When we think snacks, we automatically assume that it has to be chocolate, decadent, and unhealthy. However, with a little research and a little more creativity, we can have delicious and healthy. In other words, we can have our cake and eat it too.
When thinking healthy, we can always turn to Mother Nature for some great ideas. When thinking delicious, we can use our creativity to incorporate delicious with healthy.
1. Trail mix Trail mix generally got its name from the simple fact that hikers would munch on this mix of fruit, nuts, and seeds in an effort to keep their energy levels high while hiking. However, Trail mix has come a long, long way. Nuts of any variety such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews and shelled pistachios have replaced the typical peanut in trail mixes. Cranberries, dried apricots, and raisins give trail mix an added boost of energy and a delightfully sweet taste. The best thing about trail mix nowadays is that things like pure maple honey are added to give it a knockout sweet and salty taste.
2. Cheese While some cheeses are higher in fat content than others, if you do your homework, you can find a satisfying cheese that is low in calories and tasty all at once. Brie cheese, for example, offers under 50 calories for an an-ounce chunk.
3. Strawberries and cream Strawberries offer an automatic, free of charge sweetness and with a little fat-free whipped topping, you have got yourself the makings of a delicious and healthy snack with very little maintenance included.
4. Apples and peanut butter. An oldie but goodie, apple slices with peanut butter makes a superb healthy snack packed with protein and vitamins. For variety, try different types of apples such as Granny Smith for a sweet and sour snack sure to please both sides of your taste buds.
5. Dip into healthy dip A dip made up of salsa, black beans, fat-free sour cream, and guacamole is very low in calories and high in protein. The guacamole and salsa offer additional vegetables into our diet, and dipping into this dip will not be a guilty pleasure at all. For a little extra zip, add low-fat or fat-free shredded cheese on top.
6. Potato skins ñ Potato skins have all the vitamins and minerals and get the least credit. They can be stuffed with any variety of things such as low-fat or fat-free cheese and low-fat sour cream, topped with chives, olives, and tomatoes. These are a satisfying yet healthy snack for an appetizer or party, or just for anytime.
7. Potato chips. You can most certainly make your own version of healthy potato chips, either in the microwave or in a frying pan. Frying your own sliced potato chips with olive oil is a healthier alternative as well. Adding extra flavour such as vinegar or parmesan cheese really gives these homemade healthy treats a kick of flavour.
By snacking on things such as these chips and dips, you allow yourself a treat that is both healthy and delicious rolled into one.
There is always a new fad in the diet and weight-loss industry in the way of a pill or a tonic. Today, however, trends seem to be heading back to the direction of what nature intended for us good, wholesome foods. We hear a lot of talk about whole foods, but what exactly is a whole food anyway?
Whole foods are foods that are eaten just as nature intended them, without any change or processing. Every food designed by nature has a purpose and a cause and whole foods are excellent foods to look at when seeking to lose weight.
There are several things that whole foods do not or should not contain. For example, oatmeal can be either be processed food or natural whole food. If it is quick or instant oatmeal, you can be sure that it is not a whole food and that something was taken out of or even added to it in order to make it processed. Steel-cut oats or rolled oats would be, in fact, a whole food.
In addition, looking for something that has been added to your food choice would be a way of discerning if a food was whole or processed. If there is an added ingredient such as sugar, food dye, chemicals, artificial fillers or a name that you cannot even pronounce, you can be sure that these are not whole foods.
Some great examples of whole foods are foods such as bananas, grapefruits, tomatoes, potatoes, and pears. These food items are provided by Mother Nature and are whole in their entirety as nature intended them to be.
Root plants such as beets and carrots are another good example of whole foods. Think of any fruit that you can pick yourself straight from nature such as an orange or an apple and a vegetable that you might grow in your very own garden and you will have an idea of what a whole food really is.
Whole foods help you to lose weight by the simple fact that they were designed to be absorbed and digested by your body. Body parts such as the liver can break down enzymes; blood cells can turn food into energy and so on and so forth. By eating whole foods in their natural state, you allow your body the privilege to work exactly the way it was intended.
When you put something foreign into your body, on the other hand, such as sugar or salt and fat, you can make your body go into flight or fight mode. Your body will attack these substances and work twice as hard with no benefit whatsoever.
Eating whole foods allows your metabolism and your energy as well as your digestion to work the way nature intended, thus allowing for the proper absorption and maintenance of the weight you lost in the first place.
Once you understand what whole foods are, you can then begin to recognise why they are so important to the overall health and wellbeing of your body and mind. Whole foods are intended to be eaten as is and accepted for what their values and benefits are. When you eat a whole food, you offer your body a host of bountiful nutrients and benefits. One of those benefits is to allow your body to function the way that nature intended it.
