Welcome! Log In | Register

Healthy Eating

Breakfast Fact vs. Fiction: Do You Know the Difference?

Written on March 4, 2013 at 8:09 am , by

What are your best breakfast options? Skolnik sifts through loads of info to get you the right answers. (Photo courtesy of Heidi Skolnik)

Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern

Did you eat breakfast this morning? Of course you did. So here’s a better question: what exactly did you eat?  Thanks to low-carb crazes and high-cholesterol concerns, it can be difficult to make a morning meal decision that leaves you not only feeling full, but energized and ready for the day. To debunk some of the most popular myths, we turned to nutritionist Heidi Skolnik, owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc. Can you separate fact from fiction?

Why are there so many misconceptions about healthy breakfast options?

I think we’re just bombarded with information. Nutrition is such a popular topic, and everyone is interested in it.  But we get information from all different kinds of places; it’s hard to sift through it and figure out what’s credible and solid and what isn’t.

What’s one of the biggest myths you continually set straight?

“I’m going to save my calories for later. I don’t like to eat breakfast because I can control myself in the morning, and then I can save those calories and eat them at dinner.” That really sabotages anyone who’s trying to lose weight. We know breakfast skippers have higher BMIs (body mass index) than breakfast eaters. When you skip breakfast, you’re way more likely to overeat later. Of course you get hungry later, but you can eat and be satisfied as opposed to eat dinner and raid the refrigerator for the rest of the evening. It’s hard for people to put together that what they eat in the morning affects their appetite at night, but that connection exists.

With that being said, what are some of the healthiest breakfast options?

The very most basic guideline is to include a whole grain, a protein, and a whole fruit or 100 percent fruit juice. An example of that would be a breakfast sandwich: go ahead and get an English muffin with egg and eight ounces of 100 percent Florida Orange Juice, which will give you vitamin C, potassium, folate, phytonutrients – all of those wonderfully occurring nutrients in oranges.  Or you can make yourself a yogurt parfait. I happen to like Greek yogurt because it’s high in protein. Add some fruit, granola and some healthy nuts on top.

What are the best on-the-go choices?

If you’re commuting, a whole-wheat pita with some peanut butter and sliced banana is really easy to take and go. You can eat it in the subway, on a train, in a taxi, on a bus – however you commute. Or, if you’re one of those who can’t get it together until work, then keep instant oatmeal at your desk and pair that with some yogurt and juice for a more balanced meal.

Read more

The Little Black Book of Healthy Restaurants

Written on February 28, 2013 at 10:25 am , by

Eating out just got a whole lot healthier. (Photo courtesy of Equinox)

Whether you’re an Equinox member or not, the gym just made finding a healthy spot to nosh at as easy as turning a page. That’s because they’ve teamed up with Zagat to create Zagat’s Dining Out. By Equinox. It’s a health-conscious Zagat guide highlighting restaurants located near the 58 Equinox locations in cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. Stop by select Equinox shop locations and pick up your copy to start navigating the restaurants in your area.

The guide helps launch Equinox’s new nutrition philosophy, which consists of 12 pillars of healthy eating (you can read about them at q.equinox.com). We flipped through the book and quickly reached a verdict: We’ve got a lot of eating to do in 2013! And that’s just fine with us.

Zagat’s Dining Out. By Equinox. is available at 28 Equinox stores for $18.95.

 More from FITNESS: Eat Out and Still Lose Weight

Food Network Gina Neely’s New Healthy Lifestyle

Written on February 20, 2013 at 9:02 am , by

Neely made a few healthy eating swaps and dropped 20lbs in 12 weeks! (Photo courtesy of Spectrum Brand Holidngs, Inc.)

Written by Rachel Torgerson, editorial intern

Anyone who watches Down Home with the Neelys on the Food Network knows that Gina Neely likes buttery, southern cooking.  So when we heard that she was participating in George Foreman’s Weight Loss Challenge—a 12-week food and exercise plan complete with week-by-week grocery lists—we were more than curious to see how it would pan out. Fast-forward twelve weeks later and Gina’s lost 20 lbs and gained a new, healthy lifestyle. We chatted with her about what changes she’s made (and sticking to!), her favorite recipes and even her Billy Blanks workout tapes.

