Is your health WEIGHTING you down?

SKIPPING MEALS: Studies show that skipping breakfast and eating fewer meals throughout the day may lead to weight gain. Skipping meals may cause your metabolism to slow down or lead to excessive hunger and overeating later in the day or evening. It can also lead to low blood sugar, moodiness and fatigue. Consider keeping healthy snacks like low-fat yogurt, low-fat string cheese, dried or fresh fruit, whole-grain cereals and nuts on hand. They can come in handy if you need to miss a meal.

A MATTER OF BALANCE: Do you love meat but feel that it just can’t fit into a healthy diet? Not true. Lean meats are very rich in nutrients such as protein, zinc, iron, and vitamin B12. The keys are: pick lean cuts to keep saturated fat down, and include meat as a balanced part of your meal—that is a 3-4-ounce portion—rather than making it the center stage of your meal.

BUTTER VERSUS MARGARINE: When it comes to the taste of butter versus margarine, some say butter is better. What about the health of your arteries? Butter is rich in saturated fat and cholesterol and stick margarine is rich in trans fat. Cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat all can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol. In addition, trans fat can also lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Consider a healthier option—buy a trans fat-free tub of margarine that you enjoy, and eat it in moderation.

CRAZY FOR CORN: Did you know that this favorite summer vegetable is low in fat, free of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and is a good source of fiber and vitamin C? Select ears with green husks, fresh silks and tight rows of kernels. You can enjoy grilled or steamed corn-on-the-cob, add corn to guacamole or salsa for a little crunch, or make a corn relish by mixing corn with chopped vegetables, beans and vinaigrette.

SALAD DRESSING CALORIE COUNT: Many Americans are enjoying more salads these days. It can be an easy way to eat more vegetables. Research shows that moderate amounts of regular or light salad dressing actually promote nutrient absorption more than fat-free varieties. To help keep salads healthful, consider this way of applying the dressing. Place just 1-2 tablespoons of salad dressing in a large Ziploc bag or airtight container. Fill with salad, seal and shake away! A small amount of dressing will lightly coat your greens, giving them flavor without excessive calories.

Sources:  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Produce for Better Health Foundation, Center for Science in the Public Interest, National Institutes of Health

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