Tag: healthy tips

Healthy Cooking Method: Parchment Packet Cooking

by in Robin's Healthy Take, April 13, 2013

parchment packet cooking
In France they call it “en papillote”. In Italy, it’s “al cartoccio”. In America, we call it parchment cooking. What does it mean? Very simply, it’s a cooking technique that involves wrapping food, typically fish, chicken and/or vegetables in parchment paper. Once wrapped like an envelope, the “packet” is baked in the oven until the entire meal is moist, tender and cooked to perfection.

The technique may sound fancy in other languages, but it’s actually quite simple. Even better? It’s probably the least messy cooking method because it doesn’t involve any pots or pans. Nutritionally speaking, because all ingredients are assembled in a packet, very little (if any) fat is needed, making it a fantastic cooking technique for the Healthy Eats crowd. Read more

10 Ways to Cut Back on Salt

by in Healthy Tips, April 9, 2013

salt
A staggering study out of the University of California revealed that if Americans dramatically cut their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, up to 1.2 million deaths could be prevented over the next 10 years, deaths largely caused by heart disease or stroke. Despite the American Heart Association’s recommendation that healthy people get 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, with an upper limit of 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon), the average American eats close to 3,600 mg, largely through processed food. Reducing salt intake is important for everyone, not just the small subset of people who are salt sensitive.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Relinquish Processed Foods
Yes, we all rely on processed foods at times. But considering that one slice of wheat bread can have up to 200 mg of sodium, imagine what’s lurking in a prepared meal or side dish. Read labels and opt for lower sodium dishes whenever possible.

2. Become Condiment Savvy
Always embellish your sandwiches and salads yourself so can control the amount of salt and the amount of condiments you use. Vinegar is virtually salt-free (2 mg per 2 teaspoons) while mustard, relish, mayonnaise and ketchup can have up to 100 mg per teaspoon.

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Ask the Experts: Change a Habit, Change Your Health, Part 2

by in Ask the Experts, April 6, 2013

food journal
“If you could recommend just one habit that someone should start doing to eat, and live, healthier, what would that habit be?”

This is the question I posed to a group of my colleagues – registered dietitians and nutritionists – in the trenches coaching and counseling people in the science, and art, of eating better. So many experts responded with great tips, that I sorted the feedback into categories. In addition to the tips below, you can find additional tips in Change a Habit, Change Your Life, Part 1.

Adjust your portion sizes so you’re satisfied, not stuffed

• “To shrink your waist, shrink your plate! You’ll trick your brain into feeling more satisfied by the generous-looking portions. And if you go back for seconds, your overall portion may still offer fewer calories than if you had served your meal on an oversized platter.” – Jessica Corwin, RD, MPH

• Use smaller plates, bowls, silverware and glasses. Studies show you’ll eat less and you can clean your plate without the guilt. — Multiple experts

• “Gradually get used to being a little hungry between meals. Don’t deprive but eat 10 to 20% less (this may be two less bites at a meal, a half portion less of a side dish or one less piece of bread).” – Roseanne Rust, MS, RD, LDN

• “Eat with your stomach and not your wallet. Just because you paid for something — it doesn’t mean you have to finish it (or you’ll ‘pay for it’ in other ways!)” — Bonnie Taub Dix, MA, RD, CDN

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Ask the Experts: Change a Habit, Change Your Health, Part 1

by in Ask the Experts, March 23, 2013

vegetables on scale
“If you could recommend just one habit that someone should start doing to eat, and live, healthier, what would that habit be?”

That’s the question I posed to a group of my colleagues – registered dietitians and nutritionists – in the trenches coaching and counseling people in the science, and art, of eating better. Rather than focusing on huge overhauls that may not be sustainable (i.e. no carbs, no gluten, no dairy, no alcohol, etc.), I wanted to look for keystone eating habit changes that could have a butterfly effect through the rest of your daily routine and get you the health and fitness results you want.

I was amazed — within 24 hours I had over 60 responses. As I began sorting through the feedback, I realized that many of the recommendations fell into a seven broader categories, which I’ll be summarizing and presenting in two posts.

Buckle up, here are the first four:

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5 Simple Ways to Cut Calories

by in Healthy Tips, November 30, 2012

olive oil
Calories can be sneaky, finding their way into your diet when you aren’t looking. Too many of them make it hard to maintain a healthy weight. Try these 5 simple things to save calories throughout the day — we promise you won’t miss them.

