Five on Friday: 5 Ways to Kick Your Sugar Cravings
Is sweetened coffee part of your morning routine? Are you raiding the chocolate dish at 3 pm? Searching for something sweet after dinner? You're not alone! But...why do we want sugar all the time?
When you eat sugar, your blood sugar rises. This sugar rush provides energy. However, soon after, you will have a sugar crash. This drop in your blood sugar makes you crave more sugar, so you eat more sugar....and the cycle continues.
We are addicted to sugar because it stimulates the release of dopamine (which provides pleasure) in the brain, similar to that of alcohol or drugs. With continued use we develop dependency and tolerance to its effects and crave it more.
The best way to kick a sugar habit is to break the sugar cycle and cut it out cold turkey. You will lower your threshold and recalibrate your taste buds. Here are 5 ways to kick your sweets habit:
1. Start your day with breakfast. A balanced breakfast creates a healthy foundation for the rest of the day and sets you up for success. Aim to eat within an hour of waking up. Read labels and avoid breakfast foods with sugar such as: sugar in your coffee, sugary cold cereals, brown sugar in your oatmeal, waffles or pancakes with syrup, flavored creamers, flavored milk, or honey. Good choices include steel cut oats with raisins and almonds, sprouted bread with almond butter, scrambled eggs and fruit or berries and plain Greek yogurt.
2. Eat regularly. Blood sugar imbalance is the foundation for most cravings. This is typically caused by a lack of food. When you go too long without eating so your blood sugar drops. Don't go longer than 3-4 hours without eating a healthy, balanced meal or snack.
3. Don't use artificial sweeteners as a substitute. Artificial sweeteners are 100's of times sweeter than table sugar. Those who use them routinely may have a fundamental change in their preference for sweets. Healthy foods that are less sweet (such as fruits and vegetables) may become unappetizing. New research shows that artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body's ability to regulate blood sugar. If that's not enough, there is some research that shows it may cause weight gain and stimulate the development of new fat cells.
4. Pick protein. Make sure you have some sort of protein every time you eat a meal or snack. Protein can come from meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, soy, milk, cheese, yogurt, quinoa, nut butter, nuts or seeds. Protein stabilizes your blood sugar and slows your digestion so you'll feel full longer.
5. Replace sweets with fruit. Fruit does contain natural sugar, but you'll get fiber and nutrients along with it. The fiber slows the absorption of the sugars so you won't get a huge sugar rush. Fresh fruit like mango, pineapple, berries, grapes, apples and citrus fruits are delicious options. Unsweetened dried fruit, such as figs, dates, apricots, mango, strawberries and gogi berries are great candy substitutes.
The average American consumes 350 calories of added sugar each day. To put it in perspective, 1 teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to ~4 grams of sugar and contains 16 calories. The government has no specific recommendations for added sugars. However, the American Heart Association recommends women consume <6 teaspoons (24 grams) of added sugar and men consume <9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar daily.
These recommendations do not include naturally occurring sugars found in fruit (fructose) and dairy products (lactose). However, food manufacturers don’t distinguish between added and natural sugars on labels. Added sugars provide no additional nutrient value and are often referred to as empty calories. Natural sugars provide other health benefits. It can be quite confusing to determine exactly how many grams of added sugar you are consuming.
The FDA has proposed several changes to the current nutrition facts label, one being to declare “added sugars” underneath “sugars” to help you understand how much sugar is naturally occurring and how much has been added to the product. This change has not been approved yet. Until this would occur, the easiest way to figure it out is to read the food label closely.
Sugar on a food label can be referred to by many names including: sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, dextrin, dextrose, honey, invert sugar, maple syrup, raw sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar, corn sweeteners, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, malt, molasses, turbinado sugar, agave nectar, cane crystals, crystalline fructose, maltose, raw sugar, syrup, sucrose, granulated sugar
Why is sugar so bad? Sugar is instrumental in many disease processes including obesity, heart disease, inflammation, gout, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. It is also addictive. Sugar stimulates the release of neurotransmitters in the brain (similar to alcohol or drugs) and with continued use we develop dependency and tolerance to its effects.
We all know soda, sports drinks, cake and candy are loaded with sugar and should be limited. But what about the foods that contain hidden sugars? Here are 5 (of many) foods that you may not know contain added sugars:
2 Tablespoons of KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce contains 12 grams of sugar. (And who only uses 2 Tablespoons?!) A tiny amount of this is from the tomatoes, but the majority is from high fructose corn syrup and molasses. There are several brands, including Annie’s, that contain much less sugar or you can make your own.
