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Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

16852189If you’re entertaining and want to keep it healthy, take a look at these great tips on easy ways to cut calories (but keep the flavor!) and include fruits and vegetables in your celebrations.

  1. A Healthy Dessert. Top mixed fruit with a dollop of sorbet or sherbet for dessert.
  2. Meat Substitutions. Make vegetable lasagna for non-meat eating guests. Instead of the meat layer, try spinach, eggplant, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms, or your favorite combination.
  3. Fruity Condiments. Serve fruit chutneys and relishes as condiments.
  4. Healthy Appetizers. Serve appetizers that use vegetables and fruits.
    1. De-seed a cucumber and fill with tabouli, hummus, or tomato bruschetta. Slice into ½ inch pieces.
    2. Top party rye with a thin layer of low-fat mayonnaise, a cucumber slice and a dash of lemon pepper, or spread with Tuna Vegetable Dip.
    3. Marinate mushrooms in your favorite low-fat vinaigrette.
    4. Top a thin slice of French bread or a melba toast round with a thin slice of part-skim mozzarella and sun-dried tomato.
  5. Be Prepared for Guests. Keep frozen and canned veggies on hand in case of an unexpected guest or last minute invitation. Check out our “Top 10 Ways to Cook Anything” for some quick and tasty preparation ideas.
  6. Create a New Tradition. Make a new veggie recipe … a new holiday tradition. Our Crazy Curly Broccoli Bake makes a great seasonal side dish (and it’s a hit with kids), Asparagus w/Lemon Sauce is a light and tangy side dish, and Fava Beans and Red Onion Salad is a delicious combination accentuating the bright colors of spring!
  7. Add Some Sparkle. Offer 100% fruit or vegetable juice as a beverage. For a healthy and fun party drink, use seltzer instead of water to make juice from 100% fruit juice concentrate.
  8. Healthy Snacks & Gifts. Don’t forget dried fruits! Add to a cheese platter or mix with nuts for snacking. A dried fruit and nut combination makes a great gift too! Also try assorted dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins, apricots, cherries, blueberries and apples with mixed nuts.
  9. Trays of Crudités. What’s a party without crudités? Include some different veggies on your vegetable tray such as jicama, turnips, zucchini or steamed green beans. If you’re pressed for time, pick up fruit and vegetable trays already assembled from the supermarket.
  10. Decorate & Enjoy. A basket or bowl of fruits and veggies is a festive decoration or gift for the host of the party.

Source: Top 10 Ways to Spice Up Your Parties with Fruits & Veggies – Fruits & Veggies More Matters : Health Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables

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Your kids have their costumes ready and are counting down the days until October 31st! Maybe you’re having a party with school friends or plan to just walk the neighborhood. Whatever your plans, be sure to include some heart-healthy fun in the mix.

Try these tips to mapumpkin jack-o-lanternske your Halloween festivities a little healthier for your family, party guests and all those trick-or-treaters.

For the Trick-or-Treater

  • Fill up first. What kid doesn’t want to eat their favorite candy right when it goes into their trick-or-treat bag? Having a healthy meal BEFORE your kids go trick-or-treating can reduce their temptation to snack while walking or to overindulge, because their tummies will be full.
  • Bag it. Be sure to find the right size collection bag for your child and steer clear of the pillow case method. If you encourage your child to only take one piece of candy from each house, they’ll be able to visit more houses in the neighborhood.
  • Get rid of it! Worried you’ll have leftover Halloween candy until long after Valentine’s Day? Using a smaller bag will help, but sometimes kids STILL end up with a ton of extra sweets. Here are some ideas of what to do with the leftover candy:
    • Keep enough candy for one piece a day for one or two weeks (long enough for the excitement to wane). Throw away, donate or repurpose the rest.
    • When your child asks for a piece of candy, make sure to pair it with a healthy snack: an apple, a banana, some nuts, or celery with peanut butter.
    • “Buy back” candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, an afternoon playing at the park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.
    • Some dentists’ offices have buy-back or trade-in programs, too.
    • Save it for holiday baking.
    • Donate excess candy to a homeless shelter or care package program for troops overseas. A familiar sweet treat from home can be comforting at the holidays.
    • Save it to fill the piñata at the next birthday celebration or give out with Valentine cards.
    • Use it in an arts and crafts project or to decorate a holiday gingerbread house.
    • Throw it away! And don’t be tempted by the half-priced candy after Halloween!
  • Get moving. Get some exercise by making this Halloween a fun family physical activity event. Set a goal of how many houses or streets you’ll visit, or compete to do as many as you can. Bring a bottle of water and wear comfortable shoes for walking!
  • Safety first. Check expiration dates and inspect all edibles before allowing children to eat them. Don’t let children eat anything with questionable or unknown ingredients, especially if they have food allergies.
  • Have a plan. Halloween can be a great time to talk with kids about making smart choices, the need for balance and moderation, and how to achieve an overall healthy eating pattern. Plan in advance how much candy they’ll be allowed to take at each house, keep and eat. If they’re old enough, let them help decide what to do with excess candy.

