Enjoy the Snacks

Your Stomach is growling but your next meal is hours away. What do you do? If you think your best option is to avoid the snacks altogether and wait for the next meal, think again.

The Benefits Of Snacking

You may feel regretful about snacking, but snacks aren’t necessarily bad for you. In fact, mini-meals several times a day can be beneficial. If eating a healthy snack keeps you from taking second and third helpings at your next meal, you may actually consume fewer total calories for the day. A wide variety of snacks can fit into a healthy lifestyle, so you don’t need to avoid snacks. Rather, plan them with variety, moderation and balance in mind.

Choose Snacks Wisely
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Select foods that cna satisfy hunger, supply your body with energy and provide important nutrients. Choose a wide variety of these foods to ensure that you get all the necessary nutrients, and to make your snacks more interesting.
Here are some of your best snack picks:

Whole Grains
Whole-grain snacks are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, which give you immediate energy that has some staying power. Look for items such as low-fat whole-grain crackers, whole-grain pretzels and whole-grain crispbreads.

Fruits and vegetables
Eating fruits and vegetables provides a feeling of fullness with no fat and only small amounts of calories. They provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein, which helps keep you feeling fuller longer. The fat in nuts and seeds is monounsaturated fat, a healthy kind of fat. Nuts and seeds are high in calories, however, so don’t eat them in large quantity.

Low Fat Dairy Product
Cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are good sources of calcium, protein, and other nutrients. Dairy products can be high in fat, so choose the low-fat versions. Yogurt may have alot of added sugar, so you should consider light yogurt to limit your calorie intake.

Though snacks can contribute to a healthy diet, they can also be a source of excess calories if not eaten in moderation. For example, a resonable amount of almonds (about 23 kernels or a handful) contains 164 calories. But if you eat handful after handful until it totals a cup of almonds, the calorie count jumps to 800-plus calories.

So remember:

  • Snacks are great!!
  • Eat Several mini-meals per day
  • Eat high fiber whole grain snacks
  • Eat low calorie fruits and veggies

Stick with the berry family

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  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • blueberries
  • blackberries

Stick with Dark Green Veggies

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Dark Greens
  • Green Beans

Eating good quality nuts and seeds

  • Almonds with skin on unsalted
  • eat in moderation

Low fat dairy products are good

  • low fat cheeses
  • no fat cheeses
  • unsweetened yogurts

Get Ready for a Snack Attack and incorporate a Good Snack between meals to help support a good quality Nutrition plan

Count Your Calories

Over the shoulder view of young woman eating vegetable salad and fruits while using calorie counter app on smartphone to monitor her daily calorie intake. Making a diet plan to lose weight. Mockup image for young woman using smartphone while eating salad.

It is becoming difficult to pick up a magazine or newspaper and not find some mention of the need to reduce dietary fat intake to 30 percent or less of calories. Numerous health and government authorities, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association, advocate reducing dietary fat to 30 percent or less of total calories. Even the percent daily value of fat appearing on food labels is based on 30 percent of calories. But are Americans heeding these messages?

It appears that they are at least making some effort to reduce fat intake, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, CSFII). This survey shows that from 1994 to 1996 the average American diet contained 33 percent of total calories from fat, down from 40 percent in 1978, which is extremely encouraging.

What is not encouraging, however, is the finding that Americans in general are seeing a heavier weight when they step on the scale. According to a survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the number of overweight Americans has jumped from 45 percent in 1991 to approximately 65 percent. Almost 30 percent of Americans are overweight.

Other studies support these findings. A study from the National Institutes of Health confirms that in 1992-93, the average weight of Americans age 25-30 was 171 pounds. In 1985-86, the average weight was 161 pounds for the same age group.

Why then, if the percent of fat in the diet is decreasing, is obesity increasing? After all, fat has nine calories per gram while protein and carbohydrates only have four each.

The answer may not be a simple one. Experts believe a number of factors contribute to the increase in body weight. The continuing physical inactivity of Americans has been cited by numerous researchers as a major factor. Only 40 percent of Americans exercise on a regular basis. In addition, researchers point to such symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle as a 10 percent decline in sports participation from 1985-90, and a decline in manufacturing jobs, which means fewer people move around at work.

Other factors include a decrease in physical activity caused by television, a continuing increase in the usage of automobiles, and a decrease in physical education classes in schools. And these symptoms may be here to stay. “Experts agree that the root causes of obesity in the country — a sedentary lifestyle and an abundance of food — are very difficult to change,” says New York Times writer Marian Burros in a recent article on Americans’ weight gain.

Excess caloric intake, however, is also a factor. According to the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), total caloric intake by adults increased from 1,969 calories in 1978 to 2,200 in 1990.

Obviously, Weight is determined by the number of calories consumed and the number used as energy. If more calories are consumed than burned, the result is weight gain. Merely controlling grams of fat consumed, which was popular nutrition advice in the past, does not necessarily result in a reduction in calories.

As Dr. James Hill, who is with the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, recently stated, “The idea that you can eat whatever you want as long as you don’t eat fat is totally wrong. There’s solid evidence that the composition of the diet is important, but it’s not just an issue of fat; total calories count too. So, yes, eat low fat. But don’t forget calories.

Why Americans Keep Getting Fatter

As Americans continue to struggle with obesity in the United States, we must ask ourselves some very important questions:

What makes our life style different than other cultures around the world?

Why do we suffer so much from diabetes and heart related diseases?

How can we make better decisions in choosing the right foods to support a healthy lifestyle?

