How to Beat Sugar Addiction

beat sugar addiction

Image thanks to APM Alex

If your anything like me, you love your sweets.

Whether it’s indulging in dessert after a meal (crème brulee is my weakness), being tempted by chocolate, or indulging in that box of donuts at work, sweet treats can be hard to avoid.

The problem is that all of the sweet and overly processed foods have led a lot of us into a sugar “habit” that can be very hard to break. This can be unhealthy for your waistline and your teeth, but may also contribute to type 2 diabetes, stroke, and dementia.

The following are some tips to help you break free from sugar…

Don’t quit cold turkey:

As with any other healthy change you try to make, giving everything up all at once will often backfire. Instead, start to set some limits for yourself and stick with them.

Indulge a little:

Craving your late night ice cream fix? Allow yourself to have some, but don’t carry the pint around with you. Put a small portion into a bowl and savor it. Same goes for dessert when you are dining out. Try ordering only one dessert and sharing it with others. You still get to enjoy something sweet, but won’t overdo it.

Find a healthy option:

Rather than keeping your cupboards (or your freezer) stocked with unhealthy sweets, try to find healthy substitutes. Try keeping your favorite flavor of Greek yogurt around (you can even freeze it into decadent pops), and be sure to keep lots of fresh fruit on hand.

Get to know stevia:

Stevia is an herb that is naturally sweeter than sugar. It has no calories and can be used in almost any way that sugar can. It is also readily available in both health food stores and major grocery chains.  Rather than using potentially toxic artificial sweeteners, I highly recommend trying stevia.

Learn to say no:

Sweet treats are around us all of the time, but don’t forget that you have control over what you eat. It is perfectly okay to say no to that huge piece of cake on your coworker’s birthday (and you will feel better about it afterwards).

Don’t skip meals:

Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar and, in turn, more intense food cravings. If you skip breakfast or lunch, you are far more likely to give into to unhealthy cravings later on. Be sure to eat regular and balanced meals, and keep yourself armed with healthy snacks.

Portion Control Tips

portion control

Image thanks to gifrancis

In the case of weight loss, less really is more.

Portion sizes all around us are getting bigger and bigger, and this can have a major impact on your dieting success.

Here are some tips to help you keep your portions under control…

Read the label:

Very few food items are single servings. Makes sure that you read the label to see how many servings are in the package and then measure to ensure that your portion is accurate.

Try not to eat family-style:

Rather than setting out all of your food onto the table (where it is far to easy to keep refilling your plate), serve the food onto your plate in the kitchen, and then put the rest away. Or, keep the main dish in the kitchen and only bring the salad or vegetables sides out to the table.

Avoid mindless eating:

Studies have shown again and again that we are likely to eat more if eating while distracted (especially in front of the television). Instead, try to unplug and actually savor your meal.

Pre-portion those tempting treats:

It is pretty easy to overindulge if you sit down with a whole bag of chips or a box of cookies. Instead, put one serving into a bowl and then put the rest away so that you won’t eat more than you should.

Don’t let restaurant meals derail you:

The portion sizes at most restaurants are far more food than anyone should eat in one sitting. Rather than gorging yourself, try splitting a meal with a friend. Otherwise, eat half and then take the rest home for another meal (smart for your weight and your wallet).

Use smaller dishes:

This may sound silly, but it has been shown that bigger plates encourage people to take a larger portion of food.

Break down your leftovers:

Instead of storing your leftovers in one large container, separate them into single serving containers. This way you can easily grab one out of the freezer or fridge and know that you won’t overdo it.

Love The Veggies You Love To Hate

tasty vegetable recipes

Image thanks to jules:stonesoup

All right, so even the most open-minded eaters amongst us often have vegetables that we avoid at all costs.

Often it is because of some awful childhood memory of being forced to eat them regardless of how badly they were cooked.

The following simple roasting recipes address two of these veggies: Brussels sprouts and broccoli. These recipes are simple, adaptable, and delicious enough that they just may change your mind.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

This is an easy recipe that results in delicious Brussels sprouts that are crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. Great with the addition of some minced garlic, or drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts

3 Tbsp of good quality olive oil

¾ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Trim the end off the Brussels sprouts and remove any outer leaves that are yellow. Add the sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper into a large bowl and toss until evenly coated. Pour onto a baking sheet and spread evenly.

Roast the Brussels sprouts for 30-45 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even browning.

Sprinkle with more salt if desired, and then serve immediately.

Roasted Lemon-Parmesan Broccoli 

I admit it; broccoli is one of the few vegetables that I really don’t like. This recipe totally turned that around. It is simple and delectable.

