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Eating out Tips

2 Aug

The average American eats out 4-5 times a week. Here are my 5 tips to keep in mind to avoid food choices you’ll regret later. Hey, just because you are eating out, doesn’t mean all cards are out the window! Also, eating out means more than a sit-down dinner on a Friday/Saturday night, it can also mean picking up take-out orders, making a trip to the fast-food drive-through lanes.

1. Remember the waiter is a salesperson
Don’t fall for the “Yes, this is my favorite dish!” line every waiter says. Remember, they are trained to sell you more food and drinks you will ever need.

2. Drink water before & during, and thank me later
Skip the alcohol and the soda. You came out to enjoy the food, not the drinks! Cut calories and don’t get full on calorie-packed liquids. Opt in for water instead – there are no added calories/guilt and it helps with digestion.

3. Eat dessert elsewhere (if you really want one)
Do you really want dessert? Because our brain doesn’t immediately register that our stomach is full, you may be at risk of eating more than your body needs. Slow down, take a moment, and see how you feel after 30 minutes. If you really want it, then make a smart choice and control the portion – split it with company!

4. Enjoy the company you are with
Hey! get your face out of the plate and take a break to enjoy whoever you are eating out with. It slows down the eating process, which helps you feel full faster.

5. Portion control
You can always take what you can’t finish home, it’ll still be there tomorrow, I promise. 🙂

Go through this checklist the next time you dine out/pick up food. You will enjoy your meal and not feel guilty later.

 

What does 365 days of eating look like?

22 Aug

american-average-food-consumption

Everything may seem all peachy when you are quickly glancing at this chart. You see the fruits, the vegetables, some meats, dairy…what’s the problem here?

Some disturbingly real facts for you – 

  • 32.8% of American adults are obese (Not just overweight, but obese – Yes, there is a difference.)
  • 25.8% of American children are obese (that’s 1 in 4 and 1 too many)
  • 13% increase since 2010
  • $147 billion spent annually to treat obesity

Yikes!! No wonder why we’re the most obese nation in the world. You know the saying of “you are what you eat?” Well, the U.S. is definitely a walking example of that.

The amount of fast food and processed foods consumed by an individual is alarming. We’re looking at 29 pounds of french fries, 53 gallons of soda (about 1 gallon/week), 24 pounds of ice cream, 23 pounds of pizza! Seriously? What’s wrong with this picture here?

What’s important here is that we need to re-program our brain and our attitude when it comes to health and wellness. It is not a “crash diet” or a “diet fad,” it is a new way of thinking, a new way to live your life. Eat to live, not live to eat.

The goal is to significantly cut down (eventually eliminate) the processed foods with high sugar and fat content that serve no nutritional value whatsoever, and increase intake of lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains and nuts. Never forget your body’s BFF – H2O. The human body is made up of anywhere from 50-70% water, so it only makes sense to keep it hydrated with water.

I promise you your body and quality of life will improve if you start making changes today. Start somewhere, even if it means starting small. Let’s say you are a soda drinker who consumes 2-3 cans of it every day. Start with cutting down to 1 a day for the first week, then every other day the next week, then 1 a week. Within a month, you’re soda free! Your body will be free of that 53 gallons of waste for the year. If not now, then when?

Remember getting in shape and losing weight is 80% diet 20% exercise. It goes beyond the 1 hour you put in at the gym, it’s also the other 23 hours that count. U1st!

 

 

BEWARE! Beach Bummie Tummie

6 Jul

Ahhh the beach.  The sound of the waves crashing, the sand between your toes, the warmth on your skin…sounds almost perfect right?  Well it could be! Or it could turn into a calorie packed inactive weekend from hell!

I’m not gonna lie I’m not a beach guy,  but I make my way there a few times in the summer. Every time I go, I’m seeing 2 complete opposite groups of people with 2 different types of behavior – so different it’s like they are 2 separate species. You’ve got the active peeps playing Frisbee and drinking smoothies, then you got the other ones chomping on the largest bucket of fries I’ve ever seen at 9 in the morning.  Okay…what’s really going on here?

Here are my two cents to the Do’s & Don’ts for going to the beach.

What you should do:

Plan ahead: Between the traffic, food supply and kids, you’ll drive yourself up the wall if you don’t got a game plan.
Pack the world’s most awesome cooler: water bottles (I prefer lemon/cucumer with mine), fresh fruits, whole wheat wraps and sandwiches, tuna salad, chicken salad. You’re aiming for lean protein here. Veggie/pita chips are good when you want something to munch on.

