Category Archives for "Healthy Food Options"

Eat Your Heart Out With These 11 Healthy Tips

February is American Hearth Month, and these 11 healthy tips will support your own heart health, while also keeping your stomach full and satisfied.

  1. Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
  2. Use a smaller bowl and smaller spoon to practice portion control.
  3. Top your oatmeal with a banana for added potassium.
  4. Enjoy a bean soup for lunch, filled with soluble fiber.
  5. Have a handful of mixed nuts for a snack.
  6. Start your dinner off with a colorful salad.
  7. Use olive oil as salad dressing.
  8. Cook dinner at home to eat healthier and be better able to watch your calorie intake.
  9. Prepare arctic char or grilled salmon to get in omega-3 fatty acids.
  10. Serve cauliflower as a side dish to get in extra fiber and potassium with low calories.
  11. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate after dinner. Dark chocolate contains flavonols linked to reduction in heart disease.

Click here to read the full article by Dr. Lisa Young for Huffington Post.

Healthy Diet Proves Important to Mental Health

While we are often quick to discuss the benefits of a healthy diet on our physical health and well being, the role of diet in mental health has recently become a topic of conversation. As the FDA released new dietary guidelines last week, the report noted benefits of specific dietary elements in complementary treatment for mental health concerns. For example, omega-3 fatty acids are now being considered a complementary treatment for depression. Various professionals in the mental health field have been allying for a new approach to mental health care that integrates diet and lifestyle factors in with other forms of diagnosis and treatment. While research and moves toward this type of integrative approach to mental health are still in the works, a number of studies have already attested to the role of nutrients in brain health; similarly, supporting a healthy diet will likely provide further support for mental health.

Click here to read the full article by Carolyn Gregoire for HuffPost Healthy Living.

How Can Your Fridge Help You Lose Weight?

It may seem that the refrigerator is your biggest enemy while you’re on a diet– but this doesn’t have to be the case! Organizing your fridge to show off the wonderful healthy foods you have stocked can do wonders for your healthy eating regimen. Declutter your fridge by using plastic storage bins that will allow you to organize and see what you have available to you. Place easy-to-grab snacks in the center of your fridge that can be go-to snacks. Keep precut veggies in the fridge so that they are ready to eat. A fruit bowl is also a great snack to keep in sight, so that you choose fruit over unhealthy dessert options. Do an overhaul of everything in your fridge, tossing everything that might run you off-course from your healthy eating plan. Last but not least, store healthy alternatives to your favorite foods to avoid deprivation.

Click here to read the full article by Jenny Sugar for PopSugar.

Tips for Creating a Healthy Meal Plan for Men

When it comes to healthy eating, men and women require much of the same nutrients, but the amounts, timing and nutritional makeup of a meal plan can vary greatly. In order to achieve peak performance, men should try to incorporate a wide range of food into their regular diet. Lean proteins, whole carbohydrates and healthy fats are all needed to work together for the most balanced meal plan. The best way to create a plan is to come up with what works best for your body and your specific goals.

Portion Sizes

Most people are not aware of what a normal portion size is. Everyone has a different body, and different bodies often require different portions to achieve the correct amounts of food consumed. Instead of using a one-size-fits all guide for determining your portion sizes, you can use different parts of your body to ensure that you get exactly what you need. Some of the best portion size measurements include the following:

  • One serving of carbs equals your clenched fist
  • One serving of protein equals the palm of your hand
  • One serving of fat equals the tip of your thumb

Once you know how much you should be eating at each meal, you do not have to worry about measuring. Simply stick to your guidelines and you can feel good about how much you are eating.

Daily Amounts

In general, men need to consume more calories and nutrients than women on a daily basis. While 2000 calories is the typical guideline for women trying to maintain their weight, men should aim for 2500. While your needs can vary based on your size, age and fitness goals, most men need about 55 grams of protein, 300 grams of carbohydrates and 95 grams of fat each day.

Timing

When you eat your meals can be just as important as what you eat. Eating every few hours can help stave off hunger and keep your blood sugar from plummeting throughout the day. With a meal plan in place, you are more likely to stay on track and enjoy better health. Creating a healthy meal plan for men is not as hard as you might think, and it can make all the difference for your health.

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Benefits Of Spices In Your Diet

Spices and herbs do so much more than just provide flavor to your favorite dishes and trusty recipes. Many provide a variety of health benefits as well, giving you all the more reason to spice up your next meal. For centuries different herbs and spices have been used in traditional healing remedies, linked to diminished inflammation, increased antioxidant capability, and reduction of oxidative stress linked to a variety of diseases, from diabetes to cancer.

  • Garlic has been shown to slow the development of atherosclerosis and is also linked to heart attack and stroke prevention.
  • Rosemary is known to provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Ginger supports digestion and cell protection, while relieving nausea and decreasing inflammation.
  • Strong spices such as chili pepper and cayenne provide pain relief.
  • Cinnamon promotes healthy blood sugar levels and manages triclycerides.

Click here to read more from HuffPost Healthy Living.

Cooking Strategies to Help Trim Down Your Waist

If you want to enjoy your meals and flatten your tummy in the process, then there are a few strategies for achieving that end beyond simply reducing portion sizes. The way you cook your meals play a great deal and can help or hinder your efforts. Following a few cooking modifications can help you shed the pounds without making your meals bland and tasteless.

