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Twelve Days of A New You in 2012/Day #3

Sugar, Sugar, it’s everywhere. Be aware that from the body’s perspective, sugar is sugar. Regardless if it’s cane, honey, or agave nectar. “Natural” sweeteners fall into the same category so don’t be fooled to think they are somehow better from a caloric perspective.

Twelve Days of A New You in 2012/Day #2

Drink your fruit or eat your fruit, which is it! There is no question that eating fruit is superior to drinking it. This is true for a few different reasons. One, drinking fruit invites over consumption in the form of calories and especially sugar. Case and point, it takes three to four oranges to yield 8 oz. of fresh OJ.  One medium orange has in excess of 60 calories and about 12 grams of sugar. Also when one drinks their fruit, they are bypassing the value of the fiber. Fiber slows absorption. Without it, one is facing an insulin spike, hunger, and the chance to store some dreaded fat.

Twelve Days of A New You in 2012/Day #1

Greek yogurt has been the rage in 2011.  But of course good old marketing has been playing a strong role as well so be aware that all Greek yogurt is not created equally. “Flavored” Greek yogurt is the area of potential concern here. Again, it’s the sugar content which is usually stated by the number of grams of carbohydrates that can be the culprit. Look for varieties that contain twelve net grams of carbohydrates or less. For other easy eating solutions look at

Holiday Weight Gain

There are a number of assertions back and forth about holiday weight gain.  Some sources say it’s five or more pounds while others dispute this and say that their research only shows one pound or so.  Whatever the number is, there is no doubt that the opportunity to eat and drink more than usual is often abundant during this period of time.  It starts with the Halloween candy, goes through to Thanksgiving, the holiday party season, and then finally with New Years.  Food, food, it’s everywhere and so are the beverages that are laden with calories.  Whether it’s one pound or five is obviously debatable; however, what is a know fact for most of us is that this weight does not automatically leave us after the new year and this is the primary concern.  So the thought for the day is be careful during the holdiay season about what goes into our system from a caloric perspective.  If we can maintain our weight during this bountiful time, then that’s a major win.

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Natural Foods to Reduce Bloating

By: Karen LoBello

Dietary choices can make the difference between abdominal discomfort and a calm stomach. Bloating is a feeling of fullness, often accompanied by abdominal enlargement and tightness. Dr. Kent C. Sasse, founder of Nevada’s Western Bariatric Center, advises sidestepping foods that promote bloating. Eat limited processed foods and opt for a healthy balance of real foods. Look at nutritional labels; avoid high salt intake. Certain natural foods promote healthy digestion and reduce bloating and stomach irritation.

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  • Posted On: September 7th, 2011
  • Category: Eat
  • Author: nmulqueen
  • No Comments

Health Buzz: Half of Americans Consume a Daily Sugary Drink

By: Angela Haupt

Sugary Drinks Add Hundreds of Daily Calories to Our Diet

On any given day, half the people in the United States guzzle a sugary beverage like soda, sports drinks, or sweetened bottled water. That translates into 175 extra daily calories for men and 94 extra calories for women, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 70 percent of teens and young adults drink a sugar-laden beverage each day, making them the most frequent consumers. The habit costs boys ages 12 to 19 an extra 273 calories a day and girls an extra 171. Interestingly, higher earners opt for fewer sugary drinks than do those in lower-income brackets. And Mexican Americans and blacks drink more sugary drinks than whites do. The findings are worrisome, experts say, because sugary drinks contribute to childhood obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. The American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 450 calories a week from sweetened drinks, the amount found in approximately three cans of soda, NPR reports.

8 Simple Steps to Fill the Nutritional Void of School Lunches

Remember when you went to middle school, and the choices you encountered in the hot lunch line? I still can clearly recall the tater tots and fish sticks as well as a gallon jar of oily peanut butter the lunch ladies would serve. Sure, there might have been an apple as well, but the point is when kids are faced with unhealthy options they will gravitate towards them.

The school lunch has received attention recently for nutritional void- truth is the hot lunches we dealt with when we were kids are confronting our kids now. Here are 8 simple steps to fill the nutritional void from school lunches as the back to school season approaches.

Step 1: Take time to pack your kids lunch with them, either the night before or the morning of school.

Parents directly influence meal choices their kids make; packing a lunch at home is the best way to prevent poor choices. Understandably, preparing a lunch is inconvenient in what can be a chaotic time of day; sending money in place of a lunchbox is much more conducive. But, first and foremost this is more than just lunch.  We are “teaching and educating” kids on how much and what to eat.

Step 2: Completely remove soda and juice boxes

Sodas are responsible for the most extra calories in today’s diets (12 ounces has about 150 calories). If it is carbonation kids crave, introduce flavored sparkling waters that are infused with natural flavors. Try a brand that doesn’t add artificial sugars, like Hint.  Even the tradition milk, or chocolate milk, is a healthier option, packing vitamins and protein.

