-healthy fats. Serve with 1 cup of antioxidant rich red grapes or 100-calorie bag of Enlightened beans.


Makes 2 servings

4 slices of whole grain bread, toasted and cut diagonally such as Ezekiel Sprouted Grain, Trader Joes California Style Sprouted Whole Grain or David’s Killer Bread

1 5-ounce can tuna in olive oil, drained

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup celery, finely chopped

¼ apple, finely chopped into thin matchsticks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

black pepper, to taste

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tuna, mustard, onion, celery and apple.
  2. Add in lemon juice and black pepper to taste. Using a spatula, gently fold in the avocado cubes.
  3. Spoon the tuna gently over toast.

( 350 calories, 19  protein, and 9 g fiber per serving)



Microwave Cup of Zoodles

A delicious medley of zucchini, lentil-tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella combine in one easy, microwave friendly meal.


Makes 1 serving

1 small zucchini, spiralized or sliced into 1/8-inch-thick coins

½ cup jarred tomato sauce

½ cup cooked brown lentils* (or canned cannellini beans, drained)

1 scoop of flavorless fiber powder (such as Renew Life Clear Fiber powder)

¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

  1. Arrange zucchini on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for 90 seconds. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce, cooked lentils or beans, and fiber powder. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and 2 tablespoons mozzarella.
  3. Arrange half of the zucchini in a microwave-safe mug. Top with1 tablespoon cheese mixture, spreading evenly. Top cheese mixture with 2 tablespoons lentil sauce. Repeat layering zucchini, cheese, and sauce until mug is almost full, then top with remaining mozzarella.
  4. Cover mug with a clean paper towel and microwave on high for 90 seconds, until cheese is melted. Let cool 2 minutes before serving.

(314 calories, 25 g protein and 19.5 g fiber per recipe)

*Basic cooked lentils: Make more to store, and use cooked lentils to instantly elevate the fiber and protein content of salads, stir fries, egg dishes, tacos, and stews.

2 cups dry lentils, rinsed

  1. In a medium-size pot, add the lentils and enough water or broth to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn down to medium-low.
  3. Simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Drain lentils and store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Canned lentils are also another great time-saving option – just be sure to rinse them under fresh water for about one minute in order to reduce the sodium content.



Pan Fried Chickpea Pita Sandwiches

If you are craving falafel without the deep-fry regret, these pita sandwiches are super tasty with lots of texture, and are easy to assemble.

Makes 8 servings


6 whole grain pitas, halved (80-100 calorie) such as Ezekiel’s pockets

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

8 cups leafy greens, such as spinach or arugula

12 tomato slices

12 thin avocado slices

12 tablespoons of prepared hummus, plain or garlic flavored.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap pita in foil and bake 10 minutes until warm.
  2. Place chickpeas in a single layer between paper towels; pat dry.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add chickpeas and sauté until lightly browned and crispy, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove chickpeas using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add leafy greens to skillet and cook until wilted.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine salt, cumin, paprika, and red pepper; stir in chickpeas and toss well to coat. Fold in leafy greens.
  6. Fill each pita half with about 2/3 cup chickpea mixture, 1 tomato slice, 1 avocado slice and 1 tablespoon of hummus. Serve immediately.

(328 calories, 12 g protein, 8 g fiber per serving)



Quick Coconut Curry

After a long day, this recipe has all the elements of a quick and satisfying meal- crunchy legumes, tender vegetables, and silky coconut broth. You can make different variation of this curry using any fresh vegetable you enjoy, and precooked proteins such as diced rotisserie chicken or pre-cooked chicken sausage.

