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Archive for December, 2012

Holiday tip: mini-size it!

Here is my latest blog post for Huffington Post. You can also read it here.

Happy holidays!

Holiday tip: mini-size it!

Mini-size it! A great way—perhaps the best way—to cut calories is to trim your portion sizes. Especially of foods that are high in calories. That would include many treats you would find at holiday parties and events such as eggnog, specialty hot chocolates, fancy chocolates, and cakes. The good news about using portion control as a way to trim calories is that you do not have to entirely ban your favorite treats and traditional holiday foods. The key to success, especially during the holiday season is “moderation.” If you crave a fattening food, it is ok to treat yourself to a small serving.

A few healthy holiday tips:

  • If you are baking a pie for guests, try cutting it into 10-12 slices instead of 8 slices.
  • If you are baking holiday cookies, bake smaller ones.
  • Buy mini muffin pans so you have them handy so that you can bake mini muffins.
  • If you are cooking potato latkes for Chanukah, make smaller ones, and use less oil.
  • Eat off of smaller plates.
  • Drink out of smaller glasses. Sip wine, for example, out of a smaller wine glass when possible (if entertaining at home, for example) and limit refills. Liquid calories add up quickly.
  • Eyeball serving sizes using common visuals. Three ounces of meat look like a deck of cards, 1/4 cup nuts looks like a golf ball, and two tablespoons of salad dressing fills a shot glass.
  • Use your hand as a guide.  Stick with a portion of meat the size of your palm and your starch (potato or rice) should be around the size of your fist. (Of course healthy veggies, without dressing, can be consumed in generous portions.)

As the quote goes: “If you can half-it, you can have it.” Or, as I write in my book, The Portion Teller Plan, “What kind of sandwich isn’t fattening?: The answer: “a half sandwich.”

Happy holidays!

Enjoy family, friends, and of course moderate portions of your favorite foods.

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Benefits of nuts and seeds

Here is my latest blog post for Huffington Post. You can also  read it here.

While you may have been told to avoid nuts and seeds due to their high fat and caloric content, these tasty gems contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, and are truly terrific to include in your diet. They contain protein, fiber, and plant stanols, which may help lower cholesterol, and antioxidants including vitamin E.

Research has found that including a serving of nuts (approximately a handful) in your diet may actually prevent weight gain and possibly even promote weight loss, as long as you control total calories. The protein, fiber, and fat in nuts aid in satiety and help you feel full longer, so you may actually end up eating less during the day. Nut eaters have also been shown to have a lower incidence of diabetes when compared to those who rarely ate nuts.

Here are a few nutrition points:

Almonds: Almonds are packed with nutrients and are a filling and flavorful snack. They contain protein, vitamin E, healthy fats, along with the minerals calcium and magnesium.

Pistachios: Pistachios contain healthy fats, protein, fiber, and the minerals phosphorus, copper, manganese. They are also rich in plant stanols; research found that substituting these jade gems for fatty meats can actually lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Walnuts: Walnuts not only taste great, but also provide a heart-healthy addition to your diet. Rich in the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and antioxidants such as selenium, walnuts also provide protein, fiber, magnesium and phosphorus to the diet.

Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are high-protein and rich in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. Its high fiber content (two tablespoons contain nearly five grams of fiber) can help to reduce cholesterol and regulate bowels. They are also rich in B vitamins, the minerals magnesium and manganese, and plant lignans, which may prevent certain types of cancer and diabetes.

Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds contain the antioxidant vitamins E, and C, protein, and fiber. They make for a great heart-healthy snack eaten by themselves or sprinkled onto a salad or vegetable dish. When eating them as a snack, try “deshelling” them yourself, since a small portion goes a long way, both in terms of calories and flavor.

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Research found that that chia seeds may lower blood pressure and reduce an individual’s risk of heart problems.

Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which may offer protective benefits against inflammatory conditions, atherosclerosis, and certain neurological problems. Hemp also contains vitamin E, protein, fiber and iron, and is a healthy component of a plant-based diet.

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