While there are key steps that we can all take to be healthier – don’t use tobacco, limit or abstain from alcohol, make exercise a part of our daily routine – I want to focus on a few simple ways to change the way we eat.
I think Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other books on food, said it best: “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
So how can you get started and make it permanent?
1. Eat real food
Foods that can sit on a shelf for years are usually loaded with salt, genetically modified ingredients, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives. This is not the food our body was meant to eat. Instead ....
Amongst the cheer and merriment, parties and soirées, often come unwanted extra pounds that sneak their way around our waistlines. The span between Thanksgiving and New Years are filled with traditions and an extra average weight gain of 1-2 pounds. It may not sound like much, but consider over the course of a decade that can lead to an extra 10-20 pounds. That extra luggage then leads to another tradition - the New Year’s resolution to lose weight!
Stop the insanity and start eating smart. Simple lifestyle changes will put an end to the cycle of overindulging, weight gain, and feeling miserable once the season is over. It is said the best offense is a good defense. By practicing these time-honored tips, you’ll likely feel fulfillment without getting overfilled.
1. Plan ahead.
If you know the party you are headed to will lack healthy options (hello, cookie exchange!) have a low-calorie, high protein snack prior to attending a party. This will keep your appetite in check and you will be less likely to arrive ravenous and overeat. Hummus with vegetables, whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese, a piece of fruit with natural peanut butter, or Greek Yogurt with high fiber cereal are a few great choices to tide you over. Pair foods that are high in protein and rich in fiber to keep you satiated longer. At the party, keep to light appetizers.
2. Host a healthy holiday.
Control the nutritional content of the meal by throwing the party yourself. Plan the dinner menu with lean meats and seafood, fresh vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, beans, and low-fat dairy. Use the opportunity to try healthy recipes from sites such as www.cooklinglight.com and www.eatingright.com (Ed. Note – check out our healthy recipe collection here or on Pinterest.) In lieu of a potluck, have party guests bring non-perishable foods to donate to the food bank.
3. Lighten up your menu.
Revamp your recipes by ...
The season’s clock has turned to autumn. The air is crisp, vibrant shades of red and orange color the trees, cozy sweaters appear from the back of the closet and pumpkin everything seems to have hit the store shelves.
From pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin spice donuts, even pumpkin pie spice Pringles potato chips! It seems as though we have forgotten the important, all-star vegetable amongst this madness: pumpkin itself!
Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable brimming with nutrition that can be used in many different forms. Pumpkin provides a wide range of health benefits including helping keeping your vision sharp and waistline slim. Here are some of the health benefits of pumpkin:
- Vitamin A to perk your peepers: Chock full of the antioxidant beta-carotene, the dark orange hue provides greater than 200% of the RDA for Vitamin A in a 1-cup serving. Eating foods high in Vitamin A helps protect your sight, especially night vision.
- Cut cancer risk: Speaking of those important antioxidants, beta-carotene can help prevent certain cancers, particularly skin cancer. The deep orange carotenoids are also found in carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.
- Fiber for weight control: Eating foods high in fiber can keep you full on fewer calories thereby eating less. With 3 grams of fiber and just 49 calories in a 1-cup serving, eating more pumpkin is a great way to assist in your weight loss efforts (not recommended in pie form, unfortunately).
- Vitamin C to ...
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In my last post, I shared a few tips about what to expect and how to help encourage your child to eat more. Here are some more tips to help your child eat more variety of foods, including more vegetables:
How can I get my child to eat more variety?
- Offer a "nibble tray". At snack time, fill a muffin tin or ice cube tray with bite-sized portions of colorful, nutritious foods. Try cooked macaroni, cheese cubes, kidney beans, grape halves, broccoli florets, ready-to- eat cereal, and canned pineapple tidbits.
- Let children cook. Your child is more likely to eat what he has helped to make.
- Children can help wash vegetables, tear up lettuce, scrub potatoes, or stir batter.
- Be playful. Call these finger foods playful names that a two-year-old can appreciate, such as: apple moons (thinly sliced), avocado boats (a quarter of an avocado), banana wheels, broccoli trees (steamed broccoli florets), carrot swords (cooked and thinly sliced), cheese building blocks, egg canoes (hard- boiled egg wedges), little O's (o-shaped cereal). "Olive or raspberry fingers" are much more appealing to be nibbled off their fingertips.
- Serve new foods over and over again. A food not eaten at first may ...
Over the last couple of years, there has become more awareness surrounding the importance of dietary fiber and the prevention of disease.
Why should I eat more fiber?
Dietary fiber can reduce the risk of certain diseases such as colon cancer, diverticular disease, and can also help lower cholesterol and improve symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, fiber can also be beneficial in helping to manage common bowel problems.
If you have been experiencing bowel or hemorrhoidal problems, fiber along with other dietary modifications can often help improve conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, incontinence, hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
How much fiber should I eat?
Current dietary guidelines suggest that....
It is important that children develop healthy eating habits early in life. Here are some ways to help your child eat well and to make meal times easier.
What to Expect:
- After the first year of life, growth slows down, and your child's appetite may change.
- It's normal for your child to eat more on some days and very little on other days.
- A child may refuse to eat in order to have some control in his life.
- A child may be happy to sit at the table for 15 to 20 minutes and no longer.
- A child may want to eat the same food over and over again.
How can I encourage my child to eat more?
- Set regular meal and snack times. Avoid feeding your child in between these times, so that they are hungry at meal and snack times. If you want your child to eat dinner at the same time you do, try to time his snack-meals so that they are at least two hours before dinner.
- Limit juice and milk between meals. Offer water between meals, which will satisfy thirst without spoiling the appetite. Serve drinks at the end of the meal.
- Respect tiny tummies. Keep portion sizes small. Here's a rule of thumb – or, rather, of hand. A young child's stomach is approximately the size of his fist. A good serving size for a young child is 1/2 slice of bread, 1 oz of meat, or 1/4 cup of fruit or vegetable pieces.
- Respect changing appetites. Offer ...
September is also National Cholesterol Awareness month!
Do you know your numbers? It is important to know your cholesterol levels as they influence your risk of stroke. Talk to your provider today to find out where you stand!
Do you have trouble remembering “good” cholesterol versus “bad” cholesterol? An easy way to keep them straight is to think HDL = happy (“good” cholesterol) and LDL = lousy (“bad” cholesterol). Check out the American Heart Association’s Meet the Fats for memorable information about cholesterol.
How does cholesterol affect stroke risk? Build-up of cholesterol plaque within your arteries increases your risk of stroke by blocking normal blood flow. This reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area.
How can you improve your cholesterol numbers?