Showing posts with label Healthy Eating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healthy Eating. Show all posts
Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Best Diets of 2021 | DASH, Med & More!

the best diet of 2021

This post is good for: 

  • Anyone interested in learning more about various diet plans
  • Anyone interested in the DASH Diet, Mediterranean Diet or Flexitarian Diet

U.S. News and World Report has released it annual Best Diet list for 2021 and there are some usual suspects atop the list. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How To Eat Healthy In Restaurants

How to eat healthy in restaurants, dine out eat well.

Most restaurant meals are absolute fat pills. You can eat an entire day's worth of calories in one sitting. Whether you dine out for work or leisure, there are a number of strategies that can help you survive eating in restaurants without blowing your diet.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

10 Healthy Foods That Can Cause Us To Gain Weight

healthy foods that make you fat, 10 healthy foods that make you fat

While certain foods are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and healthy fats they also contain carbs and calories. No matter how healthy, if you eat too much that can lead to weight gain.
Sunday, April 6, 2014

Craving Chocolate? Try These Healthy, Easy Recipes

My daughter's new favorite catchphrase is "I Want Chocolate".

She can see a chocolate bar or Hershey's Kiss a mile away....and will walk the mile to eat it.

I'm a realist: she's not going to go through life avoiding Reese's Peanut Butter cups or Cadbury Hardshell eggs (both of which are my faves, btw).  Eating them on occasion is fine.

I wanted a healthier alternative for more frequent consumption and found two recipes that are home runs.

Copycat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
You have to try Chocolate Covered-Katie's Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs recipe.  Oh. My. God. Ridiculously good. The recipe calls for any nut butter.  I had Jiff All-Natural Peanut Butter on hand.  I'm looking forward to experimenting with other brands and types of nut butters.

Peanut Butter & Powdered Sugar

Blended Peanut Butter & Powdered Sugar

Peanut Butter Balls, which must be frozen for about an hour before dipping in chocolate
The finished product!
They were fabulous.  Granted, they're not the most visually appealing but they ROCKED.  The recipe suggests making the chocolate coating with coconut oil, which gives it a slightly coconut hint.  I used Nutiva 100% coconut oil.

Raw Brownies 
Deliciously Ella has a deliciously easy raw brownie recipe.  It's the easiest thing I've made in a while.  I used agave nectar instead of maple syrup and added chia seeds to the recipe and will experiment with adding cinnamon for a more of a Mexican Chocolate flavor.

Blend in a food processor

Into the fridge to chill for about an hour

The finished product! 

The Verdict

My daughter love them!

The Takeaway
Both of the recipes were insanely good and easy to make.  The raw brownies took all of about 10 minutes to prepare.  I was surprised both recipes called for cocoa powder instead of chocolate bars that can be melted.

More importantly, they're a healthier alternative to store-bought, preservative filled chocolate treats.

Get the Ingredients 

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is Getting Enough Protein the Key to Weight Loss?

After three incredibly indulgent days in New Orleans, I am focused on temperance and moderation.  I might have had about a dozen souffle potatoes from Antoine's on Sunday.  Might.  
antoine's souffle potatoes
Antoine's Souffle Potatoes
As I plan my meals for the week, protein and greens are a key component of them.   Apparently, not enough protein could be one of they key reasons why we overeat. 

An Australian study found that the instinctive appetite for protein in humans is so strong that people will keep eating until their bodies tell them they have had enough of it.  The problem tends to be in that we eat too much crap before we will fill up on protein. 

The University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre determined that as we eat foods high in carbohydrates, fats and sugar, we reduce the amount of protein we consume.  The New Zealand Herald examines the findings published in Obesity Reviews
grilled chicken
Courtesy: Beck's Prime
"We found that regardless of your age or body mass index, your appetite for protein is so strong that you will keep eating until you get enough protein, which could mean eating much more than you should,' said lead author Dr Alison Gosby.

When you consume things like soft drinks, which are fairly low in proportion of protein but high in calories, your energy intake will increase because you'll need to keep eating to get the protein you need,' Dr Gosby said."

