Monday, April 30, 2012

How healthy is your kitchen?

What are the first three things you see when you open your refrigerator?

Friday, April 27, 2012


This week we discussed weekends and holidays. We tend to eat different during these times. Share your tips or post additional questions:

How do you keep yourself from overeating at family functions?

Do you have people who try to sabotage your efforts? How do you handle that?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Questions - Trans fats

What makes Trans fats so bad?

Trans fats are bad because not only do they raise our LDL “bad” cholesterol but they also lower our HDL “good” cholesterol. Manufacturers like to use it because it increases the shelf life of a product. It is normally liquid at room temperature but they have chemically altered it to make it stay solid at room temperature. This is how stick margarine holds its shape and why you don’t see oil floating on top of regular peanut butter.
It is typically found in prepared foods like pie crust, crescent rolls, crackers, icing, mixes, and cookies. The FDA does not require the manufacturers to list trans fats if there is less than .5g per serving. We recommend no more than 2g/d if any at all. If you eat 4 servings at .5g then you’ve reached your limit…which is not hard to do if the servings sizes are small.

Play food detective…look at the ingredient list for the word “partially hydrogenated” and that means they do include trans fats. 

I’ve heard that eating an apple can make you hungrier?

I haven’t heard that but if you pair that apple with some protein, for example, a piece of string cheese or 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter or a handful of nuts, it will keep you fuller longer and prevent blood sugar spikes which may make you hungry.

Protein takes longer to digest…so pairing it with high fiber (which an apple is) is a great combination.

Six slimming foods

If you're looking for creative (and delicious!) ways to enhance your weight loss efforts, here's a fresh collection of six slimming foods you should add to your repertoire. I'm a firm believer that dieting and losing weight doesn't mean you have to subsist on bland, boring cardboard. With that in mind, I've put together a list of strategic skinny eats, each of which has its own unique way of satisfying your taste buds while blunting your appetite. 

1.      Pumpkin Pudding: Decadent, creamy pudding for less than 150 calories--and it helps you lose weight! Just combine a 6-ounce container of nonfat vanilla yogurt with ½ cup canned 100% pure pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon. The pumpkin bulks up the yogurt--already a protein-rich, nutrient-packed food--and adds a hefty dose of fiber. This winning combo of protein and fiber expands in your stomach, keeping you full long after you finish, so you're not looking for more munchies an hour later.

2.      Vegetable Soup: Studies have shown that just by starting a meal with a fiber-rich bowl of broth-based veggie soup, you can reduce your total calorie intake by 20 percent. That's because this "veggie first course" helps to fill you up, so you wind up eating less at the main meal.

3.      Cucumber Tomato Salad:  Thanks to their high percentage of water (95%!), cucumbers are low-calorie, high volume, and top-notch for weight loss! Slice up one whole cucumber plus a medium tomato, then toss with light vinaigrette or unlimited vinegar (balsamic or red wine is delish) plus 1 teaspoon olive oil. The entire salad has only 125 calories!

4.      Ginger Green Tea: Nursing a warm mug of tea is a calorie-free way to de-stress after a long day without falling prey to emotional eating. As an added bonus, research suggests that regularly drinking green tea may give you a slight calorie-burning advantage. Steep your tea with a thin slice of ginger root for an extra punch of flavor.

5.      Fiery Chicken Salad: Adding a few dashes of fiery hot sauce to your food slows down your eating big time so you're less likely to eat past the point of fullness. For a simple lunch, whip up a chicken salad with diced chicken breast, 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayo, hot sauce to taste, and any diced veggies on hand. Serve over a bed of lettuce (and have a glass of water handy!).

6.      Shrimp Cocktail: At around 8 calories a piece, shrimp are a fabulous source of lean protein, which helps rev your metabolism and keeps you feeling full for hours. Next time you dine out, start your meal with a shrimp cocktail appetizer. When you're eating at home, dunk your shrimp in this could-not-be-easier cocktail sauce recipe: simply combine 1 tablespoon ketchup with 1 teaspoon bottled horseradish and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Share your strategies

We want to hear from you! Share your ideas with other Change One Participants.

