Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category
Monday, November 14th, 2011
One of the most difficult times of the year for those trying to lose weight is the holiday season. While the holidays are a time to get together with family and friends, every party and gathering is also an excuse to take a holiday from your healthy heating habits. A cookie here, a chocolate there, washed down with some egg nog, and before you know it your pants are too tight.
The good news is that with a little foresight, those holiday pounds can be easily avoided while still enjoying the holiday season.
To start off, here are our tips for getting through Thanksgiving:
- Start the feast on a healthy – and filling – note. Instead of caloric dips and fatty appetizers, have low-calorie pre-dinner munchies available during food preparation and pre-dinner socializing.
- Place bowls of different-colored veggies without sauces on the table first, either at the start of the buffet or as the first dishes passed around the table. That will allow people to cover a good portion of their plates with healthier choices before serving calorie-denser foods like stuffing and mashed potatoes.
- Serve salad as a first course. Go heavy on greens, light on non-veggie add-ins like cheese.
- Make the vegetable side dishes the star of the show – or at least the co-star. Try new, eye-appealing and interesting veggie recipes that pack plenty of flavor without extra calories.
- Avoid adding hidden calories during food preparation, such as adding butter to mashed white or sweet potatoes, or butter, oil or cheese to veggies.
- Sneak a few veggies into the dressing, such as diced onions, celery, leeks, shallots, carrots, even cauliflower.
- Make gravy a choice, not the default. Instead, the default serving should be turkey without gravy. If someone wants gravy, they should add it themselves.
- Be mindful of served portion sizes; someone can always ask for more.
- Get everyone up and moving before dessert. Always have plain fruit options along with traditional choices.
- Have plenty of water on the table and readily available. Make non-caloric beverages the default option.
GREEN LIGHT IT UP!
Holiday meals don’t have to pack such a high calorie punch. Simple makeover tips can lighten a meal and keep the taste just as good:
- Baked turkey – choose a plain bird over a self-basting bird to lower the sodium content. To ensure a moist bird, bake un-stuffed, leave the skin on while roasting and remove from the oven when internal temperature reaches 170 degrees in the breast.
- Gravy – use a gravy cup or refrigerate the pan juices (to harden the fat) and skim the fat off before making gravy. Save around 656 grams of fat per cup!
- Candied yams – leave out the margarine and marshmallows. Sweeten with a little fruit juice, such as apple and flavor with cinnamon.
- Green bean casserole – cook fresh green beans with chunks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
- Mashed potatoes – use skim milk, roasted garlic, and a little parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
- Bread – serve smaller pieces or omit it altogether.
- The plate method – imagine your plate divided into thirds. Use the first third to fan out white meat turkey, no skin. Use the second third for salad and low-fat vegetables. Finally, the last third is for all the starches (sweet potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce).
HOLIDAY FOOD FACTS
A typical Thanksgiving Meal
- Roast turkey (dark and white meat) with skin (4 oz)
- Candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows (1 cup)
- Green bean casserole
- Jellied cranberry sauce (½ cup)
- Caesar salad
- Mashed potatoes with milk and butter (1 cup)
- Apple pie with vanilla ice-cream
- Pecan Pie
TOTAL CALORIES: 2,796 calories OR 7 RED LIGHTS!
Green Light Thanksgiving Meal
- Roast turkey (light meat only), no skin (4oz) (2 GREENS)
- Small Baked sweet potato (1 GREEN)
- Sautéed green beans (1 GREEN)
- Green Light cran-berries sauce (½ cup) (1/2 GREEN)
- Mixed green salad with fat-free Italian Dressing (FREE)
- Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and skim milk (1 cup) (2 GREENS)
- Green Light pumpkin pie (1 GREEN)
TOTAL CALORIES: 750 calories or 2 RED LIGHTS
RECIPES FOR THANKSGIVING
Green Light Pumpkin Pie
This pumpkin pie saves 244 calories and 14 grams of fat per slice from the traditional version and it tastes identical!
1 cup Fiber One
16 oz. can pumpkin
½ cup egg whites (about 4)
½ cup sugar OR 3 ½ teaspoons Splenda for Recipes
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves)
12 oz. can evaporated skim milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind the cookies in a food processor.
- Lightly spray a glass pie pan with vegetable cooking spray. Pat the cookie crumbs into the pan evenly.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour into the crust and bake until knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.
- Allow to cool and slice in 8 wedges. Optional: serve each wedge with fat free whipped cream.