Reduce Sodium

People are surprised that there is a correlation between sodium and weight gain. According to a study from the University of California San Francisco, those who ate a high sodium diet also gained more weight – about a pound more – over a five day period than those who stuck to a low sodium diet. It is believed that too much sodium leads to the production of insulin, a hormone responsible for converting sugar into fat. In place of salt, opt for alternatives like:

  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • oregano
  • cardamom
  • basil

Do not Coat the Pan With Nonstick Spray

Yes, the spray that you use to add a nonstick surface to your pan contains calories. One full spray that covers the entire surface contains about 36 calories and four grams of fat. While that does not seem like a whole lot, it can quickly add up if the spray is used daily.

Do not Dice Veggies and Potatoes Into Extremely Tiny Pieces

It seems strange that the size you cut your vegetables and potatoes into would matter a great deal. However, if you prepare the meal with cooking oil, it is better to cut the vegetables into larger pieces. When vegetables are chopped into thin and small slices, it creates more surface area for the oil to cling onto, which equals more calories from pure fat.

Rinse Your Vegetables Before Cooking

For cleanliness sakes, it is a good habit to wash your vegetables before throwing them into the pot. Not giving them a quick rinse can actually make you gain weight. According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, unwashed vegetables may contain pesticide residue, which has been shown to inhibit thyroid function. An improperly working thyroid is associated with a slower metabolism.

Give these cooking tips a try the next time you turn on the stove. They just might give you the slight edge you need to lose those extra pounds.

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Thai Curry Chicken Salad With Creamy Dijon Dressing

This recipe for a yummy Thai curry chicken salad with creamy dijon dressing from Brittany at EBF is a great option to spice up your usual salad routine. The recipe yields four large salad portions, with only 287 calories per serving.

Ingredients

For the salad:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 to 4 ounces each)
Spring mix, romaine lettuce, or baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
2 cups pineapple, chopped
1 cup red onion, chopped
Gomasio, to taste (optional)

For the spice rub:
2 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
2 to 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley

For the dressing:
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons good Dijon mustard
11/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine spice rub ingredients in a small bowl. Cover chicken breasts in spice rub.
  2. Cook seasoned chicken breasts in skillet with one teaspoon of coconut oil. Cook for about 10 minutes on each side. Remove from heat. Slice for salad when cool.
  3. Place dressing ingredients in a bowl or jar and combine well.
  4. Divide greens, cucumber, pineapple, bell pepper, and red onion on to four plates. Top with chicken and drizzle with dressing.

Click here to read the original recipe by Brittany Mullins for PopSugar.

5 Smart Carb Swaps

Whether you’re working hard to eat healthy or just trying to cut back on your carb intake, bad carbs can be hiding in plain sight! These five easy swaps can help you to minimize your carbohydrates while still enjoying healthy and delicious options.

  • BBQ Baked Beans: good source of fiber, but a killer amount of sugar. Try swapping them for black beans with jalapeño, red bell pepper, lime, and cilantro.
  • Salad Dressing: dressings can pack refined carbs from sugar. Try opting for oil and vinegar-based dressings instead.
  • Apples with Caramel dip: good that you’re eating an apple, but not great that you are getting so many carbs from the caramel. Grab some peanut butter to pair with the apple instead.
  • Cracker Jacks: a good source of whole grains and nuts, but caramel adds a lot of refined sugar. Opt for lightly-salted popcorn and nuts instead.
  • Mashed potatoes: without skin, these provide even less fiber. Go for mashed butternut squash instead for more fiber and fewer carbs.

Click here to read more from Cooking Light.

How to Cook up a Healthy and Delicious Meal on a Tight Budget

One of the primary factors that prevent people from eating healthier is the high cost of organic and natural foods. However, if you know where and how to shop, then you can save a bundle on your grocery bills while obtaining the ingredients you need for whipping up a healthy meal for the family.

Shopping Tips

Consider the following shopping strategies utilized by savvy shoppers for saving a few dollars the next time you head to the supermarket.

  • Buy in bulk; vegetables and fruits can be frozen to prolong its lifespan. Produce that is frozen at the peak of ripeness will also retain its nutrients.
  • Buy produce that is in season
  • Buy from a farmer’s market; most sellers are willing to negotiate a price
  • Grow your own; this requires some experience and trial and error, but it will pay off

Recipe Samples

Spinach and Egg Sandwich

  • English muffin or whole wheat bread
  • Two eggs
  • One plum tomato
  • One tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4th red onion

This meal makes a great breakfast, and the eggs make for a great source of low-cost protein. The meal also provides a healthy dose of vitamin A and D and omega-3 fats.

Herb-Roasted Chicken

  • One whole chicken
  • Three garlic cloves
  • Two pints grape tomatoes
  • One halved lemon
  • Three tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One tablespoon thyme or rosemary

Buying a chicken whole is typically cheaper than buying its parts. The remaining ingredients for the seasoning can also be obtained cheaply.

Spiced White Rice

  • Two cups long-grain rice
  • One bunch cilantro
  • Two garlic cloves
  • One tablespoon kosher salt
  • One teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup beer

This is a delicious dish for vegetarians and vegans, and the beer is a secret ingredient that gives the cuisine a light alcoholic flavor. A scrambled egg or two can also be added as an optional ingredient for protein.

Eating healthy does not mean you have to spend an arm and a leg. By being a smart shopper, you can prepare healthy and flavor-rich meals while staying within a monetary budget.

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