Posts Tagged ‘healthy’
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
It’s unrealistic to think that the average person, who’s faced with fast food and processed food on a regular basis, can start following a completely rigid diet of 100% “clean”, fresh, or local foods. While it may work for some people, it’s not reasonable for the masses as issues of seasonality and transportation make it difficult for all of us to access fresh and local foods all the time.
The 2010 Better Homes and Gardens Food Factor Survey revealed just how dependent today’s cooks are on convenience foods. Of 3,600 women surveyed from across the United States, 71% of them purchased convenience produce (eg, prepared salads, chopped fruits and vegetables), and 81% purchased convenient forms of fresh poultry and meats regularly.
According to Health and Human Services, the quest for convenience is leading more people to consume away-from-home quick-service or restaurant meals or to buy ready-to-eat, quickly accessible meals to prepare at home. When the wrong choices are made, the trend contributes to obesity, especially among children. However, while most people might think of processed food as something that comes wrapped in plastic from a factory across the country, many processed foods can deliver lots of nutrition without doing you any harm.
The best way to assess a food’s value is to decipher its nutrition facts panel. Besides the basics of paying attention to calories and serving size, here are tips to guide you from the Food and Drug Administration:
●Choose products with high daily value percentages (20 percent or more per serving) of fiber and of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron.
●Look for low daily value percentages (5 percent or less) of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
●The following terms signal added sugars, which contain lots of calories but little nutrition value: corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup.
Healthful Processed Convenient Foods
Here’s a roundup of foods that, though processed and packaged, pack a nutritional punch.
Yogurt: The yogurt making process is probably also what makes it so good for you. In addition to the calcium and protein, vitamins and minerals yogurt delivers, the active bacteria cultures that give it its tangy taste are probiotics that are thought to provide digestive health benefits.
Canned beans: Beans are an excellent source of protein (especially for those who don’t eat meat) and fiber. Sure, you can buy, dry and soak them (thereby processing them yourself). But you can’t beat the convenience of canned. Look for reduced-sodium brands, or drain and rinse your beans before eating.
Jarred spaghetti sauce: The process of cooking actually improves the quality of the antioxidant carotenoids that give tomatoes their color, making jarred sauce a healthful choice. Sauces are also seasoned with herbs, which add vitamins and minerals such as potassium.
Canned salmon: We all supposed to be eating more fish — at least two four-ounce servings a week, according to federal dietary guidelines — and fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna are tops because of the omega-3 fatty acids they contain. But buying fresh fish can get expensive. Canned varieties provide the same nutrition.
Frozen fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables harvested at their peak and immediately frozen retain all their nutritional value, allowing us to enjoy their benefits year round. They’re often less expensive than fresh produce, too.
Brown rice: In a bag or frozen, this healthful choice takes only eight to 10 minutes to prepare compared with about 45 minutes the traditional way.
Individual cups of hummus: High in protein, it’s good for lunch or a snack. Hummus can be used for dipping carrot or celery sticks, or whole-grain crackers for an added nutritional punch.
Edamame: Frozen edamame can be toasted or stir-fried or added to any casserole, soup, or stew for added fiber and protein.
Prepackaged guacamole snack packs: Guacamole packets are great for topping off a prepackaged salad with healthy fats without the hassle of peeling, mashing, and seasoning fresh avocados.
Eggs: Eggs are an incredible source of high-quality protein and are also one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring sources of Vitamin D, a nutrient that most individuals are deficient in. Boil them or crack them open and scramble or make a quick omelet or frittata with precut vegetables for a healthy, convenient meal.
Nuts: Roasted peanuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamias, and Brazil nuts are portable, nutritious, and, on a per-serving basis, very affordable.