Sunblock: I’ve heard that Delaware holds the #2 spot in skin cancer. If you still don’t have the common sense of packing and applying sunscreen when you’re out in the sun,  you really need to get with it. Don’t be part of the statistic!  Many people think if you put Sunblock on you won’t get tan but that is most definitely a myth.

Keep active: Don’t be stationary and lay out there for the whole day (sounds boring already). Especially if you have kids, you gotta keep them active. Throw a frisbee, toss a football, play a game of corn hole, swing for some badminton,  or boogie your way through the waves.

What you shouldn’t do:

Let the concession stands lure you in: I’m talking about the boardwalk fries,  chicken fingers,  deep fried oreos, foot long ice cream & the list goes on. You’re spending more money and packing on the fat! Plus, is that what going to the beach is really about? Eating food that’s bad for you?

Be stationary: Get up and get moving!  Do you want to be that guy that has that horrible tan line because he fell asleep for hours on the beach?  Get off Facebook and IG and spend some time with real scenery and real people, like the ones that came with you?

Carbonated drinks: Bad news bears. Everyone wants to look good in their swim suit they work so hard to squeeze in. Don’t let bloating and gas caused by carbonated drinks ruin it! It has no nutritional value,  it’s processed, it has full of sugar you don’t need (Diet ones are still a no no), and it doesn’t make you look sexy. Period. Choose water or 100% juice/smoothie instead.

Arguing: #aintnobodygottimeforthat you’re here to relax. Keep the negativity out, no excuses!

Superfoods for the Summer!

10 Jul

Wondering what to snack on this summer? Here are 5 of my favorite foods that are in season all summer long, which means not only they are available locally, but their tastes are at their peaks! Take advantage of organic and or locally grown products,they contain less harmful pesticides and are more yummy. Click here for a list of Farmers Markets in Delaware. Shopping for produce at farmers markets is a great way to support your local growers and the difference in TASTE, well, let’s just say that there’s no comparison to your regular grocery store produce.

avocados_FotorAVOCADOS
Don’t be afraid of the green! Some shy away because of the high concentration of monounsaturated fats, but keep in mind that not all fat is bad for you. As a matter of fact, consuming monounsaturated fats (in a reasonable amount) along with a balanced diet can actually reduce belly fat. Fighting fat with fat? You bet ya! The benefits doesn’t stop there, others include decreasing risk of heart disease, stroke and even breast cancer. It’s also incredibly easy to incorporate avocados in your diet: Slice ’em up and throw them in your salads and sandwiches! Or better yet, make a shake out of it.

corn_FotorCORN
Although you can buy corn all year-round, but it really tastes the best and costs the least during the summer months because it’s in season. Matter of fact, have you tasted corn from the farmers market? They are sweet, crunchy and delicious all by themselves without any seasoning. Trust me, once you’ve had the good ones (sorry, not the supermarket kind, canned or frozen), there’s not going back! Tastes aside, corn contains tons of digestive enzymes that help metabolize your food. It is also high in antioxidants to keep your immune system strong. No one wants to be sick when you could be out having fun!

pepeprs_FotorPEPPERS
Peppers can taste very different in season vs. off season. So take advantage of the summertime to experience what they are really supposed to taste like. The sweeter bell peppers (red & yellow) are full of vitamin A, keeping your skin nice and strong while fighting off infection at the same time. If you are a spice freak like me, then hot peppers such as jalapenos, cayenne, chipotle, and habaneros contains almost no calories and on top of that, they speed up metabolism and enhance fat burners. So whether you like it sweet or spicy (or both), peppers are the way to go to add taste and color to your summer dishes.

raspberries_FotorRASPBERRIES
They say good things come in small packages, and this couldn’t be more true with raspberries. One cup alone of these little ones contain approximately 30% of your daily dose of fiber. But the it doesn’t stop there, it also makes up 60% of your RDA of manganese, which is critical for building strong bones and cartilage! They’re also a great post-workout snack, due to their high levels of ellagic acid, a compound that reduces inflammation.

watermelon_FotorWATERMELON
Who doesn’t love the refreshing taste of watermelon on a hot day? The fruit clocks in at 92% water, which is the perfect way to stay hydrated when the temperature sores. The beta-carotene and flavonoids in this superfruit have been proven to reduce the risk of sunburns and sun damage caused by UV rays. Watermelon and summer were practically made for each other!

