How to Spot a Fad DietHow to Spot a Fad Diet

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

How to Spot a Fad Diet

Marketers of fad diets try to appeal to your desire for quick-fix weight loss. Unfortunately, these diets are not the answer for long term health and many do more harm than good. Use these tips to spot and steer clear of fad diets.

It is very low calorie.

Weight loss requires that you burn more calories than you take in, but this doesn’t mean that an extremely low number of calories is a good thing. The National Institutes of Health warn that diets with 800 or fewer calories should be avoided unless you are being monitored by a doctor. An eating plan that provides 1,200 to 1,500 per day calories helps most women lose weight safely while an eating plan with 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day is ideal for men. Eating too few calories prevents you from consuming the nutrients your body needs, drains your energy, and leaves you feeling hungry.

It requires the purchase of special foods or supplements.

A fad diet that requires you to purchase special meals, bars, and powders is not a sustainable way of eating. You may find this convenient at first, but soon those same boring bars will lose their appeal and the extra costs will add up. Often these fad diets require a big initial investment, which ends up wasted when you don’t achieve the unrealistic results promised by the program. A healthy eating plan needs to be both flexible and affordable to fit your lifestyle.

It is too restrictive.

Cutting out entire food groups, eating only certain foods together, and avoiding foods at specific times of day are all indications of a fad diet. These practices restrict your ability to eat when you are truly hungry and may prevent you from satisfying cravings in a healthy way. Restrictive eating leads to deprivation. When you feel deprived, often all you can think about is the one thing you can’t have -- that food. Few people have the willpower to stick to such strict rules, making you more likely to give in and overindulge. A balanced diet that allows you some of your favorite treats on occasion is a much more effective way to gain a healthy relationship with food and lose weight for good.

It ignores the importance of exercise.

It is possible to lose weight without physical activity, but research shows that those most successful at keeping weight off are regular exercisers. A fad diet that promotes only dietary changes for weight loss is not providing you with the balanced plan you need to be successful. A healthy lifestyle is about much more than losing a few pounds. Exercise combined with healthy eating will help you lose weight while also improving your fitness and energy levels.

It emphasizes that you don’t need to change anything.

A plan that assures you that you don’t need to change your eating and activity habits to lose weight is likely a fad diet. The truth is that you do need to make positive changes to see results. If you are currently unhappy with your weight and your fitness level, you cannot continue your current eating and exercise patterns and expect to see results. Getting fit requires commitment. Anything worth having, including good health, is worth working hard for.

Sources

Autumn WorkoutsAutumn Workouts

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Autumn Workouts

Kayaking

The watersports don't have to end once summer is over. Kayaking provides a great way to enjoy cooler temperatures and fall foliage. Many cardiovascular exercises work the lower body, but few challenge the upper body the way paddling does. Kayaking at a moderate pace for 60 minutes will burn 478 calories.

Family Scavenger Hunt

Take the family to the park and organize a fast-paced scavenger hunt to get moving. Create a list of autumn items such a gold leaf, acorn, heart-shaped rock, animals, and flowers. Leave nature undisturbed and gather your items by snapping a quick photo. Set the timer and set out to find the items as quickly as possible. Brisk walking or jogging on your search will keep your heart rate up and burn calories while you have fun as a family. Walking at a brisk pace, about 3.5 miles per hour, for 30 minutes burns 112 calories.

Flag Football

After the big game, gather your group together and play a little football of your own. Flag football is a game just about anyone can play. It’s low impact and will increase your heart rate, boosting calorie burn and improving your fitness with frequent breaks so that you can take things at your own pace. Playing touch or flag football for 60 minutes burns 558 calories.

Hiking

Hiking provides a low intensity, long duration activity that burns calories. Research also shows that this type of activity may improve blood cholesterol and insulin function. The cooler temperatures, low humidity, and beautiful colors of the season make fall one of the best times to head out for a hike. Hiking for 60 minutes burns 478 calories.

Soccer

You don’t need to be on a team to take advantage of the cardiovascular and leg strengthening benefits of soccer. Passing the ball, taking some shots on goal, and running the field for 30 minutes is plenty of time to get a challenging workout and you will burn 239 calories.

Trail Race

Nature trails provide one of the best places to workout in the fall. The changing fall colors create a peaceful exercise atmosphere and the dirt trail is easier on the joints than harder surfaces like concrete. Signing up for a trail race is a good way to stay motivated. You can experience a new exercise environment with the security of being on the trail with others and with access to support stations. Start with shorter distances as elevation and terrain can make trail running more challenging than running on the road or treadmill. If a 5K race takes you 30 minutes, you will burn about 379 calories.

