Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trim Down Tip

Beware of...Trail Mix 


There are certain foods out there that are deceptively unhealthy.  Trail mix is one of those foods. You've seen the ads...gorgeous people running through the hills and snacking on some delicious nuts, grains and chocolate.  Where can I get some of that stuff?


The basic concept of trail mix is very healthful. Fruit, whole grains and nuts.  It's a great way to have protein, carbs and good fat in a snack.  There are two problems 1. portion size and 2. type of ingredients.  


Planters Trail Mix, Nuts And Chocolate, 1.25-Ounce Packages (Pack of 42)
1. A typical portion size is 1/4 cup and contains around 130 calories.  I know, that's not a big portion for the calorie count.  But in reality, it is all you need to fill up.  Usually, most people eat cups (yes cups, plural), long before the brain lets them know they are full..and by then it's way too late. Stick to the recommended portion size...and you have yourself a well-rounded snack. 


2. M & M's? Dried fruit? Lots and lots of nuts and granola? No, no, no and no. That is not to say that some of those ingredients are not great choices--but the quantity and balance makes a big difference.  King Nut has done it right. Perfect portion size...great ingredients. I recommend making your own. This recipe is great.  Make it, divide it into small baggies and enjoy!


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Monday, June 28, 2010

Foods to Ponder

Deli Meat


I have recently become a huge fan of the sandwich.  I never liked lunch time until I discovered the art of a delicious sandwich.  Clearly the type of bread makes a huge difference--that's another blog. My opinion though is that the "filler" makes a greater difference.


I used to purchase the pre-packaged deli meat and cheese because I didn't like waiting in line at the deli counter.  However, after having a child and educating myself I've decided to purchase fresh, preservative free meat and cheese. Deli meat should not last forever.  Check out this article for some great information.


My favorite brand?  Boar's Head.  Clearly. It is pricey..there is no way around that.  Check out your local fruit stand or deli--mine sells Boar's Head and it is a few dollars cheaper--which can make a difference.  Either way, it's worth it.  People actually recognize a difference in the freshness and taste immediately.  I love love love the Honey Maple Ham and Turkey and the Low Sodium, Lower Fat American Cheese.  Plus, all of Boar's Head's products are gluten free (that's a shout out to my favorite gluten-free friends...a subject which I will explain another time).  




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Friday, June 25, 2010

Delicious Discovery

King Nut Berry Crunch



Ever since I started this blog...family and friends have been more than excited to pass along their favorite new Delicious Discoveries.  The latest and greatest is courtesy of my sweet Mother after a flight to Washington D.C.  The "free" snack was King Nut Granola Berry Crunch.  
I am a huge trail mix fan..but usually that entails a mixture heavy on the chocolate chips and light on the fruit.  This granola mixture is awesome...they actually call it breakfast in a bag.  It has granola, raisins, cranberries and almonds all for just 120 calories, 2 g of fiber and 4 g of fat.  The serving size (the whole bag) doesn't look that big, but it is actually quite filling.  You can purchase 60 bags for $25--which is fairly inexpensive.  It's great for a pre/post workout or for an on-the-go treat.  I highly recommend it!


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photo courtesy of www.kingnut.com

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trim Down Tip

Do Your Research


Summertime is almost synonymous with road trips and vacations.  And along with vacation comes great food--and lots of it.  So my tip to you is to do your research before you get there.  


GMC Topkick Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike1. Find out if your hotel has a gym or gym privileges elsewhere.  If not, there are probably great walking/running/biking paths nearby. 


2. Check out the local cuisine.  There are probably great restaurants with loads of healthful options that won't be tourist traps.  Searching for your vacation spot online brings up lots of food blogs by regular people.  You can find some hidden gems!


3. Enjoy yourself.  It's vacation--indulge a bit!  Just remember when you get back...vacation is over and it's back to reality.  Happy Summer!




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Monday, June 21, 2010

Foods to Ponder

Watermelon


It's officially summer time and that means one thing--lots and lots of watermelon.  It might be my very favorite fruit.  There are so many reasons to love it.  It is incredibly sweet and refreshing.  Plus, it's really inexpensive! Half of a seedless watermelon cost $.89/lb.  


