Twinkles are back. Candy bars. Potato chips. Kids will snack on stuff we keep around. Read this article to get ideas on what to keep in hand that gives your kids healthy alternatives.
Experts agree that we are eating too much sugar, which is contributing to obesity and other health problems. But in the rush to avoid sugar, many low-carb dieters and others are avoiding fruits. But fresh fruit should not become a casualty in the sugar wars, many nutrition experts say.
Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that sugar consumed in fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects, no matter how much you eat. In a recent perspective piece in The Journal of the American Medical Association, he cited observational studies that showed that increased fruit consumption is tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases.
Whole fruits, he explained, contain a bounty of antioxidants and healthful nutrients, and their cellular scaffolding, made of fiber, makes us feel full and provides other metabolic benefits. When you bite into an apple, for example, the fruit’s fiber helps slow your absorption of fructose, the main sugar in most fruits. But fiber is not the full story.
“You can’t just take an 8-ounce glass of cola and add a serving of Metamucil and create a health food,” Dr. Ludwig said. “Even though the fructose-to-fiber ratio might be the same as an apple, the biological effects would be much different.”
Fiber provides “its greatest benefit when the cell walls that contain it remain intact,” he said. Sugars are effectively sequestered in the fruit’s cells, he explained, and it takes time for the digestive tract to break down those cells. The sugars therefore enter the bloodstream slowly, giving the liver more time to metabolize them. Four apples may contain the same amount of sugar as 24 ounces of soda, but the slow rate of absorption minimizes any surge in blood sugar. Repeated surges in blood sugar make the pancreas work harder and can contribute to insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk for Type 2 diabetes.
“If we take a nutrient-centric approach, just looking at sugar grams on the label, none of this is evident,” Dr. Ludwig said. “So it really requires a whole foods view.”
You’re busy. You’re working long days. You want to eat healthy, but you don’t have the time to make meals.
I completely understand.
To help make planning tomorrow’s meals really easy for you I’m sharing with you one of my personal on-the-go meal plans.
By taking just a few minutes to think ahead about what you need to sustain you for your 8+ hour day ahead, instead of reaching for something in the vending machine or ordering lunch out when the hunger pangs strike, you are going to have some healthy foods on hand that will make you FEEL BETTER and help you get though your day with more energy, better mental focus and a full, happy belly!
Here are five items to pack in your cooler before you head out the door for a long day’s work ahead. (Of course, you can always pack your cooler the night before, which is what I do to make the morning less stressful.)
1. Very Berry Green Smoothie
This is my go-to breakfast smoothie. It’s packed with healthy fats, proteins and carbs, so it’s really filling. But most importantly, it tastes good!
Here’s what you need to make it:
8-10oz plain, full-fat organic yogurt
¼ c frozen raspberries
¼ c frozen strawberries
¼ c frozen blueberries
¼ c frozen blackberries
1 heaping handful of greens (I like spinach, swiss chard and/or kale)
1-2 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tbsp buckwheat
1 tbsp coconut oil
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until you achieve the desired consistency. Pour into an insulated stainless steel container so it stays cool until you’re ready to drink it.
Here’s my secret smoothie weapon…
2. Greens with Fresh Veggies and Hard Boiled Eggs
Taking a salad to work is a great option because you don’t have to heat it in the microwave (the microwave destroys the heck out of your food!)
Not to mention that organic greens help detoxify your liver so they basically help keep your body clean.
There are some many different ways to make a salad—the combinations are endless.
But here’s what I make when I want to keep in really simple:
Mixed greens (lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, kale etc.—I buy the pre-made organic greens so they’re already washed and ready to go.)
Hard boiled eggs
Fermented carrots (These add a nice flavor and the juice makes for a tasty dressing; I like the company “Real Pickles”)
2 tbsp flax oil
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
If you get bored eating salads, I suggest mixing up your proteins. I typically use the leftovers of my dinner from the night before.
3. Apple Slices
I suggest slicing your apple so you can eat half as your mid-morning snack and the other half as your midafternoon snack. Be sure to buy organic apples. They’re on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen List.”
4. Almond Butter
Almond butter is my favorite nut butter! Almonds are not only a great source of proteins and fats, but they’re also a great source of calcium. Put 1-2 tbsp of almond butter in a small glass container to dip your apple slices in for a balanced snack.
Pack a water bottle—either a stainless steel Kleen Kanteen or glass container—so you always have water on you. The ideal amount of water to drink each day is about 50% of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weighed 140 pounds you’d drink 70 ounces of water each day.
So there you have five things to pack in your lunch cooler tomorrow!
And if you’re looking for some more quick and healthy meal ideas, I urge you to check out our DIY Healthy Solutions On The Go Program which is available online for you to access at your convenience.
When I talk with people about portion control, most think I’m starving myself. I’ve been at this since Dec. 3, and I haven’t been starving once.
Portion control is not:
- eating like a bird
- eating food that tastes like cardboard
Portion control is:
- eating more vegetables – and you can eat a lot. Great nutrition, fiber, and tasty.
- eating more fruit
- eating protein smarter – chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, quinoa (a seed that has a surprising amount of protein)
- eating nuts
- eating whole grain breads (be careful not to over do it here)
There are tons of cookbooks that have easy recipes to help you eat better. Use a tool like My Fitness Pal to help you determine portion sizes. Go see a nutritionist. There are resources on the web (like this blog). Use them.
Portion control: it works if you work it.
Published on January 24th, 2013
Those toned abs, pecs, and quads didn’t come easy. You put hard work into them week in and week out at the gym—all those sets of crunches, presses, and painful squats! Now you’re getting older and you might be noticing that it’s tough to hold on to that hard-fought muscle.
You might also know that preserving muscle is critical to maintain your health. Muscle doesn’t just look good, but plays a large role in maintaining the strength of your bones, keeping your immune system functioning optimally, and supporting your cardiovascular health.
When should you start worrying about age-related muscle loss, or sarcopenia? For most people, muscle mass peaks sometime around age 30. From age 30 to 60, the average adult may lose about half a pound of muscle per year while simultaneously gaining about one pound of fat. This lack of muscle strength combined with an accumulation of body fat comes with increased risk of chronic disease, as well as an increased risk of frailty, fracture, injury, and even death.
What can you do to make the most of your effort in the gym? Nutrition is essential to preserving muscle with age, according to a new scientific review published by the International Osteoporosis Foundation Working Group (IOF). The group incorporated evidence from studies around the world and identified the following four ways that dietary components can assist both older and younger adults to help slow muscle loss with age:
Protein: Apart from resistance exercise, protein in the diet may be the most important way to preserve muscle. But, according to the authors, the protein amounts typically recommended may not be enough to optimize muscle and bone health. The type of protein matters, too—whey protein has consistently shown to be best for young and old adults who want to hang on to muscle.
Vitamin D: Mounting evidence suggests vitamin D plays a role in the development and maintenance of muscle mass and function. Getting adequate amounts can depend on regular exposure to the sun’s UVB rays—difficult during the winter months in North America— and through supplementation. Elderly adults are especially at risk of getting insufficient amounts of vitamin D for bone and muscle health.
Vitamin B12 and/or folic acid: Emerging data are showing that these two nutrients play a critical part in improving muscle function and strength.
Eat enough fruits and vegetables while avoiding processed meats and cereal grains: The high dietary intake of processed meats and cereal grains and a low intake of fruits and vegetables can contribute to a greater dietary acid load, which can produce a negative effect on bone metabolism.
How to make preserving muscle easier? Look to Isagenix for keeping you covered on meeting the evidence-based recommendations mentioned in the review.
Reference: Mithal A, Bonjour JP, Boonen S et al. Impact of nutrition on muscle mass, strength, and performance in older adults. Osteoporos Int 2012.
A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or healthy eating plan. So how do you choose a healthy eating plan? Let’s begin by defining what a healthy eating plan is.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, a healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
- Stays within your daily calorie needs
A healthy eating plan that helps you manage your weight includes a variety of foods you may not have considered. If “healthy eating” makes you think about the foods you can’t have, try refocusing on all the new foods you can eat—
- Fresh fruits ― don’t think just apples or bananas. All fresh fruits are great choices. Be sure to try some “exotic” fruits, too. How about a mango? Or a juicy pineapple or kiwi fruit! When your favorite fresh fruits aren’t in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety of a fresh fruit you enjoy. One caution about canned fruits is that they may contain added sugars or syrups. Be sure and choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in their own juice.
- Fresh vegetables ― try something new. You may find that you love grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables with an herb you haven’t tried like rosemary. You can sauté vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. Or try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish — just microwave and serve. When trying canned vegetables, look for vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.
- Calcium-rich foods ― you may automatically think of a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk when someone says “eat more dairy products.” But what about low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars? These come in a wide variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute for those with a sweet tooth.
- A new twist on an old favorite ― if your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling. Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish!
No! Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while and balance them out with healthier foods and more physical activity.
Some general tips for comfort foods:
- Consume them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month. You’ll be cutting your calories because you’re not having the food as often.
- Eat smaller amounts. If your favorite higher calorie food is a chocolate bar, have a smaller size or only half a bar. Be careful! This technique works well for some people, but others may find it is too tempting to have their favorite food available, even in smaller amounts.
- Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare it differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, light cream cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes. Just remember to not increase your portion size. For more ideas on how to cut back on calories, see Eat More Weigh LessEat More Weigh Less.
The point is, you can figure out how to include almost any food in your healthy eating plan in a way that still helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Being consistently healthy in your eating choices is the key. Making the same healthy eating choices over time can lead to better eating habits. By thinking more positively and focusing on what you can have, you’ll help yourself establish healthy eating habits.