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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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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 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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Thursday, August 4th, 2011
The U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that at least one out of five children in the U.S. is overweight. There are several reasons why parents need be concerned over an overweight or obese child. Obese children and adolescents have shown an alarming increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes. Many obese children have high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are risk factors for heart disease. One of the most severe problems for obese children is sleep apnea (interrupted breathing while sleeping). In some cases this can lead to problems with learning and memory. In addition, obese children have a high incidence of orthopedic problems, liver disease, and asthma.
How to determine if your child is overweight or obese:
A doctor is the best person to determine whether your child has a weight problem. Doctors will measure your child’s weight, height, age and growth patterns to determine if his or her weight is within a healthy range. Based on your child’s height and weight, they will calculate a body mass index (BMI). If your child’s BMI is greater than 95 percent of children their age and gender, they are considered to be overweight.
Why children become overweight:
Genetic factors: Children become overweight for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. In rare cases, a medical problem, such as an endocrine disorder, may cause a child to become overweight. A careful physical exam and some blood tests will determine if your child is overweight due to this type of problem.
Children whose parents or brothers or sisters are overweight may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves. However, not all children with a family history of obesity will be overweight. Genetic factors play a role in increasing the likelihood that a child will be overweight, but shared family behaviors such as eating and activity habits also greatly influence body weight.
Lifestyle: A child’s total diet and his or her activity level both play an important role in determining a child’s weight. The average American child spends approximately 24 hours each week watching television – time that could be spent in some sort of physical activity.
What parents can do to help:
Be supportive: Overweight children need support, acceptance, and encouragement from their parents. Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them. It is also important to talk to your children about weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you.
Don’t use food as a punishment or reward: Withholding food as a punishment may lead children to worry that they will not get enough food which may result in overeating. When foods, such as sweets, are used as a reward, children may assume that these foods are better or more valuable than other foods. For example, telling children that they will get dessert if they eat all of their vegetables sends the wrong message about vegetables.
Set a good example: Children are good learners, and they learn best by example. Set a good example for your kids by eating a variety of foods and being physically active. Involve children in food shopping and preparing. Children may be more willing to eat or try foods that they help prepare.
Teach healthy habits: Teaching healthy eating practices early will help children approach eating with the right attitude: Food should be enjoyed and is necessary for growth, development, and for energy to keep the body running. Guide their choices rather than dictate foods. This will help your children learn how to make healthy food choices. Encourage your child to eat slowly. A child can detect hunger and fullness better when eating slowly.
Cut down on fat: Reducing fat is a good way to cut calories without depriving your child of nutrients. Simple ways to cut the fat in your family’s diet include eating lowfat or nonfat dairy products, poultry without skin and lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free breads and cereals. By the time the child is about 5 years old, you should gradually adopt a diet that contains no more than 30 percent of calories from fat.
Healthy snacking: You should make snacks as nutritious as possible, without depriving your child of occasional chips or cookies, especially at parties or other social events. Healthy snacks include: applesauce, carrot sticks with hummus, peanut butter on apples, yogurt, dried fruit, fruit juice popsicles, low fat cheese, etc.
Increase your physical activity: Regular physical activity, combined with healthy eating habits, is the most efficient and healthful way to control your weight. Some simple ways to increase your family’s physical activity include the following: Plan family activities like walking, dancing, biking, or swimming. For example, schedule a walk with your family after dinner instead of watching TV or playing video games. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable about participating in certain activities so it is important to help your child find physical activities that they enjoy and that aren’t embarrassing or too difficult.
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011
When you are at the movies the aroma of popcorn hits you as soon as you walk though the door. For many people, the experience of going to the movies includes popcorn, soda, and candy. These high calorie treats could be scarier than the next blockbuster horror flick! With a little planning, you can still enjoy a yummy snack that doesn’t sabotage your diet.
You may wonder just how bad a tub of popcorn could be. On average, a large popcorn (which contains 20 cups) contains approximately 100 grams of fat- the equivalent of more than six fast food hamburgers. With about 1,300 calories, that large popcorn packs almost a full day’s supply of calories for the average dieter.
