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    Archive for the ‘quick tricks’ Category

    Quick Tricks: Getting Enough Calcium/Preventing Osteoporosis

    According to current estimates, 90% of adult females and 78% of adult males in the United States are not meeting their daily calcium requirement.

    Depending on your age and gender, you should get anywhere from 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of this VIP mineral every day.

    From the ages of 9 to 18, calcium intake should be at approximately 1,300 milligrams.

    From 18 to 50, it lowers slightly to 1,000 milligrams.

    After age 51, males and females should aim for at least 1,300 milligrams, although 1,500 milligrams are recommended.

    Here are some ways to sneak more calcium into your day — and prevent it from leaching out:

    • Include steamed or sautéed greens in your diet. One cup of collard greens provides 360 milligrams, while the same amount of kale contributes 300!
    • Make quinoa one of your staple grains. One cup of this Incan wonder grain contains 106 milligrams of calcium.
    • Potassium helps prevent calcium loss, so be sure to have two of the following foods every day: oranges, bananas, avocados, raisins, wheat germ, potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.
    • Watch your protein intake. Excess protein results in the excretion of calcium from our bones. To find out how much protein your body requires, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2. Then, multiply that number by .8. Your protein intake should not exceed 200% of this value.
    • Grin and bear it. Weight-bearing exercises help maintain bone density and slow down bone loss.
    • If you drink milk (dairy or a calcium-fortified alternative), aim for 2 servings a day. Hate it by itself? Add it to your coffee, or have milk-based smoothies.
    • Limit your intake of sodas. The phosphoric acid in them leeches calcium from your bones. And, yes, this applies to dark AND light sodas.
    • Know your sources. The following foods are calcium all-stars: non-fat yogurt, non-fat milk, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice, fortified soy milk, mustard greens, and kale
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    Quick Tricks: Cutting Down on Sugar

    The average adult in the United States downs between 20 and 25 teaspoons of added sugar a day, severely exceeding the recommended maximum of 10 teaspoons (40 grams).

    Below, some tips to cut down on added sugar without sacrificing taste.

    * When buying canned fruit, make sure it is packed in its own juices rather than an artificial, heavy syrup. Remember, fructose, the naturally-occurring sugar in fruit does not deserve the same concern as processed, refined sugar. You save: 8 grams/2 teaspoons of added sugar.

    * Have regular Cheerios for breakfast and add your own dried fruits and nuts to it, rather than pouring a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. You save: 8 grams/2 teaspoons of added sugar per cup of cereal.

    * Forego packaged salad dressings for homemade vinaigrettes (combine vinegar, the oil of your choice, and any spices and herbs that suit your mood). You save: 10 grams/2.5 teaspoons of added sugar).

    * Add your own toppings (raising, nuts, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract) to plain oatmeal rather than purchasing flavored oatmeal packets. You save: 12 grams/3 teaspoons of added sugar.

    * When craving chocolate, have a serving of one comprised of 85% cocoa, rather than milk chocolate. You save: 17 grams/4 teaspoons of added sugar.

    * Buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit to it, rather than purchasing flavored yogurt. You save: 20 grams/5 teaspoons of added sugar.

    * When looking to quench your thirst, have a glass of flavored seltzer rather than one of regular soda. You save: 32 grams/8 teaspoons of added sugar.

    * In a rush and need a snack bar? Forget Zone bars (17 grams/4 teaspoons of added sugar), Power Bars (18 grams/4.5 teaspoons of added sugar), and Luna Bars (11 grams/3 teaspoons of added sugar). Instead, reach for Lara Bars or Clif Nectar Bars (most of which have 0 grams of added sugar, or at most, 2 or 3 grams — less than 1 teaspoon!)

    Remember, low sugar does not always mean low calorie! Always read food labels to determine how many calories you are getting. It is still possible to overeat without having too much sugar, but a lower intake is better for our overall health.

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    Quick Tricks: Becoming Restaurant Savvy

    It is estimated that adults in the United States eat 50 to 60 percent of their meals outside the home, which can result in some real nutrition blunders.

    Not only are you unaware of what (and how much of it) goes into your food, you also have to take extra precautions to make sure you aren’t getting an overload of calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Allow me to provide some help:

    Don’t go to a restaurant starving. Half an hour or so before heading out the door, grab a very light snack (i.e.: five or six Triscuit crackers dipped in salsa, a cup of nonfat yogurt, half a cup of veggies with hummus).

    Beware the bread basket. It’s funny, isn’t it? Someone puts a basket of bread in front of us and we eat it, even if we didn’t ask for it. If any whole wheat varieties are available, reach for those first. Also, beware of buttery breads (i.e.: croissants), which add calories and fat. Lastly, go for balance. If you are hankering for a pasta dish, pass on the bread. If, instead, you are thinking along the lines of a fish and broccoli dinner, give yourself a pass for a small nibble from the basket.

