Does this dairy delight have a place in your healthy eating plan? Although cheeses have gotten bad press for being high in artery-clogging fat, the right ones can provide important nutrients to your diet.
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Before you stop for your morning joe, find out how some coffee shop favorites compare.
Latte vs Cappuccino
WINNER: Cappuccino. They deliver the same caffeine jolt (75 milligrams per 12-ounce cup), but a latte has almost double the calories and fat of a cappuccino. The difference is in how they’re made: Lattes are almost entirely milk, while cappuccinos have equal parts milk and steamed foam.
Does this soft, spreadable cheese have any place in a healthy eating plan? It may depend on which kind you choose.
Cream cheese comes in numerous forms: brick, regular, whipped, light, fat-free and Neufchatel. You can also find regular, light and fat-free in flavors like scallion, vegetable, cinnamon-raisin, salmon and strawberry.
Two tablespoons of regular cream cheese have 100 calories, 9 grams of fat and 6 grams of saturated fat. So if you want to lighten things up, whipped or light varieties are the ways to go.
Whipped cream cheese incorporates air (from whipping) so it seems as if you’re eating more. Two tablespoons have 80 calories, 8 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat.
Light cream cheese has even fewer calories, with 2 tablespoons clocking in at 70 calories, 5 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat. (Fat-free has about half the calories of whipped or light.)
Neufchatel has one-third less fat than regular cream cheese with 80 calories, 6 grams of fat and 4 grams saturated in 2 tablespoons.
Beyond its traditional uses (with lox, in cheesecake), cream cheese can enhance the flavor of many healthy recipes. Use the whipped or low-fat variety to make cream cheese frosting, mashed potatoes, artichoke dip, alfredo sauce or even a cheese and fruit pizza. As always, the key is to keep portions under control.
Many veggie burgers are made from vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (like beans or lentils). These are good-for-you ingredients that provide fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Packaged veggie burgers (like Morning Star Farms or Boca) can also be a part of a healthy eating plan. They’re a quick and convenient way to enjoy a meatless meal and typically run from 70 to 130 calories per patty. Pair with a whole-grain bun and pile the fresh veggies high for a well-balanced meal.
Using cooking spray as a replacement for oil and butter can help cut back the calories. Since butter and oil have 100 to 120 calories per tablespoon (respectively), switching to a spray can mean fewer calories (and grams of fat) in your cooking.
Many brands use actual oils (such as olive and canola) as the primary ingredient, others rely on other types of oil and artificial flavorings– check ingredient lists on your brand of choice.
When used in a nonstick pan, a light coating of spray can allow for grilled cheese, French toast and eggs that aren’t glued to the pan. Spray is also good option to help give oven-baked breadings a crispier crust. A neutral flavored spray (like canola oil) can also be used to grease baking dishes and cupcake pans.
Red wine has been coined the good-for-you alcohol. My clients often tell me they choose red wine over other alcoholic beverages because it’s good for their heart. Does red wine really provide this amazing-for-you benefit or is it an over-hyped health halo? Mull over the pros and cons.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that if you would like to sip on alcohol, have a maximum of one drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. When it comes to wine (red or white), one drink is equivalent to 5-fluid ounces of wine (or about 125 calories). For beer, one serving is 12-fluid ounces and hard alcohol it’s 1½ -fluid ounces of an 80-proof liquor (like rum or vodka)—both range between 100-150 calories per serving.
For those looking to maintain or lose weight I often recommend sticking to wine because the calories are easier to control. Hard alcohol is typically used in mixed cocktails. The combo of multiple shots along with juice and/or other mixers can skyrocket calories in a flash.
Many folks choose red wine because of the health benefits. Studies have found the polyphenol antioxidant resveratrol found in red wine may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart.
Studies have also found that red wine may be linked to breast cancer prevention. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that resveratrol help stop breast cancer cells from growing.
You can also find delicious bottles of red wine at a low cost. See our top 5 red wines for those on a budget.
At a first glance, breaded and fried chicken isn’t the best nor is it the worst food your kid could be eating. The chicken provides some B-vitamins and protein and served with a side salad or veggies and a whole grain, it can be part of a healthy eating plan.
Much of the nutritional value in nuggets depends on who’s making them. Store-bought and fast-food varieties aren’t without their issues (see below). You can always opt to make your own breaded and baked nuggets. This helps decrease the unpronounceable ingredient list, preservatives, sodium and fat.
Is popcorn healthy? The answer to this question: it depends. There are so many types to choose from: kettle corn, movie popcorn, microwave, air-popped and pre-popped, flavored varieties. Some choices are definitely much healthier than others.
Air-popped popcorn is a whole grain and has between 30-55 calories per cup. It also has 5% of your daily recommended amount of fiber and is brimming with polyphenols, an antioxidant substance that has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. It can be made without the addition of oil as seen in this Food Network Kitchens’ homemade microwave popcorn recipe—made in a brown paper lunch bag!
With air-popped popcorn, you can control the added calories when it comes to add-ons like salt, Parmesan cheese, oil or butter. Check out or tips on making your own.
You can also find microwave in lighter and 100-calorie pack varieties to help you control the calories.