Tag: eat healthy

7 Wonders of the Nutrition World

7 Wonders of the Nutrition World

imagesCAQP8F7RWe all know which foods we should try to avoid, and despite the appeal of Thin Mints, Doritos, Mountain Dew or McAnything, processed foods provide little good and a whole lot of bad. But when it comes to the nutritious stuffwhat are the best foods to put into our bodies? While we need a variety of foods for a healthy diet, do you know which are the healthiest of the bunch? These are the top seven most nutrient dense foods around. I bet you will be able to incorporate at least one of these into your daily diet.

 

1. Spirulina: While the thought of eating river algae might gross you out a bit, spirulina is actually fairly tasty, especially blended into a smoothie or hidden in a chocolate bar. It has more antioxidants than any other food on earth and is loaded with protein and minerals making it the most nutrient dense food. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23544470

 

2. Kale: Kale packs a serious nutritious punch, loaded with minerals, vitamins, fiber and amino acids, as well as important antioxidants that reduce inflammation and can prevent cancer. It’s also delicious and an easy to prepare, versatile food. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23631258

 

3. Hemp Seeds: What do you get when you combine protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals? Hemp, of course. This easily digestible seed is versatile, easy to use and extremely tasty, too.

 

4. Broccoli: Your mom was right … Eat your vegetables. Broccoli especially if you want a healthy digestive system and you want to kick it up a notch… your health that is. Broccoli has a wide range of usefulness too, from soups to stir fry, or simply steamed or raw.

 

5.Spinach: Popeye was onto something with that spinach fixation. But skip the canned stuff and stick with fresh or frozen for an antioxidant, protein and fiber-rich burst of healthy goodness. Fresh or cooked, spinach’s sweet and hardy flavor brightens any meal.

 

6. Chia: The Aztecs may have died out, but their legacy is alive and strong in the chia seed. This ancient favorite is loaded with omega fats, protein and fiber. It can be a better choice than flax because chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid.http://fitchicktricks.com/nutrition/dangerfood-or-superfood/chia-the-food-not-the-pet/

 

7. Berries: Unlike other fruit, berries tend to be less sugary and full of vital vitamins, minerals and those free-radical avenging antioxidants. Wild berries are always a great choice, especially black rassberries

Traveling with Kids: Eating Right and Catching Z’s

Traveling with Kids: Eating Right and Catching Z’s

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. With summer vacation season upon us, I am so excited to have Kendra Thornton guest post on my blog.  Kendra is a mother of 3, and before being promoted to the full time position of mommy, she was the former Orbitz director of communications. She has traveled all around the world, and has a great perspective of Traveling with Kids: Eating Right and Catching Z’s.

 

Vacation is always fun with the kids. They get to go on adventures, see all new things and have fun. While planning for vacations seems like a lot of work, it’s kind of fun to arrange things and plot those surprises guaranteed to get the smiles. I really enjoy planning meals and packing for healthy snacks as well. It helps me remind my kids of what we eat at home and still allows for a treat while away.

 

1. Stay the Right Way

There are a ton of places out there that advertise as “family-fun” atmospheres” for kids, but really, that may only mean they have a pool and a low rate. You should avoid getting a cheap hotel, particularly if it doesn’t have good reviews.

 

– Go for a true family-fun experience with a well-reviewed hotel like Walt Disney Resort.

– Pick a hotel with free breakfast or discount meals for kids.

– Some hotels even have “Kids stay free” stickers. Check with the hotel first before booking to confirm.

– Find a great market or local grocery store to purchase some of the kid’s favorite breakfast items to quickly make in the morning.

– Cut down on the cost of eating out by making at least one meal per day and bringing food with you to theme parks.

– Many hotels in Orlando offer a quiet hours policy to ensure that their guests get a proper nights rest! This is absolutely wonderful!

 

2. Keep It Nutritious

Kids love vacations because it’s a free-for-all for getting away with anything, including eating any way they wish. However, you should bring along those snacks which they willingly enjoy and that aren’t all sugar.

 

– Purchase healthy snacks beforehand for each of your kids to have on the ride to your destination.

– Create mixes of their favorite crackers, nuts, pretzels and a sweet treat–like dried fruit, M&M’s or other chocolate-covered goody.

– Use sweet treats as a reward for being patient. If it’s been two hours in the car without a peep, give a pudding cup or cookie.

– Dried snacks are always good to bring along on road trips, so don’t skimp on the cereal, nuts, dried fruits, pretzels and crackers.