Each slice (made with sugar):
128 calories, 0g fat, 05g saturated fat, 2mg cholesterol, 249mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 6.5g protein. (1 YELLOW)
Each slice (made with Splenda):
79 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 2mg cholesterol, 249mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 6.5g protein. (1 GREEN)
Traditional Pumpkin Pie: 557 calories, 33g fat
Traditional Pecan Pie: 680 calories, 35g fat
Green Light Cran-Berries Sauce
This easy to follow recipe is the BEST cranberry sauce you have ever tasted! You will be hooked! It is also great with roast meats, fish and as a dessert topping!
Most cranberry sauce recipes call for one cup of sugar – 774 calories. Instead replace the sugar with splenda and cut the calories in half.
1 10-oz bag fresh cranberries
1 cup of water
1 cup Splenda
1 10 oz. bag frozen blueberries (defrosted) or mixed berries
1 small can crushed pineapple in natural juice (optional)
- Place cranberries, water and Splenda in a medium-sized pot.
- Bring ingredients to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove pot from stove and add blueberries and pineapple.
- Place in a container and chill in the refrigerator until needed.
Green Light Cran-Berries Sauce (made with Splenda):
48 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 1g protein. (1/2 GREEN)
Traditional Cranberry Sauce (1 cup):
418 calories, 1g protein, 107g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, <1g fat. (1 RED + 1 GREEN)
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Monday, September 12th, 2011
I’m often asked by my patients, many of which are in their tween and teen years, what they should eat when they are at parties, such as bar and bat mitzvahs and sweet 16’s, especially with the seemingly inexhaustible supply of calorie-laden goodies at the cocktail hour and sit down dinners.
Moderation is the key word to remember in these situations. Knowing that no food is off-limits will allow you to indulge without feeling that you have completely blown your diet and therefore might as well go on an all-out binge. In fact, little indulgences are what make life special. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight while celebrating at these parties to the fullest.
Plan ahead: Never go to a party hungry. Have a small, healthy snack before you go, like a piece of fresh fruit with a handful of almonds, some high fiber crackers with low fat cheese, ½ of a sandwich, 1 hardboiled egg and a slice of toast, or a salad with ½ cup beans and lots of veggies. My favorite is a ½ cup of frozen berries (I pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to get them warm) with either one container of nonfat Greek yogurt or ½ cup of low fat cottage cheese. You should aim for a snack with at least 5 grams of fiber paired with some lean protein, which will keep you from being ravenous at the party. Fiber-rich meals help to curb your hunger in between meals, allowing you to make more sensible choices and keep your calories in check.
Stick to your favorites: What is your most favorite item at the party? If you eat cheese everyday than there is no need to have a plateful of cheese at the party. If they are serving hamburgers at the party and you haven’t had one in several months and would love to – go for it, but then limit your intake of fat for the rest of the party. Decide if you would rather eat light and drink a little more or vice versa. Unfortunately, you can’t have it all.
Keep your mouth and your hands busy: After you’ve eaten, chew on a piece of gum. By keeping your mouth busy you will be less likely to eat more food. Another great tip is to keep your hands busy. When it comes to handbags (sorry guys!), forgo any purse with the strap. Instead grab a clutch. When you are holding a clutch in one hand, and a beverage in your other, there a no hands free to hold a plateful of pigs in the blanket.
Outsmart the cocktail hour buffets: Once you arrive, scan the buffets before you choose what you are going to have. Don’t be first online-you don’t want to leave yourself time for seconds. Try to use a salad plate for your entrée and a saucer plate for dessert. Studies have shown that people eat more simply because more is on their plate. If smaller plate is used, the difference in hunger is minimal. Put lean protein on one side and vegetables on the other. The starchy sides or dessert gets the smaller bottom section.
Red Lights Are There For A Reason: You are allowed (and encouraged!) to eat two red light foods (least healthy food options on the Red Light Green Light Eat Right Program) each week. Constantly restricting what you eat and depriving yourself is a sure way to end up binging on all the forbidden foods. After all, it’s much easier to resist that slab of cake when you know you can have one in a couple of days’ time. Most of us are enthusiastic about a new diet for the first couple of weeks … and then the reality sets in. Taking these pit stops every week will actually help you in the long-term.
Start Writing: Writing down what you eat can double your weight loss, according to a recent study of nearly 1,700 dieters from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research. Those who documented their food, drinks and exercise everyday lost twice as much over six months as people who did so occasionally or not at all. Journaling makes you accountable and aware of subconscious eating that packs on the pounds.
