Tag Archives: healthy eating

Hosting a Scaled-Back but Still Special Thanksgiving During the Pandemic

With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the Thanksgiving holiday and warnings from experts about hosting or attending large gatherings, many families are opting for a scaled-back Turkey Day this year. Maybe it will just be your immediate family, or maybe a few select friends will join your family, but either way, you don’t need to make large quantities of food this year.

Just because you’ll have fewer mouths to feed doesn’t mean you have to leave out your favorite Thanksgiving foods. You can still have all the traditional dishes like turkey, stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie; you’ll just need to prepare less of it.

Here are some tips for cooking all the traditional Thanksgiving favorites that won’t leave you with leftovers for weeks. You can also find recipes for a smaller Thanksgiving menu here.

Scale down your menu.
Limit your Thanksgiving menu to just five items. For example, choose one main dish, two sides, and two classic desserts, or some other variation. This is not the year for multiple types of potatoes or six different pies and cakes. Keep it small and simple.

Order Thanksgiving take-out.
Many restaurants and grocery stores are offering already-prepared Thanksgiving meals. Not only will ordering out help support a local business that might be struggling right now, but it also means no cooking for you! Some businesses are even offering individually boxed Thanksgiving meals, which makes it even more Covid-safe and convenient.

Let’s talk turkey.
Unless you want to be eating turkey sandwiches for weeks, you probably don’t want to prepare a 16-pound turkey this year. Instead, opt for sliced turkey or ham, turkey breasts that can be dressed up, or pre-cooked turkey cutlets. You’ll save time and money, and nothing will go to waste.

Reduce recipes by half.
If you have a classic family recipe that you make every Thanksgiving, you can still serve it; just cut the recipe in half. Or maybe your family has a tradition of having several specific desserts every year—this year, focus on just one of those special desserts. You can still keep traditions special on a smaller scale.

Focus on health and safety.
To help lower the risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19 at your Thanksgiving gathering this year, consider these guidelines:

  • Limit your gathering to five people or less.
  • Hold your Thanksgiving dinner outdoors or in a well-ventilated space such as a garage with the door open, where people can spread out. It may not be as pretty, but it will be safer.
  • Do not travel or include anyone who would need to travel in your gathering.
  • Require everyone to wear a face mask when not eating or drinking and especially when indoors.
  • Delegate one person to serve all the food and put it on individual plates to minimize multiple hands on various utensils and touching surfaces.
  • Use paper plates, napkins, and utensils, and provide individual canned drinks.
  • Have plenty of hand sanitizer available as well as bottled hand soap in bathrooms. Use paper towels in bathrooms rather than a shared cloth towel.
  • Connect virtually with friends and family who are not able to gather with you this year. Consider coordinating menus and having a Zoom Thanksgiving feast.

This is the year to get creative and think outside the box for Thanksgiving. Hopefully, next year, you’ll be able to return to your big family traditions, and you can all reminisce about the year you hosted Thanksgiving during a pandemic!

Best Foods to Eat for Healthy Aging

September is National Healthy Aging Month, a designation to raise awareness of our changing health needs as we age as well as giving attention to the positive aspects of growing older. This month, we’ll look at the roles nutrition and exercise can play in helping us age healthfully. 

The Best Foods to Eat as You Age
One of the best things you can do to stay healthy as you get older is to eat a healthy diet. As you age, your body changes, not just in the way you look, but also in how it works.

For instance, your digestion may slow down as you get older, or you may not feel as thirsty as you used to, which can lead to dehydration. These changes are some that most everyone will experience as they get older, but you may also experience other issues– especially if you have any chronic health conditions or other problems. It’s always best to check with your doctor about what type of diet you should follow, but for most people, there are several foods (and drinks) that can help with the changes that aging brings.

Drink Enough Water
As mentioned, as you age, you may feel less thirsty than you used to. But it’s still really important to make sure you are drinking enough water so that you don’t get dehydrated. Dehydration in older adults can lead to all sorts of other problems including fatigue, urinary tract infections (UTIs), constipation, and even confusion. Dehydration is a common cause of hospitalization in people over 65.

