Sunday, May 29, 2016

Stay Hydrated This Summer

At long last, SUMMER!!   With the heat and humidity, we need to focus on staying hydrated.  Water is always a good choice for hydration.   MSN has an interesting article on  5 Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated This Summer.  Stay away from the sugar sweetened beverages loaded with sugar and calories.  Yes, enjoying some lemonade is fun but it is not a juice and it is loaded with added sugar.   What are some ways to stay hydrated?  How do you know you need hydration?  Thirst is the first sign of becoming dehydrated.  Your body is telling you to drink more fluids.  Eight cups is a good goal but you may need even more when exercising outside or being outside in the heat.
  1. Unsweetened Coffee – most people think coffee dehydrates you, but coffee is a fluid and can count towards your daily fluid intake.  And coffee can help you feel more alert and keep you energized. 
  2.  Unsweetened Ice Tea – ice tea is a favorite in the South.   Skip the added sugar.  Or if you must have some sugar, go for some sweetened tea mixed with unsweetened tea.  Then you are at least cutting back on the added sugar.   My daughter loves sweetened tea.   But to cut back she now fills her cup with half sweetened and half unsweetened.
  3. Sparkling water – replace the sugared sodas with sparkling water.  Many supermarkets now offer seltzer water or fruit-flavored seltzer.  Skip those with added sweeteners like aspartame.   Some brands suggested in the MSN article are:  Poland Spring Black Cherry Seltzer, Polar Ice Grapefruit Seltzer, and Hal's Vanilla Seltzer and try Canada Dry Lemon Lime, Sparkling Seltzer Water.
  4. Fruits and Vegetables – many fruits and vegetables have a high water content.  Think watermelon with the juice dripping down your chin when you eat it.  Other melons like cantaloupe have a high water content as do strawberries and peppers.  An idea for yourself or kids is to mix 100% juice with sparkling water or seltzer water for a refreshing summer drink.
  5. Remind Yourself to Drink Water and other Fluids and take some water with you.  I always have some water in the car, but in a stainless steel bottle to avoid the hazards of plastic bottles heating up in the sun.  Many fitness apps help you keep track of your fluid intake. 

Stay hydrated and enjoy the outdoors this summer.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Eat Breakfast for Better Health

Skipping breakfast?  Not a good idea for your health.  Your body has “fasted” all night and is ready to refuel every morning.  People who skip breakfast, really don’t.  They may not eat anything before they leave for work each day, but then hit the snack machines at 9 or so for a “not-so-healthy- breakfast”.  Breakfast really means, Break the Fast.   Our breakfast habits are changing given time constraints and other food options. 

So what are people eating for breakfast?  A recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cereal-Makers try to get millennials back, highlighted how cereal consumption is down and especially the millennials are opting for other choices such as a granola bar.  Simple, easy to carry and fast to eat. 

Cereal – many people still enjoy cereal for breakfast but it is dropping from 31% of us in 2009 to 26.8% in 2015. 

What are the top 5 breakfast cereals?
Market Share
Honey Nut Cheerios
General Mills
Frosted Flakes
Honey Bunches of Oats
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
General Mills
General Mills
Source:  IRI, NPD Group Inc.   Sales as of March 20, 2016

Choosing a whole grain cereal for breakfast can really add to your health.  Many people aren’t eating any whole grains or drinking enough milk.  Adding a whole grain cereal with some milk every day or many days a week can be a very healthy choice.   Cheerios are a great cereal choice as they are whole grain.  Honey Nut Cheerios are a favorite with kids.  Yes, has some added sugar but a good way to get whole grains into a child.  Skip the Frosted Flakes and the Honey Bunches of Oats. Honey Bunches of Oats have only some whole grain.  Frosted Flakes have no whole grain.     

