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Tell Fat to Fork Off-Diet-Proof Your Kitchen

Tell Fat to Fork Off

You can only overeat unhealthy foods if you stock them in your kitchen. But old habits are hard to break; you buy what you buy at the store because it’s what you’re used to, or what your family likes. Until you give your kitchen an overhaul, though, and diet-proof your pantry, weight loss and healthy eating habits are going to remain elusive.

It’s important to admit your weaknesses regarding diet – we all have them, and those who understand them are the ones who are more likely to implement healthy habits and shun the bad ones. For instance, if you know you can’t eat just one or two potato chips, then it’s probably a good idea not to have them in your house.

So what do you do? How can you diet-proof your kitchen? Here are some tips that may help, starting with a list of foods to avoid buying. Keep this list in mind when you make your grocery list…because you are making a list, aren’t you? That’s one of the keys to beginning the diet-proofing of your kitchen!

Foods to Avoid Buying

This is only a partial list which is meant to act as a springboard – listing all unhealthy foods not to buy would take volumes! This list focuses on foods that tend to be “go to” foods when you have a craving, or foods you may just be buying for their convenience or out of habit.

1. Peanut butter that’s been highly processed with added fat and sugar
2. Toaster pastries
3. Potato chips
4. Ice cream (especially rich, fatty ice cream with lots of added ingredients)
5. Candy
6. Packaged cakes (such as those individually wrapped ones)
7. Shortening or lard (if you don’t have it on hand, you can’t reach for it to bake an impromptu batch of midnight cookies)
8. Foods that contain high fructose corn syrup
9. Sugary drinks (colas)
10. Sugary cereals
11. Fatty cuts of meat, such as ground chuck or “marbled” beef roast or stew meat
12. Fatty dips, spreads, and salad dressings

Foods to Stock Up On

Here is a partial list of foods to have on hand:

1. Cut-up vegetables with low-calorie dip
2. Whole wheat tortillas
3. Fresh fruit (frozen grapes are especially good for sweet cravings)
4. Nuts (raw without added fat)
5. Healthy oils
6. No-sugar-added condiments like jelly and jam
7. Whole wheat bagels
8. Low-fat cream cheese
9. Low-fat yogurt
10. Granola
11. Fresh garlic
12. Flavorful, low-calorie condiments, herbs and spices, such as mustard, hot sauce, salt-free spice mixes, etc.
13. Frozen fish fillets

We all know that fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. The vitamins and nutrients from them helps make the body stronger and can boost the immune system. Each fruit and vegetable has its own natural properties that are beneficial. For instance, a tomato has antioxidant properties that help cleanse the body of toxins and free radicals. It is great for preventing cancer too.

You can easily find fruits and vegetables in the grocery store.  But how do you choose the good ones from the bad ones? Read on for some great tips.

Tips for Finding Good Produce:

Fruits

Oranges– Good oranges are firm, heavy and have a smooth texture. Do not buy oranges that are lightweight, dull, spongy, and have a rough texture.

Peaches– Good peaches are firm and plump. It should be white or yellow in color with a red blush. Do not buy peaches that are very cushiony or shriveled.

Grapes- Good grapes are tender, plump, firmly attached to the stems and have a slight amber blush (green grapes). Bad grapes are brown in color, have a wrinkled surface and brittle stems.

Apricots– Good apricots have a uniform golden color and they are firm. Do not buy apricots that have a pale yellow or greenish color. Bad apricots can be very soft or very hard.

Cherry– Good cherries have new looking stems and a smooth and shiny surface. Bad cherries have dried steams and dull surfaces.
Cantaloupe- Good cantaloupes have a delicate aroma, yellowish skin and a thick texture on the rind. Do not buy cantaloupes with a sweet and pungent aroma as well as those with a soft rind.

Watermelon– Good watermelons are symmetrical in shape and have a cream-colored underside. Do not buy watermelons with cushiony spots.

Vegetables

Broccoli– Good broccoli is firm, have closed florets and have a deep green color. Do not buy broccoli that are yellow in color, with open florets and water-soaked spots.

Asparagus- Good asparagus have closed tips and straight green stalks. Bad asparagus have open tips and the stalks are curved.
Bell Pepper- Good bell peppers have bright and glossy skin. They are firm and thick while bad bell peppers have soft spots and shriveled surfaces.

Carrots– Good carrots are firm and have a bright orange color. Bad carrots have a rough texture, soft and have green roots.

Tomato– Good tomatoes are plump, smooth and have a rich red color. Bad tomatoes look shriveled and have blemishes.

Now that you know how to choose good produce, you will spend your money wisely. Do not rush choosing good produce though, take your time and make sure you buy the best, it will be worth it.

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Tell Fat to Fork Off-Adding a Rainbow of Color to your Diet

Health Benefits of a Colorful Diet

Professional chefs will tell you there’s a visual element to food, and they work on their presentation as much as the food’s flavor. Given this human tendency, it’s interesting that some of nature’s most visually appealing foods are also the healthiest.