If you have more of a sweet tooth chocolate bars and boxes of candy might be your downfall. Although you may think that you are able to eat only half of a candy bar in actuality it is very difficult at the movies. Studies show that while watching television or a movie people tend to consume more calories because they are distracted. If you bring health pre-portioned snacks to the movies you will not have to worry about over eating. The best way to avoid temptation at the theater is to eat a balanced meal beforehand full of lean protein and fiber rich carbohydrates. This will keep you satisfied for several hours.
One way to enjoy a treat at the movies without destroying your waistline is to bring your own snacks from home. Here are some health alternatives you can choose:
- Bottles water, club soda, or crystal lite
- Flavor and Fiber Gnu bar or Chocolite Protein Bar
- Dry cereal: Fiber One, Kashi Go Lean or Puffins
- Low fat mozzarella string cheese
- Orville Redenbacher’s 100 calorie mini bags
- 1oz pistachios
- Baby carrots or Sliced Peppers
- Fruit such as apples, strawberries, raspberries
- Emerald coco roasted almonds 100 calorie pack
- Shelled, salted edamame
- A mix of almonds, raisins, & mini marshmallows
- Jicama matchsticks, tossed with lime juice & chili powder
- Frozen red or green grapes
Going to the movies is a social experience-and that means eating for many people. But you don’t have to miss out on the fun just because you’re watching your diet. By bringing your own portion-controlled snacks from him the only things you’ll be missing are the inches you’ll lose from your waist!
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Monday, July 25th, 2011
Increasing food prices have more and more shoppers looking for ways to save money at the grocery store without sacrificing nutrition. For those of you who fall into this category, you’ll be happy to know that eating healthier foods can actually save you money. Savings can come from reducing portion sizes and from buying fewer of the high-calorie foods that tend to increase the amount spent at the grocery store. People tend to spend a lot on those “extras” — foods that add calories but little nutritional value, like sodas, bakery items, and chips.
There’s no magic formula to buying or cooking healthy foods on a budget. It takes a little planning and creativity. But if think of the rewards— better health and more money—you’ll find it’s worth the effort. After all, health is wealth! Here are few ideas that will save you a little green (while also being green lights themselves):
- Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper: With the advent of Sam’s Club and Costco, you can save big time because the discount for bulk items beats the cost of purchasing individual products. You can either become a member yourself and pay the annual associated fees or you can ask a friend who has a membership to add you to their account. You will have the same benefits for less overhead.
- Buy generic: Generic brands can provide a great savings! Stores deliberately place the highest-priced brand-name items at eye level, so be sure to literally look high and low for cheaper store brand labels.
- Go frozen or canned: Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are healthy choices with a long shelf life. Skip ones packed in sauces and sugary syrups and look for low-salt options.
- Buy sale items: Only if you know what to do with the food! Take advantage of specials on staple—broth, soups, pasta, rice, canned veggies, even bread and meat. Many of these items have a long shelf life or can be frozen for short periods of time.
- Buy produce in season. Check the food section in your newspaper to find the best buys for the week, based on fresh produce in season. Food in season is usually priced to sell. During the summer months, corn on the cob can cost as little as 10 cents an ear; at other times of the year, it may cost 10 times as much. Also, shop your local farmers’ market for great deals on local produce; the prices won’t include shipping costs.
- Brown-bag it. Making lunch and taking it with you is a great money-saver and an excellent use of leftovers for meals at work, school, or wherever your destination. Packing your lunch not only saves you money, but you can control all the ingredients so they are healthy and low in calories. Pack a simple sandwich, salad, soup, wrap, and use freezer packs and containers to keep food at the proper temperature unless you have access to a refrigerator.
