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Posts Tagged ‘ Healthy eating ’

Diet mistakes not to make on Thanksgiving

Below is my blog post for Huffington Post “5 common diet mistakes not to make on Thanksgiving.”

You can also read it HERE.

‘Tis the season for overeating. This is the time of year that many of us give up healthy eating and tend to overindulge. However, with some smart planning and helpful tricks, the holiday season can be a time to enjoy special foods in moderation while still eating healthfully and not gaining weight.

Having spent the greater part of my career advising clients on weight loss, I have come up with common mistakes people make on the holidays that can derail their diets. Here are five common diet mistakes not to make this Thanksgiving.

1. Going hungry and skipping breakfast and lunch.

Many people skip early meals on the day of Thanksgiving in an attempt to “save up” calories and use them later. My advice: Don’t do it! You just may end up eating more. One trick to help keep your eating in check at the Thanksgiving meal is not to go hungry early in the day. It is OK to eat lightly, but I suggest you include some protein and fiber earlier in the day. Enjoy a yogurt with fruit or eggs and a slice whole wheat toast for breakfast and perhaps a salad with some kind of protein at lunch (beans, legumes, fish, chicken, hummus). Eating something before you get to the party will prevent you from being famished when you arrive at your guests’ house. It will be easier for you to pass up the high caloric appetizers, many of which you probably do not even like.

2. Wearing loose-fitting clothes

One sure way to avoid overeating is to wear form fitting clothes. When you wear loose clothes, you may not register that you are full, making it easier to overeat. Wear pants with a belt, a form fitting skirt, or your snug skinny jeans. These clothes will signal that you’ve had enough.

3. Treating Thanksgiving like your Last Supper

Thanksgiving is just one meal and I suggest that you not treat it like The Last Supper. Interact with the company, eat slowly, and savor holiday treats. I suggest that you enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, but I do think you need to exhibit some kind of portion control. While it is okay to fill up on salads, veggies, and turkey without meticulously worrying about amounts so much, I do suggest that you watch your portion of starch and do not eat every type of food available. Choose between the stuffing, sweet potatoes, and rice, and try to eat a portion that is around 1/2-1 cup (no larger than your fist), and making up no more than 1/4 of your plate. You can always get more turkey and salad if you are still hungry, and it’s best to save room for your favorite dessert.

4. Starting a diet and banning all treats

The holiday season is NOT a time to start a diet and to ban all of your favorite foods. While I do suggest that you avoid your trigger foods — foods that you tend to eat too much of — it is not a time to ban all foods, especially your favorite holiday treats. As a nutritionist, I think it is perfectly ok to have one portion of your favorite starch — approximately a half cup portion of rice ,stuffing, or sweet potato; and one small piece of your favorite pie. Skipping these foods entirely, may end up causing you to feel deprived which can end up leading to overeating later.

5. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach

While it is unrealistic to say that you will not drink at all on Thanksgiving, I suggest that you choose to enjoy a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail with the meal. Drinking alcohol tends to decrease your inhibitions and if you drink early on, you may end up overeating and having several drinks. Looking forward to a drink with dinner is the best way to avoid eating too much.

We would love to hear your common Thanksgiving mistakes and some tricks that have kept your weight in check.

Wishing you a happy — and healthy — holiday season!

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Healthy habits to adopt now

Below is my latest blog post for Huffington Post “8 healthy habits to adopt now.”

You can read it HERE.

You can also read it in Portuguese at the Brasil Post HERE.

Eating healthy does not have to be difficult. In fact, if you develop a routine of adopting positive healthy practices, which you engage in regularly, eating healthfully can become second nature. Consider brushing your teeth. Most of us regularly brush our teeth so the practice has become easy to sustain on a regular basis. That is the goal of developing healthy eating habits. I teach clients to engage in a few practices regularly until they become second nature, and it feels unnatural not to do them.

