Eat Smart!

Eat Smart! Scary, weird fruits and vegetables may be your favorite

We all have our favorite fruits and vegetables, like banana slices in our morning cereal, a crisp juicy apple or broccoli steamed to perfection. Our mouths water just thinking about them. But some fruits and vegetables are well, downright ugly and not very appealing. In fact, they can be very scary looking! So in honor of the holiday, Halloween that is, your challenge this week is to eat a fruit or vegetable that terrorizes you at the sight or thought of it. If you want to share a photo of your horrific endeavor, please feel free to post it on our Facebook page.

For your consideration, here are a few startling but tasty items that may be lurking in your produce aisles.

scary fruit

This neon colored fruit with blacker-than-night seeds can send chills through some people. May we suggest you chill it and eat it like you would a melon? Touted as a super star in the fruit industry, one serving will get you 100% of your daily recommended vitamin C and a one cup serving is about 55 calories.

scary vegetableRomanesco cauliflower or broccoli
Spiny, cone-shaped florets are quite mesmerizing if you stare at them for a while. But don’t just stare at it, prepare it the way you would broccoli and take a bite. The taste is somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber.

scary fruitUgli fruit
According to the people at, this citrus fruit is a cross between a grapefruit, orange and a tangerine. It is easy to peel and separate into sections. A half fruit serving has 45 calories and the same amount of vitamin C as other citrus fruits.

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Eat Smart! Handling Halloween’s Tempting Treats

Halloween pumpkins
Food choices during any holiday can be a challenge. But when the holiday focuses on CANDY, it can be a potential disaster.

Here are just a few tricks gleamed from our members that may help you survive the attack of the candy monster. If you have any tips that work for you, please share them on our Facebook page, or post them at the bottom of this post. All suggestions and will be greatly appreciated.

  • Focus your energy on displays and costumes – hold contests, check out decorations, etc.
  • Keep chewing gum available as an alternative to popping a small treat in your mouth.
  • Set a limit as to how many pieces of candy or treats you will have at parties and stick to it. Remember, moderation is okay, mindless eating is not.
  • Walk away from the food table at work.
  • If there is a food table, bring some healthy snacks like popcorn, small bags of nuts, or bit size fruits and veggies.
  • When you buy candy to hand out, buy stuff you don’t like and will be less likely to eat.
  • If you find yourself raiding the treats while waiting for Trick-or-Treaters to appear at your door, consider handing out non-food items like temporary tattoos, stickers or glow sticks.
  • Let your spouse take any leftover treats to their office the next day to remove temptation from the house.
  • Take a great walk before the witching hour to boost your mood and steady your resolve to be healthy!

Missed previous Eat Smart! messages? Check the archives as well as the Walkingspree blogger panel on the Walkingspree member blog.

Halloween Contest Reminder

Becoming the “official” photographer at the office or neighborhood Halloween party is another great way to avoid tempting treats. So, why not use your favorite pics and enter our annual Count-Step-a-Lot Halloween Contest? Just send us a photo or a video of you wearing or holding your pedometer with some sort of Halloween theme in the picture. You can be dressed up, or you can be in front of a Halloween decorated yard. You get the idea, any Halloween-theme related photo or video with your pedometer in it will work.

Prizes will be awarded to “most creative costume or theme” and “best group photo.” For more info about the contest and how to win a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate – check out the contest blog posting.

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Eat Smart! How much sugar and fat are you really eating?

We all want to be healthier and strive to eat healthy foods. We take time to read nutrition labels to help us track how much sodium or fat a food contains, and we try to follow the general guidelines. But sometimes, pictures are louder than words. Seeing, for example, the equivalent of an ingredient may help clarify our choice and make you more aware of what a gram of something really looks like.

The folks at have done that with sugar. Below is an example of their visual comparisons, and the website has quite a few more. After a few minutes on this website, you will have a whole new appreciation of the phrase “One lump, or two?” provides visual aids

If you’re interested in visual equivalents of fat in foods, check out the flyer the University of Connecticut Department of Nutritional Science put together. There you will learn there are nine teaspoons of fat in a fast food hamburger and two teaspoons in 10 French fries, but who eats just 10 French fries?

Remember to use the Walkingspree Food Tracker to keep track of how much sugar you’re eating each day.

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Eat Smart! White fruits, vegetables may protect against stroke

Apples and pears

Here’s another reason to eat an apple – or pear – a day. A new study released this month found that eating fruits and vegetables with white flesh could lower stroke risk by 52 percent.

Previous studies have reported that eating fruits and vegetables reduces stroke risk, but researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands wanted to know if the color of the fruit or vegetable made a difference.

Fruits and vegetables were group by of the color — green for foods like lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage; red/purple for tomatoes, cherries; orange/yellow for citrus, carrots; and white of which 55 percent were apples and pears. Other white foods included bananas, cauliflower and cucumbers. Potatoes were classified as a starch.

The study followed the eating habits of more than 20,000 adults over a 10-year period. At the end of the study, researchers found that people who eat a high quantity of white colored produce daily, had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who ate lesser amounts. No correlation was found between stroke risk and the other color groups.

Researcher reported that every 25 grams of white produce eaten daily was linked to a 9 percent drop in stroke risk. A medium apple weighs about 150 grams (5.3 ounces).

“To prevent stroke, it may be useful to consume considerable amounts of white fruits and vegetables. For example, eating one apple a day is an easy way to increase white fruits and vegetable intake. However, other fruits and vegetable color groups may protect against other chronic diseases. Therefore, it remains of importance to consume a lot of fruits and vegetables,” stated lead researcher, Linda M. Oude Griep.

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Eat Smart! MyPlate vs. Healthy Eating Plate — you decide

MyPlate vs Healthy Eating Plate

Last June, the USDA rolled out its MyPlate icon as a visual guide to help people make healthier food choices. But if you found it lacking in guidance, then you may find the Healthy Eating Plate from Harvard a bit more helpful.

It has the same four major food sections as the USDA version, but offers specific food descriptions and eating suggestions. For example the vegetable section on the Healthy Eating Plate suggests, “More veggies – and greater the variety – the better. Potatoes and french fries don’t count.”

The Harvard plate, created by nutrition experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, improved some of the section names – Healthy Proteins vs. Protein, Whole Grains vs. Grains – and added a section on health oils. It also replaced the USDA dairy section with a glass of water and added a “Stay Active” icon reminder.

Granted, neither are complete guides and both lack specific portion suggestions, but both can be a great reminder when planning meals or snacks. It’s definitely something to consider hanging on your refrigerator.

Click the links for a printable version of Healthy Eating Plate or MyPlate.

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