4 pounds broccoli

4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced

4 tbsp good olive oil

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp fresh ground pepper

2 tsp lemon zest

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Wash, dry, and cut broccoli into evenly sized florets.

Place these florets onto a baking pan that is large enough to hold them in a single layer. Sprinkle the diced garlic over the florets and then drizzle all over with the olive oil and toss.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 20-25 minutes until crisp-tender and just beginning to brown.

Remove from the oven and toss with one more tablespoon of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan.

Components of a Healthy Diet Plan

 

healthy diet plan

Image thanks to radiantradon

Americans are becoming more and more conscious of what they eat.

You may have noticed that diet plans can vary to a large extent. Not only are these based on specific needs but are also subject to opinions.

However, the following are the four components that are essential to every healthy diet plan…

Method of Preparation:

Your method of cooking can alter the nutritional value of the food. Boiling a broccoli reduces the level of nutrients in it. Grilled lean chicken is rich in protein, whereas frying that chicken piece triples the level of fat and calories. Rather than opting for French fries, it is preferable to bake potatoes without removing their skin. The latter is not only low on fat but also high in nutrients. Use only heart healthy seasonings and fats. You should aim at retaining the natural goodness of the foods by following preparation methods that augment taste without adding unnecessary ingredients that are high in fat and sugar.

Nutritional Balance:

The primary contents of your diet should be fruits and vegetables. Grains come next, followed by lean meats or proteins. Oils, sugar and fats are not dangerous if used within limits.

Quantity:

No doubt you should consume healthy foods but what is equally important is to keep a check on the quantity you eat in a day and at a time. Try to calculate your average daily calorie intake. If it is lower than normal increase your diet. On the other hand if it is high either eat less or change your foods.

Quality:

Every vegetable, grain or meat is different from its counterparts. For instance, a cup of steamed corns and a baked potato have different nutrients. It is important to know the nutritional value of various vegetables, fruits, meats and grains. Processed foods are a complete no-no. As much as possible eat whole foods which means that increase the consumption of whole foods that you cook yourself rather than consuming packed/frozen foods.

Eat Smart for Weight Loss

eat smart for weight loss

Image thanks to puuikibeach

Successful and sustained weight loss not only depends on what you eat and your physical activity, but also on how you eat.

Here are some easy tips on how to eat smart to lose weight and keep it off permanently.

Chew Slowly:

Although we seldom realize it, most of us are always gulping down food hurriedly, trying to fit in that sandwich somewhere into our hectic schedule. In the process, we don’t even chew our food properly. Chewing slowly promotes proper working of the digestive system and allows you to savor your food. This also makes it more likely for you to stop eating when you feel satiated.

De-stress Before You Have Dinner:

Before you settle down for your dinner, take some time to relax. Take deep breaths, take a leisurely walk or listen to soothing music. When you eat in a relaxed state, the digestive system works better. Also, stress can lead to overeating, so relaxing before your meal helps you know better when you need to stop.

Don’t Multitask When Eating:

Make it a point not to do any other work when eating, such as watching television or reading a magazine. This is because when you are engrossed in the magazine or television show, you seldom pay attention to how much you are eating, which makes it less likely for you to notice when you are full. Apart from this, unconsciously eating might become associated with that activity, so whenever you are watching television, you automatically reach out for snacks.

Downsize your Dishes:

Using smaller plates is a great way of cutting down your food intake. Studies have shown that even health and nutrition experts tend to overeat when they use larger plates or oversized serving dishes. Try using salad plates instead of dinner plates to help reduce portion sizes and promote healthy eating.

Gulp Down Some Water:

Opt for a glass of cold water instead of diet sodas before you eat your meal. Drinking water before your meal will provide a sense of fullness and thus prevent overeating. Also, drinking cold water can actually boost your metabolism rate.

Incorporate these smart eating tips in your weigh loss diet plan to lose weight in a healthy manner.

Tips for Eating Out on a Weight Loss Diet

healthy restaurant eating

Image thanks to Mark Ramsay

Enjoying an occasional meal out at a restaurant with friends or family is one of the great pleasures in life.

Okay, so restaurants usually do pile up oversized portions on your plate, but that does not necessarily mean eating out will ruin your weight loss diet plan.

You just need to keep a few things in mind to make sure that your diet plan does not go off the rails when eating out…

Order the main dish from the appetizer menu:

Not only are dishes in the appetizer menu more reasonably portioned, they also save you money and a lot of calories. If you are feeling unsatisfied with the starter, consider ordering a side salad. The fiber rich vegetables will fill you up without spiking up the calorie count. Soups are another great option, as they are quite filling. However, steer clear of the creamy soups or too much salad dressing as theses can pack in a lot of calories.

