All Posts In Healthy Tips

Is Prep Time Cutting Into Your Exercise Time?

by in Healthy Tips, June 19, 2013

cutting vegetables
Having hectic work schedules, family life, and a social life leaves us pressed for time when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Although folks are starting to cook more at home, new data shows that it may be cutting into our exercise time. Are we stuck in a new catch-22 or can we find time to do it all?

The Study
Data from the U.S. Census from over 112,000 U.S. adults found that when folks take an additional 10-minutes to prepare meals, they are more likely to exercise for 10 fewer minutes. This was found in both men and women, single and married people and those with and without kids. On average, participants spent an average of less than an hour on both exercise and meal prep on the same day. The big takeaway from this study is that one healthy behavior can take time away from another. It also highlights the importance of planning out your meals and exercise time.

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Ask the Dietitian: What’s the Difference Between Added and Natural Sugar?

by in Ask the Experts, June 18, 2013

sugar
Q:  What’s the deal with all the types of sugar out there? Are they all created equal?

A: Simply . . . no, all sugars are not created equal. But learning how to identify the different types is where it gets complicated.

Added Sugars
Whether it’s run-of-the-mill granulated white sugar, high fructose corn syrup or something that sounds fancier, such as turbinado or raw sugar – these are all sweeteners. These ingredients are added to foods as they are processed or prepared. The distinct flavor and degree of sweetness will vary, but no matter which type you’re dealing with, these sweeteners are a pure source of carbohydrate and have about 15 calories per teaspoon. When hefty doses of these types of added sugars are eaten, it can lead to weight gain and poorly controlled blood sugar levels.

The most significant sources of added sugar in the American diet are baked goods, candy, ice cream, soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks.

For a complete list of what qualifies as an added sugar on ingredient label, visit the MyPlate website.

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Healthy Swaps: Make it Mediterranean

by in Healthy Tips, June 13, 2013

mediterranean ingredients
The health benefits of a Mediterranean diet are numerous – better heart health and reduced risk of cancer, just to name a few. Use these swaps to make your diet more Mediterranean.

Instead of: Butter
Choose: Olive Oil
The Payoff: No cholesterol and an abundance of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Drizzle on salads, add to marinades and use to sauté veggies.

Instead of: Beef
Choose: Salmon
The Payoff: A boost of omega-3 fats. These good-for-you fats are also found in walnuts, flax seeds, and canola oil. Make this easy grilled salmon with a fresh fruit salsa for a quick weeknight dinner.

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5 Signs You’re Over-Caffeinated

by in Healthy Tips, June 10, 2013

drinking too much coffee
Can’t seem to get going in the morning without a jolt? If you recognize these signs, you may be consuming too much caffeine.

1.)    You Can’t Count Cups
You may have heard that a cup of coffee averages 100 milligrams of caffeine, but remember a cup is only 8 fluid ounces. How large is your cup of morning Joe? You might need to do some number crunching.

2.)    You’re Not Sleeping Enough
There’s no disputing that caffeine is a stimulant and some folks find that they are more sensitive to it than others. Be smart – if you know that taking in caffeine later in the day disrupts your sleep – skip it and get some zzzzzz’s.

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Food Fight: Turkey Burger vs. Beef Burger

by in Food Fight, June 7, 2013

burgers
It’s an all-out war! With grilling season here, which type of burger should you be tossing on the barbecue?

Turkey Burger
Ground turkey has a reputation for being a very lean meat, but that’s only the case if you choose ground turkey breast. Unless otherwise specified, the dark turkey meat and skin gets mixed in with the light making it fattier than you may think.

A 4-ounce cooked turkey burger (made from a combo of dark and light meat) has 193 calories, 11 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat and 22 grams of protein. It’s an excellent source of niacin and selenium and a good source of vitamin B6, phosphorus and zinc. Choosing ground turkey made from only breast will have 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams saturated fat. Since it’s so lean, it can end up being too dry and not-so-tasty.

Undercooked ground turkey has been associated with salmonella, so make sure your turkey burger is safe to eat by cooking it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check that the proper temperature is reached by using a thermometer.

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Mexican Food Face-Off: Which is Healthier?

by in Which is Healthier?, June 2, 2013

Red Sangria

Food Network Magazine compared some fiesta favorites — did your Mexican-food favorites come out on top?

Red Sangria vs. White Sangria
WINNER: Red sangria. Red wine is loaded with resveratrol, a compound in the skin of grapes that is thought to be good for the heart. White wine has none of this, plus many white sangria recipes call for fruit juice and sweet liquors, so they typically end up with higher sugar counts.