As most of you know, I am not a fan of diets. The reason is that we follow a certain diet for a while, and then we fall off the wagon as we are unable to sustain it, and so often, end up discouraged. Better to adopt a healthy lifestyle you can sustain for the long haul.

One key, however, in adopting healthy habits is to know yourself. As bestselling author of the upcoming book on habits, Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin says, “I’ve realized that the secret to good habits — for nutrition, or anything else — is to know yourself. For instance, some people do better when they give up a temptation all together, others when they indulge in moderation … You have to think about what works for you.”

Here are eight simple healthy habits which will help you to lead a healthier lifestyle.

1. Stock up on healthy foods.

We tend to eat what we buy and keep around the house. It is, therefore so important to stock up on healthy foods. Keep fresh fruit and veggies handy which you can grab and eat easily — baby carrots, apples, pears, berries. Buy whole grains instead of white bread products — oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat breads. Keep healthy protein options around — nuts and seeds, fresh turkey breast, and eggs. Try not to keep soda, cookies, and sugary cereals around.

2. Eat sitting down.

When you eat meals while you are sitting down, you tend to eat more slowly, enjoy what you are eating, and may even end up eating less. When you eat standing, you often do not even realize that you are eating. If you want a scoop of ice cream, instead of eating straight from the pint (and wolfing down the whole pint), place a portion in a bowl, sit down, and enjoy it. It’s also great to eat with others and enjoy the social experience of dining.

3. Drink water instead of liquid calories.

Limiting liquid calories — soda, sweetened drinks, fruit juice — is one of the simplest ways to cut out calories and sugar. Sweetened drinks like soda provide no nutritional value and are just empty calories. Diet sodas also provide no nutritional value, taste too sweet, and do not help most of us lose weight. So why even bother drinking them? Instead, get into the habit of opting for water or flavored seltzers. They will keep you hydrated without providing any calories. Try drinking a glass of water before eating each meal or snack, and you may just end up eating less.

4. Snack on fruit instead of chips.

It really is pretty easy to eat fruit if you keep it handy. Opt for a variety of fresh fruit in season, and plan for it. So often, we grab a bag of chips because it is convenient. Choosing fruit can also be convenient, if we set it up that way. The trick is to either know where to get fruit if you are out, or to stock it in your fridge, and bring it along if you are going to be out all day. Throw an apple in your bag on your way to work; this will help to ensure that you eat it if you need a mid-morning snack. Also choose a fruit with breakfast. Throw a handful of berries into your yogurt or oatmeal or have a piece of melon when in season. Fruit also makes a great after dinner snack.

5. Eat a colorful salad — or veggies — each day.

Eating salads are a great way to get a variety of nutrients without too many calories. (Of course, that means” dressing on the side.”) The different colors of vegetables impart different nutrients, so it’s best to choose a colorful variety. And fill up on what you like — you’ve got enough to choose from. Several top picks include romaine lettuce, kale or spinach topped with a colorful assortment of tomatoes, carrots, red peppers, beets, mushrooms, or cucumbers. If you don’t love salads or are not in the mood, another way to get your veggies is to have a vegetable-based soup or to eat steamed or sautéed dressing. You will still get so many of the healthy nutrients including antioxidant vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and more.

6. Chew your food well.

When we chew our food and pay attention to what we are eating, we eat more slowly, and usually end up eating less. It takes at least 15 minutes for our bodies to register that we are full. Also, our eyes tend to be bigger than our stomach, and when we eat quickly, we often tend to eat too much and end up feeling uncomfortable and stuffed.

7. Put leftovers away.

Leaving leftovers sitting out on the counter signals “eat me.” It is so hard to resist temptation when food is just sitting around. Why tempt yourself?

8. To thyself be true.

It is so important to know yourself and recognize what works — and what doesn’t work — for you. I’ve counseled many different types of clients over the years, and some need an after dinner-treat while others end up overeating if they have one small cookie or piece of chocolate. In an email, Gretchen wrote me the following: “My sister’s Kryptonite is French fries, so she gave them up altogether — that was easier for her. But some people feel rebellious if they can’t have that one square of chocolate every day, and if that describes you, keep a chocolate bar in your desk drawer.”

