SaladDid you know that the Bruschetta Chicken salad at Applebee’s has more calories than a sizzling steak and cheese? The salad has an unbelievable 1110 calories and the steak and cheese “only” 1000 calories.  To avoid adding loads of unwanted calories on a seemingly innocent salad, make your own by following  these simple guidelines.

1. Start with a variety of leafy greens.  Move beyond iceberg lettuce and try different types of greens, such as spinach, arugula, endive or Boston lettuce, to name just a few.  Three cups of lettuce has only 40 calories, so don’t be afraid to load up. Make it easy on yourself and buy the “triple washed” bagged salad varieties, this will save you time by eliminating the washing, drying and storing of greens.

2. Add some lean protein.  This is the part most people forget to do, but it’s the most important part because it turns a side salad into a satisfying meal.  Choose grilled chicken or turkey breast (without skin), boiled eggs, tuna fish, sliced sauteed tempeh, garbanzo, canellini or any other type beans.

3. Give it some crunch.  Instead of the oil drenched croutons try a tablespoon of nuts.  Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds contain heart healthy fats, vitamin E, manganese and many other minerals and vitamins. Studies show that adding moderate amounts of nuts into your diet lowers your risk of heart disease.

4. Add unlimited non-starchy vegetables for variety. Additional toppings such as roasted bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, asparagus will boost the nutrition of your salad without adding a lot of calories.

5. Choose your Salad dressing wisely.  You’ve done well up until now, don’t let the dressing be your downfall.  Just two tablespoons of full-fat salad dressing can have 150 calories. That is more calories than 9 cups of leafy greens.  You can either use a squeeze of lemon, a spray salad dressing (which only has about 10 calories  per 10 sprays) or choose one of my favorites below:

 My picks contain only a few ingredients, are all natural with no artificial colors or flavorings.  They are less than 100 calories, less than 300 mg sodium and less than 10 g fat, per 2 Tbsp serving.

  • Annie’s Organic Buttermilk dressing (2 Tbsp: 70 cals, 6g fat, 250mg sodium) Gluten free.
  • Annie’s Lite Goddess Dressing (2Tbsp: 60 cals, 6g fat, 240mg sodium) Vegan and Gluten free.
  • Brianna’s Lively Lemon Tarragon (2Tbsp: 35 cals, 0 fat, 150mg sodium) Also great as a marinade on seafood.
  • Bragg Ginger and Sesame dressing (2 Tbsp: 90 cals, 9g fat, 170mg sodium) Gluten free.

 


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Nutrition Label

Eating cereal for breakfast can be a quick and healthy way to help you lose weight or maintain your weight loss; but only if you choose the right cereal! Studies show that breakfast eaters are leaner than those who do not, and are more successful at loosing weight (National Weight Control Registry).

But with the huge number of breakfast choices available, choosing the right breakfast cereal can be a challenge.  Learn how to make the best choice by reading the Nutrition Facts Label.

Here’s how:

1. First, look at the “ingredients” list, located at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts panel.  Ingredients are listed in order from largest to smallest amounts. Whole grain should be listed as the first ingredient.  Avoid cereals that have sugar listed as a first or second ingredient, and avoid those made with artificial coloring.

2. Next, check the serving size and number of servings at the top of the label. All the information on a Nutrition Facts label is based on one serving, but beware, this can vary from ½ cup to one cup for different cereals.

3. Then, look at the calorie amount.  This is the amount of calories per serving. When you compare calories between different cereals, make sure the serving sizes are the same.

4. Percent Daily Value (% DV) can help you determine if a food is high or low in a nutrient.
5% or less means a food is LOW in this nutrient
10-19% is a GOOD source of a nutrient
20% or more means a food is HIGH in this nutrient

5. Limit total fats, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol and sodium. Choose cereals with less than 3 g of fat and zero trans and saturated fats. Sodium should be less than 210 mg per serving, ideally even less than 140mg.

6. Next, check Total Carbohydrates. Dietary fiber and sugar are types of carbohydrates.  Choose cereals with at least 3 g of fiber per serving (more is better) and less than 8 g of sugar per serving.

Examples of some good choices are (listed in no particular order):

Post Shredded Wheat Original

Cheerios

Kellogg’s Unfrosted Mini Wheats

Kashi Go Lean

Prepare with skim milk or unsweetened soy milk and some fruit, and you have a winning meal.


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It’s the holiday season! A season for cheer, joy, family… but also regret! Regret for helping yourself to an extra portion of

turkey, or cake, or ice-cream and the extra pounds associated with that. And this is exacerbated by the fact that it’s not just one holiday, it’s three! First Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s! This holiday season, plan ahead and get through the season without having to get out your stretch pants.  Here are 10 tips to help you get started.