How to Choose a Whole Grain Cereal?   Choose a General Mills cereal as all General Mills cereal are whole grain. Choose oatmeal, a very healthy choice.  Both Cheerios and oatmeal are great for heart health.  If you don’t have time to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, have it as a snack.  Cereal can be a great afternoon snack for kids and a great way to get some whole grains into their day.    To read about other whole grain cereals, go to:  Six Cereals Made with Whole Grains.
So enjoy some cereal this week, choose whole grain cereals for a healthier you. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Vary Your Colors for a Healthier You

Have you been to a Farmer’s Market yet this spring?  A little early in some parts of the country but we are enjoying fresh asparagus and fresh strawberries.  So many fresh fruits will be available soon.  Choosing fruits of different colors is important to good health.  Why?  Because each color has unique health benefits.  Fruits are good sources of vitamins A and C and of fiber but also antioxidants.  Different color fruits provide different antioxidants.  Not only are vitamins and minerals good for your health but so are antioxidants.  They help prevent cancer, heart disease, and improve eye health, help your bones, and fruits like blueberries have been shown to improve memory.   The article, Berry Good Health, discusses the many benefits of eating fruit, especially berries. 

For good health, vary the fruit, vary the color.  Aim for at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day.  Enjoy fruit, fresh, frozen or dried.  The many different antioxidants in berries and some other fruit are noted below.
Ways to Add these to your Day
Nutrients and Antioxidants
Enjoy fresh, on a scoop of ice cream, on top of yogurt,  in a smoothie
Vitamins C and K,minerals potassium, fiber.  Antioxidants:  ellagic acid, quercetin, tannins, anthocyanins.
Fresh, freeze some for later, in a smoothie, on top of yogurt, mixed with raspberries, on top of oatmeal
Vitamins C and K:  minerals: manganese, copper, resveratrol, anthocyanins, flavonols
Easy to cook and make cranberry sauce, if dried, buy the reduced sugar ones, add to trail mixes, cereal, salads
Vitamin C, minerals: manganese, potassium, copper and fiber. Antioxidants:  resveratrol, ellagic acid, anthocyanins.
Smoothies, on yogurt, mixed with blueberries, on a scoop of ice cream
Vitamin K, fiber. Antioxidants:  quercetin, tannins, anthocyanin, catechins.
Slice up, add a little sugar, a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy, add to fresh fruit salad, top off your yogurt, great on ice cream.
Vitamins C and folate, minerals: potassium and manganese, fiber.   Antioxidants:  gallic acid, ellagic acid, flavonols, tannins, anthocyanins.
If berries are in season in your area, visit a Farmer’s Market.   If not, at the store, buy some berries, fresh or frozen to enjoy this week. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Simple Changes for a Healthier You

Can eating healthier be simplified?  Many people think eating healthier is too hard, one has to give up too many of their favorite foods.  But this week, Whole Foods Market came up with Simple Changes for Life-Long Health.   What are some easy, simple changes you could make for a healthier you?
  1. Focus on nutrient-rich foods   Add fruits, vegetables, whole grains to your day.  Add a fruit to lunch and 2 vegetables to dinner.  Focus on color, the more colorful fruits and vegetables you add, the healthier your choices.  Choose whole grains at breakfast, a whole grain bagel, whole grain English muffin, whole grain cereal.
  2. Eat foods closer to nature - these are foods closer to the farm, an apple vs. apple juice or a soda.  100% real juice and not Sunny D or Hi-C.
  3. Focus on Whole grains – so many people eat highly processed white bread, white rice, processed crackers.  Add some whole grains to your day.  Look at the ingredients for whole wheat, whole corn, whole rye.  Choose brown rice, quinoa and whole grain crackers like Triscuits.
  4. Choose Olive Oil for a healthier oil and cut back on foods high in fat and oils like cut back on fried foods and choose steamed vegetables.  Or sauté some fresh vegetables in a smaller amount of Olive oil.
  5. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, add some whole grains and lessen the serving size for the meats.  A serving size of meat is about the palm of your hand or the size of a deck of cards, about 3 ounces.

This week focus on these 5 easy changes for a healthier you.  For other ideas, visit 4 Ways to a Healthier You.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Healthy Fast Food?

