Thanksgiving Tips

27 Nov

imagesThanksgiving is all about abundance. Everyone wants to bring their favorite dish, or needs to have both pumpkin and pecan pie. With all the rich choices, there is a distinct chance that Thanksgiving will turn into overindulgence. You could be staggering away from the table, barely able to move. But it does not have to be that way! With reasonable portion sizes and healthier dishes that do not sacrifice flavor, Thanksgiving dinner can still be joyful, delicious and healthy.

  • The skin of turkey and chicken is loaded with saturated fat. Per gram, all fats are higher in calories than protein or carbohydrates, and they contribute to high cholesterol. Dark meat has more fat per bite than white meat.

TIP: Serve yourself turkey breast or other white meat without the skin

  • Stuffing is typically loaded with butter and assorted high-fat meats, such as sausage. A single scoop may have up to 550 calories.

TIP: Replace butter with low-sodium chicken broth, and skip pork sausage in favor of a low-fat chicken, oyster, or fruit alternative. Or try making wild or brown rice stuffing instead.

  • Mash potatoes, usually has a lot of milk, butter, and salt that go into this classic comfort food. A cup of homemade mashed potatoes made with whole milk and butter can have 237 calories.

TIP: Mash the potatoes with low-fat milk or low sodium, fat-free chicken stock and skip the butter, or salt.

  • Sweet potatoes are very nutritious vegetables. They’ve got vitamins A and C, plus a dose of calcium and potassium. But these are often served in a unhealthy fashion like in casseroles made with marshmallows, butter, and lots of sugar.

TIP: Leave out the butter, cut the sugar in half, and lightly top with mini marshmallows. This will shave calories and fat, not taste

  • Although pecans are packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, pecan pie is a minefield of sugar and calories. A typical slice of pecan pie has more than 500 calories. That’s because it’s usually made with oodles of corn syrup, butter, and sugar.

TIP: Nibble on a bowl of mixed nuts instead. If you can’t resist the pie, choose pumpkin or opt for a very small slice and don’t eat the crust.

7 Tricks to Add Flavor and Cut Fat and Calories

19 Nov

home cooking 1Slashing calories doesn’t have to mean cutting taste. With a few easy tricks and techniques, you can actually bump up the flavor in your favorite recipes.

1.      Enjoy Your Sandwich Open-Faced

You’ll automatically cut bread calories in half and barely notice. An average regular-size piece of bread is about 100 calories.

2.      Team Up Low-Fat Creamy Ingredients

Try replacing full-fat sour cream and mayonnaise in creamy dips and salad dressings with a combination of reduced-fat cream cheese, cottage cheese and/or nonfat plain yogurt. You’ll cut calories and the layers of flavors will still taste rich.

3.      Use Low-Fat Mayonnaise

In place of the full-fat version. It has which has just 15 calories and 1 gram of fat per tablespoon compared with 90 calories and 10 grams of fat in the traditional kind.

4.      Oven-Fry To Save Calories From Fat

If you crave fried foods, don’t deny yourself. A typical serving of fried fish sticks packs 16 grams of fat. Oven-frying replicates that special taste and texture for only 3 grams of fat per serving.

5.      Use Spices To Add Calorie-Free Flavor To Food

Your spices should be fresh to get maximum impact, so buy them in small amounts, label with a date, and discard and replace after one year

6.      Keep Lemons Around

They zest up almost any dish, without any calories. Stock up when they’re on sale and freeze the zest and juice for up to 6 months: pare the rind and freeze in strips, and freeze the juice in ice cube trays

7.      Spice Things Up

Don’t bank on the spice turmeric as a magic bullet for weight loss yet. But go ahead and try it in your cooking—it adds flavor without any calories. In one study, when mice were fed high-fat diets with added curcumin (an active ingredient in the spice turmeric), they gained less weight than a similar group whose diets had no added curcumin.


Sodium: A Good Thing…in Moderation

12 Nov

training-sodiumSodium plays an important role in the body. It’s essential for fluid balance, muscle strength, and nerve function. But most of us get too much. U.S. guidelines call for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day — about 1 teaspoon of salt.

Food Label Claims
Can’t keep up with the jargon? Here’s a cheat sheet:

  • Sodium-free: Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving
  • Very low-sodium: 35 milligrams or less per serving
  • Low-sodium: Less than 140 milligrams per serving
  • Reduced sodium: Sodium level reduced by 25%
  • Unsalted, no salt added, or without added salt: Made without the salt that’s normally used, but still contains the sodium that’s a natural part of the food itself.

Who Should Go Low-Sodium?
U.S. guidelines call for about half of Americans to limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams or less per day, including:

  • People ages 51 and older
  • African Americans
  • People with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Eating less sodium can help lower blood pressure in some individuals. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage in those with hypertension.


Frozen Dinners
Tip: A “lighter” version may have less salt, but it’s no guarantee. Read the labels to be sure. It’s possible that “lighter” refers to fat only.

Ready-to-Eat Cereals
Tip: Puffed rice and puffed wheat are sodium free. Mix half of your favorite cereal with half of a sodium-free choice. Or look for companies that make low-sodium cereals.