1.    Weigh yourself once a week.  To stay consistent get on the scale before you had anything to eat or drink.

2.    Always start your day with a healthy breakfast.  Include a lean protein to help you stay full, such as a non-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or eggs.

3.    Don’s skip any meals.  Skipping meals does not save you on calories, it only increases your hunger later which makes you eat even more during the next meal.

4.    Start a food journal, or use an app, and keep track off EVERYTHING you eat AND drink.  Food diaries keep you accountable and can help you identify what’s keeping you from your weight loss goals.

5.    Exercise at least three times a week.  As busy as you may be, try to include some exercise into your day, even if it’s only 10-15 minutes of brisk walking, it matters!

6.    Don’t drink your calories, step away from sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas, juices and sweetened teas.  These calories can easily add up and studies have found that we don’t compensate for these calories by eating less.

7.    At holiday parties and get-togethers focus on the conversation not the food.  Try not to stand next to the snack or buffet table but instead mingle with people.

8.    Eat slowly and wait 20 minutes before going for seconds. It takes about this amount of time for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full.

9.    Drink alcohol in moderation- that is one drink for women and two for men.  And choose your drinks wisely.  A Margarita can have close to 800 calories.

10.     Try not to snack when cooking or in-between meals- these little bites can add up! If you are preparing the food, try to chew gum or snack on baby carrots or cucumber sticks.

Happy Holidays Everyone!


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In order to determine how much weight to gain for a healthy pregnancy, you need to consider your current BMI.

If you are at a normal weight for your height, in other words a BMI between 18.5-24.9, your recommended weight gain is 25-35 pounds.

If you are underweight, a BMI <18.5, your  recommended weight gain is 28-40 pounds.

If you are overweight, which is a BMI> 25-29.9, your recommended weight gain is 15-25 pounds.

If you are obese, which is a BMI>30, your recommended weight gain is 11-20 pounds.


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French Apple Cake

I remember when I was a kid living in Germany my mom would make a freshly baked cake, whipped cream and a huge pot of coffee (milk for us kids) on Sunday afternoons. She’d invite her friends/family and they would sit and talk for hours. Visitors would bring flowers or sometimes even more cake or pastries from the local bakery. This is a tradition called “Kaffeeklatsch”, which basically means coffee and gossip. Now that I’m older I’m always looking for new recipes for my own Kaffeklatsch.

This recipe is adapted from my one of my new favorite pastry chefs, David Lebovitz.  It’s perfect for Kaffeklatsch; it’s easy, packed with apples and perfect with a cup of coffee.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

3-4 large apples ( I used Granny Smith)

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp rum

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

7 tbsp unsalted butter or Earth Balance

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Butter an 8 or 9 inch springform pan and place on baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour baking powder and salt.

4.  Peel and core apples and dive into about 1 inch pieces.

5. In a larger bowl, beat eggs until foamy and then whisk in sugar, rum and vanilla.  Add half of the flour mixture and half of the melted butter. Alternate with the rest of the flour and butter and stir.

6.  Fold in all the apples and pour into the prepared springform pan. Even out the top to make sure it’s flat.

7.  Bake the cake for about 50 minutes to an hour. You can test if it’s done by inserting a knife into the center of the cake and it comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before you loosen the edges of the cake from the pan.  Remove sides of the cake pan.  Serve with vanilla flavored yogurt and a strong cup of coffee!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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I thought I could do without another gadget for my iphone,  so I was content with carrying my smartphone in my pockets or even holding it in my hand when I was exercising.  But this got old really fast, my smartphone would fall out of my pocket or I would have to lay it on the ground and do the exercises without music, either way, annoying!  I’m not the type to buy the first thing I see, so I did some research online.  Sure enough, I came across the Sporteer Armband from pdo.

The armband is only $24.99 and comes in two different sizes, small and medium/large, which I like (because there is no such thing as one size fits all).   I also liked the fact that it has an integrated pocket for keys.  If you are an early morning or nighttime runner you are going to like the reflective material as well.  It has a full screen protector which still allows you to use the touch screen.

Added bonus, shipping is free and I got it within a couple of days.

 


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For my chocoholics out there, I found another low calorie but rich tasting dessert from my new favorite Everyday Food Light Cookbook.  Each cheesecake has only 147 calories and 8 g of protein.  If you like, you can use cottage cheese in place of  ricotta cheese.  I warn you now, you will not be able to stop at just one.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups nonfat ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

graham crackers, crushed

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 275 F.  Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners.

2.  In a food processor, combine all ingredients except for graham crackers, and blend until smooth.

3.  Divide mixture among 12 muffin cups and sprinkle graham crackers on top.

4.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until fillings are set.  Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool completely, then refrigerate (in pan) for at least 2 hours.

5.   When ready to serve, invert cakes onto plate and peel off liners. Enjoy with a strong espresso!


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