Sunday, April 26, 2015

How to lose weight and keep it off

This  week my husband saw an interesting slide show on MSN health and fitness, 35 simple tips to help you lose weight and keep it off too!   They have some great suggestions.   Their focus: We're not talking about drastic measures here, but quick and easy changes you can make in your daily life to help you achieve your weight loss goals.  If you want to see all 35 tips, click the link.  Here are a few they highlighted:   
  1.  Don’t give up your favorite foods – how often do you hear someone say, “I ate a cookie and blew my diet.”  Nonsense, as Joyce Meyer says, “eat the cookie”.  But don’t eat the whole box.  MSN recommends limiting the number of times you eat your favorite or junk food to once a week and eat less of it than you normally do.  
  2.  Opt for Whole grains – so many people forgo the whole grains when they are such a healthy addition to your diet.  My relatives are now into Ezekiel bread, a whole grain bread and quite nutritious.  But there are many whole grains, oatmeal, Cheerios, brown rice, whole grain crackers, even Sun Chips.  At Chipotle?  Choose the brown rice.  Find some whole grains you enjoy and add them to your diet every day.  Whole grains not only provide many more nutrients than refined grains, whole grains have fiber which fills you up.  
  3. Dark Chocolate – not a lot of dark chocolate but a small piece can cut your appetite.  
  4. Water, Not Soda-  sugared soda is loaded with empty calories and all that added sugar.  Drink some water before meals to help feel fuller before you eat.  Drink plain water, sparkling water or unsweetened tea.   
  5. Healthier snacks – give up the junk food and enjoy some healthier snacks like a handful of nuts, apple slices with peanut butter, hummus and veggies.  
  6. Use nonstick pans or PAM – to reduce the calories from oils or butter you use to cook foods.  Or limit the oil, such as a teaspoon or tablespoon of Olive Oil.  
  7. Read the Food Label – look for the amount of fat, amount of saturated fat and calories.  You can’t tell how much sugar is added though by the “sugars”.  You have to look at the ingredients to see if sugar has been added to the food.  If sugar is the first ingredient (like Froot Loops), it isn’t a healthy choice.   
  8. Treat yourself, but not with food – find some ways to treat yourself to keep you motivated.  Time out with friends to a movie, a game.   
  9. Stay Active – less sitting, more moving.  Although MSN stated exercise at least 3 times a week, if you want to keep the weight off, find a way to exercise every day.  
  10. Load up on Veggies – fill your plate with many veggies – very healthy and low in calories as long as the veggie isn’t French fries.  Avoid fried veggies and focus on steamed. 
Try some of these tips this week.  Share them with your friends.
 Sources:   35 simple tips to help you lose weight and keep it off too!  Gourmandize articleImage source:  Ezekiel bread

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Case for Carbs By Jackie Kunstmann (Guest Author)

Which carbs are good for your health?  Introduction:  In the nutrition class I teach, students were asked to respond to and prepare a convincing argument to counter the myth, Carbohydrates are bad for you.  One of those students, Jackie Kunstmann, has been asked to be a guest author on this blog site.  Her paper on The Case for Carbs is below.

Carbohydrates, or “carbs,” have been given a lot of bad press lately.  Many people I know are very quick to jump onto the Atkins or South Beach Diets with their low carbohydrate ways when wanting to lose weight. I even had leanings this way until this Nutrition class.

 The DRI Committee has determined that all persons need to have a diet composed of 46 to 65% of carbohydrates (with only 10 to 35% for protein and 20 to 35% for fat) to adequately meet their energy needs and reduce the risk of chronic disease.(1)  The USDA’s current dietary recommendation, My Plate, features the plate being filled with over half carbohydrates.(2)  When researching heart-healthy ways of eating (since heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults(3)), you will be directed to diets that feature carbohydrates.  The Mediterranean Diet is one you hear much about lately.  The base of the Mediterranean Diet’s pyramid is carbohydrates.(4)  The DASH diet, recommended for lowering blood pressure, features carbohydrates predominantly.(5)  If you search foods which are good for your heart, you will find them to be mainly carbohydrates.  WebMD lists 25 of the top heart-healthy foods, and 21 of them are carbohydrates!(6)