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Saturday, September 10th, 2011
According to a 2010 World Health Organization report, the Japanese have the highest life expectancy in the world. And that may be partly due to their diet, which traditionally consists of vegetables, rice, legumes, lean meat, and fish. Another outstanding feature of the Japanese diet? Their ways of preparing foods: raw, boiled, steamed, using a wok with little oil. Most sauces are low fat, made with a base of broth, soy sauce, or sake.
As you embark on your Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right, journey into choosing healthier food choices, you will discover a wide range of dishes to choose from, including popular Japanese cuisine. Yes, Japanese dishes served in restaurants can have added salt and calories, and be prepared in ways that may interfere with your weight loss goals. However, when you know what foods to order and which to avoid at a Japanese restaurant, it will benefit your overall health as well as enhance your dining experience. Just follow these simple, helpful tips!
Miso Hungry – For the lightest appetizers, go for flavorful cucumber salad (free fuel), a house salad with ginger dressing (green), or a seaweed salad (yellow). Edamame (free fuel) is high in fiber, protein, omega-3 fats, and isoflavones. These powerful compounds have anticarcinogenic properties, and at least one study shows that they prevent your body from overproducing fat cells. Working them free from their pods also keeps you from eating too quickly. Just ask for your bowl unsalted and add a small pinch at the table.
Another great starter is miso soup (green). Studies show that people who start their meals with healthy soup end up eating fewer calories. Miso soup certainly falls into that category. Miso is made from fermented soybeans, which means that just like edamame, every bowl brings a wholesome serving of isoflavones. Try it with mushrooms or tofu.
I’m On A Roll – Sashimi (raw fish) and sushi (vinegared rice prepared with seaweed, raw fish, and/or vegetables) are good, low fat, high protein choices. Many sushi bars will even prepare your sushi with brown rice if they have it. Sushi and sashimi are also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, heart healthy fats that may reduce the risk of heart disease. Most people find raw fish easier to handle when it’s mixed with rice, but beware: That rice acts like a sponge as soon as you dip it in soy sauce. Every tablespoon you eat gobbles up as much as 40 percent of your day’s sodium limit. See below for tips regarding the extras and/or condiments we use in Japanese restaurants. If you are a sushi beginner, ask which types of fish are cooked – not all sushi is raw. Crab, shrimp, and salmon are often cooked, and sushi rolls can be made with just vegetables if you prefer.
As sushi becomes more mainstream, many rolls are being created to suit the high fat palette of American diners. Avoid rolls prepared with fried ingredients and high fat ingredients like the New York roll (smoked salmon and cream cheese).
If you don’t like sushi, there are many healthy cooked foods to choose from, as well. Good choices include: teppanyaki dishes (meat, fish, or vegetables cooked on an iron griddle), sukiyaki dishes (meat and vegetables usually cooked at the table in a shallow pan), and shabu-shabu (sliced beef and vegetables with noodles cooked and served at your table).
Confuscious say “Beware of these words on your menu.”
“Tempura” = “batter fried.”
“Spider” = rolls that usually contain fried crab.
“Dynamite” = rolls that usually contain tons of high fat mayo.
“Crunch” = another way of saying “fried & fatty.”
You Soy Crazy! – Don’t sabotage your healthy sushi dinner by drenching your rolls in mayonnaise and crunch. If you are going to add extras or condiments to your sushi, be sure to choose: Wasabi, low sodium soy sauce, seaweed, mustard sauce, chili sauce, or ginger – instead of: Mayonnaise, cream cheese, and various oils.
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Thursday, September 8th, 2011
The fall is my favorite time of year. I love taking in the scenery on a fall foliage bike ride-and getting some outdoor exercise before winter rolls around. I also especially love the fall for it’s seasonal produce! However, when it comes to picky eaters, their love for seasonal fruits and vegetables can oftentimes be a struggle.
This week as I was educating a picky 8-year-old patient on the benefits of fruits and veggies and we came to an agreement. This month he would have to try at least one new vegetable, more than once. This is perfect for fall because there are a ton of fruits and veggies in season. Not only do these fruits and veggies taste great, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, such as vitamin K and carotenoids, which have been linked to protect against certain cancers. For your guide on fruits and veggies in season I have provided you with a list. These are some of my faves!
Broccoli: Broccoli is a green cruciferous vegetable packed with folic acid, vitamin K, A, and C. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Add it to cold salads, whole grain pasta, serve it cold or hot with toasted sesame seeds or simply lightly sautéed in garlic and oil.
