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Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement Uncategorized

Motivation Monday: 8 Foods That Are Surprisingly Good for Weight Loss

Losing weight doesn’t always have to be about deprivation and denial. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Successful, sustainable weight loss is far more attainable when you focus on the quality of food rather than the quantity. Eat wholesome, nutritious, (and even calorie-filled) foods and you’ll be far more satisfied and content on less. Many of the foods people think are off-limits when it comes to losing weight are the very foods that have the ability to actually help us reach our goal. Here are eight foods that cannot only help you reach your weight-loss goal, but help you keep it off for good.

Drink skim and stay slim? Not always so when it comes to dairy. A recent study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that more than 18,000 women who consumed more higher-fat and whole-milk dairy products had a lower risk of being overweight.

How can this be? Some essential fatty acids are stripped when milk is skimmed — the very component that may help you feel fuller sooner and stay full longer with full fat products. Several studies have found that when people reduce the amount of fat in their diet, they tend to replace it with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can have a worse effect on overall health.

Bottom line: Eat a variety of dairy and worry less about how much fat it contains. Limit high-sugar ice cream treats, and buy plain yogurt with no added sugars, which tend to pile up in the flavored and fruited varieties.

In addition to healthy fats, nut butters contain an impressive amount of protein and fiber, too. Peanut butter boasts a plentiful 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons along with 2 grams of fiber.

A study from Harvard School of Public Health found that regular nut consumption among a group of more than 51,000 women was associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. A similar study in the Journal of Nutrition found that weight changed very little among people who consumed a normal versus nut-enhanced diet. In other words: Nuts and nut butters can be a healthy addition to your diet, even when trying to lose weight. Try snacking on nut butters in between meals to sustain your appetite. A 200-calorie cashew or peanut butter snack is far more satisfying and filling than say, 200 calories of crackers or pretzels.


Shopping tip: Skip the reduced-fat versions, which ironically tend to have more calories, sugar, sodium and preservatives than regular nut butter. Buy those that list nuts — and maybe a bit of salt — in the ingredient list, and use them as a way to eat more whole grains, fruits, and veggies. What’s not to love about an apple smeared in almond butter?

Pasta is surprisingly low on the glycemic index — a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how quickly they raise blood-sugar levels. The lower the number, the longer it takes to digest, leaving you with a steadier source of fuel to support energy levels. Whole-grain pasta falls in the 32–37 range (about half that of white bread), while white pasta averages in the mid-40 range — still much lower than that slice of white bread. And because pasta is traditionally tossed with other wholesome foods like seafood, vegetables and olive oil, a healthy pasta meal is far from off-limits for those concerned about their weight.

Pro tip: Stick to whole-grain varieties, double up on veggies and skip the super cheesy, cream-based sauces.

Rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals, eggs are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense choice when it comes to snacks and meals. At just 70 calories per egg, there’s no reason not to enjoy the entire egg, yolk and white combined. Yes, egg yolks are a source of dietary cholesterol, but recent studies now prove that dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than we once thought. The evidence says eating whole eggs in moderation is safe, and some studies even show they may aid in weight loss when eaten in place of refined carbs.



Bonus: Eggs are super cheap and cook quickly — a perfect solution for busy, time-crunched mornings. Cook your eggs in olive oil and use them as a vessel for sautéed greens and vegetables, then serve them over whole-grain toast for a complete, well-balanced, weight-conscious meal.

What most people fail to realize is that per ounce, dark meat chicken or turkey (from the leg and thigh) only has about 5 extra calories and 1g of fat more than white breast meat. The skin is where most of the fat lies — skip that on any part of the bird for a far more calorie-conscious choice. Dark meat poultry tends to be more tender, juicy and rich in flavor than white meat — requiring not only less butter and oil to cook with, but also less sauce or creamy condiments to make it palatable than breast meat. It’s a great source of lean protein that may leave you more satisfied at meal time, and less likely to overeat later.

Dark meat contains more myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein that gives it a gray-reddish color, as well as more iron and zinc — two immune-boosting minerals.

When it comes to weight loss, limiting liquid calories can be the key to success. Alcohol carries 7 calories per gram, which not only adds up quickly, but goes down quickly, too. But giving up our occasional cocktail at the end of a long day is non-negotiable for some.

Red wine may be more beneficial than white, according to one study from Washington State University, which found the polyphenols in red wine (including resveratrol) may even prevent obesity by aiding in metabolism. The heftiest boost of polyphenols comes from whole grapes, but wine certainly carries a portion of those benefits.


Bottom line: Alcoholic beverages won’t necessarily aid in weight loss, but they do help us relax and wind down from stressful days. In moderation, alcohol is good for the heart, too. Drink responsibly (not on an empty stomach), limit your intake and choose a 120-calorie glass of wine over sugar-loaded cocktails and carbohydrate-dense beer for better weight-loss success.