Fun fact: Wonder why watermelons are red? Well it’s not just for looks. The hue comes from lycopene, an antioxidant known for reducing inflammation and promoting cardiovascular health.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

Google Search + Nutritional Info

13 Jun

All of us love Google, we’ve incorporated the word into our vocabulary without even know it. Did you Google it? Is it on Google? You name it. We use this search engine to find answers for just about anything. The company has recently loaded hundreds of nutritional info for fruits, meats, vegetables and meals into its system – All accessible using Google Voice search on your phone or the regular search engine. You can either search for simple info such as “How many calories are in a banana?” or “How many grams of protein is in a steak?”

pasta_google_search_Fotor

Here’s an example of when I searched “How many calories are in pasta?” As you can see, It quickly populated an easy-to-read display right on top of the search results page. On the right-hand side, it also gave other nutrition info as you would find on the product label. What I like the most is the drop-down menu when selecting the kinds of pasta, choosing from different types to even store-brought vs. homemade.

This tool is great for planning meals, grocery shopping or just for knowledge and kicks!

For the original article on PSFK, click here.

Awesome Kid & Adult-friendly recipes

1 Mar

Like many, I love watching NBC’s Biggest Loser. It is inspiring, motivational and simply, it makes my heart happy to see people fighting for their health. On the show’s website, I came across a section for “Kid-Friendly Recipes” and liked the name immediately. Parents are responsible for educating their children on healthy eating habits and the first step is to lead by example. REMEMBER, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD’S HEALTH and a great step you can take towards the right direction is to provide them with notoriously well-balanced and tasty foods.

Click here to view all the recipes.

The ones that caught my eyes especially are:

152112910_0Garlic & Chive Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Click here for the recipe

Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, potassium and B6. But it outweighs regular potatoes as a fantastic source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. It also has more dietary fiber to help the digestive system.

140758590_0Creamy Carrot Soup
Click here for the recipe

Carrot is one of the top super foods. But it’s often hard to incorporate it into our kids’ diets besides the usual raw baby carrot sticks (and that’s if your kid actually eats them)! Some benefits are: Improved vision (rich in beta-carotene), cancer prevention (Falcarinol, a natural pesticide produced), great for preventing infections, healthy teeth and gums (consumed raw) and much more!

This recipe is also create because the low-fat buttermilk substitute over your typical cream-based soups.

Enjoy!

Start clean with a detox

4 Feb

A lot of us have heard of detox and detoxing. But why? How? Think about all the  junk foods we eat and the harmful things that we come in physical contact with on a daily basis. Your body is not a garbage can, so it is absolutely important for you to detox once in a while to give your body the proper ‘rinse’ it deserves. Detoxing can lead to better skin, balanced energy, better night’s sleep, improved sex drive, weight loss and so much more.

In my opinion, the easiest way to detox is in a smoothie form. You take all the ingredients you need, put it in a blender, give it a whirl, then you’re good to go! Better yet, if they actually taste good! This is one of my favorite recipe for a kale, pineapple & ginger detox smoothie inspired by Dr. Oz.

What you’ll need (Makes 4 servings, so you can drink it all day long or share it with the family):

  • 1/2 pineapple chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale (remove stems)
  • 1/2 lemon freshly squeezed (you can add the zest in too if you like the texture)
  • 1 small knob of ginger (sliced or shaved)
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Extra: throw in a few mint leaves for a refreshing kick!

DetoxSmoothie

Flat bread pocket for the win!

16 Jan

My clients and friends often ask me for recommendations on healthier carb options when it comes to making something quick, nutritious and delicious. I came across Arnold’s ‘Pocket Thins.” These flat bread pockets are 100% whole wheat and are great for a quick lunch fix.

The flat bread pocket is packed with:

  • 100 calories
  • 1.5 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat)
  • 20 grams of carbs
  • 5 grams of Dietary Fiber
  • 5 grams of protein
Arnold's 'Pocket Thins' flat bread stuffed with honey turkey, cheese, pesto spread, lettuce and tomatoes.

Quick lunch fix under 5 minutes using Arnold’s ‘Pocket Thins’ flat bread

This turkey pesto tomato flat bread, inspired by Arnold’s ‘Pocket Thins’ lunch is less than 200 calories and took less than five minutes to put together!

  • 1 ‘Pocket Thins’ flat bread
  • 3 slices of Board’s Head honey turkey 
  • 1 slice of American cheese
  • Diced tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of pesto

I toasted the bread, meat, cheese and pesto first then stuffed it all along with tomatoes and lettuce in the pocket.

Breakfast of Champions

10 Jan

We can all remember our moms saying “Eat your breakfast before school!” Well guess what, she was right! Now you’re way into your adults years with children of your own, it is more important than ever for you and your family to start the day right with a healthy breakfast. Some of make poor choices for breakfasts and some of us don’t eat breakfast at all. Do you honestly expect your body to run on empty until lunch time?

