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Ten Simple Tips to Eating Better

Written by Lisa Jillanza

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.

 

Thanksgiving Calorie Counter: A Handy Calculator for Your Holiday Meal

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Avoid packing on the pounds this holiday season by figuring out how many calories are in your favorite meals using this handy holiday calorie list. By figuring out how many calories you're consuming you'll have a better idea of the amount of movement and activities that you'll need in order to combat Holiday calories.

Salads and Appetizers:

3 cups salad (with light dressing): 100 calories ½ cup jello with fruit: 120 calories ½ cup Waldorf salad: 110 calories 1 cracker with cheese: 70 calories ½ cup mixed raw vegetables: 25 calories ½ cup mixed nuts: 440 calories 1 oz. tortilla or potato chips: 150 calories (75 extra calories per tablespoon of dip)

Main Course:

6 oz. cured ham: 300 calories 6 oz. white and dark turkey: 340 calories ½ cup stuffing: 180 calories ½ cup cranberry sauce: 190 calories ½ cup mashed potatoes: 150 calories ½ cup gravy: 150 calories ½ cup green bean casserole: 225 calories ½ cup candied sweet potatoes: 150 calories 1 dinner roll: 110 calories (45 extra calories with one pat of butter)

Drinks:

1 mixed drink: 250 calories 1 glass of wine: 120 calories 1 glass of cider: 120 calories 1 cup eggnog: 343 calories

Desserts:

2 small chocolate chip cookies: 150 calories 1 piece apple pie: 410 calories 1 piece pecan pie: 480 calories 1 piece pumpkin pie: 180 calories ½ cup whipped cream: 75 calories ½ cup ice cream: 145 calories

Leftovers:

1 turkey sandwich with mayo and cranberry sauce: 450 calories 1 open-face turkey sandwich with stuffing and gravy: 290 calories

Now according to Walking.about.com the first thing that you need to do after a weekend of over-indulgent eating is to increase your activity level. Brisk walking three or more times a week for thirty to forty five minutes will help burn off your Thanksgiving turkey. So enjoy your Thanksgiving feast then make sure to put on your walking shoes. Get some fresh air, get your heart pumping and gear up for Christmas just around the corner!

It's Turkey Time: Nutritional Aspects of Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Written by Lisa Jillanza

As another Thanksgiving rolls around, it's time to get out the roaster and prepare another turkey to ring in the holiday season. But what do we know about this wild bird besides that nearly every home serves it for Thanksgiving? There is plenty to learn.

Along with chicken, turkey has quickly become a favorite of those on low-fat diets according to Homecooking.about.com. Health studies have also shown that cooking turkey with the skin on seals in the natural juices and the fat from skin does not seep into the turkey. To avoid any extra fat just make sure to remove the skin before eating.

According to Urbanext.illinois.edu, one good thing about the nutritional value of turkey is that it is very low in fat and high in protein. In fact it only has 1 gram of fat per ounce of flesh. It is also a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. All of these nutrients have been found to keep blood cholesterol down, protect against birth defects, cancer and heart disease, aid in nerve function and growth, boost the immune system and regulate blood pressure.

The fat and calorie amounts vary though because white meat has fewer calories and less fat than dark meat and skin. Turkey is also naturally low in sodium. It typically contains less than 25 milligrams (mg) of sodium per ounce on average.

The meat fiber in turkey is easier to digest than other types of meat, so that makes turkey a good choice for individuals that have digestion problems.

While turkey is already a nutritious meat, it can be made even more nutritious if you stick to white turkey meat and if it is prepared using a low-fat cooking method, such as baking, broiling, or grilling. You can also try steaming the turkey or poaching the turkey pieces in water, wine or a broth with herbs and spices. Another healthful and delicious way to prepare a turkey is to sauté it in as little oil as possible, using broth, lemon or orange juice as a basting sauce.

Now that you know more about this delectable and nutritious bird you will enjoy this year's Thanksgiving meal even more.

 

Avoiding Sugar Hangover this Halloween: Tips to Make this Year's Trick or Treat Healthy and Fun

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Long gone are the days when young trick-or-treaters would go door to door to get fruit and popcorn from their neighbors. Instead, Halloween is now all about how much candy and other sugar-filled, unhealthy items children can collect and consume in the shortest amount of time.

Halloween is a fun holiday and should consist of some candy and treat consumption but it's important to monitor this. Nutrition experts (and dentists) cringe every time October 31 rolls around, but this year parents can not only do their part in giving out healthier treats, but they can also be sure to monitor what their children are eating, too.

