Tag: nutrition

Cut the Calories Not the Taste – Quick Tips to Healthier Eating

Cut the Calories Not the Taste – Quick Tips to Healthier Eating

25 Quick Tips

It’s the little things that can make all the difference, and the little things can be easy to change without feeling taste deprived.

Here are 25 quick tips that will help you diet smarter not harder. By making small tweaks to your food choices you don’t have to sacrifice flavor, but you can cut a calories, fats, and sugar to help slim down your waistline. Increase your vegetables and whole grains, but decrease the fat, salt and sugar. If you’re really serious about changing your family’s diet, clip this page and post it on your refrigerator as a daily reminder for everyone.

INCREASING VEGETABLES

Learn to properly steam vegetables.

Decrease the meat and increase the vegetables called for in stews and casseroles.

Add grated carrots, zucchini or cabbage to chili and meatloaf.

Offer washed and trimmed carrot and celery sticks for snacking.

Add finely grated carrots, pumpkin, or zucchini to baked breads and cakes.

INCREASING WHOLE GRAINS

Substitute whole-wheat flour for bleached white flour when you bake.

Top casseroles with wheat germ or whole-wheat bread crumbs.

Serve bran-based cereals, or those made from shredded wheat.

Serve imaginative whole-grain side dishes (bulgur, kasha, etc.) instead of egg noodles.

Offer crackers and corn chips containing whole grains.

REDUCING FAT

Cook with less fat by using non-stick skillets.

Blot all fried meats on paper towels.

Add a spoon of water or broth as needed instead of more fat when sautéing onions and vegetables.

Substitute low-fat yogurt for mayonnaise.

Substitute ground turkey for ground beef.

REDUCING SALT

Substitute lemon juice or herbs for salt when cooking pasta or grains.

Avoid cooking with soy or Worcestershire sauce.

Substitute garlic or onion powder for garlic or onion salt.

Avoid using products that contain monosodium glutamate.

Use unsalted or low-salt vegetable broths and products.

REDUCING SUGAR

Choose canned fruits packed in water instead of heavy syrup.

Use only fresh-frozen fruit without added sugar if fresh is unavailable.

Cut the sugar called for in most recipes by one-third to one-half.

Sweeten waffles and quick breads with cinnamon and vanilla or almond extracts.

Add pureed banana to baked goods and reduce the sugar or applesauce to reduce the fat (oil/butter)

 

Making Healthy Choices – The Fewest Ingredients Wins

Making Healthy Choices – The Fewest Ingredients Wins

Is it just me, or does it seems like there are more contradictions than ever about diet and nutrition? Milk is the new super food. Milk, public enemy number one. Eat more protein. Eat less protein. Fats are bad for you. Fats are good for you. It’s making my head spin trying to keep track of it all.

There is one way to make sure to “do it right”, and that is to eat foods in their natural state. We talk about this at the dinner table quite often with the kids. We play the “which is healthier game”. For example, which is healthier a banana or a granola bar? When they are not sure, I tell them to count the ingredients. The one with the fewest ingredients wins… every time. I try to make sure and always compare a fruit or veggie to something else, so the winner is always the item with only one ingredient.

I know how easy it is to choose the processed stuff, since this type of food product has been modified to last longer, manufactured to distribute easier, and is more convenient to store and use. As moms, having access to processed foods can be a life saver.

However, we may want to re-think the way we use processed foods. Take apple juice as an example. Even the simple act of removing the pulp to make apple juice detracts from its value for both health and weight loss. A medium size apple contains just 72 calories and over 3 grams of fiber, while 8 FL Oz of apple juice contains 120 calories and no fiber at all. And I’m talking about pure, “healthy” apple juice.

What if we start using processed and pre-packaged foods more for emergencies only? For ourselves and for our kids, when we have a choice to make (and we have more than 20 seconds to get out the door), choose the apple. You will never go wrong by choosing the apple.

 

3 Tricky Foods To Avoid

3 Tricky Foods To Avoid

Have you ever heard the saying “No good deed goes unpunished?”  Sometimes trying to eat healthy can be like navigating a land mine of good vs. bad food, only to find out what we thought was a good choice turns out to be, well, crap. If you are making the effort to eat better in an attempt to get healthy and or lose weight, beware of these three traps that can sabotage the best efforts. The reason I chose these three is because I have been punished by these so called good deeds.

Low-fat Foods

Food labeling can be very deceptive when it comes to food geared for weight loss. Low-fat foods are one of the products to be careful about. Just because the food says “low fat,” does not mean the food is low calorie. In fact, they contain the same or more calories than there “full fat” counterparts. Fat = flavor, so when fat is left out, other stuff is added in (like sugar and names of ingredients we can’t pronounce). Be sure to check the label and see how many calories are typically in the product. Most people associate low-fat foods with lower calories, so they tend to eat more. My advice – if it says low fat, DO NOT Buy it.

Smoothies

Normally, smoothies are associated with healthy eating. If we make them at home, they can include skim milk, fruit, some hidden veggies maybe, and or yogurt, so they are considered a great, healthy food. Some commercial smoothies, however, have many hidden calories from extra sugar. Smoothies bought at your local smoothie shop may also be made with ice cream, so you end up ballooning sugar, fat, and calorie content. Most of the time, the fruit in store-bought smoothies is mostly fruit juice, which eliminates the fiber that is found in the skin of most fruits. My advice – makes your smoothies at home. If you buy a smoothie make sure it is designated a treat and not a healthy snack!

