Tag Archives: weight
The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and the temperature is rising. Now that spring has arrived and you’ll be peeling off excess layers of clothing, it’s also a good time to take stock of the extra pounds that may have accumulated over winter. Let’s start cleaning up your act by spring-cleaning your snacks.
Whether at home, work, school, the gym, in your car or on a plane going to or from wherever life takes you, snacks could be trusty companions. It’s important, though, to proceed with caution, because not all snacks are created equal. Some between-meal treats boost your energy and help carry you through until your next meal, while others zap vitality by filling instead of fueling, leaving you feeling hungrier and heavier.
My idea of an ideal snack contains a combo of nutrients: whole grain carbohydrates to provide thatahhhh feeling and to supply energizing fuel; powerful protein to keep you feeling alert and satisfied; and healthy fat to keep you from feeling hungry and to provide decadent flavor. Here’s my list of healthy snack swaps that’ll add some spring in your step:
1. Instead of a 100-calorie snack pack of cookies, try an individual pack of almonds. Just because something is portion-controlled doesn’t make it a health food. I was thrilled when 100-calorie packs hit the shelves because I firmly believe that super-sized portions are the main reason why we’re not a slimmer nation. These packs were rarely packed with nutritious foods and instead just included hard-to-pronounce ingredients. A pack of almonds, on the other hand, wears an ingredient list of one item: almonds. That’s the way it should be—a simple, recognizable ingredient, naturally packed with protein, fiber, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, calcium and lots of crunch. Basically, a clean label for clean eating.
2. Instead of a cereal bar, choose a well-rounded energy bar. It seems like there are more snack bars in the store today than shopping carts! Watch out for the ones that contain mostly sugar or fat and only have 1 gram of protein. Even if the calories are not exorbitant, they could be unbalanced and contain little nutrient value. Instead choose a bar that has around 5 grams of protein and at least 4 grams of fiber, and check the ingredient list to see if the main source of sugar comes from fruit—and not sugar in its many disguises (corn syrup, agave and cane sugar, for example. Bars are perfectly portable and certainly portion controlled.
3. Instead of plunging chips into a sour cream and onion dip, try scooping some fresh colorful veggies into guacamole. You’ll regret the fluid retention you’ll feel in your fingers and feet arising from the salty chips and dip, and in addition, you’ll be diving into sour cream that has little, if any, nutritional value. Guacamole, on the other hand, is made with avocado, loaded with fat that’s heart healthy and has nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. Other components, like tomatoes, onion and garlic, also provide a multitude of benefits. (Check here for my guac recipe, including a secret ingredient.) For an even bigger burst of goodness, serve this with colorful veggies like carrots, zucchini, jicama and sugar snap peas. Even your kids will love it.
4. Instead of cheese crackers, swap DIY cheese and crackers.The numbers will tell the story: Some cheese crackers weigh in around 150 calories per serving, along with 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, barely any fiber and only 2 percent of the calcium you need. If you instead pair some fiber-rich whole-grain crackers with an individually wrapped, portion-controlled cheese, you’ll get half the fat, sodium and calories, twice the protein and 10 times the calcium.
5. Instead of light ice cream, swap a frozen container of Greek yogurt. Although “light” ice cream may have fewer calories than its regular counterparts, that doesn’t make them all low in calories, sugar or fat, for that matter. Fat-free versions may leave you feeling unsatisfied, leading you to reach for larger portions and sugar-free types that may contain harmful trans fats. You’re better off popping a container of Greek yogurt into the freezer an hour or so before you’re looking to calm a snack attack. An average container of Greek yogurt has as much satisfying protein as 2 ounces of chicken, while accompanied by friendly bacteria (probiotics) for your gut, as well as a cocktail of calcium, vitamins and minerals. If you need an on-the-go snack, just grab a container and add some chopped nuts or a high fiber cereal, or toss your yogurt into a blender, and add your favorite fruit and a few ice cubes for a refreshing smoothie.
6. Instead of cookies and whole milk, swap cold cereal and skim milk. Cookies tend to supply more value to your mouth than to the rest of your body, and a cup of whole milk is like a cup of skim milk with 2 pats of butter melted within. Studies show that most of us are not getting enough fiber or calcium, and cereal and milk could be a great source of both. Choose wisely—select skim milk for 9 essential vitamins and minerals without saturated fat. The best cereals have whole grains listed as the first ingredient, at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
Snacking hot-spots usually occur around 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., when your meals are out of your system and your blood sugar may be dropping. You might need a little pick-me-up to stabilize these levels and help you feel stronger and think more clearly. And although the most common time for snacking is at bedtime, that’s when food is probably the last thing you need. Even if you were going to dream of mountain climbing … you don’t need a three-course meal before hitting the pillow! Too many of us over-snack at this sleepy time of day, leading to gastrointestinal problems, weight gain and a restless night. Nothing dreamy about that!