Makes 4 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

¾ cup chopped onion, fresh or from frozen package

2 tablespoons minced garlic, fresh or from jar

2 tablespoons almond flour/meal or all-purpose flour

1 ½ tablespoons curry powder

1 cup fresh cauliflower florets

2 cups mixed squash, sliced or cubed: yellow, green, butternut

4 cups unsalted vegetable stock

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup light coconut milk

Choose a crunchy protein/fiber topper: 6 ounce bag of dry roasted chickpeas, edamame, or beans (any flavor) such as Saffron Road Dry Roasted Chickpeas, Seapoint Farms dry roasted Edamame, or Enlightened Beans

  1. In a large pot, heat olive olive oil and swirl to coat.
  2. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes
  3. Add flour and curry powder; cook 1-1 ½ minutes or until flour begins to brown, stirring constantly. Stir in vegetables. Add vegetable stock, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil over medium—high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Remove pan from heat; stir in coconut milk. Divide mixture between 4 bowls; sprinkle each serving with crunchy topping.

( 266 calories and 6.5 g protein+ your crunchy topping)



Power Up! Protein Salad

If you are craving a light and sweet meal that keeps your hunger level in check, look no further. A leafy green salad topped with protein and a citrus twist not only adds a juicy bonus to your meal, but also enhances iron absorption (Iron is an essential mineral needed to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. Iron is needed to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails and if your body is not getting enough, you can become fatigued). Top your salad with any protein you have on hand from animal to vegetarian sources.

Makes 2 servings


2 cups diced fresh strawberries (or any Vitamin C-rich fruit such as kiwi, grapefruit, oranges, watermelon, or pineapple)

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon black pepper

juice of 1 lime

½ ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)

3-4 cups dark leafy greens, divided into 2 bowls

Choose a protein topper for each salad: 2 ounces Crispy Coconut Chicken Strips*, veggie burger from frozen package such as Morningstar Farms, 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese such as Friendship 1% whipped or muuna cottage cheese, 1 boiled whole eggs + 2 whites, 2-3 ounces of diced skinless rotisserie chicken breast, chicken or salmon burger from frozen package, 1 cup cooked quinoa-black bean mixture, 2-3 ounces cooked shrimp, 2-3 ounces of cooked lean sirloin/flank steak.

  1. In a bowl stir together strawberries, onion, vinegar, pepper, lime, avocado and mint.
  2. Divide mixture and spoon over each salad bowl.
  3. Add your favorite protein topper to each salad.

(142 calories and 5 g protein pre serving) + protein of your choice



*Crispy Coconut Chicken Strips

Makes 4 servings


Cooking spray

½ cup oats or ground flaxseed meal

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 omega-3 fortified egg

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips

1 tablespoon honey

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree and coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. If using oats, placed in a food processor and grind for 20 seconds.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine ground oats or flaxseeds with cheese and coconut flakes.
  4. Beat egg. Dip chicken strips in egg and dredge in oat/flax mixture.
  5. Arrange chicken strips in a single layer on baking sheet, drizzle with honey and cook 10-15 minutes per side, until golden brown.

( 189 calories and 18 g protein per serving)



References: Cooking Well: Easy Meals @asksari (Instagram, Facebook) Cookinglight.com, Food & Nutrition Magazine. 

You can contact LBS Nutrition LLC at 732-210-9581 or email lbsnutritoinllc@gmail.com to discuss creating your own weekly menu!




Thryoid Health 101

Thyroid conditions are becoming increasingly more common, with approximately 20 million Americans suffering from a thyroid condition.

Why does this matter? What does your thyroid even do? Well according to Kelly Brogan MD, it is in control of your metabolism, and depending on what kind of thyroid condition you have, it dramatically affects your weight and many other things.

If your thyroid is under-active, meaning you have HYPOthyroidism, then your body’s processes are slow.

  • Your metabolism is slow
  • You gain weight more easily
  • You’re often tired
  • Have poor concentration
  • A slow heart rate
  • A slow digestive system

If your thyroid is overactive, and you have HYPERthyroidism, then your body’s processes are too fast.

