Eat Smart!

Easter and Passover Meal Tips

Partaking in your traditional Easter or Passover celebration doesn’t have to undo all your hard work. Just remember your goals and incorporate them in planning your meal and family activities. Take time to try a new healthy take on your favorite recipe. Put candy you don’t like and non-candy items like small toys in the kids’ Easter baskets. And the improved spring weather offers plenty of walking opportunities, especially after a consuming a few chocolate eggs or jelly beans.

Meal Prep Tips

There are many healthy choices this time of year as in season fruits and vegetables start making their delicious appearance in the produce section of your favorite grocery store. Steamed fresh vegetables are a true gourmet delight. Also, cooking from scratch offers you more control over the calorie and fat content of your meal. Reduce the fat and calories and without sacrificing taste with these substitutes:

  • Use and equal amount of applesauce instead of oil in cakes, brownies or muffin mixed. The puree will make your baked goods moist and tender.
  • Use egg whites or commercial egg substitutes for part or all of the whole eggs, 1 egg equals 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute.
  • Use broth instead of butter or fat when sautéing.
  • Use plain or vanilla fat-free yogurt instead of sour cream. It can also be used in place of whipped cream on some desserts.

Eating Tips

  • Pace your eating, enjoy the conversation at the table.
  • Don’t load up your plate. If you’re still hunger, go back and get a small portion of one item.
  • Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite food, just take a small portion.
  • Stop when you begin to feel full and make an effort to back away from the table.
  • Take a walk around the block. It’s one of the best things you can do to aid digestion, burn some calories and get away from the food.
  • If you’re eating out, don’t arrive on an empty stomach! Have a bowl of cereal, vegetable sticks, fresh fruit, a salad, a handful of nuts, or a small sandwich before you arrive.
  • Offer to bring a healthy dish. It’s one way to make sure you have a good food option and your host will appreciate it.

Easter Candy Calories Count

Knowledge is power, so here is a list of a few Easter candy favorites and the number of calories so you can make an informed choice. Remember, don’t deprive yourself, just make it a small portion, and then go for a walk.

5 Peeps Marshmallow Chicks: 160
1 chocolate-covered marshmallow bunny: 60
1 chocolate-covered marshmallow egg: 100
20 Jelly beans: 160
20 Jelly Bellys: 80
8 robins eggs malted milk candies: 170
1 1-oz. (small) chocolate bunny: 140
1 1.75-oz. (medium) chocolate bunny (solid): 298
1 7-oz. (large) chocolate bunny: 1,050
7 Hershey’s Solid Milk Chocolate Eggs Pastel: 210
9 Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate with Almonds: 230
1 Cadbury Creme Egg : 170
12 Cadbury Chocolate Mini Eggs: 190
4 Sweetarts Chicks, Ducks & Bunnies: 50

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A bowl a day could keep high blood pressure away

The amount of cereal, specifically whole grain cereal, can significantly reduce the risk of high blood pressure, according to a recent Physicians Health Study.

Whole grain cereal can significantly reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

The study analyzed data from more than 13,000 male physicians over a 16 year period. None of the men had high blood pressure at the beginning of the study.

The participants were grouped together by how much cereal they ate. The group who did not eat cereal was used as a control.

  • The group who ate one or less servings a week saw an 8 percent lower high blood pressure risk
  • Those who ate two to six servings a week saw a 16 percent lower risk
  • Those who ate seven or more servings a week saw a 25 percent lower risk

Hmmm, may be tomorrow morning you should include a serving of whole grain cereal.

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Go lean with the protein

Meat, fish and beans are part of a healthy dietProtein fuels your body and is an excellent source of B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Portion control and lean choices are the key.

Each week this month we have focused on a MyPyramid food group — grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, plus meat and beans. These guidelines, published by the USDA, are a good platform for healthy eating. And by tackling each group individually, you may find it easier to work them into your daily menus. Onto this week’s focus:

PROTEIN

THE BASICS:

This group contains meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and some seeds. Choose lean or low–fact meats and poultry. Add a variety and be sure to include fish, nuts, and seeds that contain healthy oils.

RECOMMENDED SERVINGS:

5 oz .for women, 6 oz. for men.

THE RESEARCH:

Protein is a building block for bones, muscles, skin, bones, as well as enzymes, hormones and vitamins. Some proteins are high in saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol and lead to heart disease. Protein rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease.

