Diet TipsWeight loss is all about calories in vs. calories out. But sometimes it's not that easy. The tips in this section were submitted by readers, and include a few of our own favorite ways to stay on a healthy weight-loss plan. Check back often for new and fresh ideas to jumpstart your diet, or help you get through those little hurdles along the way. Have a tip to share? Send it to us!
Cut High-Fructose Corn Syrup in Your Diet: 4 Tips
High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is in many foods in today’s society. It’s getting harder to find healthier options for a consumer. High fructose corn syrup is not good for the body. Studies have revealed that use of it can lead to problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Eliminating as much HFCS from the daily food intake is the best way to improve health.
1. Read, Read, Read
One way to help cut down or eliminate HFCS from your daily diet is to look closely and read the labels. Make sure to read labels of foods that are going into the shopping cart. Many foods are deceiving to consumers. Manufacturers make labels this way. If they confuse the shopper, chances are the shopper will still put the food into the cart and purchase it. Look closely and you will be surprised how many products have high fructose corn syrup in them. Here are some examples of foods that one would probably consider healthy, but actually contain HFCS:
- Kid sized yogurts
- Breakfast bars
- Fruit snacks
- Processed meats, like sausage and ham.
2. Choose Wisely
When grocery shopping, choose wisely. Fill up your cart with more natural foods. The more processed the product, the worse for the body. When picking products that appear more naturally made, just remember to still read labels. The FDA is allowing companies to put “natural” on their advertising, even when high fructose corn syrup is included as an ingredient. The best option is to pick up foods that are organic in nature. Foods that are labeled organic can be thought of as safe from high fructose corn syrup. The FDA has states that the product cannot have the corn syrup in them and be listed as organic.
3. Avoid Sodas, Juice Boxes and Sports Drinks
Most sodas, juices or sports drinks have HFCS in them. Make sure to look at the labels closely. If soda is a must, opt for ones that use real sugar or artificial sweeteners and not the corn syrup. During Passover, Coke makes a very special version that contains artificial sweeteners. These yellow capped bottles are produced for the Jewish population who are restricted from eating corn during this time. They do not have high fructose corn syrup in them.
4. Eliminate Fast Food
Cutting fast food from a daily diet is an easy way to eliminate high fructose corn syrup. At McDonald’s for example, high fructose corn syrup is in every menu item, and that even includes the croutons for the salads. Instead of figuring out what does not have the corn syrup in it at the fast food restaurants, it’s best to just avoid them altogether.
Cutting high fructose corn syrup from foods is the best way to improve health. Reading labels very closely is key. Manufacturers are making it more difficult to pick out healthy foods. Go organic. It’s healthier and may cost a little bit more, but the old saying is true, cheaper is not always better. In this case, it truly is not better for your health.
The Best Movie Snacks for Your Waistline
The movies are one of the greatest past times…great for families, dates, nights out with friends…but those tempting movie snacks can throw any guest into a calorie overload. To think our biggest concern with the popcorn is the outrageous price; it’s the nutritional sabotage that we should be most worried about! Your best bet is to take a cue from Granny and pack your own snacks to shave off your movie snack calorie intake, or choose one of the not-so-horrific snacks at the concessions counter.
Eat before You View
Have lunch or dinner before you head out to the theater, and avoid eating a fattier, heavy snack like nachos or a gigantic tub of popcorn. You’ll be able to stave off your hunger, as well, making you more likely to get through the previews and still have some of your treat leftover. You may even consider getting your seats and buying your snack during the previews…most people eat at least half of their snack before the previews have even started!
Put that Big Purse to Work
Grab a coffee before the flick, or pack an apple and a bag of pre-popped popcorn in a light or low-fat variety to get yourself in the movie spirit. Be sure to arm yourself with a bottle of water, too! We often mistake hunger for thirst, and the water will keep your mouth busy. Gotta have chocolate at the theater? Bring a snack-sized serving of chocolate chips for only 80 calories in 1/4 of a cup. You’ll even get a bit of iron with it!
Sometimes, half the fun of going to the show is the marketing genius that is the concession stand. Although there are few, try to choose one of the better options to make good choices before the movie starts rolling. Some choices will probably surprise you!