  • A fast metabolism
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • A fast heart rate
  • A fast digestive system




Four nutrients that are extremely important for a healthy thyroid include:

  • Iodine
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Iron

Hearing this, it may seem like a good idea to automatically supplement with these nutrients. However, if these minerals are too high, they can cause problems. This is why it is important to consult an expert when dealing with thyroid conditions.

Foods to Avoid

  • Pro-Inflammatory foods : if your condition is caused by inflammation (autoimmune diseases like Grave’s or Hashimoto’s), reducing inflammation can be very beneficial. Common pro-inflammatory foods include:
    • Sugar: discuss with your dietitian how much sugar is recommended and how much are in your favorite foods
    • Saturated fats: high fat meats and cheeses, processed foods
    • Trans fats: watch for ingredients such as “partially hydrogenated” and “fractionated” in ingredient lists, that means there is trace amounts of trans fats! Common foods: frozen breakfast foods, pastries, donuts, etc
    • Refined carbs: those “white” carbs: white rice, pasta, instant mashed potatoes…
    • MSG: typically in soy sauce and Asian dishes, but can be found in salad dressings and deli meats
    • Gluten: Wheat, rye, and barley. Hidden in many foods. Just because it is pro inflammatory, you may not need to be off all gluten
    • Aspartame: (Equal)
    • Alcohol: everything in moderation

Avoidance of these foods can vary depending on the individual, because everyone has different food sensitivities and is unique! It can also be dose related, so a good rule to follow is everything in moderation. A great way to find out what is causing inflammation in your body is by having a LEAP food sensitivity test done, which you can have done through LBS Nutrition LLC.

Cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens, which can impair the thyroid’s ability to function. The following foods should not be consumed raw if you have a thyroid condition, and may need to be limited altogether:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Soy
  • Brussels sprouts

Soy is another food that may decrease thyroid function if consumed in large quantities.   Common foods with soy include: soy sauce, products using meat substitutes (check the label), miso, and edamame (soybeans). However, soy can also be a healthy addition to your meal plan. Again, discuss this with your doctor and dietitian.

Be wary of supplements if you are on thyroid medication.  Always discuss your supplements with your doctor and dietitian. These can impact the effects of your medication:

  • Calcium supplements
  • Iron supplements
  • Antacids

And of course, physical activity is very healthy for your thyroid. This may be hard, because fatigue is so common when you have a thyroid condition. Gradually, it will become easier to exercise, and your body will thank you for it. Start slowly and work your way up towards more high-intensity training. Don’t feel like you need to only do cardio! Strength training is great for your body, too.

Foods That Are Beneficial

Omega-3 fatty acids are great for hormone balance, and can be very helpful for inflammation and thyroid function. This includes…

  • Wild caught fish (salmon especially)
  • Nuts (especially walnuts)
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Leafy green veggies

Seaweed is a natural source of iodine, which may help your thyroid if you have low iodine. If your iodine levels are too high, you should not consume seaweed.

Probiotic foods help support healthy stomach bacteria, which helps inflammation and general health. Foods like…

  • Kefir
  • Greek yogurt
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha

Fruits and vegetables are important, because the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals support a healthy and proper-functioning body. A body that is treated properly will work properly!

Coconut oil may also be great for your gut health, and inhibits the growth of harmful microorganisms, which can contribute to inflammation.

Other Things to Consider

It is common for individuals with thyroid conditions to have low vitamin D levels, and it is important for proper thyroid function. You should request that your doctor check your vitamin D levels.

Be sure to get enough sleep! This can contribute to stress, which is also not good for thyroid function. (of course!)

So What Do I Do!?

This can all seem complicated, and your thyroid is absolutely a complex system. Knowing what to do to stay healthy and balanced is not easy, so consulting an expert is the best way to go. An individualized nutrition plan is needed for individuals with thyroid conditions, because knowing the cause and type of your condition impacts the treatment. The Registered Dietitians at LBS Nutrition LLC can help you determine what food plan is right for you, supplements to take, and how to minimize the negative effects of your condition.

