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healthy foods

3 Ways to Stay on Track with Your Diet Goals

Written on February 15, 2012 at 10:00 am , by

An apple a day keeps your weight loss worries at bay. (Photo courtesy of Karen Pearson)

If you are a frequent gym goer, you may have noticed the after work crowd has been a little sparse lately. The same goes with that veggie-packed market down the block from your house. That’s because by mid-February most resolution setters have given up on their diet and fitness goals. In fact, in a recent Silk survey, 71 percent of women said eating healthier is one of the most difficult resolutions to keep, meaning that’s the first thing to go when life gets a little crazy.

To make sure you don’t get lumped into the statistic of those throwing in the towel, healthy living expert Kathy Freston shared her tips to stick to your diet resolutions. Keep these three easy tricks in mind and make it through 2012 with your diet in tact:

1. Switch out milk for Silk soymilk, almond, or coconut milk in your cereal. These are great alternatives ease into a more plant-based diet.

2. Eat an apple a day. Apples are rich in dietary fiber and a lower calorie snack that will leave you feeling full.

3. Stay hydrated by drinking eight ounces of water a day, eight times a day. H2O too boring for you? Add an orange or cucumber to your glass to give it some extra flavor.

Now tell us: Have you stuck with your resolutions so far? How do you do it?

Minka Kelly Shares Her Heart Healthy Fitness and Diet Tips

Written on February 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm , by

Minka Kelly at The Heart Truth® Red Dress Collection Fashion Show presented by Diet Coke

Esquire Magazine once named actress Minka Kelly the “Sexiest Woman Alive”, so walking in the Heart Truth’s Red Dress Fashion Show to raise awareness for women’s heart health should be a breeze, right? Not quite. “I’ve been nervous all week!” Kelly said, when we got the chance to chat with her on her new ambassador title with Diet Coke. We caught up with the brunette bombshell hours before showtime to get the scoop on how she lives a heart healthy lifestyle, the exercises she swears by, and more.

Tell us about your partnership with Diet Coke and Heart’s Truth Red Dress Fashion Show. What made you decide to get involved?

Before I started working with Diet Coke as an ambassador, I wasn’t even aware that heart disease is the number one killer for women. I figured this would be a chance for me to use my voice and let other women know to how important it is to eat right and exercise to keep your heart in good health.

How do you manage stay in shape, especially with such a busy schedule?

I try to do yoga every morning at 7 a.m.; it’s good to get your workout out of the way early.  I also work out with my trainer Gunnar Peterson two days a week on top of that. I owe him a lot of credit for the shape I’m in because I love to eat! I have to workout extra hard to balance my love for food out.

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5 All-Natural Foods That Can Pack on the Pounds

Written on January 31, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Natural or not, portion control still matters! (Photo courtesy of Kim Cornelison)

Eating a healthy, balanced diet should be top on your list, especially if you’re looking to lose some weight. You know you should avoid processed foods, but some of nature’s whole foods, although pure and untainted, are so high in calories that eating too much can cause you to gain weight. Here are five foods you should enjoy in moderation when it comes to eating a healthy diet.

A wonderful source of quick protein before a workout or as an afternoon snack, nuts and seeds are bursting with nutrition, but they are also tipping high in the calorie department. Instead of just blindly grabbing handful after handful, enjoy these salty snacks one ounce at a time. Get a visual and see what an ounce of nuts actually looks like. The same goes for nut butters — avoid spooning straight from the jar.

Orange Juice
Orange juice is one of nature’s most refreshing beverages, and it’s made from oranges so how can it be bad? You can quickly gulp down a 163-calorie 12-ounce glass, and if you enjoy a glass every morning, it’s easy to see why the pounds are starting to increase on your bathroom scale. Skip the liquid calories and enjoy a fiber-rich medium orange for 62 calories instead.

Getting your fill of healthy fats is essential to your diet, and creamy avocado is an excellent source. Even though you could easily scoop out all 322 calories of entire avocado in minutes, it’s best to enjoy this fruit in smaller amounts. Definitely don’t give up this super healthy food! Dice a quarter of an avocado on your salad or mash it on your sammy, so you can reap the benefits of the healthy fats without affecting your waistline.