Older adults need to drink at least seven to eight (eight-ounce) glasses of water per day to stay properly hydrated. You don’t have to drink just plain water to stay hydrated. Other non-caffeinated beverages such as tea, fruit juice, and no-sugar-added seltzers are also good choices as well as eating plenty of fruits and vegetables since they also contain water.

Blueberries
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants like Vitamin C and E that help to keep your cells healthy. Plus, they’re delicious and easy to digest. Eat them whole or incorporate them into other meals such as a topping for low-fat yogurt, cereal or pancakes, or baked into muffins or desserts.

Yogurt
This superfood can help prevent bone loss by giving your body the calcium it needs as well as aiding digestion. Yogurt is also a good source of protein and Vitamin D. Choose low-fat or non-fat options or Greek yogurt and top it with fruit to get the most health benefits.

Fatty Fish
Aim for at least two servings of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines each week. These fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help keep your brain sharp and healthy as you age.

Fiber
Getting enough fiber in your diet is especially important as you get older. Fiber helps prevent or ease constipation, and can also lower your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, which can help keep your heart healthy and help prevent Type 2 diabetes. It’s best to get fiber from foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, but if you eat a well-balanced diet and still have problems with constipation, you may want to consult your doctor about taking fiber supplements.

Almonds
Nutrients found in almonds may help prevent the development or progression of cataracts, which are common as you age. Almonds are a source of healthy fat that provides protein, magnesium, and Vitamin E.  Almonds make a great anytime snack or can be used to top other foods such as yogurt or cereal.

Olive Oil
Switch to olive oil for cooking instead of vegetable oil or butter. This healthy fat is good for heart health and can help reduce inflammation, which can lead to diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis.

 

 

Nutrition Needs As We Age

September is National Healthy Aging Month, a designation to raise awareness of our changing health needs as we age as well as giving attention to the positive aspects of growing older. This month, we’ll look at the roles nutrition can play in helping us age healthfully.

Changing nutrition needs as we age
You may have been a healthy eater in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, but as you hit middle age, your nutritional needs will change, and you may need to modify your diet to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients your body needs.

Aging causes a variety of changes in the body, including muscle loss, thinning skin, digestive changes, and bone mass loss. Some of these changes can lead to nutrient deficiencies or affect your quality of life. One major challenge in meeting your nutritional needs is that as you age, you need fewer calories. This creates a dilemma: you may need just as much, or more, of certain nutrients, but you’ll need to get them eating fewer calories. One way to deal with this dilemma is by eating a diet rich in whole foods and also by taking a nutritional supplement.

Fewer calories, more nutrients
Older adults may need fewer calories to maintain their weight since they tend to exercise and move less and have less muscle tone. One reason older adults tend to gain belly fat is because they continue to eat the same amount of calories as when they were younger, but they are less active. This is especially true for women post-menopause, as a drop in estrogen levels has been directly linked to fat storage in the midsection.

What can be difficult is that as you age, you need higher levels of certain nutrients than you did when you were younger. These nutrients include vitamin D, calcium, protein, and fiber. That is the reason it is important to eat a varied diet that contains lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and fish.

Calcium and vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important nutrients for bone health. Calcium helps maintain bone health, while vitamin D is essential in helping the body absorb the calcium. Eating enough dairy products and leafy, green vegetables can help you get enough calcium in your diet, but if you are deficient in Vitamin D, your body will not process the calcium correctly and could result in bone loss.

Many older adults are deficient in Vitamin D as skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin from foods and sunlight, so they may need additional Vitamin D supplementation. Talk with your doctor about your specific needs for these two important nutrients.

Protein
Even though you need fewer calories as you age, it’s important to still get enough protein. Protein is vital for tissue growth, repair, and maintenance. Most adults need between 45-60 mg of protein per day. Good choices for protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, and legumes.