Question:  What is your favorite quick and healthy meal to have for dinner?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Assess your eating habits - eating out

We’d like to hear from you. Feel free to answer some or all of the questions.

What are some of the challenges you come across when dining out?

How do you overcome these obstacles when eating out?

How do you practice portion control at restaurants?


Where are you eating out most of the time? Fast food, delivery, restaurant or cafeteria, vending machine?

What is the main reason you are eating out? Business related meals, social dining, celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries), too tired to cook?

How often do you eat out with three or fewer people? Four or more? Alone?

Late night eating

I've heard it's not good to eat after a certain time of night...what is the reason for that?

Eating late after a certain time won't cause you to magically gain weight overnight. What matters depends on the total calories you've eaten throughout the day. Usually by late evening, we've already met our calorie intake and late night snacking takes us over that level. The idea is that we don't want to go to bed on a full stomach. Basically, the body is trying to get ready for sleep and now it's trying to work hard to digest a large meal. This can also cause problems for people with acid reflux.

However, we don't want to go to bed so hungry that our stomach is growling...which will also keep us awake. If you haven't met your calorie intake for the day or you are really hungry, have a small snack...preferably with some protein.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I have a question about high fructose corn syrup vs sugar. For instance, in sodas, is there really a difference in items containing real sugar and those containing high fructose corn syrup? I've been trying to cut out HFCS, but it's really hard to find things (esp bread and hamburger buns) without it! Are the calories the same? Are there any other "effects" other than calories?

It’s definitely everywhere now and is the most common added sweetener in processed foods and beverages and is more cost effective for manufacturers.

Research studies have yielded mixed results about the possible adverse effects of consuming high-fructose corn syrup. Although high-fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar (sucrose), concerns have been raised because of how high-fructose corn syrup is processed. Some believe that your body reacts differently to high-fructose corn syrup than it does to other types of sugar. But research about high-fructose corn syrup is evolving.

Some research studies have linked consumption of large amounts of any type of added sugar — not just high-fructose corn syrup — to such health problems as weight gain, dental cavities, poor nutrition, and increased triglyceride levels, which can boost your heart attack risk. But there is insufficient evidence to say that high-fructose corn syrup is less healthy than are other types of added sweeteners.

Recommendations from the American Heart Association — not a part of official U.S. dietary guidelines — say that most American women should consume no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar from any source, and that most American men should consume no more than 150 calories a day from added sugar, and that even less is better. That's about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 for men.

It's prudent to consume any added sugar only in moderation. Consider these tips to cut back:

·         Avoid sugary, nondiet sodas. Drink water or other unsweetened beverages instead.
·         Choose breakfast cereals carefully. Although healthy breakfast cereals can contain added sugar to make them more appealing to children, skip the non-nutritious, sugary and frosted cereals.

·         Eat fewer processed and packaged foods, such as sweetened grains like cookies and cakes and some microwaveable meals.
·         Snack on vegetables, fruit, low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers, and low-fat, low-calorie yogurt instead of candy, pastries and cookies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Time Management

 The objective of time management is to reduce wasted time; increase time spent on enjoyable and healthy activities, achieve a balance between work, play and self-care; and ultimately improve your sense of well-being.

The discussion board is your chance to participate, communicate, share your ideas and motivate others. Please post your answers to any or all of the questions below (can be anyonmous):

What do you value most in life?

What could you do to manage your time better?

What are some steps you could take to bring your life into more balance right now?          

How can you make more time for exercise?


Which is considered the "good" and the "bad" cholesterol? What is the difference?

Cholesterol isn't "good" or "bad." Two-thirds of it is produced naturally in our liver. It is necessary for hormones, absorption of fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K and other important bodily functions. It's actually the pathway that it takes that makes it either "good" or "bad."

What is HDL?

