The Worst People For Your Diet

by in Diets & Weight Loss, June 28, 2013

office coworkers
One of the most difficult barriers dieters face are folks who try to sabotage their weight loss efforts. These are the folks who will shove an over-sized piece of cake in your face at a party or insist on having fried food at every meal. Every dieter faces them; your best defense is to be prepared.

Kids
Those sweet little ones can be a dieter’s worst nightmare! Yelling for candy at the check-out aisle or insisting on eating chicken nuggets at every meal. Oftentimes you end up giving into their whining for processed foods and end up becoming the garbage disposal for their leftovers.

Your best defense: Both adults (dieting or not) and kids should be eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy foods. There are many deliciously healthy recipes that everyone can enjoy; get the kids in the kitchen to help choose and prepare healthy recipes and the whole family will benefit.

Office Buddies
There’s always one office pal who brings in the basket of baked goodies, insisting on watching you eat it. Then there are office-mates who go in groups to pick up the latest fancy coffee drinks, some with no less than 350 calories a pop. And if you try and explain that you’re watching your weight—that’s the center of conversation for the next 2 weeks.

Your best defense: Stick to your guns (and your plan)– overcoming office buddies is all about mind over matter.

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5 Overly-Processed Foods

by in Healthy Tips, June 27, 2013

doughnuts in box
Did you clean your kitchen out after reading our list of the scariest processed foods a few months ago? Here are 5 more overly-processed foods that you might want to toss if you’re looking to clean up your diet.

Flavored Rice & Pastas
Check out the sodium on those seasoning packets — you could be downing 35 to 45 percent of your daily recommended dose in 1 cup. Plus you’ll get an laundry list of additives and preservatives (and they’re not even made with real cheese!)—it’s just so easy to make your own.

Healthier Alternative: 5-Ingredient Spicy Cheesy Rice

Processed Pastries
Boxed cakes, cookies and doughnuts might bring up those feel-good childhood memories, but they’re just a high-fat, nutrient-empty junk food. Some boxed doughnut varieties can have as much as 65% of your daily recommended dose of artery-clogging fat for just one! You’ll also find trans fats in some varieties, such as cakes made with shortening-based frosting and cream-filled cookies.

Healthier Alternative: Marbled Banana Bread

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Apple Cider Vinegar: Worth The Hype?

by in Healthy Tips, June 27, 2013

apple cider vinegar
There’s nothing better than apple cider vinegar for coleslaw, salad dressing and BBQ sauce, but in recent years this staple ingredient has gained popularity as a cure-all tonic.

The Hype
Nutrition-related tales claim that if you consume a daily dose of apple cider vinegar it can help with various medical conditions including heart disease and diabetes as well as aid with weight loss, digestive issues and bacterial infections. Many alternative-medicine practitioners recommend downing a few tablespoons a day straight-up or mixed with water.

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New Study: Kids Eat More Veggies With Dip

by in Healthy Recipes, Kid-Friendly, June 26, 2013

green goddess dressing
If you’re looking to up your kids’ veggie intake, read this! A new study found that serving vegetables alongside dip leads to munching on more veggies. Interestingly, kids were also found to prefer dips flavored with herbs and spices over plain, more bland dips.

The Study
A 2013 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that adding herbs or spices to a reduced-fat dip increased a child’s willingness to eat veggies. The portion-controlled 3 ½ tablespoon dips served to the kids had 50 calories, 4 grams of fat and 90 milligrams of sodium.

Pre-school children ages 3 to 5 years told researchers from the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University that they liked veggies when paired with a favorite flavored dip compared to eating a veggie without a dip or with a plain dip. Thirty-one percent of kids liked a veggie alone while 64% liked a veggie when it was served with their favorite dip. In addition, 6% of kids refused the vegetable when served with a flavored dip as compared with 18% who refused the veggie when served without any dip.
During a second experiment, researchers found that kids ate significantly more of a previously rejected or disliked veggie when it was offered with a favorite reduced-fat herb dip compared to when it was offered alone.

