Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Candy....

Halloween is the pinnacle for many kids. You get to dress up, run around, and when you ask people for candy, they just give it to you - what could be better?
Maybe that’s the kids’ perspective, but if you’re like me, you tremble at the thought of that much sugar running through your little ones’ blood stream. It can be a lot of candy.
But what about alternatives to downing all that candy in one fell swoop?

A Possible Candy Plan....
1. As soon as you get home from trick-or-treating, make a deal with your child to exchange a set amount of money for a certain amount of candy. For example, for every 5 pieces of candy they relinquish, they get a quarter.
2. The next day, take them to the store to let them buy a small toy with their money (avoid the Halloween candy now on sale!).
3. On Halloween evening, let your child eat as many pieces as they are old. After that, it’s one piece a day.

Ideas for the Relinquished Candy
• Take the candy they relinquish, and immediately refill your candy bowl for handing out to other trick-or-treaters. (that would be hard for them to watch:)
• Save all the small pieces for decorating a gingerbread house for Christmas.
• Store remaining candy away for future birthday parties, when you can fill a piƱata.
• One evening down the road, have a homemade Blizzard night - mix ice cream and candy in a food processor. Or, you can have a sundae bar with the candy as the toppings.
• Donate the candy to a children’s shelter or some other charity that will take it.

What do you do with extra Halloween candy? Share your creative ideas!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A few tips for the day...

1. Eat before you go to the grocery store. You will be able to buy better choices in foods and actually save money. When you shop when you are hungry you buy twice as much and it usually is not as nutritious things.

2. When you go to the movies get some yummy flavor of sugar free gum. it will help you from getting snacks and keep your mouth busy.

3. Eat an apple or a peice of fruit right before dinner. You will eat less calories because you feel full.

4. When you go out to dinner get DESSERT....but only get one dessert and 6 spoons to share with everyone:)

5. NEVER eat while you are watching TV. Sit at the table and get your plate out. Don't eat out of boxes or bags cause it is harder to count calories.

6. When snacking try to find equal amounts of Fiber and Protein. You will feel fuller longer.

7. Having a closing time for the kitchen....just like a resturant. ONce it is beyond a certain time then no more eatting.

8. Try to eat 6 small meals a day. I am trying to eat 1200 calories a day. So every few hours I eat a 200 calorie snack...6 times in the day. You really don't feel hungry if you do this.

9. IN the Fall eat lots of veggie soups and squash etc. Stay away form "holiday" foods as much as possible!

10. Adding crystal light into your water will help you to drink more water in order to flush fat out of your body.

11. When running errands, bring a healthy treat so you are not tempted to stop somewhere for an unhealthy fast foods.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bread of life...

Have you walked through the bread aisle lately? With catch phrases like “cracked,” “stone-ground,” “fiber” and “whole grain,” even when you know a thing or two about nutrition, it’s hard to tell what is what. In fact some loaves with healthy-sounding names end up being nutritional disasters, while loaves with ho-hum names are terrific for you! Whether you want to lose weight, eat healthy, or just avoid processed foods with extra-long ingredient lists, you should look for a slice that’s jam-packed with whole grains, fiber and flavor. To help your search, here’s what you need to know.

Know Your Kernels...
Before it’s processed, a wheat kernel is a whole grain that contains all three, healthy parts of the kernel:
Bran makes up the outer layers of the grain. It contains B-vitamins, trace minerals and dietary fiber. It’s removed when wheat flour is processed (refined and/or bleached) into white flour.
Germ is the part of the plant that sprouts to generate a new plant. It has B-vitamins, trace minerals, and some protein. It’s also removed when wheat flour is refined to become white flour. Endosperm is the inner part of the grain that contains protein and carbohydrates as well as small amounts of vitamins and minerals. This is all that’s left when flour is refined to become white flour.
Don’t Forget: 100% By law, a food company must list ingredients in descending order based on how much they weigh in the product. This means that the first ingredient is the most prevalent ingredient in the product, and so on.
To make sure you are getting 100% whole wheat bread, look at the ingredients list—not the front of the package. “Whole wheat flour” or “100% whole wheat flour” should be the first ingredient and the only flour listed. Don’t fall for deceitful terms such as “wheat flour,” “unbleached wheat flour,” “multigrain,” “enriched,” or “stone-ground wheat flour.” These are just sneaky ways of saying refined white flour.