For the Party Host

  • Up the fright factor. Serve healthy snacks dressed up in the Halloween theme. There are lots of creative ideas being shared online at this time of year!
  • Play with food. Incorporate healthy foods into activities, such as decorating oranges like Jack-O-Lanterns, making banana ghosts, and bobbing for apples.
  • Keep ‘em moving. Include plenty of physical activities, like a zombie dance party, three-legged monster race, spider crawl or pumpkin toss.
  • Rethink your drink. Don’t forget that cutting back on sugary treats includes soda and sugar-sweetened beverages. Offer water, unsweetened tea, 100% juice, or fat-free/low-fat milk instead. Make a festive Halloween punch from sparkling water and a splash of 100% orange juice, garnished with plenty of orange slices and black grapes or blackberries.

For the Stay-At-Homer

Be THAT house. You don’t have to pass out candy on Halloween. Start a new tradition on your street and give out healthier treats or non-edible items. Get creative! Here are some ideas.

Healthier Treats:

  • Clementines or small oranges decorated like Jack-O-Lanterns (with non-toxic ink)
  • 100% juice boxes or pouches
  • Snack-sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, dried fruit, trail mix, nuts or pumpkin seeds
  • Snack-sized packages of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as baby carrots or apple slices
  • Mini boxes of raisins
  • 100% real fruit strips, ropes or leathers
  • Squeezable yogurt tubes or pouches
  • Sugar-free chewing gum

Non-edible items:

  • Glow sticks or small glow-in-the-dark toys
  • Crayons and coloring books
  • Stickers or stamps
  • Soap bubble makers
  • Plastic spider rings or vampire teeth

Be careful to avoid giving very small items that could be a choking hazard to little ones.

  • Who’s in charge? Hand out treats to each trick-or-treater – one per child – instead of letting them decide how much to take. If you have more than one item, ask them to choose which they prefer. This is a great way to get control of your Halloween budget, too!
  • Avoid the whole mess. Want to avoid candy and masses of kids at your door? Dress your family up in their costumes and go see a movie. Or deliver healthy Halloween treats to your local police and fire stations, nursing home or children’s hospital.

Source: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/How-to-Have-a-Heart-Healthy-Halloween_UCM_317432_Article.jsp#.WAuNTfkrKM8

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Our farmers produce more food than we need to feed America. Unfortunately, the generous supply of vegetables and fruits in this country is often taken for granted by many who have easy access to it. In fact, a National Resources Defense Council report finds that roughly 40 percent of all edible food produced in America is not eaten. Based on food and beverages thrown out, up to $2,275 is wasted each year by a typical family of four in this country.

Fresh foods make up most of the discarded food. The average American wastes about 20 percent of the vegetables and 15 percent of the fruits inside and outside of the home, numbers that are higher than the previous generation. Properly storing fruits and vegetables is important in getting the most out of your produce. Keeping heart-healthy produce fresh prevents waste and will help save money. Learn how to stretch your budget with this infographic.

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9 Things to Look For in a Quality Weight Loss ProgramMaintaining a healthy weight can be challenging and, for some people, even more difficult than losing weight. The good news is that achieving lasting weight maintenance is possible. Use these 13 tips to help you succeed at maintaining your weight-loss goals.

Dr. Kevin Hall, an expert on metabolism at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health recently published the results of his six-year study of participants from the television show, The Biggest Loser. He found that all but one of the people he studied regained all or more of the weight they had lost. But even more staggering was that their resting metabolic rates dropped significantly, so much so that weight regain was inevitable. Participants’ resting metabolic rate continued to stay low even after they had gained back the weight.

Now, we already know that a body at a higher weight burns more calories than the same body at a lighter weight because there is less mass to move and keep alive. However, with weight loss, one has to look at a few variables: how fast the weight loss occurred, and how much of the lost weight came from fat and how much came from lean tissue, primarily muscle mass.

Muscle mass is directly linked to resting metabolic rate, as this tissue requires more calories to keep alive. When lean muscle mass makes up a significant portion of total weight loss, resting metabolic rate takes a nosedive. However, a weight-loss program that promotes weight training to increase muscle mass can potentially offset the decline in metabolism.

