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

Easy Ways to Reduce FAT-SALT-SUGAR from Your Diet

Lowering the saturated fat from your diet and reducing added salt or sugars is an easy place to start on your way to a healthier way of eating. If you have been in the habit of eating packaged foods, your pallet has been trained to crave all the “wrong” things. So it is important to find a way to make healthy foods taste great, so they become your “go-to” foods. Make them delicious without all those addictive additives that often resemble a science experiment gone awry. Here are some great tips from Dr. Seymour Weaver.

FIVE Tips for Reducing Fat in Your Diet Without Compromising Taste:

1.Use water, wine or low fat, sodium free stock in place of oil or butter when sautéing. You will not miss the flavor since the oil or butter is usually only used to keep whatever you are cooking from sticking to the pan. If the liquid evaporates just keep adding a little more until the food is cooked.

2.Instead of putting butter or margarine on your potatoes, top them with a dollop of fat free sour cream instead. Sprinkle with a little chives or your favorite herbs or spice blend and you will never miss the butter.

3.Skip the butter when making sandwiches and go with fat free condiments like your favorite mustard or fat free mayo instead. Most of the time we reach for the butter by habit rather than necessity and you will never miss it.

4.Replace cream or whole milk with skim milk in all of your favorite recipes. If the recipe calls for butter, substitute it with a healthier alternative such as olive oil.

5.Buy only the leanest cuts of meat and trim away any fat and skin from chicken. Marinade the meat to tenderize it and replace the flavor of the fat. Whenever possible, bake instead of frying and if you do have to pan fry something, use non-stick cooking spray or brush the meat with lightly with olive oil rather than adding oil to the pan. Making sure you pre-heat the pan will keep the food from sticking.

FIVE Tips for Reducing Sodium in Your Diet Without Losing Flavor:

1.Replace the salt shaker on your table with a sodium free spice blend. Most of the time we reach for the salt shaker out of habit rather than because our food needs it. A spice shaker on the table will satisfy that “shake” habit and add flavor to the food. There are tons of ready-made spice blends available or you can create your own custom blend using your favorites.

2.Trick your pallet. Sour and salt are recognized by the same group of taste buds. Instead of adding salt to your foods while they are cooking, try adding a splash of lemon or lime juice or flavored vinegars instead. Balsamic vinegar is particularly good to cook with as it adds a ton of flavor.

3.Read the labels. If you must purchase any packaged or canned goods, get in the habit of comparing labels for sodium levels. Chances are pretty good that a different brand may be a healthier alternative to the brand you are used to buying.

4.Add aromatics such as finely diced raw onion, scallions or shallots, roasted or raw garlic, fresh ginger or fresh herbs to foods as a hit of flavor instead of salt. Not only do these add flavor, they also bump up the nutritional value of your foods.

5.Make your own salad dressings. These are super easy to make and they taste much better than store-bought dressings. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian spices and minced garlic are a sodium free dressing that is packed with flavor. Experiment and find combinations you and your family will love

Eating Right-5 Foods For A Better Workout

Eat Right For A Better Workout

Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand to create a fit and healthy life, but sometimes there is so much information, it can be confusing.  We take the time to eat right and exercise, so it is always nice to know when we are doing it right.

Being strategic with nutrition is a must for maximum results, and what you eat before working out can either make or break your workout.  Everyone has a different schedule and different workout times, so what you eat depends on when you workout.

It takes time for food to digest, and the last thing you want is a stomach full of food gurgling around while you try to focus on your exercise.

The kind of exercise you are doing is also important in determining the best pre-workout meal. It makes sense for a marathon runner to carb load the night before a race, but an apple might be better suited if you are going for a lunchtime date with the treadmill.

The article from I Village, “5 Foods To Fuel Your Workout,”  doesn’t just provide a few ideas for pre-workout menu items, but it offers a how to guide for timing meals depending on what time of day you work out, what kind of exercise you are doing, as well as using catchy titles to help remember these tips. Names like the Double A and Berry Cheesy may become an important part of your food lingo.

Leave the guesswork behind when deciding what to eat before your workout. This article will help you to keep your nutrition requirements in check, along with some yummy pre-workout ideas. Here is an excerpt from the article which highlights the five foods to fuel up.

“With a smear

This is one of my favorite snacks, period. I take some hearts of celery and fill in the groove with some organic almond butter or peanut butter. This snack really travels well in Tupperware and makes a terrific pre-workout snack. Why? The celery has fiber and nutrients (including calcium and vitamin A) and a ridiculously low 6 calories per medium stalk. The nut butter has protein and fat. The overall calories are low, and this really fills you up without slowing you down, providing great “slow-release” energy for a terrific workout

The double A

Simply put, an apple with almonds. The apple is the perfect food for a pre-exercise snack. The sugar load is moderate, it contains valuable pectin fiber which slows the entrance of that sugar into the bloodstream, and it’s a nutritional powerhouse containing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Combine it with about a dozen almonds, which add some fat and protein. They’ll further slow the entrance of the sugar into the bloodstream for sustained energy and keep hunger away.