Fiber
Eating enough fiber is even more important as you age. Not only can it help keep you regular, it can also lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is also good for your skin and can aid in weight loss. Women over 50 should get at least 21 grams of fiber each day, while men over 50 should aim for at least 30 grams per day.

Fiber is best when consumed naturally from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It can also be taken as a supplement, which can be helpful if you suffer from constipation, which is common as you age and your digestive system changes. Talk with your doctor about your specific fiber needs.

A word about water
Older adults can become more prone to dehydration because their sense of thirst is not as acute. Drinking enough water every day is also important to reduce your risks of urinary tract infections (which can be more common as you age) as well as reducing risks for constipation and confusion.

To stay hydrated, you don’t have to stick to plain water. Beverages like seltzers, non-caffeinated herbal teas, and juices can count toward your daily water intake; just be careful of extra calories, especially in fruit juices. You can also get water from fruits and vegetables especially watermelon, berries, cucumbers, and lettuce.

Eating a healthy diet that focuses on getting these important nutrients, as well as drinking enough water, can help you stay healthy as you get older.

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Using Body Mass Index (BMI)

Anytime you go to the doctor, one of the first things you do is to step on the scale. Your body weight and height is then calculated to determine your Body Mass Index (BMI), which has long been considered the gold standard in determining if you are at a healthy weight or if you may be at risk for potential health problems.

BMI is an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening to determine excess weight that may lead to health problems. However, many doctors and scientists have questioned the usefulness of the BMI and its accuracy in determining overall health risks.

According to Robert H. Shmerling, MD, senior faculty editor at Harvard Health Publishing, BMI is still a useful starting point in predicting a person’s risk for certain health conditions that are more likely to occur when a person is overweight or obese. But it’s also important to know there are limitations to BMI.

How is BMI used?
BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems in adults. However, to determine if excess weight is a health risk, a doctor would need to use the BMI along with further testing such as skinfold-thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, family medical history, and other health screenings.

How is BMI calculated?
BMI is calculated (using a mathematical formula) by dividing an individual’s weight in pounds by height in inches squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.

Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5’5” (65″)
Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)²] x 703 = BMI = 24.96

There are many on-line calculators that will calculate BMI by simply plugging in your height and weight.

What do the BMI numbers mean?
For adults 20 years old and older, BMI is explained using standard weight status categories that are the same for all ages and for both men and women.

The standard weight categories associated with BMI ranges for adults: a normal BMI is between18.5 and 25; a BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight; and a BMI over 30 is considered obese. A person is considered underweight if the BMI is less than 18.5.

Someone with a BMI of 26-27 is about 20 percent overweight, which is generally believed to carry moderate health risks. The higher the BMI, the greater the risk of developing additional health problems.

For adults, what are the health consequences of being overweight or obese? 
Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

What are the limitations of using BMI?
BMI on its own is not a measurement of health or a measurement of a physiological state (such as taking your blood pressure) that shows the presence or absence of disease.

There are people who have a high BMI who are healthy, and there are those with a normal BMI that are unhealthy. For example, someone with a low BMI who smokes and has a strong family risk of heart disease or cancer may have a higher risk of early death than someone with a higher BMI who does not smoke and is physically fit.

Just as blood pressure or cholesterol numbers should not be used as a single measure of overall health, neither should BMI be used solely to identify cardiovascular disease or other illnesses. BMI is just part of a bigger picture your doctor can use when assessing your health and disease risk.

Smarter Lunch Choices

Liven Up Your Lunch

Are you stuck in a lunch rut? Do you tend to eat the same lunch day after day or rotate between just a few types of meals? Whether you are currently working in an office and regularly bring your lunch from home or currently working from home, coming up with healthy and easy lunch ideas can sometimes be challenging, especially if you’re pressed for time. Nutritious and delicious lunches that are easy to make are possible. It just takes a little preplanning and creativity.