Choosing a soft pretzel is one of the surprisingly healthiest options at the theater. Weighing in at 290 calories, it’s practically a meal, but is likely fat free, or very low-fat. Ask for some mustard instead of the cup of fake cheese, and you add minimal calories. Popcorn, on the other hand, packs up to 600 calories and 39 grams of fat.
A half of this box is only contains 170 calories, and just 3 grams of fat, so if it’s a chocolatey snack that you’re craving, this is the way to go. Other chocolate snacks have 240 or more calories and always more fat. Just be sure to share with your date!
These little fruity snacks are lower in the calorie range, and have no fat, where most movie snacks are loaded up with even the saturated variety. 1 serving has less than 200 calories, however, there are only about 20 pieces in a serving, so portion out your snack.
Swap the usual vat of soda for a diet soda or a bottle of water. Having a drink keeps you busy, and less likely to need a snack. If you must have a drink or still need to munch, promise yourself to wait until after the previews, and you may not even end up going.
Head to the theater on a full tummy, and you’ll have the willpower to make a healthier choice. Bring your own snacks and get the best of both worlds!
Vegan Dishes for Your Non Vegan Spouse
Just because your spouse may be a non vegan, it doesn’t mean you can’t prepare vegan dishes at mealtime. There are a variety of vegan dishes out there that can be just as delicious as animal and dairy based meals. The trick is to get creative and take full advantage of herbs and spices to create tasty vegan meals that the entire family can enjoy.
Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera
Pasta is a base that can be decorated and seasoned with a whole variety of options. It is cheap and very versatile. Whole wheat pasta is a healthier alternative to traditional white pasta. All you have to do is boil some pasta, let it drain, then drizzle a little bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking. For the primavera sauce, chop up a variety of vegetables, such as zucchini, tomatoes, onions and broccoli. Saute them in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. Once they are cooked to your taste, pour the vegetables on top of the pasta and mix it through. Top the dish off with some dairy-free cheese for a healthy, nutritious vegan dish!
Vegan Margherita Pizza
Your non vegan spouse won’t object to eating pizza – even if it lacks pepperoni. Start with a pizza shell, which can easily be found at most grocery stores. Drizzle it with olive oil and sea salt, then cover it with tomato sauce. You can make this sauce yourself by boiling some canned tomatoes, then adding olive oil, garlic, basil and salt. Top it off with some dairy-free cheese, and bake for about half an hour.
Stuffed Green Peppers
Not only is this vegan dish healthy, but it looks professional too! Core some green peppers, and clean out all the seeds. Boil some rice, then add olive oil and salt to it. Saute some mushrooms, red peppers and corn together in a shallow frying pan, then add them to the rice. Mix the rice mixture up, then fill the green peppers. Bake the stuffed peppers in the oven for about half an hour for a delicious vegan meal. To spice things up a little, sprinkle some dairy-free cheese on top of the peppers just before popping them in the oven for even more flavor.
Lasagna is a hearty dish that is hard to resist. Boil some lasagna pasta strips, then let them drain. Prepare some tomato sauce by boiling canned tomatoes into a sauce pan, and add garlic, olive oil, salt and basil. Slice some zucchini and eggplant cross-wise, and season them with some salt and pepper. Line a greased lasagna dish with the pasta strips, then add the sauce, vegetables, and some dairy-free cheese. Repeat the process with another layer lined the same way, until you have reached the top of the lasagna dish, or have run out of ingredients. Top the lasagna with more sauce and dairy-free cheese, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Grilled Vegetable Fajitas
Your non vegan spouse shouldn’t miss the meat with these delicious fajitas filled with grilled vegetables. Cut up different colored peppers, zucchini and portobello mushrooms, then grill them for about five minutes per side. Place them in a bowl, and drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley flakes and salt, then mix them together. Warm up the fajitas, then place the vegetable mixture over top. Finish the dish off with some dairy-free cheese if so desired.
Post Pregnancy Diet Tips
New mothers find themselves searching for post pregnancy diet plans, and most of them feel uncomfortable with the extra weight that remained after giving birth. If you are one of them, you don’t have to worry, because with proper diet and exercise, you can have your pre-pregnancy body back. But before you begin any diet plans, you must first assess yourself and your priorities.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Just as you gained the weight gradually as you progressed through your pregnancy, your weight loss must also be gradual. Losing weight after giving birth is not an overnight feat. It takes careful planning and discipline. Because of a new baby to take care of, post pregnancy diet plans often take the back seat for new mothers. But, this should not discourage you because anytime is a good time to start getting back into shape.
