Monthly Archives: October 2011

5 Surprisingly High-Cal Halloween Treats

  |  in General, Healthy Recipes, Motivational Tips, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

Fall is as good a time of year as any to re-evaluate your weight-loss goals and plans. But before you know it, Halloween brings the focus to candy and treats that may be tempting you to fall off the health wagon. One indulgent day of Halloween treats won’t hurt most people’s progress, but considering that Halloween is just the beginning of a two-month season packed with party foods and desserts, try not to get carried away.
 
As you’re looking for ways to enjoy the season without losing sight of your health and fitness goals, pick the smartest treats, but say “Boo!” to the biggest calorie monsters.
 
Here are five Halloween treats that should scare you!
 
1. Fun-Size Candy Bars
At an average of about 100 calories a pop, these popular trick-or-treat goodies may seem innocent—but that’s only the case if you stop at one. It’s pretty easier to eat four or five mini-bars as you take your kids trick-or-treating, and if they’re eyeing you from the reception desk at your office—forget about it! You may be eating one or more every day for weeks leading up to Halloween.

The bars that really pack the most calories are those with peanut butter, coconut, chocolate, caramel, and nuts. Plus, once they’re out of the larger packages, their nutrition facts are nowhere to be found on those individual labels.

Trick: Start reading nutrition labels of fun-size treats before throwing out the package. Figure out the best choice for you and stick with that when you’re having a Halloween treat. Peppermint patties and Twizzlers have about half of the calories than the average candy bar, but that doesn’t mean they are calorie free. Popping in a piece of sugar-free gum can help curb some cravings if you’re feeling tempted after eating just one. Read more: 11 Halloween treats under 100 calories.

 
2. Pumpkin Breads and Muffins
Pumpkin puree delivers vitamin A and fiber along in a deliciously low-calorie package that just screams of fall. But pair it with sugar, cream cheese frosting, shortening and butter, and you have a high-cal treat dressed in a healthy-looking orange costume. Restaurants and bakeries are the biggest villains: Pumpkin scones, muffins, donuts and breads range from 300 to 530 calories per serving, but most portion sizes can be double or triple in size. For a single treat, that’s a lot of damage to your calorie budget.
 

Trick: Bake your pumpkin goods at home, where you can control your recipe and make healthy baking substitutions, like subbing applesauce in place of oil and fat, choosing whole wheat flour over white, and cutting down on the sugar in a recipe. Using a mini muffin tin will help with portions as you bake perfectly-portioned pumpkin goodies. Start with these healthy pumpkin recipes from SparkRecipes for ideas.

 
3. Pumpkin-Flavored Lattes
Many coffee joints will have a special feature on their menu for the harvest season: pumpkin-flavored coffees. A medium pumpkin spice latte with whole milk from Starbucks has 410 calories, and the calories in similar drinks from other chains like Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts are pretty similar. Think before you sip: Can you really budget 400+ calories into your day for a single drink?
 

Trick: Order the smallest size and lighten the load by requesting fat-free milk and holding the whipped topping. Plain hot chai tea with some added low-fat milk can also give you the warm fuzzy feeling of the season without all the added sweeteners of a pumpkin latte.
4. Candy Corn
Yes, these ever-so-traditional candies are quite small, but for candy corn lovers who wait all year for their favorite seasonal candy, they can be devastating to your healthy eating plan. The quintessential white, orange and yellow triangles have 140 calories for 22 pieces, which is a small handful at most. Have a few, and it’s no sweat, but sit near a candy jar full of candy corn, it can be hard to track just how much you’ve eaten since there is no built-in portion control.
 

Trick: Never eat candy corn from a large jar or straight from the bag. This can lead to mindless overeating and no real sense of calories or serving size. Pre-portion yourself a small serving and stick to it. Then put the bag away and walk away from the jar: out of sight, out of mind. Also try stretching out the sugar by combining a few pieces of candy corn with a trail mix of dried fruit and nuts for an added nutrition boost and more filling power.
5. Candy Apples
Don’t fool yourself: Just because there’s a piece of fruit underneath a thick layer of caramel, and possibly nuts, cookie chunks or even chocolate does NOT mean it’s good for you—or low in calories. If you cover a healthy fruit with sugar it becomes a much less healthful choice. A single apple might only contain around 80-100 calories of nutrition, but when it’s coated in caramel, it can more than triple in calories. Designer or “gourmet” candy apples covered in sprinkles, chocolate candies, nuts and chocolate are even worse.
 

Trick: Enjoy your apples by cutting them into wedges and dipping them into low-fat caramel dip, fat free vanilla yogurt or peanut butter.

 
 
The most important thing to remember during the Halloween season is to see these seasonal treats for what they really are: treats that should be eaten in moderation and in small amounts. Put your label reading skills to work and keep your goals in mind, and you’ll have no trouble avoiding Halloween treat temptation.

— By Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian

 http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1679

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Banana Berry Wake-Up Shake

  |  in Blog, General, Healthy RecipesNo Comments

Shakes are a great way to increase fruit and milk intake. This creamy shake which, can be made the night before, is a great way to use up ripe bananas that have been frozen. When bananas start to get brown, pop them in the freezer and take out as needed.

Recipe:
1 banana
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (any combination)
1 cup milk or vanilla-flavored soy beverage
3/4 cup lower-fat vanilla yogurt (or other flavor that complements berries)

In a blender, liquefy fruit with a small amount of the milk. Add remaining milk and yogurt; blend until smooth. If shake is too thick, add extra milk or soy beverage to achieve desired consistency. Enjoy!

