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Posted by Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Making healthy food choices means taking a close look at your current eating habits, and making small changes that add up to new habits and better nutrition.

Why is it so hard to make healthy food choices? It’s not as if you don’t know which foods are healthy and which ones aren’t. But sometimes it’s difficult to make the right food choices when you’re constantly faced with temptation or don’t have a plan.

Not only do you have to make food choices every time you eat a meal or a snack, you’re actually making food choices all day long. Every time you see, smell or think about food—which happens a lot more than you might think—you’ve got choices to make.

The trick to making better food choices is learning how to “trade up”—nutritionally speaking. Look at the foods you’re currently eating and see if you can find some healthier choices to make instead. If your dietary patterns are generally good, and if you’re eating regular meals and snacks and including a variety of foods, then it’s just a matter of plugging in some healthier choices in place of those that aren’t doing you much good.

The first step in improving your diet is to take a good, hard look at your current eating habits. Write down everything you eat for a couple of days. You can’t make changes if you don’t realistically know what you’re working with or where your trouble spots are.

Once you’ve done that, look your food diary over without judging yourself. Just be objective. Look over your eating patterns and the food choices you’re making, and simply acknowledge that there are some things that you probably want to do differently. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for the things you’re doing right.

Cut Back on the Highest Calorie Foods

The next step is to work towards cutting back on the highest calorie foods that you usually eat. Start with the high fat and high sugar foods first. Once you’ve identified the biggest offenders, use the healthy food chart below to help you find healthier swaps. As these healthier food choices get incorporated into your routine, you’ll gradually improve the nutrient quality of your diet, cut calories, and probably find that your meals are more filling and satisfying.

Know What You’re Eating

Once you’ve kept your food diary for a while, you’ll have a good sense for what foods you’re eating. But you also want to learn what’s in the foods that you’re eating. When you shop, take time to read labels. Look at ingredients and the nutrition facts so you can evaluate calories, fat and sugar content in the foods that you buy.

Keep it Simple

One good strategy for making better food choices is to lean toward foods that haven’t had a lot done to them. The closer a food is to its natural state or the less processed it is, the more nutritional value it tends to have. You’ll also be getting less fat, sugar and salt.

Be Realistic

If you’re craving ice cream, trying to satisfy the craving with a handful of celery sticks probably isn’t going to work. Perhaps a carton of Greek-style yogurt with some berries would work for you, or a sliced up frozen banana.

Plan Ahead

It’s easier to make better choices when you plan ahead. When you have a plan for what you’re going to eat for meals and snacks, you’re more committed to eating the healthier choices.

Keep your focus on replacing bad habits with better ones and know that every little bit adds up. As you continue to make better choices, they’ll become new habits, and over time your better choices will be the foods you crave.

Healthy Swaps, Healthier Food Choices

Instead of… Try this…
Refined flour breads, cereals, flour tortillas 100% whole grain bread, cereal, corn tortillas
Sodas, fruit juices Plain or sparkling water with lemon, lime or a few pieces of fresh fruit
White rice, noodles, potatoes Brown rice, quinoa, millet, whole grain pasta, soba noodles, sweet potatoes—or omit altogether and double up on veggies
Cakes, cookies, pies, pastry, ice cream Fresh fruit, frozen fruit (cherries, bananas, mango have a satisfying, chewy texture), nonfat yogurt with fruit
Snack chips, crackers Edamame, raw vegetables with hummus, brown rice cakes, nuts or soy nuts
Mayonnaise, salad dressings, sauces, gravies, sour cream Mustard, mashed avocado, low-fat salad dressings, salsa, lemon juice, plain nonfat yogurt
High calorie coffee drinks Nonfat latte or cappuccino, herbal tea, hot protein shake
Fatty meats, sausages, etc. Lean meats, poultry breast, seafood, soy meat substitutes

 

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Posted in Nutrition Health Articles By Guy Alony

Do you know what 100 calories looks like? Hi, I'm Susan Bowerman, Registered Dietician and today we're going to look at 100 calorie portions of different foods. 

What makes a food high or low in calories? High fat foods have a lot of calories per bite, while watery foods, like vegetables, have the fewest, which may help you see why some foods rack up calories so fast, and why 100 calories' worth of healthy fruits and veggies can be so filling.