Beware of these high fat buzzwords:

Stay away from the extra butter, cream sauce, au gratin, oil, breaded, Alfredo, batter dipped, smothered or ‘with gravy’ dishes when eating out. The extra calories are not worth it.

Beat the meat:

Even if you find that bucket of fried chicken tempting, it is better that you opt for the steamed, roasted, boiled, broiled, baked or grilled variety. Ask for skinless chicken if available or remove the skin yourself. If you are bored with just eating chicken, you might treat yourself to beef sometimes, but make sure you choose the leaner cuts like the flank or loin.

Banish buffets:

Portion control may turn out to be next to impossible for even the die hard dieter at an ‘all you can eat” buffet. The huge variety of food at the buffet can actually overwhelm you with choices and lead to overeating. Studies have shown that when more choices are available, people tend to overeat without even realizing it. This is crucial when trying to stick to your weight loss diet.

Keep these tips in mind when dining out and you won’t have to jeopardize your weight loss diet plan.

Healthy Lunch Recipes

Image thanks to Annie Mole

Image thanks to Annie Mole

Are you trying to find healthy lunch options? Bored with eating the same diet food day in day out? Does the menu at your office cafeteria tempt you every time you have your diet lunch?

All you need to do is introduce variety and make healthy food choices.

Here are some great, easy and healthy lunch ideas to help you lose weight…

Lime and Cilantro Couscous

Ingredients

  1. Couscous: 1 cup
  2. Lime rind, finely grated: 2 teaspoon
  3. Lime juice: half a lime
  4. Cilantro, fresh and finely chopped: 2 tablespoon
  5. Red pepper, chopped:  ½
  6. Red onion, chopped : ¼
  7. English cucumber, chopped: 1
  8. Boiling water: 1 cup

Preparation

Take a heat proof bowl and place the couscous in it. Now add the boiling water and cover it. Let it stand for about five minutes. Toss in the lime juice and rind, onion, cilantro, cucumber and Re pepper.

Serve in small bowls with veggie crudités and a leafy salad. This preparation will serve six.

Tabouli Salad

Ingredients

  1. Finely chopped large tomatoes: 2
  2. Lemon juice: ¼ cup
  3. Cracked wheat: ½ cup
  4. Chopped fresh parsley: 4 cups
  5. Finely chopped, small red onion: 1
  6. Chopped fresh mint: 1 cup
  7. Olive oil: ¼ cup

Preparation

Take a bowl and place the lemon juice, tomato and wheat in it. Let it stand for around 30 minutes till the wheat softens. Toss in the remaining ingredients and combine. And you are done. Serve it with pita bread and plain yogurt. This preparation will serve four.

Chickpea Pasta and Spinach Soup

Ingredients

  1. Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
  2. Chopped large onion: 1
  3. Diced tomatoes: 1 can
  4. Crushed garlic: 2 cloves
  5. Vegetable broth: 4 cups
  6. Drained chickpeas: 1 can
  7. Pasta shapes, small: ½ cup
  8. Coarsely chopped fresh spinach: 227 grams
  9. Pepper : ¼ teaspoon

Preparation

Take a large saucepan and begin heating the oil in it. Add the garlic and chopped onions and cook till it softens, for about six to eight minutes. Now pour in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, pasta and chickpeas. Bring it to a boil using medium high heat. Then lower the heat and keep simmering till the pasta turns tender, for about 10 minutes. However, make sure the pasta does not turn mushy. Add the spinach and stir. Now cook for about one to two minutes. Season the dish with pepper according to taste. This preparation will serve six.

Enjoy!


Avoiding Weekend Weight Gain

Is your weight loss plan in jeopardy because of your eating habits over the weekend?

It is quite easy for people to follow the mindset of, “I have stuck to my diet all week, so I deserve a treat.” The problem is that it can be far too easy to lose control and go overboard when we decide to treat ourselves. Those all-you-can-eat weekend brunch buffets add inches to your waist faster than you would have imaged.

Here are some simple and effective ways to prevent weight gain over the weekend…

Stock up on healthy food:

If your pantry and fridge are not stocked with healthy diet friendly foods, you will have no other option but to eat whatever is within your reach and more often than not, it is unhealthy snacks that we reach out for. Drop in to the store and stock up on all the necessary diet friendly food on Fridays so that you don’t run out of it over the weekend.