However, in our modern culture of artificially-colored foods, many of us have lost the sensitivity to foods’ natural colors, and we may think of brightly-colored foods as unhealthy (in the case of artificial colors, this may be true!). It’s time to look at nature’s food rainbow and point out the health benefits!

Red

Red-colored foods tend to be high in lycopene, which acts as an antioxidant and possible cancer preventative. Lycopene (sometimes called anthocyanins) is actually the pigment that makes red foods red, and has also been implicated in promoting heart health. In addition, red foods are often high in Vitamin C and other important nutrients. Here is a list of some healthy red foods:

Tell fat to fork off

* Pink grapefruit
* Watermelon
* Tomatoes (particularly cooked or canned tomatoes – this processing seems to help the lycopene be absorbed by the body)
* Raspberries
* Strawberries
* Rhubarb
* Cherries
* Beets
* Red/Purple cabbage
* Red bell peppers

Yellow and Orange

Tell Fat to Fork off

Yellow and orange foods are usually lumped together in the same category, all getting their color from carotenoids. Carotenoids, or beta-carotene, are converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is said to be an important nutrient for eye health and hormone regulation (especially in women). Studies have also shown beta-carotene to promote heart health. Here are some yellow and orange foods to include in your diet:

* Cantaloupe
* Sweet potatoes
* Yellow and orange bell peppers
* Carrots
* Peaches and apricots
* Yellow corn (note that white corn does not contain as many carotenoids)
* Oranges
* Papayas
* “White” grapefruit
* Pineapple

Blue and Purple

Tell Fat to Fork off

Again with anthocyanins – blue and purple foods contain these antioxidants which are reputed to protect against a host of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and stroke. Blue and purple foods are also said to help prevent memory loss. Here are some to try:

* Purple grapes
* Blueberries
* Eggplant
* Raisins
* Plums
* Blackberries
* Prunes

Green

Tell Fat to Fork off

When you think of vegetables, this is probably the color you think of first. The darker the green, the healthier the food, say multiple sources. The green pigment is due to chlorophyll, the plant chemical that makes all green plants green, from broccoli to oak trees. Some dark leafy greens contain lutein, another eye-healthy nutrient; others, like broccoli, contain indoles which are said to protect against cancer. Go green by adding some of these foods into your diet:

* Brussels sprouts
* Spinach
* Kale
* Lettuce (leaf varieties)
* Cucumbers
* Green bell peppers
* Kiwi fruit
* Asparagus
* Green cabbage
* Peas

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently reviewed more than 1,300 books on anti-inflammatory diets. While the books offered variety of ideas, the basic concept of an anti-inflammatory diet matches the Mediterranean style of eating that I often advocate. This plan, which is also heart-healthy, says:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, at least four cups a day. Enjoy bright-colored berries and cherries. Eat a variety of vegetables, including leafy greens such as spinach, kale and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.
  • Consume good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, whitefish, trout, tuna or walnuts, canola oil and flaxseed. Two to five servings a week is a good insurance plan.
  • Turn to more plant-based proteins, such as beans, nuts and seeds. Limit red meat, processed meats and high-fat dairy products.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined ones to get more anti-oxidants. Look for the whole grain symbol on packages of breads, crackers, cereals, rice and pasta.
  • Use the monounsaturated “good” fats found in olive oil, nut butters, avocados and seeds that lubricate blood vessels. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats that clog arteries.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods, which fuel inflammation. Limit baked and boxed goods.
  • Add herbs and spices, especially ginger, turmeric, curry and garlic. They pack a flavorful and anti-oxidant-rich punch.

Remember, diet is only one risk factor. Smoking, excess alcohol use and excess calories that cause weight gain boost chronic inflammation. The best way to decrease inflammation is to lose weight because fat cells release inflammatory signals, explains Dr. Walter Willet, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Getting adequate sleep and regular physical exercise can also help.

 

 

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Summer Grilling Tips: Healthy marinades add flavor to grilled foods

Guest post from Essentia Health

Healthy marinades add flavor to grilled foods

 

By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

Healthy marinades

Summer brings out the grills and healthy menu options as we grill lean meats, chicken, fish and vegetables. Marinating can add robust flavors.

Grilling red meats to the point of charring can increase the heterocyclic amines that have been connected to increasing the risk of cancer. But marinating meats first may help decrease this risk, according to the American Cancer Research Institute.

Marinades have three parts: an acidic liquid, oil and seasonings. The acid causes the tissue on the meat’s surface to break down, which allows more moisture to be absorbed and results in a juicier product. Leaving meats in a marinade too long may “chemically cook” them and cause the surface to turn mushy.  Common acids include vinegars, citrus juices, yogurt, buttermilk or wine. A variety of oils can be used. Spices and herbs add a wide variety of flavor.