Pure Maple Syrup
A naturally occurring sweetener, it’s tough to sit down to a stack of flapjacks without pouring on pure maple syrup. This may be shocking, but a quarter-cup serving will run you 200 calories! That’s almost more than the pancakes themselves. Instead of dousing your breakfast plate in nature’s luscious syrup, mix two tablespoons with vanilla Greek yogurt and smear that on your stack, so you can enjoy the maple flavor without all the calories.

Keep reading for more fattening, yet all-natural foods.

More from FitSugar:
10 Foods to Help You Detox
Score a Touchdown with These Healthy Super Bowl Snacks
Under 150 Calories: Veggie Inspired Snacks

End January With a Jumpstart to a New Diet

Written on January 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm , by

Oh, did we mention that free juice and snacks are included during the workshops? (Photo courtesy of Juice Generation)

If you haven’t changed your eating habits for the New Year, it’s not too late! Juice Generation is teaming up with Equinox to host a series of Wellness Workshops throughout 2012 to bring in healthy eating experts to talk about what foods you should (and shouldn’t) be incorporating in your diet, along with other switches to make to lose weight and most importantly, feel great. Stop by the next one on Thursday, February 9 at the 97 Greenwich Avenue Equinox to learn about super-human foods with Robyn Youkilis, a holistic health coach. She’ll be talking about five foods that can transform your life and how to incorporate them into your everyday diet.

We snagged this healthy salad recipe from Youkilis that incorporates some of the super foods she’ll be talking about. Can you guess which ones they are?

Juice Generation Kale Salad Recipe

  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1/2 an avocado, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Sprinkle of black pepper
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of raisins
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

For more information on the Wellness Workshops and to RSVP, visit the Juice Generation Facebook page.

Go Bananas in 2012 with Dole

Written on January 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm , by

Another one of our favorite tips: Polish your leather shoes with a banana peel! (Photo courtesy of Blaine Moats)

If eating more fruits and veggies is at the top of your to do list this year, Dole has created a program that makes squeezing in more fruit a breeze.

To help improve the public’s nutritional health, the company has launched 366 Ways to Go Bananas in 2012. Every day you’ll get a banana-themed recipe, serving suggestion, or seasonal tip via Twitter, Facebook or on the Web. Here’s how to start going bananas today:

Below, a few of our favorite tips from the program so far:

Day 1: Eat two bananas a day in the morning to help lose weight and keep that New Year’s resolution.

Day 8: Celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday by eating his favorite sandwich, peanut butter and banana.

Day 22: Did you know the peel is edible? Though you probably want to wash it first. Try it and tell us what you think!

More from FITNESS: The Top 7 Foods for Runners (Hint: One’s a Banana!)

Choosing the Best Canned Soup

Written on December 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm , by


alphabet soup

Photo by iStockphoto

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

As the weather turns colder, nothing quite hits the spot like a bowl or cup of delicious soup. Homemade soup is typically the most nutritious option for when you’re on a diet, because you have total control over which ingredients you add or omit from the mix…but it’s not always possible on a hectic day.

When canned soup is more convenient, knowing how to determine which ones are your best choice is important. Not all canned soups are created equal, so here’s what to look at on the label:

Cream-based soups are often higher in fat than their broth-based counterparts. Although this is an admitted generalization, you can be sure you are choosing a soup low in fat by checking the label. If your soup has 3 grams or less of fat per serving, consider it a low-fat choice.

Canned soups are notorious for their often high sodium content. Again, broth-based soups are typically lower in sodium than cream-based options, but this may not always be the case. You’re best bet? Soups that have 360 grams of sodium or less in each serving.

If you can, try to grab a can of soup that has at least 10% of its daily value of fiber. Most Americans don’t get enough of this very important nutrient. Plus, the more fiber your soup has, the more likely it will keep you feeling full.

Vitamins and Minerals
The more nutrients your canned soup has, the better. Look for soups that have plenty of vegetables, beans, and lentils. These ingredients can increase the amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and protein your soup has and help you more easily reach your daily nutritional needs. Plus, bean- and lentil-based soups are often higher in fiber and lower in sodium than other soup varieties.

Look for the Word “Healthy”
Soups that use the word “Healthy” in their brand name are required to meet specific guidelines. Brands such as Healthy Choice, Campbell’s Healthy Request, and Healthy Valley must keep sodium levels below a certain threshold, as set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. This means that these food may have a lower sodium option than others; however, it is still important to turn the can around and determine for yourself whether the sodium levels in each can meet your own specific requirements for health.

