Category: junk food

Granola Bars – Friend or Foe?

Granola Bars – Friend or Foe?

Ingredients like caramel, chocolate, and marshmallows may be must haves in candy, but these sugary, high fat ingredients have found a new place to hang out— It’s time to take a closer look at that granola bar wrapper.

Granola bars are a great on-the-go snack option for busy people, athletes, and lovers of the outdoors. The word granola may conjure up thoughts of healthy oats, grains, and nuts all nicely molded into an easy to eat bar. But snackers beware— the seemingly innocent bars may have a shiny wrapper bragging about being an excellent source of this or that, but what lies beneath may be an over-processed nutritional mess.

While brands like Quaker Oats and Nature Valley may be the kings of the granola bar supermarket isle, they typically rank low in the hierarchy of good nutrition. Containing as many as 25 ingredients, 12 grams of sugar, and sugar-filled ingredients— like a chocolate sheath— these babies can be almost as bad as eating a real candy bar (a Twix Bar has the same amount of calories and sugar).

Similar to candy or cookies, many of the bars have high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to weight gain, and insulin resistance, hydrogenated oils, which can raise bad cholesterol,  and monosodium glutamate (MSG), which may increase feelings of hunger and is linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Grains and Nuts and Fruits, Oh My!

The number of granola bars on the market has exploded over the past few years, and with the focus shifting to healthier ingredients it’s easier than ever to choose a healthy— or at least healthier— option.

But reading the nutritional information is key to making the best choices, and the more recognizable the ingredients, the better. Many granola bars are fortified with vitamins and minerals, and while fortification is not a replacement for eating a well-balanced diet, it can help to make up for lacking  nutrients. Look for bars that are high in fiber (containing at least 5 of the 14 recommended grams per day), which will help keep that full feeling for longer, and may even help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol.

When looking for a healthy option, double check labels. Try to find bars that have less than 25% of the calories from sugar and 3 grams of fat or less.

While many pre-packaged granola bars can be nutritional land mines, choosing a simple granola bar packed with nutrients and fiber will be more satisfying than a bar loaded with fat and sugar. Ingredient lists full of easily identifiable choices—like oats, grains, fruits, and nut— is a good sign. And make sure that whole grain—not sugar—is the first ingredient listed.  Calories should come in at 100-175 for a single serving (which for many bars is around 30-40 grams—visualize two 9-volt batteries). When a bar has quality ingredients, it should easily pass the label test. And for the best hand-picked ingredients, homemade granola bars are an easy, cost effective way to go.

WHAT DOES 200 CALORIES LOOK LIKE?

WHAT DOES 200 CALORIES LOOK LIKE?

High calorie foods and low calorie foods: but what does the difference actually look like? Each of the photographs below represents 200 calories of the particular type of food. When you consider that two cups of grapes contain the same number of calories as a spoonful of peanut butter, you might think twice the next time you decide what to eat. This can be helpful when assessing how you like to eat, and how foods containing different amount of calories will fit with your eating style.

For example, I like to eat volume. I feel way more satisfied when I can eat a large plate of food as opposed to a few bites of food. I will choose a plate of sliced apples over 2 slices of cheese. I may enjoy the cheese more, but it will take me awhile to eat the apples which really gives me a sense of being full. I would scarf down the cheese in a matter of minutes and within 30 minutes, I will be hungry again… and that is no fun. Quantity is more important to me, and since I can’t eat a plate of blueberry muffins and stay within my calorie intake limits, I like to choose the foods that are lowest in (per gram) calories.

Some people would much rather have quality over quantity. What I mean by quality… is deliciousness. Even though eight Hershey Kisses might leave them feeling hungry sooner, it is worth it because they enjoy the taste of the kisses, and that is more important.

So weather your style is to eat quality or quantity, just make sure that you stay within your calorie intake limits.


Apples
385 grams = 200 calories
(2 large apples)

Blueberry Muffin
72 grams = 200 calories
Peanut Butter
34 grams = 200
calories
(2 TBSP)
Grapes
290 grams = 200 calories
(about 2 cups)

Broccoli
558 grams = 200 calories
(1 whole -over 1pound)

Cheddar Cheese
51 grams = 200 calories
(2 slices 1 ounce each)

Avocado
125 grams = 200 calories

 

Sesame Seed Bagel
70 grams = 200 calories

Fried Bacon
34 grams = 200 calories
(about 4 pieces)
Hershey’s Kisses
36 grams = 200 calories
(8 kisses)
Clean Out the Junk

Clean Out the Junk

When it comes to discipline and willpower, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. For many of us, trouble starts at parties, or when one of our well-meaning co-workers brings in donuts or homemade cookies. This article is not about how to have more willpower during these trouble times. That is for another day. This article is about taking charge of something you have complete control over.

