A healthy Super Bowl plan

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Super Bowl Sunday can be one of the toughest days of the year when it comes to eating.  With the unlimited spread of snack foods, giant hero sandwiches, pizza, wings, and not to mention beer, it can be pretty hard to defend those resolutions that were made just a few weeks earlier.  This year, however, with just a little planning, we can easily score big on taste without penalizing our waistlines.  

The Game Plan

Prior to Kickoff

First, ensure that you aren’t starving by the time your Super Bowl party starts.  Make sure that you eat regular meals (i.e. breakfast, lunch, and a PM snack) before you arrive at your party so that you can perform well at game-time.    

The Defense

As a Super Bowl party guest, you will be playing on someone else’s turf, and so you will need to be on the defensive.  

  • When you get to the party, hold off on hitting the food table.  Converse with the other guests, and grab a glass of water to help fill you up.
  • Allow yourself a small taste of everything at the party that you want.  After that, bench the fattier options, and send in the low-cal replacements.
  • Bring something with you.  Prepare a healthy dish such as a turkey chili, or arrange a colorful fruit or vegetable platter with a low-fat yogurt based dip.  
  • Bench the high-cal beverages.  Though Super Bowl Sunday may encourage loads of beer drinking, remember that one regular beer contains about 150 calories.  Try water, seltzer, or diet drinks instead.  If you feel you are missing out on the alcohol, try a wine spritzer (1/2 wine, ½ sparkling water), or even a light beer.

The Offense

If you’re the one throwing the party, you have the home field advantage.  Instead of putting out the usual fatty fare, surprise your opponents and slim down the options.

  • Though chili has a wonderful healthy base of beans and tomatoes, the beef, sausage, cheese, and sour cream can intercept your healthy eating plan.  Try choosing extra-lean ground beef or turkey, or opt for a soy crumble.  Try low-fat cheese and/or non-fat sour cream in place of the higher calorie condiments.
  • Instead of saucy, fried wings, try oven-frying some boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Cut the breasts into bite size pieces, dip them in egg whites or buttermilk, and dredge them in either breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs.  Bake in the oven and serve with a honey-mustard or barbecue sauce.
  • Foot-long heros may be an old standby on Super Bowl Sunday, but the high-fat and high-sodium meats, the cheeses, the oil, and the mayonnaise (not to mention the sheer quantity), can easily add up to hundreds of extra calories.  Instead of buying the pre-made sandwiches, make a sandwich platter.  Arrange different lean meats like turkey, chicken, and ham.  Put out low-fat dressings and mayo, and loads of veggies.  Provide a variety of whole grain breads, wraps, and rolls.  
  • For a low-fat cornbread, use part whole-wheat flour, low-fat or fat-free buttermilk, and canola oil.
  • Bake tortilla chips or pita wedges and serve with low-fat dips that use fat-free or reduced-fat yogurt, sour cream, or cream cheese as their base.
  • Load your potato skins with salsa and a sprinkling of reduced fat cheese instead of bacon and cheese sauce.  Top with a small dollop of non-fat sour cream if desired.
  • Order pizza without cheese and ask for extra veggies.
  • Put out pretzels, popcorn, and baked chips instead of greasy potato chips.
  • Don’t forget the veggies!  Put out a big vegetable platter with a variety of cut-up veggies and low-fat dip.
  • Provide other drink options aside from beer.  Keep plenty of water, coffee, and diet drinks on hand.

Whether you’re at home or away this Super Bowl Sunday, you are now prepared to avoid getting sacked by those extra pounds.  Now all you need to do is hope that your football team is as prepared as you are.   

A walk down sugar lane

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Over three-quarters of packaged food in grocery stores today contains added sweeteners, making it easy to overindulge, even if you pass on dessert. Most Americans eat over 82 grams of sugar daily, which is triple the amount recommended by the American Heart Association.

Over one year, that equals 150 pounds of added sugars per person. Feeling gross yet?

Five Dangers of Added Sugar

Below are five health risks of overeating sugar and sugar substitutes.

#1 Driving Force Behind Type 2 (and Type 3) Diabetes

The results are in; eating too much sweet stuff raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, an estimated 100 million Americans have the disease, and millions more are at risk. Insulin resistance is the trigger for diabetes, and foods filled with fat and sugar reduce your sensitivity to insulin, meaning your blood-sugar levels go unchecked.

Sugary drinks tend to be the most dangerous. When the British Medical Journal conducted an analysis of fruit juice and soda, they found that even eight daily ounces raised diabetes risk by 13 percent. Likewise, research published on PLOS One shows that every extra 150 calories of sugar (the amount in a single canned soda) every day increased diabetes risk by one percent, compared to just 0.1 percent for non-sugar calories.  

Now, new evidence from the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology shows that sugar-filled diets might increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the link between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s is so strong that some scientists are considering renaming the disease as ‘type 3 diabetes’.

#2 Promotes Addiction and Brain Fog

Eight times more addictive than cocaine. That’s what research from Princeton is reporting about the sinister side of sugar. Your body craves this sweet substance like it’s a drug because, well, it is. And like many other drugs, sugar only hurts your body in the process.  