The good news is that achieving lasting weight maintenance is possible. Use the following tips to help you succeed at maintaining your weight-loss goals:

1. Stay consistent both with your activity levels and eating plan.

We often see people use the achievement of their weight-loss goal as a sign to stop what they’re doing, celebrate and subsequently revert to their old habits. Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for weight gain. Whatever it took to help you lose the weight is the same plan that will help you keep it off—with some tweaks, of course. Remember, you no longer burn the same amount of calories that you did when you were heavier, so you’ll need to recalculate your calorie needs and make adjustments to your nutrition and/or exercise.

2. Build those muscles.

As stated earlier, muscle mass is directly tied to your resting metabolic rate. Having more muscle mass means your resting metabolic rate will be higher. Focusing on building muscle mass through strength or resistance training is the only way to create new, metabolically active muscle tissue. For weight maintenance, weight training becomes just as, if not more, important as aerobic conditioning.

3. Continue to set goals.

We encourage you to set both long-term and short-term goals and make sure that they are both realistic and achievable. Goals can be about exercise (trying something new), nutrition (have a go at changing up macronutrient percentages, cut out sugar, or stick with a whole-food diet) or training for a race. You might also consider setting goals outside the diet and exercise realm, such as booking an adventure vacation. When you are having fun and are happy, you reduce your production of the stress hormone cortisol, making you more likely to be successful with maintaining your weight.

4. Practice mindful and intuitive eating.

Mindful eating means that you are present when you eat—no television, emails, Facebook or surfing the web. When you are focused on your meal, you can notice the taste, texture, temperature and aroma of it and really find enjoyment with what you are eating. You will be more likely to walk away from that meal feeling full and satisfied. Being an intuitive eater means that you are listening to your body’s signals when it comes to being hungry and full. You eat when you are hungry (not waiting until you are ravenous), and stop when you are full (about 80 percent full), but not stuffed.

5. Have a plan.

You know the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Plan out your week—each day’s workout, as well as what meals you will be preparing and eating. Having a plan means you will more likely stick to it and be successful.

6. Come up with a list of non-food coping strategies.

Emotional eating causes many people to turn to food when they are feeling sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, bored, lonely or even happy. And the foods most people typically reach for are salty, crunchy, fatty foods and sweets. When you are in an emotionally neutral state, come up with a list of non-food coping mechanisms that can make you feel better. Try singing, dancing, a short burst of exercise, taking a walk, calling a friend or our personal favorite, laughter therapy. Find some funny video clips to watch and once you start laughing, the stress hormones quickly recede and it becomes easier to feel better.

7. Find support.

Nothing feels more difficult than going through something alone. If your weight-loss journey was a solo trek, reaching out to others, especially people who are going through the same thing, can be both comforting and rewarding. You need to be able to open up and express your thoughts and feelings to like-minded people. You’ll be amazed at the great ideas you’ll come away with, as well as an increased sense of motivation.

8. Eat real, whole, clean food.

Once you achieve your goal weight, you might find yourself a little lax when it comes to your diet. A piece of chocolate cake, a slice of pizza and an extra glass of wine can really add up quickly. Remember what got you to your goal weight in the first place—a sound eating plan. Ditching the refined, processed food and replacing it with real, whole, clean foods, such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, clean complex carbs and plenty of water and green tea, can get you back on track for success.

9. Stay within 3 pounds of your maintenance weight.

While we don’t believe in being slaves to the scale, a once-a-week weigh-in should be enough to make sure you are staying on track. If the scale indicates more than a 3-pound gain, it’s time to check in with yourself and assess what you’ve been doing differently. Are you keeping food records? Do you get enough sleep? How’s your stress level? All of these factors play a role in weight gain.

10. Setbacks happen.

You travel for business or pleasure, attend parties and have holiday gatherings—all of which typically mean an abundance of food is available. Again, have a plan for handling these food environments to your advantage. But if you do slip up and decide to overindulge at the buffet, that’s O.K. Learn how to move past it and go right back to your consistent new lifestyle.

11. Stay hydrated.

Did you know that most of the time you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty? Next time you find yourself with the munchies, go drink 12 ounces of water and wait 15 minutes. You might have just solved the problem. However, if you find yourself physically hungry go ahead and eat. As for how much water you should be drinking each day, a general rule is to drink (in ounces) half of your body weight (in pounds). For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (150 x 1/2 = 75), you need to drink 75 ounces (approximately 10 cups of water). Add 1 cup if you live in a hot climate and another cup when exercising and sweating.