Think about it, when you eat a lunch full of starches and sugars featuring potatoes, bread and cookies, you're not fully satiated.  You're likely to be reaching for that mid-afternoon snack.  

Worried about the expense of proteins like meat, fish or poultry?  Try less expensive sources such as beans, eggs, nut butters and tofu. 

lentil kale & sweet potato soup
Lentil, kale & sweet potato soup
It's easy to get protein at every meal.  Consider this: 

  • An egg or two at breakfast.  Worried about fat and cholesterol?  Try egg whites.  Short on time, hard boil a batch of eggs on Sunday to last you throughout the week.  Out on eggs?  Try some Greek yogurt. 
  • Add a tablespoon of peanut butter to your apple for a snack or pair that apple with a piece of string cheese. 
  • Have a veggie burger or put a protein like chicken, turkey, lean steak, canned tuna or salmon on your lunchtime salad. 
  • For dinner, make a big pot of veggie soup featuring lentils.  I'm partial to my lentil, kale and sweet potato soup.  Prepare a batch of chicken breasts for the week to have for dinner every night.   
Getting enough protein doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming.  It's really quite simple and worth the effort when you consider the payoff. 
Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Win the Weight Loss Game by Focusing on What You CAN Eat vs What You Can't

A debate with a friend turned heated recently.  He is trying to lose weight and get in "fighting shape".  He is incorporating a low calorie weight loss plan that is, frankly, bland and boring.  He also laments the fact that he can't have beer, breads, ice cream, the chips he loves, blah blah blah blah. 

Ice cream chocolate chip sandwich/Courtesy: Bon Appetite
I countered with two points: First, you CAN have those things once in a while as a part of a well-balanced diet.  He thought he had to eliminate them completely.  Wrong.  Think once a week, not twice a day.

Then I presented him with this: "look at the great food you CAN have.  Think fish, chicken, lean steak, sweet potatoes, greens of all sorts, peppers, fresh berries, red wine (HELLO), dark chocolate, blah blah blah blah." 

He couldn't get over the fact that he CAN'T have certain food items.  I maintain that if you focus on what you CAN have while you're trying to drop weight or stay within a healthy range, it will make the sometimes taxing mental process of trying to win the weight loss game more bearable.

Does this sound familiar: "Crap, no 4pm cookie, no afterwork beers, no pretzels during the Rangers game!  This sucks!!!!"

Yeah, it does suck.  The thought of what you can't consume can consume you so much so that you end stuffing your face with all the stuff you swore off eating.

The best, healthiest smoothie ever.
Instead, approach your day this way:
That's not some pollyanna way of thinking.  It works.  Succeeding at eating a healthy diet is as much about mental execution as it is the physical.  We know the right foods to eat.  It's just hard to do it.  Get your mind focused on what you CAN eat instead of what you CAN'T and you WILL succeed.


Looking for a great way to eat a bounty of fresh produce, wine, chocolate, nuts and more, try the Mediterranean "diet".  I hate using the word "diet" because it's much more of an approach to eating that is wonderfully balanced and so inclusive you won't feel like you're depriving yourself of anything.
Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Delicious Baked Apple Dessert in a Snap

Actually, it's faster than a snap.  This apple dessert recipe took about seven minutes from conception to completion.

After the delicious (really!) kale, lentil and sweet potato soup I made for the main course, I wanted something sweet but not a sugar overload.

We had a bunch of apples in the house, so I pulled this recipe out of my you-know-where.  It turned out to be a winner.

Gina's Delicious Kale, Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

Will she like it? 
While looking for easy ways to use some vegetables I had on hand, I found a recipe for kale, lentil and sweet potato soup on the blog Eat Live Run.  While her version is great, I have formulated my own adaptation that I think is fabulous.

Gina's Kale, Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 10 diced baby carrots, peeled and small diced
  • 3/4 large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic (garlic powder is fine in a pinch)
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, torn
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small 1/4-1/2″ cubes 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock 
  • Mrs. Bragg's Organic Sprinkle Seasoning to taste 
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Heat the oil in a saute pan.  Once hot add the onion, celery, carrot and sweet potato and cook until softened.  Add the garlic and kale and continue cooking until kale wilts.