The old adage that knowledge is power certainly does apply to whole foods. If you know how beneficial they are for maintaining weight loss and boosting metabolism, you will certainly find creative ways to incorporate those whole foods into your diet.
Thankfully, Mother Nature had it all figured out when it came to whole foods. Not only do they have the benefit of vitamins, minerals (being all-natural) and providing your body with the ability to function properly and lose weight, they are also extremely portable.
For example, how easy is it to grab an apple, an orange, or a banana as you are running out the door? We all know female friends who put their makeup on at a red light. How about taking that time to eat a banana or an apple on the way to work? If you wake up ten minutes earlier and put your makeup on at home, then you can use your red-light time for something much more productive like eating a fruit-filled breakfast.
Whole foods such as potatoes and even sweet potatoes can be microwaved as well. Since just about every office or workspace has a microwave, wrapping a sweet potato or two in a paper towel and placing it in the microwave has never been easier. You can achieve the benefit of that whole food with the ease and convenience of the microwave.
Whole foods come in many varieties, shapes, and forms. A skinless piece of chicken breast is a whole food as long as it is not processed nor has anything added or taken away in the process. An egg can be considered a whole food as well. A hard-boiled egg as a snack is better than processed egg whites from a carton that has salt added to it.
With a little preparation, you can take something like leftover chicken breast and turn it into a healthy chicken salad. Even cherry tomatoes make great little snacks you can pop into your mouth.
With a little effort, minimum time, and some creativity, incorporating whole foods into your diet should be a piece of cake.
For several years now, the smoothie has been all the rage. However, some smoothies have good intentions but do not taste very good at all. As a matter of fact, the more healthy ingredients you have in a smoothie, sometimes the less taste there is to offer.
However, not all smoothies have to be full of high sugar fruits or bitter vegetables. If you combine the right ingredients that are personal favourites of yours, then you can come up with a win/win combination. You can experiment until you find the smoothie that is right for you.
Strawberries and Bananas An All-Time Smoothie Classic
This is your basic smoothie recipe for those who have never made their own smoothie. It is a great way to start off your experimenting. This smoothie has a nice sweet flavour thanks to the banana and strawberries and also includes vitamins – as well as a bit of protein.
You donít need a fancy food processor either; a simple blender will do the trick. Use one banana, one cup of low-fat milk, a cup of ice, approximately 3/4 cup non-fat yoghurt, and about six strawberries. Toss all the ingredients into the blender. Once you have had the courage to make and try your own smoothie, you will see how easy it is to add different ingredients and even try it with some vegetables, perhaps some spinach or carrots.
Of course, if you are looking for added fibre in your diet, then you have to consider what foods or additives contain fibre and add them to your smoothie.
Mixed Berry Smoothie
For this smoothie, you will need approximately one cup of fresh or frozen berries. Strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are naturally high in fibre and when added to your smoothie can give you the added boost of fibre that you are seeking without the awful taste of some fibre alternatives. Add about 1/2 cup of non-fat yoghurt and 1/2 cup non-fat milk to your berries with some ice and blend away.
Another great idea is to add peanut butter, all natural of course, to your smoothie mixture. Peanut butter that is all natural is a great source of fibre and tastes great. Of course, if there are any sort of peanut allergies, peanut butter is obviously not the way to go.
Depending on your taste buds and how far you are willing to experiment, you can always try to add things such as flaxseed (properly ground up) or some wheat grass. Adding honey to these smoothies might help offset the taste of these ingredients while still offering you the added fibre you need.
With all the antibiotics found in today’s meat products, as well as things such as fillers, additives, and chemicals, many individuals are considering making the switch to a vegan diet.
Of course, when making any kind of change, all aspects of that change need exploring. There are many healthy aspects of a vegan diet.
* In earlier days, vegan diets consisted of only vegetables. This is not the case today, however. Vegan diets now include meat-free items such as veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs. Some companies are now developing vegetarian products such as “steak strips” or “chicken nuggets.”
* Going out to eat for a vegetarian used to be a cause for concern. Variety was non-existent or limited at best. Today, however, almost every restaurant has a completely vegan menu from which to choose.
* Studies have shown that eating a diet that is high in animal fats can lead to several diseases such as a higher risk of cancer and diabetes. Vegan diets exclude animal by-products, thereby eliminating these risks.
* Articles have appeared showing that eating a diet that is based on plants can reduce the risk and possibly even reverse the progression of chronic illnesses.
* Vegan diets have been shown to reduce cholesterol.