Per Serving:
Calories: 234
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Fat: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 44 g
Protein: 9 g

To Happy, Healthy Living!

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Use Measurements besides the Scale

  |  in General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

Pretend for a minute that gravity doesn’t exist. Everything is weightless, including your aunt Sophie, yet it all manages to stay on the ground. You don’t know how much you weigh because scales have never been invented. How would you define your state of health? After all, you wouldn’t be able to say “I need to lose 10 pounds” or “I weigh 150 pounds, so I must be overweight.”

What would be your benchmark? You might still not like how you look. You might be tired of being tired all the time. You might need to trim down and take care of that blood pressure problem. You might want to avoid diabetes.

In a gravity-free world, those are all still good reasons to create healthy diet and fitness habits. Who knows, you might decide “Hey, I feel all right, I look all right, and I’m healthy. If I can just maintain the habits I have, I should be okay.”

The point is, you can decide for yourself what shape you’re in. You don’t need the scale to tell you. Unfortunately, many times we get down on ourselves simply because something as trivial as gravity tells us we’re out of shape. Some people feel and look fantastic in every respect, but if the number on the scale doesn’t match expectations, they’re miserable. This doesn’t make sense. Gravity should not be able to wield that kind of power.

In this gravity-rich reality we live in, we have a fascination with the scale. While it’s good for giving you a general idea of your health, this can be the most discouraging and frustrating part of a diet. Your weight can fluctuate all the time and reasons why are never completely known. Time of day, temperature, the day’s activities, water level – all can skew the numbers one way or the other. In reality, you could be getting discouraged over something that’s not really accurate.

To stay motivated, try finding other ways to measure your progress instead of stepping on the scale. Try some benchmarks that actually matter. Some may be tougher to measure than others, some are more subjective. But we think you’ll find that these measurements can still be a lot more meaningful and motivating.

Take some of these regular measurements to stay motivated, even if the scale isn’t moving:

Body Measures – dress size, waist, hips, neck, arms, fitting into favorite clothes
Performance – more endurance during exercise, doing them at a higher level, jumping higher, walking longer, running faster, playing a sport better
General Feeling – rate energy level, rate attitude and outlook, track how often you feel very sleepy during the day, rate your confidence level
Health blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar level
Intangibles – how you look, compliments you receive, how others respond to you

 

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=104&page=2

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Straight-Armed Side Plank

  |  in Exercises, General, Sample WorkoutsNo Comments

Starting Position

Begin by sitting on your right hip with your legs stacked to your left, your right arm straight, and your right hand on a balance board, placed directly underneath your right shoulder (not pictured). With legs and feet stacked, slowly lift your right hip away from the floor, keeping the right arm straight and extending both legs to balance in a side plank position (pictured).

Action

Breathe steadily as you hold the side plank position for 15-30 seconds, keeping your abs engaged and the right side of your waist pulled away from the floor at all times. For added intensity, extend your left arm up toward the ceiling (pictured). Gradually work your way up to holding the plank for 1-3 minutes for an isometric core challenge. Repeat on opposite side.

Special Instructions

Hold your body as still as possible and try to keep the balance board steady, too. Remember to breathe. Try to square your chest and shoulders with the front of the room, keeping your body in one plane. To decrease intensity, place left hand on the hip instead of extending it (not pictured).

Make it easier: Instead of stacking your legs and feet, stagger one leg in front of the other.

Muscles Worked: Abs, Obliques

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=343

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How much is too much?

  |  in General, Motivational Tips, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

Are you beginning to worry that you’re not getting in enough of one nutrient, and possibly too much of another? Exactly how much should you be taking in?
Based on years of research that examined the relationship between nutrient intake and disease prevention, generally-accepted ranges have been established for carbohydrates, fat and protein intake. These healthy ranges also help to ensure that a person is getting a sufficient intake of other essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The recommendations are:

  • 45% to 65% of calories eaten should come from carbohydrates.
  • 20% to 35% of calories eaten should come from fat.
  • 10% to 35% of calories eaten should come from protein*.

Your intake of carbohydrates, fat and protein may be somewhat higher or lower than the SparkDiet recommendations, due to your taste preferences, cooking style, culture, fitness routine, health conditions and day-to-day changes in diet. Does that mean that your intake is bad or dangerous? No!

The table below converts these percentages into grams needed each day based on calorie intake:

Nutrient

Carbohydrates

Fat

Protein (Women)

Protein (Men)

Healthy Range

45%-65%

20%-35%

10%-35%

10%-35%

1200 calories

135-195 g

27-47 g

*60-105 g

N/A

1500 calories

169-244 g

33-58 g

*60-131 g

*75-131 g

1800 calories

203-293 g

40-70 g

*60-158 g

*75-158 g

2100 calories

236-341 g

47-82 g

*60-184 g

*75-184 g

2400 calories

270-390 g

53-93 g

*60-210 g

*75-210 g

Monitor your diet in these ways:

  • Eat a healthy, nutrient-packed diet.
  • Watch your calories daily and try to keep them in your recommended range.
  • Check your carbohydrate, fat and protein intake based on recommendations. As long as they fall in the healthy range listed on this chart above, you will be meeting your nutrient needs.
  • Choose whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, oats, and avoid refined carbohydrates like white rice and white bread.
  • Choose heart-healthy fats and avoid trans fats found in processed foods.
  • Choose high-quality protein sources such as lean meats and plant-based proteins instead of fattier cuts of meat.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=372

 

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