Granola Bars or Protein Bars
A lot of protein bars are glorified candy bars. Clif’s Chocolate Chip Bar is just one example of this. Don’t let the "organic” line fool you; it’s still sugar. One bar contains 22 grams of sugar with ingredients such as organic brown rice syrup, chocolate chips and organic cane syrup. Opt for bars that contain natural sugars from fruit, such as Larabars.
1 container of Strawberry Banana Yoplait Yogurt contains 26 grams of sugar. While some of that is natural (from the milk), most of it comes from sugar and modified corn starch. Opt for plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit to sweeten it.
Starting your day with sugar is not ideal; you will have a sugar crash mid-morning and crave sugar the rest of the day. Cinnamon Burst Cheerios is just one example of a high sugar breakfast cereal. 1 cup contains 9 grams of sugar; including plain sugar and brown sugar syrup. Compare this to plain Cheerios which only has 1 gram of sugar per 1 cup.
Fat free and light salad dressings are notorious for adding sugar; after they remove the fat they need something to make them taste good. One example is Ken’s Light Honey Mustard Salad Dressing which has 8 grams of sugar in 2 Tablespoons. The first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup and it also contains sugar and honey. Opt to make your own healthy salad dressing with vinegar and oil.
Five on Friday: 5 Healthy Pumpkin Grocery Store Finds
Happy Halloween! Pumpkin products have been popping up all month. It's estimated that American's consume $300 million worth of pumpkin flavored products during Autumn. Many products don't actually contain any pumpkin, just artificial pumpkin flavorings. Read labels very closely so you purchase products with real pumpkin or pumpkin pureeand without a lot of added sugar and fat.
It would be ideal to make your own pumpkin products from scratch, but with busy schedules that's not always possible. Here are 5 healthy (and delicious!) pumpkin products you can find at your local grocery store and indulge in without guilt.
Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin Fig Granola
This gluten free granola is made from natural and organic grains, including quinoa and amaranth. It contains an abundance of healthy fats: pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds and also raw virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil contains medium chain fats that are metabolized more easily into energy in the liver, meaning they are less likely to be stored as fat. The granola contains no artificial sweeteners or flavorings. It's not too sweet and tastes great in yogurt or milk or just to snack on plain.
Siggis Pumpkin & Spice Icelandic Style Yogurt
Skyr is the traditional yogurt of Iceland. It's made by incubating skim milk with live active cultures. The whey is then strained away for a much thicker, creamier yogurt. It is on par with Greek yogurt in terms of protein content. This seasonal yogurt is flavored with real pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla bean extract, nutmeg and just a touch of cane sugar. No artificial sweeteners.Skyr is fat free so real cream is added for fat and flavor (and satiety!) It has just the right amount of pumpkin spice taste and not as sweet as other pumpkin yogurts I taste tested. It's a great way to get your pumpkin fix in an afternoon snack.
Nature's Path Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Waffle
Amaranth and quinoa are the two grains used in this waffle instead of regular flour. They are blended with spices and real pumpkin puree for a light sweetness. Top with natural almond butter, 100% pure maple syrup or greek yogurt for a festive and healthy breakfast.
Ciao Bella Pumpkin Gelato
Gelato on a dietitian's list?! Ciao Bella is a brand of gelato and sorbet that uses real, natural ingredients. This pumpkin gelato has a hint of cinnamon and cloves and a light pumpkin flavor. It is made with real milk, real cream and organic cane sugar, rather than fake dairy or sugar alternatives. Since it still contains added sugar it's not an every day treat. However, when you do indulge occasionally, it's much better to have a little of the real thing rather than a lot of a diet product that is fat free, sugar free and loaded with artificial flavors and preservatives.
Five On Friday: 5 Foods to Prevent the "Silent Killer"
Blood pressureis the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. A normal blood pressure is 120/80. High blood pressure, known asHypertension, means the pressure in your arteries is above range.Hypertension is defined as a blood pressure greater than 140/90 on two readings.The top number (systolic pressure) refers to the blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood; and indicates the severity of your high blood pressure. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) refers to the blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. High Blood Pressure is known as the "Silent Killer" because it often has no warning signs or symptoms. However, the effect on your body can be life threatening over time; it’s dangerous because it makes your heart work too hard and can cause damage to your blood vessels, kidneys, brain and eyes. Currently 1 in 3 Americans suffer from high blood pressure.
