January 7, 2011

5 Quick Kitchen Friendly Fixes For a Successful Diet

Getting into the kitchen to cook from scratch is the best way to make sure you are eating healthy meals, most of the time.

But, if your kitchen is more like a bomb site, you may find you are severely lacking in motivation.

So, here are 5 tricks to help transform your kitchen into a place that actually encourages a healthy diet.

1. Keep the Kitchen Clean
For me this is a must. If the kitchen is untidy, make a rule that no dirty dishes are left in the sink, and the counter tops and table must be kept clean. That way, you can get right into cooking when you get home, so there's less chance you'll feel like slacking off.

2. Make Cool Water Accessible
Research,shows that drinking 16 oz. of water increased metabolic rate by 30 percent, within 10 minutes of eating a meal. These effects can last for 30 to 40 minutes. The study also concluded that drinking 8 glasses of water per day would help the body burn an additional 95 calories.

While this may seem like a relatively small increase, it is significant over time. Also, water has so many additional benefits in the body, so it's worthwhile making an effort on this one.

Drinking more water each day can be as simple as placing a jug of water in your fridge -- just make sure you reach for the water first, before you opt for another substitute.

3. Keep Emergency Meals in the Freezer
Having healthy meals in your freezer is a good fallback plan for those times when you get home late, or you forget to pick something up at the grocery store. And, it helps you to avoid eating unhealthy food, or opting for fastfood.

When you run out of emergency meals, just make an extra batch of your next meal, and freeze the extra.

4. Use a Vegetable Steamer
Sometimes cooking vegetables can feel like a lot of hassle, so anything that helps with this is a bonus. Steaming is the healthiest way to cook vegetables, because it prevents nutrients being lost into the cooking water.

When I'm making brown rice, for example, I put the rice in the bottom of the rice cooker, then add my vegetables to the steamer basket on top after about 20 minutes of cooking.

Other options are steamer baskets which fit over a saucepan of water, or microwave steamers.

5. Get Rid of JunkFood
Ridding your kitchen of the junk will be a huge benefit to your whole family, encouraging everyone to make better choices overall.

If you can't get rid of it completely, try placing healthy snacks, such as nuts, seeds and dried fruits right in the pantry next to the other snacks. That way, each time you reach for a snack, you are forced to make the decision "healthy" or "unhealthy."

Also, keeping a colorful bowl of fresh fruit on your counter top, and some raw vegetables in the fridge is helpful, giving you lots of healthy options to choose from.

What are your tips for making the kitchen more diet-friendly?

January 5, 2011

A Visual Guide to 15 Healthy Snacks

Most vending machines are stocked full of junk food. With a bit of planning it is possible to replace those snacks with foods that will nourish your body.

The challenge is to balance convenience with nutrition.

Here is a pictorial guide to a selection of healthy snacks - and remember - healthy eating is not just about the number of calories*.

Raw Almonds

Serving shown: 20 almonds
Calories: 139

Raw Mixed Nuts

Serving shown: 30g / ~1oz
Calories: 178

Dried Fruit

Serving shown: 40g / 1.4oz
Calories: 97

Note: Dried fruits are more calorie dense (per weight) than fresh fruit - and are easier to overeat.


Serving shown: 180g, 1 medium & 1 small.
Calories: 95

Note: Great packaging. Small portions. Seasonal


Serving shown: 185g / 6.5oz
Calories: 96


Serving shown: 1 medium banana - 118g
Calories: 105

Note: Nicely prepackaged.


Serving shown: 215g / 7.6oz
Calories: 148

Note: Seasonal


Serving shown: 85g / 3oz
Calories: 99

Note: Be wary of tuna in oil - many of the oils are vegetable oils (high in omega-6 rather than omega-3 EFA's).

Dried Peas

Serving shown: 25g / .9oz
Calories: 72

Note: Find in bulk bins - often with different seasonings.