Do Not Fall Victim To False Hope Syndrome

We all have been there…

“Monday I am going to start running before work in the morning and eat salads for lunch and dinner”

 “I am not going to drink for the next 2 months so I look great for my cousin’s wedding”

“No added sugar or refined carbohydrates starting January 1st, this will be the best year yet!”

How long do these behavioral changes last, or do they ever get past the initial yearning/thought? Week after week, my fellow dietitians and I at LBS Nutrition LLC  listen to many people who state how they planned to start eating ‘healthier’ or work out, but they “just never got to it.”

Life tends to have a way of, well, getting in the way. 

So my question is why? Why are these goals unable to be met? There must be something holding us back.  We can blame external events such as work and social pressures, but the truth lies in our personal values and willingness to commit to these lifestyle changes.  Maybe we need to work on rephrasing our health goals and restructuring the game plan.

The article attached, Does ‘false hope syndrome’ make it hard to lose weight? By Juli Fraga parallels how many feel when they continuously perceive they are failing at achieving a goal, whether it is public speaking or losing weight.  Often we set ourselves up for failure by jumping into broad resolutions without really analyzing how these goals reflect our values and genuine willingness to commit to the changes necessary to achieve the end product.

ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy), as discussed in the article, provides us with an effective structure to rephrase and restructure our goals. No longer will false hope syndrome hold us back!

Summer is coming… so lets review some ACT principles to make sure your goals become reality!

Sample goal: To eat breakfast daily- NO MORE SKIPPING!

What are the barriers?

  • I need to be at work by 7 am so I have trouble waking up early enough to make breakfast.
  • I am not very hungry and feel nauseous when I wake up
  • Traffic is heavy in the mornings so I often do not have time to stop and buy something or am in a rush to make it there on time

Does this goal align with my values?

  • I really enjoy eating breakfast on weekends when I have time
  • I feel energized and usually eat better throughout the rest of the day when I eat breakfast
  • I cherish sleep and will not wake up much earlier to make breakfast, as then I will lack sleep and feel exhausted

 What emotions may come along?

  • Improved energy from eating breakfast, but less energy if waking up much earlier
  • I often feel anxious about everything I need to do in the day so making breakfast adds another stressor
  • Confusion about what composes a “balanced” breakfast

 Action plan:

To make sure this goal is compatible to the individual’s values, barriers, and emotions, an action plan must be made that is detailed, measurable and realistic.

  • Prepare breakfast options on Sunday night that can easily be taken and eaten on the road or when at work (hard boiled eggs, make mini protein/oat muffins, Greek yogurt with nuts or high fiber granola, pre-made or make your own protein shake, trail mix, cottage cheese and fruit with a sprinkle of flaxseed)
  • Morning food preparation for this individual should not take more than 3-5 minutes to ensure long term success as he or she highly values sleep and current wake up time.
  • Talk with a dietitian about easy to prepare ‘balanced’ options that can be made at home and kept/ made at work
  • Protein shake!  It takes 2-3 minutes with the right ingredients and equipment. Or you can even make it the night before!

As seen, your goals must be approached in a unique fashion depending on your values, emotions and potential hurdles. It is essential to meet with a registered dietitian to best structure your individualized, nutrition-based goals to make them most realistic and compatible to your life.

You can check out the article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/does-false-hope-syndrome-make-it-hard-to-lose-weight/2017/03/17/cbb7a038-ea30-11e6-80c2-30e57e57e05d_story.html?utm_term=.51026321b55b



By Sari Greaves, RDN

You’ve heard the expression “you are what you eat.” If you find yourself cranky and tired in the mid-afternoon, you may be able to boost your mood by changing what you eat.