Transfer vegetables to a soup pot.  Add the lentils, seasoning and stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils and sweet potatoes are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid.

I served this with a warmed baguette and bit of brie.  The sweet potatoes and lentils provide a hint of sweet, the kale provides texture and the red peppers add some heat.  This soup didn't need any salt or pepper.  It's a substantial dish.

But does the kid like it?  That's the million dollar question.

Call her Mikey....she likes it! 
She dug it!  She would pull a piece of onion or kale out of her mouth if it was too large.  Otherwise, she loved it, particularly the lentils and sweet potatoes.

This recipe took about 45 minutes to make, start to finish taking into account my remedial knife skills.  It freezes beautifully.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wendy's Apple Pecan Chicken Salad Is A Decent Fast Food Option

I was stuck in a total pinch over the weekend: doing the single mother thing while the other half was on a golf trip.  Having to anchor our late Sunday show for CBS, I didn't have time to pack a meal for dinner.  Our tv station is in one of the most food-barren parts of east Fort Worth with the likes of Chicken Express, McDonald's and KFC lining the streets.  There are no healthy options nearby which makes packing lunch, dinner or snacks essential.

Starving, I took the plunge and tried Wendy's.  I knew they offered salads so I picked the full-sized Apple Pecan Chicken Salad for dinner.  It wasn't bad.  Granted, my expectation level was incredibly low but the apples were fresh, the lettuce wasn't brown or wilted and the chicken wasn't too overly seasoned with salt.  It actually tasted good.  The salad featured a liberal helping of blue cheese and cranberries.  Wendy's offered a packet of roasted pecans and pomegranate vinaigrette for topping the salad.

I used the pecans and added just a tiny touch of the dressing.  I'm not a fan of fruity, sweet salad dressing.  Overall it was a decent dinner choice that was quite filling.   This is not something to eat daily but certainly an option you can enjoy in a pinch.

Here is the nutritional breakdown for a full-sized salad according to Wendy's:
  • 570 calories
  • 27 grams of fat, from the cheese & pecans; 8 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fatty acids
  • 51 grams of carbohydrates
  • 39 grams of sugar - this is high.  Sugar is the second ingredient in the pomegranate dressing - eek!  Also, some sugar comes from the cranberries and apples.
  • 37 grams of protein
Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rock Your 2013 Resolution with Three Calorie Cutting Tricks

Three days into 2013 you're still motivated to get in your best shape ever, right?  Yes!

You can do this and it doesn't have to be a painful, life-force-sucking endeavor.  Wednesday I blogged about getting mentally ready to lose weight.  In short, wrap your head around the lifestyle changes you will need to make to accomplish slow, successful and permanent weight loss.  Getting your brain involved in the process, makes a world of difference.

Also keep a food journal.  Do it.  It works.  Promise. 

In my experience, permanent weight loss is usually a matter of moving more, eating less crap and consuming more quality, real food.  And after a few attempts at rapid weight loss, I can guarantee, you can't drop 20 pounds in five days.  Five months?  Yes.  

While there is a lot of science involved in weight loss, there are a few incredibly easy tricks that can help you eat fewer calories.  These three are so simple that you won't even notice that you're doing your waistline a favor.
  • Eat with your nondominant hand.  If you're left handed, use the right and vice versa.  It takes some getting used to but that's the point.  It keeps you from quickly shoveling food in your mouth.  Think slow, enjoyable and mindful eating.
  • Put your fork down between each bite of food.  Again, it will force you to eat slower than you normally do.  This, in turn, allows your stomach time to signal your brain it's full.
  • Leave at least two bites of food on your plate at every meal in restaurants and at home if you're doling out huge portions.  Trust me, you don't need those last two bites of steak, guacamole, mac and cheese, tiramisu or whatever it is that is you're noshing.  Restaurant portions are way too big.  Just leave two full forkfuls of food at every restaurant meal and huge home meal (like that Thanksgiving dinner) You will reduce the calories you consume without even noticing the difference.
You don't have to jump head first and try all three of these at once.  Practice one at a meal or two, starting today with lunch or dinner.  You will notice that you aren't eating as much.  