Sandwiches and soups are go-to lunch choices, especially if you’re taking your lunch from home to the office, and they are quick and easy to make. Liven up your lunch routine with some of these healthy and satisfying recipes.

Sandwiches

Sandwiches are a classic lunchtime staple. They’re easy, quick, and filling. But there are only so many ham and cheese sandwiches that you can eat! Up your sandwich-making game with these nutritious alternatives:

Cranberry-Walnut Chicken Salad Sandwich
This variation of plain chicken salad uses rotisserie chicken combined with tangy cranberries, walnuts, and celery on pumpernickel bread.

Prosciutto, Arugula, and Tomato Sandwich
An Italian version of the BLT uses prosciutto in place of bacon and vitamin-packed arugula instead of boring iceberg lettuce. Top with a juicy tomato and serve it on ciabatta bread.

Peanut Butter, Strawberry, and Honey Sandwich
A twist on the classic PB&J, this sandwich uses fresh strawberries in place of jelly with a sprinkle of honey and hint of mint. Serve it on 100 percent whole wheat bread for a complete healthy meal.

Roast Beef Sandwich
Make your own version of a deli favorite with roast beef, pickles, cucumbers, and mayo on a Kaiser roll.

Soup

Soup is also an easy lunchtime choice. You can buy premade soups, but there are many healthy soups that can be made at home and taken to work in a plastic container to heat up in your office microwave. As we head into fall and the weather begins to cool,  soups can be appealing as a lunch option. Be prepared by experimenting with some of these nutritious and hearty soup recipes:

Chickpea and Potato Soup
A protein-packed soup with potatoes, spinach, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Pasta Fagioli Soup
A combination of fresh spinach, sausage, beans, and pasta make a filling meal. 

Italian Vegetable Beef Soup
A variation on the classic comfort food, this veggie soup features beef, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. You can add in any vegetables you choose, either fresh or frozen. 

South-of-the-Border Chicken Soup
This thick, hearty chicken soup mixes mashed and diced potatoes, seasoned with fresh lime juice, and topped with avocado.

Broccoli-Chicken Parmesan Soup
This healthy soup can be made with chicken for a protein-rich meal or made vegetarian-friendly by leaving out the chicken, using veggie broth, and adding more spinach.

10 Summer Salads to Keep You Cool and Satisfied

When it’s hot outside, having a heavy, hot meal doesn’t always sound appealing. Salads can be a refreshing, filling, and nutritious choice for lunch or dinner on sweltering summer days. There are so many delicious options for salads that go beyond basic iceberg lettuce!

Below you will find recipes for fresh summer salads that take advantage of seasonal vegetables and fruits and are easy to make. Serve salads as a side to your main dish or add a protein such as grilled chicken, shrimp, tofu, or steak to any salad to make it a main course.

Tomato, Peach, and Basil Salad
Use seasonal peaches and nectarines combined with feta cheese to create a sweet and savory salad.

Charred Shrimp and Avocado Salad
This light salad has a tropical taste with pineapple, shrimp, and avocado mixed with cucumber and watercress.

New Greek Salad
A twist on the traditional summer salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and feta cheese, combined with Kalamata olives and croutons made from olive bread.

Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken
Another summer favorite, this Cobb salad includes avocado, tomatoes, feta cheese, and crumbled bacon. Add grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken for an even quicker meal.

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Steak and Tomatoes
Watermelon is a summer staple that when grilled with steak creates a juicy flavor and satisfying meal.

Arugula, Melon, and Prosciutto Salad
A sweet and salty salad with cantaloupe, arugula, and prosciutto served with a red wine vinaigrette.

Grilled Chicken Mango Salad
Grilled chicken is cooked in mango cilantro dressing and combined with avocado, cucumbers, peppers, and romaine lettuce—finished off by more mango cilantro dressing.

Garbanzo Bean Salad with Dill Dressing
Protein from chickpeas and fiber-rich beans and veggies make this salad a filling meal.