Canned Vegetables
Tips: Rinse vegetables thoroughly, or buy canned ones labeled “no salt added” or “low sodium.” Or check the freezer section, where you may have more luck finding an unsalted choice.

Vegetable Juices
Tip: Many brands make a low-sodium version of vegetable juice.

Canned Vegetables
Tips: Rinse vegetables thoroughly, or buy canned ones labeled “no salt added” or “low sodium.” Or check the freezer section, where you may have more luck finding an unsalted choice.

Other Foods to watch out for include:
Soups, Packaged Deli Meats, Spaghetti Sauce, canned spices, and pre-packaged meals

Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating Out

5 Nov

diet-tips-for-dining-outFood choices away from home are important to your health and weight because many of us are eating more meals away from home. Fortunately, making healthful and delicious choices in restaurants can be easy. Restaurants of all types are responding to customers’ desires with more options in portion sizes, preparation methods and menu items. Use these tips to help you choose healthy choices when eating out.  The trick is to just ask!

As a beverage choice, ask for water, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.

  • Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches.
  • Order a starter with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side. Then use only as much as you want.
  • Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fries, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce.
  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
  • Order an appetizer-sized portion or a side dish instead of an entrée.
  • Share a main dish (entree) with a friend.
  • Order an item from the menu instead heading for the “all-you-can-eat” buffet.
  • When your food is delivered, set aside or pack half of it to go immediately.
  • Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies. Choose those with a tomato based sauce.
  • Ask your serve to have the chef not prepare you vegetables in butter and add little or no butter to your food.
  • Choose fruits for dessert and side dishes most often.

5 Fast Stress-Busting Pick-Me-Ups

29 Oct

Shelter_dog_saved_AnnieLaugh Out Loud

Feeling stressed about work and family responsibilities? There are plenty of quick things you can do to reduce your tension. Throw a comedy into the DVD player, invite over some friends, and share a few good laughs. Every time you crack up, increased oxygen courses to your organs, blood flow increases, and stress evaporates. In fact, just thinking about having a good laugh is enough to lower your stress hormone levels.

Pet Your Dog

Your pet not only gives you unconditional love, but he’s also good for your health. When you pet your dog even for just a few minutes, your body releases feel-good hormones like serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. At the same time, it decreases the amount of the damaging stress hormones that are released. That can mean lower blood pressure, less anxiety, and even a boost in immunity.

Clean the Clutter

Being surrounded by too much stuff can be overwhelming and contribute to stress. It brings on anxiety when you can’t find your checkbook, your child’s homework, or the utility bill. So de-clutter to de-stress. Tackle a drawer, a shelf, or a tabletop at a time. An uncluttered space can feel satisfying and restorative. As an added plus, spring cleaning is good exercise, burning more than 250 calories an hour.

 Mow the Lawn

Cutting the lawn might sound like work, but the smell of freshly mown grass actually can make you feel more relaxed. Scientists say chemicals from newly cut grass help block the release of stress hormones in the brain. Just remember to wear earplugs to drown out the mower, because too much loud noise can send your stress rate soaring again.

 Take a Deep Breath

Aromatherapy isn’t just for spas. No matter where you are, taking a deep whiff of lavender or rosemary can put you into a more relaxed state. Inhaling those aromas can lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. But just the act of breathing deeply is also a stress buster. Deep breathing sends oxygen surging through your bloodstream, helping to calm your entire body.

How to Get More Fiber in Your Diet

22 Oct

Dietary fiber has many health benefits, including weight control, lower cholesterol, and reducing the risk of constipation, diabetes, and diverticular disease. Check food labels and choose “high fiber” foods when possible, which contain more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.  Also, make simple substitutions to replace low-fiber foods with higher-fiber dishes. Use this chart to help you put more fiber on your plate.

Eat This, Not That

October 15-Get Healthy Stay Healthy tip tuesday

Bone Health

15 Oct

wpid-healthy-bones1Wonder if it’s time for you to have a bone density test?

Knowing the strength of your bones can help your doctor recommend prevention steps and medication, if needed, to prevent bone loss and fractures.

Who Should Have a Bone Density Test?

According to National Osteoporosis Foundation guidelines, there are several groups of people who should consider bone density testing:

  • Men age 70 or older.
  • Men ages 50-69 with risk factors for osteoporosis.
  • All postmenopausal women below age 65 who have risk factors for osteoporosis.
  • All women aged 65 and older.
  • Postmenopausal women with fractures; this is not mandatory because treatment may be started regardless of bone density.
  • Women with medical conditions associated with osteoporosis. Your health care provider can tell you if you have a medical condition associated with osteoporosis.
  • Women whose decision to use medication might be aided by bone density testing.
  • Most health insurers will pay for this test, but check with your insurer.

Super Foods for Your Bones

  • Calcium (such as milk and supplements)
  • Yogurt and cheese
  • Sardines
  • Greens
  • Soy foods
  • Salmon
  • Nuts and seeds

Good for your Bones

  • Hold the salt
  • Sunshine (Producing vitamin D in your body)
  • Weight bearing exercise (Activities that use the weight of your body, like tennis, taking a brisk walk or dancing.)