This is considered the "good" cholesterol. It transports the LDL cholesterol back to the liver where the liver can use it or get rid of it. It keeps plaque from building up on the walls of the arteries. If your HDL is below 40 mg/dL, you are at substantially higher risk for heart disease. The higher your HDL, the better off you are. HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein so a good way to remember which is good, just remember the H stands for "high" - you want to keep this one high above 40 mg/dl.

How do I raise my HDL?

·         Exercise is really the main way to raise your HDL cholesterol

·         Stop smoking if you smoke

·         Omega 3s  -  salmon, tuna, sardines, flaxseed oil, ground flaxseed and walnuts are good sources.

What is LDL?

LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol because it builds up in the inner walls of the artery and can form plaque; making the arteries less flexible and putting us at risk for a heart attack and stroke. LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein so remember the L stands for “low”…you want to keep this lower than 100 mg/dl.

What causes LDL cholesterol to rise?  

What you eat. Certain foods have types of fat that raise your cholesterol level

·         Saturated fat raises your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level more than anything else in your diet.

·         Trans fatty acids (trans fats) are made when vegetable oil is hydrogenated to harden it.

·         Your weight. Being overweight tends to increase your LDL level, lower your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level, and increase your total cholesterol level.

·         Your activity. Lack of regular exercise can lead to weight gain, which could raise your LDL cholesterol level. Regular exercise can help you lose weight and lower your LDL level.

·         Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families.  

·         Age and sex. Starting at puberty, men have lower levels of HDL than women. As women and men get older, their LDL cholesterol levels rise. Younger women have lower LDL cholesterol levels than men, but after age 55, women have higher levels than men.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dinner - Quick and Healthy Ideas

Turkey sausage/spinach on whole-wheat pasta

Cook turkey sausage and chopped onion in a skillet. Once sausage is browned, add fresh spinach and cook, stirring constantly until spinach is wilted. Add a jar of low-sodium sauce, and simmer. Cook whole-wheat pasta according to directions. Stir sauce mixture and pasta together. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Bulgur salad topped with pork loin

Slice pork loin into medallions. Put a small amount of olive oil into a skillet, add a clove of diced garlic and a pinch of ginger, and cook pork medallions until they reach an internal temperature of 145° F. Prepare bulgur wheat according to directions. Add diced red, green, and/or yellow bell pepper to the bulgur. Season bulgur salad with fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper to your liking. Serve pork on top of the bulgur salad, drizzling lemon juice and rice vinegar over the entire dish just before serving.
Roasted vegetable/black bean puree wrap

Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Puree beans and a clove of garlic until smooth. Toss cut vegetables (tomato, zucchini, squash, pepper, carrots, onion, corn, etc) in a bit of olive oil. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, and roast at 375° F until tender. Spread black bean puree on tortillas. Add roasted vegetables. Fold the tortilla to create a wrap.

Whole-wheat pitas with vegetables

Fill whole-wheat pitas, sliced in half, with spinach, red onion, sliced mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. Cook either in a panini grill, or in an oiled skillet with a heavy plate or other heat-proof dish on top of the bread, for 3 minutes on each side.

Citrus fish filets

Combine low-sodium bread crumbs and a dash of salt. Combine ¼ cup (C) orange juice, 1 tablespoon (Tbsp) lite margarine, 2 Tbsp lime juice, and a ½ teaspoon lemon zest. Dip any mild-flavored fish filets into the juice and then cover with the crumb mixture. Bake at 450° F for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Spinach salad with chicken and fruit

Top fresh spinach with grilled chicken strips, fresh raspberries, sliced strawberries, dried diced fruit and nut mixture, and raspberry vinaigrette.

Chicken salad with fruit and nuts

Combine canned white chicken or leftover cooked chicken breast (chopped) with a diced apple or pear, red grape halves, and chopped pecans. Add reduced-fat mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Enjoy on a bed of lettuce or with whole-wheat toast.

Couscous with cherry tomatoes

Make couscous according to package directions. Add halved cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Roast beef Reuben

Place lean, sliced roast beef, a slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese, and ¼ C of sauerkraut mixed with 2 Tbsp of reduced-fat thousand island dressing on the bottom half of a whole-wheat bun. Broil for 2 minutes. Put the top half of the bun on top of the heated filling.