Diet Soda

I must admit, I drink diet soda, but way less than what I used to drink.  It is tricky because it has no calories, so it is almost considered a non-food, a non-issue for weight loss.  But here is the thing. Your body will do whatever it must to maintain its delicate internal acid/alkaline balance (pH balance). Your blood alkalinity level (pH) must be in the range 7.360 – 7.370 ALL THE TIME or you will die! When you drink acidic liquids (like diet soda), you throw off this pH balance. So, to save your life, one of the first things your body will do is to park away the acids somewhere where they can’t damage your body. Where do you think is the best place to park poisonous acids? FAT CELLS!  So while you’re enjoying your diet soda, you’re actually making yourself create and fill up more fat cells!!! The more acidic your drink, the more you will aggravate this situation. Just to compare, pure water is neutral and soda (regular and sugar free) is 50,000 times more acidic.

Choosing healthy food can be confusing, especially with some ingenious marketing and shiny packaging. Read on to learn about three danger foods to avoid. There are many more than these three danger foods out there, so take the time to read labels so that your good deeds lead to good health!

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

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.

A Beginners Guide To Exercise

A Beginners Guide To Exercise

Remember that feeling of your first day of school, your first day at a new job, or showing up to a party not knowing anyone? Well, beginning a new exercise routine can feel similar.  Whether you are going to the gym for the first time, taking an exercise class, doing Wii in your family room or even just walking around the neighborhood, it can feel a little intimidating.

 
Not to worry! Here is a guide for you newbie exercisers or those of you who are trying something different. Whether you are looking to increase endurance, lose some weight, build muscle, or just get healthy, it all starts with a goal and a plan.

Getting Healthy: Aerobics vs. Anaerobic

 Aerobic training, or cardio, is any type of exercise that occurs while the body is continually using oxygen. Think running, biking, walking, and at the gym this translates to the treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or aerobics class. These are the exercises that make you huff and puff and really get your heart pumping.

Anaerobic training is any type of exercise that requires a rapid burst of energy. With anaerobic exercise, the body creates energy without oxygen, and no, this doesn’t mean we stop breathing. This is because the burst of activity is short and sweet (okay, sometimes not so sweet), and the oxygen from the lungs doesn’t have time to reach the muscles. Think about exercises that cause that grunt and groan where the burst of energy lasts less than 60 seconds, like weight lifting, sprinting, jumping or any rapid burst of activity

The best recipe for increasing endurance and improving general health is a dash of aerobic training and a pinch of anaerobic exercises.


Building Strength and Toning Muscles: Resistance Training

Tapping into that layer upon layer of dormant muscle takes a different kind of approach. The most powerful muscle fibers are also those that grow the most. The best way to stimulate growth is by lifting weights. Lifting weights, also called resistance training, equals bigger muscles. Look around the gym. There are usually not any buffbarbies or Arnolds in a Zumba class. They are all pumping the iron.

The three most important words to remember for muscle building are resistance, resistance, resistance.

Shedding The Plump: The Perfect Mix

The best exercises for losing weight will contain a cardio aspect and a toning aspect. Things like rowing, aerobics class, spinning class or stationary bike, and the elliptical.  Walk/running in the neighborhood or run/sprinting is a great alternative too. These exercises work the muscles and the heart, a duo that makes it easier to leave those pounds behind. Throw in a few weight lifting exercises, and you have a well-rounded routine.

Starting that journey toward health, fitness, and well-being can be scary, but there is something for everyone, and it just takes a little time to figure out what works best for your time schedule and your goals. The best part is that just like going to a new school or starting a new job, you feel at ease before you know it and friends and fun ensue. So get going.

Cut Calories – Tips To Tweak Your Menu

Cut Calories – Tips To Tweak Your Menu

The littlest swaps or tweaks can make a big difference. There are all sorts of ways to cut calories here and there, but here are some of my favorite food swaps you can make to cut 150 calories from your menu.

1. Use mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches. There are so many different kinds of mustards that can add incredible flavor to any sandwich.

2. Buy 6-inch low-carb, whole-wheat tortillas instead of the 10-inch flour ones. Not only will you lose calories, but you’ll also get four times the fiber!

 3. Avoid soda and juice and drink water instead (or unsweetened tea). One can of regular soda contains about 140 calories  Surprisingly a glass of juice contains almost as many calories, and like soda contains mostly sugar.

4. If you need a potato fix, try a baked potato instead of french fries. Potatoes are not the enemy, but don’t go crazy with butter and sour cream.

5. Keep 100-calorie popcorn snack packs on hand to eat instead of a bag of chips from the vending machine.

6. Skip the grande Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks and opt for a small latte with skim milk instead.  Save that coffee dessert for a cheat day.

7. Trade in a normal bagel for a toasted whole-wheat English muffin.

8. Load your pasta with veggies to cut calories but not bulk. Instead of two cups of pasta, try one cup of whole-wheat pasta and one cup of cooked veggies. (Remember to cook whole-wheat pasta longer for the best taste).

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