* Vegan diets can be high in protein through eating foods such as nuts and beans.
* Fiber is an extra-added bonus of the vegan diet as many vegetables are naturally high in fibre.
* Another positive aspect of a vegan diet is the mental health benefit, so to speak. Vegans do not use or wear anything that is based on an animal by-product. For example, a true vegan does not purchase leather, some types of makeup and fur. This gives a vegan the feeling that they are positively contributing to a cause.
* Lower blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and lower cholesterol is all healthy side effects of a vegan diet.
* Vitamins such as C and E as well as magnesium, iron and folic acid are found in plant-based foods in a vegan diet.
* Lower saturated fat, a lower obesity rate, and fewer calories are also benefits of a vegan diet.
As you can see, a plant-based vegan diet has many benefits for your health. Vegan diets also have the added bonus of variety. There are so many combinations of soy-based products and vegetables as well as meat-like foods such as veggie patties to keep you healthy and satisfied in your vegan endeavours.
Whole grains are extremely nutritious offering benefits such as:
* Maintaining weight
* Fighting off heart disease
* Keeping the cholesterol level low
* Maintaining regularity
* Keeping a healthy metabolism
Fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, and iron are just a few of the extra value-packed nutritional benefits of grains.
Many people are aware of the most common grains but may not be as privy to the ones that are a little more unusual. If you are aware of the power that these grains pack, you would be sure to include them in your daily diet.
Quinoa is a grain that resembles a combination of grain and rice. The history of quinoa dates all the way back to the Inca civilization. The Incas considered it to be a sacred grain and for a very good reason. Quinoa is packed with protein. It is also full of fibre. Quinoa is a perfect way to start your morning, and the fibre will help you feel full for the day.
You can add things such as chicken broth and eat it for lunch, or add some honey and maple syrup with cinnamon for a tasty and nutritional-packed breakfast.
Spelt is an older form of the wheat crop mainly found in Europe, but since it needs very little in the way of fertilizer, many who are interested in organic eating and growing are bringing this grain back into popularity again.
A great reason to eat spelt is, of course, its nutritional value – ranging from high in protein to high in fibre. Spelt has a deliciously sweet and nutty flavour that when used in bread instead of traditional grain gives it an extra added value in taste that cannot be replicated.
Kasha is a traditional Russian meal that once was only used for fancy occasions such as royal feasts and weddings. The Russians knew what they were doing when they served kasha. As roasted, hulled buckwheat, kasha holds the mother load of nutrients and vitamins such as potassium, calcium, B vitamins, phosphorus, and iron. Incorporating this grain into your diet offers you a one-two punch for your immune system.
Just like the Incas and their quinoa, the ancient Aztecs knew that chia was a powerful substance and main staple for their diet. Chia is super packed with Omega 3s, loaded with protein, and one of the lowest carbohydrate grains. For this reason, many athletes are turning to chia as part of their daily winning game. Being high in antioxidants increases the value of chia in your diet as well.
The ancient Aztecs also knew that this grain was valuable to them. They not only included it in their everyday diets but also offered it as part of various rituals and ceremonies. Plant proteins, amino acids, lysine, calcium, and iron, as well as a high fibre content, make this particular grain the one that has it all.
As you can see, ancient cultures knew that these grains packed everything they needed to be warriors of their time. We have these grains available to us today and can achieve the same goal of being warriors throughout our day as well.
With so many over-the-counter supplements, diet pills, and weight loss remedies, it is easy to get confused and overwhelmed. Worse yet, most of those weight-loss remedies are full of chemicals that can be harmful to the immune system. While the may offer a quick fix, chances are that the weight will come back on just as quickly.
However, you can turn toward food, natural foods that is, to promote weight loss and help keep it off. By turning to natural foods, not only do you lose the weight, you also increase your metabolism and boost your health. With these benefits in tow, why not explore these five natural foods that you can add to your diet to promote and keep off that weight?
1. Salad. While not everyone loves the greens when you look at the multitude of benefits a green, leafy salad has to offer, you might just change your tune. Salads, especially those with green leafy spinach, can provide antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, and C while giving you extra folate as well. The beauty in a salad, however, comes in the creation. A salad can be anything you want it to be. You can add sunflower seeds, chicken, or even fruit like tangerines.
2. Good old-fashioned chicken soup For many years, studies have shown that chicken soup has all the ingredients to boost your immune system, shorten the duration of a cold, and help promote weight loss. The reasoning behind the weight loss seems to be the fact that soup simply fills you up. And, when you fill up your soup with beans for fibre and chicken for protein along with vegetables for antioxidants, you are naturally and effortlessly achieving many weight-loss goals. If your stomach is feeling full, you are less likely to binge.
