Restaurants are notorious for sneaking in unhealthy ingredients. Some people think that the only way to remain truly healthy is to avoid eating out at most restaurants altogether. Or perhaps you can only eat at restaurants that are geared solely towards maintaining health. This simply isn’t true!
The truth is that with a little research and smart thinking, you can enjoy most restaurants from fast food joints up to four-star establishments and still maintain a balanced diet.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind as you continue to enjoy eating out:
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1. Look for the light menu. Every restaurant won’t have a light menu, but a growing number of chain restaurants are promoting light alternatives without much searching. You may even find light menus up on the fast food board. You’ll soon find that light doesn’t always mean you’ll be giving up flavor.
2. Take half your dinner home. Dinner is served in larger and larger portions all the time. Sometimes your meal won’t be unhealthy, but your portion size will be. To avoid overeating, you can simply ask your waiter to serve you half the meal and box up the other half for you to eat for lunch tomorrow.
3. Go grilled. One way to eat smart is to opt for grilled instead of fried items. Fried foods have gobs of additional calories and fat. Grilled chicken or fish make great choices because they’re lean proteins as well.
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4. Avoid drinking extra calories. If you’re watching those calories, don’t forget to count the calories that you drink. Drinking soda products or alcoholic beverages while you’re out can add calories quite quickly.
5. Be salad smart. You can choose a salad as your main dish as a way to eat smart. You’ll probably find that there are bigger salads on the menu beyond the house or side salad. Many of them contain a bigger vegetable variety or meat such as chicken.
6. Appetizers can make the meal. If the restaurant serves tasty appetizers, you can order an appetizer as your main dish. If that’s not enough food, you might want to order two appetizers. Many times two appetizers will still be less food than a main course selection.
7. Choose healthy sauce. Be aware of how the sauce is made in the dish of your choosing. If you’re eating Italian, for example, choose an option with a tomato-based sauce. This will provide you with a bigger benefit than a cream based alternative. This is also the case when it comes to choosing your soups; avoid the cream based ones if possible.
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8. Include fruits and veggies. You know that fruits and veggies are an important part of your diet at home, so you should continue to seek them out when you’re making your selections at a restaurant. Steamed vegetables can be a great side dish, and fruits can likely be ordered in place of a dessert item.
Keep in the mind the same healthy information you use when building your home meals while you’re out. Don’t be afraid to indulge yourself from time to time, but maintain an awareness of your eating habits and portions and you can’t go wrong.
The holidays are a special time for all, and you should take the time to indulge yourself. However, at the same time you should keep your health in mind because it’s easy to be tempted into going overboard.
It all starts with Halloween and all the extra treats that are lingering in your candy bowl. Then we’re lead into Thanksgiving, where the average person will ingest over 3 times the number of calories that they should be eating, or even more.
Then the winter holidays come along. Family togetherness usually equals lots of snacking and appetizers and big meals. Also, don’t forget all the baked treats! Can you eat all of these things? The answer is yes, but in moderation.
Follow these tips to help you stay in control of your fork:
1. Go in with a Plan. Before you put yourself into temptation, tell yourself how much you’re allowed to eat. In the weeks following Halloween, save yourself 10 pieces of candy to eat. Give the rest away to coworkers and neighbors. For Thanksgiving and other family holidays, allow yourself to indulge on one item such as the appetizers or the dessert – not both.
2. Don’t Be Too Strict. While you may be tempted to be tough on yourself during other times of the year, the holidays are a time you should allow for some relaxation from the strict behavior. Don’t try to get through entire evenings without enjoying any of the food. The starvation diet only works for so long until you fail and over-consume. Work on your moderation skills instead.
3. Don’t Punish Yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. If you do slip up and overeat one day, in the long run it won’t make much of a difference. Just tell yourself that you’ll try harder next time. Don’t be tempted to just give up and continue the poor eating decisions. It’s when you have many bad days in a row that you can ruin a good diet plan.
4. Watch the Alcohol Intake. It’s true; alcohol usually flows freely at holiday events. You can indulge yourself here as well. While you may be able to get away with having a few drinks spread out over the evening, remember that the calories add up. Consider alternating between alcoholic drinks and pure, refreshing water.
5. Wear Tight Fitting Clothes. If you have some issues controlling your holiday behaviors, consider wearing some tight fitting clothes. Don’t make yourself too uncomfortable, but at the same time you’ll want to feel the reminder if you begin to eat too much.
6. Plan Healthy Meals. If you’re hosting any of the holiday events, consider going with some healthier alternatives to some popular meals. Healthy doesn’t always mean bland or unappealing. Get creative and try some new recipes.