12. Practice stress management.

Stress plays a big role in weight regain. The main stress hormone is cortisol and when it is high, due to stress, it causes your body to become more insulin resistant. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so the more you have floating around your bloodstream, the more fat you are likely to store, especially around your abdominal region. Stress-management techniques can be as simple as taking a few one-minute breaks during the day during which you close your eyes and practice deep breathing. If you have more time, try longer stretches of meditation or breathing exercises. Again, laughter therapy is a great way to deal with stress.

13. Sleep seven to nine hours each night.

There is ample scientific evidence about the role that sleep plays in weight. When you sleep fewer than seven hours per night, there is a disruption in the production of two main hormones that control hunger and fullness. Poor sleep causes your brain to produce more ghrelin, which makes you feel hungrier, and less leptin, which helps make you feel full. So now you’re feeling hungry all the time. And who wants a salad when you’re tired and hungry? This is what it’s like when ghrelin and leptin are out of whack. Proper sleep keeps these hormones at proper levels and hunger and fullness are back to normal.

Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N., are the co-founders of U Rock Girl!, a website designed to nourish the mind, body and spirit of women of all ages and stages of life. They have just authored the rockin’ breakfast cookbook, No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast! available at http://www.URockGirl.com

Source: ACE Fit | Fit Life | 13 Tips for Maintaining Weight Loss Over the Long-term

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What's Your Ideal Body Weight?To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. But it’s not always clear how to do that. For most people, a successful weight-loss plan has two parts: healthy food choices and physical activity. Understanding the balance between the two can help you lose weight more easily and keep it off!

According to the National Weight Control Registry, of adults who have successfully maintained their weight loss:

  • 98% have modified their eating habits.
  • 94% have increased their level of physical activity, especially walking.
  • 78% eat a healthy breakfast every day.
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
  • 62% watch less than 10 hours of television per week.

So you think you’re ready, but you’re not sure how to take that first step? It’s not as hard as you might think.

Start your weight loss journey using these 5 steps:

Set realistic goals.

Before beginning a weight-loss program, assess where you are today so you know what you need to improve. Learn your BMI to help determine how much weight you would like to lose to reduce your risk of health problems.

Set yourself up for success with short-term goals, like “I will make lifestyle changes which will help me lose (and keep off) 3-5% of my body weight” or “I will reduce the amount of times that I eat out each week from ___ to ____.”

Short-term goals like these can seem more achievable, and can, little by little, keep you on track toward your long-term goals. If the goal is too difficult, it’s harder to achieve and can lead to self-judgement and disappointment that can derail the smaller successes you’ve achieved.

Understand how much and why you eat.

Use a food diary or tracking app for a while to gain an understanding of what, how much, and when you are eating. If you tend to snack late at night or visit fast food restaurants several times a week, those might be opportunities to make healthier choices. Being mindful of your eating habits and aware of common roadblocks and excuses in your efforts to lose weight can help you set and reach realistic goals.

Manage portion sizes.

It’s easy to overeat when you’re served too much food. Smaller portions can help prevent eating too much. Learn the difference between a portion and a serving and how to keep portions reasonable.

Make smart substitutions to reduce sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.

Foods high in saturated and trans fat and sugar are often high in calories too. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite flavors. Learn to make smart substitutions instead. Learn how to reduce the added sugars in your diet with these infographics. Take the 21-Day Sodium Challenge to reduce the sodium you eat. Discover healthy snacks for between meals and fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods to help keep you fuller longer.

Balance what you eat with physical activity.

Most of us can agree it’s easier to take calories in than to burn them. The amount of physical activity an individual needs to lose weight can vary, but in the weight-loss equation, healthy eating and physical activity complement each other. Both are essential parts of losing weight and staying at a healthy weight. Physical activity is anything that gets your heart rate up. Learn the AHA Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults.

Tips to help you on your weight-loss journey:

  • You may want to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN) to create a healthy eating plan. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a “find a dietitian” resource on their website.
  • Learn how sleep can affect eating and see if there are changes you could make in your sleep schedule.
  • If you feel you need more support, look for a weight-loss program that’s been proven safe and successful. Get personal support from a weight-loss group or buddy.
  • Aim for a gradual weight loss with healthy lifestyle changes until you reach a healthy weight.
  • If you have any heart conditions or you are experiencing symptoms of other chronic health issues, talk to your healthcare provider before starting a weight-loss or exercise program.
  • Include maintenance in your goals to help you keep the weight off.
  • Remember, these steps lead to life-long healthy eating. They are not a quick-fix diet.

Source: 5 Steps to Lose Weight

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Reflecting Forward 20113…2…1…happy New Year! It’s time to put the last year behind you and work toward what you couldn’t accomplish the year before. Lose 25 pounds, exercise daily, stop eating so much chocolate…it’s all so possible!

