The 5 Worst Diets for Weight Loss

by in Diets & Weight Loss, July 25, 2013

empty plate
Trying a weight loss plan that doesn’t work can become extremely frustrating and discouraging. Before starting any of these diets, read why I say skip ‘em!

#1: Paleo Diet
This plan recommends you eat like your caveman ancestors, emphasizing lots of fruits, veggies, lean meats and seafood. Dairy and grains aren’t allowed on the plan—omitting two important food groups and numerous important nutrients in your diet. This diet was ranked last by US News and World Report on their list of Best Weight Loss Diets. Their expert panel determined that there is a lack of scientific evidence to show that long-term weight loss can be achieved.

#2: Dukan Diet
Although celebs like Gisele Bundchen and Jennifer Lopez have reportedly followed this diet post-baby to shed pounds, it was ranked second to last by US News and World Report’s Best Weight Loss Diets. This updated version of the Atkins diet eliminated carbs, fruits and veggies (especially during the very strict first phase), while allowing unlimited amounts of lean protein. It’s a very restrictive plan that will have you losing weight rather quickly—actually too quickly according to safety guidelines set up by the National Institutes of Health. The end result: You’ll probably end up regaining your lost weight plus more.

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Candy Shop Face-Off: Which is Healthier?

by in Which is Healthier?, July 24, 2013

red licorice

Pay attention when you hit those touristy candy shops this summer: Some treats are better than others.

Red Licorice vs. Black Licorice
WINNER: Red licorice. Many people assume that black licorice root can alleviate health issues. This hasn’t been proven, but eating large quantities of black licorice may be dangerous to people 40 and older because a compound in it has been linked to heart problems, according to the FDA.

boardwalk taffyBoardwalk Fudge vs. Boardwalk Taffy
WINNER: Boardwalk taffy. A 1-inch square of chocolate fudge has more than double the fat of the equivalent amount of taffy (about seven pieces). Plus, fudge is higher in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol in the bloodstream and lead to heart problems.

 

sour gummiesClassic Gummies vs. Sour Gummies
WINNER: Classic gummies. The calorie and sugar counts are almost identical, but studies suggest that sour candy erodes tooth enamel more than other types because it’s more acidic. And because gummies stick to your teeth longer than other sweets, sour ones pose a greater risk of dental damage.

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5 Calcium-Packed Delicious Dishes

by in Healthy Recipes, July 24, 2013

macaroni and cheese
Are you getting enough calcium? Turn to diet first to get your recommended daily dose of (or as much calcium as possible) before popping a calcium supplement. Here are five recipes to help you do so.

The Recipes

#1: Yogurt and Fruit Parfaits
Yogurt is one of the highest sources of calcium around. Plus, the probiotics found in yogurt make it lactose-intolerant friendly.

Recommended daily amount of calcium: 34%

#2: Macaroni and 4 Cheeses (above)
There are so many sources of calcium in this cheesy recipe. Top contributors are cheddar cheese, milk, and Monterey Jack, with smaller contributions from the ricotta, enriched pasta, squash and Parmesan.

Recommended daily amount of calcium: 30%

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Win This Molcajete!

by in Giveaway, July 24, 2013

Lava Rock Molcajete

Be the life of your next summer party with this easy to use molcajete (the traditional Mexican version of a mortar and pestle). Made of ultra-durable volcanic lava rock, the molcajete will let you whip up a party-size batch of any of Food Network Magazine‘s 50 Salsa & Guacamoles in no time. Or, grind up your signature spice rub for the perfect grilled chicken. No matter what you grind, crush or blend, this molcajete’s rough surface will give salsas, dips and more a great texture.

You can buy your own Lava Rock Molcajete or enter in the comments for a chance to win one. Just let us know, in the comments, what you’ll make in this molcajete. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, July 26 at 5 p.m. EST.

We’re giving away one Lava Rock Molcajete to one randomly-selected commenter. You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate with you if you’re a winner.

You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. EST on July 24 and 5 p.m. EST on July 26, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $60. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.

So tell us, what will you make in this molcajete?

Taco Tuesday: Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos

by in Robin's Healthy Take, July 23, 2013

fish tacoMahi mahi is a sensational white-fleshed fish with great flavor and hearty texture, making it ideal for this healthy take on fish tacos. The seasoning in this dish is a Tex-Mex-inspired blend of chili powder, cumin, marjoram, thyme, onion and garlic–spiced up with cayenne and then tang-ified with fresh lime. The list might look long, but no doubt you have every single spice in your rack. The herb-crusted fish is partnered perfectly with tender beans, fresh avocado, sweet tomatoes and cilantro, making it the perfect ending to an awesome day.