Breastfeeding Your Baby
If you are breastfeeding, then chances are you would need to increase your intake of healthy foods, including protein, vegetables and fruits, because you’re not only feeding yourself but your baby as well. But take heart, because studies have shown that breastfeeding your baby can actually make you lose weight naturally. Although this may ring true for some mothers, some breastfeeding mothers fail to lose weight even when they’ve been breastfeeding for months. So, it is best to breastfeed and have a diet plan as well.
Diet Tips for Breastfeeding Moms
When you are breastfeeding, you must keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water everyday. You must also watch how many calories you take in daily. A 2,500 calorie diet should be an adequate daily count. This is important so you don’t exceed your calorie needs and gain more weight in the process. It is advisable to take small meals, that is 5 to 6 smaller meals a day, compared to 2 or 3 large meals. You must include an adequate amount of protein during each meal to increase your metabolism. It is best to minimize eating sugary foods, as they increase your fat reserves.
Diet Tips for Non-Breastfeeding Mothers
If you are not breastfeeding your baby, then you can resume the diet that worked for you before this pregnancy. It is important that you are eating complete healthy meals that will provide your body with adequate vitamins and minerals to help you take care of your growing family. Include vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat and fish in your meals. Don’t eat your meals hurriedly, as you may have a tendency to under eat, which would make you crave more foods during the day.
Exercise for New Mothers
If you delivered your baby traditionally, you can start light exercises after six weeks from your delivery date. And, if you delivered by cesarean section, after eight weeks your body should be ready to sweat it out. It would be best to get yourself evaluated by your obstetrician first, so you can be confident that you are doing the right thing.
Low Carbohydrate Tips for Carb Lovers
If it seems like you constantly crave carbs, you can satisfy your cravings with some tasty low carbohydrate foods that are as good for you as they are delicious. Many high protein foods are actually more satisfying than carbohydrates, and will provide longer-lasting energy and other health benefits. If you are trying to lose weight, you will definitely benefit from eating a balanced diet that includes a combination of low-fat dairy products, lean meats, beans, vegetables, fruits, and other low carbohydrate foods.
Replace Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates found in white bread, white rice, and white pasta are packed full of carbohydrates and empty calories. They are low in nutrition, and high in carbs. Instead, eat smaller portions of whole grain products, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole grain pasta. Whole grain foods do contain healthy carbohydrates, and keep your portions small if you are trying to lose weight.
Combine Whole Grain Carbohydrates with Proteins and Essential Fats
Minimize your carbohydrate intake by substituting a whole serving of white rice or pasta with a smaller portion of whole grain pasta or brown rice with protein (such as fish, chicken, or nuts). Make sure that the chicken or fish is not deep fried so it will be low in saturated fat. Never eat carbohydrates alone. When you combine protein or essential fats with carbohydrates, you will be more satisfied with smaller portions of carbs.
Munch on Non-starchy Vegetables
Avoid starchy vegetables that are high in carbohydrates, such as potatoes and corn. Instead, eat more sprouts, lettuce, spinach, radicchio, celery, radishes, cabbage, mushrooms, and cucumbers. And season your foods with healthy, low carbohydrate herbs such as parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and thyme.
Snack on High-protein, Low-fat Dairy Products
Low-fat milk, eggs, cottage cheese, and low-fat yogurt are all healthy, tasty, low carbohydrate snacks. They are much better for you than carbohydrate-loaded chips, donuts, and other non-nutritional sweets.
Eat Low Carbohydrate Fruit
When you crave sugar, reach for low carbohydrate fruits instead of sugary snacks made of refined sugar. Raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe are flavorful low carbohydrate fruits that are also rich in antioxidants.
Avoid Soft Drinks, Sports Drinks, and Alcohol
These drinks are loaded with sugars and carbohydrates. Drink plenty of water, instead. Small servings of low-fat milk are good sources of protein without too many carbs. Fruit juices made from 100% juice are better than sodas.
Follow these low carb tips, and simutaneouly enjoy safe carb consumption and a tiny waist!