– If you have to make a quick stop for a meal, you can still make healthy decisions when eating fast foods!

 

3. Plenty of Rest

 

When you’re headed to a different time zone, remember to plan early for sleeping schedules. Kids need to adjust to when they should be asleep depending on the time zone. You can run into some serious issues if you don’t plan for jet lag with kids.

– Beat jet lag by changing sleeping schedules before the trip.

– Pack along a child’s favorite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal to sleep with.

– Allow kids to sleep on the ride or flight to the destination.

– Bring along books that will help them go to sleep at night.

With summer right around the corner and family vacations planned, I hope these travel tips will come in handy for you and your family!

 

 Kendra Thornton

 

When Ketchup is the Only Veggie Your Kids Eat

When Ketchup is the Only Veggie Your Kids Eat

I have probably mentioned this before, but my kids are super picky eaters. I’m pretty sure they get this from my husband’s side, as he is as picky as they are. I guess it makes cooking meals easier, since they only like three of four foods. And trust me, I have tried, and continually try to expand their horizons. Baby steps I guess.

I am always worrying about whether they are getting enough nutrients, especially since veggies are almost non-existent in their diet, husband included. But I recently read an article that made me feel a tiny bit better.

If you like ketchup, which is the only veggie (such that it is) that my kids eat… sigh, there’s good news waiting.

A study from Finland, published in the journal Neurology, found that those who had higher levels of lycopene (the ingredient found in ketchup) had stronger hearts than those who didn’t. Lycopene also helps reduce body inflammation and can help prevent blood clots.

Surprisingly (and luckily), lycopene is found in many of the foods we like.

For example, cooked tomato sauce has more lycopene than raw tomatoes; over 31,000 micrograms in a cup of marinara compared to just 3,165 micrograms for the raw tomato. That’s nearly 10 times more lycopene benefit, and we eat a lot of spaghetti.

But lycopene isn’t just found in tomatoes and tomato products. Fruits have it too. Fortunately, my family doesn’t have an aversion to fruits like they do with veggies.

Here’s a list of 11 Lycopene Nutritional Powerhouses (Courtesy of USDA):

  • Sauce, pasta, spaghetti/marinara, ready-to-serve (1 cup): 31,663 micrograms
  • Tomato juice, canned, with salt added (1 cup): 21,960 micrograms (Bloody Mary anyone?)
  • Soup, tomato, canned, prepared with equal volume 2% milk (1 cup): 13,047 micrograms
  • Watermelon, raw (1 cup): 6,889 micrograms
  • Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, average (1 tomato): 3,165 micrograms
  • Papayas, raw (1 cup): 2,559 micrograms
  • Ketchup (1 tbsp.): 2,146 micrograms
  • Pizza, pepperoni, regular crust (1 slice): 2,074 micrograms
  • Grapefruit, raw, pink and red, (half grapefruit): 1,745 micrograms
I Want to Burn More Fat

I Want to Burn More Fat

Did you know that your body burns fat or carbs depending on the intensity of your activity? You burn fat even if your body is at rest. Actually, you are even burning fat right now sitting in the front of your computer. Your body is burning about one or two calories per minute (about 70 % comes from fat and about 30% comes from carbs).

When you exercise, as the intensity increases, your body starts using more and more carbohydrates for energy instead of fat. With high intensity aerobic exercise, 100 percent of the energy is coming from carbs. But here is where it gets interesting…when carbs are no longer available, your body will break down muscle and use it for energy. When carbohydrate stores are depleted, the rate at which fat is used as energy is reduced, and that’s why carbs are essential in order to metabolize fat.

The best way to lose fat is when you burn more calories than you eat on a daily basis, not because you burn fat when you are exercising.

When you eat after your workout, you rapidly replenish both the carbs and fats that you have used up during the workout. But as soon as an excess of calories (from either fats or carbohydrates) exists, your body will begin to store them as fat. So don’t go pig out after your workout or your body’s fat stores will be virtually unchanged.

This is why diet + exercise really do work the best, but your exercise regime must include cardio and WEIGHT TRAINING. When in doubt, do resistance training.

The key to fat loss is to manage your calories, so your body doesn’t store them as fat, and to boost your metabolism so that your body is continuously burning calories at a higher rate 24/7. People with muscle mass are automatically burning more calories (and fat). Every 1 pound of muscle that you build on your body will burn up to 3,000 extra calories a month which equals roughly .5 pounds of fat. I know that .5 pounds doesn’t sound like much, but that .5 pounds is burned by doing nothing but sitting around. It is a way to give you an added advantage as you continue on your weight loss path.  Bonus – more muscle makes you look healthier and slimmer!