Don’t skip, eat smart:

Going out with friends for a (non diet friendly) dinner this weekend? You can still avoid weight gain; just eat lighter food throughout the day. But make sure you don’t skip meals in a bid to save calories for eating out. Skipping meals will only make you hungrier, leading to overeating, thus piling up your calorie count.

Review the week:

Take some time out to review your diet journal and try to spot any diet mistakes you might have made. Weekends are probably the best time to review progress and identify areas of improvement. Reviewing your diet journal will also keep you motivated to stay on the diet over the weekend.

Keep yourself occupied:

It is quite easy to give into overeating as a way to keep boredom at bay, when you have nothing else to do. Get involved in activities which keep you occupied for longer periods. List out your hobbies and other activities you would like to try, such as going for a game of paintball or taking a hike down the mountain trails. You could even consider volunteering for causes close to your heart.

Low Fat Cheesecake Recipes

Being on a diet plan does not have to mean that you give up all your favorite desserts.

You just need to make certain healthy food substitutions to turn your favorite calorie laden dessert into its diet friendly version.

Here are some great low fat cheesecake recipes for you to satisfy your sweet tooth with piling up on all those extra calories…

Low Fat Pineapple Cheesecake

Ingredients

  1. Fat free cream cheese, softened: 8oz
  2. Graham crackers, finely crumbled: 11oz
  3. Lemon gelatin: 1 pack
  4. Margarine: ¼ cup
  5. Raw pineapple, crushed and drained: 18oz
  6. Sugar: ½ cup
  7. Evaporated skimmed milk: 6oz
  8. Boiling water: 1cup

Preparation

Put the cream cheese in a bowl and let it soften. Take the jello in a bowl and mix it with the hot water. Now let the mixture cool. For the pie crust, mix the crushed graham crackers and the margarine. Put this mix into a 9 by 2 by 12 inch buttered baking dish, reserving about ¼ cup to use for the top. Now press it down in the baking dish. Cream the cheese as you gradually add sugar. Add the jello slowly to this and mix it thoroughly. Beat the evaporated milk in a large bowl with an electric mixer until it is fluffy. Then add the cheese, sugar and jello mix into the bowl of fluffed up evaporated milk. Now add the drained pineapples and stir.  Now put this into the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on the top. Place it in the fridge and let it refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Low Fat Italian Ricotta Pineapple Cheesecake

 Ingredients

  1. Plain gelatin: 2 envelopes
  2. Sugar free raw pineapple, crushed: 1 can (16oz)
  3. Boiling water: ½ cup
  4. Low fat ricotta cheese: 1 cup
  5. Ground cinnamon: ½ teaspoon
  6. Vanilla extract : 2 teaspoon
  7. Salt: 1 pinch
  8. Sugar free vanilla milkshake mix: 5 envelopes

Preparation

Take a saucepan and pour the water into it. Now sprinkle the gelatin over it. Wait for about a minute and then begin heating gently till the gelatin melts. Meanwhile, mix the ricotta cheese and the pineapple in the food processor. Process until it is smooth. Add the melted gelatin mix along with the rest of the ingredients. Now process again, until the mixture turns smooth. Spoon the mix into a 9 inch pie pan. Chill till it sets. Cut into wedges and you are ready to serve.

Fat Burning Workout: The Elliptical Trainer

While you might have your own fat burning workout and fancy equipment to help you pump off the calories, mindless exercising on its own will not benefit you much.

Your focus should be to workout in a manner such that you can maximize your weight loss.

In this article we will look at how you can use the elliptical trainer to maximize your weight loss results…

Elliptical Trainer: Fat Burning Workout Tips

Here are some great pointers to help you use the elliptical trainer effectively for burning more fat as suggested by fitness experts.

Don’t stop working:

To maximize the amount of fat you burn on the elliptical trainer, don’t let its gliding momentum guide your workout’s pace. Your legs should be pushing the pedals around. If the elliptical trainer has rails, hold on to them lightly. Hold it too tightly and you might end up supporting your weight with your hands.

Blast away at regular intervals:

During every commercial or every fourth song on your music player, boost the intensity of your workout. Fitness trainers recommend increasing the intensity at regular intervals because, a steady workout pace will burn calories consistently but high intensity workouts at intervals burn more fat thus helping you lose more weight faster.

Exercise your whole body:

Focus on strengthening your core and arm muscles. This way more muscles will come into use and thus burn more fat. For instance, if you are using a lower body elliptical trainer, bring your arms into an athletic pose with the upper arms close to the chest and the elbows bent. This will help to strengthen your core muscles. If you are using a full body elliptical trainer, engage your arms consciously by pushing and pulling with the same intensity as with your legs.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary.