{May 8, 2012}   Forbidden Foods

There’s that little corner of everybody’s pantry with the forbidden foods, the ones we tell ourselves we can’t eat because they’re too “bad” for us. But here’s something many people may not know: a lot of those so-called “bad” foods have actually just gotten a bad rap. Here are a few you should consider adding back into your diet, or at least back into your “good” pile:

1. Nuts. They are oftentimes high in fat and calories, but this snack is chock full of nutrients. You don’t have to eat a lot to get their value. Try adding them into a trail mix for a powerful midday snack.

2. Avocados. They’re very high in fat, causing many people to put them aside for times of weakness only. But much of the fat is actually “good” fat and can help reduce the risk for heart disease and some forms of cancer. Not only that, but it boasts high fiber, potassium and vitamins.

3. Cheese. Many people assume that cheese is just too fatty to be considered acceptable for a diet. But by eliminating it, you are also losing the calcium and positive nutrients it has to offer. The best way to keep cheese in your diet is to figure out which varieties will satisfy your craving and deliver the greatest health benefit.

Now go into your pantry (or fridge), pull out one of those so-called “bad” foods and make a healthy meal. Happy eating ūüôā


{April 18, 2012}   I have a problem.

It’s true: I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic. I love chocolate in basically any form. Before I started eating healthier, I ate an amount of chocolate per day that scares even myself. Now that I’m eating better, I still have chocolate every so often (ok, once a day) just to pick my day up¬†a bit. There’s a reason for this, other than my obvious addiction. It’s been proven that chocolate is not only good for you, but can also help your diet. ¬†No, you’re not dreaming. Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate may actually improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure. But now, research shows that people who¬†eat chocolate on a regular basis have lower BMI’s (body mass index) than those who do not. The reasons behind this are unclear, though it could be that the antioxidants found in dark chocolate can also serve to give your metabolism a boost. But why question it? To me, this is a diet win. Remember, however, that eating chocolate is not a replacement for working out, nor should it be used as a constant source of nourishment. It is, and always will be, a nice little treat to come back to at the end of a hard day. Emphasis onlittle. Be mindful of portion sizes, people. But enjoy ūüôā

{April 11, 2012}   Eating badly…so well

It’s no secret that most of the foods we generally love and crave are high in fat and calories, and mostly low in nutritional value. That’s why we love them so much. I find my self-control slipping away as I watch commercials showing creamy chocolatey goodness, or the newest specials at Olive Garden. Macaroni and Cheese has always been my weakness. But contrary to poular belief, you don’t have to completely give up your favorite foods for your diet: just make them healthier. Even desserts can be made¬†healthier, and thus better for your diet. ¬†It’s all about what you put in and what you take out. Making healthy foods that satisfy your not-so-healthy cravings may be much easier than you ever thought. So next time you’re in the kitchen, grab¬†your laptop and search for healthy versions of your favorite recipes. Be adventurous, change it up, and have fun with your food. You don’t have to munch on salad and veggies all the time to succeed on your diet; you just have to be creative.

Continuing with the trend of highlighting healthy foods, this week I’ve chosen granola to focus on. Granola may sound like a bland way to start your day, but it’s actually full of essential nutrients for a healthy diet; it’s loaded with fiber, potassium and iron, to name a few. Not only that, but its many nutrients have the ability to make you healthier.

Granola happens to be a very versatile food. Include it in trail mix for an energizing snack, or use it as a great complement to yogurt. You could add milk for cereal, or mix it with cottage cheese and fruit for a little crunch. To switch it up, try some unique recipes. By taking the time to prepare your own food, you can be in charge of what you put in your body. When it comes to making your body healthy, granola is a great way to add a nutritious, filling food to your diet.

{March 28, 2012}   An apple a day

It isn’t news to anybody that fruits and vegetables are healthy, especially for someone on a diet. But there are some fruits that¬†are so good for you, they should be given the honor of their own post. Apples are one such fruit. Not only do they have fiber which leaves you feeling full, but they also boast a wide range of nutrients that will leave your body happy. Those nutrients have been proven to keep people healthy and stave off some unpleasant conditions. If you’re not the type of person to bring an apple with you to munch on (which is¬† a great snack during the day, by the way), there are quite a few healthy recipes that include apples. We all know how beneficial it is to cook your own meals. So sometime this week, take a trip to the kitchen, slice up a few apples, and get cooking.

{March 22, 2012}   Resisting the temptation

Every time I go to the gym, I get on the elliptical first. Even though I pop in my music, I can’t help but watch whatever the TV has to offer, and normally, the commercials feature a wide array of restaurants and fast food joints begging for patronage. For some reason, it seems a lot harder to get motivated to work out when you’re staring at Olive Garden’s latest pasta special for a great new low price. But here’s the thing: resisting the urge to race out of the gym and sprint to the nearest restaurant is what makes you stronger. Will power isn’t developed overnight. Just like the muscles you work out, it gets stronger every time you use it. So don’t get discouraged. Be smart, be healthy, and resist all those temptations that could undo your diet and lifestyle. Eventually, saying no will become easier than you ever thought possible.

{March 20, 2012}   Spring Break Fever

So it’s spring break. Finally. Time to put away the books and try in some small way to relax. But for many of us, myself included, spring break means the temptation of home cooking. All those foods you avoided while at school seem to be right there in front of you better than ever. After all, they’re home-made. Though it may seem impossible to resist the urge to cheat, there are ways to stay healthy while at home. You can still make healthier choices when you’re folks take you out to eat, and when you eat at home,¬† you can use portion control to limit how much you eat. If you really want to make a difference, offer to help prepare meals using your knowledge f healthy cooking. Chances are you’ll make something you’re family will love and perhaps even teach them a thing or two about good eating habits.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, but try to make good choices just the same and remember that this is a lifestyle. Don’t just forget about nutrition facts because you’re on spring break; instead, incorporate what you have learned on your healthy living journey into your everyday choices. You might not be able to be as healthy as you normally are, but you can still make a difference by being smart.¬†Most importantly, don’t feel bad or let others make you feel bad about your eating choices. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is admirable and should be praised, not chastised. Be good to yourself and your body, no matter what people around you say.

{March 5, 2012}   Eat Right; Be Healthy

Dieting is a learned habit. Over time, people learn the “right” and “wrong” ways to diet, and use that to shape their healthy eating during their lives. But oftentimes, what we learn about food isn’t necessarily correct, and many so-called “good” and “bad” foods are mistakenly placed in the wrong categories. Take peanut butter, for example. It’s not a secret that this creamy treat famous for it’s addition to PB&J’s is full of fat. But what many people don’t know is that, in moderation, it’s an excellent food for your body. It has¬†protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and quite a few other nutrients. So it seems, peanut butter is one of those guilty pleasures that might not be as guilty as you think. Another food many people shy away from while on a diet is popcorn. Oftentimes, the word “popcorn” conjures up images of that heavily buttered movie treat that leaves us feeling bloated and guilty. But eating un-buttered popcorn is actually a healthy treat with fiber to keep you full longer. Try a single serve pack of Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop; with only 100 calories and 2 grams of fat, it’s a great snack to keep you feeling good with your diet, and happy with your waistline. For an even better snack, try air-popping popcorn. This allows you to control the seasonings and make your snack even healthier.

{February 29, 2012}   Campus Food Will Be My Downfall

The worst news for any college student on a diet is that break is over and school is in session once again. This means late night snacking, trips with friends to fast food restaurants and, possibly worst of all, campus food. All the fried food served in dining halls spells disaster for the health-concious eater. But what many students don’t realize is that campus food isn’t necessarily the cause of our diet troubles. There are many options at the dining hall, yet many of us find only enough room on our plates for fries and pasta. And maybe some ice cream for dessert. There’s most likely a salad bar or fresh fruit somewhere in the hall if you look hard enough. Instead of blaming the dining hall as you reach for a donut, think about the choices you’re making for your body. You have the power to choose what will fit your diet and fill your stomach. Armed with the right resources and knowledge of what’s good for you and what’s not, you only need self-control to make your diet a success. So the next time you make a trip to the dining hall and wander aimlessly wondering what to get, remember there are healthy options for you. You just have to know where to look and empower yourself to make good choices.

{February 22, 2012}   The Joys and Evils of Fast Food

Perhaps one of the easiest slip-ups of any diet is that 5-minute trip to the local fast food joint. It’s a simple, easy way to get off track and lose your motivation. Fast food restaurants offer all the foods we love at tantalizing prices,practically begging for our¬†patronage. But when you’re trying to eat healthy¬†or lose weight, those same restaurants¬†become a guilty pleasure we¬†find hard to resist.¬†For most people, stopping for a quick burger is a cheap way to get some sustenance during a hectic day. But believe me: there are easier, healthier ways to satisfy your hunger. If you’re going to be on the run, try packing a healthy snack to eat wherever your travels take you. Eating healthy meals and snacks will make you feel more awake and energetic, and won’t slow you down like greasy fast food. Also, remember not to get caught up¬†in calorie count. Nutritious living is about what’s IN your food (fiber, protein, calcium, etc.), and how it’s good or bad for you. So when you’re preparing snacks based upon recipes,¬†try to¬†aim for¬†foods that will nourish your body as well as your¬†hunger. Your body needs nutrients (and yes, carbohydrates) to survive, so don’t deprive yourself of food for the sake of a diet. Instead, make smart choices that fill you up, without ruining your day.

et cetera