We all know that too much sugar is bad for anyone, but do we know what effects too much sugar can have on our children? Nutrition experts offer the following points:

Children that consume too much sugar and too many carbs can suffer from hypoglycemia causing fatigue, poor concentration, mood swings and frequent illness.

Too many “empty calories” can mean that children aren't getting the nutrients they need on a daily basis.

A new diabetic is diagnosed every 8 minutes, a threefold increase in the past 5 to 6 years when a new diabetic was diagnosed every 23 minutes.

Recent research has shown that more than 20% of school-aged children are obese and more than 50% are overweight.

Too much sugar can cause chronically elevated blood insulin levels triggering inflammatory problems and elevated cholesterol.

Now don't get us wrong, this Halloween doesn't have to be all “doom and gloom” when it comes to having a few treats. Parents need to be very careful in monitoring what their child puts into their mouth and how often they are turning to sugary items.

Ration the sugary products over a longer period of time and incorporate them with a protein snack. Having a protein, especially before the sugar snack, will slow and reduce the rate and quantity of insulin secreted by the pancreas, thereby reducing many of the risks stated above.

According to MSNBC.com you can also try some more healthy Halloween treat alternatives that still have great taste without all the sugar and fat. You can make your own healthful Halloween treats and contribute to a healthier Halloween for all of the little goblins in your neighborhood without sacrificing taste or fun.

Start by replacing up to half of the butter, margarine or shortening with heart healthy oils, such as canola or olive oil. Be careful though, cookies that use oil instead of butter often end up crispier and run the risk of drying out sooner so make sure to store them in airtight containers.

Try a fruit puree like applesauce, pear butter, prune filling or canned pumpkin. Using fruit puree in place of fat will produce cookies that are cakier and chewier.

You can also reduce fat in cookies by using nonfat yogurt or buttermilk instead of more traditional ingredients. This helps maintain moisture without the fat content. Try using 1 to 4 tablespoons of any of these ingredients to replace up to 4 tablespoons of butter.

Here is to a Healthy and Happy Halloween!

Understanding Fats: A Brief Explanation of the Four Types of Fats

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Those people looking to understand what their dietician is talking about when they compare good fats to bad fats will not find these terms on food labels. Instead you will see words like polyunsaturated and Trans fats.

This article will give you a brief explanation of the four types of fats (saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and Trans fats) and how they affect your body.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are the fats that stay solid at room temperature, such as lard, coconut oil and cow butter. Saturated fats are what dieticians consider “bad fats” because they raise your bad cholesterol level, thereby raising your total cholesterol level.

According to Kristensguide.com saturated fats are often found in animal products such as animal flesh, dairy products and eggs and some vegetable products like coconuts and palm oil. People whose diet consists of many foods high in saturated fats typically are at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats have a lower melting temperature than saturated fats, which means that they do not stay solid at room temperature. These types of fats can be found in: canola oil, peanut oil, olive oil, nuts and avocados.

Monounsaturated fats are what dieticians consider the “good fats” that lower bad cholesterol without lowering your levels of good cholesterol. In addition, monounsaturated fats help to prevent against cardiovascular disease.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats, otherwise known as essential fatty acids, are fats that can stay liquid even at lower temperatures. Polyunsaturated fats are found in safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybeans, fish, and fish oil.

Dieticians consider polyunsaturated fats the “good fats” as they lower cholesterol and they help prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering the amount of fat in the blood.

Trans Fats

Trans fats, often called “hydrogenated” are man-made fats that are created during the hydrogenation process. They are usually monosaturated or polyunsaturated fats that have been processed to make them solid at room temperature. These types of fats are unnatural and toxic to your body. Trans fats are abundant in packaged and processed foods. Some of the foods that Trans fats are found in include vegetable shortening, margarine, and some dairy products.

Dieticians consider Trans fats the “bad fats” as they can cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, birth defects, low birth weight babies, and sterility.

How Fats Affect You

Fats are essential to your overall health. Fats provide energy and certain types of vitamins and minerals can only be processed by your body when fats are present. Trying to eliminate fats from your diet can lead to problems like vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

While you cannot eliminate fats completely from your diet, you should be conscious to consume fats in moderation.

Most dieticians will recommend that no more than 10 percent of your daily calories come from saturated fats, with up to 10 percent coming from polyunsaturated fats and up to 15 percent coming from monounsaturated fats. No amount of Trans fats are safe or are recommended on a daily basis.

The best way to keep an eye on your daily fat intake is to be cautious of what you eat and to be a good label reader. This will help you to keep your dietary fats at a healthy level.