Archive for December, 2010

Ten Simple Tips to Eating Better in 2011

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Once again we have welcomed in a New Year. If your New Year’s Resolution is to maintain your health and eat better in 2011, then pay close attention to these ten simple nutrition tips from Healthcentral.com.

1. Add more variety- Your body requires over 40 nutrients for optimum health. So in order to stay healthy you’ll want to indulge in a wide range of colorful fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, and low fat dairy products to help ensure that you get the vitamins and minerals you need.

2. Reduce your portion sizes- By simply keeping tabs on your portion sizes you can reduce your caloric intake and as a result maintain a healthier weight. By still indulging in smaller amounts of your favorite foods you don’t feel as deprived.

3. Eat meals at regular times-
Try eating several small meals per day in order to avoid unhealthy binge eating. It also helps to maintain a more stable blood sugar level, which is very important in keeping your energy level up all day.

4. Add more whole grain foods- Whole grains satisfy your body’s need for carbohydrates and also keeps your blood sugar swings to a minimum. It will make you feel fuller longer and keep overeating to a minimum.

5. Drink 8 glasses of water per day-
Our bodies natural processes require water in order to function optimally. Water can also help you feel full, so drinking plenty of water can also prevent overeating.

6. Don’t skip breakfast- As we’ve all heard before, eating a healthy breakfast gives you energy and nutrients that you need to get through the day. After all it’s the most important meal of the day so even if you’re not a breakfast eater make it your New Year’s Resolution to try to eat breakfast every day. Studies show that people who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat later in the day. The best breakfast is one that combines lean protein, with a little whole grain carbs, and some fruit and/or vegetables. For example, an omelet filled with two types of vegetables, and one slice of wholegrain toast. Or, a small bowl of oatmeal topped with berries, natural yogurt, and crushed nuts.

7. Choose broiled or grilled food rather than fried foods-
By simply broiling or grilling your food you can achieve a very similar taste to fried foods, but with significantly reduced fat content.

8. Be disciplined at the grocery store- It’s much easier to stick to a healthy diet if you try to only buy healthy foods when you purchase your groceries. It’s very difficult to avoid the temptation of cookies or chips when they’re sitting in your pantry at home. If you don’t buy them, you won’t be tempted to stray from your diet. Here’s an extra tip- instead of chips try pita chips and hummus and instead of cookies try fat-free pudding or yogurt.

9. Reduce your salt intake-
Eating foods that are high in sodium can contribute to high blood pressure in addition to water retention and weight gain. Choose low sodium versions of your favorite foods if possible, and don’t add salt to your food if you can help it. Instead try flavoring bland foods with herbs, spices, or citrus fruits instead.

10. Reduce the unhealthy fats in your diet-
Overly processed meats, or store-bought cakes and cookies, for example, tend to be high in trans or saturated fats, and these foods should be avoided mostly. However, you do need some fat in your diet. So, try using olive oil as a basis for salad dressings, cook with rice bran oil, use mashed avocado as an alternative to margarine spreads, and eat oily fish 1 or 2 times per week. Also, avoid anything that contains trans fats as much as you possibly can.

By following these ten simple tips you’ll be on your way to a healthier and thinner 2011.

Four Tips for Keeping Your Holidays Simple, Lovely and Sane

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the idea of sitting around a tastefully decorated fireplace with your loved ones while chatting and eating homemade goodies and drinking eggnog. However, none of my Christmases ever actually turn out like that. From stressful calendars to weird family baggage, Christmas doesn’t often end up perfect….and that’s ok.

Amidst the twinkle of holiday decor, it’s easy to fill our plates to overflowing, and inevitably transform our lovely celebrations to stress-induced rampages. So how do you keep your holidays sane? Here are a few tips from Incourage.me.com to keep in mind if you would like to make this year’s holidays more manageable.

1. Meet the needs of your spouse, kids, and yourself first- Focus on your immediate family’s needs first, and ultimately do what’s best for your household. This might mean not traveling five hours away to Aunt Mary’s house like everyone else in your extended family. This might inadvertently lead to hurt feelings. But what good is it to please these people if your household ultimately suffers? No one’s happy in the end.

2. Don’t spend more than you have- Draw a line in the sand to never, ever use credit. It’s tempting during the holiday season, but the many months that follow of paying it off is never worth it. You’ll sleep so much better at night. You may want to try making purchases online to avoid going over-budget or make your own gifts.

3. Do what you can and don’t worry about the rest- Don’t neglect your responsibilities, of course. But find creative ways to do what you have to do in an easy way, so that you have time and energy to do what you love. For example agree to only attend 5 holiday events so that not all of your evenings are full or buy from a local bake sale or bakery instead of feeling like everything must be homemade.

4. Make a big deal out of those little things that are fun-
Make popcorn and turn down the lights for your family’s favorite Christmas movie or play your favorite Christmas tunes and drink hot chocolate while you wrap gifts. It’s these small things that make this season special.

Christmas is for us to enjoy with those we love, not to stress us out. By keeping things simple and positive you will be able to have a more peaceful and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Discover the Secret to Avoiding Winter Weight Gain by Passing Up Comfort Foods

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Studies have shown that during the months of December and January, many people gain at least one pound … every year. Why? One main reason is that besides being less active during the winter months, we also turn to comfort foods to get us through those dark, dreary winter days.