What are your favorite go-to snacks? Do share!
Follow Bonnie’s blog by visiting US News & World Report’s Eat+Run Blog” and here’s the link: http://health.usnews.com/topics/author/bonnie_taub-dix
In the 1980s, people treated foods that contained cholesterol as if they carried a disease, not realizing that trans and saturated fats were more harmful to their bodies than cholesterol itself. Eggs are one of the best and most affordable sources of high quality protein available to us. This protein-rich, satisfying food can also help you lose weight by keeping you full at only 70 calories per egg.
Some foods, like the egg for example, provide a host of other benefits that supersede their cholesterol content. Eggs have been linked to aiding health from head to toe. Macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness, and cataracts, both diseases of the eye, may be prevented through eggs’ rich content of lutein and zeaxanthin. Eggs are also a strong source of choline, a nutrient that plays a key role in brain and nervous system regulation.
It used to be easy to buy eggs, but now it might take you longer to read an egg carton than a short novel. Not all eggs are alike, so here’s what you can eggs-pect to see in the supermarket: Continue reading
“Dense morning fog, followed by gusty winds with temperatures soaring to a potentially record-breaking 60 degrees by this January afternoon, followed by drenching rain and a flash flood watch by this evening with temps dropping to the 30s.”That’s what the morning news reported, and wow—what a perfect day to meet with a weatherman!
For 27 years, viewers have been relying on Al Roker, Today show co-host and weather reporter, to tell them whether to carry an umbrella or leave their jackets at home. What Roker’s audiences may not have realized, though, was that his eating habits were as turbulent as his forecasts—laden with erratic weight patterns and unpredictable clothing sizes.
Roker’s newest book, Never Goin’ Back, uncovers the weight battle he has fought since childhood up until now, when he stopped fighting and learned to compromise through the use of a balanced diet and lifestyle. Here’s a slice of the conversation I had with Roker, and a taste of what it’s like to get off the roller-coaster approach to dieting: Continue reading
The holiday season brings thoughts of shopping, vacations, tree trimming, snowy days, and family gatherings. And whether it’s at the office, a friend’s home, a supermarket, or a countertop … there’s a good chance that place will be laced with food.
Although you’ll come face-to-face with lots of indulgent goodies, that doesn’t mean every temptation will be “special.” A “special” food is worth its calories, even if it causes you to gain weight. These types of foods are unique and may not be available during the rest of year.
So, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with the abundance of seasonal offerings, here are my tips on how to trim your intake. That way, you’ll leave room for being a little naughty and nice to yourself with a more special treat. Continue reading
How many of you have a closet filled with clothing of varying sizes? There may be a size 4 hanging in there from when you got married or those honeymoon shorts you hope to someday fit back into. Next to those might be the 6s and 8s that you wore for many years … before the kids came, that is. And next to those, the 10s, 12s, and 14s, just longing to be worn.
Yet there you stand, staring at your closet, wearing a size 16, and wondering which size is the aberration and which size fits the body you want to live in. Can you picture what you looked like when you wore those clothes? How did you feel about yourself then? What was going on in your life? What was different about your daily routine, compared to now? Were you exercising more often? Were you dining in restaurants less frequently? You may need to dig even deeper and ask yourself whether fitting into a smaller size is something that’s truly important to you—and why. What are the barriers blocking you from losing weight and taking better care of yourself?
While you collect your thoughts and brainstorm ways to get those thinner clothes off the hangers and onto your body, here are a few tips that may inspire you to do a little spring cleaning, no matter what time of year it is: Continue reading
Halloween brings back fun family memories and I was thrilled to be interviewed for this story below. Don’t let this holiday derail your diet!
‘Oops, I ate the Halloween candy!’ Holding back when it comes to candy and kids.
BY: KAREN SPRINGEN
OCTOBER 15, 2012
When you trick or treat for Halloween, do you sneak some of the kids’ candy for yourself? Maybe you dip into the supply of Reese’s Pieces you bought to “give away.” Or maybe you sample some of the sweets your kids collect. You don’t mean to do it. Honest. But every year you find yourself saying, “Oops, I did it again. I ate the Halloween candy!”
You could avoid temptation by not giving out any treats. But do you want to be the Halloween Grinch? Nah. So to find out how you (and I) can be part of the holiday without getting a Peppermint Patty belly, I talked with registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of Read It Before You Eat It: How to Decode Food Labels and Make the Healthiest Choice Every Time. Excerpts:
“My friend just told me that he has to lose 10 pounds by next week … isn’t that unhealthy?” asked my 17-year-old son. Perplexed and troubled, he went on to say that unless his friend“starved” himself, he wouldn’t “make his weight” for his wrestling team.