Understand the “Whole Grain” Claim
The term “whole grain” is used in lots of food ads, and on the front of food packages, from bread to crackers to cereals. But whole grain is NOT the same thing as whole wheat. When a label uses the words “whole grain,” this what it really means:
The product contains all three portions of the kernel (germ, bran and endosperm).
The product contains 51% whole grain ingredients (or more) by weight per serving.
The product contains 3 grams of fat (or less), 1 gram of saturated fat (or less), and 20 mg of cholesterol (or less) per serving.
To tell if your bread contains a majority of whole grains, look at the listing of ingredients. “Whole grain” should be a part of the first ingredient, such as: “whole wheat flour,” “whole grain rye flour,” or “whole grain pumpernickel flour.” You can also check for the whole grain seal on the package.
So what’s with “white whole wheat” or “whole grain white” breads?
Most wheat flour is made from a variety of wheat known as red wheat. White whole wheat breads are typically made from a variety of albino wheat. White whole wheat flour is as nutritious as regular whole wheat flour, but bread made with white wheat flour has a milder taste and texture due to the characteristics of that particular type of wheat. For picky eaters (including kids) who don’t like the taste of regular whole wheat bread, whole wheat white bread could be a good option. Be sure to read the ingredients label and nutrition facts to make sure you’re really getting 100% whole wheat flour—not white flour with some whole grains added.
Fillers and Sweeteners
All you really need to make bread is flour, water, yeast, salt, and a little bit of sugar (to activate the yeast). But breads these days have long and complicated ingredients lists. These extra ingredients are usually added to help improve the taste, texture, shelf life or nutritional profile of the bread so that consumers will find it more appealing. Some fiber-rich additions (like processed oat, cottonseed, pea or wheat fibers) boost the fiber content. Other manufacturers use additional sweeteners (like sugar, corn syrup, or honey) to make their bread—especially whole wheat ones—taste sweeter. Often, high fructose corn syrup replaces sugar in many breads to reduce cost and prolong shelf life. And many breads are enriched with vitamins and minerals so that they’ll appear to be more nutritious.
It's up to every individual consumer to decide whether they want a bread that contains corn syrup, preservatives, or other additives. But one thing we could all do is look for breads that have shorter ingredients lists and recognizable ingredients in general.
What to Look for on the Label
Besides ingredients, here are some guidelines for picking a loaf that is healthy and nutritious. Look for these Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 100 or fewer per slice
Fiber: 2 grams or more per slice
Sodium: 225 mg or less per slice
100% whole wheat flour as the first ingredient

Good luck!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Holidays are coming....

I feel like it is pretty simple to eat healthy foods when you have a rutine and eat at home but it is harder when you go to social events or are out of your normal environment. With the Holidays coming this gets difficult with so many social things. Here are some tips to stay healthy and not gain weight through the holidays....

1. Eat before you go. This was by far the most popular tip, and probably the most useful. Fill up on healthy foods at home.
2. Place limits. Try a 2 plate limit, and a 2 drink limit.
3. Plan ahead. Find out the menu ahead of time and make healthy choices, before you go.
4. Drink lots of water and eat fruits and veggies. You can eat as many veggies as you want without consuming many calories. Just avoid dipping sauces and dressings.
5. Have a big salad before the main course. Again, avoid too much dressing, and go for the lighter dressings.
6. Log what you eat, so you’ll be more aware of it.
7. Bring your own. If it’s a potluck-style gathering, cook something healthy and bring it with you. 8. Just try to eat healthy most of the week, and relax when you are at social gatherings.

What are your strategies for eating healthy (or not) when you’re out at social gatherings?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Top 10 Nutrition Myths !!!

Top 10 Nutrition Myths - debunked by Dietitians
Sugar Causes Diabetes
The most common nutrition myth is probably that sugar causes diabetes. If you have diabetes, you do need to watch your sugar and carbohydrate intake, with the help of your Registered Dietitian, to properly manage your blood sugar level. However, if you do not have diabetes, sugar intake will not cause you to develop the disease. The main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are a diet high in calories, being overweight, and an inactive lifestyle.