10 Tips For A Low Sugar Diet Plan
Americans consume 2 to 3 pounds of sugar a week! A low sugar diet plan is likely to decrease the amount of sugar you consume, and reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other medical problems. You can select a low sugar diet, a diet designed for diabetics, or a low calorie diet, as a means of reducing your sugar intake. You can begin by following these tips for a low sugar diet plan:
Tip #1: Read the Label
The nutritional label lists the ingredients in a product in order. The more of an ingredient there is in the product, the higher up on the list of ingredients it will appear. Do not consume any product where sugar is listed as one of the first 3 ingredients. This applies to all kinds of sugar:
- high fructose corn syrup
- beet sugar
- brown sugar
- raw sugar
- cane sugar
- corn syrup
- evaporated cane juice
- turbinado sugar
- agave nectar
Tip #2: Be Aware of Portion Size
Whether it’s a cookie, muffin, or a slice of cake, the size of a serving has grown larger over time. A serving of ice cream now sells as a kiddy cup at most places. If you are having two cookies for dessert, they should be smaller than the size of your hand.
Tip #3: Drink Water
You can add lemon, strawberry, or cucumber to your water, or buy a carbonated, flavored, sugar-free water. Sugary fruit juice should also be avoided. Water is the healthiest drink you can have, and it can be free.
Tip #4: Don’t Add Table Sugar to Foods
If it seems like a drastic measure to eliminate sugar from your coffee, or in your morning cereal, begin by cutting the amount of sugar you add by half. Then reduce that amount by half. Before long you will have adapted to eating and drinking your food without additional sugar.
Tip #5: Keep a Food Diary
Keeping a food diary is a good way to determine whether or not you are eating a healthy, low sugar diet. When you write down everything you eat and drink, you will suddenly remember the large amount of sugar in that latte (the one you forgot was full of sugar)!
Tip #6: Break the Soda Habit
With up to more than 4 tablespoons of sugar in a can of soda, a low sugar diet plan should contain no soda at all. By giving up a single can of soda a week, you can lose a pound a month, without making any other dietary changes. Substitute seltzer or club soda for your sugary, calorie-laden soda.
Tip #7: Substitute and Reduce
You can find many revisions of sugar-laden recipes, or create your own version. Simply reduce the amount of sugar, and see if the food is still tasty. You can often substitute fruit, applesauce, or plain yogurt for sugar and still have a tasty result.
Tip #8: Beware of Hidden Sugar
When you reach for the bread, tomato sauce, ketchup, canned food or diet meal, stop and read the label. Sugar is added to many products, even though it isn’t necessary. Find a brand of the item that doesn’t contain added sugar, and stick to that product.
Tip #9: Rethink Dessert
If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. If you do crave dessert, think fresh fruit or yogurt (without added sugar) instead of sugar-laden cake, cookies, or candy.
Tip #10: Reduce Sugar Cravings
If you eat healthy meals with protein, fiber, whole grains, and complex carbohydrates instead of lots of sugar, you will feel satisfied longer, and eventually reduce your craving for sugar.
Will A Midnight Snack Pack On The Pounds?
If you are hungry, can’t sleep, and need a midnight snack, that will not be a problem if you know what to eat and why to eat it. The last thing you need when dieting is a restless night, leaving you feeling fatigued in the morning with a full day of dieting ahead of you.
Midnight Snack Tips
It is better to indulge in a sensible midnight snack than not. Reach for a high protein snack when you have the munchies, and skip the high fat ones. Avoid eating desserts high in sugars after dinner. They will cause an insulin rush in your body, and you will be starving before bed time. Exercising within 3 hours of bedtime will also increase hunger later in the evening, especially in dieters. Aim to get your workouts in early to avoid this problem.
Midnight Snack Ideas
Smart midnight snacks would include:
- Snack sized pre-packaged Jell-O pudding
- Pre-packaged protein shake
- A glass of milk
- 1 serving of string cheese with 5 whole wheat crackers
- Lunch deli meats with low fat cheese rolled up
- Low fat yogurt with nuts or fruit
- Crackers and peanut butter
Diet and exercise smart, and plan for midnight hunger before it comes (because it will come). Plan ahead to circumvent obstacles, and to succeed at dieting. And go ahead and have your healthy midnight snack guilt-free.