Barbecued turkey sandwich

Mix cubed, cooked turkey breast with equal parts ketchup and barbecue sauce. Add diced celery and onion. Cook over medium heat until warmed through. Serve on a whole-wheat bun.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adding fruits and vegetables to meals

Below are some ideas how to sneak fruits and vegetables into your day. How do you add them into your meals? Please post and share your ideas.


  • Add fresh or thawed frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to cereal or on top of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese

  • Add bell peppers, onions, salsa, or spinach to morning omelets.

  • Eat sliced tomato or cucumber on a bagel

  • Add chopped apple and cinnamon or canned pumpkin to a bowl of oatmeal

Lunch and Dinner

  • Pack grape tomatoes, peapods, baby carrots, cucumber slices, or celery sticks to dip in low-fat ranch dressing.

  • Add shredded broccoli and carrots, spinach, or pear slices to a sandwich

  • Choose a side salad or fruit instead of fries when eating at a restaurant

  • Ask for an extra vegetable of the day or vegetable soup at a restaurant

  • Microwave a bag of frozen vegetables and top with a handful of chopped almonds or walnuts, lemon pepper, or low-fat Italian dressing for a quick side dish

  • Add more vegetables (fresh or frozen) to family-favorite entrees that typically contain few to no vegetables, such as casseroles, pasta, and soups.

Reminder calls

Just a reminder that the discussion calls are today at 11:30 and 2:30 EST. We will talk about planning healthier dinners. Call if you just want to listen or have questions.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to eat less by eating slower

During a meal, your brain receives signals from your stomach and intestines that tell it when you're full. But it takes about 20 minutes for those signals to travel from your gut to your brain. So if you're a speed eater, wolfing down bite after bite in rapid succession, you can pack in a lot of extra mouthfuls -- and calories -- during that lag time.
By slowing down, you give those natural signals of fullness a chance to register--so you can stop eating -- before you've polished off way more food than your body needs. Eating more slowly also allows you to savor the tastes, smells, and textures of your foods, which contribute to your sense of satisfaction.
If you're breaking speed records at meals, consider these techniques to slow down:

·         Put your fork or spoon down after every bite. For many people, eating is a nonstop motion: The fork or spoon is racing from plate to mouth. The trick is to take a spoonful of food, put the spoon down beside your plate, chew, swallow, then pick up the spoon again. At first, this will feel awkward and tedious. But you'll be surprised how much sooner you'll feel full.

·         Swallow what is in your mouth before preparing the next bite. Many people are busy loading up their utensils while their mouth teeth are still chomping away.

·         If you're eating hand-held food -- such as pizza, sandwiches, bagels, or cookies -- take one bite, then put the rest of your food down while you chew.

·         Relax before you start eating. If you're upset over a problem at work or if the kids are fighting, do some deep breathing or read the paper to settle down. The key is to calm down first and then start eating at a leisurely pace.

·         Eat your meal in courses, rather than family style where all the foods are on the table at the same time.

·         Time your meals with a watch or kitchen timer until you get used to the slower pace.

·         Take a brief break for a minute once or twice during the meal. Talk, sip a beverage, or fold your hands in your lap.

·         Play slow background music. Studies have shown that people eat more slowly when they listen to slow, soft music.

·         When it's time to eat, do nothing but eat. Devote your full attention to the meal. Make it a habit to turn off the television and take the phone off the hook. If you're distracted by other activities, you may not notice how fast -- or how much -- you are eating.

·         Use chopsticks for all cuisines. They automatically slow down your rate of eating and the amount of food you're going to eat. If you're a pro with chopsticks, however, use them in the opposite hand! As an added bonus, chopsticks allow the fatty sauces to fall through the cracks and stay on the plate where they belong.

·         Sit down when you eat. This helps you relax and focus on eating. A lot of people simply don't count what they eat when they are standing up.

