The Dietitian Challenge: Week Six – the Finale!

February 4, 2014

The Dietitian Challenge: Week Six – the Finale!

We’ve made it—the sixth and final week of our mini-challenge series!  We hope this challenge has helped you make changes towards a healthier lifestyle.  The final challenge is… (drumroll, please)…

Try at least 3 new whole foods this week.

What counts as a whole food?  A whole food is in its natural form, is not refined, and is minimally processed.  It can be a fruit, vegetable, legume, nut, seed, you name it.  Here are some ideas to add new whole foods into your meals and snacks:

Laura, Registered Dietitian

Laura, Registered Dietitian

  • Throw a handful of chopped Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, or arugula to your next pot of soup.  (Add it during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent them from getting mushy or bitter).
  • While you’re making soup, you may as well throw in a new-to-you legume—cannellini, lentils, pinto, black soy, you name it.
  • Roast some parsnips or Brussels sprouts in a hot oven (about 400 degrees, toss with olive oil first).
  • Swap out your go-to rice side dish for quinoa or black rice.
  • Linger in the produce section for some new ideas.  Try a Cara Cara orange or Romanesco cauliflower or star fruit.
  • Blend ginger into your next smoothie or add it to your next stir fry. 
  • Make a healthy dessert by stuffing dates with a mixture of chopped pecans and goat cheese.

In a hurry? Let Harmons do the work for you.


  • Try the Ironman Salad if you’ve never had raw kale or edamame.
  • Try the Cranberry Quinoa Salad.
  • The Farmer’s Garbanzo Bean Salad for, you guessed it, garbanzo beans.

Salad Bar

  • Top your salad with a spoonful of edamame or beets.


  • Get a loaf (or half loaf, or just a slice) of the Spelt Bread.  Spelt is a variety of wheat and Harmons Spelt bread is 100% whole grain.

The Dietitian Challenge: Week 5

January 28, 2014

The Dietitian Challenge Week 5:  Whole Grains

Hopefully you have been enjoying our dietitian challenges to help you kick off a healthy new year.  We would love to hear your success stories with these challenges or other healthy changes you have made. 

The challenge this week is to increase your whole grains, specifically:  consume at least 3 servings of whole grains per day.

Why are whole grains so important?

There has been a lot of research on the health benefits of whole grains.  It is well established that diets high in whole grains help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.  For people who eat at least three servings of whole grains a day, the reduction in risk is really impressive!

  • 25-35% reduced risk of heart disease

    Jessica, Registered Dietitian

    Jessica, Registered Dietitian

  • 37% reduction in stroke
  • 21-27% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • 21-43% reduction in digestive system cancers

So what makes whole grains so great?  They are low in saturated fat and loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.  We often think of fruits and vegetables as the nutrition powerhouse food groups, but whole grains contain many similar nutrients, so don’t forget about them in your balanced meal plan.


What are whole grains?

Simply put, whole grains contain all three layers of the grain kernel—the germ, the endosperm, and the bran.

  • Bran:  Tough outer layer that contains fiber, antioxidants, and B vitamins
  • Germ:  Core of the kernel that contains B vitamins, protein, healthy fat (oils), antioxidants, and fiber
  • Endosperm:  Starchy middle layer that provides mostly carbohydrate and some protein

Refined grains, on the other hand, are stripped of the bran and germ, so you are left with only the endosperm.  By removing the bran and germ, you are missing out on most of the fiber, B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.  Refined grains include foods like white bread, white pasta, white rice, snack cakes, and many crackers.


What are some whole grain foods and how much is one serving?

Whole grain food

One serving

100% whole grain bread 1 slice
Cooked 100% whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice, or other cooked whole grain ½ cup
Oatmeal ½ cup cooked
100% whole grain cereal 1 cup

When reading labels, it is important that the first ingredient listed for the specific grain food is “whole.”  Ingredients like “multigrain,” “wheat flour,” or “enriched flour” DO NOT mean you are getting a whole grain product.