Let me know how it goes! 
Saturday, December 1, 2012

French Women DO Get Fat

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Because you love Paris & France so much (we do, too), we created a website devoted solely to France. 
Please visit for the full story.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Best Green Smoothie Recipe Ever

The amazing green smoothie recipe keeps getting better.

It's a perfect "kitchen sink" recipe because you throw whatever you have on hand in the blender for a fabulous breakfast, snack or quick lunch when paired with a few nuts or some string cheese.

The double bonus: your kids will love it.  My daughter, Jordan, has a spinach smoothie almost every day at breakfast.

My original green smoothie recipe  featured berries, bananas and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.  Easy, delicious and only about 220 calories.

Add two handfuls of spinach to make the smoothie a nutritional game changer.  It packs a powerful antioxidant punch with few additional calories.  The crazy thing is you can't even taste the spinach.

I've started added frozen kale to the mix, too.  It offers the amazing nutritional green boost while thickening the consistency.  The kale does add more of a "green" flavor, though but it's not overwhelming.

Here's the basic base recipe:
  • Eight ounces almond milk (again, I love Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla)
  • One big handful of berries
  • One banana
  • Two handfuls of spinach
  • Optional: chia seed or flax seeds
Another view
The finished product

You can use any fruit combination with a few greens.  Pictured below is another version with the Almond Breeze, half a mango, half a banana, a few strawberries and two handfuls of frozen kale.  Delicious!
Mango Kale Smoothie
These are so good that they can be served as a frozen dessert treat.  Just use less milk and add more frozen ingredients for a thicker, soft-serve consistency.

*Almond milk is not safe for those with nut allergies and should not be used as a substitute for infant formula or breast milk.
Saturday, September 15, 2012

It Was Only a Matter of Time: The Starbucks Diet

Jared Fogle dropped 245 pounds eating Subway sandwiches in the 90's.  Some random chick lost weight eating only Taco Bell drive thru fare.  Now a 68-year old Virginia librarian claims she has lost 85 pounds over the past two years getting her meals from Starbucks.

Here is a sample of Christine Hall's daily diet.  

She usually starts the day with oatmeal and a black coffee (140 calories)  while her lunch and dinners consists of either a bistro box - a selection of cheese, bread and meats - or a panini which  total around 220-460 calories.
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recipe Review: Cooking Light's Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

If you know me, you know I can't cook. I can make awesome smoothies, excellent toast, rocking oatmeal, a decent salad with the dressing to boot. Other than that, I'm a failure. I once attempted a lowfat key lime pie that my dog wouldn't even try.

To the point: Cooking Light magazine had an interesting Cheesy Chicken Enchilada recipe that I decided to try.  I posted it on Pinterest as soon as I found it but didn't actually read the ingredient list.  It called for flour tortillas.  As a Tex-Mex purist, I don't do flour tortillas in an enchilada.  I substituted Whole Foods blue corn tortillas for the flour, which lowered the calorie count.

Image via
These were pretty easy to make.  The mixture itself was a breeze.  I bought grilled chicken breast (I seriously don't know how to cook a chicken breast) and just cut them into little pieces.  I sliced the onions, green onions and garlic and the rest of the ingredients. The most tedious part was warming the tortillas in a pan.

I assembled the enchiladas and while they cooked for 20 minutes, I made the suggested salad with greens topped with fresh pre-sliced jicama and mangoes from Whole Foods (my knife skills suck).

After topping the enchiladas with cheese and green onions and heating them an additional six minutes, I served dinner to the husband and sister with a bottle of Waterbrook chardonnay.  This fruitier chardonnay worked wonderfully to cut the creaminess of the cheese.

The end result was jawdropping.  They loved the enchiladas.  They really loved the dinner, lowfat cheese and all.  No one loves my food. Being so used to wonderful, grease-filled enchiladas I am surprised at how good these were.  The uber-light and fruity salad was a perfect complement and the juice was just right.

