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Add color to your lunches

Looking for a way to liven up your lunch? Here are some ideas for making your midday meal colorful and healthy.

Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, avocado, celery, peppers and carrots. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soy beans). Drizzle with low-fat dressing. Fruits like mandarin oranges, apples, pears, dried cranberries also add color and nutrition to salads.

Looking to add more vegetables to your meal? Roast and combine them with low-fat cheese, hummus or avocado, and wrap it all in a whole wheat tortilla. Add an extra cup of frozen veggies to your soup. Microwave and enjoy a cupful of antioxidant rich soup. Colorize your baked potato by adding beans, salsa, broccoli and low-fat cheese.

To incorporate more legumes into your lunch, think about hummus, falafel, baked beans and black beans. For a protein boost, include a small handful of walnuts, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts or even soy nuts in your lunch. For low fat dairy options, include a small carton of milk or yogurt. Continue Reading »

Tracking Your Path to Success in Weight Loss

 

Many people are interested in losing weight. Eating less, starting an exercise program and limiting fatty foods are strategies that many people utilize to reach their weight loss goal.

One strategy to help individuals lose and keep off the weight is to track what and how much they eat. Tracking also helps individuals start and consistently maintain an exercise routine. For example, pedometers track how many steps a person takes in a day, while keeping a food journal allows them to view their daily food intake.

Food journals have come a long way from the pen and paper version. The tediously written food logs that were very time consuming to complete are long gone. Today there is a myriad of weight-management applications at our disposal. These food and nutrition programs are available online, and the apps are available on smartphones or tablets.

Some apps are more user friendly than others, and in order to know which one would work best you may have to try a few before deciding on one. Basically, the apps allow you to enter the foods you eat on a daily basis, giving you access to an enormous database of foods to choose from. Some allow you to track your consumption of water, your physical activity and your weight as well as other measurements such as waist circumference. At the end of the day a daily report on calories and nutrients consumed as well as other variables is available for viewing.

However, like buying a new car in which you have a choice of one with standard features or one with more bells and whistles, some weight management apps have more to offer than others. For example, some apps will provide additional information about specific nutrients like sodium or saturated fats, while others simply report on calories, fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

Many apps provide an opportunity for social support. You can sign in to join a ‘community’ or ‘team’ – groups of people sharing a same goal or having something in common. “Mommies over 40,” for example, brings together mothers over the age of 40 while “Healthy Hearts” is a group of people with heart health issues that support each other, share information and learn from each other. These teams may have a blog where each team member can communicate or share resources with other members of the group, communicate about events, etc. It provides support and a means to reach out to others who may be struggling or experiencing the same things as you.

Research suggests that establishing a support network can be extremely beneficial for successful weight loss. Online supports groups can be very helpful to many.

To learn more about these apps, a review of the 10 most popular free weight management apps is available through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. According to this review, some of the top free weight management apps include Myfitnesspal.com, Caloriecount.com and Sparkpeople.com along with many more that were reviewed.

As you work toward achieving a health goal, it may help to track your efforts. Weight management apps allow you to see how well you are doing regarding nutrition and fitness and provide you the opportunity to make corrective actions quickly if needed.

How to build a better salad

Just like building a wall, a salad has to start with a good solid base. Look for dark, leafy greens for starters, as these are rich in nutrients. After this foundation, you can start to add the other ingredients- the options are endless, so get creative!

Toss in shredded carrots and cabbage, spinach, watercress, tomatoes, oranges or sweet peas for a colorful, flavorful and fun salad. To add some uniqueness to your salad, try Greek olives, mushrooms and artichoke or palm heartsTry adding almonds or walnuts, which provide fiber, protein and healthy fats to satisfy your hunger. Pile on other veggies and add some crunch with celery, cucumbers, string beans, peppers or onions. Try adding in fruit like fresh strawberries, berries, pears or apple slices. Fruits sweeten your salad without adding too many calories. The more colorful your mix of fruits and vegetables, the more nutrients you will consume. 
 
You can add lean protein such as salmon, tuna or chicken, or try adding slices of hard-boiled eggs. Avocados are full of heart healthy fats and can be a great last minute addition to your salad. Soy beans are another add-in; you can find precooked edamame in the grocery store’s frozen-food section. Continue Reading »

Learn the facts about vitamins, supplements and healthy food choices

It is easy to let healthy eating habits fall by the wayside in today’s fast-paced society. But consuming the proper amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is key to healthy living.

That is why Dr. Jennifer Norden, integrative medicine specialist, and Julia Salomon, corporate dietician, are teaming up to inform the community about vitamin and supplement intake, as well as which foods are the best sources for nutrients.

Join them on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., for a free presentation at Mercy Medical Center. Here is an overview of what will be covered during the presentation:

Vitamins and Supplements: What should you take?
Review the evidence and marketing behind vitamins, supplements and natural medicine to help decide what really works:

Sorting fact form fiction in the marketing for vitamins and supplements can be challenging. In her presentation, Dr. Norden will be talking about the medical evidence of common vitamins and herbal medicines, as well as safety and quality concerns. During her presentation, you will find out what really works for preventing disease.

Colorize for Good Health: Do you know what Colorize is?
Bring color, texture and freshness to your diet and life:

Julia Salomón will be teaching you how to think food first! Her presentation will highlight the importance of focusing on healthy food as the first source for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. You will learn about the benefits of various foods and how to easily incorporate them into your daily life.

This presentation might be just what you need to get on the right track toward living a healthy lifestyle. 

What’s in my coffee?

Black coffee has zero calories and zero carbohydrates, yet today’s coffee drinks have turned into the caloric equivalent of rich desserts that people are consuming on a regular basis. 
Many specialty coffee drinks use espresso as the starting ingredient, a concentrated form of coffee. Espresso does not take up too much room in the cup, allowing for the rest of the drink to be filled with calorically dense ingredients like whipped cream. A coffee drink that includes half and half would provide double the amount of calories and three times as much fat than if whole milk were used. A coffee drink made with whole milk would provide 50 percent more calories and 7 grams more fat than if skim milk were used. In addition to milk based products, many coffee beverages contain other ingredients.  Flavored syrups have 20 calories for each pump and most coffee drinks take at least three pumps, adding to the caloric value of the beverage. Continue Reading »

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