Here are 5 diet modifications to prevent and/or treat high blood pressure:
1. SALT Reducing dietary sodium intake is a huge change that can treat high blood pressure.When you eat too much salt (which contains sodium), your body holds onto extra water to wash the salt from your body. This added water puts stress on your heart and blood vessels. Recommendations:2,300mg sodium per day(ifyou are older than 50, African American or have Hypertension, Diabetes or Kidney Disease your goal is 1,500 mg sodium per day). The average American consumes 3,600 mg sodium per day.Read labels closely so you know how much salt is in the foods you consume. Salt is found in boxed and canned foods, sauces, smoked foods, pickles, cheese, bread, cereal, lunch meat, salad dressing, soup and many restaurant foods.
Many with high blood pressure say: “But…I don’t add salt to anything!” (1 teaspoon of salt = 2,300 mg of sodium!) However, here’s a quick look at how quickly sodium can add up in a typical “healthy” diet even if you don't add salt:
Breakfast: 1 egg, 1 piece wheat bread with 1 TB peanut butter, 1 cup skim milk, banana (417 mg sodium) Snack: ½ cup cottage cheese (390 mg sodium) Lunch: 6” Subway turkey sandwich (turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion, provolone on 9 grain wheat) and apple slices (790 mg sodium) Snack: 17 tiny pretzel twists (450 mg sodium) Dinner: 6 oz baked chicken breast, 1 cup wheat pasta noodles, ½ cup marinara sauce, 1 piece wheat bread with 1 teaspoon butter, small vegetable salad with 2 TB vinaigrette dressing (997 mg sodium) Total: 3064 mg sodium
2. BANANAS Bananas are high in potassium! Potassium offsets sodium’s effect on blood pressure.When you eat a potassium rich diet your body becomes more efficient at getting rid of excess sodium.Aim for 4,700 mg per day. Other high potassium foods include:apricots, artichokes, avocado, banana, beets, okra, oranges, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, dates, figs, leafy greens, mushrooms, raisins, prunes, pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes, cantaloupe, nectarines, beans, squash, bran, nuts and seeds.Natural sources of potassium are preferable over supplements.
3. PUMPKIN SEEDS Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium! Magnesium isan essential mineral that contributes to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.Magnesium supplementation is not recommended, but adding foods high in magnesium can help.Aim for 500 mg per day. High magnesium foods include: seeds, nuts, beans,leafy greens, fish, sweet potatoes, brown rice, avocados, low fat dairy, bananas, dried fruit and dark chocolate. 1 cup of pumpkin seeds = almost 1/2 your daily needs!
4. YOGURT An increased intake of calcium may have a protective role in the risk for high blood pressure. Choose calcium from food, not supplements. Consume low fat dairy (milk, cheese, kefir, yogurt) or calcium fortified foods for high amounts of calcium. Most leafy green vegetables are also naturally high in calcium. Make sure to meet the Adequate Intake for calcium based on your age (Men 19-70 1,000 mg, Women 19-50 1,000 mg, Women/Men 70+ 1,200 mg).
5. BEANS: Beans are chock full of fiber which has been known to help lower blood pressure. Fiber also adds bulk to your diet without adding calories which helps with long term weight loss. Losing 5-10% of your body weight (if overweight) has a huge impact on blood pressure. Add unsalted beans (black, soy, garbanzo, white, navy, lima, pinto, and kidney) regularly to your meal plan. Aim for 20-35 grams of fiber daily.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages. The facts are staggering:1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Breast cancer is a multi-factorial disease. Several risk factors that we don't have control over include: the environment, genetics, hormone and estrogen levels, age, family history, hormone therapy and radiation exposure.
There are no food or dietary supplements that will act as magic bullets to prevent breast cancer. However, there are many strategies we can control to help reduce the risk of breast cancer including keeping a normal weight, engaging in regular physical activity and minimizing alcohol intake. Maintaining a healthy diet is an essential part of being proactive with your health. I want to focus on increasing protective factors: so here are 5 foods for breast cancer prevention:
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Phytochemicals are compounds in plants that may lower cancer risk by preventing damage to the DNA, boosting immune function and preventing cancer cell growth. The antioxidant power in produce is immense and can not be replaced by fruit or vegetable powders or supplements. All fruits and vegetables are beneficial but focus on these:
2. High Fiber Foods Some studies suggest that the increased intake of fiber may have a small protective effect against breast cancer; possibly by reducing blood levels of estrogen or by binding toxic carcinogens and eliminating them. Choose real fiber, not foods with added fiber such as inulin. Aim for around 30 grams per day.