Having said that, I would have kicked the spices up a notch.  I don't miss full-fat cheese but these definitely could have used perhaps more garlic and onion.  I would also purchase a can of "hot" green chiles, not mild.  Definitely don't do these with flour tortillas like the recipe suggests.  Go with the corn for more texture and more authentic flavor.
Friday, January 6, 2012

Green Tea + Pepper = Weight Loss Boost?

This is interesting.

You've probably read about consuming certain foods together to boost that food's health-providing properties.  Think broccoli with broccoli sprouts to up the anti-cancer effects or spinach eaten with eggs  combines protein and iron and, in turn, increases your metabolism.

According to a recent Rutgers University study cited in Whole Living magazine (LOVE that mag!) green tea and pepper is the new power combo to help you lose weight.  Sipping the green stuff, along with the spice improves the absorption of the tea's EGCG by as much as 130 percent.  EGCG which is the catechin found in tea that has a laundry list of good stuff that can rock your body.

So how do you get green tea and pepper together?  You're not going to sprinkle it in your tea.  Trust me, it's not so hot.

How about eating a salad with a liberal helping of pepper with some iced green tea (add mint to the tea for a delicious treat).  Try any dish whether it be chicken, fish, even meat followed by a cup of green tea after you finish the meal.  The tea acts as a nice digestif.  If you're in the cooking mode, you could ladle a cup of steeped tea over a mixture of brown rice and root vegetables.  Ok, maybe that's a stretch.

The point is, you can get creative with the green tea/pepper combo.  It's not that hard to work it in your diet if you do the salad with pepper or sprinkle liberal amounts of pepper on your food while consuming green tea.  This is an easy tip that might just do you a weight loss favor without trying too hard at all.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Best Snack Bars To Beat That 3pm Snack Attack

luna bar, thunderbird energetica, thinkthin bars, luna bars, luna bar protein
Click on any item to learn more about it.

I am one of those snack bar freaks, a connoisseur even.  If you find the right one, it can be a perfect midafternoon snack or a quality breakfast or lunch replacement in a pinch.

For a snack, look for something that is between 100-200 calories.  For a meal replacement, based on your personal caloric intake, try not to go above 350 calories.  Try to avoid bars that contain a ton of sugar or sugar alcohols, hydrogenated oils or saturated fats.  It's a good idea to find a bar that has a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Thunderbird Energetica - every flavor is delicious but I am particularly fond of the Cashew Fig variety.

thinkThin Lean Protein & Fiber - a great afternoon snack that delivers 10 grams of protein and only 150 calories and five grams of sugar. Also like their Divine bars.

Luna Bar Protein - a lower glycemic bar, with 12 grams of protein that's under 200 calories.  More of candy bar consistency.

Luna Bar  - in general, these provide around eight grams of protein, five grams of fiber with around 13 grams of sugar. They're a better alternative than a cookie that my former fat self would eat. I especially love the Blueberry BlissChocolate Peppermint Stick or Iced Oatmeal Raisin flavors. They also come in 100-calorie mini form, which I love.

LARABAR - sort of a girlie bar but is 100% natural and made with real food like nuts, dates, apples, carrots and other products you recognize. The Carrot Cake flavor is great. Be careful, though. I have almost broken a tooth from a rogue pecan shell in LARABARS. These also come in 100-calorie minis. I also love their Coconut Macaroon Sweet & Salty Über bars. YUM!

Fiber One Protein Caramel Nut Chewy Bars - don't judge. These aren't 100% all natural but if I am craving chocolate or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, these hit the spot. They have 130 calories, seven grams of protein, seven grams of sugar and five grams of fiber. They're insanely good.

Make Your Own Snack Bar

You can also make your own bar. Nigella Lawson has a great snack bar recipe she calls a "breakfast bar" but you can adjust it to your own personal preference.  I alter it by using nonfat milk, almonds or walnuts instead of peanuts and nix the coconut. I always add flaxseeds for the omega 3 benefit.

I've made a goji berry walnut version and oatmeal raisin (tip: use liberal amounts of cinnamon)  These truly are "clean out the pantry" bars which are cheaper than anything you can buy in the store.

What am I missing? I'm always on the lookout for relatively good-for-you snack bars. Please share your favorites in the comments section.

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