Strawberry Summer Salad
A refreshing blend of spinach, strawberries, sliced red onion, chopped nuts, and feta drizzled with strawberry vinaigrette dressing.

Summer Caprese Salad
This summer classic is made with fresh summer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil seasoned with olive oil.

Meatless Meat and More!

There’s More than “Meats” the Eye!

Veganism and plant-based diets have become a popular trend in recent years. Whether you are trying to go vegan or vegetarian, or you are just trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, finding alternatives for meat that taste good and provide enough protein and other nutrients can involve a little trial and error.

Meatless options have come a long way from just plain veggie or tofu burgers. There are now many options available that are easy to find—some even mimic the taste of real meat. The two most popular meatless products right now are the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, which both taste the closest to real beef than any of their predecessor veggie burgers. There are differences between these two meat alternatives, as well as other options, so read on to learn more about tasty ways you can go meatless.

Tofu
Tofu has been a staple of vegetarian diets for decades, as well as a foundation of Asian cuisine. Tofu is made from curdled soybeans. On its own, tofu lacks flavor, but when added to other foods, it will take on the flavors of other ingredients in the dish.

Tofu can be grilled, baked, or fried and can be used with various sauces, grains, and vegetables. It is great for stir-fry or as a replacement for eggs or cheese in some recipes.

Tempeh 
Tempeh gets easily confused with tofu, but it is not the same. Tempeh is made of fermented soybeans and is a complete protein and high in calcium. The fermentation process is also beneficial for gut bacteria, and tempeh is high in fiber, which also helps regulate digestion. Tempeh can be used as a meat substitute in sandwiches, salads, or cooked in a pan.

Seitan
Unlike tofu and tempeh, seitan is not soy-based, but rather made from wheat gluten. It is high in protein and is a good alternative for people with soy allergies or those who cannot eat soy-based products for other health reasons. The only downside to seitan is that it is not considered a complete protein, so it needs to be paired with others protein sources like beans or lentils. Seitan is a good choice for sandwiches or as a pizza topping, and it can be found in store-bought products such as meatless sausages or jerky. Just be mindful of reading labels as some seitan products can contain a lot of preservatives and sodium.

Pea Protein
Products made with pea protein are some of the newest foods on the market that you’ve probably been hearing a lot about. Products like Beyond Meat (e.g., Beyond Burgers, Smart Dogs, etc.) are popular products sold in many grocery stores.

These meat alternatives are some of the closest to real meat as far as taste and texture, and many fans claim it tastes just like ground beef. Pea protein products are gluten-free, soy-free, GMO-free, and packed with protein. However, some products are highly processed and contain food coloring and other additives, so it should not be eaten as a daily meat substitute, but indulging in a Beyond Burger once or twice a week is fine.

The Impossible Burger vs. Beyond Burger

Currently, the top meatless products on the market are the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger. Both taste almost like a real burger and have become popular due to their similarity in taste and texture to real beef. Both products are completely vegan, containing no animal products or by-products.

However, there are some differences between the two. Impossible Meat is a soy-based product while Beyond Meat is made from pea protein. Other than their main protein base, the two products’ other ingredients are pretty similar. The Beyond Burger does have a red color, similar to real beef, that comes from beet extract, while the Impossible Burger’s red tint gets its color from the heme from the leghemoglobin (an oxygen-carrying hemeprotein, found in root nodules of leguminous plants and which turns the older root nodule a pink or reddish color).

The Impossible Burger is made from mostly organic ingredients while the Beyond Burger is not. Beyond Meat makes more than just burgers, including sausage and meat crumbles. Beyond Meat or Impossible Meat can be substituted for ground beef in most recipes.

Impossible Burgers are now available at many popular restaurant chains including Burger King, Red Robin, Q’doba, and White Castle and can be bought in many grocery stores. Beyond Meat can be found at many national grocery store chains as well as at Carl’s Jr., TGI Friday’s, and Del Taco.