Wait….There’s more! You can get more for your money if you consider the nutritional value of food for the price. For example, sodas and flavored drinks deliver mostly empty calories and could easily be replaced with less expensive sparkling water with a splash of a 100% fruit juice. When comparing food prices based on the number of servings you’ll get, along with the food’s nutritional contribution, you’ll find many healthier foods give you a big bang your buck. For example, a pound of peaches yields three to four servings. So when you divide the cost per pound, the cost is usually quite reasonable. Here is a list of a few healthy foods you can find in your grocery store for under a dollar that reap huge nutritional rewards.
Prices may vary based on the store, location, and time of year.
- Price: Approximately $1.99/pound.
- Great for: Snacks, salads, and fruit salads.
Yogurt (lowfat, or fat-free)
- Price: 60 cents. This is usually the price for an 8-ounce container of yogurt.
- Great for: Smoothies, yogurt parfait, dips, and dressings.
- Price: You can buy about a half dozen of eggs for $1
- Great for: omelets, frittatas, egg salad sandwiches for lunch
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Friday, July 22nd, 2011
Let’s be honest, most of us could use more vegetables in our diet. In fact, studies show that a mere 27% of adults get the recommended 3 servings of vegetables per day. Kids get even less! A past study found that only 22% of children ages 2-5 met recommendations for vegetable intake, and in children ages 6-11, only 16% met recommendations for vegetable intake. In addition, a recent study found that between a third and a half of all the fruits and vegetables served to youngsters at some school cafeterias last year wound up in the trash. Similar situations are occurring at schools nationwide, as well.
Oftentimes, encouraging the addition of vegetables to one’s diet results in a rolling of the eyes or a patronizing, “Yes mom,” but what if there was an easy way to consume more veggies and lose weight even if you didn’t like the taste of veggies?
A study out of Pennsylvania State University incorporated pureed vegetables into participants’ meals, effectively doubling their fiber intake, lowering the caloric content and adding nutrients without sacrificing taste! Researchers served 41 volunteers breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner on three occasions; each time they provided the same meals, but the main dishes contained different amounts of steamed and pureed carrots, squash, or cauliflower. When given a dish that was 25 percent vegetables compared with one that had none, the participants consumed 360 fewer daily calories on average but reported no differences in hunger, and fewer than half realized that the dishes had been altered. Consuming 360 calories per day less equals roughly a pound of weight lost in just ten days without even dieting!
The cookbook author, Jessica Seinfeld, who has encouraged parents to sneak vegetables into foods like spaghetti, had popularized this strategy. However, it is important to keep in mind, that when serving the foods to young children, you must continue offering whole vegetables on the side so children develop a taste for vegetables.
If you’re striving to help your family live a healthier lifestyle, you’ve probably already made some reduced calorie swaps, like low-fat in place of whole milk or veggie burgers for quarter-pounders, but there may still be some food substitutions that you haven’t tried. I have also included some of my favorite strategies I use to cut calories but keep the taste, including easy ways to add puree vegetables
to your diet:
If I order a salad at a restaurant and none of the dressings seem appealing, I will often ask for a little dish of salsa on the side. This non-traditional topping adds a lot of flavor and is usually less processed than industrial salad dressings.
Buy puree vegetable baby food or frozen vegetable purees and add them to sauces, soups, casseroles and even lean ground beef burgers!
When it comes to baking, the possibilities for cutting down on fat while retaining flavor abound. If a recipe calls for a half-cup of oil, try replacing the oil with canned pumpkin, applesauce, or puréed prunes. Although it sounds a little odd, puréeing dried prunes and a little hot water in your food processor is an easy way to add sweetness and reduce calories in baked goods.
Another favorite baked snack is the onion. Chop an onion into quarters without cutting all the way through in order to create the “blooming” effect. Drizzle on a little olive oil and season with a little salt to taste. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast away! When its done just separate the layers one by one and eat them like chips.
Olive oil is a healthy fat, but you can have too much of a good thing. It’s easy to add two-plus tablespoons of oil while making a stir-fry — and that can add up to 250 calories. Instead, try sauteeing your veggies in a little chicken or veggie broth.
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