PROTEIN QUICK TIPS:

Portion control is very important when eating protein. Here’s a quick guide:

  • 1 oz. meat is about the size of a matchbox
  • 3 oz. of meat is about size of a deck of cards
  • 8 oz. of meat is about the size of a thin paperback book
  • 3 oz. of fish is about the size of a checkbook

How to keep it lean:

  • Look the round or loin cuts of meat
  • Choose ground beef that is at least 90% lean
  • Choose skinless chicken, or take off skin before cooking
  • Trim away visible fat before cooking
  • Broil, grill, roast, poach, or boil instead of frying
  • Drain off any fat during cooking
  • Prepare dry beans without added fats
  • Skip or limit breading on meat, poultry, or fish

ADDING PROTEIN TO YOUR MENU:

Be sure to vary your protein choices and include foods rich in omega–3 fatty acids. Some suggestions:

  • Salmon steak or filet
  • Grilled or baked trout
  • Chili with kidney or pinto beans
  • Stir-fried tofu
  • Split pea, lentil, minestrone, or white bean soups
  • Black bean enchiladas
  • Garbanzo or kidney beans on a chef salad
  • Beans and rice
  • Rice and beans
  • Veggie burgers
  • Hummus (chickpeas) spread on pita bread
  • Add slivered almonds to steamed vegetables
  • Add toasted peanuts or cashews to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat
  • Add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat
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Happy National Nutrition Month!

March is National Nutrition Month. What a great opportunity to revisit eating habits and resolve to make better choices.

Each week this month we’ll feature a MyPyramid food groups which include grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, plus meat and beans. These guidelines, published by the USDA, are a good platform for healthy eating. And by tackling each group individually, you may find it easier to work them into your daily menus. So onto this week’s focus:

GRAINS

THE BASICS:

Grains are either whole or refined. Whole grains contains the entire kernel and also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals that are removed refining. Grains are found in foods made from wheat, oats, rice, barley – like bread, pasta, tortillas, and breakfast cereals. Whole grains are in foods like whole-wheat flour, bulgur, oatmeal and brown rice.

RECOMMEND SERVINGS:

Six oz. of grain a day (based on a 2,000 calories per day). A serving size is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of dry cereal or 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal.

THE RESEARCH:

Eating whole grains attacks belly fat, the type of fat tied to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A Tufts University study showed that people who ate three or more servings of whole grain a day and limited refined grains, lost 10 percent more belly fat than those who ate mostly refined grains.

So choose whole wheat bread and oatmeal instead of white bread and white rice. Substituting just three whole grain foods for refined grains can go a long way in reducing your waistline.

WHOLE GRAIN QUICK TIPS:

  • Watch for deceptive packaging. Foods labeled multi-grain, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain, or bran are usually not whole-grain products.
  • Choose foods that contain whole grains, brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal, whole-grain corn, whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat, wild rice.
  • Try whole wheat versions of food you already eat, like pastas, breads and cereals.
  • Read nutrition labels and select products that list a whole grain first.
  • Don’t be fooled by color. Foods like bread can be brown because of molasses or other ingredients.

ADDING WHOLE GRAIN TO YOUR MENU:

  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal counts at breakfast (1 oz.)
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread at lunch (2 oz.)
  • 1 cup of cooked pasta at dinner (2 oz.)

A total of 5 oz. of grain. That leaves room for a snack like popcorn, a whole grain.

There you have it. Your six servings of grains and half of them whole wheat. With a little thought and planning, you can stay within your grain limits and feel satisfied. Give it a try this week.

So this week, work on making half of your grains whole grains.

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Five New Year’s Resolution Tips

Keeping this year’s New Year’s resolution is probably the most important thing you can do. It’s more than just slimming down and fitting into those jeans you wore ten years ago. You’ll want to walk because walking has been proven to be better medicine than many high-cost drugs. Wouldn’t you like to save on your medical and drug costs? Keep up with your grandchild? Look great at that reunion and make your old friends envious?

Set a New Year’s Resolution to walk at least 5,000 steps every day and upload your steps once a week. Every week try to increase your average by 20% more than your previous week’s average steps. Stay at a point where you feel you can manage.

1. Be realistic: The surest way to not reach your goal is to make your goal unattainable. Strive for a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding it more often than you do now. For instance, resolving to never eat your favorite food again could be a bad choice. Allow yourself a small sample of a favorite food.

2. Create your plan: Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that walk or have one more cigarette. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your bad habit affects your life.

3. Talk about it: Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better or improve your health. The best case scenario is to find yourself a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and motivate each other. Invite this person as a WalkingSpree buddy.

4. Reward yourself: Celebrate your success by treating yourself to something that you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution. If you’ve been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, perhaps your reward could be going to a movie with a friend.

5. Track your progress: Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated. If you haven’t already, set a step goal on the WalkingSpree site. Watch your Fitness calendar turn green when goals are hit or burgundy when 10,000 steps are hit.

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WalkingSpree delivers an effective, measurable, economical, and fun walking employee wellness program for corporate clients, health insurers, health clubs and the general public. Members step with a 99% accurate USB Omron pedometer in a web 2.0 walking community. To see how WalkingSpree’s corporate wellness program can reduce health care costs, engage employees and provide quantifiable health results for your company, please contact us today.

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