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09 Jun 2019

What You Want to Know About Carbs, but Are Afraid to Ask

 

Carbs are the punching bag for the average diet today. They are single-handedly blamed for many of today’s most significant health issues, including type two diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Any food item that you eat without moderation creates a potential health issue. Carbs are no exceptions to this.

Carbohydrates are found in foods other than pasta, rice, or bread. Numerous plant-based staples that are part of a healthy whole-foods diet have them too. 

You’ll find carbs in beans, lentils, and even whole grains.

That’s why a blanket statement that only looks at the negative side of carbohydrates can be just as harmful to your health as eating too many of them.

These are the facts about carbs that nutritionists want you to know.

#1. Focus on the Nutrient Profile

Do you know that a serving of chickpeas offers the same number of carbs as a bowl of Frosted Flakes? What sets these two foods apart from each other is their nutrient profile. You’re going to find a lot more sugar when you eat the cereal compared to having a serving of chickpeas. Don’t look at the number of carbs that you consume when making dietary changes. Look at what your body receives instead.

#2. All Foods Contain Carbs

Concentrate on eating a variety of foods instead of focusing on which items contain the most carbohydrates. Almost all foods contain a mix of fats, proteins, and carbs. When you consume several different categories, then you create a balanced mixture of nutrients that your body can use as fuel. Eating just one food item regularly causes your body to get used to what it receives, which can be worse for your health than eating something rich in carbohydrates.

#3. Intelligent Weight Loss

Tackling a low-carb weight loss plan can lead to the shedding of additional pounds. If you compare these diets to other weight-loss options, however, the difference is minimal. Avoiding carbohydrates can help you lose just 2 ½ pounds more than what other dietary changes offer. It’s easier to follow an eating plan which includes carbs too, which means you’re more likely to keep the weight off by having carbohydrates instead of shunning them.

#4. Carbs and Blood Sugar

Carbohydrates that are easily digested by the body, like white rice or bread, can provide spikes in blood sugar that could be harmful to your health. Foods like beans, whole grains, or vegetables contain carbs that have the opposite effect. Look for foods which have high levels of fiber and lower levels of refined carbs to support your overall health. 

#5. You Can Eat Refined Carbs

Some people believe that there’s no place in the modern diet for refined carbohydrates. Although it is wise to choose whole-grain foods while limiting sugars and starches, you can still indulge occasionally with a sweet treat. It is essential that you build a foundation first. Once you get your nutritional habits established, a serving of French fries won’t destroy your diet.

Eating carbs in moderation will help you unlock healthier eating habits in the future. Incorporate a mixture of food options to push yourself closer to those fitness goals you have. 

07 Jun 2019

6 Best Snacks to Have with High Cholesterol Levels

 

If your doctor has diagnosed you with high cholesterol levels, then there is a good chance that you are being asked to give up some of your favorite foods.

Although you are encouraged to make changes to improve your health profile, that doesn’t mean you must avoid snacks entirely. There are some healthy foods which will help you feel satisfied while also meeting the expectations that your doctor has for your nutritional profile.

These are the best snacks you can have if you have high cholesterol levels.

#1. Popcorn

Did you know that popcorn is considered a whole-grain food? The high-fiber levels that it contains can help to lower your cholesterol levels. You’ll find more fiber in a serving of this snack then you would see in brown rice. It’s also a low-calorie option, assuming that you eat it in moderation without butter or high-fat cheese.

#2. Nuts

This snack is another excellent option to consider if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol levels. Almonds have the ability to reduce your LDL cholesterol numbers and prevent oxidation issues. Choose walnuts or peanuts to add some variety to the mix. You must remember that this snack is a high-calorie option, so make sure that you follow the serving-size recommendations.

#3. Vegetables and Hummus

This healthy snack is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They’re also low in calories, sodium, and fat. You can enjoy vegetables with hummus without having to become a vegetarian when you want to lower your cholesterol levels. You should try to eat a variety of plant-based foods with different colors to maximize the health benefits that are available with this option.

#4. Homemade Potato Chips

The first snack that your doctor might recommend you avoid are the delicious potato chips that you find in the grocery store. That doesn’t mean you have to give up this food option for good. If you make your own potato chips at home, then you can create a snack that is high in fiber and potassium, which will help to keep your blood pressure under control. Bake the snack instead of frying it for the best results.

#5. Oatmeal

Eating a bowl of oatmeal in the morning will help to soak up your cholesterol if you make this a daily habit. This food contains a specific soluble fiber that helps to move extra cholesterol through your digestive system so that it is not absorbed. The fiber is also linked with your bile acids to help your liver work more efficiently, which encourages a further drop in LDL cholesterol numbers.

#6. Bean Soup

Although soup might not be the first snack option some people think about, it is a satisfying treat that is low in saturated fat levels. Bean soups are high in protein and fiber, which makes it easier to avoid hunger issues throughout the day. Adding some vegetables will support a stronger mineral and vitamin dietary profile too. You’ll receive lots of heart-healthy phytonutrients with this low-sodium snack option.

It can be a challenge to make lifestyle changes that take you away from your favorite foods. With snack options like these, you might just find some new favorites to enjoy.

