All Posts In Healthy Tips

7 Secret-Weapon Foods for Weight Loss

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, June 24, 2013

shrimp
Don’t waste your money on secret potions and potentially dangerous supplements to lose weight. Instead, include these real foods in your diet to help trim your waistline.

#1: Popcorn
Did you know popcorn is a whole grain? One cup of air-popped popcorn has between 30 to 55 calories and 5% of your recommended daily dose of hunger shielding fiber. Snack on 2 cups with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese or 1 tablespoon of whipped butter with ¼ teaspoon sea salt. You can also make your own in the microwave in a flash.

Recipe: Chocolate-Orange Brown Butter Flavored Popcorn

#2: Greek Yogurt
With more protein than traditional yogurt per ounce, nonfat plain Greek yogurt can fill you up so you’ll be less likely to mindlessly snack. Not sure which brand to choose? Check how popular brands fared in Dana’s taste test.

Recipe: Fruit Salad with Limoncello and Greek Yogurt

#3: Shrimp
These crustaceans pack a protein punch for very few calories. One ounce (4 large shrimp) has 30 calories, 6 grams of protein and has minimal fat.  Shrimp is also a good source of vitamin D and selenium and even contains several energy-boosting B-vitamins. If you’re allergic to shellfish or just don’t care for shrimp, choose skinless, boneless chicken breast which has 46 calories, 9 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per ounce.

Recipe: Robin’s Coconut Shrimp

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Is Your Job Killing You?

by in Healthy Tips, June 24, 2013

sitting at work
Hours of sitting at your desk, trips to the vending machine, stress, lack of sleep . . . is your job bad for your health? Get out of these 5 terrible work habits and create lifelong healthier ones.

1. Too Much Tushie Time
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that sitting for a prolonged period of time increases your risk of death—even if you DO engage in regular physical activity. Folks who sat for more than 11 hours a day had a 40 percent higher chance of dying within the next 3 years over those who only sat for 4 hours a day. Furthermore, those who sat between 8 to 11 hours a day had a 15 percent higher chance of dying compared with those who sat fewer than 4 hours a day.

In addition to working, we spend a lot of time lounging out in front of the TV, driving, and eating which all count as sitting-down time.

Solve it: Use small windows of opportunity to get up and walking. Use your lunch break to take a walk around the block, stand up during long calls or use wireless headsets that allow you to easily pace around, or get off a stop earlier on the bus or subway.

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Plant-Based Sources of Iron

by in Healthy Tips, June 22, 2013

handful of nuts
Iron is an essential nutrient in our diets; it’s necessary to transport oxygen and nutrients to our cells. Deficiencies are quite common, especially for vegetarians. Sure, we tend to think of animal products like beef, chicken and eggs as good sources of iron (which they are) but there are several vegetable sources of iron as well.

Heme iron (the type found in animal products) is more easily absorbed by our bodies, but that doesn’t meal non-heme (vegetarian) sources are not. Here are some plant based sources of iron and tips for preparing and eating them to maximize absorption.

Vegetarian Sources of Iron

  • Legumes: lentils, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, lima beans, black beans, chickpeas
  • Grains: quinoa, fortified cereals, brown rice, oatmeal
  • Nuts and seeds: pumpkin, squash, pine, pistachio, sunflower, cashews, unhulled sesame
  • Vegetables: tomato sauce, Swiss chard, collard greens
  • Other: blackstrap molasses, prune juice

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The Best Beverages For Your Health

by in Healthy Tips, June 20, 2013

healthy beverages
When it comes to healthy beverage choices, water tends to always top the list. But where do other favorites like juice, coffee, tea, milk, and even alcohol fit into a healthy lifestyle?

So Many Choices?!
With so many beverages lining store shelves plus media hubbub swirling about the so-called positive and negative effects of various drinks, what you should be sipping? Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition reviewed the wide selection of beverages available and ranked them into 6 levels based on the amount of calories, good-for-you nutrients, and scientific evidence on the negative and positive effects on health. Not too surprising, water topped the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only healthy choice.

Top Beverage Choices
Unsweetened tea, coffee and milk have a place in your healthy eating plan, while juice, alcohol and sweetened beverages should be consumed sparingly.

Water
Water helps restore fluid losses and helps rehydrate your body. Although we’re often told to drink 8 cups of water each day, the amount of water we need varies from person to person. It depends on the amount of food you eat, how active you are and the climate you live in. Most people get about 80% of their fluids from beverages, the rest comes from food. The Institute of Medicine’s guidelines are 15 cups per day for men and 11 cups per day for women (coming from a combo of food and drinks).

Tea and Coffee
Tea and coffee are two of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. Without all the fancy add-ins (like whipped cream, shaved chocolate, heavy cream), they can provide numerous nutritional benefits and help meet your daily fluid requirements. Green tea has been touted for helping prevent heart disease while coffee has been shown to have explosive amounts of cell-protecting antioxidants. Although studies have found that up to 3 or so cups of coffee or tea are okay, these drinks also tend to leach out calcium and iron, so try to keep it to that amount.

Low-Fat, Skim and Soy Milk
Milk provides 9 essential nutrients including protein, calcium, and vitamin D. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommended choosing low-fat or fat-free (AKA skim) milk to minimize saturated fat and cholesterol. Drinking milk and soy milk can also help you meet the recommended 3 servings of dairy each day.

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7 Habits of Healthy Eaters

by in Healthy Tips, June 20, 2013

food label
Ever wonder what healthy folks do to be and stay that way? Being healthy is a lifestyle, not just something you sometimes do and then fall off the wagon. Healthy eaters have many of these 7 habits in common — see how many of them you can adopt; you’ll feel better for it.

1. Gardening
Any food you can grow on your own is better for your health and the health of the environment. Whether it’s a few pots of herbs or a full-blown veggie garden, get your hands a little dirty and start growing your own food.

Make This Habit Your Own: Gardening For Beginners

2. Food safety
Is your fridge the proper temperature? Do you know how to defrost meat or prevent cross contamination? Paying attention to basic food safety principles will keep you and everyone in your household that much more healthy.

Make This Habit Your Own: Counter-Top Safety

3. Meal planning
A little forethought can make a real difference. Make a weekly meal plan, eat most meals at home, and think about your entire day when making food choices. You will save time, money and a whole bunch of calories.

Make This Habit Your Own: Brown-Bag Lunch Menus

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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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