According to WebMD there are many culprits for winter weight gain including less outdoor exercise, endless weeks of holiday celebrations, ultra fattening comfort foods, and more layers of clothing to hide our expanding waistlines.
It’s ok to splurge on occasional small portions of decadent foods and holiday delights but if you want to prevent packing on those unwanted pounds you may want to steer clear of the following foods or eat them in moderation:

• Macaroni and cheese- An all-time favorite comfort food for children and adults alike, a healthier modification to this classic fat bomb is to use low-fat cheese, low-fat milk and add additional veggies.

• Cream based soups and bisques- Anything loaded with cream is also loaded with calories, so instead you may want to choose warm winter soups that are broth based like vegetable or minestrone.

• Cream and cheese based casseroles- One serving of a traditional hash brown casserole topped with cheese, bacon, or fried onions has nearly 600 calories, 40 grams of fat and 21 grams of saturated fat. To shave calories off of this seasonal favorite by substituting low-calorie mix-ins such as fat-free sour cream, low-fat cheese or reduced-fat soups or try over-roasted veggies for a healthy side dish.

• Cheesecake- Try to stick to small amounts of cheesecake or try satisfying your sweet tooth with a 150 calorie sugar free ice cream dessert or suck on a peppermint stick.

• Chili and stews loaded with ground beef, sausage and cheese- If making this dish yourself stick to small portions of lean meat, lots of vegetables and beans, sprinkle with low-fat cheese and skip the crumbled crackers on top.

• Cookies- Nothing says the holidays like Christmas cookies and enjoying one small cookie isn’t a problem. At around 200-250 calories make sure you only eat one or split one half and eat the other half later.

• Creamy pot pies (with pastry top and bottom)-When you have pastry on the top and bottom, you get a double dose of high-fat crust plus the fatty filling. Forget the creamy pie and enjoy a roasted chicken breast and a whole-wheat roll for a fraction of the calories.

A few bites of even the most fattening foods can fit into your diet, but it’s important to consume these types of food in moderation. Keep in mind that most adults need fewer than 2,000 calories, 65 grams of total fat and 20 grams of saturated fat each day.

Just by making some slight alterations and by avoiding these fattening foods you will see that you will not only feel better but you can prevent packing on those unwanted pounds, too.

Savory Salmon: The Secret to Improving Your Health and Avoiding Disease

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Whether you’re a fish fan or not taking advantage of salmon is worth a try due to its many health benefits. Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat. In a nutshell, eating a regular diet of salmon can improve cardiovascular health, muscle and tissue development, and eye care. It can also help reduce the risk of many diseases, like type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

According to Organicfacts.net salmon is a species of fish that is found in fresh and salt water. Because salmon is chock full of protein, it contains sufficient amounts of every essential amino acid required by our bodies for growth and the upkeep of muscle tissue. These proteins also help our bodies to maintain a healthy metabolism, playing a key role in weight loss.

Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat. It is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish. Positivehealthsteps.com also says that salmon is a healthy choice compared to other meats. Compared to salmon’s 183 calories, beef steak contains about 275 calories, lamb chops contain about 360 calories and pork chops about 320.

Salmon can be prepared in a variety of quick and easy ways. Steaming preserves its flavor and keeps the flesh nice and moist. Pan frying or barbecuing with a light coating of olive oil is another great way to serve and you can also poach or bake Salmon.
Whatever method you choose, follow these guidelines to ensure your salmon is fully cooked, yet retains the delicate flavor and texture of the fish.

• Measure the Salmon at its thickest part
• For every inch or 2.5 cm of thickness, cook at high heat for 2 minutes
• Add 5 minutes to the total cooking time if the Salmon is being prepared in a heavy sauce or is wrapped in foil.

Overall, you would be hard pressed to find a healthier fish … and a tastier one, too!

Six Ways to De-Stress This Holiday Season

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

The holidays can be the most joyous AND the most stressful time of the year. Instead of driving yourself crazy and worrying your way through the season, use the following advice to help de-stress this year.

1. If you exchange gifts with friends, family or co-workers, decide ahead of time a pre-set spending limit that you will spend on each other. By keeping this amount in mind when you are shopping it will be less stressful to you when you are searching for that perfect gift as you can eliminate certain gifts if necessary.

2. Don’t try to do all of the cooking for your get-togethers. Instead delegate certain dishes to your different family members or guests and let them help take the stress off of you when it comes to the meal. You will not only get a break, but your guests will feel like they contributed to making the holiday special.

3. Watch your fat and sugar intake over the holiday season. Taking in too much fat and sugar will not only lead to bloating, but it could also lead to depression. By watching what sugary treats you eat this season you will also avoid having to lose those extra pounds that you may put on by eating those foods.

4. Teach your children the value of gift-giving and the “reason for the season.” Children do not need an abundance of gifts, instead by getting them a few memorable gifts you will be instilling in them happiness for what they do get. This will also alleviate the stress of shopping every day for those items that will only be forgotten in a few days.

5. Embrace imperfection. According to MSNBC, it’s important to chill out and leave the emotional baggage at the door. Don’t allow for heightened sensitivity this time of year because you’re just asking for a melt-down. Laugh and smile even if you don’t feel like it. Stop stressing about making everything perfect and realize that this holiday is about the joys of spending time together and not the other minor details.

6. Give to a charity this season. This season isn’t about what you receive, but what you can give and what better way to give than to give to those in need? Whether it is by giving food and donations to a food bank or by donating some toys to those in need, you will feel such a calming and happy feeling knowing that you are affecting the lives of people who may do without otherwise.

Happy Holidays to you and wishes for a non stressful season!