Eat Smart!

Using a food journal can double your weight loss

Keeping an accurate record of what you eat may be your secret weapon to losing weight. In fact, keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss, according to a 2008 study by the Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research.

“The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost,” states Jack Hollis Ph.D., the lead researcher of the study. “Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.”

We all know it boils down to energy in (calories consumed) and energy out (calories burned).

To lose one pound a week, you need to eat 500 less calories each day for 7 days. A food journal is a reality check; it will give you an honest look at how many calories you are eating. And taking time to write down everything you eat helps you make better food choices.

Keeping track of all the foods and drinks you consume in a day will be an eye opener. It will allow you to analyze your food patterns, and help you make better and more satisfying choices. Tracking your food intake is a powerful tool when it comes to weight control.

Record everything when you eat in a notebook or in the Walkingspree Food Tracker. Be honest. Just like any diary or journal, it’s between you and your diary. Don’t cheat on yourself. Once you get an idea of your calorie intake, you’ll find quickly that you’ll have many items memorized.

Select your target caloric intake, track everything you eat for a week, and keep walking. Let us know how it goes on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll include your suggestions in next week’s Eat Smart.

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How to Handle Snack Attacks

You know the feeling. You find yourself in front of the vending machine or an open refrigerator door looking for something to eat. You need a snack.

Actually, snacks can be good for you and are an effective weight management tool. If you are satisfied throughout the day you are less likely to over eat at meals or to binge on a midnight ice cream raid.

When choosing your snacks, look for ones that contain about 100-200 calories. Also, choose snacks that will fill in food group gaps, like an apple for a fruit serving, a yogurt for dairy. You get the idea.

Plan your snacks: Make a list and purchase health snacks you enjoy.

Plan your snack time: If you normally scrounge for something to eat at 3 in the afternoon, set your computer or phone alarm for 2:45 p.m. Take a quick 10 minute walk and then enjoy your pre-planned snack.

Keep snacks handy: Put them in your drawer at work, in your purse or glove box in your car. One person I know puts pre-planned snacks in labeled lunch bags, one for each day of the week.

Take your time: Slow down and enjoy your snack. Move away from your desk and never, ever eat while you are watching TV.

Don’t drink your calories: Beware of high calorie beverages like sport’s drinks, soft drinks, and fruit juices. Pick water instead, and if you need a bit of flavor, add a squirt of lemon or lime juice. Adding a teaspoon of sugar (about 15 calories) is a much better choice than a 12 oz. can of Coke (140 calories, about nine teaspoons of sugar!)

Check out the list below, choose the ones you like and spread them out over the next week. Be creative and share your ideas with us on our Facebook page.

Snack Suggestions

Box of raisins
Fruits such as bananas, grapes, or an apple
Cut-up veggies like broccoli, carrots
Dried fruit
Apple sauce
Nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts
Fat-Free Microwave Popcorn
Dark chocolate
Peanut butter
Canned soup
Granola bars (check the calories)
Graham crackers
Baked tortilla chips and salsa
Wheat crackers
Animal crackers
Light yogurt
String cheese
Low fat cottage cheese
Instant oatmeal
Cereal and milk
Frozen fruit bars
Chocolate milk (low fat)

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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:



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.


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


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.


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


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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