Step 3: Replace the mayonnaise with mustard

Whether you are a Miracle Whip or Best Foods advocate, hold the mayo. Trade the high fat and cholesterol condiment for the flavorful yellow alternative. French’s classic mustard boasts zero fat and zero cholesterol, and a little mustard goes a long way on sandwiches.

Step 4: Pack lean protein lunch meats

Sure, hotdogs and bologna are a favorite of kids, and adults, but the high sodium and high fat meats pack little to no protein. Protein is an important component in a child’s growing body, from rebuilding muscles to supplying the necessary antibodies to fight off diseases. Think grilled chicken breast, lean turkey or tuna salad as a lunch alternative.

Step 5: Fruit with yogurt is a sweet alternative to store bought dessert

Forget the three C’s: cookies, cake, and candy, it is just as easy to pack an apple or banana. Get creative with a homemade parfait by adding yogurt and granola to the mix.

Step 6: Replace potato chips with something healthy and crunchy

With high sodium, fat and calories, it is difficult to see any redeeming quality to serving chips on a regular basis. Give vegetables a chance to replace the fun and crunchy aspect of chips. Fill celery sticks with almond butter (a great alternative to peanut butter), or pack snap peas and carrots with a side of hummus.

Step 7: Forget the white bread and go for whole wheat bread and pita

White bread has been under scrutiny for years, slowly being replaced by whole wheat options. Whole wheat grains are linked to lower risk of health problems, like diabetes.  100% whole wheat bread or whole wheat pitas are great for sandwiches and provide the necessary grains.

Step 8: Put something fun in your kid’s lunch everyday

After all these steps, it may seem like your child may not enjoy their lunch as much as before, but that is why this step is important. A little something special, like a Jello cup or fruit roll up can make a lunch something to look forward to…and hopefully not trade with other kids.


As communities and governments struggle with the obesity epidemic in search for solutions and prevention strategies, many ideas have emerged.  One of these is to raise consciousness through the posting of the calorie content and additional nutritional features of the foods that are being served.  The most widespread use of this experiment and increased nutritional mindfulness is occurring in New York.  Their heightened awareness of the calorie content of restaurant foods is provided with prominent postings.

But does it affect our eating behavior?  The early answer appears to be no, unfortunately.  In a study comparing youth in New York against a control group in neighboring New Jersey where conditions appear to be about the same, but the calorie content is not posted, there appears to be no significant difference in eating behavior.  Certainly most of us battling the obesity problem would like to find that posting the fact that a particular burger has an astronomical number of calories in it would lead kids and their parents to reduce consumption of the high calorie items and thus reduce the excess weight gain that is occurring.  Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.  While posting calorie content may be helpful and may raise some awareness, it is far from clear that people possess enough knowledge about what is a normal calorie intake or have clear connections from calorie intake to weight gain and poor health to really make a change in behavior happen.

My own view is that the posting of calorie content should not be abandoned just because we so far cannot demonstrate that it leads to behavior change.  Overall, driving increased consumer awareness of the calorie content of every day foods and snacks appears to be a valuable and necessary component of an obesity prevention strategy.  Additional campaigns to drive home the connection between excess calorie intake and obesity must also be undertaken.  Furthermore, campaigns to educate children and their parents about normal calorie intake and the negative consequences of excess calorie intake need to be ramped up massively if we are going to make a dent in the number one health problem in the country and one that appears to be largely preventable in young people if a great enough effort it exerted to providing the tools necessary for success.

We are clearly at the very beginning of what will need to be a monumental effort to prevent childhood obesity from becoming a healthcare tsunami.  Further research to help pinpoint what strategies are more successful and what strategies do lead to behavior change will be invaluable as the effort rolls forward.

Beef Stroganoff

6 servings

1lb boneless top round steak

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup low fat sour cream

1/4 cup 2% milk

1/2 teaspoon paprika

3 cups cooked egg noodles


1.  Slice beef across grain into strips.

2.  Cook beef until browned; set aside.

3.  Cook onions until soft.

4.  Add soup, paprika and milk.

5.  Add beef; mix together (add a little more milk if too thick), heat      through.

6.  Add sour cream, stir to mix.

7.  Serve over 1/2 cup hot egg noodles.

Calories 317
Carbs 27g
Sodium 376mg
Fat 10g
Protein 29g



Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Serves 8 (1 cup serving)

3 quarts water

1 (12-ounce) package broccoli florets

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dash of nutmeg

1 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed 30% reduced-sodium 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.

Bring water to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, and cook 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Transfer broccoli to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Add chicken to boiling water; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until done. Transfer chicken to a cutting board; cool slightly. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, and add chicken to bowl with broccoli.

Combine evaporated milk, flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a saucepan, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add mayonnaise, next 4 ingredients (through soup), and 1/2 cup cheese, stirring until well combined. Add mayonnaise mixture to broccoli mixture; stir gently until combined.

Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until mixture bubbles at the edges and cheese begins to brown. Remove from oven; let cool on a wire rack 5 minutes.

Calories 276
Carbs 18.9g
Sodium 696mg
Fat 7.8g
Protein 31.1g


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