13 May 2019

Healthy Alternatives to the Classic Tater Tot

 

There’s something about fried potatoes that makes you feel hungry all the time. If your doctor asks you to give up French fries, you might think about switching to tater tots to follow those orders.

Because tater tots are still fried food, it’s not the best option for your nutritional profile. If you are up for one of these healthy alternatives, however, your stomach will still be happy, and so will your doctor.

Best Substitutes for Tater Tots in Recipes

#1. Cauliflower

Even though giving up potatoes can be challenging, the cauliflower offers a tasty alternative which provides a similar texture. Lightly saute the vegetable in extra-virgin olive oil until you begin to see a crust form on the “tree” structure. Then add them to your favorite tater tot casserole recipes for a fun and healthy main dish.

#2. Turnips

Although this vegetable still offers carbs, you’ll cut your dietary profile in half with this substitution. The flavor is also spot-on when you’re replacing tater tots in a recipe. The best way to utilize turnips as a substitute is to cut them into strips. Then toss in some olive oil before placing them in the oven to bake until they become crisp.

#3. Rutabaga

If you find that cauliflower or turnips are too bland for your taste buds, then choose this versatile option instead. The flavor provided is a little sweeter, while you still get to take advantage of its versatility. Try dicing this vegetable into a size that is similar to the tater tot, then roasting it in the oven before adding it to your favorite recipes.

#4. Brussels Sprouts

Although this vegetable doesn’t offer the same flavor profile as a tater tot, you’ll fall in love with it – especially if the primary reason for a substitution involves carb intake. If you only eat one-half of a small potato, then you’ve already had 13g of net carbs. That leaves you with little room for error. Switching to this vegetable can drop that number by 75% or more. 

Should I Eliminate All Carbs from My Diet?

Unless your doctor says otherwise, you should try to keep some carbs in your diet at all times. There are two types of carbohydrates to think about: simple and complex.

You should work to limit the simple carbohydrates from your diet whenever possible. These sugars provide a quick burst of energy, followed by a crash. These are your white breads, sweets, and white rice.

Complex carbs are rich in fiber, promoting feelings of fullness for more extended periods. Fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain kinds of pasta often fit into this category.

Potatoes, even fried ones, when they are eaten in moderation, can support a healthy nutritional profile. If you’re trying to lose weight, tater tots are one of those foods that you should avoid whenever possible because of its fat content and carbohydrates. Use these substitutes as a way to enjoy your favorite dishes without requiring a cheat day to do so.

18 Apr 2019

The 7 Best Foods to Buy at Trader Joe’s

 

If you love to shop at Trader Joes, then healthy food options are likely a top priority in your life. It can be lots of fun to shop at this Hawaiian-themed store. When you get to shop for the best foods that they sell, the experience gets even better.

Try adding these items to your basket the next time you go shopping.

#1. Mirepoix

This combination of diced onions, carrots, and celery forms the foundation of numerous recipes. You can use it in soups, with baked chicken, or even make a great Shepherd’s pie with it. Grab this item to eliminate a lot of the prep work that happens in your kitchen.

#2. Cheese

The cheese options at Trader Joe’s are fantastic. You should always pick up your favorites when shopping there. Try the miniature brie bites the next time you need supplies for an extra burst of luxury at an affordable price. Their portion size makes it easy to prevent over-indulgence.

#3. Salsa

The salsa verde at Trader Joe’s is surprisingly good. It comes with an impressive flavor profile which is perfect for quesadillas and tamales. It’s only 10 calories per serving too, so you can have six tablespoons for a 30-calorie investment. That’s some guilt-free snacking right there!

#4. Organic Chicken

The organic chicken tenders that you can purchase at this store are very easy to prepare in a variety of ways. You can saute them, fry them, or bake them to create a wonderful meal. Try this simple casserole recipe for them.

  • 1 package of organic chicken tenders
  • 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • Cheese

Cut the potatoes into thin medallions. Place a layer of cheese on the bottom of the casserole dish. Then place a layer of potato on top of that. Add half of your chicken, then top with cheese. 

Add another layer of potato medallions, then repeat. Pour the buttermilk on top when finished, then bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

#5. Broccoli Slaw

You can make a side dish in just a few minutes with this useful product. Add some dried cranberries, chop up an onion, and then mix with some Greek yogurt and olive oil mayonnaise for something fantastic. Don’t forget to pick up some wild salmon fillets to pair with this tasty treat!

#6. Nuts

The extensive nut department at Trader Joe’s should never be ignored. If you struggle with portion control, then take advantage of their 100-calorie packs for a healthy snack. Add some to your favorite vegetable recipes, add some to ice cream, or toast a few to enjoy a fun snack. 

#7. Frozen Garlic

If you don’t have time to peel and mince garlic, then grab this ingredient. You can place it in a hot pan with a little oil to melt them. Then add your favorite veggies to create a healthy side dish. 

Shopping at Trader Joe’s is a lot of fun. With these ingredients, you can also make your kitchen become a productivity wonderland!

What are your favorite items to purchase at your local Trader Joe’s?