*Note: You may substitute grouper, cod, monkfish, shrimp, or any firm fish that can hold up to this handheld feast. Heck, chicken even works!

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5 Healthier Hot Dogs

by in Grilling, Which is Healthier?, July 23, 2013

hotdog buns

I used to be totally against anything related to a hot dog. Two kids later, I find myself turning to them as a viable option for the occasional backyard barbecue or last-minute weeknight dinner. Part of the reason I changed my mind was because of healthier options. After reading TONS of ingredient labels, I found some decent choices out there, with something to please everyone (including vegetarians). In honor of National Hot Dog Day, here are some of the top dogs.

Better Dogs

Beef
Applegate Farms Uncured Beef Hot Dog
Beef, spices and that’s about it. These tasty hot dogs are free of nitrates and have only 70 calories and 6 grams of fat. Organic versions are also available and Applegate Farms uses no antibiotics with their animals.

Veggie
Field Roast Vegetarian Frankfurter
Super popular among vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, this 2.75-ounce “frankfurter” contains 180 calories and 8 grams of fat. It’s made from wheat gluten, tomato paste and spices. It’s a bit high in the sodium department (690 milligrams), so reserve for occasional enjoyment.

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Food Fight! Lemonade vs. Iced Tea

by in Food Fight, Healthy Tips, July 22, 2013

lemonade and iced tea
Looking to quench your thirst with one of these summertime classics? First, check out which drink came out on top in this battle of the beverages.

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20+ Healthy Foods to Pack When You Travel

by in Dining Out, July 22, 2013

whole-grain crackers
Hitting the road this summer? Whether traveling by car or plane you can still make healthy choices.

By Car
By the time you turn the corner, everyone in the car is begging for food. The last thing you want to do is bring a never-ending supply of junk. Instead, pack a few good-for-you mess-free meals and snacks. To keep things fresh, bring a cooler (the traditional kind or one that plugs into the car).

Meals:

  • Whole-grain pasta salad or quinoa salad
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  • Hard-boiled egg and cheese in a whole-wheat pita

Snacks:

  • Sliced fresh fruit like melon and berries
  • Snack bar
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese and whole-grain crackers

If you end up having to hit the quick mart anyway, look for the smarter choices:

  • Whole-grain pretzels
  • Hummus cups
  • Coffee or tea (nothing fancy)
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Small bowl of oatmeal

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15 Surprising Ways to Enjoy Edamame

by in Robin's Healthy Take, July 21, 2013

edamame
We all know that steamed edamame with a delectable sprinkling of salt make a phenomenal appetizer. Pop those babies in your mouth, strip off the pod with your teeth, discard the carnage and reach for another!

But given that soybeans are nutrient powerhouses, why not get creative and add the precious gems to your regular menu? For just 120 calories per heaping cup of edamame (or 1/2 cup shelled soybeans), you get 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, 10% of your Daily Value for vitamin C and iron and 8% for vitamin A.

Here are 15 unexpected ways to enjoy cooked and shelled edamame.

1. Green Dip: Puree soybeans with an equal amount of thawed frozen green peas, a little fresh shallot and garlic, and salt and black pepper to taste; fold in chopped fresh parsley. Serve with whole-grain crackers or pita.

2. Rice and (Soy)Beans: Sauté soybeans in a little olive oil with chili powder and cumin; add to brown rice with green onions, cilantro and fresh lime juice; add hot sauce if desired.

3. Strong Salads: Fold into potato, pasta, seafood and egg salads for a blast of protein.

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Exercise Trends Worth Trying

by in Fitness, July 21, 2013

sneakers
Looking for a new way to work out? At the recent National Athletic Trainer’s Association annual meeting, I was able to check out what’s trending with exercise experts. Here’s the lowdown on the latest gear–and what’s worth the investment.

Suspension Training
Specialized straps connected to a door or ceiling allow you to use your own body weight as resistance. You can’t even imagine how many different muscle groups can get a workout using these simple bands. TRX is one of the most popular U.S. brands, 4DPro is an up-and-comer. TRX cord sets retail for anywhere from $150 to $250 (in my opinion, they are well worth the investment). They are often used in rehab settings by athletic trainers and physical therapists but they also make a fun and non-cumbersome addition to a home gym. You can find instructional videos to help plan workout routines online.

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