Well I learned many things about how different cultures live in my most recent trip to South America about the eating habits that help support a much more healthy life style free from prescribed medications and free from the struggles of obesity and weight related diseases, such as heart and diabetes. I really observed some striking differences about how the people of South America live their lives both in their eating plans as well as how they approach life itself. I really believe we can learn many things from other cultures that we can pass on to our children in the form of healthier living and creating a life style change that will reduce the risk of obesity in this country.

Here are some of my observations:

What you don’t see are fast food chains on every corner.

What you don’t see are people eating tons of processed snack foods like potato chips and nacho chips that are loaded with bad fat, high sodium, high bad carbohydrates, and tons of preservatives.

What you do see are people making lunch their main meal of the day and dinner the smallest meal of the day.

What you also see are foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals that are completely organic and eaten from there most natural state.

The South American Culture consumes tons of organic and natural and I might add unbelievably delicious fruits and vegetables along with seafood and meats that support a natural healthy lifestyle.

The other key is they consume most of these rich in nutrient foods early in the day and reduce their food consumption later at night, as well as consuming 5-6 meals per day.

Sounds familiar with some of the latest advice from some of the current diet books out promoting smaller more frequent meals and reducing your food intake as you move towards bedtime.

So now that we have a place to start from, let’s talk about the foods that make you FAT!!!

Foods that can make you fat have a few things in common:

High in total calories
High in total fat
High in refined sugars
High in calorie density
Low in nutritional value
High in Sodium
Loaded with preservatives
Loaded with artificial fillers and additives
Come in a box from the middle aisles of the grocery store
Have words that you cannot pronounce on the label

Of course over the years we have called these foods “junk foods” and in the United States, these “junk foods” have continued to grow in popularity for many reasons.

They are ready to eat right from a box (convenient)
They really tease our taste buds with tons of :
o Salt
o Sugar
o Fat
They make you want to eat more and more of them

Here are the top food group that help make you FAT

Ice cream, Donuts, pastries, cakes, pies and cookies
o Typically high in:
Bad fats
Refined white sugars
Refined white flours

All fried foods
o High in fat
o Refined white flours from the breading

Soda and Fruit juices
o High in refined sugar and artificial additives
o Look out for other forms of sugar
High fructose corn syrup
Corn syrup

Snack Foods- potato chips, nacho chips, etc.
Typically high in:
Bad fats
Refined white flours
Refined white sugars
Artificial flavors and colors
Preservatives – that you cannot even pronounce

Processed meat items-Typically fast food
o Hot dogs, Hamburgers, Bacon, Sausage
High in bad, bad, bad, fat
High in Sodium
Usually served on Refined white flour breads

High Sugar Breakfast cereals
o High in Refined white sugars
o High in Refined white flours

If your meal plans are made up of a high percentage of My FAT Food group, then you are probably not reaching your fitness and health goals and are struggling to keep the weight off.

Watching Your Carbs Intake? Count the calories

The Low Carbs Craze

Trendy in the dieting world currently means low carbohydrate. You can’t walk the aisles of a grocery store, turn on the television, or pick up a magazine without seeing something about carbs. The best-selling diets out now, some of which include the Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, and The Zone, exclude carbs almost entirely or limit certain types of carbs. And, more and more restaurants and fast food chains are now offering carbs-conscious menus.

Atkins vs. The South Beach Diet vs. The Zone Atkins Diet
Almost no carbs allowed (including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)

No calorie or fat restrictions (diet contains almost three times the recommended saturated fat)

Overall, the diet lacks many nutrients including vitamins C, D, and E; calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc Diet contains very little fiber

The South Beach Diet
Some carbs that are high in fiber are allowed Restricts saturated fats: no butter, bacon or fried foods

The Zone
Each meal or snack has to be split up as follows: 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% unsaturated fat

Carbohydrates have to be combined with proteins in certain amounts in order to stabilize blood sugar

The Low-Carbs Diet Lowdown

Limited studies have shown that following a carbs-restricted diet, like the above, will produce weight loss; however, there are no long-term studies yet available that show how safe or effective these diets can be long-term. Many health and nutrition experts question the nutritional quality and one’s ability to follow these diets after an extended period of time.

Most people will lose weight initially on too-restrictive diets, but after they begin to incorporate some of the foods they have been avoiding, they tend to gain the weight (plus more sometimes) back. A more sensible approach that moderately limits (not excludes) carbs increases your chances of getting all your nutrients and keeping the weight you lose off for good!

Not All Carbohydrates Are Created Equal Carbs have gotten a bad wrap, but the bottom line is that carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates are found in most foods, with the exception of meats, fats, and oils. That’s why it can be hard to follow such an extremely low-carb diet. However, a more moderate carbs diet that consists of whole grains instead of refined grains is a safe and effective way to lose weight and get all the nutrition you need. If you’ve decided to watch your carbs intake, you should know the difference between refined (“bad”) and unrefined (“good”) carbohydrates.

Refined (simple carbs, processed) Get absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, causing an almost immediate spike in the blood sugar and insulin production which can make you hungry Contain few vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals Contain little to no fiber Generally found in white rice, bread, and pasta; certain cereals, and sugary foods like candy

Unrefined (whole grains, complex carbs, unprocessed) Unlike refined or simple carbs, whole grains need to be broken down before they can be absorbed. This breaking down process avoids a spike in your blood sugar and insulin production Contain many nutrients that have been shown to be protective against chronic diseases like cancer Good source of fiber Generally found in fruit and vegetables, oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, whole-grain bread and any whole grains, such as brown rice, couscous and bulgur Read on to learn “How to Eat Lower-Carbs Smart and Safe”

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