You can find fiber in: whole grains (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, millet, amaranth, whole wheat tortilla/bread, farro, barley, bulgur, rye, popcorn, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, wheat germ), beans, lentils, fresh fruits and vegetables with their skin on and/or dried fruits.
3. Anti Inflammatory Foods Choosing anti-inflammatory foods may help prevent breast cancer as inflammation is known to negatively affect tumor environment. There are many foods that comprise an anti-inflammatory diet, these are several key choices:
Green tea: real tea bags for the most active compounds, not bottled green tea
Garlic: raw is more active
Ginger: raw or powdered
Turmeric (curry): raw or powdered; most effective when mixed with black pepper and extra virgin olive oil
4. Plant Based Protein Studies find that a plant based diet is associated with a reduced breast cancer risk. There is an especiallypositive association between red meat intake and breast cancer. One study found that each serving per day of red meat was associated with a 13% increase in breast cancer risk. (If you do choose to eat red meat, avoid carcinogenic byproducts such as heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) which are created during high temperature cooking.More HCA’s are formed when meat is cooked greater than 300 degrees, greater than 2 minutes or fried, oven grilled, broiled or barbequed.) Choose to consume your protein from plant based sources of protein such as beans, lentils, whole grains and nuts. In moderation choose whole, unprocessed soy that is fermented (tofu, miso, tempeh, edamame) and avoid concentrated soy such as soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, soy flour or soy fiber (found in powders, "fake" meats, bars and cereals). If you do choose animal protein, choose lean sources such as poultry, eggs and fish.
5. Healthy Fats Fats in our diet are necessary and helpful; some are healthier than others. Decrease saturated fats (found in animal products) and avoid trans fats (foods containing partially hydrogenated oil) as they may be associated with a greater risk of breast cancer. Unsaturated fats are protective.
It's definitely fall here in Chicago and children are starting to get excited for Halloween; costumes, carving pumpkins, trick or treating and of course...candy! The average trick or treater consumes ~3 cups of sugar (equivalent to 220 packets of sugar!) Did you know traditional Halloween treats such as Butter Fingers, Snickers and Tootsie Rolls contain trans fat? AndM & M's and Sweet Tarts are dyed with artificial colors including Red #40 and Blue #1?Were you aware the first ingredient in Twizzlers, Starbursts and Dots is corn syrup? My Five on Friday suggests alternatives to these candies that are still delicious but don't contain refined flour, partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors.As you start to shop for your treats, keep my suggestions in mind and take an extra look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts of what you buy and pass out.
And remember, if you send your own children out trick or treating to feed them a well-balanced dinner prior to going outto prevent them from being really hungry and substituting candy for a meal.
Happy Halloween & have fun Trick or Treating!
Yum Earth Organics Gummy Bears: While I would normally recommend fruit and not fruit snacks, most children would cringe if you put an apple in their Trick or Treat bag. These are the next best option. Fruity and flavorful and made with real fruit extracts. They are made withorganic fruit juice; no artificial dyes, no high fructose corn syrup and free of common allergens. You can feel good that they provide100% of daily Vitamin C needs.
Amazon: 50 packages for $21.00
Target: 10 packages for $3.49
Stretch Island Fruit Leather Variety Pack:These are real fruit and fruit purees (not fruit juice) and are sweet and chewy.The Variety Pack contains delicious flavors: autumn apple, abundant apricot, orchard cherry, harvest grape, ripened raspberry, and summer strawberry. They are fruit leather but healthier than normal fruit roll up's that are filled withcorn syrup, sugar, partially hydrogenated oil, Red #40, Yellow #5 and #6 and Blue #1.
Amazon: 48 Fruit Leather Strips for $18.43
Angie's Boom Chicka Pop: This popcorn is free of gluten, trans fat, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Made only from simple ingredients both you and the kids will love: just popcorn, sunflower oil and sea salt.
Target: 16 bags for $5.99 www.harrisburgstore.com: 24 bags for $13.50
Annie's Halloween Bunny Grahams: While these aren'tcandy, they are a great snack with fun, kid friendly packaging! Annie's products are made with organic whole grain wheat flour and without partially hydrogenated oils. The orange and brown coloring are from annatto extract and real cocoa; no artificial flavorings or synthetic colors.
Amazon: 24 packages for $7.84
Justin's Peanut Butter Cup: Combine organic peanut butter with high quality organic chocolate and you have a great peanut butter cup the kids will love. They are sweetened with organic palm fruit oil which is trans fat free. Justin's brand is GMO free and organic. You will definitely hope there are leftovers to indulge on! :)
www.justins.com: 120 Peanut Butter Cups for $77.99
The autumn harvest includes a variety of root vegetables and hearty fruits. Find these 5 Super Foods at a Farmer's Market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can buy a share of produce from your local farm. You'll have great comfort meals to enjoy on a cool, fall night. All month I will share my favorite fall recipes on Facebook.
An apple a day will keep the doctor away! There are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S., so make sure to branch out from the popular Red Delicious and Granny Smith! 1 medium apple contains 80 calories and 4 grams of fiber. The soluble and insoluble fibercan help prevent heart disease and assist with digestion. Keep the skin on; that is where the majority of the fiber and Vitamin C are found. Apples are one of the "Dirty Dozen"; the top 12 fruits and vegetables highest in pesticides so it's best to choose organic apples. They are great in salads, oatmeal, homemade applesauce, soup, salsa, muffins, slaw, apple crisp, sliced on sandwiches, dried into chips or dipped in almond butter as a snack.
Brussels Sprouts need to be given a second chance! One cup contains 40 calories, 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and >100% of both your Vitamin C and Vitamin K for the day. Try roasting instead of steaming; this carmelizes their natural sugars and brings out a sweeter taste. They are great in salads, casseroles, soups or roasted as a side dish.
Pumpkins are a classic symbol of the season, but this Halloween staple is good for more than just carving! It is technically a type of winter squash and over 1.5 billion pounds are produced each year in the U.S. 1 cup of canned, unsweetened pumpkin contains 100 calories, 8 grams fiber, >100% of your daily Vitamin A and more potassium than a banana. The fiber helps keep you full and the Vitamin A is crucial for healthy vision and immune system function. There are a lot of pumpkin inspired products; most of them aren't healthy and some have no true pumpkin. Make sure you read labels, or make your own pumpkin creation! Pureed pumpkin can be added to bread, risotto, soup, pudding, muffins, pancakes, oatmeal, smoothies, lasagna, pie, pizza, chili, hummus, salads or made into pumpkin butter.
Don't forget the seeds (there are ~500 in every pumpkin.) They are a natural source of protein with 12 grams per cup. Roast them and keep as a great on-the-go snack.
Trans fats are extremely unhealthy and have no known health benefits. Trans fats increase LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and may decrease HDL (the “good” cholesterol), which increases your risk for heart disease and plaque build up in the arteries.
There are 2 types: 1. Trace amounts naturally occurring in meat and dairy 2. Man made and artificially added to foods in the form of partially hydrogenated oil (hydrogen is added to liquid oil turning it into a solid fat)
The one you need to focus on is artificial trans fat.Current recommendations are to keep yourtransfatty acid consumption as low as possible; I encourage my clients to consume zero grams of artificial trans fat.It’s often used in packaged goods as it is inexpensiveand increases the food’s shelf life, stability and texture.It’s used in restaurants because they can keep it in their fryer and it does not have to be changed as oftenas other oils.
According to the FDA, a food can bear the label “trans fat free” if it contains less than .5 grams per serving size.Just looking at the nutrition facts label isn’t good enough, because many foods list 0 grams but in reality are <.5 grams. All of those little .5 grams oftransfatcan add up significantly.There is a FDA proposal to ban artificial trans fats, but until that would take place,the easiest way to avoidtransfatis to read the ingredient list and avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oil.See the label below for coffee creamer, a food that at first glance looks like it contains no trans fats.
Since it has been announced how unhealthy trans fats are, many food companies have reformulated their recipes to remove the trans fats. Many, however, have not.
Trans fat are mostly found in baked goods, cakes,crackers, granola bars,cookies, pizza dough, pie crusts, pudding, boxed cake mix, hot chocolate,ready to eatfrosting, chips, popcorn, fried foods, refrigerator dough, coffee creamer and stick margarine. Brands such as Smucker's, Hostess, Little Debbie, Poptarts, Kellogg's, Hamburger Helper, Stove Top, Nabisco, Jiffy, Quaker, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Duncan Hines, Nestle and Jimmy Dean all still have artificial trans fat in some of their products.
You can stay safe by shopping at Whole Foods (they removed all artificial trans fat from the products they sell), purchase Trader Joe's brand foods (free of artificial trans fat) or become a label reader.
