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Healthy Halloween Treats That Won’t Bore You to Death

29 Oct

Healthy Halloween Treats That Won’t Bore You to Death

Do you know that 4% of all candy consumed in the US is done so on Halloween? And this year the average American will spend $23 on Halloween candy.

Before the Halloween holiday breaks your bank – and your calorie budget, check out these healthy Halloween tips that won’t bore you to death:

Be Calorie Conscious

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Keep Kids on Track

  • Kids are excited for trick-or-treating, but they shouldn’t go out on an empty stomach. Feed your kids a healthy, balanced dinner before hitting the streets for trick-or-treat.
  • Incorporate fruits and vegetables in fun and innovative ways for Halloween celebrations this year. Check out good2grow’s 100% fruit and vegetable juices in spill-proof cartoon character sippa-tops. This is a non-GMO, BPA-free product parents can feel good about that kids actually love!

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Be Allergy Aware

  • 1 in 13 US kids has a food allergy. When it comes to classroom Halloween parties, selection foods to distribute that are tree nut free and peanut free
  • Somersault Snacks are nut-free sunflower seed snacks that come in 1/2-oz, 1-oz, and 2-oz portion sizes. They’re perfect for Halloween trick-or-treaters and are an allergen-free option with minimal amounts of added sugars in 5 delicious flavors.

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For more information on healthy Halloween tips that won’t bore you to death – check out my segment on Channel 7 NBC San Diego this week.

Smart Food Resolutions

27 Dec

Smart Food Resolutions

If you’re like more than 40% of Americans, chances are you’re going to be making at least one New Year’s resolution soon.

But did you know that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions actually succeed?

Here are some simple tips for making your Smart Food Resolutions STICK this New Year:

Plan Ahead

“If you fail to plan…you plan to fail”. You can’t act surprised when hunger sneaks up on you if you haven’t prepared meals and snacks ahead of time:

  • Make a point to bring your lunch to work – avoid vending machine & fast food meals in lieu of healthier home-packed ones.
  • Skip the lunch meeting – why do we always have to meet over a meal? Push lunch meetings to coffee or tea, and savor a healthier lunch on your own time.
  • Weeknight meals, we eat at home – cook at home during the week, making restaurant meals a “sometimes thing”. Buy yourself a really good cookbook to encourage more at-home meals – here’s one of my favorite cookbooks, FEAST.
  • Use weekends to prep batch meals like chili, casseroles, and pre-cut baggies of fruits and vegetables for easy meals and snacks on the go during the week.

Focus on Eating More

That’s right – eat MORE. It gets tiresome to hear all about what you can’t and shouldn’t eat. This New Year, focus on what you can eat more of….fiber:

  • Aim for 5 grams of fiber or more – choose foods with 5 g fiber or more per serving; putting together 5 types of 5 gram foods will help you meet your daily goal of 25 g fiber.
  • Break the bag habit – snack on whole foods: fruits, vegetables, lowfat dairy, and whole grain foods. If it comes out of a bag – it shouldn’t be your snack selection!
  • Get your good fats on – don’t fear fat. Heart-healthy fats, like the kinds found in avocado oil, nuts, and seeds help keep you full while conveying valuable nutrients.

Make Smart Swaps

Sometimes the simplest changes can have the greatest effects. These small swaps can have a big impact:

  • Rethink your drink – take a close look at your beverage choices, and get rid of those with any added sugars. Go for naturally-flavored water and iced tea when you can.
  • Snack smart – ditch the potato chips and pretzels for more nutrient dense options like nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit.

For more tips, check out my “Smart Food Resolutions” segment earlier today on Wake Up San Diego.

Chalk Another One Up for Fiber

26 Dec

Chalk Another One Up for Fiber

It might not sound like a lot – but a bump in your fiber intake of as little as 7 grams per day is linked to lower rates of heart disease.

A meta-analysis recently published in the British Medical Journal looked at data from 22 observational studies conducted since 1990. The research studies were at least 3 years in length, and most were conducted in the US and Europe, with a few from Japan and Australia.

Researchers found that an additional 7 grams of fiber per day was protective against coronary heart disease (a risk ratio of 0.91) and cardiovascular disease (same risk ratio of 0.91).

While it’s well-established that soluble fibers – with their gel-forming properties – help reduce the amount of circulating cholesterol levels, the best news from this study is how easy it really is for the average person to eat 7 more grams of fiber.

How can you bump up your fiber by 7 grams per day?

Here are 7 ways to get 7 extra grams of fiber per day:

  • A 3/4 cup serving of lentil soup contains 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 large Bosc pear has 7 grams of fiber
  • A sandwich made with 2 slices of 100% whole wheat bread & 1/4 cup sprouts has 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 cup of shelled edamame (soy beans) has 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 cup of raw blackberries has 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 1/4 cup cooked quinoa has 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 medium sized globe or french artichoke has 7 grams of fiber

Fiber Report Card: We’re Failing

11 Nov

Fiber Report Card: We’re Failing

A sizable study recently showed just how little fiber Americans are eating…and just how bad that might be for us.

Dr. Cheryl R. Clark of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School recently analyzed national-level consumption data from 1999-2010.

In her report, published in the American Journal of Medicine, Dr. Clark found that on average, Americans eat just 16.2 grams of dietary fiber per day across all demographic groups.

Additionally, the groups that had the lowest fiber intakes were also those that had the highest likelihood of inflammation, obesity, and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of risk factors that increases risk for other chronic diseases).

So, just how little is 16.2 grams of fiber per day?

Well, consider that the Institute of Medicine recommends:

  • 38 grams per day for men age 19-50
  • 25 grams per day for women age 19-50
  • 30 grams per day for men age 51+
  • 21 grams per day for women age 51+

A more simplified recommendation is that most adults should aim to get at least 30 grams of fiber per day.

Considering that most people eat just half of this recommended amount, as a nation, our fiber report card reports a big fat “F”.

Sneaky Pete’s Oatmeal Drink

19 Jul

Sneaky Pete’s Oatmeal Drink

On the fiber front, when it comes to beverages, there’s not always a whole lot happening. Juicing is big, but many juices end up leaving out the pulp, rinds and skins, which reduce a crucial component of fruits and vegetables: the fiber.

But what about sneaking some whole grain fiber into a drink, can it be done? It can and it has – thanks to Sneaky Pete’s and his tasty oat beverages.

Sneaky Pete’s oat beverages blend filtered water, natural flavors, and oat bran concentrate in a number of fruit-flavored varieties that are refreshing, and fiber friendly! A 12-oz bottle contains just 40 calories and 3 grams of dietary fiber (2 soluble and 1 insoluble).

Thanks to samples sent by Sneaky Pete’s, I recently tried the peach flavored oat beverage. What I thought would taste like watered-down oatmeal ended up being a very crisp and delicious, lightly fruit-tinged beverage.

The oat beverages do contain sugar, but with just 5 grams of sugar, they give a slightly sweet taste without a huge caloric burden. These drinks are definitely better when consumed cold, and they don’t replace good old-fashioned water. But if you’re looking for a little extra fiber in your life – and your drinks – check out Sneaky Pete’s.