For more details, read Does Sugar cause Diabetes?

All Fats are bad
It's a long-held nutrition myth that all fats are bad. But the fact is, we all need fat. Fats aid nutrient absorption and nerve transmission, and they help to maintain cell membrane integrity - to name just a few of their useful purposes. However, when consumed in excessive amounts, fats contribute to weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancers.

Not all fats are created equal. Some fats can actually help promote good health, while others increase the risk for heart disease. The key is to replace bad fats (saturated fats and trans fats) with good fats (monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats).

For more details, read Fats 101: Bad Fats vs Good Fats

Brown Sugar is better than White Sugar
The brown sugar sold at grocery stores is actually white granulated sugar with added molasses. Yes, brown sugar contains minute amounts of minerals. But unless you eat a gigantic portion of brown sugar every day, the mineral content difference between brown sugar and white sugar is absolutely insignificant. The idea that brown and white sugar have big differences is another common nutrition myth.

Brown Eggs are more nutritious than White Eggs
Contrary to a widely believed nutrition myth, eggshell color has nothing to do with the quality, flavor, nutritive value, cooking characteristics, or shell thickness of an egg. The eggshell color only depends upon the breed of the hen.

According to the Egg Nutrition Council, "white shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and white ear lobes and brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. There is no difference in taste or nutrition content between white and brown colored eggs".
For more details, read Eggs and Cholesterol

Avoid seafood to lower blood cholesterol
I still can't believe it, but I heard this nutrition myth from my own doctor! In fact, the dietary cholesterol found in seafood and other meats has little effect on blood cholesterol in most people. Saturated fats and trans fatty acids are the most important factors that raise blood cholesterol.

Saturated fats are usually found in meat products and packaged foods, and trans fatty acids are found in packaged snack foods, deep-fried foods or firm margarine containing hydrogenated oil.

For more details, read The Myths of Cholesterol

Avoid carbohydrate to lose weight
The key message that many low-carb diets convey is that carbohydrates promote insulin production, which in turn results in weight gain. Therefore by reducing carbohydrate intake, you can lose weight. Unfortunately, this is just another nutrition myth.

Many low-carb diets actually do not provide sufficient carbohydrates to your body for daily maintenance. Therefore your body will begin to burn stored carbohydrates (glycogen) for energy. When your body starts burning glycogen, water is released. Therefore the drastic initial drop of weight at the beginning of a low-carb diet is mostly the water that you lose as a result of burning glycogen.

The truth is that low-carb diets are also often calorie-restricted! Followers only eat an average of 1000 - 1400 calories daily, compared to an average intake of 1800 - 2200 calories for most people. To lose one pound a week, you only need to eat 500 fewer calories per day in your normal diet. Therefore, it doesn't matter if you eat a high- or low-carb diet, you will lose weight if you decrease your caloric intake to less than needed to maintain your weight.

For more details, read Low Carb Diets - do they work?
and A High Carb Diet won't make you fat

Avoid nuts as they are fattening
Yes, it's true that nuts are quite calorically dense. Fifteen cashews, for instance, deliver 180 kilocaleries! On top of that, it is very tough not to overeat these tasty snacks. But if you can restrain yourself from overeating them, nuts can be a part of a healthy diet.

It's a nutrition myth that nuts should be avoided. In fact, nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the good fats) as well as plant sterols, all of which have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.

In 2003, the FDA approved a health claim for seven kinds of nuts stating that "scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (45 grams) per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." Instead of simply adding nuts to your diet, the best approach is to eat them in replacement of foods high in saturated fats.

For more details, read Health Benefits of Nuts

Eating for 2 is necessary during pregnancy
Energy requirements vary among individuals. Unfortunately, the idea that pregnancy is an ice cream free-for-all is a nutrition myth. It is generally recommended that pregnant women increase their daily intake by 100 kcal in the first trimester and 300 kcal in the second and third trimesters. An extra snack before bedtime consisting of a fruit, a serving of milk or yogurt, and a few biscuits is often enough.

A daily prenatal multivitamin supplement is often recommended during pregnancy, but not a daily bowl of ice cream!