Kleckley Sweet Watermelon 60 SeedsOne cup of watermelon has around 45 calories.  It is loaded with minerals and vitamins--especially lycopene.  Some research suggests that increased lycopene intake correlates with a reduction in cancer risk.   


I plan on trying this recipe soon.  Another favorite watermelon recipe is a delicious salad of just romaine lettuce, blueberries, watermelon, feta cheese and a balsamic dressing.  A perfect summertime treat!




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Friday, June 18, 2010

Delicious Discovery

Arnold Fill'ems Sandwich Thins


A few months back I told you about my favorite sandwich breads.  I'm totally into any type of deli flat or sandwich thin.  They are awesome, usually whole grain and low-calorie.  My newest find--Arnold Fill'ems Sandwich Thins.  


They are perfect if you are looking for a sub-like sandwich without the bulk and added calories of the bread OR (my personal favorite) for hot dogs or sausage.  Just 100 calories and 5 grams of fiber.  You can't beat them.  So far I have found them on sale (2 for $5) in several local grocery stores--the weird thing is they aren't on the Arnold website.  Not sure what that means, but I sure hope they are just running a tad behind on site maintenance!  If not, run out and stock up now--they are worth it!




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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Trim Down Tip

Eat a Lot of...


Sometimes, you just can't avoid it.  There are days when you can't stop eating.  Binge eating happens to the best of us.  Let's just try to make the best of it when it does happen.  Now, I'm not recommending binge eating--but if/when it does happen...think about what you are eating.  There are some foods out there that are super low in calories and allow you to eat more without packing on the pounds.


Popcorn - Popcorn is one of the best snacks you can have...provided you avoid the butter/salted/flavored kind.  Plain popcorn is high in fiber so it fills you up quickly and 1 cup has just 30 calories.  


Edamame - Soy beans, also known as edamame, are a delicious, low calorie, high fiber treat.  I recommend buying them in the shell--it takes more time to eat them allowing you to realize you are full faster.  One cup has just 150 calories.


Non-fat yogurt - Plain fat free yogurt has 16 calories per ounce.  It is good for you and can satisfy your sweet tooth during a craving.


Rice Cakes - Most rice cakes have around 25-35 calories per cake.  I like to spread a little Better'n Peanut Butter or fruit spread on top for a little flavor.  My favorite are the brown rice variety.  


Soup - Broth based, low-sodium soups are almost always very low in calories.  There are tons of soups available in the grocery stores these days.  Choose varieties with vegetables and protein to reach satiety quickly.  Just be sure to read the label for calories per serving--often there are 2 servings per can--but one can should be around 150 calories (very low). 




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Monday, June 14, 2010

Foods to Ponder

Quinoa


My husband is one of those guys who likes to have a starch with every meal.  I am not one of those gals.  So, I have been searching high and low for a variety of healthy starches...brown rice...check...couscous...check...sweet potatoes...you get the point.  I'm bored.  So I tried something new--quinoa--and it was a good decision.  


Bob's Red Mill Organic Grain Quinoa, 26-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)Quinoa isn't new--it's just something I've never tried to make.  It's delicious and a great whole grain alternative. Actually, it is a complete protein and closely related to spinach and swiss chard...but lumped in the grain category.  It's a great source of magnesium, iron and phosphorus.  One half cup cooked has 130 calories, 4.5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.  


Quinoa is sold in every grocery store these days.  It's pretty easy to cook--just follow the direction on the bag/box.  I also recommend Trader Joe's (shocker) Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Melange--it's fast and delicious.  Find it in the freezer section.  A perfect side dish ready in minutes!




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Friday, June 11, 2010

Delicious Discovery

Pillsbury Simply Cookies

I was in the grocery store the other day and had a craving for chocolate chip cookies.  This isn't out of the ordinary...but I didn't feel like making them at all.  So I found myself in the refrigerator section looking at the break and bake options.  Typically--they aren't my favorite choice...they are full of preservatives and trans fat. Then I found Pillsbury Simply Cookies.