*All calorie estimates are based on a 150-pound female.

Easy Buffalo Chicken Bites RecipeEasy Buffalo Chicken Bites

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Easy Buffalo Chicken Bites Recipe

These buffalo chicken bites have all the flavor of your favorite game day snack with fewer calories and less saturated fat and sodium. They are simple to make, and the recipe can easily be doubled to feed a larger crowd.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/6 recipe
Amount Per Serving
114
Calories
% Daily Value*
7%
Total Fat 4.5g
8%Saturated Fat 1.5g
Trans Fat 0g
13%
Cholesterol 38mg
20%
Sodium 466mg
1%
Total Carbohydrate 2.4g
0%
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 16g
*
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup hot sauce

Directions

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a medium bowl. Sprinkle in the cornstarch and black pepper. Toss to coat all the chicken pieces in the cornstarch.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes until the chicken is browned and no longer pink in the center. Stir often so that the chicken browns evenly.
  3. Remove the chicken from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes.
  4. Place the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 45 seconds to melt the butter. Stir the hot sauce into the butter.
  5. Add the chicken pieces to the hot sauce and toss to coat evenly. Serve warm with toothpicks.

9 Ways to Make Comfort Foods More Nutritious9 Ways to Make Comfort Foods More Nutritious

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Make Comfort Foods More Nutritious

Comfort foods are known for being high in refined carbohydrates, calories, and unhealthy fat. Simple changes to your favorite recipes allows you to enjoy these foods while sticking to your eating plan.

Select low-sodium and unsalted stocks and broths.

Broths and stocks are a staple ingredient in soups, stews, and some casseroles. Packaged stock can be loaded with sodium with one cup containing as much as 510 milligrams. You can cut the sodium by several hundred milligrams by substituting low-sodium or unsalted stocks. Most recipes call for table salt on top of these ingredients, so you won’t notice a big difference in the taste.

Reduce the cheese.

Cheesy toppings on casseroles, potatoes, and pizza are hard to resist, but cutting back can reduce your calorie and fat intake. Some recipes like lasagna and scalloped potatoes use so much cheese that you won’t notice if you reduce the total amount. Begin by reducing what you use in the recipe by an ounce or two, or ¼ cup. As you get used to the new way of preparing the recipe, you can try to cut back even more.

Add shredded vegetables.

While the addition of vegetables to a dessert or casserole won’t automatically make it healthy, it can add fiber and vitamins. In baked goods, vegetables can also provide moisture that may allow you to cut back on added oils or milk. Shredded zucchini, carrots, and parsnips go well in cakes, quick breads, and brownies. Finely shredded cabbage can be added to meat fillings and sauces. Finely chopped dark leafy greens can be added to baked casseroles from mac and cheese to lasagna.

Use dark chocolate.

The heart health benefits of dark chocolate are still well supported by research making it an ideal option to satisfy a sweet tooth. While a square of dark chocolate may be the healthiest choice, when you splurge on comfort foods like cookies and brownies give them a slight nutritional boost by sticking with dark chocolate of at least 60 percent cacao. Darker chocolate has less fat and sugar as well as more of the disease fighting antioxidants that contribute to chocolate’s health benefits.

Use alternative flours.

Flour is often used in coatings for fried chicken and fish, in crumb toppings for desserts, and as a thickener for cream sauces. Nut flours and alternative grain flours (amaranth, teff, oat bran) won’t always decrease total calories, but they do supply a unique set of nutrients from protein to vitamins and minerals. Experiment with substituting these flours as well as 100 percent whole wheat flour in recipes that call for refined white flour.

Layer in vegetables.

Vegetables like summer squash, eggplant, and sweet potato can be sliced thin and added to casseroles. These additions can serve as substitutes for some of the noodles in lasagna, and they add a nutritional boost. Cauliflower and broccoli can be chopped fine and layered into casseroles and quiche to give you an extra serving of vegetables with the meal.

Make stock-based sauces.

Comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and creamy soups use heavy cream to create the sauces. You can reduce the fat and calorie content by using chicken or vegetable stock in place of the cream. The stock will often thicken just as well as cream when combined with flour and butter for the roux. Just be sure to select low-sodium or no-salt-added stocks because store-bought varieties are often high in sodium.

Use lean meats and vegetable substitutes.