What inspired you to make these changes in your life?

I think it was just when I went to the doctor and got my physical. She told me my cholesterol was getting a little high. I just said, “You know what? I’ve got to start changing that!” This is my body and if I’m not going to be good to it, it’s not going to be good to me. I said to my girls, “If I don’t do this and make time for myself, if you need me, I’m not going to be around.” And that’s just a really serious part of it: making sure that you’re healthy for your loved ones.

Was it hard to start the challenge?

The first week and a half I noticed my pants fitting a little looser and I was like, “Hey, hey, hey!” I was already doing little things like taking the bun off of my burger, but sticking to the challenge really helped me see the results. I lost 20 lbs and 12 inches by the end.

On the show and in your restaurants, you’re surrounded by food constantly. How do you stay focused and motivated?

When I’m in the restaurant, I’m around food a lot, so it’s kind of just picking at it and filling up. The George Foreman helped me stop doing that so much because it’s a fast meal, as opposed to a bunch of chopping. Because after doing that all day, you don’t want to put effort into dinner; you’re over it. The grill cleans up easy, it makes cooking fun and my girls can use it.

Read more

Sneaky Cooking Tips to Stop Winter Weight Gain

Written on February 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm , by

A quick marinade makes any lean meat instantly more flavorful. (Photo courtesy Peter Ardito)

We get it–it’s cold, dark and you want to curl up in sweat pants and stick your face into something ooey, gooey, slightly cheesy and warm. Just because you’re jonesing for some comfort food doesn’t mean you have to write off your diet for the day. Chef Jessica James and Amy Goche, registered dietician and member of the National Restaurant Association’s Nutrition Executive Study Group shared with us their top culinary secrets to amp up flavor and cut calories when it comes to those winter favorites. The pair helped create Applebee’s Weight Watchers dishes for the chain’s menus, with each dish clocking in less than 550 calories. Below, tips, cooking tricks and a super easy recipe to jazz up almost any dish.

If you want something creamy…
Make a citrus gremolata instead. “I’m always trying to break the conception that eating healthy means you can’t indulge,” says James. Try this recipe below to as a no-calorie alternative to add some flavor to soups or as a sauce or dressing.

Lemon Greomlata

Ingredients

  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a small bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate for one hour.

When you’re ordering from a menu…
Check out the description, says Goche. “Some healthy keywords to look out for are grilled, broiled or sautéed. Stay away from any items in cream-based sauces.”

A must-make marinade…
“If you’re cooking at home, marinade! It boosts flavor to lean meats that the fat would usually do,” says Goche. Her quick marinade is a splash or orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and some chopped herbs of your choosing. Combine, and let sit on the meat anywhere between a half hour up to 12 hours.

More Recipes: Low-Cal Recipes for Your Favorite Comfort Foods

 

Training for a Spring Race? Try These Nutrition Tips

Written on January 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm , by

Morgan rounds the Ottawa Senators up for a cooking workshop this past summer. (Photo courtesy Molly Morgan RD, CDN, CSSD)

It may not feel like it right now, but spring will be here before you know it. If you’re training for a race (like the MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon in April!) then you know that what you eat is just as important to how many miles you log. To help you reach your goal, Molly Morgan RD, CDN, CSSD and the nutritionist for the Ottawa Senators NHL team shared with us her tips on how to fuel up before, after and during those weekend long runs.

Spring race season is coming up! What are some tips for runners who are beginning to train for a race?

One of the biggest things I recommend is focusing on hydration. Our bodies are made up of 50-70 percent water and being properly hydrated is so important in the performance and recovery stages. So to start, runners should increase their base fluid intake.

What are the rules for hydrating before, during and after a run?