Brussel Sprouts: A member of the cabbage family, brussel sprouts get a bad rap. In my experience many people are scared of the little guys, but if made properly, they taste phenomenal and keep you full– brussel sprouts are packed with filling fiber! My favorite way to eat them is roasting them in the oven. Brussel sprouts are a very good source of folate and a good source of iron.
Pumpkin: In addition to making a beautiful carving, pumpkin is a nutrient powerhouse. Its high levels of beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C may boost immune function. Pumpkin is also rich in potassium and high in fiber. Use pumpkin as a soup base, add it to chili, or simply heat it up with some cinnamon and Splenda for a sweet, savory dessert.
Spinach: Probably my favorite green veggie, spinach is packed with iron, fiber and folic acid. Use spinach as a side dish, add it to soups, or eat it raw in a salad.
Sweet potatoes: More nutritionally dense than their white-potato counterparts, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, and C and also contain potassium, iron and copper. Not only are they super healthy, but they’re naturally super sweet, too! For a savory dish, brush with some cayenne pepper, salt, and a sprinkle of olive oil for a healthier version of French fries.
Winter Squash: Best in October through November, winter squash is an amazing veggie. Sure, it’s full of fiber, but did you know that our friend winter squash is also a good source of vitamins A and C, several B vitamins, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids? Winter squash has a sweet flavor and is great as a side dish tossed with a few dried cranberries and paired with turkey, chicken or pork.
Apples : Apples are full of antioxidants and some experts say it can curb your appetite and cause you to take in fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. Sweet or tart, apples are satisfying eaten raw or baked into a delicious dish. Just be sure to eat the skin—it contains hearty healthy flavonoids.
Grapefruit: Research suggests that this sweet ‘n sour citrus fruit can aid in weight loss. One small Scripps Clinic study found that eating half a grapefruit or drinking 4 ounces of juice with meals (without making any other changes in eating habits) resulted in an average weight loss of more than 3 pounds in 12 weeks. Scientists speculate that the weight loss happens because grapefruit lowers insulin levels, which curbs your urge to snack. In addition, grapefruit contains more than 75% of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of vitamin C, is a good source of lycopene, and contains pectin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol. If grapefruit is a little too tart for you, try sprinkling a little Splenda on top. If not, try adding it to mixed greens, combine it with avocado and shrimp, or enjoy a fresh glass of its antioxidant-rich juice.
Want to have fresh delicious seasonal vegetables sent to you? Check out Tanimura & Antle produce! They are a grower and shipper of premium fresh vegetables including lettuce, cauliflower, Artisan Lettuce, and hydroponic vegetables. They sent samples of different types of lettuce, celery, and cauliflower over to us at Red Light Green Light Eat Right and we were so pleased with how fresh the produce tasted. Each sample came in a sealed bag to keep it fresh. You will definitely fall for their produce!
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Friday, September 2nd, 2011
During Hot Dog Season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs! Depending on the brand, most hot dogs contain 10 to 15 grams of fat. Many of us make the already fatty dog worse by placing it in a nutritionally-stripped white bun and loading on sugar, sodium and fat with condiments like ketchup, sauerkraut, and cheese. Not only is the sugar, sodium and fat a concern, but nitrate, an ingredient found in many hot dogs, has been linked to serious, life-threatening diseases.
While hot dogs are not exactly a health professional’s favorite food, you don’t have to ditch your dog this Labor Day. There are hot dog companies that are now making healthier hot dogs. These companies make hot dogs with less than five grams total fat, less than 500 mg of sodium, ones that are nitrate-free, as well as soy and veggie hot dogs. Finding these healthy dogs can be easy with some smart shopping and simple label reading.
When you’re at the grocery store, here are important hot dog guidelines to follow:
Choose a hot dog, not a Fat dog. you should first look at the total fat on the hot dog’s nutrition facts. If the total fat is over five grams you might as well call that hot dog a fat dog.
Choose hot dogs labeled “Uncured” or “No added nitrates.” look at the ingredients to see if there is nitrate in the hot dog. Nitrate may be labeled sodium nitrate, nitrite, or sodium nitrites, and all of these should be avoided.
Go for organic hot dogs. These dogs are made from organically raised animals, not treated with antibiotics or hormones. Plus they skip the nitrites and nitrates.
Pick sodium-smart dogs. Look for brands with 370 mg sodium or less. Anything over is way too much and about one fourth of the recommended amount of sodium an child or teenager should be getting in one day.
Here is a list of hot dogs that are lower in fat, lower in sodium, nitrate-free, and the healthiest options for you and your family.