Knowing all this, it DID surprise me to find trans fat in these 5 foods:
These are advertised as a "sensible dessert to finish your day".
So much for "plain" bread crumbs containing "just" bread crumbs.
Baked with care? Or baked with trans fat?
Quite the oxymoron to list "Heart Healthy Whole Grains" on the box. (Note: not all oatmeal have trans fat; the trans fat in this oatmeal comes from the added Creamer).
Trying to make a quick, healthy breakfast? Make your pancakes from scratch or choose one of the many brands that are trans-fat free.
1. Utilize the weekend. Look at your schedule and think about the upcoming week. Will you be traveling any days? Will you go out for lunch or bring it to work? Dinner plans with family or friends? What meals do you need to make? What snacks do you want? What do you want for breakfast?
2. Survey the kitchen. Look at what is in your refrigerator and cabinets so you know what you have on hand and what staples you are out of. Look at websites and cookbooks and plan out what you want to make for the week; Cooking Light is a great resource. Think about foods that can be used twice (for example, can you use the quinoa for dinner Tuesday night and also have for lunch Wednesday?) Look for crock pot and freezer recipes; these are so easy. Don't make it difficult on yourself! If you see recipes you like but may not be making this week, print them out and keep them in a folder in the kitchen to refer to at another time. Have a chalkboard or notebook handy where you write your meals and snacks out for the week. Also, add to this when you are out of a staple item to remind yourself the next week to shop for it. A visual is very helpful and helps keep you organized.
3. Shop off your list. Divide your grocery list into where you would find it in the store to make it easier for yourself. Go to a few places if necessary to get exactly what you need. Think about your budget and be realistic with how much time you have to shop. Have a high protein snack before you shop; often when we shop hungry we impulse buy unhealthy foods. While shopping, shop only off your list. Don't be swayed by deals, specials, samples or something that just "looks good."
4. Prep your Food. Come home and prep your food immediately. Wash and cut vegetables and fruit and put in small ziploc bags. (If you don't think you will do this, it's so much better to buy pre-cut produce. The extra money is worth it if you know yourself and you won't actually cut a whole head of cauliflower or peel and cut mangoes, etc.). Cook your proteins. Make side dishes. Make entrees and freeze them for later in the week. Take the large container of almonds and divvy into smaller bags. The more you do today the easier it will be on a weekday when you are much busier.
5. Congratulate yourself! Great work on being organized and planning for the week ahead. You will most likely save money and eat healthier. It's a win-win!
This is the first of my weekly emails! Every Friday I aim to start your weekend out right with 5 Nutrition Tips.
Today my "5" are 5 tips for Creating a Healthy Salad. Pick one (or more!) foods from each group!
1. Start with a Foundation of Greens. There are so many great greens. Switch it up. Try romaine, arugula, frisee, spinach, kale, dandeion, mesclun greens, spring mix or any mix of green lettuces. Limit iceberg which lacks many nutrients.
2. Add More Vegetables. Every vegetable has it's own nutrient profile. Switch it up so you don't get bored. Look for new varieties at both the grocery store and farmer's market. Besides the every day carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers try: fennel, watercress, hearts of palm, artichokes, sugar snap peas, beets, green onions, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, onions, and/or sun-dried tomatoes.
3. Add Protein. This makes it a meal to help keep you full. Add animal sources: lean meats (lean beef, boneless skinless chicken, turkey), fish (wild salmon, tuna, crab, shrimp), eggs or dairy (feta, goat or mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese). You can also add vegetarian sources: beans (kidney, edamame, garbanzo, pinto, black, navy), lentils, tofu, tempeh or seitan. Limit the high fat cheeses and bacon bits.
4. Add Carbohydrates. This gives you energy! Try healthy grains (quinoa, farro, freekah, brown rice pasta, barley, bulgur, amaranth, brown rice, sweet potatoes), or fruit (berries, melon, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, peaches, figs, pomegranate seeds, dried apricots). Skip the dried fruit laden with sugar and white, refined grains (croutons, tortilla strips, white pasta).
5. Add Healthy Fats. Fat is essential to absorb the nutrients in your veggies. Try a sprinkle of seeds (flax, chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin), avocado, oil and vinegar dressing or unsalted nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans, pine nuts), tahini, pesto or olives. Make your own healthy salad dressing (1 part oil + 1 part vinegar + herbs (garlic, lemon, dill, parsley, mint, cilantro, mustard, basil).