BABY STEPS: EASY and EFFICIENT WEIGHT LOSS

A healthy body works more efficiently, and here is the best part…a healthy body loses weight more easily and more efficiently than an unhealthy body.

This is why nutrition is so important for weight management as well as general health. There is a definite difference between a healthy diet and a weight loss diet. However, if you want to take baby steps, start on a healthy diet and don’t worry about calorie counting. You will actually feel fuller because of the healthy foods your are eating, so your calories will naturally be lower. Once you get in the habit of healthy eating and you make a conscious effort to reduce your calories, the weight will fly off.

It’s worth remembering that 20 minerals, 13 vitamins and fiber (none of which contain any calories) are essential for health. Their presence or absence can also change the rate at which energy is produced or calories burned. When foods cannot be metabolised properly because they lack the necessary minerals and vitamins, their energy becomes unavailable to our body and is stored as fat until we get the necessary minerals and vitamins at some later time. In the meantime we feel hungry and eat more. This too turns into fat unless minerals and vitamins are also provided.

When you choose NutrientDense Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, oily fish, oats, beans, nuts and seeds, and avoid wasting your daily calorie allowance on “empty-calorie-foods” (which contain calories but no nutrition), like regular sodas, alcohol, sweets and candy, you will get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet which creates a healthy body which makes weight loss easier.

Food Labels – How To Keep Your Facts Straight

Get the Facts on Food Labels

There is a lot of press right now about food labeling and advertising. It can be overwhelming and confusing, to say the least. But, if you want to eat healthier it is critical to become a smart shopper by reading food labels to find out more about the foods you eat. The Nutrition Facts panel found on most food labels will help you:

1. Start with the Serving Size

• Look  for both the serving size (the amount for one serving), and the number of servings in the package.

• Remember to check your portion size to the serving size listed on the label. If the label serving size is one cup, and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

2. Check Out the Total Calories and Fat

Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat. It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight!

3. Let the Percent Daily Values Be Your Guide

Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help you evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan:

• Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5% DV means 5% of the amount of fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day would eat.

• Remember: percent DV are for the entire day — not just for one meal or snack.

• You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100% DV.

4. The High and Low of Daily Values

• 5 percent or less is low — try to aim low in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium

• 20 percent or more is high — try to aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber

5. Check the Ingredient List and then check it again

Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. Effective January 2006,manufacturers are required to clearly state if food products contain any ingredients that contain protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods. These foods are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

6. What Health Claims on Food Labels Really Mean

FDA has strict guidelines on how certain food label terms can be used. Some of the most common claims seen on food packages:

• Low calorie — Less than 40 calories per serving.

• Low cholesterol — Less than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 gm or less of saturated fat per serving.

• Reduced — 25% less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product.

• Good source of — Provides at least 10% of the DV of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.

• Calorie free — Less than 5 calories per serving.

• Fat free / sugar free — Less than 1/2 gram of fat or sugar per serving.

• Low sodium — Less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.

• High in — Provides 20% or more of the Daily Value of a specified nutrient per serving.

• High fiber — 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.

New food labels may be arriving soon. Here are two links that describe the new and improved labels.

http://berkeley.news21.com/foodlabel/

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/designing-a-better-food-label/

The Smart Pantry – Three Tips For When You Forgot To Plan

I have a love hate relationship with grocery shopping. Since I can remember, I have always done my grocery shopping once a week. I like planning my meals for the week and buying all the ingredients. However, the grocery store is really a land mine of temptation. At every turn there is an isle or an end cap display of something that looks really yummy. It would be torture to go to the grocery more than once a week. It takes a lot of will power at the grocery, and I never go when I am hungry. 

I also make sure to buy a few healthy extras each time, just in case, because sometimes  I am short a meal, and I find myself with no plan for dinner. Poor planning  happens to everyone, but rather than call Papa (John that is) I will “throw together” a mish mash of items. At times like these I try to use a one-two-three approach to making a balanced meal:

1. Make it “Whole” by picking whole grain version of pasta, rice or bread.

2. Make it “Lean” or “Extra Lean” by searching for cans of tuna packed in water, skinless chicken breast, lean ham or extra lean beef.

3. Make it “Colorful” by using a variety of fruits and vegetables.

There is always something in the fridge and pantry that can be used for dinner, and when I use the one-two-three approach, even though it wasn’t planned, I can feel good about what I am serving and eating.

Low Calorie Cocktails – Welcome to Summer

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. Don’t drink your calories.  Well, I actually don’t mean never ever. If you like to socialize over drinks, but don’t want to blow your diet, you should know which cocktails make better friends than others. Beware of margaritas! Sweet and sour mix plus a couple shots of liquor, no matter how delicious, yields a calorie explosion. Avoid cocktails made with dark liquors, sour mixes, cream, and high quantities of liquor.  Clear or light-colored liquors, such as vodka or rum (about 65 calories per ounce), with low to no calorie mixers are the best way to go.

 One of my favorite finds is a drink called the Stoley Doley.  I had one, or two, no; maybe it was three, at the Capital Grille bar.  The bartender was nice enough to share the recipe.  It is kind of complicated, so you may want to take notes.

 

 

Ingredients:

Vodka – the good stuff

Fresh pineapple spears

Recipe:

Arrange pineapple spears in a jug, jar, or pitcher

Pour Vodka over pineapple spears. Put in fridge for 2 weeks.

 Okay, maybe not that complicated, but talk about a low cal cocktail.  So in the spirit of welcoming summer vacation, we have planned a vodka tasting party.  Each couple will be bringing their own infused vodka.  We have had ours brewing in the fridge for the past two weeks.  On the menu is also lime/raspberry and cocoa/espresso.  Except I have just gotten word that a taste test of the lime/raspberry went awry, and that vodka is all gone. 

So I am hoping that this is the solution to low cal cocktailing… instead of low cal mixers, no mixers at all.  At the very least it is a great excuse to get together with friends. I will let you know how it all tastes next week.

For more GREAT tips, check out The Greatist guide to healthy drinking.

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button Youtube button