MORE from DietsinReview.com: If you do want to prepare your own healthy soup, try these recipes. It’s easy to spend some time on the weekend making a big batch (or two), filling single-serving containers, and then freezing or refrigerating for the perfect brown bag lunch during the week.


10 of the Healthiest Restaurant Menu Items of 2011

Written on December 15, 2011 at 9:02 am , by

By Tanya Jolliffe for SparkPeople.com

We’ve seen many restaurants update their menus this year to provide patrons with healthier options. The new Kids Live Well campaign provides families with healthier choices when eating away from home to help kids maintain a healthy weight. While some reports suggest the new healthy options aren’t popular, many restaurant chains aren’t giving up and are striving to be on board with the First Lady’s anti-obesity campaign.

Here are 10 of the healthiest menu options we’ve seen this year:

1. Starbucks Chicken & Hummus Bistro Box
Calories – 270
Fat – 8 grams
Sodium – 520 mg
Carbohydrate – 29 grams
Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 16 grams

The wheat pita, fresh cucumber, carrot sticks, and grape tomatoes with hummus and grilled chicken do provide a nutrient-rich meal away from home. We really like that this option contains a sodium level that easily fits in many meal plans. One negative is that not all Starbucks locations offer lunch while others only offer a few of the new box options so this one might not always be available.

2. IHOP Simple & Fit Spinach, Mushroom & Tomato Omelette with Fresh Fruit
Calories – 330
Fat – 12 grams
Sodium – 690 mg
Carbohydrate – 31 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Protein – 29 grams

This protein rich omelet, made with egg substitute, is filled with fresh spinach, mushrooms, onions and Swiss cheese with diced tomatoes on top to offer a nutrient-rich breakfast with a reasonable sodium content. The fresh fruit side creates a well-balanced breakfast that will stick with you all morning long. To minimize sodium, remember to request “no added salt” when ordering.

3. Applebee’s Asiago Peppercorn Steak with Herb Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables
Calories – 380
Fat – 14 grams
Sodium – 1,520 mg
Carbohydrate – 25 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Protein – 44 grams

Though it’s a step in the right direction, this meal still has a day’s worth of salt! If you’re watching your sodium intake, choose another option. But at under 400 calories–with plenty of protein and iron–this meal is a big plus for this casual dining restaurant.

4. McDonald’s Hamburger Happy Meal with Apple Slices and Low-fat Milk
Calories – 390
Fat – 11 grams
Sodium – 650 mg
Carbohydrate – 51 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 20 grams

Although any food can be incorporated into a healthy diet in moderation, offering a Happy Meal without fried foods and a serving of a fruit and milk is the healthiest meal possible. These new meals that focus on fruit and milk help families take small steps to new lifestyle choices.

5. Cheesecake Factory SkinnyLicious Grilled Chicken
Calories – 560
Fat – 2 grams saturated
Sodium – 1,252 mg
Carbohydrate – 20 grams
Large portion sizes at this restaurant are the norm, but with this dish they have maximized the nutrition. By pounding the meat so it is thinner, they create a plate-size meal without the plate-size calories. Add the fiber-focused topper that lends a bruschetta flavor and you get great taste for the right portion and calorie size where you wouldn’t expect to find it. This high sodium meal might not be right for everyone, but you can lower the impact slightly by asking for “no added salt” when ordering. 

More: Healthy Menu Items 6-10!

More from SparkPeople:

The 10 Worst Foods of 2011

The Worst Diet Scams of 2011

Get a Free Fitness and Weight-Loss Plan

Food Fight: Best and Worst Cereal Bars

Written on November 22, 2011 at 11:25 am , by


granola bar

Photo by iStock

By Maggie Badore for DietsInReview.com

Granola has become synonymous with healthy eating, so many granola bars and cereal bars enjoy this same health halo. However, it doesn’t take a lot of label reading to uncover the fact that many cereal bars are too high in sugar to be considered a nutritious choice.

But are all cereal bars out when it comes to grabbing a quick breakfast or snack? This round of Food Fight compares some of the most popular products and some general guidelines for what to look for in a bar.

“It’s important to read the ingredients list to see that a whole grain like oats is listed first,” says Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips. She recommends avoiding cereal bars that have sugar listed in the top three or four ingredients. “You may have to consider the granola bar as a little bit of a treat, since it likely provides at least a few grams of added sugar as well. Aliases for added sugar include corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, sucrose, and/or syrup.”