Harmons dietitians think whole grains are so important that we’ve posted a few blogs and presentations on the topic in the past.  Here are some links to more in-depth information if you are interested in really committing to the challenge this week:

Sample one-day meal plan rich in whole grains


½ cup cooked oatmeal prepared with 1% or fat free milk

2 tablespoons almonds

2 tablespoons dried fruit

1 low fat or fat free Greek yogurt


Spinach salad with beans, veggies, sprinkle of nuts, oil vinaigrette

1 slice 100% whole grain bread

1 piece of fruit


Stir fry chicken and veggies with quinoa or brown rice


Whole grain crackers (like Triscuits) with hummus or string cheese

½ peanut butter and jam sandwich on 1 slice 100% whole  grain bread


The Dietitian Challenge: Week Four

January 22, 2014

The Dietitian Challenge – Week Four: Fish

I hope you are having success in meeting our challenges so far (we’d love to hear how you are doing!).  This week will be the most challenging yet for most people:  Eat two 4- to 6-ounce servings of fish this week. 

Fish has a number of health benefits:

  • Fish is low in saturated fat; diets high in saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol

    Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

    Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, lake trout, and albacore tuna contain a good amount of the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are beneficial for both heart and brain health
  • Fish contains selenium, a mineral that is an antioxidant, is important for the immune system and aids in thyroid function

In addition to the health benefits of fish, fish is a convenient option as it cooks very quickly and can be cooked in a number of ways including simple seared or grilled fish fillets, baked fish packets*, fish tacos, cioppino (fish stew) and tuna salad sandwiches. 

Tips for choosing fish

  • Choose fatty fish most often such as salmon, albacore tuna, sardines and lake trout
  • Choose a variety of fish
  • Avoid fish highest in mercury (king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, shark, orange roughy, ahi tuna and marlin); choose fish lower in mercury most often (e.g. salmon, tilapia, cod, sardines, canned light tuna)
  • For pregnant women and children, avoid fish highest in mercury and choose up to 12 ounces per week of fish lower in mercury (e.g. salmon, freshwater trout, tilapia, canned light tuna, sardines)

*baked fish packets are generally fish with vegetables, herbs and a small amount of liquid wrapped in either parchment paper or foil and baked.  These are really great as this is an easy way to cook fish with a minimum of clean up.  Chef Evan’s Salmon en Papillote is an example of this. 

The Dietitian Challenge: Week Three

January 15, 2014

The Dietitian Challenge – Week Three: Beverages

Welcome to week three!  This week’s challenge: drink only unsweetened beverages.

The average American eats over twice as much of the maximum recommended sugar intake in a day (6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men).  Eating a diet high in added sugars can raise our triglycerides, a risk factor for heart disease.  Eating lots of sugar may also contribute to high blood pressure, inflammation, pre- diabetes, and obesity.  

Since 33% of the average American’s sugar intake comes from sugar-sweetened beverages, cutting down on your intake of them can really impact your health!

Cut out the soda, sweet teas, sugary espresso drinks, and cocktails.  What else is left to drink?  Quite a bit!

Get creative with water!

  • If you miss the soda bubbles, try it sparkling. 
  • Add fruit and herbs for a subtle flavor; refrigerate overnight for a more intense flavor. Citrus and mint is great this time of year.
  • Add a (small) splash of 100% fruit juice

Try milk alternatives.

Cow’s milk is great, but for more variety try milk alternatives.  Make sure they are unsweetened.  Soy milk is great and almond, rice and hemp milks are very low in calories.

Coffee and Tea

Drink it “black” or add some milk for a little creaminess and natural sweetness.  If you’re choosing an espresso drink, skip the flavorings.  A plain latte can be delicious!

100% Fruit Juice
100% fruit juice does not have added sugar and is a good source of vitamins, but it is a concentrated form of fruit, which is made up of mostly artificial_sweeteners_notesugar.  Unlike whole fruit, the juice is lacking fiber, so we digest it more quickly.  Drink no more than 8 ounces of juice a day and make sure it’s 100% juice.