7. Remember to Take Breaks. During a long evening with family and friends, sometimes you’ll lose track of your eating habits. Make it a point to take breaks where you know there isn’t a plate or a drink in your hand. Concentrate on the conversations you’re having instead.
8. Eat Before You Go. If you’re off to a holiday event at someone else’s house, eat something healthy before you leave. This is especially important if you know you’ll be tempted by all the unhealthy treats that’ll be available. If you aren’t particularly hungry when you show up, you won’t feel such an urge to begin eating.
Just remember to have a good time! If you’re bummed about not getting to eat everything that you want, concentrate on all the other aspects of the holidays. There are many other fun activities to engage in that don’t involve eating!
There are certain foods out there that have come to earn the label super food. Super foods can improve your health by lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke, while boosting your energy, focus, and mental sharpness. The best part is that you get these benefits using all natural foods, instead of items containing chemicals and drugs.
Here’s a list of 12 super foods and a description of how they’ll help your body and mind:
1. Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are packed with added fiber, potassium and vitamin C. You can cook them in many ways including baked or mashed, as well as cubed in soups.
2. Blueberries. Blueberries are definitely a super fruit! They contain beneficial antioxidants as well as vitamin C and fiber. They make a healthy treat and they’re easy to eat on their own or in smoothies and baked goods.
3. Bananas. Bananas make the list because of their beneficial nutrients as well as high potassium content. They also contain a healthy dose of vitamin B6.
4. Broccoli. Broccoli is a vegetable that contains a healthy amount of vitamin C and folic acid. If you don’t like the taste, you can use some spices, cheese, or dip to add some flavor.
5. Spinach. Spinach comes packed with many beneficial ingredients. It’s one of the best leafy green vegetables that you can eat. It contains folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, and more. Plus it’s easy to add to salads.
6. Apples. So now you know there’s truth to the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away! They contain many of the benefits of the other super food fruits, as well as a decent fiber content. They’re also a low glycemic index food. Apples can help you stay full and may help with weight loss.
7. Baked Beans. Protein, fiber and calcium are just some of the benefits of this low GI super food. Baked beans have also been known to lower the chances of bowel type cancers because of the unique way they’re digested.
8. Yogurt. Yogurt is a super healthy way of getting your dairy intake for the day. In addition to being an excellent source of calcium, yogurt has also been known to improve your bowel health overall. Yogurt can help with regulating the digestive system.
9. Salmon. Lean fish are always good alternatives for healthy meats in your diet. However, salmon is extra special because it contains Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s alone have many health benefits such as reduced risks of heart attacks as well as mental disorders such as depression.
10. Olive Oil. Olive oil is one type of oil that’s okay to add to your diet in moderation. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that a little bit goes a long way. Olive oil can lower bad cholesterol levels and it also contains a healthy amount of antioxidants. Use olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar for salad dressing, instead of the creamy stuff.
11. Dark Chocolate. This is usually the shocker on the super foods list. Dark chocolate can be yummy and beneficial to your health. Dark chocolate, in small amounts each day, can lower your blood pressure and it also contains antioxidants.
12. Citrus Fruit. Many like the taste of sweet citrus fruits, which makes it quite the popular super food. You’ll still want to eat these fruits in moderation because they have a higher sugar content. However, citrus fruits also come with a high amount of vitamin C, fiber, and folic acid.
There are many other foods that are earning the title of super food, but this list should get you started in the right direction. It’s always a great thing to hear when a delicious food also helps you live a happier and healthier life!
It may be easy to forget the importance of living a healthy life when we’re going through the daily grind. It may be even easier to get caught up in what’s convenient instead of what’s good for us. However, the benefits you can enjoy with a healthy lifestyle are worth making healthy living a priority!
Here are three healthy living tips you can use to better your health, increase your happiness, and enjoy life to its fullest:
1. Rest and rejuvenate. The biggest healthy living tip that many people overlook is the need for sleep.â€¨Life can get hectic. When we don’t have enough time to get things done, most of us opt to stay up late to make up for the lack of time. Or perhaps our busy minds prevent us from getting a restful sleep in the first place. However, getting less sleep is actually counterproductive to doing anything efficiently, effectively, or well!
2. Eat nutritious food. Another healthy living tip is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Many people believe that they don’t need to eat healthy or watch their diet because they don’t need to lose weight. This couldn’t be further from the truth! You should put only the best foods in your mouth no matter how much you weigh, what size you wear, or how fit you look.
3. Affirm the positive. Having a positive mindset is the key to living a fulfilling life. Many people don’t realize the importance of living and thinking positively. As a result, they inevitably find themselves allowing negative things to rule their mind and body.