The package says it all.  No preservatives.  No trans fat.  Just healthy wholesome ingredients that you would use at home.  The best part is..just break them apart, bake for 15 minutes and voila!  Delicious cookies that taste like you slaved all day...and you didn't!  They also have a peanut butter variety.  At 150 calories per cookie--I can't think of a better treat.  Now the trick will be saving some for my family to try!




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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trim Down Tip

Tricky Foods


It can be difficult to navigate your way through the unending food choices these days.  There are so many foods out there...how do you know if you are choosing the right ones?  Or worse...what if you think you have made a good choice but you've really eaten an extra 1,000 calories without knowing.  Here are three foods that seem healthy...but secretly contain hundreds of calories.  


Crabcakes - Fish is healthy, right?  Not always.  Crab cakes are often (more like usually) pan fried in oil.  That's strike one.  The binding ingredient is usually mayonnaise.  Strike two.  And they are loaded with fillers like breadcrumbs instead of crab.  If you like them...ask how they are prepared.  Opt for grilled or broiled and cakes that are mostly crab and you will save at least 400 calories.


Granola Bars - You might think they are a healthy on-the-go snack...but think twice.  Many bars are filled with artificial ingredients, dipped in sugar and basically a smaller version of a candy bar.  Look for bars with 150 calories or less and fewer than 6 grams of fat.


Pretzels - These favorite snack items rank close to zero in the nutrition world.  They may be less calories and fat than potato chips but they are loaded with salt and made with white (refined) flour.  Instead choose a serving of nuts or raw carrots with hummus to achieve the crunch you crave.  


I could go on and on...stay tuned for more!




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Monday, June 7, 2010

Foods to Ponder

Nectarine


It's almost summer time which puts us smack dab in the middle of delicious fruits season.  Nectarines are one of my favorites.  There is nothing better than a juicy nectarine with any meal.  I especially love grilling them for a different taste.  YUM.  


Did you know the nectarine is actually part of the same species as a peach?  Surprising...I know.  It is known as a peach with smooth skin.  Who knew?  Anyways at just 60 calories and 2.5 g fiber for a medium size fruit...you can't beat this mid-summer treat!




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Friday, June 4, 2010

Delicious Discovery

Kashi Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars

I mean really...do I really need to write a lot about this discovery?  I think the name says it all. Dark Chocolate plus Coconut has to equal delicious.  There is just no way around it.  

Kashi TLC Fruit & Grain Bar, Dark Chocolate Coconut, 6-Count Bars (Pack of 6)Kashi has done it again.  The Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars have 110 calories, 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.  It tastes like a candy bar but also healthy at the same time.  Lately, I have been "using" them as my midday snack when I'm craving something sweet before dinner.  A cup of coffee and a Dark Chocolate Coconut Bar.  It really doesn't get much better!

There are several varieties of these granola bars.  I also love the Peanut Butter (shocker) and the Pumpkin Peacan but the Chocolate Coconut are by far my favorite.  Filling and satisfying.  Just perfect.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trim Down Tip

Turbo Jam


If you are like me...you don't have time to get to the gym as much as you would like.  Well, I could get to the gym right now but when my daughter wakes up she might wonder where I am. So, on days like today I turn to a DVD.  My sister turned me on to a set she found on an infomercial (she is the informercial queen)--Turbo Jam by Beach Body.


Turbo Jam Beachbody 5 Rockin' WorkoutsI will warn you.  The website is corny looking.  Not only that...if you get the DVD's...be prepared to feel like an idiot when you are working out.  Just remember you are in the privacy of your own home and just about every exercise DVD is hosted by a person who has a ridiculous amount of energy.  


That being said--these kickboxing DVD's work.  The first set comes with to DVD's and five workouts.  There is a tutorial, a 20-minute workout and a 40 minute workout plus a sculpting session and an abs routine.  I recommend starting at 20 minutes and working your way up.  The Turbo Sculpt workout is awesome.  40 minutes of weight training (as heavy or as light as you want).  I do that and the 20 minute session some days and it leaves me feeling great..and maybe a little sore.  


Just in time for summer!






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