Serving shown: 2 cups
Calories: 62 (air-popped)
Calories:110 (oil-popped)
No condiments added.
Note: Avoid pre-packaged popcorn (often contains trans fat).

Baby Carrots

Serving shown: 170g / 6oz
Calories: 60

Note: Convenient - can buy pre-washed and pre-bagged.

Celery & Hummus

Serving shown: 40g / 1.4oz hummus
Calories: 108

Note: Buy celery pre-cut and pre-washed. Goes well with many other dips.

Cherry Tomatoes

Serving shown: 150g / 1 Cup
Calories: 27

Note: Seasonal.

Whole-grain Crispbread with Cottage Cheese

Serving shown: 1 cracker + ~45g (1.5oz) cottage cheese (light)
Calories: 70

Note: Aim for crispbreads or crackers that are completely whole grain and have a minimal amount of oil.

Bean Salad

80g / 2.8oz
Calories: 90

Functional Fruit
All fruits are great - however many have a very short season (berries, peaches, nectarines) and others can be a bit too messy if you are at work (grapefruit, oranges, melon).

*It's Not Just About Calories
Some snacks may be low in calories, but lack in other essential nutrients. Some snacks do nothing to satisfy the appetite. What's the point in saving 20 calories just to be gnawingly hungry 15 minutes later? No vending machine will be safe from you...

Not Everyone Needs to Snack
For some people - three square meals works fine. For others, snacking is a way of life - and without a little pre-planning - most of those snacks will not be the best choices.

Snacking is a great way to maintain even energy levels and manage hunger and prevent bingeing.

Building Positive Habits
Snacking is habit forming. Switch out bad food choices for good ones - and before you know it - your 3 hourly pilgrimage to the vending machine will be a thing of the past.

NOTE: All items were carefully weighed and measured. Calorie amounts came from theUSDA nutrient database or from labels.

Top 5 Mistakes Dieters Make

You ate and sipped your way from Thanksgiving to New Year's. The food was delicious; the eggnog and champagne divine. But now, well, now your pants won't zip. Holiday weight gain is hands down the most unwanted gift of all. Fortunately, you don't have to keep it. Dante Walker and Twenty5 by 25 is here to share the most effective weight loss strategies for shedding those holiday pounds.We will explain how to avoid the biggest dieting traps so you're sure to start off your post-holiday weight loss plan right.

Mistake No. 1: You Crash Diet
Of course, diets that promise big weight loss fast sound great. After all, who wouldn't want to drop every pound you gained in just a few short weeks? And sure, if you radically cut your calorie intake, you will lose weight. But here's the catch: You can't eat like that forever. And once you go b
ack to eating the way you usually do, you'll regain what you lost and possibly even more. "The fundamental problem these diets have is that you cannot overwhelm your biological drive to eat with willpower. The reason why 98 percent of diets fail is because they ask you to eliminate an entire food group and this isn't good for long-term weight loss."

Diet Tip: Eat a variety of healthy foods so you don't feel like you're depriving yourself. Then track your calories with a food diary and find ways to eat just 100 fewer calories every day. It's not hard to do. And 100 calories is such a small amount, your body can't tell you're on a diet, so your metabolism doesn't slow down and you'll naturally lose the weight.

Mistake No. 2: You Skip Breakfast
You'd think that bypassing breakfast would be a quick and easy way to shave some extra calories -- except, you're actually more likely to consume those calories (and more) later in the day. Thinking you have some calories to play with because you didn't eat breakfast, you may supersize your lunch or grab snacks that aren't particularly good for you simply because you're hungry. In addition, skipping breakfast prompts your body to store fat rather than metabolize it. In fact, research shows that breakfast skippers tend to be heavier. While breakfast eaters consume more calories, they're also slimmer, more active and have healthier diets overall. In a s
tudy of people who'd dropped at least 30 pounds and kept it off, 78 percent said they routinely ate breakfast.