So, take some time to reflect on what you like and on what works for you.

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Smart food swaps for a healthier 2014

Below is my blog post for Huffington Post “Smart food swaps for a healthier 2014.”

You can also read it HERE.

It’s that time of year — a new year and a new beginning. As a nutritionist, I often hear from new clients that they make New Year’s resolutions early January and by Valentine’s Day, they are discouraged and back to their same old patterns. Resolutions such as, “I have to lose weight” or, “I want to eat healthier” tend to be too broad, and therefore do not generally work. What I have found in my private practice is that small action-oriented steps and simple substitutions tend to work a lot better.

Here are some smart-and simple food swaps that you can actually implement and incorporate into your everyday routine to help you lead a healthier life.

1. Choose whole fruit instead of juice.

Juice tends to be high in sugar and low in fiber. Fresh fruit, on the other hand, contains more fiber than the juice and has a higher water content, both which are excellent for weight loss. Eating an orange instead of guzzling down a pint of orange juice can save you over 150 calories. Imagine how many calories you can save if you make this switch daily.

2. Start your day with a low fat Greek yogurt instead of a doughnut.

Greek yogurt is an excellent breakfast as it is high in protein, which can keep you full longer. Top your yogurt with fresh fruit and a handful of walnuts to round out your breakfast. A doughnut, on the other hand, is full of calories without much nutrition.

3. Choose whole grains instead of refined grains.

Grains and starches are not taboo and do not need to be avoided to be healthier and lose some weight in the process. The trick is to eat the right kind of grains. Whole grains are the best choice as they are chock full of nutrients and fiber. Include brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal instead of white bread, white rice, and white pasta.

4. Drink water and seltzer instead of soda.

Soda contains pure sugar, is liquid candy, and a waste of calories. Why not eat your calories instead of drink them? Swapping soda for water or seltzer can save you hundreds of calories. For flavor, add a splash of lemon, orange, or cucumber or throw in a few fruity ice cubes (pour your favorite juice into an ice cube tray and freeze for flavored ice cubes).

5. Eat an English muffin (whole grain, of course) instead of a bagel.

Making this swap can save you over 200 calories. While both a bagel and an English muffin are just one item, a bagel is equivalent to approximately five bread slices whereas an English muffin is more like two bread slices. Save the bagel as an occasional treat.

6. Start your meal with a vegetable salad (dressing on side) instead of a fried appetizer.

Starting your meal with a fresh salad is a great way to include vegetables into your diet. Salad and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, full of fiber, and low in calories.

7. Choose a low-fat tomato-based soup instead of a cream-based soup.

I am a soup lover. I enjoy eating soup in the cold winters in NY and also in the summer. Soups make a great snack, a healthy appetizer, and even a great meal. The key is to eat a vegetable based soup and to skip the cream. Great choices include 10 vegetable soup, minestrone soup, and white bean and escarole soup.

8. Eat an apple or a pear as a snack instead of a bag of chips.

When you feel the urge to nibble, go for a healthy piece of fruit instead of a bag of chips.

9. Choose salmon instead of steak.

I advise limiting read meat and choosing fish instead. Grilled salmon, for example, is high in protein, much lower in saturated fat than red meat, and full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

10. Finish your meal with a cup of blueberries instead of a slice of blueberry pie.

Berries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients and low in calories. If you want to indulge in an occasional slice of pie, make it a sliver, and surround it with a cup of fresh fruit.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

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Restaurant meals not getting healthier: smart swaps to make

Below is my blog post for Huffington Post: Restaurant meals not getting any healthier: smart swaps for 6 favorite cuisines.

You can also read it HERE.

As Americans, we spend nearly half of our food budget on foods prepared away from home and consume about one-third of our calories on such foods. With a national focus on reducing obesity rates, how do restaurant foods stack up? Are restaurant chains serving healthier meals?