Before a game, or run, or whatever sport you’re doing you should try to drink 16 ounces of water two hours beforehand. Depending on how much you sweat, try to get in another eight to 16 ounces about 15 minutes before heading out the door. During is always the tricky part. Try to get about 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes if you’re doing a longer workout. Don’t rely on thirst as an indicator, and do your best to schedule hydration stops as much as you’re able to. After your run, you should drink 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound you lost. Obviously, we don’t all jump on a scale before and after a workout so you just have to use your best judgment. Hydrating afterwards doesn’t have to be instantaneous though, as long as you’re getting the fluids you need within six hours of your run, you’re in good shape. Read more

Simple Recipe Swaps to Make for Your Super Bowl Party This Year

Written on January 29, 2013 at 10:33 am , by

Keep an eye out for the grilled goods–they’re always the healthier choice! (Photo courtesy of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)

While we don’t know which Harbaugh will win the Super Bowl on Sunday, we do know that come the next morning, you will win against the scale. That’s because nutrition expert Tara Gidus, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N gave us her sneaky ingredient swaps and tips to navigate the buffet table at your Super Bowl party to enjoy yourself without the guilt. Stock up on her suggestions below to a Super Bowl Sunday that won’t leave you dreading Monday.

The Super Bowl is a notorious day of overeating for Americans. What are some tips to keep in mind to not fall face first into a plate of wings?

If you’re hosting a party yourself, look the recipe you want to make and make some substitutions. I drive my family crazy with this because it’s all I do–they always say I can’t make anything twice because I do some much swapping. If you want to make a huge plate of nachos, sub in lean ground beef instead of the fatty kind or turkey meat, or even veggie crumbles! I promise you no one will notice the difference. If you’re on dip duty, swap in fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. And for desserts, replace butter with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! spread–it will reduce saturated fat by 70 percent. Read more

Need-to-Know Nutrition Advice from The Biggest Loser’s RD

Written on January 28, 2013 at 10:00 am , by

Forberg meets with the contestants every week during filming to make sure they are on the right diet track. (Photo courtesy of Subway)

FITNESS staffers are generally pretty active people, but come Monday nights you find us glued to our couch getting our weekly dose of Bob, Jillian, Dolvett and January cover girl Alison Sweeney on The Biggest Loser. So when we got the chance to chat with the show’s nutritionist, Cheryl Forberg, RD, on behalf of Subway, we jumped at the chance to steal her healthy eating tips that she gives to the contestants. Get some of them below, including ways to live healthy all year long, not just during resolution season.

What are some of the top tips you tell The Biggest Loser contestants when they get to the ranch?

For most of the contestants we are pretty drastically increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption (especially the vegetables), so that’s the first order of business. Next is having a budget of calories that is appropriate to what their body needs and getting quality calories, which is where the exercise part comes in as well. Aside from that I focus on eating their calories and ditching the caloric beverages, drinking more water, not skipping any meals and adding snacks to their diet.

What are some guidelines to keep in mind to keep a healthy diet past the resolution craze of January?

It’s all about planning ahead, because we are all so busy. When you’re not prepared you wind up pulling through a drive-thru or going to a vending machine. Exercise should be written in your date book just like a conference call would be. As for your diet, whether you do weekly menu planning, or get into a routine of what you’ll eat on the way to work, it’s all key. If you’re trying to lose weight, keeping a food journal is really important and something that is mandatory on the ranch. You don’t see it on the show every week but the contestants share their food journals with me every single day. This helps me see the number of calories they are getting and that they are getting enough calcium, protein and healthy fats and carbohydrates. The first week is hard, but we’re creatures of habit so we typically eat the same things every day. Once you look up something once, you won’t have to do it again. Read more

Happy National Cheese Lover’s Day! Celebrate with This Recipe

Written on January 20, 2013 at 11:00 am , by

This recipe is only half the calories a standard bowl of mac and cheese typically clocks in at. (Photo courtesy Maren Caruso)

Could there be a better holiday? There are tons of diets than ban all things cheesy, but here at FITNESS we believe in everything in moderation. So go ahead and dig in with this lightened up mac and cheese recipe from Laura Werlin, cheese expert and James Beard award-winning author of The All American Cheese and Wine Book. Werlin’s latest book, Mac & Cheese, Please! has an entire chapter dedicated to healthier versions of the comfort food staple. This one sounded so good, we had to share. Anyone know when National Chocolate Lover’s Day is so we have something to look forward to when today is over?

