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3 Reasons Not to Skip Meals3 Reasons Not to Skip Meals

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Reasons Not to Skip Meals

Skipping meals may seem like a good idea to cut calories, but it’s not a smart tactic for successful weight loss. It is tempting to save calories so you can indulge in a big meal without regret, but it is a practice that can easily backfire. Before you deprive yourself of a nutritious meal, consider how it affects your physical and mental health.

Overeating

You may feel like you have your hunger under control, until you sit down to the table. After skipping meals all day, once you are finally confronted with food, you are much more likely to overeat and choose unhealthy foods to satisfy your cravings. One study showed that subjects who skipped meals throughout the day and ate a large meal in the evening had elevated fasting blood glucose and delayed insulin response (risk factors for diabetes) after eight weeks.

Poor nutrition

It takes planning to ensure that you get all of the nutrients you need. This is much easier to accomplish when your meals and snacks are spread throughout the day. Skipping meals can reduce your variety of foods, and therefore, your nutrient intake. You may become too full to get all the foods you need when you do eat, or the increased hunger and cravings may cause you to bypass nutritious options for unhealthy comfort foods.

Bad attitude

A grumbling stomach and dropping blood sugar can affect your mood and attitude. Fatigue, irritability, and an overall negative outlook are just a few of the consequences of skipping meals. A bad attitude threatens motivation, and your desire to make healthy choices and stick to your workouts.

Holiday Treats Under 200 CaloriesHoliday Treats Under 200 Calories

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Holiday Treats Under 200 Calories

Depriving yourself of every holiday treat will only lead to frustration, cravings, and an increased chance of giving in and overdoing it. It’s okay to enjoy a few favorites as long as you stay on track with healthy meals and workouts. Limit yourself to one serving and save the splurges for special occasions where you can mindfully savor them and feel more satisfied. These are a few options that come in under 200 calories. Choose wisely and keep moving to meet your fitness goals.

  • 1 Candy Cane - 50 calories
  • 1 piece Homemade Chocolate Fudge - 69 calories
  • 4 Gingersnap Cookies - 116 calories
  • 1 cup Hot Apple Cider - 140 calories
  • ½ cup Low-fat Eggnog - 140 calories
  • ½ cup Peppermint Stick Ice Cream - 140 calories
  • 1 cup Mulled Wine Sangria - 143 calories
  • 3 tbsp Candied Walnuts - 150 calories
  • 2 Pecan Shortbread Cookies - 160 calories
  • 2 Chocolate Truffles - 180 calories
  • 1 Frosted Sugar Cookie - 180 calories
  • 12 oz. Hot Chocolate (made with non-fat milk) - 190 calories

Healthiest Ways to Cook VegetablesHealthiest Ways to Cook Vegetables

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Healthiest Ways to Cook Vegetables

Research shows that cooking vegetables can increase some nutrients, but not all methods are the same. Choosing the healthiest ways to cook your vegetables will help you boost nutrition and improve health.

Microwave Steaming

Microwaving not only provides a quick cooking option, it may also help foods retain more nutrients. Studies show that steaming vegetables in the microwave may be the best way to preserve most vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C which rapidly decreases with other cooking methods.

Stovetop Steaming

Steaming vegetables in a metal or bamboo steaming basket is another ideal option. One study showed that steaming helped to retain the cancer-fighting glucosinolates found in broccoli. It also retained the carotenoids in zucchini and significantly increased carotenoids in carrots and broccoli. Additionally, it was found to best protect the polyphenols (a group of antioxidants) in these vegetables when compared to boiling and frying.

Sauteing

In one study, sauteing (stir-frying in a small amount of oil) helped to retain nutrients (especially vitamin C) when compared to boiling and stir-frying without oil. While sauteing uses high heat, food is cooked quickly which helps reduce nutrient loss. A small amount of oil also adds flavor to the food, unlike steamed vegetables which are bland when unseasoned.

Boiling

Boiling is often considered a poor method for healthy cooking because nutrients are pulled from the food and into the cooking water. But boiling may not be as bad as we thought. Studies show that boiling produced results similar to steaming for preserving carotenoids in zucchini, and increasing them in broccoli and carrots. It retains vitamin C content better than frying, but not as well as steaming and sauteing.

Roasting

Roasting vegetables exposes them to high heat for longer periods of time which can decrease vitamins, but not all nutrients are lost. The benefit of roasting is that it brings out the best flavors in vegetables making them much more delicious without adding unhealthy fat and sodium. If you find steamed vegetables bland, a few roasted vegetables mixed in can improve the flavor while still providing plenty of nutrients.