Whey to go

Whey protein is my favorite kind of protein powder. Not only is it extremely high-quality, bioavailable protein; it supports the immune system by providing the building blocks for glutathione, arguably the body’s most important antioxidant. And studies indicate that whey protein may boost weight loss efforts. According to one French study, eating whey before exercise supports fat burning and may help with gaining or maintaining lean body mass. I suggest a whey protein shake made with either water alone or with frozen berries. The berries add fiber, nutrients and some extra carbohydrates, and make for a more delicious drink.

Berry cheesy

Here’s a tidbit of info that you might enjoy: In my book The 150 Healthiest Foods on the Planet, I asked 16 nutrition experts to contribute lists of their 10 favorite healthy foods. Berries, especially blueberries, made the list of more experts than any other food. Berries are loaded with phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber, and are low in sugar. Mix a bowl of berries with a piece of string cheese for the perfect pre-workout snack. The string cheese has 8 grams of protein, some fat to keep hunger at bay and only about 80 calories. And it’s an excellent source of calcium.

TG: too good

The initials of this snack stand for turkey and grapes. It’s a perfect match of protein, carbs and low calories to take the edge off your hunger and prime your exercise pump. Four small slices of deli-packaged turkey contain only 87 calories but give you more than 14 grams of protein, plus some of the cancer-fighting mineral selenium to boot. A cup of grapes adds some carbs to the mix together with phytochemicals. Go for fresh turkey whenever possible as the packaged kind is high in sodium, and choose red or purple grapes because they have more antioxidants.

Remember: What you eat after the workout is even more important than what you eat before it. That’s when your muscles are hungry and your depleted glycogen (muscle sugar) stores need replacing. The “golden hour” after the workout is the time when those muscles soak up nutrients most effectively. Choose what you eat after the workout with just as much care as you choose that pre-workout snack.”

Read all of the article here: http://www.ivillage.com/5-foods-fuel-your-workout/4-a-142430

Food Traps – 3 “Diet” 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 Foolproof Way To Get Back On Track When You Blow Your Diet

I was at the gym today on the treadmill listening to the two guys next to me lament about their ups and downs of weight loss. One of the guys had lost over 100 pounds several different times, which also means that he has gained over 100 pounds several times.

There is nothing as overwhelming as seeing that scale start to creep up. It happens to everyone, but how far you let the creep continue is up to you.

Scale creep happens because of the small, daily decisions, ones that you thought were just a big dinner, or a skipped workout were explained away in your mind as isolated incidents. But they are not. The little things add up, and they can add up fast if you don’t pay attention.

Gaining weight back is a similar path to how you took the weight off. When you lost one or two pounds a week, you made daily accountability decisions and choices that resulted in weight loss. Maybe it was your daily or weekly weigh-in on the scale, maybe it was your big salad for lunch, or pulling out your jeans to see if they fit yet. All of those little changes, those small decisions added up to your weight loss.

Gaining weight back follows a similar pattern. Remember, you didn’t lose the weight in a measured exact way of three pounds per week every week, and you don’t gain it the same way. It usually starts with one little trigger.

The Fourth of July bash and your birthday only a week apart … YIKES. One little trigger, for example an over the top meal: a big steak, baked stuffed potato, a little of the crab appetizer and the chocolate cheesecake, topped with drink after drink in celebration. You feel so lethargic the next day, which I call a food hangover, that you break your normal oatmeal/blueberry morning and you have a cup of coffee and a croissant just to function the next day and curb your food withdrawal.

Since you “messed up” breakfast, you say “screw” it to lunch and have the pizza you’ve been missing. Once you’ve had the pizza for lunch, you think, might has well have the fried chicken for dinner because I’ve totally blown it. What’s one more meal?

Maybe your scale ran out of batteries and you don’t have that accountability that you’ve been so diligent about when you lost weight. You just stop weighing in because you no longer have your scale. Two weeks go by and you’re so scared of seeing what that number will be, you go another week without weighing in. Three weeks turn into four and the pounds continue to pile on.

It can be as simple as wearing comfy sweats for 4 days in a row. They feel so big and roomy, that you eat an extra muffin and you think, wow, I must be doing great because everything still fits! (I’ve done that one myself, many times, then I finally “wake up”, pull up my jeans and say, ughh!!!! What was I thinking!?!??).

It’s all those little decisions, the same daily decisions you made when you were losing weight, that result in adding the pounds back.

The most FOOLPROOF to get back on track is to commit to one good day.

If one good day seems overwhelming , commit to one good meal. Just one. If you have already blown breakfast, then make your lunch your “on track” option … something that will give you energy, make you feel great, and give you the confidence that you can do it. Often, just one positive decision, one good lunch, one good run, can give you the jolt you crave to shake it up and get you back on the track of losing the weight. You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there. Get out of the water and get back on track!

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