Organic Turkey Dog
Organic Chicken Dog
Organic Beef Dog
- Shelton’s Turkey Franks
- Organic Prairie Chicken Hot Dog
- Trader Joe’s Uncured Turkey Hot Dog
- Lightlife: (vegetarian options)
After you purchase your healthy hot dogs, don’t stop there. Buy whole-wheat buns and load the hot dogs with other lower-fat foods like fresh fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, onions, and pico de gallo. Get creative and try these healthy hot dog topping ideas:
-Wrap grilled halved hot dogs in grilled whole-wheat tortillas; top with shredded fat-free cheddar, lettuce, and salsa.
-Serve boiled tofu dogs on whole-wheat buns with diced avocado and cucumber, sprouts and shredded carrot.
-Serve boiled hot dogs on whole-wheat buns with dill pickle and cucumber spears, sliced tomatoes, diced onion and yellow mustard.
- Serve boiled hot dogs on whole-wheat buns with sauteed mushrooms and onions.
Please Note – The American Academy of Pediatrics, state that hot dogs are the food most commonly associated with fatal choking among children. Many recommend not feeding hot dogs to children under 3. For children of all ages, cut up the hot dog to appropriate sizes and watch your child eat to ensure he or she does not choke.
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
In today’s fast-paced world, many of us struggle with an over-packed schedule and little time to actually sit down to eat. As a result, busy people gulp and go while others – not necessarily under a time crunch – have the habit of eating too fast. The result? They take in too many calories before they realize they’ve eaten enough. After all, it takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness.
A recent study has revealed just how much weight gain can be expected based on eating speed. As researchers of this study expected, faster eating was associated with weight gain, but they were surprised at the actual amount of weight gain. The Department of Human Nutrition researchers recently analyzed the relationship between self-reported speed of eating and Body Mass Index in over 1500 middle-aged Australian women. Researchers determined that for every one-step increase in speed in a five-step scale, BMI increased by 2.8 percent, which equates to a weight gain of approximately 4 pounds.
It’s true that eating slowly and taking smaller bites can be very difficult to do, especially when you are busy and famished. But you’ll find it easier to slow the pace if you eat regular meals, and never allow more than four hours to pass between meals.
Still can’t slow down the pace? Try a few tricks we’ve put together at RLGLER to help you put the brakes on speed eating and recognize a full belly. Here are tips to slow down eating.
RLGRER Tip #1: One of the major reasons for eating too fast is not chewing long enough. To slow down your eating, chew every bite a minimum of 10 times–but shoot for 20.
RLGLER Tip #2: Put down the fork or spoon after each bite. This will slow down the automatic response of fork-to-mouth.
RLGLER Tip #3: Sip water regularly or in-between bites. It forces you to put down the fork.
RLGLER Tip #4: Make meals a social time. If you eat with your family or friends engage in conversation. Since you don’t want to be impolite and talk with your mouth full, it will take longer for you to eat. Plus a good conversation and good meal make a great combination.
RLGLER Tip #5: Eat with chopsticks. They automatically slow down your rate of eating and the amount of food you’re going to eat. If you’re a pro with chopsticks, however, use them in the opposite hand! As an added bonus, chopsticks allows heavy sauces to fall through the cracks and stay on the plate where they belong.
RLGLER Tip #6: Don’t wait to eat until you’re ravenously hungry, or you’ll eat quickly and too much. You’ll find yourself inhaling food.
RLEGER Tip #7: Sit down to eat and use a plate. Those who stand are usually rushing through the meal to get on to other things.
RLGLER Tip #8: Eat foods that require some work – artichokes, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pomegranate, crab or lobster. You have to work for your food here and that will help slow you down.
We can actually learn a lot about eating slow from pistachios. A great concept developed by Dr. James Painter , Ph. D., R.D., called “The Pistachio Principle” is a basic idea of slowing down when eating and you will eat less. When eating a pistachio, you must first break open the shell to get the nut out. By having to break each shell open, the consumption rate is much slower. A study found that people who ate in-shell pistachios ate 50% fewer calories. The participants in the study also reported feeling satisfied even having eaten fewer pistachios.
Another study also found that when the empty pistachio shells were left on a table in plain site after eating, 35% fewer calories were eaten. This is kind of a mind trick on the brain. It looks as if you have eaten a large amount of nuts due to the shells but in reality, you have only eaten a few.
RLGLER Tip #9: Try the Bite Counter, a new wristwatch-shaped device that, like a pedometer, keeps count of a specific repetitive physical movement. The machine is described as having the ability to counts bites taken with and without the use of a fork or spoon, such as eating an apple.