As a general rule of thumb, Zied says you should look for bars that have 100 to 150 calories, fewer than 10 grams of sugar, fewer than two grams of saturated fat, no trans fat and at least three grams of fiber.

Cereal Bar Breakdowns:

Special K

  • Example Flavor: Honey Nut
  • Per Bar: 90 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 6 grams sugar, 1 gram protein, 3 grams fiber

Fiber One

  • Example Flavor: Oats & Chocolate
  • Per Bar: 140 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 10 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 9 grams fiber

Health Valley Organic

  • Example Flavor: Apple Cobbler
  • Per Bar: 130 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 16 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fiber

Quaker Fruit & Oatmeal Fiber & Omega-3

  • Example Flavor: Dark Chocolate Chunk
  • Per Bar: 150 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 7 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 9 grams fiber

Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain

  • Example Flavor: Strawberry
  • Per Bar: 120 calories, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 11 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fiber

Winner: Special K

The Special K cereal bars win out for being the lowest in sugar and also in calories, and they also contain as much protein as the other competitors compared here.

Runner Up: Fiber One

You would think that fiber would be a major nutrient in a cereal bar, however Fiber One is the only bar that really has a serious serving. Keep in mind that the American Dietetic Association recommends that you eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day.

Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that cereal bars and granola bars are a highly processed food with additives you should avoid. For meal-replacement diets, like Nutrisystem, they are a staple. They may be a good source of quick energy when you’re going on a long hike or running long distances, but someone who’s looking to lose weight may do better to snack on fresh fruit or veggies for a biggest dose of nutrients and more filling fiber.

More from Diets in Review:

How to Give Your Thanksgiving Plate a Healthy Makeover

Written on November 22, 2011 at 7:00 am , by

Gobble down Thanksgiving favorites without the guilt this year. (Photo courtesy of Blaine Moats)

Mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie: Thanksgiving is the day that many of us eat anything (and everything) we want. With the average Thanksgiving meal running 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat, it can be hard to manage the day when you’re watching your weight or counting calories. To make the day healthy, enjoyable, but still indulgent, here are a few tips on creating a Thanksgiving-day plate — especially when you’re not in charge of the cooking — that won’t blow your calorie counts for the day.

Use a Smaller Plate
Studies show that food intake is related to plate size. We’re taught to fill our plates and eat every last morsel from them; very often we finish our food before that “full feeling” even has a chance to reach us. Prevent mindless eating by using a smaller plate at dinner (aim for a plate that’s between eight and 10 inches); if your host doesn’t have a smaller plate, don’t feel the need to entirely cover the one you are using or have to finish everything you served yourself.

Think About Portions
The last thing you want to do is to feel like you are depriving yourself on Thanksgiving, so don’t. Instead of telling yourself certain foods are off limits, just be smart about your serving sizes. Avoid making huge piles on your plate; instead give yourself a small taste of everything with an emphasis on whole grains, veggies, and protein. Need a little more guidance? Follow these tips for getting portions under control.

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Help Food Deserts Get REAL with Kashi

Written on November 16, 2011 at 9:38 am , by

Blueberries are found in nature. That artificial blue raspberry flavoring? Not so much. (Photo by Bob Stefko)

Imagine this: Instead of stepping into your grocery store and seeing row upon row of shiny, fresh produce items, seeing only bags of chips, cookies and snack cakes. It’s reality for 13.5 million people across the country who live in so-called “food deserts,” or places with limited access to healthy foods.

Kashi is on a mission to solve what they deem “The Real Food Deficit.” The food brand known for their seven whole grains is teaming up with health-related charities in the coming months to raise awareness about the complex issue, which encompasses everything from families who have trouble affording the ingredients for wholesome meals to communities with only convenience stores as food outlets.

Through the end of November, visit Kashi’s Facebook page and “Like” the company’s REAL Project Facebook tab or visit their website to like “The REAL Project.” Doing so will spread the word to your pals about the issue and HealthCorps, Kashi’s partner organization of the month. HealthCorps matches recent college grads with high schools in under-served communities to act as health coordinators and peer mentors, with the end goal of inspiring students to take control of their wellness future. Did you know that about 90 percent of high school students don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables?

The best part of the program: For every “Like,” Kashi will donate $10(!) to HealthCorps or their partner organization that month. Click here to learn more and “Like” away!

Now tell us: Are you happy with the food selection in your community or do you find it lacking?