Fiery South of the Border Mac and Cheese

Serves 6

NOTE: This mac and cheese is not for the faint of heart, it’s definitely spicy. But it’s also easy to tone down if you wish. All you need to do is use a little less chili pepper, cut back on the amount of pickled jalapeño, and use a combination of pepper Jack and regular Monterey Jack. The salsa in this recipe is easy to make, but if it’s too hot to turn on the oven, or you can’t find tomatillos or don’t have the time to make it, then use purchased green salsa. Read more

Bethenny Frankel’s Tips to Snack Out of It

Written on December 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm , by

Frankel sticks to nutrient-packed snacks under 200 calories to stay energized. (Photo courtesy of Almond Board of California)

If there is one takeaway from handling the swarm of dinner parties this time of year we’ve learned, it’s that nuts are your friends for keeping the weight off. That’s why Bethenny Frankel, busy mom, entrepreneur and now talk show host is teaming up with the Almond Board of California to share her favorite snack recipes during one of the busiest times of the year. So what’s Frankel’s top snacking tip? “Pay attention to when you’re hungry and what you’re hungry for (sweets, salty, crunchy, etc.) and figure out some go-to healthy choices to fit those cravings.” Check out the recipes below and remember, “Smart snacking doesn’t just mean it’s healthy, it means it is easy!”

Frozen Dark Chocolate Almond Banana Pops

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized bananas, cut in half widthwise
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted
  • 8  Popsicle sticks
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped

Directions

In a small heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips. Peel bananas and insert  Popsicle sticks into one end. Spoon chocolate mixture over bananas to coat. Sprinkle with almonds. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Serve frozen.

Nutrition info per serving: 168 calories, 8.5g total fat, 0.9mg cholesterol, 2.1mg sodium, 22.2g carbs, 3.4g dietary fiber, 2.8g protein

Read on for another one of Bethenny’s almond recipes!

Read more

Celebrity Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s Secret Holiday Cooking Weapons (Plus a Very Useful Tip!)

Written on December 4, 2012 at 11:14 am , by

If you’re going to take holiday cooking tips from anyone, take them from her! (Photo courtesy Fisher Nuts)

Already thinking about your holiday dinner parties, at least the menu part? Here’s a fun idea–use nuts for a healthy, tasty twist. That’s what Alex Guaranschelli, Food Network host of Alex’s Day Off and executive chef of Butter and The Darby in NYC suggests. She’s teaming up with Fisher Nuts to show how nuts can add that little something you’ve been missing to your holiday recipes this year. “I hate when people say nuts have so many calories,” she says during a meeting in her super trendy restaurant Butter. “They give you the sensation of being full, and that’s what is important. I eat a handful and feel satisfied. With other foods I could eat 1,000 calories worth and still feel hungry.” To figure out which nuts work best with certain dishes, follow Guaranschelli’s guidelines:

  • Try pecans with veggies that are meaty in texture, like beets, mushrooms, fennel or  sautéed onions.
  • For walnuts, go with one of two extremes. Use them with light and lean veggies (like the asparagus recipe below) or with a super heavy dish, like steak with lemon.
  • If you’re choosing almonds, use them on berries or keep the skin on them and add them to your mashed potatoes (they’ll mimic the skin on potatoes!).

And a word to the wise for all party planners: “Write out your holiday menu and then cross half of it off,” Guaranschelli says. “Wasn’t it Coco Chanel who told us to look in the mirror and remove one thing before going out? The same goes with cooking. Give yourself a break and add more later if you need to. Also, pick one thing to make from scratch and be proud of. Cooking should be about enjoying the process, and you can’t do that if you are overworked. It’s perfectly fine to buy something store bought every once in awhile!”

Read on for two holiday recipes to try.

Read more