Unfortunately, this is not atypical. Anywhere from one-quarter to two-thirds of high school wrestlers use fasting, excessive exercise, unbalanced diets, and voluntary dehydration as techniques to help them achieve a fighting weight, according to some estimates. Ironically, these behaviors only sap athletes of the strength and energy needed to compete in this sport—and they’re particularly dangerous for still-growing teens, who demand calories to fuel both mind and body. Furthermore, an improper diet can have a profoundly negative impact on learning and focusing at a time when students can barely afford to divert their attention from college applications and SAT’s to rigorous after-school workouts and weekend tournaments.
In his 2001 report published in Contemporary Pediatrics, “Aiming for Healthy Weight for Wrestlers and Other Athletes,” the late Vito Perriello, Jr., a pediatrician and pioneer in the field of sports medicine, wrote that participants of “weight-sensitive sports” are likelier to engage in unhealthy eating practices than are other athletes. Wrestlers in particular “feel that to succeed they must punish themselves in order to make themselves tougher,” wrote Perriello, adding that they think they’ll also “gain an advantage by competing at a lower weight.” However, studies have determined that wrestling performance is optimal at one’s ideal weight versus a lower weight, since the latter could cause weakness and reduced endurance. Continue reading
Photo Credit: NY Times
“And for only 25 cents more…you can get your soda in the swimming pool-sized cup.” Although not quite that dramatic, these upgrades to super-sized cups may not cost much money…but the price paid in health care costs may be too high to even count.
Movie theaters and fast food joints are notorious for encouraging seemingly endless vessels for beverages. Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the sale of cups larger than 32 ounces for sugary beverages has caused quite a stir among health professionals, media, and family members. (FYI – 32 ounces of a sugary beverage is equivalent to about 23 packets of sugar.)
Some of the questions raised include: Will this ban take away personal freedoms creating a nanny state? Like calorie labeling of restaurant meals, will this bold move be the spark that will ignite other cities to follow with similar bans? Will this cause food companies to downsize to help Americans downsize? It’s uncertain as to where this will lead, but there are a few things I do know for sure: Continue reading
I don’t know about you, but even though many of my favorite magazines have online versions…I still like to comb through the stands and hold the shiny, colorful, solid version in my hand when I read one. As with a title of a book, it’s often the cover of a magazine that acts like a magnet to potential buyers. But in the case of the May 14th issue of Newsweek, the message here was ‘buyer beware.’
As seen above, the image of a baby holding an order of fries was meant to indicate that potatoes are the problem fueling the obesity crisis our country faces. If this national health issue were as simple as pointing a finger at one food, or one food group, the solution to the issue would have already been solved. Whether you’re a carb lover or fat fighter, it doesn’t matter — the answer to our problem is not a single answer; it’s a list of many small steps we need to take to clean up our plates.
Getting back to that cover story, I couldn’t help but write a Letter to the Editor of Newsweek and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you:
“RE: ‘The New Obesity Campaigns Have It All Wrong’
To the Editor,
This time you superimposed the wrong photo on your cover (May14.) Americans are not overweight because of any one particular food. Perhaps that baby on the cover should have been holding a dinner plate the size of a manhole cover instead of fries, since our true problem is oversized portions…not potatoes.
As an independent Nutrition Communications consultant for the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE) we know studies show that our population, particularly children, are not getting enough of certain nutrients like potassium and fiber; potatoes are one of the richest sources of both. Let’s not point fingers at veggies as the problem when they may very well be part of the solution.”
I’m not saying that the addition of potatoes alone will make your diet perfect, but I am saying that if you want to enhance your intake of potassium, fiber, vitamin C and other valuable nutrients…perhaps you shouldn’t pass them up in the produce aisle.
While playing with our dog, Webster, the other day, my husband noticed that he had two lumps above his hips. It just so happened that my four-legged friend had an appointment with the vet, so during that visit, I expressed our concern about his health. The vet immediately knew the diagnosis: “love handles,” she said. Love handles? Was she telling me that my 28 pound, little stuffed-animal-looking companion was chubby? She suggested that I cut back on his food a bit (since exercise would probably stay stable) and to create a safer weight.
After 30 plus years of counseling humans about how to slim down, I was ready to face the puppy pound challenge. Instead of feeding him ¾ of a cup of dry food twice a day, his portion was cut to about 2/3 cup twice a day. The results: he didn’t complain about the subtle change, he lost two pounds, he became more lively, and we had to shop for a new collar! (Just kidding about the last part.).
Why am I sharing this story with you? It’s because my philosophy has always been that the best way to lose weight is to cut back on what you’re already eating. Fad diets that encourage you to eliminate whole food groups like carbs or fat generally end in failure. Studies have shown that those who try to follow a diet that’s closely related to the foods they are accustomed to eating are more likely to succeed at trimming down. Just cut back…you don’t have to cut out: that way you can still enjoy your favorite foods without deprivation. Although there’s nothing magical about trying to lose weight, here are some simple strategies to get you moving in the right direction today: Continue reading