Be creative, and develop your own tricks for slowing down your eating.
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Sunday, August 28th, 2011
School lunches generally receive poor grades when it comes to their nutrition content and are typically short on fresh fruits and vegetables, and heavy on processed, breaded, and fried entrees. Take, for example, the study of sixth graders recently published in the American Heart Journal found that students were 29% more likely to be obese if they ate school lunches.
Most parents appreciate the importance of good nutrition and aim to provide healthy food choices for their children. After all, good nutrition helps provide them with the energy required to function effectively in the classroom. Also, children that have a more substantial lunch at school are less likely to graze on high calorie, high fat snack foods when they get home.
As parents, we know that good nutrition will help our children grow-up healthy, but what foods comprise a healthy meal? Here are some “good nutrition” guidelines for you to follow when your kids BYOL:
- Lean Meat/Protein Substitutes– Such as chicken or turkey breast, tuna packed in water, eggs, beans, fat-free cheese, fat-free cottage cheese or yogurt
- Whole Grains – Such as a100% whole grain bread, crackers, English muffins, pitas, tortillas, or cereals
- Fruits and Vegetables – At least one portion each of a fruit and vegetable (children tend to prefer it sliced which is easier to handle – for cut fruit that tends to go brown i.e. Apples – squeeze lemon juice
- Beverage – low in sugar and preferably without artificial ingredients, such as infused water or lightly sweetened iced tea
- Optional: Healthy Green Light Snack – such as air-popped popcorn, trail mix, dried fruit bars (like Trader Joes Fiberful bars)
This balanced lunch will provide your child with a variety of nutrients, including fiber, calcium, protein, and iron.
Read labels: Avoid foods with unhealthy food additives and other ingredients such as:
- partially hydrogenated oils
- saturated fats
- artificial colors and flavorings
- high sodium
- excess sugar
- MSG – look for glutamic acid or glutamate on the ingredients list
Tip – Choose natural and organic foods as much as possible.
With a clearer sense of what to include, it should be easier to prepare healthy lunches. But what about getting your kids to eat the lunches you prepare? These tips can help you pack wholesome meals that your kids are likely to eat and enjoy.
Involve your child – Children often like to help their parents and are more likely to eat foods that they choose and make. So let them help you make the shopping list, look through recipes and help prepare their lunches (to whatever extent their skills allow). The kitchen can become a place where you can bond with your children over food and educate them in a fun atmosphere.
Portion appropriately – Offer more foods in smaller serving sizes versus large quantities of fewer foods so that larger portions do not overwhelm your child.
Create variety – Don’t get into the rut of serving only the foods your child says he will eat. The wider the range of colors a meal offers, the more varied nutrients it contains. If your children are interested in trying new foods, suggest that they keep a log of new foods and what they think about them.
Add visual appeal – Presentation can make lunch fun and interesting for kids. Use cookie cutters to cut fruits, veggies and sandwiches in fun shapes. Choose lunch containers in their favorite colors and let them decorate the outside.
Transform old favorites – For example, take the usual ham and cheese sandwich and use whole-wheat bread
instead of white, and substitute organic ham.
Creating a week’s worth of lunches that are diverse and delicious is a challenge. To help you break a monotonous routine, we have created the RLGLER Healthy Lunch Planning Grid, complete with creative lunch ideas. Just pick one item from each column to create each day’s lunch meal.
|Main Dish – Lean Protein + Whole Grains
|Grilled chicken fajita in a whole wheat tortilla with onions and peppers
||Apple slices with 1 tbsp almond butter
||Whole grain or fruit and nut bar
|Organic turkey on multigrain bread with mustard
||Side salad with
and fat free mozzarella
|Lemon infused water
||Organic fruit leather
|Whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, chick peas and grated parmesan
||Diced peaches or strawberries
||Trail mix made with whole grain cereal, dried fruit, nuts
|Yogurt Parfait: Light yogurt with whole grain cereal
||Lightly sweetened iced tea
||Air popped popcorn
|Vegetarian or turkey chili
||Low-sodium tomato juice
||Soy crisps, veggie chips or baked chips
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Thursday, August 25th, 2011
For kids especially, playing and exercising at recess is a fun way to enjoy – and begin to understand – the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Play is a critical component of healthy childhood development. A lack of physical activity can definitely have a negative impact on a child’s intellectual and physical development.
Yet playtime is becoming more infrequent every day. In the last two decades, children have lost an average of eight hours of free play a week and in some cities new schools are now being built without playgrounds.[i] So I’m excited to collaborate with Dannon® on Danimals® Rally for Recess promotion, to promote the importance of recess for kids’ healthy lifestyles.