According to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the average calorie and sodium levels of meals served at restaurant chains have not changed much in recent years.

Researchers reviewed more than 26,000 menu entrees from over 200 chain restaurants between 2010 and 2011. The average entrée contained 670 calories and the average sodium levels was 1500 mg (down slightly). The researchers also found that children’s meals, in general, did not become healthier. However, fast-food restaurants decreased the calories in children’s menu entrées by 40 kcal.

The authors concluded that:

… industry marketing and pledges may create a misleading perception that restaurant menus are becoming substantially healthier, but both healthy and unhealthy menu changes can occur simultaneously. Our study found no meaningful changes overall across a one-year time period.

As written in HealthDay: “Restaurant menus did not get any healthier over time,” Helen Wu, a policy and research analyst at the Institute for Population Health Improvement at the University of California, Davis Health System, said in a university news release.

“Consumers need to be aware that when they step into a restaurant, they are playing a high-stakes game with their health by making dietary choices from menus that are loaded with high-calorie, high-sodium options,” Wu said. “This is a game that health-conscious consumers have a very low chance of winning, given the set of menu offerings available in U.S. chain restaurants today.”

As a portion size researcher, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me. Restaurant portions are still too big. Many pasta bowls, for example hold upwards of 3 cups which (translates to an entire days worth of grains). And many steaks contain more than a half pound of meat, which is more than a day’s worth of protein. Many restaurants are still serving sizzling fried foods and meals with lots of extra cheese, both which contribute added fat and calories, not to mention sodium.

For the good news, you can take charge. As I previously wrote here, you can take action to rightsize your plate by sharing an entrée, wrapping up leftovers, and just being mindful of how much is on your plate. Some other healthy restaurant tips I shared here are, order dishes grilled, order dressings and sauces on the side, and limit liquid calories.

Here are several simple swaps you can make for some favorite cuisines.

1. American
Start with a house salad with dressing on the side instead of a Caesar salad.
Order grilled instead of fried chicken or fish entrees.
Choose a baked potato instead of French fries.
Order steamed or sautéed vegetables instead of potatoes in gravy.
Order a veggie burger instead of a cheeseburger.

2. Chinese
Choose steamed instead of fried dumplings
Order steamed brown rice instead of fried rice
Order entrees steamed or lightly sautéed, instead of fried.
Instead of spareribs, choose steamed or sautéed chicken with vegetables.
Order your favorite sauce on the side.

3. Italian
Order pasta primavera instead of fettuccine alfredo.
Skip the extra cheese.
Order pasta in olive oil or tomato sauce instead of cream sauce and vodka sauce.
Start with a salad instead of fried calamari
Choose whole wheat pastas whenever possible.

4. Mexican
Start with gazpacho instead of nachos with cheese.
Order grilled fish or chicken instead of fried beef or pork (carnitas).
Choose borracho beans and rice instead of refried beans.
When making a burrito, choose extra lettuce and tomato instead of extra cheese.
Choose salsa instead of sour cream.

5. Japanese
Start with a seaweed salad instead of fried beancurd.
Order steamed vegetables or instead of vegetables tempura (battered & fried veggies).
Order sushi or sashimi instead of shrimp tempura.
Skip the “spicy” sauce.

6. French
Start with a mixed green salad instead of French onion soup.
Order entrees in a wine based sauce instead of béarnaise sauce.
Order lightly sautéed vegetables instead of creamy “au gratin” vegetables or potatoes.
Choose poached pears instead of crème caramel.

For more by Dr. Lisa Young, click here.

For more on diet and nutrition, click here.

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Most kids’ meals at restaurants are unhealthy: What you can do

BELOW IS MY NEW BLOG POST FOR HUFFINGTON POST.

YOU CAN ALSO READ IT HERE.

A new study out last week by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., found that most meals from national chain restaurants marketed to children were not healthy and did not meet nutrition standards for healthy eating. This is quite troubling, considering the high obesity rates among today’s youth and all the eating out we do. We currently spend nearly half of our food dollars on foods consumed outside the home.