Like every other healthy living strategy mentioned, being positive all the time (or even most of the time) may take some effort. However, an easy way to incorporate positive thoughts into your everyday life is to use affirmations.
Many people use affirmations to help them think more positively as they go about their daily life. Positive affirmations are simply statements you can use to replace the negative thoughts running through your head.
Positive affirmations often remind you about how important it is to take care of yourself. An example could be, “I can neutralize bad habits with good food, exercise, and healthy living.”
This is a simple way to be reminded of how important you are, how important your body is, and how important your mental health is.
You have a whole toolbox and support system at your disposal to help make your life happier and healthier. All you have to do is take action!
When you’re trying to lose weight, you may think that you’ll never be able to have another snack. The truth is, however, there are many healthy snacks you can eat to lose weight and feel great.
For any weight loss plan to be successful, you can’t feel like you’re being deprived. This means you can eat healthy snacks that make your diet work better for you rather than hindering it.
In your switchover to healthy snacks, it’s best to start by having a clean slate. Set aside a day to clean out your refrigerator and pantry to remove all non-healthy foods. This will accomplish two things:
What types of snacks can you eat that won’t derail your diet? You might be surprised at the variety of choices available:
1. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Your healthiest snacks are going to be those that are as close to nature as possible. This means keeping fresh fruits and vegetables on hand.
2. Dried fruit can be a great snacking option for those trying to lose weight. Raisins, Craisins (dried cranberries), and other dried fruits will give you the feeling of eating something forbidden and yet they can be enjoyed in moderation.
3. Potato chip alternatives. If one of your weaknesses is potato chips, there’s a healthy alternative that’s easy, convenient, and will give you a satisfying crunch.
When you get home from the grocery store, wash and cut up the vegetables into handy snack sizes so they’ll be easy to grab when you’re seeking a quick snack:
Sometimes crunchy vegetables won’t meet your needs when you’re craving chips! You may want the salt and the crusty crunch that celery sticks just won’t satisfy.
4. Nuts and seeds are additional healthy snacks you can eat when you’re trying to lose weight. They’re full of nutrients your body needs, and can be great choices.
5. Popcorn can be a great snack for someone trying to lose weight. The trick is to eat light popcorn or air popped popcorn rather than adding butter or other toppings to it.
Choosing healthy snacks rather than those laden with fat and calories will make losing weight much easier. When you feel like you need a snack, don’t deprive yourself. Choose wisely and you’ll feel great and still lose weight!
Are you struggling to keep your resolution to eat healthy, nutritious foods? Once you’ve set a goal to maintain healthy eating habits, how do you go about actually achieving that goal?
The good news is that once you do something consistently for only a few weeks, it becomes a habit.
Here are some simple techniques to help you avoid those tempting junk foods so you can make wise and healthy decisions in your daily routine.
Strategies to Avoid Temptation:
1. Am I hungry? Ask yourself if you’re really hungry or if you’re eating out of convenience or emotion. Many times you probably aren’t as hungry as you think, so try to get involved in a different activity instead of snacking.
2. Water, water, and more water. Drink a lot of water each day. Not only is this good for your whole body (both inside and out), it can actually make you feel full. Also, oftentimes when you think you’re hungry, your body is actually thirsty, so keep yourself well hydrated.
3. Try chewing gum. Putting something in your mouth like gum or hard, sugar-free candy can help convince your brain that you’re eating!
4. Divert your energy. Instead of putting all your energy into making two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon, try taking a walk or doing something that requires you to use your hands, like knitting or woodworking. It’s pretty hard to do these and eat at the same time.
5. Allow yourself snack time. Choose healthy snacks instead of chips and salsa or chocolate bars. For snack time, try eating celery, popcorn without butter, fruits, or a make-your-own trail mix with raisins, nuts, and dried fruits.
A good hint for snacking is to have healthy snacks readily available in your home, and unhealthy snacks completely out of the house; that way, the healthy stuff is easy to grab.
How to Choose Healthy Foods:
The next time you’re off to the grocery store, use these tips to help you choose the right foods and avoid the unhealthy stuff.
1. Stay away from preservatives. You don’t need that Twinkie that can outlast any environmental disaster! When you learn to read nutrition labels and ingredient lists, you’ll find that there are many snacks that are full of preservatives. You probably shouldn’t buy the food when the ingredient list contains more than a handful of items. Plus, if the expiry date isn’t until two years from now, it’s being heavily preserved.
2. Use the food pyramid. The recommended food pyramid from the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gears you toward whole foods and minimal sweets. Get a copy from the FDA and make your grocery list by following their guidelines.