Wine and Beer
If you drink alcohol, make sure you do so in moderation.  That means no more than one glass of wine (5 ounces) or one beer (12 ounces) for women per day and two for men each day.




Shankar P, Ahuja S, Sriram K. Non-nutritive sweeteners: review and update. Nutrition. 2013 Nov-Dec;29(11-12):1293-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.03.024. Epub 2013 Jul 8.

The Dietitian Challenge: Week One

December 30, 2013

In the United States, many of the leading health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer may be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. In order to help you to achieve this, Harmons Dietitians will be issuing a series of challenges for the next several weeks to help you to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. This first challenge will begin on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 and will go through Tuesday, January 7th. Please share with us how you were able to meet this challenge (we’d love to see pictures of your food!). 

The Dietitian Challenge Week One

Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day

As Laura illustrated in her blog several weeks ago most Americans are not eating enough fruits or vegetables to meet the minimum recommendations for health. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent chronic disease, help to meet vitamin and mineral needs and, due to their generally low-calorie and high-fiber content, fruits and vegetables may help with weight loss and maintenance. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for the most health benefit from this challenge. 

tipsTips for meeting fruit and vegetable needs:

Planning is key

  • Plan your fruits and vegetables for the week, create a list and shop
  • Planning meals and snacks with common ingredients can save time and waste
    • e.g. Slice a whole bell pepper and use ½ in a stir-fry and use the rest as a side at lunch
  • Plan time to prepare fruits and vegetables for snacking and lunches
    • Place cut up fruit or vegetables into individual containers to make it easy to take with you Continue Reading »

Healthy Milestone with Harvey’s Help

November 15, 2013

I was fortunate enough to qualify for my first adoption from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary back in the late summer of 2012.  We saw this beautiful puppy and I knew he belonged in our family.  This was a first for us because our other dogs are all Dachshunds.  Their 12-13 pounds don’t even compete with this 75 pound monster.

I knew I needed a dog that would require more activity.  Harvey would be my training partner.  I have to say, I haven’t been the best workout buddy from the start.  Unfortunately, I have had a few injuries, but we are now back in the saddle.  We walked our first 5k this year in the Harmons Fun Run.  Harvey wanted to run like the others, but that will have to wait till next year . . . another first.

With the fun run, we had the opportunity to select our charity of choice.  Each participant got to vote for one of three local charities and the winning votes went to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  We were pleased to be able to present them with $550 raised by the event. What a way to give back to the foundation that gave me one of my best friends only a year prior.  I was honored!

Other first’s we hope to have soon will be to compete in agility, rally’s and obedience courses.  There has been a lot of time and training to get us to where we are today.  We still have a lot of growing to do, but with better choices, I believe we will get there.

Here’s too many more firsts for 2014!  Watch out for this crazy duo.

~Karen, Harmons Pricing Director

harveyHealthy Milestones is a place for people to share their stories of achievement of fun through physical activity. Do you have something to share? Send it to us and we’ll share your story!

Following the journey to Bike MS

May 23, 2013

· As we gear up for the 27th Annual Bike MS:  Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride, we know there are probably a lot of first-timers who might be a bit anxious about participating. To help encourage and support you in your journey to the ride, we are going to be following a first time rider as he prepares to ride the 100 mile route. Dylan is a Harmons associate at Bangerter Crossing who will be joining friends and coworkers in his first Bike MS. Leading up to the ride he will be sharing his experiences and hopefully answer some of the questions and concerns you might be curious about with training, eating, nerves, and more. Follow Dylan’s progress, cheer him on, offer suggestions, ask questions, share your training and riding experiences, and tell us why you ride in Bike MS in the comments of each post. ·

bikeA recent visit to my doctor inspired me to make some lifestyle changes. If you’re like me, you have been thinking about making a change but are too intimidated to find a place to start. With some encouragement from a good friend I signed up to ride the MS Best Dam Bike Ride. It is a fantastic way to have a physical goal and raise some money for the MS Society. I have chosen to ride the century (100 miles) on June 29th. This is a daunting task for me, I have not been physically active for a couple years and haven’t ridden a bike in more than eight. I am lucky enough to have a supportive family including a brother who has lent his road bike to my cause.