The taste of sugar triggers signals in your brain that light up its reward pathway and create a surge of feel-good hormones. Too much stimulation reduces their effectiveness, meaning you start needing larger amounts of sugar to feel the same way. Likewise, sugar-induced insulin resistance weakens the synaptic connections between brain cells, leading to impaired cognition, higher depression rates, and emotional mood swings that leave you depleted.

#3 Develops into Dangerous Belly Fat

Eating refined sugar overloads your liver with fructose, and anything you don’t immediately burn is turned into fat- predominately around your belly. Not only does this leave you looking bloated, but it also leads to lingering health challenges. In fact, reports from Harvard reveals that abdominal fat can raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and premature death.

#4 Triggers Premature Aging

Wrinkly, saggy skin is hardly the fresh start you want this year. Yet, sugary snacks might make it a reality. A study conducted at Dartmouth Medical School states that overindulging on sugar leads to glycation, a process where excess sugar molecules attach to collagen fibers, causing them to lose flexibility and strength. As a result, your skin loses elasticity and becomes more vulnerable to skin damage and sagging. A high-sugar diet also deactivates your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which leaves you more susceptible to sun damage and skin cancers.

#5 Zaps the ‘Good’ Bacteria in Your Gut

Your digestive system is a zoo of beneficial bacteria that keep things functioning as they should. Research funded by the American Cancer Society show that sugar alters gut bacteria in ways that affect mental performance and potentially raise toxin levels in your bloodstream. Because most sugars are digested without microbial help, these hungry bugs turn to nibbling on your intestinal lining instead. Permeating this barrier allows food particles into the rest of your body, which can cause inflammation and fungal growth like candida.

Further research from Tel Aviv University also shows that artificial sugar might promote the growth of harmful gut bacteria, which can lead to irritation, allergies and skin conditions, as well as digestive distress.  

 

Why Greek yogurt is good

Why Greek yogurt is good

We all know that yogurt is good for us. Low fat yogurt is a good source of dairy and calcium, helping to make our bones stronger. It's also packed with beneficial bacterial cultures that help support digestion and our immune system. But do you ever get bored of your watery, runny American-style yogurt? Have you been looking for a thicker more indulgent alternative that will still keep you healthy? Look no further than Greek yogurt.

Make any restaurant meal a healthy meal w/ this guide

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Eating at a restaurant or ordering take out does not have to = diet derailment. You just need educated guidance from a pro.

I'm Heather Bauer - nutritionist, author, and food lover. My FREE dine out guide will tell you exactly what to order at virtually every type of restaurant. This is the same guide that I give to my paying clients and I'm almost certain you'll be surprised by what you learn.

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Healthy Pasta Substitutes

Who doesn't love pasta?? But we don't always want the refined carbs that come with it. Here are some easy low carb, low calorie options you can cook yourself and still get your pasta fix.

  1. Zucchini & Summer Squash Noodles: You can spiralize your own or find them already spiralized for you at Whole Foods. You can also use other vegetables like carrots or beets. I've found the best way to cook them is to place the noodles on a baking sheet, spray with avocado oil and bake @ 400 for 7 or 8 minutes. Perfect side dish with any protein of your choice!
  2. Kelp Noodles: These are derived from brown seaweed so they're high in minerals and very low in calorie, are gluten and grain free, and have a nice, crunchy texture. You can use any brand - the key is to rinse them off. For a kelp noodle salad, I add olive oil, Braggs organic apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, chopped cabbage, and broccoli & carrot "slaw" (which I found already made at Whole Foods!).
  3. Cauliflower Rice: You can make your own in a food processor or find it frozen like the 365 brand at Whole Foods or at Trader Joe's. Add it frozen to a pan and sauté it until it's cooked - it's that simple!
  4. Better Than Rice: This is made from organic konnyaku flour, which is from the root of the Japanese organic plant konjac. It's great if you need a gluten-free, grain-free option. The whole package is only 45 calories and you get 12 grams of fiber! To prepare: drain, rinse and then dry fry it. Dry fry is just a technique where you cook in a non-stick pan.
  5. Dried Shirataki Noodles and Rice: Also derived from the konjac, these are very low in calorie and very high in fiber and taste great! The Japan Gold USA brand, which can be found in the pasta section at Whole Foods and on Amazon, comes dried and all you do is cook the noodles in simmering hot water for 5 minutes and drain (the rice is 10 min). These are my new favorite - no aftertaste and so easy!
  6. Tofu Shiratake Noodles: These are also derived from the Japanese root vegetable and can be found in the produce section at health food markets. Great to make chicken "noodle" soup: Drain and rinse the Tofu Shirataki noodles and then add them to chicken bone broth (Kettle & Fire makes a good one and you get extra protein from using bone broth) with chicken, carrots, celery and any veggies you want!
  7. Miracle Noodle Kitchen: They have ready-to-eat meals that are already flavored and just need to be heated and served. There are a few different varieties, including tom yum and green curry.