1. Measure Oil
It’s really easy to misjudge how much oil you use when cooking. When every tablespoon has 120 calories (and 14 grams of fat), you can unknowingly rack up some serious calories by adding an extra splash here and there. Keep a measuring spoon handy  – a teaspoon or two is really all you need.

2. Downsize Bread
Trade large slices of bread and gigantic wraps for English muffins, rolls and flatbreads to save hundreds of calories at each meal. Always choose whole grain versions for more hunger fighting fiber.

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Breakfast Face-Off: Which is Healthier?

by in Which is Healthier?, September 19, 2012

cow's milk

Food Network Magazine staged a breakfast face-off and asked a registered dietitian to name the better choices. The results might surprise you.

Cow’s Milk vs. Soy Milk
WINNER: Cow’s milk. To make soy milk taste better, many manufacturers add sugar (especially to flavored kinds). Plus, soy milk doesn’t naturally contain as much protein or calcium as cow’s milk. Soy milk can be a healthful alternative if it’s fortified and doesn’t have too much added sugar, but unless you’re lactose intolerant, just stick with 1 percent or skim milk.

peanut butter

Smooth Peanut Butter vs. Chunky Peanut Butter
WINNER: It’s a draw. The amount of salt, sugar and oil in peanut butter can vary by brand and even within each brand, but smooth and crunchy versions are the same nutritionally—one is just ground more than the other. The healthiest option: peanut butter without added sugar or salt.

 

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One Small Change: How Often Should I Eat?

by in Healthy Tips, September 7, 2012

energy bars
A common point of discussion on the this blog is what to eat, I wanted to take a moment to discuss another important topic: when should we eat, and how often? What follows is a combination of research findings and my own experiences working with clients as a registered dietitian.

Current research has shown that we should be eating somewhere between three to six times per day, though no one frequency has been proven to be better than others. If you find yourself consistently starving at a certain point in the day (and maybe making a less-than-ideal food choice), then consider adding in an additional healthy mini-meal or snack to your routine. Here are a couple great options to consider:

Energy Bars (above)
Turkey Roll-Ups
Cracked Pepper Potato Chips With Onion Dip
Vegetable Pizza Snacks
Figs With Ricotta, Pistachio and Honey

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One Small Change: Eat Healthier All Year Long by Changing Your Food Environment

by in Healthy Tips, January 26, 2012
sandwich police
Keep tempting foods out of reach.

It’s nearly the end of January and maybe you’ve joined our Healthy Every Week January Challenge, maybe you’ve done your own resolution-thing this year. Regardless, the new year often brings a surge of renewal and positive change. We toss out all of the leftover holiday junk food around the house (or in the case of my cousin, offer leftovers to guests as they leave the New Years’ party). We are determined to choose the grilled chicken salad over the two slices of pizza at lunch and turn down dessert when we go out to dinner. We buy lots of fresh groceries on January 2nd and whip up great home-cooked meals, such as lentil soup and baked salmon.

For the first couple of weeks, life is good. We feel better and start to look better too! Then we go back to our old routines at work, with our families and in our day-to-day lives. As a result, our eating and exercise habits often go back to the old routines too. We (and our bodies) are the result of our habits and routines. The biggest challenge for most people is harnessing the momentum and enthusiasm from the first few weeks of January and taking steps to make sure some of those initial changes in January become permanent habits by February.

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Top 10 Nutrition Misconceptions

by in Healthy Tips, August 18, 2011

diet and exercise
You may not realize it, but every day you make unconscious decisions about how you eat. Some healthy and some not-so-healthy. We’re revealing the top nutrition misconceptions people have and the truth behind the myths.

#1: You can never eat “junk” food
Some folks religiously stay away from all chocolate bars, chips, candy, cookies, cakes and other foods that are categorized as “junk”. They’ll skip the slice of birthday cake or a trip to the ice cream store with their kids. But food is part of our social nature and should be enjoyed. These types of foods can be part of a healthy eating plan. Knowing how to stay in control of your cravings and eating these foods sensibly is the trick.

#2: You should purchase a food because it claims to be “natural”
The term “natural” is so loosely defined by the government that you’ll find it on everything from cereal boxes to soda to packages of meat. You’re better off ignoring the word on any package and taking the time to read through the ingredients and nutrition information. Don’t be fooled into believing that natural means healthy.

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