Your daily cup of joe may do more than just help you roll out of bed each morning. It stimulates the brain and nervous system, and contains antioxidants that may help improve glucose metabolism — which not only helps suppress the appetite, but also lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Caffeinated coffee may also stimulate thermogenesis, and the body’s ability to burn more fat stores, improving performance in endurance exercises like running and biking.

While the effects of coffee on weight loss are likely minimal, the overall health benefits are reason enough to enjoy a cup or two each morning as part of your daily routine. A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 studies found those who drank their morning cups of coffee were actually at the lowest risk for heart problems.

A cup of advice: Not all coffee is created equal — most of the benefits associated with coffee are singular to black coffee — not the cream and sugar-filled coffee beverages from drive-thrus and coffee boutiques. Limit the flavored (and over-priced) lattes to a rare treat.

Just one or two bites of rich, satisfying chocolate can not only reduce stress levels, but help curb cravings for other sugar-loaded treats, too. High stress levels can lead to cortisol hormone spikes, which increase the appetite and emotional eating behaviors.

The benefits of chocolate are specific to the concentration of cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have multiple health benefits, such as improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the benefits.

Buying tip: Skip the convenience store and check-out lane chocolate bars, which contain a lot of added fats and sugars — which can counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits. Look for bars with at least 70% cacao or higher, with a short, simple ingredient list … and indulge in just an ounce or two. Eating too much will work against you.

Portion tip: Thighs are about half the size of the breast, making them a far more portion-savvy option than today’s 9- and 10-ounce breast halves. Double bonus: They’re cheaper, too.

 

Source:

BY: SIDNEY FRY, MS, RD
Categories
Food & Nutrition Uncategorized

Three Easy Ways to Reduce Sugar Cravings

Most of us have experienced intense sugar cravings at one point in time — and we can all agree that once a sugar craving hits, it can be tough to ignore. Unfortunately, the key to reducing sugar cravings is actually eating less of the sweet stuff. While some may prefer to go cold turkey and completely stop consuming added sugar, many of us find this approach unrealistic and unsustainable in the long run.

For those wanting a less restrictive approach, here are three easy tips to reduce sugar cravings for good.

1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER

Dehydration often masks itself as hunger — particularly in the form of sugar cravings. This is because even mild dehydration can make it difficult for our body to tap into energy stores, particularly glycogen, the body’s main storage form for carbohydrates. When your body can’t access simple carbs quickly — especially after exercise — your cravings for them increase, often in the form of a sugar desire.

Hydration Tips:

  • Down a minimum of 64 fluid ounces (8 cups) of water daily. Split it up by drinking 32 ounces (4 cups) before lunch and another 32 ounces before dinner is over.
  • The next time a sugar craving strikes, drink a tall glass of water and wait 15–20 minutes. Your craving might just disappear.

2. CUT BACK ON ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

2013 study at Yale University suggested the brain is not easily fooled by artificial sweeteners in lieu of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. The study looked at a specific brain signal involved in choosing between real sugar and no- or low-calorie sweeteners — a signal that regulates dopamine levels which, in turn, mediates pleasure in the brain. Not surprisingly, the brain finds greater reward from real sugar than it does from artificial sweeteners. These findings suggest frequent consumption of artificially sweetened food and drinks, particularly when we’re hungry or overtired, may lead to greater future consumption of higher sugar- and calorie-laden alternatives as the brain seeks that reward.

Tips to Cut Out the Imposters:

  • Instead of diet soda, reach for a club soda with a splash of fruit juice.
  • Use half the amount of artificial sweetener you usually add to your coffee, and continue to cut back over time.


3. GRADUALLY EASE UP ON SWEETS

Gradually reducing the amount of sugar you consume can be an effective approach in reducing cravings. It may take a bit longer to feel the difference, but when you gradually reduce sugar intake, you don’t endure the physical side effects and feelings of deprivation associated with cold-turkey withdrawal. Making just two or three of the following small changes can make a big difference in reducing sugar consumption and curbing cravings.

Ideas for Cutting Back:

  • Order lattes and other sweetened coffee drinks with half the amount of sweetener.
  • Prevent overeating by pre-portioning sweets and other packaged foods that list sugar (or one of its many nicknames) within the first five ingredients.
  • Mix plain yogurt into your usual sweetened yogurt.
  • Dilute soda and juice with club soda or plain water.
  • Pair sweets, like chocolate, with nutritious foods rather than eating them alone. (Think: apple slices topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips.)
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes by 1/3 or up to 1/2.

BY ELLE PENNER, MPH, RD

Categories
Fitness on a Budget Food & Nutrition Uncategorized

Eating Right on a Budget — Wellness with Shuba

I wanted to talk about something today that often comes in the way of many people making more nutritious and holistic choices. Money! I know, I know….what an annoying topic. Nobody ever really wants to talk about money and the stress it causes. I for one have been on work leave for several weeks now. […]

via Eating Right on a Budget — Wellness with Shuba

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