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Win This Indoor Grill!

by in Giveaway, June 26, 2013

Indoor Grill

Nothing says summer like grilled fare. Don’t have room for a grill, you say? Well, even city dwellers without backyards or balconies can get in on the action thanks to De’Longhi’s Indoor Grill. Make healthy meals for your family all-year round on this 12 x 16-inch, non-stick aluminum grate surface. A tempered glass lid seals in all the juicy goodness, while a drip-tray keeps your kitchen clean. When you’re done cooking, disassemble the whole grill for easy cleanup.

Get grilling ideas for burgers, chicken, fish and more.

You can buy your own De’Longhi Indoor Grill or enter in the comments for a chance to win one. Just let us know, in the comments, what you’re grilling this summer. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, June 28 at 5 p.m. EST.

We’re giving away a De’Longhi Indoor Grill 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 June 26 and 5 p.m. EST on June 28, 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: $112. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.

So tell us, what are you grilling this summer?

Three Tips for Summer Salads to Keep You Slim and Satisfied

by in Healthy Tips, June 25, 2013

salad
As the temperature heats up, salads become a quick and easy way to keep you cool and hydrated – most fruits and veggies are more than 90% water by weight. Many different fruits and vegetables are in season during the summer, so flavor is at its peak as well (find what’s best in your region here). Unfortunately, three of the most popular summer picnic salads are calorie-bomb side dishes: macaroni salad, potato salad and coleslaw. Here are a few tips (and recipes) to ensure your seasonal salads leave you feeling light, yet satisfied for hours:

1. Make it a Meal

When some people hear the word salad, they think “I’ll be starving in an hour.” But there are many ways to beef up a salad to make it filling for the heartiest of appetites. Add a source of protein like meat, eggs or beans. Use some heartier vegetables like corn, beets and carrots. Add a healthy fat like avocado or a handful of nuts. Then just add in a ton of your favorite veggies – different colors represent different nutrients, so go for a rainbow.

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How Long Will the Food in Your Refrigerator Last?

by in Food Safety, June 25, 2013

refrigerator
Go ahead, open your fridge. How long have most of the items been in there? You’re probably thinking to yourself, when should they be tossed? Since the sniff test or a quick eyeball over isn’t the best way to make that determination, take a look at the guidelines and then get ready to keep or toss ‘em.

The Guidelines
Your refrigerator and freezer are temporary storage facilities that can extend the shelf life of food. However, the food stored in your fridge and freezer can definitely spoil within a specific time frame. Here are guidelines for common foods but if you’re ever in doubt, toss the food out.

Baby Food

  • Leftover baby food (jarred or canned): 2 to 3 days (refrigerator)

Beverages

  • Opened canned juices: 5 to 7 days (refrigerator)
  • Fresh orange juice: 6 days (refrigerator) or 6 months (freezer)
  • Opened sodas or carbonated beverages: 2 to 3 days (refrigerator)
  • Soy or rice milk: 7 to 10 days (refrigerator); don’t freeze

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How to Make Polenta

by in Robin's Healthy Take, June 24, 2013

Traditional Italian polenta is basically porridge made with cornmeal, water or stock and patience; sometimes lots of patience because, for the best results, the cornmeal needs time to absorb the liquid and fully cook, which brings out the sweet corn flavor. The cornmeal can be ground coarse, medium or fine, but traditional Italian polenta is never instant or precooked and packaged in tubes. Polenta can become a healthy cook’s best friend because it’s endlessly versatile – you can serve it as a side dish or top it with meatballs and gravy, braised chicken and tomatoes, or grilled vegetables and a shaving or two of Parmesan cheese. You can also prepare firm polenta that’s then cut into squares or wedges and baked or grilled.

A few tips for the perfect polenta:
• For soft polenta, the ratio is typically 5 to 1 (liquid to cornmeal); for firm polenta, the ratio is around 4 to 1.
• Bring your liquid (water or stock) to a rapid boil and slowly whisk in the cornmeal; whisk constantly for the first minute or so, until the mixture thickens.
• Reduce the heat to low and allow the polenta to bubble/sputter gently for the entire cooking time.
• Stir every 5-10 minutes while cooking.
• Always check the liquid level and don’t allow the mixture to become too thick (it won’t cook properly).
• Depending on the cornmeal you’re using, allow up to 1 hour for fully cooked polenta (it may take less, but play it safe).

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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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