Do I Have to Stop Snacking to Lose Weight?

06/15/2009

There is a general perception that snacking is bad and you need to cut out snacking if you want to lose weight. Well, the opposite is actually true.

It is important to eat regularly, every 3-4 hours to maintain your metabolic rate, promote stable blood sugar levels, and prevent insulin spikes. By maintaining a high metabolism you boost the calories you burn throughout the day, which helps you lose weight. By maintaining stable blood sugar levels and preventing insulin spikes you will prevent drops in energy.

Now, this doesn’t mean just any food will work. You need to select heart healthy snacks. This means eating snacks that balance carbohydrates with protein and/or heart healthy fats. Fat and protein slow the breakdown of carbohydrates, preventing the rapid rise in blood sugar and the corresponding increased insulin release.

Here are healthy snacks that are high in carbohydrates:

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Dried Fruit
  • Pretzels
  • Fig bars
  • Fresh fruit

You can make these snacks heart healthy by combining with a protein. These protein sources that are easy to include with snacks:

  • Glass of skim milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter

Here’s an example of how you can apply this to your daily snacks.

Mid-morning snack: Yogurt with granola
Mid-afternoon snack: Nuts mixed with dried fruit
Evening snack: Light frozen yogurt topped with strawberries

Balancing the carbohydrates and protein in your snacks is just one of many factors that affect weight loss. To drastically increase your success with losing weight and keeping it off you must wade through all the weight loss information available and sort out what works from what doesn’t. Many methods used to lose weight are ineffective and some may even sabotage your weight loss efforts. Sign up for the FREE teleclass to learn which weight loss strategies really work. Visit http://www.goldbar.net/ua/link.php?affID=Heartstrong_ad to learn more today.


Heart Healthy Fast Food Choices?

03/07/2009

Fast food is convenient and inexpensive.  But can you eat healthy meals at the fast food chains? What if you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight?

McDonald’s Big Mac Value Meal can be very tempting – you get lots of food and it doesn’t cost a lot. But let’s consider the cost to your health 1,220 calories 58 grams of total fat and 1,310 mg of sodium. Can your body afford that??

We all like our occasional burger (remember moderation is key). So what are the healthier alternatives when eating fast food…

Let’s start with Hamburgers:

-select a single patty or junior size (even kid’s portion)

-skip the cheese, mayo and special sauces

-add as much lettuce, tomato and onions as you like

 

What about those Chicken Sandwiches or Nuggets:

-select baked, broiled or grilled chicken

-again skip the cheese, mayo or special sauces

-pile on the lettuce, tomato and onions

-skip those chicken nuggets (contain lots of trans fat – you can almost hear your arteries clogging while you eat them)

 

How about Fish Selections:

-fish is definitely heart healthy but NOT when it’s fried (I know it tastes good but you lose all the heart healthy benefits when you fry fish)

-avoid tartar sauce and cheese

 

Now let’s look at Subs and Deli Sandwiches:

Subway has commercials talking about how healthy their subs are and how people have lost weight eating there. Well if you make the appropriate choices that may be true but they also have some sandwiches you need to avoid. The Subway 6 inch meatball sub has 530 calories and 26 grams of fat.

-ask for lower fat and/or lower sodium meats

-skip the cheese and mayo

-use vinegar and salt free seasonings

-load your sandwich up with the veggies

 

Last but not least are the Salads:

Not all salads are heart healthy –if you eat vegetables but then smother them with high fat toppings you lose the nutritional benefits.

-select lots of different vegetables to put on top of your lettuce (remember veggies come in all different colors, your salad should not be just green)

-avoid the bacon bits, cheese and creamy toppings

-use light or low fat, low sodium salad dressings

 

Avoid the empty calories and liquid sugar sodas – or if you are going to get a soda order the small size.

And last but not least always remember your portion sizes – avoid those super sized meals.

 

With this economic crisis it can be expensive to take your family out for dinner so if you go to the fast food chains remember you can make some heart healthy selections.

For more heart healthy nutritional info visit www.heart-strong.com also our new book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” lists lots of other heart healthy nutritional advice.


Heart Healthy National Nutrition Month Tips

03/06/2009

March is National Nutrition Month, this month you should think about focusing on good nutritional habits and a heart healthy lifestyle.  Try to get yourself on the right track by examining your refrigerator and pantry and write down some goals to improve your nutritional habits…

A healthy diet includes 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  Try eating more whole grains, lowfat dairy products, nuts (handful a day), fish (two servings per week), and lean meats.  Cut back on trans fats and saturated fats also limit your salt/sodium intake to less than 2,400 mg per day (less than 2,000 mg per day if you have high blood pressure or heart failure), also watch the added sugars. Fiber is very important (women should get about 20 to 25 grams of fiber per day, men 30 grams per day).

Fill your refrigerator with:

Fresh fruits and vegetables (variety is important – eat all the different color fruits and vegetables to improve the nutritional value)

Low-fat dairy products

Skinless chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish

Frozen vegetables without added sauces to limit the added sodium

Stock your pantry with:

Olive or canola oil (avoid vegetable oil)

Non-fat cooking sprays

Try experimenting with different seasonings and spices (avoid salt or seasonings with sodium)

Raw nuts and seeds, dried fruits, whole grain crackers, baked chips, brown rice cakes, plain popcorn, whole grain pretzels make good snack choices

Before you eat it – Read it! Check the food label (especially serving sizes – most products list the nutrient values per serving but the package may contain several servings).