Of the nearly 3,500 meal combinations studied, 97 percent of the meals targeted to kids failed to meet healthy standards developed by nutrition experts. Such standards suggest that a children’s meal contain: no more than 430 calories, no more than 35 percent of calories from fat, and no more than 770 mg sodium, among other parameters.

Ninety-one percent of such meals failed to meet the standards set by the National Restaurant’s Association Kids LiveWell Program. Such standards require that at least one children’s meal (including a beverage) contain fewer than 600 calories, contain no more than 35 percent of calories from fat, and contain at least two servings of the following: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.

As reported in the New York Times, when CSPI conducted the study back in 2008, they found that 99 percent of kids’ meals were unhealthy and failed to meet standards set by nutrition experts.

Why do so many meals get a failing grade? The answer is pretty obvious. They contained sugary beverages, fried foods (including French fries and fried chicken), burgers, and full-fat cheese, in addition to other unhealthy ingredients. The calorie counts, fat, sugar, and sodium levels often exceeded standards. One meal contained 3,200 mg of sodium, more than twice the amount recommended for kids for an entire day.

For some good news: The chain Subway did not offer sugary beverages with kids’ meals. (They were the only chain to do so.) Instead they suggested water or low-fat milk. And the chain’s entire line of Fresh Fit for Kids meals met nutrition standards. It would be great if other restaurants followed Subway’s lead.

As a nutritionist advocating for healthy choices and educating families on nutrition and healthy eating, here are six things you can do when taking youngsters out to eat in a restaurant:

  • Order meals that contain fruits and/or vegetables. Think colorful!
  • Skip the white bread products and choose whole grains (i.e., whole-wheat breads and pastas).
  • Choose water or low-fat dairy instead of soda or other sugary beverages.
  • Skip the extra cheese.
  • Order sauces on the side.
  • Choose grilled, baked, roasted dishes instead of fried dishes.

And better yet, get kids into the kitchen, and involve them in the cooking process. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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Healthy holiday tips

Holiday eating tips: how to enjoy a healthy holiday season

With Passover and Easter around the corner, I’ve been helping clients struggle with issues surrounding holiday eating. Holidays are a time for pleasure and enjoyment, family and friends, and food should be enjoyed during this time. Passover, for example, is a holiday focusing freedom and liberation, among other things, and I have, therefore, helped to free clients from challenging eating traps. Whether you are attending a Passover seder, an Easter dinner, or some other festive gathering, follow the principle of moderation. And remember, this is not your Last Supper. Happy holidays!

Here are some tips and tricks so that you can have a healthy holiday season. Enjoy!!

** Watch portion sizes.

Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but take a small portion.

Avoid portion distortion: moderation is key.

Fill up on MORE fresh fruits and veggies. Follow USDA’s  MyPlate guidelines by filling HALF of your plate with fruits and veggies.

** Banish your membership in the “clean plate club.”

Leave a few bites over.  Ask yourself: Am I hungry?

** Be realistic about weight loss during the holidays

Don’t try to diet during the holidays. Try to maintain your current weight. At the very least, now is not a time to begin a diet.

** Don’t go to a holiday festivity starving.

Eat a healthy snack—yogurt, fruit, veggie soup, salad– before a party

** Balance party eating with other meals.

** Don’t skip meals. Make a plan.

** Make only one trip to the buffet table.

Choose only the foods you really want, and keep your portions moderate.

** Move away from the buffet table when socializing.

** Eat your calories instead of drinking them.

Choose your beverages wisely.

Note: Alcohol is high in calories. Moderation is key.

** When you are the host, include nutritious and lower-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Reduce the fat in holiday recipes.

** Continue a regular exercise program.

** Enjoy good friends and family.

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10 Foods to Eat for Heart Health

Below is my latest blog post on heart healthy foods for Huffington Post. You can also read it here.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S. February is American Heart Month, and a time to raise awareness about heart disease and to educate the public on ways we can live heart-healthier lives. Here are several foods to include in your diet this month in honor of American Heart Month.