You go to the gym and it’s packed! Looks like you weren’t the only one who had a weight loss resolution. You start awkwardly fumbling around and after about 20 minutes, you begin to sweat. It’s working! After a month or two, you would have noticed the gym attendance has tapered off a bit—had you continued to go.

Most people are full steam ahead at first start, but often times that steam begins to run out and old habits return. So how do you maintain your resolution and accomplish your goals for the New Year? Here are some tips to keep you going throughout the year.

Make a Plan

Most people just jump into whatever activity they want to improve on, with little thought of the long run. One of the biggest problems with New Year’s goals is the fact that most of them are an abstraction. “Losing weight” and “going to the gym” aren’t very concrete and they fall apart easily. Try putting realistic numbers on your goals. “Lose 2 pounds a week for 3 months” or “eat out one less time per week” give numerical value to your goals and they begin to material and become more concrete.

Start Small

Notice the weight loss goal was was 2 pounds, not 10 pounds. It is best to take time with accomplishing your resolution. Most people kick-start the New Year with a vengeance, but they begin to fizzle within weeks. Most of the time this is because they started too strong and didn’t ease into the transition. Take your time with your resolution, it’s not a race. Start with small victories and work your way up to the big picture.

Create Accountability

One of the best ways to accomplish something is to broadcast it to the world. Tell everyone about your goal, but not as a New Year’s resolution. No one will expect you to keep a New Year’s resolution, but they will hold you to your word on a goal. Tell your friends and family what your goal is and what you’re doing to accomplish it. Over time, they’ll ask how you’re doing and support you, which will in turn give you something to be accountable for.

A new year brings new challenges and an opportunity to change your behaviors for the better. The hard part is sticking to your guns and accomplishing all you want to accomplish. Set a realistic goal, tell your friends and plan it all out and by the same time the next year, you’ll be celebrating the new year and the completion of your goal!

©2016 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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There are a lot of viable ways to get fit or maintain that optimal physique, but did you know that coconut oil could one of the best things you could use?  That’s right: the saturated fats that are found in high-quality coconut oil may actually increase your general health over time.  In a world where the average consumer is inundated with weight loss and health improvement options, it may come as a relief to some folks to hear that something as natural as coconut oil could make all the difference.  While certain folks hear the word “coconut” and picture sunny beaches and tropical drinks, others are hearing the same term and instead becoming reminded of its incredible health-related properties.

The Truth of the Matter

You may have heard some bad things about coconut oil, but your source was mistaken.  If coconut oil were so bad for your health, then those cultures who have been using it would have some serious health problems.  The truth of the matter is: those who use coconut oil regularly are often healthier than those who do not.  Although the benefits may not be obvious to some folks, it is important to understand the value of a good source of saturated fats.

Coconut oil is typically classified as a “medium chain triglyceride” (MCT) which means that the fats within it are passed through your body relatively quickly.  In addition, these particular types of fats rush to the liver which turn the MCTs into a quick burst of energy for you as well.  At the end of the day this benefit could translate into a better working metabolism and ultimately a stronger body.

Other Benefits

Did you know that there are a lot more benefits to using coconut oil besides for simply improving your metabolism?  In reality, coconut oil contains robust amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as well. On top of that, coconut oil is great for cooking because it does not go through oxidation as quickly as other cooking oils.  The slow oxidation makes coconut oil essential to removing harmful free-radicals and other toxins from the body.  These combined properties make coconut oil a wonderful addition to any recipe and are vital to healthy weight loss and fitness management.

Can Coconut Oil help with Diabetes?

Okay, so coconut oil is great for weight loss and fitness, but it is any good for those people who deal with type 2 diabetes?  The answer is a resounding “yes.”  Because coconut oil is turned into energy so quickly, it has the ability to help people manage their blood sugar levels more efficiently.  Over time, users of coconut oil could actually see their insulin sensitivity reduced to surprising levels.

What else should I know?

In our attempt to become optimally fit and healthy we often turn to some pretty desperate measures – ones which ultimately leave our bodies feeling the brunt of those bad decisions.  Thankfully, there are remedies such as coconut oil to come to the rescue.  Using a high-quality coconut oil in your recipes can help soothe any indigestion, all while lessening those cravings for sweets you may sometimes get.

Contrary to popular belief, coconut oil is a spectacular ingredient that you would be wise to incorporate into your everyday diet.  Losing weight is one thing, but being able to improve your overall health in a simple way is essential to your longevity.  Be sure coconut oil is right for you by speaking with your doctor or a nutritionist for more information.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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