So, the perfect combo is healthy diet, resistance training, and cardio.

Superbowl Sunday – Hooray Food!

Superbowl Sunday – Hooray Food!

Can you believe The Super Bowl is this Sunday. As disappointed as I am that the Broncos will not be there, I am still looking forward to the food. Every Fitness/Diet/Nutrition/Health related website has recipe tips for the big day. I thought I would throw mine into the mix also.

Anytime we go to someone’s house with food in hand, my husband doesn’t want me to bring anything that tastes or looks too healthy. I guess he feels like I am fanatical enough about food, that I don’t need to subject our friends to “that” kind of food.
So especially on Sunday, I have to bring something great. But I also want it to be healthy, even if I have to mask it as indulgent.
Here are a few recipes I am considering, and they can all be made ahead of time.

Southwestern Layered Bean Dip

1 16-ounce can nonfat re fried beans, preferably “spicy”
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
4 scallions, sliced1/2 cup prepared salsa
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup jalapeño slices, chopped
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup zero fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped1 medium avocado, chopped
1/4 cup canned sliced black olives, (optional)

Preparation

Combine re fried beans, black beans, scallions, salsa, cumin, chili powder and jalapeños in a medium bowl. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish; sprinkle with cheese. Microwave on High until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot, 3 to 5 minutes.Spread yogurt evenly over the hot bean mixture, then scatter with lettuce, tomato, avocado and olives (if using).
Nutrition Per serving:
146 calories; 7 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 12 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 5 g fiber; 288 mg sodium; 164 mg potassium.
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Creamy Spinach Dip (notice the veggies as dippers)

1 small shallot, peeled
1 5-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed
1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preparation

Pulse shallot and water chestnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pulse until just combined. Add spinach and chives and pulse until incorporated.
Nutrition Per 1/4-cup serving:
54 calories; 3 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 10 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber; 222 mg sodium; 102 mg potassium
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Chocolate Crunch

1 cup Wheat Chex cereal,
(2 ounces)1 cup pretzel sticks broken in half,
(2 ounces)1/4 cup raw almonds,
(2 1/2 ounces)3 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
Preparation
Combine Chex, pretzels and almonds in a medium bowl.
Drizzle with melted chocolate; stir to combine. Spread the mixture on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
Tip: To melt chocolate: Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.
Nutrition Per serving:
218 calories; 8 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 3 g fiber; 397 mg sodium; 176 mg potassium
Power Up With Protein

Power Up With Protein

Protein is the building block for muscle, and since the body can’t save it for later like carbohydrates and fat, it’s important to keep a constant stream coming, so the muscles stay strong and healthy. Protein construction is a never ending process, so if it doesn’t get a new supply often, the body will break down muscle from elsewhere in order to rebuild damaged areas – stealing from the biceps to pay the triceps.

In order to keep this thievery at bay, it is important to ingest protein throughout the day, and the two key times to get a protein fix are 30 minutes after waking up and 30 minutes after working out.

Wake up and smell the protein. We hear it all the time, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and come to find out protein is a critical component. If there’s any time the body is craving to get some much needed replenishment, it’s after being deprived of protein for the whole night. The body is hungry for nutrients, and protein is a fast way to break the fast. It’s also an instant metabolism boost, because eating protein requires extra energy to digest, which means the body burns more calories digesting it than carbohydrates and fats .

Equally as important is getting some protein after exercise. Following a training session, the body is a tiny bit damaged at the cellular level, and it needs time to repair this damage in order to get stronger. For the body to do this, it needs a little help from its friend, protein, so it can get the raw materials to rebuild and recover . By taking in protein (20 grams or so) within 30 minutes after exercise, the body gets the nutrients it needs to recover without breaking down its own muscle tissue. Friends don’t let friends lose muscle.

Good sources of protein are eggs, turkey bacon, soy protein, raw nuts, or cottage cheese. Fish, beans, lean beef, and chicken are great alternatives as well, but may not be so appetizing for breakfast. The quickest and easiest “whey” to get protein is by chugging down a protein shake, as it is absorbed faster than solid foods. Power to the protein!

Timing is everything. A dose of protein 30 minutes after waking up and 30 minutes after working out will help to keep the body strong and healthy by preserving muscle tissue and giving the metabolism a boost.

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