Avoid or limit empty calories like soda, sweetened juices, alcohol.

Watch your portion sizes and limit your fast food intake.

Many of you may have made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight – well it’s three months into the new year – How are you doing?  Avoid those infomercials and diet supplements that promise quick weight loss and try and stick to a sensible diet.  A recent study found that the best way to lose weight is to CUT CALORIES – it doesn’t matter which diet you are following (low fat, high protein, low carb). To lose one pound a week you need to eat 500 fewer calories per day or burn 500 calories per day (exercising). If you need help think about consulting a nutritionist – they can help you develop an individualized plan.

Recent research studies have also shown that coronary artery disease starts to develop in children even though symptoms do not appear until adulthood. Encourage your kids to develop a heart healthy eating habits early – remember your children learn by watching you!

Happy National Nutrition Month – try to celebrate by making at least one healthy change to your diet, your heart and body will thank you.  Remember you can’t change everything overnight, try to make small gradual changes.

For more information visit www.eatright.org (American Dietetic Association)

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” is a new book we wrote which includes heart healthy shopping and cooking tips and healthy suggestions when eating out. Learn your risk factors and how to prevent heart disease. More information is available at www.heart-strong.com


Which Diet Leads to Greatest Weight Loss?

02/28/2009

A recent study published Feb 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the differences between common weight loss diets. This study was conducted between 2004 and 2007, includes 800 overweight/obese adults (30 to 70 years old). The participants were randomly  assigned to low carbohydrate diet, low fat diet, or high protein diet. All participants performed 90 minutes of exercise per week. The majority of the weight loss occurred during the first 6 months with all the diets. All of the diets lowered cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors. The low fat and low carbohydrate diets lowered LDL (bad or “lousy” ) cholesterol levels more than the high protein diet. The low carbohydrate and high protein diets caused more weight loss at 6 months but at 1 year weight loss was the same among all the different diets. This study showed that all of these diets were equally successful in promoting weight loss. Calorie restriction (with any of these diets) AND routine exercise are the most important components of a successful weight loss program! You need to pick a diet that will work for you and remember to incorporate a regular exercise routine.

For more information about Heart Disease Risk Factors and Heart Healthy Lifestyles visit http://www.heart-strong.com


Heart Healthy Diet Tips

02/16/2009

There are so many “diets” out there with promises of weight loss and improved heart health.  It can become very confusing to decide which “diet” to follow.  Below are some tips that re proven to be heart healthy:

·         Eat a diet low in saturated fats-minimize the fried, buttery, creamy, red meat items in your diet

·         Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day

·         Eat fish twice a week-salmon, sardines and tuna are a few that are very high in the Omega-3 fatty acids which are heart healthy! Do not fry your fish!

·         Dairy products should be low-fat, part-skim, or 1% fat or lower

·         Olive oil and Canola oil should be used for cooking rather than corn or vegetable oil

·         Consume less than one teaspoon of salt per day (if you have high blood pressure, you should limit sodium intake to less than 2,000 mg/day)

·         Women should limit alcohol intake to 1 drink per day and men 2 drinks per day

·         A handful of walnuts or almonds are a good snack. They are high in fiber and contain Omega-3 fatty acids

·         Add some Cinnamon to your diet-this will help keep your blood sugar stable and may slightly improve your cholesterol levels

·         Add plant sterols to your diet-these are naturally occurring chemicals in plants that can lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) and they are found in Smart Balance, Benecol and Promise Activ Supershots.

·         Consume whole grains and fiber-avoid the white breads, white rice and pasta.  White flour breaks down to sugar very quickly in your body and can increase your blood sugar and triglyceride levels

·         Finally, every heart healthy diet should include physical activity.  At least 30 minutes per day of walking, biking, weight training, etc.  As little as 10 minute intervals can have a positive effect on your blood pressure, heart rate and all of the risk factors for heart disease.

Small changes in diet and activity levels can have a significant impact on your heart health.  Set small goals and start your heart healthy lifestyle!

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” is our new pocket sized reference book that includes many heart healthy tips and ways to follow a heart healthy lifestyle.  Easy to use charts and pictures included to help you along your journey to a longer and healthier life.  Now available at http://heart-strong.com/Bookstore.html (amazon.com and barneandnoble.com)


Unbelievable Marketing Heart Attack Grill

01/26/2009

So have you seen the You Tube video posted about the Heart Attack Grill (http://www.faniq.com/video/Heart-Attack-Grill–A-Meal-to-Die-For-YouTube-11029,,1172633/user_recent) ???

How about that for a light snack? I suppose if you feel like we do, you would agree that everyone has to take a break once in a while from the heart healthy fare to indulge in a favorite comfort food. The only problem here is the portion size! Talk about portion distortion! (I guess we shouldn’t say anything until we get rid of our ½ gallon wine glass for our one a day serving!!)

What are your feelings about an occasional deviation from the grilled chicken, fish, fruit, and vegetable dishes that will “save our lives?” Do you feel guilty when you go out and order that burger or fried chicken that you have been craving for the last 3 weeks or do you just consider it a treat and resume you healthier eating habits the next meal?