3. Buy lots of fresh vegetables that you can use to make up a quick and healthy stir-fry with chicken, brown rice, or even soy products. Buy easy to make salads where the lettuce and other veggies are already washed. These are easy, quick, healthy, and they taste good. The key is to choose vegetables that are dark green or orange in color.
4. Buy fresh fruits and do some research on how to tell when fruits are at their freshest and when they’re in season. Try some of those exotic fruits you’ve always looked at but never purchased. Make your own fruit drinks and smoothies for a healthy, delicious treat.
More Great Grocery Store Tips:
1. Shop in a circle. Many nutritionists will tell you to shop the perimeter of the store. Grocery stores are usually set up with their fresh foods, fruits, vegetables, fish, and breads all around the perimeter. Preservative-laced foods are in the center and at the ends of each aisle.
2. Go alone. Leave your children in good hands and go alone to the grocery store. This way you can concentrate on getting only the healthy foods you desire without being pressured into buying junk. Alternatively, if you do bring your children, be prepared to spend extra time teaching them how to spot healthy foods.
3. Make a list! This technique is a tried and true method to avoid buying foods that aren’t healthy. Stick to your list and, for fun, seek out healthy foods you haven’t tried before to tempt your taste buds.
With some determination and strategies in place, you can achieve your goal to eat healthy! By incorporating healthy changes into your diet one by one, you’re slowly creating a new habit.
Before long, you’ll be choosing healthy foods without a second thought, and those unhealthy foods you used to eat will no longer tempt you. Once you discover the benefits and better taste of fresh and healthy foods, you’ll never want to go back!
With the economic situation in the world being what it is, it’s important to find ways of eating healthy on a budget. It’s possible to purchase foods that are good for you and your budget; you merely have to plan ahead to get the best food you can for the money you have available.
Having a plan and sticking to it can help you get more food at less cost and allow you to prepare better, more healthy meals.
Here are some tips to help you succeed in eating healthy on a budget:
1. Set aside time to make your food plan. Find the sales ads for each of the grocery stores in your area and decide on your meals for the coming week ahead of time.
2. Make a list. After you’ve planned your meals, write down everything you need for each meal. Check your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to see if you already have some of the items. Make your grocery list and determine to stick with it!
3. Clip coupons for items you know you’ll use. Leave the remainder of the coupons at home so you’re not tempted to “save” money on items you don’t need.
4. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach because you’re more likely to buy items that look good rather than those on your list.
5. Buy items on the perimeter of the store first because these items are the healthiest choices. This will include fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy items. The center items are processed or convenience foods. Not only are they more expensive, but they aren’t healthy.
6. Look for fruits and vegetables that are in season as these will often be cheaper than non-seasonal choices. While you’re looking at the fruits and vegetables, see if there are any sales on these healthy, nutrient rich foods.
7. Buy store or generic brands. There usually isn’t much difference in the way the foods taste but you can definitely see a difference in the price.
Other Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget
1. Make your own snacks for your family’s time away from home rather than allowing them to purchase food from vending machines. Fresh fruit and vegetable sticks with dip are much healthier than the bags of chips or crackers that come from the machines.
2. Eat at home. Whenever possible, make your food from scratch and eat it at home. Not only will this give you more control over what your family eats, but it can also save you a considerable amount of money.
3. Drink healthy. Finally, when eating healthy on a budget, don’t forget to think about what you’re drinking. Expensive, sugar-laden drinks are the bane of your budget and counter-productive to healthy eating.
If you follow these tips, you’ll soon discover the joys of healthy eating and you’ll save money in the process. You may have to spend some extra time preparing food, but the benefits are astounding!
There are certain health-offending foods out there that are so bad for your health that they can do some real damage, even in small quantities. While it’s true that everything is okay in moderation, you’ll be doing your body a good service by keeping some of the worst food to a minimum.
Chances are there are healthy food alternatives that you can introduce into your diet that you’ll actually enjoy. While you may still miss some of the offending foods, you can save them for special occasions and, instead, indulge in some new healthier foods.
Here is a list of some of the top offenders:
1. French Fries. French fries are everywhere. While some fast food places are currently offering alternatives to French fries, for the most part they’re still served as a standard. Potatoes can be healthy when cooked in certain ways, but you should avoid deep-fried potatoes, like they are in most restaurants. If you enjoy potatoes, consider eating a baked potato or opt to enjoy mashed potatoes. Also, try to have more sweet potatoes as they’re packed with even better vitamins and fiber.
2. Donuts. Donuts can be delicious treats, but the calories and fat content add up quickly. While it’s okay to have a little treat, most people end up eating more than they should. If you’re looking for a good alternative to this popular morning treat, consider a plain whole grain bagel and some fresh fruit. You can also try banana, pumpkin, or zucchini bread.