Breakfast Tip: Eating something within an hour or so after waking up boosts your metabolism by as much as 10 percent. Go for things like oatmeal sprinkled with nuts and raisins or a tablespoon of peanut butter, a veggie omelet with whole-wheat toast, or low-fat cottage cheese with fruit. The mix of protein and fiber holds off hunger through the morning so you're less likely to help yourself to the powdered doughnuts at the office or overeat later at lunch or dinner. In a recent University of Connecticut study, when volunteers had eggs for breakfast, they consumed 100 to 400 fewer calories at lunch than when they ate bagels, even though both the bagel and egg breakfasts contained the same amount of calories. Other research suggests that fiber-rich breakfasts help you burn more fat when you exercise. No time to sit down to eat? Do what Dante does: Drink a Breakfast Shake as you head to work or to drop kids off at school. "It's fast, it's filling and has everything you need in the morning," It taste great and your kids will love it too.

Breakfast Shake

This recipe makes two 160--calorie servings.

½ large banana, broken into c
1/3 cup Nutri9 Shake
1 ounce Le'Vive
2 teaspoon Ardyss plus (liquid vitamin)
1 cup water

Put everything into the blender. Blend and drink.

Mistake No. 3: You Drink Extra Calories
When we eat a big meal, our body knows it's been fed and we eat less at the next meal. But that doesn't happen when we drink high-calorie beverages, which are estimated to add about 235 extra (empty) calories a day to our diets. Our bodies don't seem to register liquid calories the way it does solid calories. Specialty coffee drinks, fruit drinks, sodas, energy drinks and alcohol are some of the b
iggest calorie traps. Alcohol is actually doubly so because drinking relaxes our willpower. Have a few cocktails and suddenly having that slice of cheesecake seems like a pretty good idea.

Drink Tips: Choose lower-calorie drinks. Like coffee? Leave out the whipped cream, syrups and chocolate shavings, and drink it black or with a little sugar. "A teaspoon of sugar is just 16 calories, a tiny amount," Can't give up your soda? You can have both soda and fruit juice if you add Crystal Light to club soda or sparking water. You get the fizz with fewer calories.

Mistake No. 4: You Don't Snack
Snacks get a bad rap because we think of them as junky foods we shouldn't eat. But nutritious snacks are actually a dieter's best friend, because eating frequently can actually help you consume fewer calories. "Thoughtful snacking keeps you from getting hungry between meals and help you eliminate making poor diet choices later on. People who eat several small meals and snacks a day are
more likely to control their hunger and lose weight.

Snack Tips: Each day, pack several healthy snacks in small containers or snack-size baggies to keep in your purse, at your desk or even in your car. If you always have diet-friendly snacks at hand, you'll be less tempted to raid the vending machine. Just eat enough to kill the hungry feeling inside your stomach. Do Not make a meal of the snacks.

Mistake No 5:You Don't Drink Enough Water
The next time you feel hungry, take a big, long drink of water and you may not need to eat. Because the hormones in our intestines that tell us we're hungry are very similar to the hormones that let us know we're thirsty, we're not very good at distinguishing hunger from thirst, which is why we typically reach for food when we should be drinking. . And when we're not well hydrated, our metabolism drags. "Water is essential for burning calories," said Dr. Oz. "Adults who drink eight-plus glasses of water a day burn more calories than those who drink less."

Water Tip: Drink water before every meal and snack and a few more in between. According to a study done at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, overweight or obese study volunteers who drank a 16-ounce bottle of water before every meal lost 44 percent more weight after 12 we
eks than volunteers who didn't drink water before dining. That may be because water drinkers ate about 75 fewer calories when they drank water before their meals, as another Virginia Tech study found.

If eight glasses a day seems daunting, try this mind trick: Drink from larger bottles, so instead of consuming eight glasses, you're sipping just three and a half bottles. Easy! And there's no reason to always drink it plain. In our house, we make water more appealing by adding slices of fruit or a splash of fruit juice to give it a different taste.

Hopefully these tips will help you with your weight loss journey.

January 3, 2011


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