Five lucky schools across America will win a $20,000 playground makeover and an all-day recess celebration that may include a climbing wall, dunk tank, obstacle course and large slide.
I invite you to get involved, too! For more information, including official rules, visit www.rallyforrecess.com.
ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THE DANNON® DANIMALS® RALLY FOR RECESS PROGRAM. MANY WILL ENTER, FEW WILL WIN. Program consists of the Dannon® Danimals Rally for Recess Promotion (the “Promotion”) and an Instant Win Game (the “Game”). Program starts 12:00:01 a.m. ET on 8/1/11, ends 11:59:59 p.m. ET on 1/31/12, or while supplies of codes last. Codes can be found under the overwrap of specially marked packages of DANNON® Danimals® products. For Official Rules, which govern, ask your parents and go to www.rallyforrecess.com. To obtain a free code, mail a 3”x5” card or piece of paper with your date of birth and valid e-mail address hand-printed on it in an envelope with proper postage affixed to: DANNON® Danimals® Rally for Recess Free Code Request, P.O. Box 1941, Danbury, CT 06813-1941. Requests must be postmarked no later than 1/31/12 and received by 2/7/12. Codes must be submitted by 11:59:59 p.m. ET on 2/8/12 to be eligible. Open to legal residents of the 48 Continental U.S. & D.C., 5-15 years of age (OR A PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN OF AN ELIGIBLE MINOR). Eligible minors should obtain the permission of their parents or legal guardians prior to participating. Void in AK, HI, PR and where prohibited. Sponsor: The DANNON Company, Inc.
Elkind, David. “Can We Play?” Greater Good
2008: Web. <greatergood.berkeley.edu>
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Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Thank goodness for breakfast bars: convenient, pre-packed, pre-portioned meals that are simple, mess free and portable! Breakfast bars can be a quick and easy part of breakfast or snacks for kids, but parents and health experts alike often question the nutritional value of these bars. Many are high in sugar, don’t contain real fruit and aren’t made with whole grains as many claim to be.
With so many different brands on the supermarket shelves, grabbing one while on the run is a simple way to satisfy your child’s hunger, but… NOT SO FAST!!! Before your child bites into that bar, make sure to check out the nutrition label. Many, although marketed as “healthy” are simply glorified candy bars. Just because the wrapper says hearty, harvest, whole grain, slim and/or healthy doesn’t mean they are good for your child. Many provide little nutrition yet lots of empty calories.
Follow these simple guidelines to choose the best bar for your child to help them stay on track with their diet!
- Calories – Aim for less than 200 calories if you are eating a bar between meals and about 300 calories if you are using it as a meal replacement. These calorie ranges should keep you satisfied through your next meal.
- Fiber and Protein – Bars laden with sugar and with little fiber and protein are burned by the body more quickly, and hunger soon returns. Look for bars with at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per serving. This nutritional mix will help to keep you full without adding extra calories.
- Fat – A little bit of fat goes a long way. Look for bars with less than 5 grams of total fat (especially if it is a snack), less than 3 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat per serving.
- Sugar – Look out for the hidden sources of sugar present in the following ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, honey, rice syrup, barley malt syrup, concentrated fruit juice and corn syrup!
* Red Light Green Light Best Bets
||< 1 gram
|*Balance 100 Calorie Bars
||130 – 150
||240 – 250
||< 1 gram
|*Special K Meal Bars
|Slim Fast Meal Bar
|Think Thin Bars
|* Fiber One 90 Calorie Bar
|Odwalla, Original Bar, Super Protein*
|Kashi’s TLC Chewy, Honey Almond Flax*
Remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so if you do decide to give your kids breakfast bars before heading out the door in the morning make sure you check to choose a healthy one. Also, be sure to incorporate one vegetable or fruit serving with all meals and snacks.
There is nothing wrong with breakfast bars you just don’t want your children to live off of them. If you don’t have the time to fix breakfast during the week then you can always whip them up a nice hot breakfast on the weekends.
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Thursday, August 18th, 2011
Pop Quiz: Do your meal options rotate between fast food, ramen noodles, or dining hall pizza? If you’re a college student and this sounds all too familiar to you it’s because most college students are pressed for time, under a lot of stress, and find themselves eating on the go. Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid fast food restaurants, all-you-can-eat dining hall junk food or even skipping meals. Without direction or nutritional discipline, students often fall victim to these situations that are sure to pack on the pounds.