Many of my clients start their day with a breakfast of champions such as eggs/omelets, oatmeal with walnuts, and protein shakes. But still, they are left snoozing after lunch time. Which begs the question: what are you eating for lunch? Typically, responses include “I have no time for lunch, I buy something from the vending machine, or “I grab a bagel or low fat blueberry muffin at the coffee shop.”  Even “healthier” choices such as a a basic garden salad are brought up. However, without the right combination of nutrients, these choices will inevitably result in an energy bust instead of an energy boost.

A lunch break is the ideal time to choose foods that will fuel your body and give you sustained energy to conquer your day. Here are some personal go-to 5 brown bag lunches that take only a few minutes to prepare. Best of all, the total cost of ingredients is $25.00 (That’s 5 brown bag lunches at $5.00 a pop). Each meal encompasses the correct balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Mix it up and choose the lunch that best matches the specific demands of your day.

Brown Bag 1: High Energy Pasta

chickpeapastalentilpasta    chickpeawsauce

Best if: You’re hitting the gym after work.

1 cup lentil or chickpea pasta, ½-3/4 cup tomato sauce, 2 tsp olive oil, a handful of skinless rotisserie chicken, 1 small chopped tomato, and a few Tbsp shredded cheese. Try throwing some cooked zucchini or broccoli on top for added fiber.
Brown Bag Bonus:  This pasta combination will provide time-released fuel for your cardio blast workout without weighing you down.

Brown Bag 2: Heart-Healthy Peanut Butter Sandwich

blogPB  blogPITA  blogSIGGIS

Best if: You’re giving a presentation late in the day.

Fill a small whole-grain pita or a slice of high fiber (3-5 g per slice) bread with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, almond butter, or Sunbutter. Pair with a 6 oz. container of a low sugar, high protein Greek or Icelandic yogurt, and some baby carrots with 2-3 Tbsp hummus.
Brown Bag Bonus: The healthy fats in the nut butter combined with the high protein yogurt can contribute to an upbeat mood and sustained energy. *Buyers beware:  if the first ingredient on a multi grain or whole wheat product does not say “whole” it is not truly whole grain.

Brown Bag 3: Veggie & bean Soup, Fully Loaded


Best if: You’re tempted to hit the vending machine for a late afternoon munch.

Stir 2 cups of chopped pre-washed leafy green salad blend (try kale, spinach, arugula) chop up a few carrots, and ½ cup bean of your choice, into 1 can of low sodium vegetable soup. Add seasoning/spices to taste. Enjoy with a toasted high protein, whole grain tortilla broken into chip sizes such as La tortilla factory mini whole grain tortillas or Ezekiel tortillas.
Brown Bag Bonus: Fiber packed vegetable soup naturally helps stabilize blood sugar to stave off end of day hunger.

Brown Bag 4: Portable Picnic Lunch


Best if: Your evening will include cocktails and cake.

1 small apple or pear, ¼ cup nuts or seeds, hard boiled egg, 1 cheese stick or ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese.
Brown Bag Bonus: If you know you’ll be tempted later, a light but filling lunch (or when you do not have time to prepare an actual “meal”!) is a crucial defense. Nuts or seeds will provide heart healthy fats and an egg will give you a filling protein punch. The apple will deliver a gratifying crunch adding to your daily fiber goals!

Brown Bag 5: Nutty Pear & Chicken Salad


Best if: You’re tied to your desk the rest of the afternoon.

Combine a handful of skinless rotisserie chicken with 2-3 cups of leafy greens of your choice (arugula, kale, spinach), ¼ cup canned beans, 1-2 tablespoon of walnuts or pecans, and a small ripe pear. 1-2 Tbsp shredded cheese or 1/4 avocado slices is optional. Try making your own dressing with a teaspoon of grapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar.
Brown Bag Bonus: A veggie-centric, high fiber/low sugar lunch is an easy way to keep a meal low-calorie yet high volume when you are going to be sedentary the next few hours.

*For full nutrition facts: add a new recipe to myfitnesspal or email us at lbsnutritionllc@gmail.com