We're going to start at this end of the table and move from the smallest servings over to the largest. Oil is pure fat, which is why you only get 2 teaspoons for 100 calories. Mayonnaise and butter each contain a bit of water, so the calories get slightly diluted, but 100 calories still only buys you 1 tablespoon of butter of mayonnaise.

Nut butters are pretty rich, too for 100 calories you also only get about 1 Tablespoon. Most cheese is high in fat, so for 100 calories you get barely a bite. Sugar in any form white, brown, honey, maple syrup, and agave can add up quickly if you don't use it sparingly. For 100 calories, you get about 2 tablespoons of any of these sugars.

Your typical cookie gives you a dose of fat and sugar, which is why the calories can add up before you know it. Just two little cookies have 100 calories. If chips are your thing, know that the average potato chip has about 10 calories. That means that just 10 chips will cost you 100 calories and most people eat a lot more than that at a sitting.

An average slice of whole grain bread is about 100 calories, which isn't bad, considering the vitamins, minerals and fiber you'll be picking up. But a bagel is heavy and dense. A typical bagel is equivalent to about 4 slices of bread, which is why for 100 calories you can only eat about ¼ of this bagel.

Moving on to proteins, the amount of fat they contain makes a big difference in calories. 100 calories of steak is just a few bites, but for the same calories you get a larger amount of turkey since it's so low in fat. Most fish is very low in fat, too, which is why you get 20 large shrimp for 100 calories.

Fruits and vegetables are generally your best calorie bargains, since they're full of calorie-free water and fiber. But dried fruits can add up quickly since they've had most of the water removed. 100 calories' worth of raisins is only ¼ cup, which is why you get 4 times the amount when you eat them as fresh grapes.

Since they naturally contain sugar, 100 calorie servings of fruit are a little smaller than 100 calorie servings of vegetables, but they're still a bargain. For 100 calories, you can eat 1 ½ grapefruit, 2 cups of strawberries, or a large apple.

But vegetables are where you really get the most for your calories. Since they're full of water and fiber, look at what you can get. For 100 calories, you can eat 2 stalks of broccoli, 3 cucumbers, 4 carrots or two entire heads of lettuce! 

For more nutrition advice from Herbalife visithttp://www.DiscoverGoodNutrition.com or take a look at my YouTube playlist: http://hrbl.me/VJ6XEl.

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Posted in Nutrition By Guy Alony

When it comes to your meals, what do you do to make them special? I’ll bet if I asked you what you ate for lunch two days ago, chances are pretty good that you can’t remember.  Maybe you worked through lunch and ate at your desk, or picked at some leftovers from the refrigerator.  Or you were so caught up in your favorite television show, that you scarcely noticed what was on your plate.  On the other hand, if I asked you to recall a special meal you’ve had lately – not even a holiday or birthday meal, just what you’d call a ‘nice meal’ – you can probably recall that meal in great detail.  And it’s likely that it was more than just the food that made that meal memorable.  It’s the little things, too, that make meals more special – and, more satisfying.

 So, aside from the food, what makes a meal memorable?  Maybe it was your dining companions. Maybe, instead of shoveling it down, you lingered and talked over a meal.  Maybe it was the way the food was presented on the plate, or the shiny silverware, or the slice of lemon in your ice water.  Or it could have been the cool jazz playing, or the candlelight, the crisp linens or the sprig of fresh green basil nestled next to the grilled fish.

 All our senses are involved when we eat.  When a plate of food is appealing to the eye, has a wonderful aroma, and a variety of flavors and textures, we take note.  And we usually rate those meals as not only more pleasant – but more satisfying, too.

 If your eating has become routine – and your meals look the same, day after day  – that could spell trouble.  In an attempt to get more satisfied, you may find yourself eating more, but enjoying it less.

 So why not try making meals little more special?

It doesn’t take much.  Turn off the television and listen to some music.  Throw a tablecloth on the table, grab a cloth napkin and maybe light a candle or two.   Having leftovers?  Try putting them on a plate – rather than eating them out of a plastic container. 

And try a little accessorizing.  A ripe red strawberry on top of a protein shake would brighten anyone’s day; a shower of fresh chopped parsley on top of your grilled chicken or fish takes it from drab to delightful.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Posted in Nutrition Health Articles By Guy Alony
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