·         Dine -- don't just "inhale" your food. For example, you can savor each delicious bite of tuna salad on a fresh bed of leafy greens, or you can "wolf" your tuna fish right out of the can. Why not make mealtime a pleasurable event?

·         Finally, be creative, and develop your own tricks for slowing down your eating.

Share your ideas...what are some techniques you use to eat more slowly and mindfully?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Favorite recipes

Most of us need quick meals for the weeknight. What are some of yours? Share your recipes or ideas. Here's one I like that is quick and easy:

Middle Eastern Pita Pizzas

 4 pita breads
½ cup roasted garlic-flavored or regular hummus
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 oz)
1 small onion, sliced
2 cups thinly sliced spinach
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped (1 cup)
¼ cup sliced ripe or Kalamata olives

1.      Heat oven to 400°F.

2.      Place pita breads in ungreased 15x1x1 inch pan. Spread hummus on pita breads. Sprinkle with cheese.

3.      Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top each pizza with onion, spinach, tomato and olives.

You can also add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cooked chicken over hummus on each pita bread.

1 serving: Calories 300 (cal from fat 90); fat 10g, sat fat 5g, chol 25mg, sodium 790mg, carbs 41g, fiber 5g, protein 12g;

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Appetite suppressants

My sister in law started taking an appetite suppressor called “El-Shaddai Slim Shapers 777”. She has lost 20 pounds in 4 months. Are appetite suppressors safe?

The most effective way to lose weight is through lifestyle changes, such as increasing your physical activity and controlling portion sizes. Appetite suppressants aren't a magical solution to losing weight and can sometimes do more harm than good.

Wouldn’t it be better to figure out what is making your appetite hard to control? Are you going too long between meals? What are your triggers to eating?
Try this:
  • Fill up on fiber  - it  will naturally satisfy your hunger.
  • Keep a food journal and track your hunger level before/after meals. Give yourself a numerical score with 0-4.  (0 = not hungry; 2-3 = satisfied; 4 = very hungry). Try to stay around 2-3.
Ignoring hunger (if you really are hungry and it’s not just a craving) will eventually slow down your metabolism since your body will get used to not being fed and go into starvation mode.  
The supplements may work short term but it’s not a realistic, healthy, long-term solution. Also, there can be some side effects, especially if you are already taking other medications so it is best to consult your physician before taking them. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dietitian calls

Just a reminder that the live discussion calls with the dietitian is tomorrow, Thursday, April 5th at 11 am and 2:30 pm EST. Come prepared with any questions or concerns you have so far.

Emotional eating

We all eat sometimes when we aren't really hungry...many times for different reasons (stress, comfort, boredom, habit). Share your strategy for success with others. How do you avoid emotional eating?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Weight Gain Traps at Work

Not all workplaces are healthy. From the ever-present candy dish to late nights with no dinner, work sometimes is a decidedly difficult place for the person who is striving to embrace a healthful lifestyle. The following tips might help.

Too tired to exercise or prepare food

Are you sometimes too tired to exercise or prepare food after you get home from a long day at work?

Here are some possible solutions:

·   Bring your exercise clothes with you to work, so that you do not need to make an extra trip home before going for that walk or hitting the gym

·   Split your routine up, so that you do half of it in the morning and half of it after work

·   Wear a pedometer all day, even at work, and make walking 10,000 steps/day your goal

·   Devote a couple of hours to creating several meals that you can freeze and thaw out when you are just too tired to make a meal from scratch

·   Keep the staples of several easy-to-prepare meals always on hand, such as whole-wheat pizza crusts or pasta, grilled chicken strips, etc

·   Keep a list of several “throw together” meals that you have purchased the ingredients for, so that you do not even need to think about what you could possibly do with that frozen spinach, for instance

·   Go ahead and buy a few frozen low-fat meals, but make some additions of your own, such as adding broccoli to that low-fat fettuccine Alfredo or some pineapple and mandarin oranges to that sweet-and-sour chicken dish

Parties at work

Does it seem like someone is always throwing some kind of party—a baby shower, birthday party, special event in the cafeteria, etc?

