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Archive for the ‘Nutrition News’ Category

See Through Snacks

The next time you return from the grocery store with your fresh fruits and veggies, put  them in a see-through bowl on the first or second shelf of your refrigerator.  Or leave them in that clear bowl as you watch TV, or read a book.  You’ll be more likely to eat them.

That’s  from  —and it’s just further proof that to eat well, you need to arm yourself well.   sums it up:

“College students wishing to eat healthier may want to invest in a clear fruit bowl says a recent article published in Environment and Behavior (published by SAGE). The new study found that when fruits and vegetables are within arm’s reach, students are more likely to eat them. Furthermore, making fruit and vegetables more visible increases the intake of fruit, but the same does not hold true for vegetables.

Researchers Gregory J. Privitera and Heather E. Creary tested a total of 96 college students by placing apple slices and carrot cuts in either clear or opaque bowls at a table close to the participants or at a table two meters away. Participants watched as the food was taken out of its packaging and were told that they were welcome to eat it.

After leaving the students alone with the food for ten minutes, the researchers found that when apples and carrots were left close to the participants, those healthy foods were more likely to be eaten. Interestingly, making the food more visible to participants by placing them in clear bowls increased the intake of the apples but not the carrots. The researchers explained that this might be due to the fact that fruit is sweeter and may induce more motivation to eat than bitter-tasting vegetables.”

Leave a piece of pie, or birthday cake, or a plate of cookies on a table, and I’ll bet those college kids eat those too!  This isn’t a real newsflash–but think common sense!  Clean your cupboards and fridge of the JUNK…and leave the healthy treats where you can see them…so you’ll eat them!

“Breathe” Your Food

Your mother has probably told you a time or two as a kid not to “inhale your food”.   But apparently, some food companies want you to do just that!    There are several products on the market, like , which is basically “breathable” calories.  Another company, , says their inhalable desserts work with your senses of smell and taste to satisfy craving.   I love the idea of having some of my favorite foods without the calories, but inhaling it?  Hmmmm…..So you think it would work for you?  Or would it make you crave the “real thing”?

Workplace Calories

When I worked at WCMH-TV in Columbus Ohio, we had a “trough”.  It was basically a long counter, right in the middle of the newsroom, that was used during the news hours for directors to lay and edit their scripts.  The rest of the time, it was a dumping ground for calories.  Birthday cakes, deli trays, candy bowls,  leftovers from our cooking shows—it was either your best friend, or your enemy.

If you are trying to lose weight, the workplace can be a minefield.  Co-workers can sabotage your weight loss efforts simply by “sharing”.  I can’t tell you how many extra calories I ate, simply by stopping by a colleague’s desk to chat, and mindlessly checking her community candy drawer.

According to , a 2006 study found that secretaries who were given clear jars filled with chocolates reached for a sweet treat 71% more often than those given candies in a jar they couldn’t see into.  As long as the clear dish was visible, the secretary ate 77 more calories a day.  That’s about an extra five pounds a year.

Coffee breaks, corporate parties, and co-worker celebrations all foster camaraderie, but are just excuses to mindlessly eat.  So here’s a few ways to tame workplace temptation.  You may occasionally look like the “party pooper”, but your slimmer figure may just prove to be inspiring to others!

  • Cover any goodies on your desk, or whatever communal “trough” you have in your office.
  • Avoid desktop dining.  If you know your favorite co-worker has a jar on her desk, don’t stop by to chat.  Meet in a conference room, talk a walk (hey, accidental exercise!) or have someone else drop off the file you were bringing over.
  • Set an example by bringing in healthier snacks like fresh fruit, and replace the candy with nuts or dried fruit.
  • If you are dining with a co-worker, split large portions.
  • If there are donuts or pastries in open boxes in your lunch room, close the boxes.  Be a trend setter and leave veggies out for healthier grazing.
  • Support co-workers who are trying to lose weight.  You can bet YOU aren’t the only one in your office who struggles with too much 9-to-5 eating!

Make just ONE change

I always get a kick out of people saying, “I love to eat”.  Well yeah, don’t we all?  It’s one of America’s favorite past times!  But usually I hear that same comment followed by, “…which is why I can’t lose weight”.

Who says you can’t  ”love to eat” healthy foods?  I really enjoy chocolate chip cookie dough…but I also enjoy grilled zucchini, eggplant and onion with balsamic vinegar and feta cheese.  It’s a no-brainer as to which is the better choice.

So let’s talk choices.  Instead of  trying (and probably failing) to eat clean all the time, focus on making just ONE change.

For example:

  • Switch from to fat-free or low-fat milk.  If you don’t like the flavor, try mixing  your regular milk with the lower fat version until you get used to it
  • Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, mayonnaise or cream cheese.  You can use it cold for dips, mix it through salads and pasta  and add it to hot meals.
  • Try a GOOD butter substitute.  My three favorites taste like the real thing, and aren’t filled with partially hydrogenated soybean oil ( a transfat).  Try “Earth Balance Margarine Natural Buttery Spread Lactose Free”, “Olivio Spreadable Butter with Canola & Olive Oil”, or “Smart Balance Omega Plus Buttery Spread”.
  • Try the diet version of your favorite soda.  I know, it’s still artificially sweetened, but if you are hooked on the regular, you’re getting way too many calories!  (We’ll work on eliminating all soda later.)
  • Switch to sugar free jams.
  • Buy low-sodium versions of your favorite deli meats.  Remember, a high-sodium diet can raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Making just one change can really be a springboard to success.  Once you’ve been accustomed to your new food choices, you’ll start realizing that you still “love to eat”…and your healthier body will thank you for it!  Do YOU have changes you’ve made lately?  I’d love to hear about it!

I often feel overwhelmed by all the dieting advice we are bombarded with every day.  Google “diet”–and you get 587,000,000 results.  Google “eating healthy”, and you get 32,500,000 results.  Do we really need that much information about how and what to eat?  Isn’t this something humans have been doing since they were tracking down mastodons?  It’s amazing how complicated we’ve made healthy eating.

Obviously we have more choices, and more complicated lives than our caveman ancestors.  But what to eat has not changed that much.  If it grazes, or grows from the ground, it’s good for you.  If it comes in a box, probably not.  Oh, and if your food rhymes or has a cute name…it’s not a food.  Think “ho ho”, and “ring ding”, “pop tart” and “twinkie”.

I don’t push or endorse any one kind of diet to my clients.  I do see many of them have great success with Weight Watchers, in part because the program truly seems to teach HOW to eat, not just WHAT to eat.  I applaud that.  But in my opinion, the best diet is simply one that makes sense…it’s one that we learn in elementary school when we learn the food pyramid.

Eat lean proteins like fish, chicken and (grass-fed) beef.  Eat your fruits, vegetables and dairy.  Add nuts to your diet.  Look for 100-percent whole grain products.

It sounds simple, but I understand that it’s not.  In our busy lives, it’s difficult to work, raise children and then put together a healthy meal for families on the go.  But too often we replace common sense with convenience.  We grab a box of crackers and a soda for a snack.  We throw together macaroni and cheese and call it a meal.

So as you think about your meals, let me give you some food for thought.  Are you filling your plate with food that had few processing steps to get to your plate?  Broccoli does.  A granola bar and pretzels do not.  If it comes in a box it has some been through some type of processing.  Our bodies don’t need the preservatives, the fat, sodium or calories.  Think farm to fork.  It’s not possible every day.  But small changes can become big healthy habits.

And back to food that rhymes.  I loved Ring Dings as a child.  But at over 330 calories a serving with 34 grams of sugar, I think they’re more fun to say than eat.

Do you know why it’s called BREAKFAST?

Before you walked out of the house this morning, what did you eat?  Did you have time for breakfast?  If you’re like many people, your mornings are a whirlwind, and you rush out the door with just a cup of coffee, maybe you swing through a drive-through, or (gasp!) eat nothing at all!

But do you know why it’s called “breakfast”?  You are literally ‘breaking the fast’ of not eating for the past eight to 12 hours.  Breakfast is very important for weight loss and weight management.  It helps curb your hunger and prevent binge eating later in the day.  It’s the first chance the body has to refuel its glucose levels, which is the fuel that keeps our motors running.  Your brain and your nervous system need glucose to work: that means walking, speaking, stretching, typing – any activity requires this fuel.  If you don’t supply it, your system resorts to finding stored carbohydrates or it tries to turn fat into glucose.  Why put your body through all this?  Instead, do what mom said and eat that breakfast.  And if you exercise first thing in the morning, it’s ESPECIALLY important to eat something with protein and carbs before-hand!

You don’t have to take a great deal of time to make—and eat…what your body needs first thing in the morning! If you’re pressed for time, try some of these ideas:

  • Ready-to-eat whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and a cup of low-or non-fat yogurt
  • Whole-grain waffles topped with peanut butter, fruit or ricotta cheese (try nuking some frozen berries if you don’t have anything fresh)
  • A whole-wheat pita stuffed with sliced hard-cooked eggs
  • Oatmeal packet… topped with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cloves (look for LOW or NO sugar brands!!)
  • Peanut butter on a small bagel with fresh fruit (banana or apple wedges) and low-fat milk
  • Breakfast smoothie (milk, fruit and teaspoon of bran, whirled in a blender)

Pop-tarts are not breakfast, by the way!  And if you truly don’t have time to make, and insist that you can only have a breakfast bar of some kind, look for low sugar (10-15 grams or less), and add a piece of fruit.


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