1 Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber and contains beta-glucans, which help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. One half-cup serving provides about 4.5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.

2. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with a reduction in heart disease risk. Salmon is also a natural source of healthy protein and vitamin D. One three-ounce serving — the size of a deck of cards — contains 17 grams of protein. The American Heart Association recommends including at least two servings of fish per week (particularly fatty fish).

3. Broccoli is chock-full of the antioxidant vitamins A and C. It is a cruciferous vegetable, and part of the Brassica family, which also includes Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, and collards. Members of the Brassica family are rich in phytochemicals, known to have antioxidant properties.

4. Peanuts are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fat and contain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. Regular consumption of peanuts has been associated with lower risk for coronary heart disease in people who eat them instead of other high-fat foods. Peanut consumption has been shown to improve lipid profiles in those with high cholesterol.

5. Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which may help raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). They are also high in the antioxidant vitamin E.

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

7. Cantaloupe, a member of the melon family is rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, a plant-based vitamin A precursor. It is also rich in the mineral potassium, which may help lower blood pressure and the risk for stroke. A one-cup serving contains a mere 50 calories which can certainly help with weight control.

8. Red wine, in moderation, is associated with heart health and contains a high levels of antioxidants. Polyphenols, including resveratrol, are associated with an increase in good cholesterol, a reduction in bad cholesterol, and a decrease in inflammation.

9. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated, heart-healthy fat. Diets rich in olive oil, such as the Mediterranean diet, have been associated with heart health. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, like polyphenols, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which can help protect blood vessels and other components of the heart.

10. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant associated with cardiovascular health. There are many different varieties of tomatoes, and they all contain important antioxidants, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Tomatoes are also low in calories with one1 medium tomato has about 20 calories.

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February is heart month: a nutrition cheat sheet

In honor of heart health month, which is held the month of February, below are nutrition guidelines and tips on eating for a healthy heart.

* CHOOSE A DIET RICH IN  FRUITS, VEGETABLES, AND WHOLE GRAINS.

* CHOOSE A DIET LOW IN SATURATED FAT AND TRANS FATS: LIMIT FRIED FOODS, FATTY MEAT, BUTTER, AND MARGARINE.

* INCLUDE FOODS RICH IN OMEGA 3 FATS:  SALMON, SARDINES, WALNUTS, AND FLAXSEEDS

* CHOOSE HEART HEALTHY FATS: NUTS, OLIVE OIL, CANOLA OIL, AVOCADO.

* LIMIT INTAKE OF SODIUM: DO NOT USE SALT SHAKER; USE HERBS AND SPICES INSTEAD; AVOID PROCESSED FOODS.

Below are BEST BETS: foods to include for heart health.

GRAINS/STARCHES

Choose foods high in SOLUBLE FIBER to reduce cholesterol levels

grains: oat bran, oatmeal, barley

starchy vegetables: sweet potato, winter squash (butternut, acorn)

Choose whole grains instead of white bread products

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Choose FRESH fruits and vegetables—they are rich in ANTIOXIDANTS, OTHER VITAMINS/MINERALS, FIBER and low in calories

FRUITS: citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, banana, apples, pears

fruit juices such as orange and grapefruit (watch portions of juice)

VEGETABLES: broccoli, carrots, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes,

spinach, cauliflower

MEATS AND ALTERNATIVES

Choose LEAN poultry: chicken breast without skin, fresh turkey breast

Choose fresh fish: baked, broiled or grilled

cod, flounder, red snapper, filet of sole (low in fat)

salmon, tuna, sardines  (rich in heart healthy omega 3’s)

Include beans, peas (split peas, chick peas), lentils: they are high in fiber and low in fat.

Include soy products–tofu, soy milk (good source calcium)

Limit red meat as it is high in saturated fat.