Here are some possible solutions:

·   Offer to bring something healthful, such as a lower-fat alternative to the traditional pizza and cake menu

·   Always eat before the parties to avoid the temptation to satisfy your hunger with a large piece of cake

·   Survey all of the offerings before choosing the one or two items that you most want to try

·   Try to limit yourself to one work party per week; send your apologies for the others

Eating at your desk

Do you end up eating at your desk more often than not in order to save time and get more work done?

Here are some possible solutions:

·   Buy snacks and meals with portion-control built into them—individual packages are important because it is easy to eat much more than you intended when you are focused on something else

·   Consider changing the time of your lunch:

  •  Try and eat your lunch at a time that is usually less hectic for you—no one says you must eat the midday meal at noon

  •  Ask your supervisor, if necessary, if you can schedule your lunch break at a different time

·   Consider taking several snacks or small meals to work and breaking your lunch time up, if you do not think you can spare 30 minutes away from your work—instead, spend 10-minute periods focusing on and enjoying your food

Business lunches and dinners

Is one of your job duties to take clients, vendors, or others to business lunches or dinners?

 Here are some possible solutions:

·   Always order soup or salad as a starter, so that you are not ravenous by the time your order comes

·   Look at the menu online or have it faxed to you beforehand, so that you have a chance to look it over and choose a few healthier options before the meal

·   Download the US Dept of Agriculture’s What’s in the Foods You Eat search tool at, so that you can easily pull up the nutritional information on thousands of foods at your computer

·   Watch out for those sugar-laden drinks, which often are as detrimental to your health as the main course

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fast Food: A Caloric Quiz

You are out and about, and although you try to avoid fast food, you suddenly find that you are absolutely famished. Take the following quiz to see whether or not you would make the best choices at these fast-food restaurants.

1.      You are at Burger King®. Which of the following choices contains the least calories?

a.    Six chicken tenders

b.   An Angus steak burger

c.    A fish filet sandwich

2.      You’re at Dairy Queen®. Which meal are you absolutely going to avoid, because it contains more than half the amount of calories that most moderately active people need to consume in an entire day?

a.    The iron-grilled veggie quesadilla

b.   The all-beef chili dog

c.    The iron-grilled classic club sandwich

3.      You’re at McDonald’s®. You know that grilled chicken is usually a good bet. Which “premium” salad contains the least calories?

a.    The Southwest salad with grilled chicken

b.   The bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken

c.    The Caesar salad with grilled chicken

4.      You’re at Panera Bread®. Which sandwich will do the least damage to your waistline?

a.    A full smokehouse turkey on focaccia

b.   A full chicken salad on whole grain

c.    A full chipotle chicken on artisan French

5.      You’re at Arby’s®. Which sandwich do you know to avoid, because it contains way more calories than the others?

a.    The regular beef ‘n cheddar

b.   The pecan chicken salad

c.    The roast ham and Swiss

6.      Bonus question: You have decided to really splurge and get dessert at Dairy Queen. Which selection contains the least calories?

a.    A medium M&M® Blizzard®

b.   A banana split

c.    A medium hot-fudge sundae


1.      a.   The chicken tenders contain 250 calories, the Angus steak burger contains 560 calories, and the fish filet sandwich contains 630 calories.

2.      a.   The veggie quesadilla contains an amazing 1020 calories, the club sandwich contains 580 calories, and the chili dog contains a measly 290 calories.

3.      c.   The Caesar salad contains 220 calories, the bacon ranch salad contains 260 calories, and the Southwest salad contains 320 calories.

4.      b.   The chicken salad on whole grain provides 620 calories, the smokehouse turkey on            focaccia contains 860 calories, and the chipotle chicken on artisan French weighs in at a   whopping 1070 calories.

5.      b.   The pecan chicken salad contains 870 calories, the roast ham and Swiss contains 690         calories, and the regular roast beef ‘n cheddar contains a comparatively small 440 calories.

6.      c.   The hot fudge sundae contains 440 calories, the banana split contains 520, and the M&M Blizzard contains 840.