3. Ice Cream. Ice cream can be a popular way to end an evening, but definitely save this treat for special occasions only. The fat content is high and bedtime is the worst time of day to eat high calorie foods. The good news is that there are some healthy treats similar to ice cream that you can enjoy instead. Try some low fat alternatives like Italian Ice or Tofutti.
4. Fruit Smoothies. Fruit smoothies make the worst offender list because they’re a health food in disguise. Sure they are made of fresh fruit, but there is often added sugar and/or cream. They’re also often served in large portions. This means that one smoothie may even eat up all of your calories for the day. You can combat this problem by making your own smoothies out of lower calorie fruits, or you can opt for smaller portions or diet smoothies.
5. Pie. Pies are another dessert item that’s best left for a special occasion. They’re packed with extra sugar and, often, large amounts of trans fat. One slice of pecan pie can actually top the 500 calorie mark. You can attempt lower calorie pies by using more fruit and less sugar, cream and nut additives.
6. Chocolate. Chocolate is certainly a tough one to give up! It tastes great and can even make you feel better. However, it’s high in calories and fat and, therefore, should be limited. If you must have chocolate opt for dark chocolate in small quantities because it actually has the health benefit of antioxidants.
7. Margarine. While margarine was once advertised as a healthy alternative to butter, it’s actually not. It doesn’t contain cholesterol, but many cheaper varieties contain trans fatty acids. Data is coming back about the health risks of consuming trans fats, so they’re best avoided all together. Your best bet is to use smaller quantities of butter when necessary, or opt for margarine that is labeled as trans fat free.
Low Fat Alternatives
You’ll find that most of the offenders have lower fat alternatives. While they may not taste as good to you at first, it’s best for you and your health in the long run. Keep in mind that you can indulge yourself every once in awhile, but control is key.
It’s easy to forget the importance of everything we put into our bodies. While you can’t always eat a completely balanced diet, you can reduce your stress levels simply by choosing stress-fighting foods.
Since everyone is different, some stress-relieving foods might work for you while others may not. Your best bet will be to try them all and then incorporate the ones that work for you into your regular diet.
Here are some foods that can help alleviate your stress:
1. Green Leafy Vegetables. Leafy greens contain a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that has the power to relax muscles.
2. Fish Oil. Fish oil contains essential fatty acids that help with serotonin uptake in the brain. Serotonin makes you feel good mentally and enables your brain to better cope with stress. You can get your fish oil from certain kinds of fish, such as salmon, or from supplements.
3. Milk. There is a reason that milk is sometimes referred to as a “wind down” food. The proteins in milk can help reduce anxiety while the calcium is another mineral that can help with muscle relaxation.
4. Chocolate. A small piece of dark chocolate each day can actually provide you with many health benefits. Chocolate has a stimulating effect. The caffeine also helps to increase serotonin. It’s okay to indulge in chocolate in small amounts!
5. Red Wine. Many experts believe that a glass of red wine each day provides health benefits. The only drawback is that it’s easy to overdo it when drinking alcoholic beverages. Wine is packed with beneficial antioxidants and can temporarily lower blood pressure and help you relax.
6. Oatmeal. Oatmeal and other carbohydrates also help increase serotonin levels in the brain. In fact, your brain needs carbohydrates in order to function normally. This is why it’s essential to include good carbohydrates like oatmeal in your regular diet.
7. Lean Meats. Lean meats can help you combat stress by providing a good source of protein. Turkey, eggs, chicken and fish are all good choices because they contain necessary amino acids for healthy brain function. Remember not to eat fatty meats because the fat can interfere with proper digestion of the amino acids.
8. Coffee. Yes, caffeine is a stimulant and there is also a risk of developing an unhealthy habit. However, moderation is the key. Coffee can help stimulate the brain into working with more energy and efficiency, helping you feel more motivated and less stressed.
9. Nuts. Nuts help you maintain your proper blood sugar. They also contain plenty of the vitamin B complex, which combats fatigue.
10. Spinach. Spinach is one of the world’s super foods. It contains many vitamins, antioxidants and omega 3’s. This means it would be hard to eat spinach and not feel good!
Vitamins & Supplements
Of course, it’s always best to get your nutrients from the natural source. If this isn’t possible, or if you can’t stomach a certain food, it’s best to look for vitamin supplements so you can still derive some benefits from it.
Vitamin supplements help your body get the nutrients it might be missing. Once you start consuming these necessary nutrients, you’ll be on your way to feeling healthier and stress-free.