A general rule is that you need about ½ cup of marinade for each pound of meat or two pounds of vegetables. About one-third of the marinade’s sodium and calories will be absorbed.

Many marinades are high in sodium, or salt. Many bottled marinades have 300 to 600 milligrams of sodium in each tablespoon. Even if only one-third is absorbed, that’s 100 to 200 milligrams of sodium.

Healthy Marinades

So, make your own marinades with fresh ingredients or choose those with less sodium. For example, Mrs. Dash marinades or World Harbors marinades have zero to no more than 120 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon.

Marinating time depends on the type, cut and size of the meat. Thinner cuts require less time. For example, steaks or chops need two to four hours while a whole roast needs four to six hours. Fish and vegetables require very little time, around 15-30 minutes. Meat that is still frozen will not absorb a marinade, so be sure to thaw first. If using a bottled marinade that is high in sodium, marinating for a shorter time helps avoid “mushy meat.”

Here are some healthy marinades to get your summer off to a great start:

Chipotle Lime Marinade

This marinade is great with lean pork, chicken, fish or vegetables. Makes about ¾ cup.

 

1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce plus 1 teaspoon of the adobe sauce

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ cup orange juice

3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

⅛ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a gallon zip-lock bag or glass container. Use ½ cup per pound of meat or two pounds of vegetables.

 

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 12

Servings size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 14

Total fat: 1 gram

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Sodium: 35 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 1 gram

Protein: 0 grams

 

Big Bold Marinade

This marinade is wonderful on all kinds of meat and fish as well as firm tofu. I adapted this recipe from eatingwell.com. It makes 1 cup.

2 tablespoons canola oil

¼ cup onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

¼ cup orange juice

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground allspice

¾ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 dashes of hot sauce

Heat oil in small saucepan. Add onion and garlic; cook about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add up two pounds of protein of your choice.

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 16

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 30

Total fat: 2 grams

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Sodium: 90 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 3 grams

Protein: 0 grams

 

Lemon and Garlic Marinade

This is a great marinade for vegetables, fish and lean beef. Makes ¼ cup.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salt-Free Seasoning All-Purpose Blend

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Add meat or vegetables.

 

Nutrition facts

Servings: 4

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 35

Total fat: 4 grams

Saturated fat: 2 grams

Sodium: 0 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 1 gram

Protein: 0 grams

 

Marinade safely

Follow these guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics while marinating to reduce the risk of food-borne illness:

  • Contain it. Marinate food in a container, preferably glass or food grade plastic. Don’t use metal or glazed pottery since the acid in the marinade can interact with it and may add lead. Food grade plastic re-sealable bags are convenient, but must be disposed of after use.
  • Let the refrigerator be your friend.  Make sure the container of marinating food is fully covered. Place it in the refrigerator (below 40 degrees F), not on the kitchen counter.  This will keep food out of the temperature danger zone (40 – 140 degrees) when harmful bacteria can multiple rapidly causing food-borne illness. If traveling, pack marinating meat with ice to maintain temperature.
  • Never reuse marinade. Cross-contamination can lead to food poisoning. This can occur when a marinade is used with raw meat, poultry or fish and then reused “as is” on cooked food. Used marinade needs to boiled to destroy harmful bacteria before using as a sauce, or plan ahead and set aside some fresh marinade to be used as a sauce.

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health

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Tell Fat to Fork Off-How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit?

Tell Fat to Fork Off

How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit?

They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. That’s kind of a weird idea though, isn’t it? It doesn’t take that long to form a bad habit. And sometimes no matter how hard we try it takes us a lot longer to form a new habit.

So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is that it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change it is from what you are doing now. If it is your habit to eat a bowl of ice cream at night and you switch from regular ice cream to a low sugar frozen yogurt version, it’s probably not going to take you very long to make that new habit. Giving up ice cream altogether though or cutting out all sugar on the other hand might take a lot longer.

When we ask that question, what we really want to know is how long do we have to tough it out before it gets easier. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don’t have to try so hard anymore? In other words, when will this new behavior become automatic?

While it will be different from one person to the next and even from one habit to the next, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Tell Fat to Fork Off

It’s easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one. Be prepared to work a lot harder to give up checking your email every 2 minutes or snacking late at night. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example if you’re wanting to give up coffee, brew a cup of herbal tea in the morning and throughout the day when you would usually reach for your cup of Joe.

Habits will form faster if you stick to the same time and environment each day. Instead of going for a walk whenever, keep your sneakers next to the door and schedule your walk every day at 6pm, right after dinner for example.

A constant reminder of why you’re trying to change your behavior is also helpful. Remind yourself every day that you’re exercising so your body stays strong and you can go play with the kids or grandkids in the yard.

Or put up a picture to remind you that you’re making frugal habits so you can one day purchase your dream home.

Keep your reason why you’re changing front and center and then be prepared to stick it out. Yes it will take some time to make new habits and replace old ones. But it will be well worth it in the end.

 

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