Therefore, it’s important, especially with so much to do, to be aware of the proper nutrition your body needs to help you perform at your peak, both in the classroom and in the rest of your daily life. A healthy diet can help you feel better and cope well with stress, putting you on the right track for a successful semester! You don’t need a nutrition degree to eat healthy; just follow these situation specific fitness and nutrition tips to navigate your way through a healthy college career.
Solutions to Your Dining Hall Dilemmas
You have class during meals: Food is the fuel your brain needs to help you think, so make time to eat. If you skip a meal, you may have trouble concentrating, get a headache, or feel like you didn’t get very much out of your class. Even if you can’t sit down for a full meal, pack a healthy portable snack such as fruit, trail mix, or a sandwich.
You’re unsure of healthy choices in the dining hall: Living on campus usually means that the dining hall provides most of your meals. Sometimes choosing good nutrition can be difficult and a little overwhelming when faced with the amount of food and variety in a typical dining hall. Don’t worry, it is possible! Here are some dining hall green light bites to keep mind when heading in for a meal:
- Dining Hall Green Light Breakfast Bites – Start your day off right with a balanced meal incorporating lean protein, whole grains, fruits and/or veggies. Cook-to-order egg-white omelets and scrambles with a side of whole-wheat toast are a great way to get your lean protein, veggies, and whole grains. Be sure to ask the chef to prepare them with very little oil or butter. Other great breakfast choices include fresh fruit, oatmeal (find out how it’s prepared), high-fiber cereal and low-fat or non-fat yogurt.
- Dining Hall Green Light Lunch Bites – Head over to the sandwich line and salad bar and get creative. Try shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, or any other veggies that you like, pile them high on a plate, and top it all off with lean turkey breast slices, ham and/or roast beef. If large lettuce leaves are available, you can turn your lunch into a protein-style feast by wrapping your meat and pickles in them. Yum!
- Dining Hall Green Light Dinner Bites – Dinner is usually when there are the most options available. Be choosy! You don’t have to try a little bit of everything and chances are you will see the item on the menu again. Walk around and look at all of the options available that day before deciding on your meal. Grilled or baked lean protein, like chicken or fish, is always a great option. Just make sure it’s not swimming in oil and/or lots of sauce. If possible, order your sauce on the side and use it sparingly-dip, don’t pour. Then load up the rest of your plate with lots of steamed veggies. If they’re too boring, add spices, hot sauce, mustard, etc.
Dorm Room Food Remedies
Dormitory living can be a challenge when you are making nutritious choices for yourself. With late night study sessions, movies and going out, snacking can be difficult to avoid. Snacking itself isn’t bad, but having healthful snack options on hand can help prevent trips to the vending machines and late night eateries.
Your friends order late night pizza, calzones, and wings: Don’t deny yourself food if you are truly hungry, but don’t over indulge either. Healthy eating is about moderation! If you eat regular meals and free fuel (fresh fruits and veggies) throughout the day, you should feel satisfied. But, remember, it is okay to eat a regular portion of these foods, such 1 slice of pizza, every once in a while.
You have a meal plan, but always get hungry between meals and at night when studying: Keep your room stocked with healthy snacks you can grab when you’re hungry, such as these dorm green light bites:
- Shelf stable items – Whole grain crackers, trail mix, dried fruit, nuts, rice cakes, high fiber cereals, apples, oranges, no sugar added applesauce, reduced fat peanut butter, tuna packets
- Microwaveable items – snack-sized 94% fat-free popcorn, potatoes, oatmeal packets, broth or vegetable based soups, reduced sugar hot cocoa, quick cooking brown rice
- Refrigerator items – skim milk, non-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat cheese, salsa, hummus, pre-cut vegetables, fresh fruit
Solutions to Your Fitness Dilemmas
An article about eating healthy wouldn’t be complete without nutrition’s partner-in-crime: exercise. Follow these tips and get an “A” in fitness:
- Walk or Bike to Class Be active on the way to class instead of taking the bus or car.
- Join an Intramural Sport This is a fun way to meet new people and fit in exercise, too.
- Go for a Walk with Friends Stay fit and catch up with friends at the same time. Instead of taking a shortcut back to your dorm, take the scenic route and get in a little extra exercise.
- Take a Fitness Class as a Course This is a good way to include fitness into your routine and earn credit. Consider weight lifting or dancing.
- Check out your College Gym Most colleges have gyms or fitness centers that offer free or reduced price memberships. They may also offer classes such as yoga, cardio, kickboxing, and dancing.
There’s something for everyone!
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