 When choosing foods to eat, we should not be considering whether to include carbohydrates into our diet (that is a given), we should be considering which carbohydrates to include.  There are “good carbs,” and there are “not so good carbs.”  In determining if a carbohydrate is “good” or “not so good,” you simply need to determine if the food is refined or processed.  Sugars, added sugars, refined grains, and items which include these  (such as candy, baked goods, white bread or rice) would be less than desirable carbohydrate choices; whereas, whole or minimally refined carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, or whole grain products would be optimal choices for carbohydrates.(7)

Sources:   (1) Dietary Reference Intakes  (2) MyPlate  (3)  CDC  (4)  Mediterranean Diet (5) DASH Diet  (6) Top Heart-Healthy Foods  (7) Carbohydrates   (8)  Nutrition  Image Source:  carbs

Sunday, April 12, 2015

How to Choose Healthier Frozen Pizzas

Who doesn’t love pizza?  Buying a frozen pizza is simple, convenient and easy to pop in the oven for  a quick meal.  Are there ways to make healthier choices when choosing frozen pizza?  We enjoy frozen pizza about once a week.  We add ingredients and make healthier choices when choosing a frozen pizza and you can too.  The Healthiest and Best Tasting Frozen Pizza  lists a number of ideas for making healthier frozen pizza choices.  
  1. Thin Crust – you can save a lot of calories by choosing thin crust pizzas.  If you are ordering a pizza, choose thin crust.  If they offer a whole grain crust, that would be a healthier choice.  Skip the cheese-stuffed crust and skip those added calories.   
  2. Simple is Best – although the loaded toppings are tasty, they are also loaded with calories.  The “meat-lovers” pizzas are especially high in calories and in sodium.  
  3. Add veggies – we cut up and add some fresh green pepper, fresh onion, fresh mushrooms and some sliced black olives.    Add the veggies you like to “add nutrition” to your frozen pizza.   
  4. Portions – read the label for serving sizes.  Look for 2 slices being less than 350 calories and less than 600 mg sodium.   
  5. Add sides – add a fresh salad and some fresh fruit to your “pizza meal” to add more nutrition.
What frozen pizzas does Eating Well recommend?
  • Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza (for vegans)
  • Amy’s Pesto Pizza
  • Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza Mozarella
  • American Flatbread Sliced Tomato and 5 Cheese
  • DiGiorno Thin and Crispy Spinach and Garlic Pizza
Want to make your own pizza?  Check out the pizza recipes at:  Healthy PIzza Recipes and Cooking Tips

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Do you need fat in your diet?

Many of us are trying to cut back on calories and thus cut back on fat calories.  But do you need some fat?  The answer is yes.   Fat is important for many reasons but one is that fat soluble vitamins need some fat to be absorbed.  Thus, you may not want to use a fat-free dressing on your salad but a dressing with some fat.  If you want to cut back on fat calories, you can choose the light or reduced fat version of dressing and not the fat-free version.  

In the classes I teach, many students come up with a snack for kids of carrots and Fat-Free Ranch Dressing.  Carrots are a healthy food but serving it with Fat-free Ranch means you won’t be absorbing all the nutrients in those carrots.  Not to mention the child will be hungry in no time as carrots are low in calories and Fat-Free Ranch also is low in calories.  Are there health benefits to using salad dressings with some fat such as regular Ranch or Light Ranch dressing?

A Little Fat Helps the Vegetables Go Down so notes an article at WebMD.   The subtitle is:  Eating Salads with Fat-Free Dressings May Rob the Body of Nutrients”.   They note eating salad dressing with some fat may be better for your overall health than fat free dressing.  You need some fat to absorb the nutrients found in vegetables like the healthy lycopene and carotene.  If you choose to eat your salad with fat-free dressing, you may not be absorbing these healthy nutrients.  

Doesn’t mean you need a high fat diet and most Americans eat too much fat.  But it does mean you can enjoy some oil, or fat in your salad dressing.  Vegetables are naturally low in fat so to absorb the healthy nutrients you need some fat with your meal.  So enjoy some low fat or regular dressing with your salad and forgo the fat-free dressing.