I have begun training for the ride, and have been surprised by the ease of riding. It is wonderful to get outside and ride. I had never ridden a bike in clips and had a fear of falling over and being stuck so I began by riding around the block. I have since graduated to riding 20 to 30 miles a ride. The most uncomfortable and hardest part of cycling for me has been the bike seat. They just don’t make them comfortable, they are either padded and wide or narrow and hard. The padded option doesn’t work for longer rides because it causes chafing, which leads you to riding with an uncomfortable, narrow seat.

My family loves puzzles, and the hardest part of any puzzle are colors that look very similar; i.e. the sky, grass, or if you’re my uncle, a puzzle of an egg on a white background. This is how I feel about diets and food. The hardest, but most important, part to finishing your health puzzle is eating right.

I have begun that part of my journey at Harmons. We offer dietitian services at some of our stores and I decided to take advantage of them. Eating correctly is the largest part of being fit. Having the energy to exercise, fuel during your ride and recovery are all wonderful benefits to eating well. During my first meeting with Jonell, the dietitian at the Bangerter Crossing location, we talked about my current eating habits, what kind of foods I enjoy and what foods I would like to avoid. She put together a breakfast meal plan that has some options to fuel my mornings. I have also spent less money on food since starting my suggested diet. Eating out every day really adds up on both your wallet and your body.

Healthy Milestones: Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis

December 7, 2012

Julie, Dan, Shannon, Carrie, and Sam the dog before the Jingle Bell 5K to support the Arthritis Foundation

“I was so excited that my friends and co-workers joined me at the Jingle Bell 5k Run on December 1st to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. My amazing mother struggled for more than 20 years with this horrible joint disease. I lost my Mom 4 years ago from complications from the medication Arthritis patients have to take to remain mobile. I run this race and Jingle for my Mom every year. This year I was surprised by my great Harmons friends who showed up and ran on a chilly morning in December to help me remember my Mom and to raise funds for those still suffering with this awful condition. Thanks for your support. I hope to have a lot more Harmons associates join us in support next year.  Who will you Jingle for?”

Julie, General Merchandise/Kitchenware Sales Director

There are a lot of events from fun runs, walks, bike rides, and even stair climbing that support causes that touch us, our families, and our friends. What event do you participate in that raises funds and awareness for a cause close to your heart? Share your story, your cause, and your photo with us and become a part of our Healthy Milestones.

Healthy Milestones: Bear Lake Bike Ride

October 4, 2012

Jonnell, dietitian at our Bangerter Crossing store, and her husband Pete after a scenic 51 mile ride around Bear Lake over Labor Day weekend. While Pete is a regular rider, this is Jonnell’s first year riding and this was her longest ride to date.

Have you bested your longest bike ride, walk, hike or run? Have you picked up a new activity that you’re excited about? Did you grow a great garden and make delicious dishes out of your fruits and veggies? We want to share your stories and photos. Send us an email, with pictures and a description, of whatever it is that you are proud to share and we’ll include it in this Healthy Milestones blog.

Healthy Milestones: Hiking in Capitol Reef

June 18, 2012

A group of sales directors and store directors spent some time recently at Capitol Reef National Park.

Here’s a picture of Lori McFarland and Greg Jones after an early morning run in the Capitol Gorge, Capitol Reef National Park.  They were hoping to see some big horn sheep that had been spotted the previous day in the area, but they must have been up earlier than the sheep!  (That or Greg’s running like a Clydesdale horse scared them away.) No sheep, but a nice 9 mile run with amazing scenery. Thanks for the picture Keli!