When recipes call for ground beef, you can reduce fat and calories by choosing lean cuts such as ground round and ground sirloin, or by using ground chicken or turkey breast. You can also use smaller amounts of meat by adding diced mushrooms and greens like kale, or replace the meat altogether with these ingredients as well as beans.

Bake it.

It is surprising how delicious baked versions of your favorite comfort foods can be. When baked at high heat, fresh-cut fries brown nicely with crispy edges. Fish and chicken can be coated in nut meal or whole wheat bread crumbs and baked until browned. Pastries like yeast and cake donuts can be baked using a sheet pan or a donut pan, reducing the total fat content compared to frying in oil.

Sources

5 Effective Sports-based Exercises5 Effective Sports-based Exercises

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Effective Sports-based Exercises

Athletes use some of the best sports-specific training to improve fitness, speed, and strength. You don’t have to be an athlete to take advantage of the same effective exercises. By incorporating more challenging moves and using them in a way that matches your fitness level, you can gain similar benefits for health and exercise performance.

Cycling Sprint Intervals

Whether you cycle on the open road or hop on a stationary bike at the gym, sprint intervals will improve your cardiovascular fitness and increase calorie burn. Sprint intervals are a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT), a type of exercise that research shows improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness and insulin resistance.

How to do it: Set your stationary bike to a comfortable resistance that matches how you would feel cycling on a flat route. Start with 15 to 30 second sprints, cycling as fast as you can. Recover at a moderate pace for 2 minutes. Repeat the intervals throughout your workout. You can gradually increase your sprint time, decrease your recovery time, or increase your resistance to make the session more challenging.

Chin Ups

Sports like rowing, swimming, and volleyball require excellent upper body strength and chin ups are a popular training exercise that target the back and biceps. This exercise isn’t easy. If you are new to it, check to see if your gym has an assisted chin up machine. These machines have a platform to kneel on that supports your lower body, making the exercise easier. Stick with it and you will be able to turn out a full set without assistance in no time.

How to do it: Stand facing the chin up bar. Use a step or jump up to grasp the bar with both hands. They should be about shoulder distance apart with palms facing you. As you hang in the starting position, slightly bend your knees, cross your feet at the ankles, and contract your abdominals to help stabilize your lower body. Pull yourself up until your chin is level with the bar. Your elbows should stay in close to your body and point towards the floor as you pull yourself up.

Speed Skaters

The speed skater exercise simulates skating and it can be incorporated as a cardio interval into any circuit routine. It works the lower body and the faster you move, the more you will increase your heart rate to improve fitness and burn calories.

How to do it: Hop to the right and land on your right foot. Your left knee should be bent with your left foot lifted off the ground. Hop to the left, landing on your left foot with your right foot elevated. As you begin to hop more quickly from side to side, swing your arms in the direction you hop in order to gain momentum and keep your balance. To make the move more challenging, reach down and touch the floor with your left hand as you land on your right foot and repeat from side to side. To make the move less difficult, remove the hop and step from side to side.

High Knees and Butt Kicks

Often used in track and field as a warm up, high knees and butt kicks can be incorporated at any phase of your workout. The leg movement helps to elongate and stretch the quadriceps and hamstring muscles and the faster you move, the better cardiovascular workout you will get. High knees also target the abdominal muscles. The movements can be done at a walking pace, running, or if you are limited for space, you can do them in place.

How to do it: As you walk forward, raise your knee high with each step. Contract the abdominals and lift it as high as you can. For butt kicks, with each step bend at the knee and bring your heel into contact with your bottom, or as close as you can get. The move should be exaggerated, contracting the hamstrings with each butt kick. Once you feel comfortable with the movement, pick up the pace and accelerate into a running motion as you perform high knees and then switch to butt kicks.

Jab and Cross

Boxing provides an effective workout that can be adapted to all fitness levels. Even if you don’t have access to a bag, simply performing the punch and kick moves will help tone the upper and lower body. You can start simple with a jab and cross combo and add more moves from there, like hooks, uppercuts, and front kicks. Incorporating jump rope or bob and weave intervals will help you get your heart rate up for a challenging session that works the whole body.

How to do it: Stand with your right foot in front of your left. Make a fist with each hand and bring your fists up to your chin in a guard position (as if you were protecting your face). Punch straight out in front of you with your right arm and return to guard position (the jab). Now punch with your left arm (the cross). As you punch with the left, pivot your back foot so that your hips move in the same direction as your punch. Return to the guard position and continue to jab, then cross. Try to incorporate a bouncing or jogging movement as you punch to increase your heart rate. Switch your leg position and jab with your left arm and cross with your right.

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