So which is better? The Impossible Burger or Beyond Burger? You may need to try both to see which you prefer. It should be noted that all Impossible Burgers and Beyond Burgers are not going to be identical, as each restaurant will prepare their meatless burgers differently.

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting

You may have heard about a current diet trend called intermittent fasting. This weight loss approach has been around in different forms for many years but has seen a recent rise in popularity. Intermittent fasting is not necessarily a diet, but more of a pattern of eating that involves cycling between times of eating and fasting, ranging from a few hours to a few days at a time. Intermittent fasting can offer some weight loss benefits but also has several drawbacks, and it is not safe for everyone.

There are several ways intermittent fasting can be done, but figuring out which way works best will depend on each individual. While one of the main attractions of intermittent fasting is not having to count calories and track foods, weight loss benefits will only occur if  you stick to healthy foods during your eating windows, and do not use it as an excuse to eat high-calorie, junk foods. When fasting, you may still drink water, coffee, and other no-calorie beverages which can help reduce hunger and keep you hydrated.

Four methods of fasting

  • The 16/8 method: This method requires you to fast every day for 14-16 hours while you restrict your daily eating window to between 8-10 hours. This method is simple and can be accomplished by skipping breakfast and not eating after dinner, while you eat two or more meals during the eating window.
  • The 5:2 diet: This method involves eating normally five days a week and then restricting calories to 500-600 for two days of the week. Women should stick to 500 calories on fasting days, while men can consume 600 calories.
  • 24-hour fast: Some people prefer to eat a normal diet most days of the week and then do a 24-hour fast once or twice a week. This method is the most difficult to maintain.
  • Alternate-day fasting: With this method, you fast every other day. Some variations of this method allow you to eat 500 calories on fasting days, while others require one day of eating, followed by one day of fasting, and so on. This method is also very hard to sustain in the long term.

Benefits and drawbacks of fasting
Intermittent fasting can be helpful for weight loss. Studies have shown that when meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period during the day, it does aid in weight loss. However, weight loss results from fasting diets may not last. When you are done fasting and return to a normal diet, you may regain the weight or even more.

Another common pitfall to intermittent fasting is that it is difficult to maintain for the long term. And fasting can lead to deficiencies in important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals which can cause fatigue, dizziness, constipation, and other health problems. Fasting can also lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous.

There are certain people who should not try fasting at all, including those with diabetes, pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding, elderly people, children, and anyone with a chronic disease. Before trying intermittent fasting, you should consult your doctor to make sure it’s a safe choice for you.

What is essential in learning any new skill or practice is self-discipline, and this applies when adopting the practice of fasting as well as resuming a healthy diet once fasting has ended. Each person needs to find positive ways to motivate himself/herself to maintain the discipline that is required.

 

Start Your Day with a Powerful Breakfast

The importance of Breakfast Nutrition

You’ve probably heard the mantra – breakfast is the most important meal of the day! But what exactly does that mean? What are the healthiest foods to eat for breakfast?

Eating a healthy breakfast is the best way to start your day. A good breakfast will help you think and perform better at your job or at school and can help you maintain a healthy weight and promote heart health.

Don’t Skip!
Many people skip breakfast, either because they aren’t hungry in the morning, feel like they’re too pressed for time, or as a way to lose weight. But studies show that breakfast skippers are not only sabotaging weight loss attempts, but they may also be impacting their body’s ability to control blood sugar as well as affecting their quality of sleep.

What’s for breakfast?
Getting into the habit of eating breakfast is important, but equally important is what you eat for breakfast. Grabbing a protein bar or shake is better than nothing, but highly processed foods like these are not the best choices for your first meal of the day. Eating a balanced breakfast that’s packed full of protein and nutrients will give you the most health benefits.

When planning your meals, focus on pairing carbohydrates with proteins for breakfast. Carbohydrates will fuel your brain and supply your body with the energy it needs to begin the day. Protein will help you feel full and satisfied until lunchtime.