YOUR HOME

There is only one rule to follow. Just one.

RULE #1: You’ve Got To Clean The Junk Out Of The House:
This is easier said than done, and I usually get an earful from my clients: “I have kids in the house” Or, “I can just learn to have a small portion and still enjoy myself.” Or, “my husband has to have his bag/box of ________fill in the blank.”

You have a choice. You can keep that junk food around, or you can make some changes and get a different result. The truth is you can have a house free of junk food even with kids in the house. You are in control of your home. Kids will eat what is there, and if you have healthy stuff… they eat healthy stuff. Why would you want your kids eating crap anyway?

Ever since I got rid of all the junk, we have one night a week when we go get a special treat. The kids value that treat way more than the Popsicle they used to eat every day after school. When there is junk in the house, overeating becomes VERY EASY. Almost effortless. You need to make it a little harder on yourself.

Discipline is key, and like I said before, we all have it and we all exhibit a great deal of it, but life is already hard at times and requires courage and discipline every day. Why make it even harder on yourself by having junk food around, all the time, at your fingertips? So that is the WHY, but more importantly is the HOW.

Eating actually makes a very deep groove in your brain. Sometimes it can be almost like a “math equation,” and your brain goes on automatic drive to make 1+2=3. If you always have a cup of coffee with a cinnamon roll,  just the scent of coffee will most likely make you pick up a cinnamon roll.

You need to make different equations in your brain. This is the new you, the one who takes different actions to get a new result. This doesn’t mean that I’m asking you to get tasteless celery and suffer through. Not even close. That is NOT sustainable, and it is not realistic to choke down stuff you don’t like.

This means finding healthy alternatives for your home that you DO LIKE. Maybe it’s raspberries or bananas. Maybe it’s tomato sprinkled with fresh basil and a little olive oil and lemon. A few things I love:
1. 0%fat Greek yogurt with frozen fruit, cinnamon, and Kashi
2. Costco mango salsa with carrots (instead of chips)
3. Quinoa in my pot roast instead of potatoes
4. Low fat Swiss cheese
5. Broccoli steamed and sprinkled with a little fresh parmesan and fresh lemon.

I know there are things out there that you like, and new things that you will try and end up enjoying. Don’t just start eliminating the junk without making new purchases and substitutions. You need to make new associations, too. If you’re trying to quit coffee, then “quit” something else you use to eat with it. Make new connections in your brain, a new “1+2=3.”

Last thing: Get rid of the junk food NOW. Don’t eat it away, throw it away… today.

The Right Way to Eat Wrong During SuperBowl

The Right Way to Eat Wrong During SuperBowl

155 Billion Calories. That is himages[2]ow many calories will be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.

A few items on our must have list for food include Chex mix, Girl Scout ice cream (Thin Mint and Samoas). Have you seen this ice cream? It looks fantastic! …. Limited time only, though. I better stock up. Okay, back to the list. Pringles, pizza, wings, cookies, and more. I am definitely doing some extra cardio over the next few days.
So, whether you are going to a party or staying home, here are a few some Super Bowl eating tips.

 

1. You know one of my favorite sayings is to make your calories count. On Super Bowl Sunday this is key. If you are staying home, you are in complete control of what treats you have. Get only the things you really love. If you are going to a party or bar, when you arrive, take a quick inventory of what food is available. Choose only your absolute favorites, and INDULGE! (I will not be eating Pringles, but may eat my weight in pizza, or Girl Scout ice cream if it is as yummy as it sounds!)

 

2. Use a small plate for your food. So many studies are out now that say if your eye perceives a small amount of food, your brain will tell your stomach that you are not satisfied. A reasonable portion on a regular size plate may not look like a satisfying amount, but a reasonable portion on a small plate can trick the eye and brain so that the signal to the stomach is that you are getting enough food to satisfy your hunger.

 

3. Before you go, eat a small healthy snack at home. Sometimes we think that we should “save” our calories until the party, so we don’t eat anything all day. When we show up, we are starving and go crazy on the food. If you have a healthy snack before you go, you won’t pig out right when you arrive. If you are staying home, don’t start eating your Super Bowl cupcakes for breakfast. Decide on a time frame that you will have your treats out.

 

4. Indulge in your favorite treats within the first 20 minutes of the “party”. Be mindful and recognize when you are full. For the next four hours or so, everyone will be sitting around the television munching. Mindless munching. You will already have eaten your favorites, and you are probably full, but you may want to munch. Most parties are going to have a fruit plate or a veggie tray (or you bring one, so you know there is a healthy option). Make veggies your mindless munching choice. Guacamole and salsa with carrots would be a good plan B.

 

5. Seat strategy: choose your seat so that it is across the room from the coffee table loaded with treats. You may not want to walk across the room in front of everyone .

 

Go Team! Yea Food!

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