    Always ask for sauces, dressings, and gravies on the side. With salads, dip your fork in the dressing before each bite. With sauces and gravies, pour in no more than half of the amount you are given. With fattening condiments such as mayonnaise, dab a very light coating inside one of your sandwich’s bread slices. Even better, ask for mustard instead.

    Start with a broth-based soup or salad (except Caesar — it provides as much saturated fat as a large order of McDonald’s fries!) and follow it up with an appetizer, rather than an entrée. Then, feel free to share a dessert with someone else.

    When it comes to meat, poultry, and fish, always go for grilled, broiled, baked, roasted, and steamed choices.

    At an Italian restaurant, go for tomato-based sauces, rather than cream ones.

    • Restaurant portions are HUGE. Forget the childhood “there are people starving in the world!” guilt-loaded parental speeches and, when you’re full, stop eating. If you really loved your dish, ask to take the rest home.

    Watch out for liquid calories. A Thai iced tea adds 200 calories to your meal, while a standard 6 and half ounce champagne flute clocks in at 170 calories.

    Don’t be afraid to substitute! A salad with fried chicken strips becomes healthier if you replace them with grilled chicken strips. Similarly, brown rice or steamed veggies make for a more nutritious side dish than white or fried rice, or restaurant mashed potatoes.

    Make sure you have at least one (non-fried and not smothered in sauce or cheese) vegetable with your meal.

    Avoid these nutrition disasters: tempura dishes, refried beans, any pasta dish “alfredo”, “batter-dipped” and “deep fried” items, dark meat chicken entrees, fried rice, scalloped potatoes.

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    Quick Tricks: Eating More Vegetables

    Five servings a day is the goal, but the average adult in the United States gets two and a half (it gets worse — the three most consumed vegetables are iceberg lettuce, French fries, and ketchup!). Here are some tips for upping your vegetable intake:

    Have at least one vegetable with lunch and dinner. Baked sweet potatoes, sauteed spinach, and steamed broccoli are delicious, easy to make, and full of nutrients.

    Make salad one of your meals three or four times a week. Forget the standard “greens and tomatoes” and refer back to this article for hints on creating a tasty, filling salad.

    Veg-out during snack time. Pass on the potato chips and instead dip celery sticks into natural peanut butter or broccoli and carrots into hummus.

    Add at least two nutritious vegetables to a sandwich (i.e.: spinach leaves, shredded carrots, peppers, sliced tomatoes, etc.)

    Add a vegetable to your pizza (i.e.: broccoli, spinach, onions, peppers, etc.)

    Mix in at least two vegetables into an omelette.

    Go for frozen. In a hurry? Pop open a bag of frozen broccoli spears or sweet peppers and throw them into a stir-fry. Veggies in five minutes!

    Add at least two chopped vegetables to pasta sauce. They will enhance flavor and help fill you up faster.

    Mix and match! Please your tastebuds by cutting up peppers, onions, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and parsnips, mixing them with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasting them in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

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    Quick Tricks: Cutting 100 Calories

    Welcome to the first installment of a new section aimed at providing you with quick, painless ways to achieve your healthy eating goals.

    A few ways to remove approximately 100 calories from your day:

    • Snack on 2 ounces of grapes (39 calories) rather than 1 ounce of raisins (85 calories).
    • Enjoy a salad with 1 medium-size 2 ounce fresh tomato (11 calories) instead of 1 ounce of sundried tomatoes (83 calories).
    • Instead of 7 regular Tostitos chips (140 calories), have 10 baked Tostitos chips (55 calories). Even better, enjoy them with 2 tablespoons of salsa (9 calories) rather than the same amount of cheese dip (60 calories).
    • At a Thai restaurant, go for a summer roll (89 calories) instead of a spring roll (200 calories).
    • You can’t go wrong with a can of tuna. But packed in water (191 calories) is better than oil (339 calories).
    • Make your grilled cheese sandwich on a George Foreman grill and save yourself a tablespoon of butter (102 calories).
    • Forego a typical 1 ounce serving of croutons in your salad (122 calories).
    • In the mood for ice cream? Get a scoop in a cup (0 calories, of course) rather than a chocolate-dipped waffle cone (160 calories).
    • When dining out, ask for your salad dressing (200 calories) on the side. Then, dip your fork into the salad dressing before each bite. You’ll very likely have half of it left over after finishing your salad.
    • If you’re indulging on dessert, ask for a brownie (290 calories) without a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top (140 calories).
    • At Starbucks, pass on whipped cream for your grande drink (100 calories).
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