Yellow Corn Chips
Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips vs. Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
WINNER: It’s a draw. Blue corn chips are often labeled as all natural, so people assume they’re the better choice. But the FDA doesn’t regulate the use of that term. In fact, the two varieties have the same number of calories and grams of fat. And because most of the sodium is added, the health factor depends more on the brand than on the color.

 

Mexican Cheese Blend
Cotija Cheese vs. Mexican Cheese Blend
WINNER: Mexican cheese blend. Ounce for ounce, these taco toppings have the same number of calories (about 100) and similar levels of fat and protein. But cotija cheese has three times as much sodium, giving Mexican cheese blend the edge.

 

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5 Reasons to Eat Breakfast

by in Healthy Tips, May 28, 2013

chocolate oatmeal
A recent survey found that 31 million people—about 1 in 10 Americans – skip breakfast every day. But there’s no need to go all out with an over-the-top breakfast spread. All you need is a few quick and easy healthy choices to take full advantage of the benefits. If you’re STILL not a breakfast believer, these 5 reasons will have you re-thinking your philosophy.

#1: Quick Fix of Essential Nutrients
Wake up and give your body and quick boost of many much needed nutrients. Easy-to-prepare foods can give you a terrific nutritional bang for your buck. Milk and dairy products have you taking in 9 essential nutrients in one shot plus they can help you meet your recommended 3 servings of dairy for the day. Fruits are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant compounds that help prevent and fight disease). And starting the day off with whole grains can help meet the Dietary Guidelines recommendation to make half your daily grains whole.

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One Small Change: Want to Cook at Home More? Read This.

by in Healthy Tips, May 13, 2013

cutting vegetables
A common tip for eating healthier is to take cooking into your own hands. In theory it sounds good: when you control the ingredients, you control the nutrients and calories. Less butter and salt, more veggies and spices, etc. But when push comes to shove, we often end up staring at a recipe – and a big pile of spoiling ingredients in the fridge – while calling for take-out. If we only had the time, knowledge, energy and/or desire to cook! Here are three tips to make the process easier:

1. Pre-prep.

Cutting, dicing, slicing and chopping can take a lot of time. Save time on a busy weeknight by having all of the chopping done ahead of time: set aside a half-hour or so on a Sunday evening to slice and dice the vegetables you’ll need for the week. Then when you’re ready to snack or make a meal, half of the work will be done for you. Pre-cut, packaged vegetables cost a little more at the store, but you may find it worth the cost if it gets you cooking at home more. Buy a big bag of prewashed and cut lettuce so salad- making is a snap. Frozen veggies can be steamed or microwaved in minutes. Frozen fruit can be blended with yogurt or milk (and spinach!) for a quick five-minute morning smoothie, mixed into a bowl of whole grain cereal or scooped on top of some yogurt. You can pick up already marinated poultry, fish or meat from the supermarket and throw it on the grill or in the oven.

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How Many Vegetables Should You Eat?

by in Healthy Tips, May 8, 2013

carrots
Most folks don’t get enough of the recommended dietary servings of veggies and miss out on the health benefits—like a lower risk of heart disease, possible reduction in blood pressure, and protection against certain types of cancer. Understanding how much counts as one serving can help you plan your meals to meet the recommendations.

The Recommendations
According to USDA’s My Plate 100% vegetable juice, dark green vegetables (broccoli and mustard greens), red and orange veggies (carrots and peppers), starchy vegetables (corn and potatoes), and beans and peas (kidney and soy beans) all count towards your recommended daily servings. Fresh, canned, frozen, dried, whole, cut up and pureed veggies all count.

Adults 18 years and older should aim to take in between 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables per day. Here are the specific guidelines:

Women:

  • 19 to 50 years: 2 cups
  • 51 years and older: 1 ½ cups

Men:

  • 19 years to 50 years: 3 cups
  • 51 years and older: 2 ½ cups

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7 Foods to Fight PMS

by in Healthy Tips, April 25, 2013

pineapple
Mood swings, irritability, bloating . . . who needs it? Premenstrual syndrome affects an estimated 40% of American women. Studies have found that eating certain foods may help decrease those pesky symptoms.

#1: Yogurt
A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst found that women who ate the highest amount of calcium (around 1,200 milligrams a day) were 30% less likely to develop PMS than women who ate much lower amounts (530 milligrams per day). One cup of nonfat plain yogurt has about 40% of your daily recommended dose (400 milligrams).

Other calcium-rich foods: milk, calcium-fortified orange juice and soy milk, kale, bok choy

#2: Salmon
Vitamin D and calcium work together to help keep bones strong. The same study conducted at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst found that women who took in more vitamin D from food showed a similar risk reduction as when eating a high-calcium diet. Three ounces of cooked salmon has over 100% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin D.

Other vitamin-D rich foods: tuna, vitamin D-fortified milk and orange juice, sardines

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