For more details, read Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy

Skipping meals can help lose weight
Many people think that by skipping a meal, they will be eating less food and therefore lose weight. As we now know, this is a nutrition myth. People who think skipping meals means weight loss do not understand how our bodies work.

If you skip a meal, your body will think that you are in starvation mode and therefore slow down the metabolism to compensate. You then tend to overeat at the next meal. Often, skipping a meal and then eating too much at the next one means that you have a higher total caloric intake than if you just ate more frequently throughout the day. A better approach is to eat smaller frequent healthy meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar balanced.
For more details, read 10 Tips for Easy Weight Loss

Red meat is bad for health
I often hear people saying that they do not eat red meat. When I ask why they don't, or even what they consider to be red meat, the answers vary dramatically.

It is true that some studies have linked red meat with increased risk of heart disease, partly due to the saturated fat content. In fact, even chicken can contain as much saturated fat as lean cuts of beef or pork. For instance, a serving of sirloin beef or pork tenderloin has less saturated fats than the same serving size of chicken thigh with skin. It is true that poultry like chicken and turkey is naturally lower in saturated fats. But it is only true IF you do not eat the skin.

It is a nutrition myth, however, that red meat is altogether bad for your health. Instead of excluding red meats, choose leaner cuts of beef and pork. For beef, choose eye of round, top round roast, top sirloin and flank; for pork, choose tenderloin and loin chops.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Are you Hooked?

While I was in labor with my son I heard another lady having a baby say...would someone get me a diet Coke NOW! It was hilarious that when she was in pain she wanted a Diet Coke. I have been off and on in my life in drinking caffeinne. I won't for months then once I have a diet Pepsi I keep craving them. Is caffeinne really that bad?.....
Pure caffeine is a bitter, white, crystalline substance that acts as a stimulant drug. That's not exactly the kind of ingredient you would want to see listed on the side of a diet Coke bottle. Yet caffeine is a big part of our lifestyles, and has recently become an even bigger topic of interest in research studies, which have drawn a wide range of conclusions on its effects. One day caffeine is shown to be a great antioxidant; the next day we're told to avoid it altogether. The constant debates and studies can cause a great deal of confusion, especially for those of us who are not only concerned about our health, but hate to think of giving up chocolate or diet pepsi.

Caffeine: The Positive Side

On the plus side, studies have shown that regular consumption of caffeine can reduce the chance of developing Parkinson's disease. Caffeine has also been linked to protecting the body against gallstones and improving alertness. In addition, it appears to enhance mood, temporarily improve physical stamina, and relieve headaches. These are all benefits that most people would love to enjoy from a common, everyday beverage. Keep in mind, however, that participants in these studies drank 2-3 cups or less of caffeinated beverages to yield these positive results. More isn't necessarily better.

Caffeine: What to Beware Of

On the flip side, caffeine can interfere with certain other aspects of your health. It has been reported that sleep patterns are definitely disturbed when you drink caffeine a few hours before bedtime. That makes sense, of course: if caffeine is meant to keep you alert, then you can probably forget about trying to fall asleep quickly after a diet pepsi Max. Furthermore, contrary to its reputation, caffeine does not effectively help "wake" us up after a poor night's sleep or diminish the effects of alcohol. You may feel more alert, but a Coke will not help you drive better or improve your judgment.

Unfortunately, sleep isn't the only thing that caffeine can disturb. Fertility rates and miscarriages are reported as being negatively impacted by as little as 2 pops a day. Health Canada states that women who may be trying to conceive should have no more than 300 mg/day of caffeine.

Limiting caffeine intake can be difficult these days because of an explosion of products with caffeine additives. A quick check of grocery shelves will reveal caffeine in energy drinks, in chewing gums, and even in non-consumables such as soap!

Here is a list so you know much much is in what...
Beverage Caffeine (mg)

Starbucks Brewed Coffee (Grande - 16 oz.) 320
Tea, brewed (8 oz.) 53
Diet Coke (12 oz.) 47
Dr. Pepper (12 oz.) 42
Pepsi (12 oz.) 38
Coca-Cola Classic 35
Monster Energy (16 oz) 160
Red Bull (12 oz) 114

Coffee has a ton huh? In my own oppinion, I feel that if you don't have a caffinated drink for a day and you get a headache then you are addicted and need to cut back.