Quick Weight Loss Plans: Tips To Avoid A Rebound
For anyone who has been on a quick weight loss plan before, they know that it is hard to lose the weight and keep it off. But following a few tested tips can help in your quest to avoid a rebound after you get the weight off.
Tip #1 – Don’t Go Too Extreme
By cutting calories to the point of starvation, you are much more likely to experience a rebound than if you create a feasible diet plan that includes lowering your calorie gradually. By starving yourself, it will actually slow your metabolism and slow down your weight loss process. It took a long time to gain the weight, and it will take awhile to get it off as well. Set both a weight loss target goal and realistic weekly goals for weight loss, somewhere in the range of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Tip #2 – Set Reasonable Goals
Don’t cut out all the foods that you love because they are bad for you. Instead, gradually work in foods that are good for you, and lower your calorie intake on a weekly basis. By allowing yourself some of the things that you enjoy to eat, even if they are not considered to be “healthy,” you can greatly contribute to the success of your diet for the long term.
Tip #3 – Create a Doable Exercise Program
By engaging in 3 to 4 sessions of cardio per week, along with a healthy diet, you should start seeing results in a short period of time. Setting unrealistic workout schedules can also lead to you falling off your diet and workout routine. By planning appropriately, and not overdoing it, you can stick with your exercise program long after you drop the weight.
Tip #4 – Clear All Problematic Foods
Get rid of all foods that you regularly overeat. If they are not at your fingertips, it creates a much more calculated decision to go and purchase them, making it less likely that you will. Make your home a place that you stick to your diet. Even if you slip up when away from home, you can help yourself a great deal by keeping your home healthy. Replace junk foods with healthy alternatives for snacking so that you can stay full, without binging on unhealthy foods with no nutritional value.
Though there is no surefire way not to rebound, by making these adjustments to your lifestyle, you can greatly impact the success of your long term weight loss program.
9 Weight Loss Tips That Follow Food Pyramid Guidelines
The weight loss food pyramid is similar to the regular food pyramid, only the daily caloric intake has been altered.
Understanding the Food Pyramid
Those that follow the weight loss food pyramid will have to stick to a 1200 calorie diet. This can be achieved by following the food pyramid guidelines. This diet does not eliminate any one food group, though it does require dieters to cut back on fat and sugar consumption. Paying attention to food labelling is a large part of this diet.
Tips to Losing Weight Using the Food Pyramid
Here are some basic weight loss tips that follow the weight loss food pyramid guidelines:
- Try to consume around 3 cups of low fat/no fat dairy products per day. Some products to consider include low-fat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese — two great sources of calcium that aren’t laden with extra fat.
- Eat around three ounces (using a scale will help) of lean meats per day. Chicken, turkey, and lean hamburger meats are great for a low-fat/low-calorie diet.
- Three servings of vegetables should be consumed each day. Vegetables that are particularly good for you include cabbage, vegetable juice (make sure to purchase juice that does not include any added sugar or sodium), and lots of leafy salad greens.
- It is beneficial to consume two servings of fruit per day. Whole fruits and natural fruit smoothies are great options.
- 4 ounces of grains per day can be included in your weight loss diet. Whole grains (flax, whole wheat, and other whole grains) are best.
- Around 171 calories per day are left up to your discretion. Try and choose foods that are low in fat and sugar.
- The trick to following the weight loss food pyramid is to really pay attention to what you’re eating. Avoid foods that include lots of added sugar, watch out for processed foods, and try to stay away from foods that are high in fat.
- If you stick to a 1200 calorie diet, then you are bound to see results. In addition to the actual weight loss food pyramid (this can be easily found on-line), there are numerous books and other publications that outline the goal of the weight loss food pyramid.
- Some people may feel a bit low on energy after following a diet that is low in calories. In this case, a multi-vitamin or vitamin supplement might be a good idea. Also, if you happen to be extremely active, you may want to consider raising the amount of calories that you consume — you can still stick to the diet guidelines even if you add 100-200 more calories per day (important for athletes).
Distract your Taste Buds
Research from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, shows that the more vivid your mental image of a particular food, the more likely you are to crave it. They suggest distracting yourself with something that uses your eyes and your mind, such as randomly flicking through images on a computer screen. Try exploring Flickr for a start. If you want distraction and inspiration, browse the before and after photos in our member Goal forum!