Frying

Studies support that frying is the worst cooking method for preserving the nutrients in vegetables. High temperatures quickly degrade even the most stable vitamins. Vitamin C, carotenoids and polyphenols all decrease in foods cooked by frying. Fried foods can also contain saturated fats, trans fats, and excess sodium making frying the least desirable cooking method for health.

Exercise to Burn Off Favorite Holiday FoodsExercise to Burn Off Favorite Holiday Foods

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Exercise to Burn Off Favorite Holiday Foods

There is nothing wrong with choosing a few special treats during the holidays, but going overboard can undo weeks of healthy eating and exercise. Before you make the decision to cave into a craving, use this guide as a reminder of how hard you will have to work to offset the extra calories.

Candied Sweet Potatoes (1/2 cup)

Calories: 210

Burn it off: Walking at 3.5 miles per hour for 60 minutes.

Lighten it up: Serve baked sweet potatoes topped with 5 mini-marshmallows. 172 calories

Gingerbread (1 slice)

Calories: 263

Burn it off: Fast ballroom dancing for 45 minutes.

Lighten it up: Choose 1 to 2 small gingerbread cookies instead. 150 to 200 calories

Peppermint Mocha (12 ounces, made with 2% milk and whipped cream)

Calories: 320

Burn it off: Weight training for 50 minutes.

Lighten it up: Ask for skim milk and no whipped cream. 220 calories

Eggnog (1 cup)

Calories: 342

Burn it off: Shoveling snow for 52 minutes.

Lighten it up: Choose light or low-fat eggnog and cut your serving to ½ cup. 140 calories

Homemade Pecan Pie (1 slice)

Calories: 502

Burn it off: Jogging 5.2 miles per hour for 48 minutes.

Lighten it up: Have only half a slice or choose a slice of pumpkin pie instead. 228 calories

*All calorie expenditures are based on a 150 pound female.

7 Ways to Eat Healthy During Holiday Meals7 Ways to Eat Healthy During Holiday Meals

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Healthy Holiday Meals

Cook and bake in single servings.

Often it’s not the holiday foods, but the portions that send calorie intake through the roof. Instead of using large casserole dishes, use oven-safe ramekins that hold ½ to 1 cup of food. Fill them with baked side dishes like sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, or stuffing. When your servings are pre-measured, it eliminates the temptation to scoop large portions onto your plate.

Go heavy on the vegetables.

Adding extra vegetables is a good way to fill up and improve the nutrition of your meal with fewer calories. Add extras to salads like chopped broccoli, sliced bell peppers, and sliced cabbage. Add diced mushrooms or shredded carrots to stuffing, and mix finely chopped cauliflower into casseroles.

Limit your choices.

When there are too many choices, it is tempting to try a little of every dish. This results in an overflowing plate of generous bites. Plan a holiday meal like you would any other. Select two vegetables or fruits, a protein source, and a grain. Of course, these dishes may be dressed up for the holidays, but stick with only four to five separate dishes. You will be able to taste all of the options and still keep the portions and calories under control.

Take a water break.

Put the focus on the special food and skip the high calorie drinks. Sipping on water instead of sweet tea and soda can drastically reduce your calorie intake. Drinking water between courses and between cocktails can also help to fill you up and keep you hydrated, lessening the effects of the alcohol and excess sodium.

Don’t pass up true treats.

"Eat and enjoy" is advice not shared often enough during the holiday season. The holidays bring special foods that you eat only once a year. Pass on more common items like rolls and mashed potatoes. Take one serving of special holiday foods and enjoy every bite. Forcing yourself to pass up on true treats will only make you feel deprived and that is no way to spend a healthy holiday season.

Practice mindful eating.

Planning, tending to guests, and bustling conversations can be distracting. When it is time to join the table, keep mindful eating high on your priority list. Eat slowly and focus on the flavor of the food. Put your fork down between bites and take sips of water. These small changes will slow your eating, help you enjoy your meal, and keep you aware of your hunger level.

Take on new traditions.

Special family recipes will always be part of the holidays, but making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle may mean that it's time to start a few new traditions. Delicious food doesn't have to be loaded with calories, fat, and sodium. While the average Thanksgiving meal contains 4,500 calories, the 3-course healthy holiday meal listed below is under 710 calories. It also has a fraction of the fat and sodium of a typical holiday meal, but with all of the traditional flavor.

Starter:

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup with Feta (166 calories)

Main Course:

Almond Dijon Turkey Cutlets (206 calories)

Side Dishes:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pomegranate (84 calories)

Carrot, Chickpea, and Farro Salad with Thyme (157 calories)

Dessert:

Spiced Crustless Pumpkin Pie (96 calories)

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