DAIRY PRODUCTS

Choose lowfat milk and dairy products

Skim milk, yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, low fat ricotta

Limit high fat cheese products as they are high in saturated fat.

FATS

Choose moderate amounts of olive oil and canola oil–as they are  high in monounsaturated fat (“Good fat”).

CAUTION:  USE IN MODERATION–ALL FATS HAVE ALOT OF  CALORIES.

Include nuts and seeds in moderation.

Limit butter, coconut oil, palm oil (high in saturated fat).

Limit margarine and other partially hydrogenated products (high in trans fats).

MISC

Avoid foods high in salt and sodium: pickles, soy sauce, processed foods, salt shakers

Limit high fat cakes and pastries.  Save for a treat.

Watch portion sizes!

Exercise!!!

© 2013 Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, CDN

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Welcome to 2013!: 8 Healthy Tips

Welcome to 2013.  8 Tips to Better Health

Happy New Year!

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

Happy 2013!  Do you feel that another year has gone by and you have not met your health and weight loss goals? As a registered dietitian (RD), I counsel so many clients who have told me that they make new resolutions early in the New Year, and by spring, they are bored, frustrated and back to their old patterns. Here are some tips I’ve offered them–and now you–to get out of the all-or-nothing mentality and into the mode of setting lifestyle goals that you can actually stick with to help you lead a healthier and more hassle-free life.

1. Set mini goals. Set goals that are achievable and that work with your life. If you want to lose 50+ pounds, set a mini goal first, say 10 pounds. When you lose those 10 pounds, then you can work on the next 10 pounds.

2. Practice portion control. Watching your portion sizes is the single best way to lose weight and keep it off, while eating all your favorite foods. Bigger portions contain more calories than smaller portions, so scaling back on the size of your food portion will help you trim calories. The best way to get started is first to identify how much you actually eat and when you overeat so that you can make necessary changes. Practicing portion control does NOT mean having to eat tiny portions of all foods. You’ll want to limit food portions that are high in calories—such as salad dressings, chocolate, and soda, for example. But good news—you can eat MORE fresh fruits and veggies without having to worry about how much you’ve just eaten. A salad is a great choice (and don’t worry about how much lettuce and cucumbers you include, as they have few calories) but you’ll want to scale back on the salad dressing which is high in calories. Aim for no more than a shot glass worth of dressing which is 2 tablespoons.  I offer an extensive list of tips and tricks in my book The Portion Teller Plan.

3. Keep a food diary for a while. Identifying your problem areas with your food choices is the first step toward making lasting changes. Try keeping a food diary—even for just a month—to identify your problem zones. Try to be mindful of what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, and if you eat because you are truly hungry, or for some other reason.

4. Make small changes. Aim for making 1-2 small changes at a time. You are most likely to stick to it, if you set a small goal.  First, try to avoid liquid calories in the form of soda, for example. After a week or so, when you get that down pat, work on avoiding fried foods for example. And so on. And reward your behavior!

5. Eat a rainbow of colors. Try eating an assortment of fruits and vegetables and vary them by color. Choosing a colorful array of fruits and vegetables is best, as different antioxidants exist in the different color spectrum. PS: By eating a more colorful diet, I’m not referring to different colors of M & M’s!!

6. Indulge in your favorite “cheat” every now and then. By incorporating and legalizing your favorite cheat food once in a while, you will less likely feel the need to have it. Enjoy  it and don’t feel guilty.

7. Get moving. Do an activity you really enjoy and can be incorporated into your life. Pick something you enjoy and can sustain. If you didn’t like going to gym last year, this year, set a goal to do a different kind of exercise. And, remember, small lifestyle exercises count. Take the stairs instead of an elevator, walk for a few blocks at lunch, or park your car a few blocks away from your destination.

8. Nix DIETS. Forget fad diets, high protein diets, or “magical” food combining. You are most likely to succeed if you eat foods from all food groups and develop a healthy lifestyle.

And finally, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. MAKE A COMMITMENT TO SUCCEED AND YOU WILL!!

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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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