Eating a proper meal in the morning can attribute to many benefits for you and your family such as improved concentration level at work and at school and more strength and energy for physical activities. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat a healthy breakfast perform better in the classroom and in the playground, hand-eye coordination and also problem-solving skills.

Weight control: Studies show that breakfast skippers are more likely to gain weight than breakfast eaters. Why? First reason is that eating breakfast controls hunger levels, causing you to eat less at lunch and throughout the day; Therefore, by lunch time you won’t be wolfing down a super cheesy melt sub. If you think you are ‘saving calories’ by skipping breakfast, then you are clearly mistaken my friend! Also, by eating a healthy breakfast links to making smarter food choices in general. (P.S. Hunger causes mood swings. Do yourself and the people around you a favor by feeding your body properly in the A.M. before you unleash your wrath on those around you, yikes!)

Now that we’ve got the concept down you need to eat a healthy breakfast, let’s explore what kind of breakfast you should and should not be eating.

Here are some suggested breakfast ideas that you can make in less than 5 minutes:

Breakfast_toeat
Eggs:
Hard-boiled (You can save time and prepare the night before), scrambled, sunny-side up, or even on a piece of toasted whole-wheat toast. Add some lean protein such as turkey bacon. Pair that with a glass of water or 100% fruit juice.

Fruit Smoothies: In a blender, combine 1 cup of ice, 1 banana (perfect time to get rid of those bananas that might be a little too ripe), and 1 cup of fresh fruit (It can be any kind, or even the frozen ones from the store), 1/2 cup of milk and 1 cup of plain yogurt.

Oatmeal: Quaker’s instant packets are the best! You can store a stash at the office for convenience. Throw in some fresh fruit in there and a handful of granola for an extra kick and extra protein! Pair with a glass of water or 100% fruit juice.

Cereal: Now that was easy! But the good kind, I’m talking about Kashi Go Lean! Special K, Granola cereals. No lucky charms, frosted flakes, resees peanut butter, forget about it! Pair that with a piece of whole wheat toast.

Breakfast burrito: Scramble Eggs, prepare 2 slices of turkey bacon, dice a handful of tomatoes and sprinkle shredded cheese, all wrapped in a whole wheat flour tortilla.

The No No’s for the morning:

donuts

Soda: I never understood why people drank soda, especially in the AM! It will not only make you bloated and soft, and let’s cut to the chase, the nutrients just aren’t there. The human body is 75-80% water, stay thirsty my friend! With H20 that is.

High fat & cholesterol meats: Bacon, scarpple, ham and sausage. Choose turkey products instead, they are low in fat and higher in protein. And yes, you don’t have to sacrifice taste, turkey is just as delicious.

Dough: Eating dough and floury products will give you a doughboy body! Donuts, muffins, cakes should be avoided at all costs. These carbohydrates will spike your blood sugar temporarily and later on give you the ‘crash’ feeling. That is no way to start a day.

Sources: Web M.D., American Dietetic Association.

Caesar The Great? Or your greatest downfall?

26 Dec

caesar_saladBy now, I think we can all agree that Caesar salad dressing is although delicious, yet famously fattening! Just to put things in perspective, each serving (2 tablespoons) of store bought, prepackaged dressing contains about 150 calories, 18 grams of fat and 360 milligrams of sodium. And let’s be honest, who can eat a decent-sized salad with only just 2 tablespoons of dressing? A generous pour could easily double the portions.

Another reason why you should stay away from prepackaged dressing is because of the preservatives. Flip to the back of the bottle and read them, does it still look like English? My rule of thumb is, if you don’t know/understand the ingredient, it’s probably not something you want to put in your body. Remember, you body is a sanctuary, not a trash can. Watch for these ingredients when shopping:

  • Calcium Disodium (EDTA): A preservative that presents air from spoiling food, known to cause skin reactions and upsets the GI (gastrointestinal) system. Also currently under FDA investigation for harmful reproductive effects. 
  • Caramel color: Food coloring known to be an immune suppressant and a carcinogen.

Enough scary talk, try to quick and easy U1st version of homemade creamy Caesar dressing, inspired by Alton Brown. You will cut about 80 calories yet keeping the tasty flavor.

What you need (Makes 1 cup):
1. 1 1/2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2. 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
3. 1 1/2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
4. 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
5. 2 cloves of garlic
6. A pinch of kosher salt
7. A pinch of black pepper
8. 2 ounces of grated parmasan cheese
9. 1 cup of silken tofu (Yes, tofu! but trust me, you’ll love it)
10. 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients besides the olive oil, pulsing in low speed until desired consistency. Slowly add and mix in the olive oil. Enjoy!