A breakfast that’s high in protein has also been shown to support weight loss by increasing muscle mass, helping regulate blood sugar, helping you feel full longer, and curbing the urge to snack at night. Aim for 20-30 grams of protein at breakfast; this can be accomplished with an 8 oz. cup of Greek yogurt or one egg with a couple of turkey sausage links, for example.

Protein-packed breakfast ideas
Skip the donuts and danishes, and try some of these ideas for a healthier breakfast that pairs the right amount of proteins and carbs.

  • Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
  • Steel-cut oatmeal with berries and 6 oz. Greek yogurt
  • Avocado toast with egg
  • Whole wheat toast with 1 tbsp. of nut butter and sliced banana
  • Berry and yogurt smoothie
  • Peanut butter and banana smoothie
  • Whole wheat English muffin with egg and low-fat cheese
  • Sausage and egg casserole with a side of fresh fruit
  • Whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and topped with berries and almonds
  • Egg scramble with turkey sausage, low-fat cheese, and veggies with a side of berries

 

Seven Small Diet Changes that Can Have a Big Impact

When they hear the word “diet,” most people envision a complete overhaul in their way of eating. They usually try restricting all the foods they enjoy and inevitably end up feeling deprived. It’s why most diets fail. Such restrictive eating cannot be sustained for the long term. But in order to lose weight without feeling deprived, and to ensure you are getting the proper nutrition your body needs, making small, consistent changes works better than trying to maintain any sort of restrictive diet plan or trying to make big changes all at once.

Making small changes to your diet that are both realistic and sustainable can have a big impact on your overall health. These minor changes won’t produce immediate results when it comes to weight loss, but if you add them to your daily life and stick to them, you will notice the health benefits, which will encourage you to keep making more small changes that will all add up to big payoffs in the long run.

Here are seven small changes you can make to your daily diet that will be beneficial for your health and help you in your weight-loss journey. Try making one small change at a time. After you have been able to stick with it for a week or two, then try making another change, and so on.

1. Don’t skip breakfast.
Research has shown that people who regularly eat breakfast are more successful in losing weight and keeping it off. If you’re pressed for time, breakfasts such as a whole wheat English muffin topped with peanut butter and banana, or low-fat yogurt with fresh berries and granola, or instant oatmeal, are quick choices that offer lots of protein and fiber to keep you full until lunch.

2. Trade refined grains for whole wheat grains.
An easy switch to make is choosing whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta instead of refined products. Always read labels to make sure breads and other products are made only with whole grains and not a mixture of refined and whole grain—whole wheat flour should be the first ingredient listed.

3. Eat fruit, don’t drink it.
Fruits are full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, but you only get these health benefits when fruits are eaten in their whole form, not in a juice. Plus, fruit juice almost always has added sugar and is often not even made from real fruit.

4. Cut out sugary drinks.
You’ve heard it before, but one of the easiest changes to make that will not only help with weight loss but will also make you feel better is cutting out sugary beverages like soft drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices. Replace them with plain water, sparkling water, or even sugar-free beverages if you can’t kick the soda habit for good.

5. Skip the Starbucks.
Coffee on its own can be healthy because it contains antioxidants. But most coffee drinks purchased at popular coffee bars and restaurants are essentially desserts. Those fancy coffee drinks may taste delicious, but they’re loaded with sugar, sweeteners, syrup, milk, and/or heavy cream. Try drinking black coffee instead and adding just a small amount of low-fat milk.

6. Increase protein.
Add protein to all of your meals and snacks to help you feel full and to curb cravings. Smart choices include lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy products, beans, peanut butter, and nuts in small portions.

7. Swap unhealthy oils for healthy oils.
Cooking oils such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and soybean oil are highly processed and high in “bad” fats. Instead, choose extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil that contains  healthy (the “good”) fats—omega-3 fatty acids.

By taking baby steps in revamping your diet, you’ll be more likely to stick to it and be successful.