Almost everyone likes Fast Food.  But can you eat healthy or at least somewhat healthy and enjoy Fast Food?  Almost every Fast Food establishment offers some healthier options.  What can you eat and enjoy at Fast Food places and not ruin your health?  MSN had an interesting article this week, 15 of the healthiest fast-food menu items 
     1.        McDonald’s  
  • Egg McMuffin – 300 calories.  Always a favorite and one not so loaded with calories, and now always available.  Eggs are a great protein source, the slice of Canadian bacon adds protein and isn’t as high in fat as regular bacon.  The cheese adds some dairy, the muffin the bread group.  Add some orange juice and you have a pretty balanced breakfast.  
  • Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich – 360 calories.  Always choose grilled and not the deep fried chicken or meats.  This cuts a lot of fat calories out.  Either hold the mayo or go lightly on it as mayo adds only fat and no nutrition to your meal.  Add some lowfat milk, apple slices and a salad and it is a pretty balanced meal.   
     2.       Chipotle – yes, they have had some issues with food sanitation but they have worked hard to fix this.  They have many healthy options: 
  • Chicken Burrito Bowl – Brown rice is whole grain and a great way to get some whole grains into your day. Skip the sour cream, or go lightly, and the side of chips which are loaded with fat and calories.  
       3.       Starbucks – great coffee and now some ways to enjoy breakfast   
  • Spinach and Feta Wrap – only 290 calories.  Add a side of Greek yogurt for more of a protein punch.    
      4.       Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap for lunch, 340 calories.  Add some fresh fruit, small salad, a low fat milk for a healthy lunch option.   

      5.       Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad – full size is 380 calories.  (Skip the Spicy Caesar Chicken Salad which sounds healthy but packs a whopping 790 calories and is full of fat, with 51 grams.) Add some low fat milk and you have a healthy meal with a good portion of protein for your muscles and to give you some “staying power” – or fill you up so you are not so hungry after lunch. 
       6.       Shake Shack – if you want a hamburger the single hamburger is an option, about 385 calories.  Make it a cheeseburger and it’s 455 calories.  Add lettuce, onion, tomato and a pickle for some veggies.  You would need to add some fresh fruit, low fat milk and a small salad to balance out the meal.    

       7.       Taco Bell – Fresco Chicken Burrito Supreme – 340 calories.  Instead of high calorie, high fat sour cream, this burrito uses salsa.  Salsa is low in calories and super healthy as it is loaded with antioxidants.  As above, good idea to add yogurt, small salad and fresh fruit to balance this meal. 
      8.       Panera – a favorite.  I especially like the “You Pick 2” option with half a sandwich and a salad.  A good sandwich choice is Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich on Whole Wheat bread, about 430 calories.  (Their whole grain bread is not 100% whole grain but does have some whole grain.) Or choose “You Pick 2” and get half a sandwich.  Panera offers a lot of low calorie cold drink options including unsweetened Ice Tea, unsweetened Plum Ginger Hibiscus Tea, Acai Berry Green Tea.  Skip the sugar by skipping the sweetened beverages and skip those calories.   

      9.       Dunkin Donuts – Egg White Flatbread – 280 calories.  One of their items that is not deep fat fried.  Good protein, some dairy in the cheese.  Add some juice and of course, black coffee for a healthier breakfast choice.   

     10.   Papa John’sGarden Fresh Pizza – 2 slices, 400 calories.  Who doesn’t like pizza?  Hard to make real healthy by this choice at least has some veggies.   A high sodium meal so cut back on your salt the rest of the day.  If ordering as take out, add a small salad and some fresh fruit to balance the meal.  

Who doesn’t enjoy some Fast Food?   To help you choose healthier options, look up the menu online before you go.  Pull up the nutrition facts and pay attention to the total calories, total fat, saturated fat and sodium.  Every Fast Food establishment has some healthier options.  To help you make healthier choices when eating out, a link to the nutrition information of the above Fast Food establishments is noted below.