3. Lean beef and chicken Beef that is lean can promote weight loss as it provides the right amount of protein that a dieter needs. Also, amino acids found in extra lean beef can assist with losing weight and maintaining muscle mass. Chicken, with the skin removed, is low in fat, high in protein and tastes great too. Meat and chicken can always be added to a salad for an all-around weight-loss benefit.
4. Oats and whole grains. The fibre in oats and whole grains offer a full and satisfying feeling, which in turn allows you the opportunity to eat less. Rolled oats and those that have the least processing done to them are the most beneficial as they are all-natural and fill you up quickly and healthily.
5. Eating beans such as kidney, lentil, and cannellini offer the benefits of fibre and protein all rolled into one. Beans can be eaten in a fajita mixed with lean beef or chicken, or made into a healthy casserole or even tossed into a salad.
Not only are these foods ideal for losing weight, they are tasty and versatile as well.
Isn’t it amazing that there are hundreds upon hundreds of over-the-counter medications for every possible ailment, ache, pain, and mood – and yet many people still do not look to food as their source of power?
Mother Nature knew exactly what she was doing when she provided us with all that we need for a healthy, well-balanced diet and the tools that we need to get through our day, our week, and our lifetime.
While every food has its benefits, here are the five most worth mentioning:
1.The white meat found in chicken contains the essential vitamins B12, B6, and B3. Chicken can assist in lowering your risk of stroke and also boost your mood. Chicken is low in fat (especially with the skin removed) and high in protein. Besides all the nutritional benefits, chicken is so versatile; it can be cooked in so many ways using a variety of tools such as the outdoor grill or an indoor rotisserie. And the B vitamins provide a host of benefits such as:
* Fighting off anaemia
* Maintaining healthy blood cells
* Warding off heart disease
* Increasing energy
* Boosting the immune system
* Converting carbohydrates into energy
2. Broccoli and salads especially salads made with leaf spinach have many benefits. Broccoli contains vitamins A, C, and E while spinach provides folate, which helps to maintain and produce newer healthier cells for the body. Vitamins such as A, C, and E help to boost the immune system; this could mean less time off sick and shorter duration of ailments such as the common cold.
3. Bananas For a sweet treat at any time during the day, reach for a banana. The benefits of a banana are numerous. You can choose to eat a banana as it is, or you can add it to a yoghurt or a bowl of multi-grain cereal. Either way, you will gain the benefit of a quick energy boost that sustains you for several hours along with the mood-altering benefit of the B6 vitamin that bananas are rich in. In addition, they taste good too!
4. Dark chocolate The good news is that good quality, dark chocolate has many benefits to help make you feel great. The cocoa in chocolate has heart-healthy benefits such as lowering your cholesterol and reducing heart disease. That is not all; dark chocolate can lift your mood significantly with its tryptophan and magnesium. Grabbing a piece of high-quality dark chocolate will not only help your heart, it will also help your mind.
5. Whole grains have been found to contain selenium which has been shown to significantly reduce depression. Whole grain slices of bread with your favourite spread or even an all-natural peanut butter provide fibre, selenium, and protein. The nice thing about whole grains is that you can mix and match whole grain bread with different spreads and come out with a variety of healthy foods that make you feel great in the end.
In today’s fast paced world where we have no time to the little things, often they get put aside so as to get seemingly the more important things done.
Eating for example! We miss meals eat wrong food groups grab meals on the run, all for the sake of saving time.
Along with the failure to exercise, many forget the problems this life style can have on our health and wellness.
We get run down a little over weight and sometimes worse.
This is just a reminder for the need for many to return too and learn the necessity of better eating Habits.
If you’re currently not eating a healthy diet, it can be difficult to start such a plan. However, healthy eating along with some exercise is very important for maintaining a good bodily function and goes a long way towards living a disease-free life. If you struggle with healthy eating, then you know that breaking unhealthy habits can be the most difficult part of the process. Therefore, if you truly want to live the best lifestyle possible, it is important to follow tips in order to start eating a more healthy diet.
A great first step when you want to start eating your way to a healthy life style is to rid your home of all temptations that will distract you from following better eating habits. Ideally it would be a wise course to keep junk foods and beverages out of your house so as not be tempted to snack during the day. If you’re worried about getting hungry, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, yogurt, fresh fruit, or whole-wheat crackers on hand. If you find that you just cannot bear to toss out the sweets, try keeping something tiny on hand, peppermints or barley sugar. Eating a few, (emphasis on few) of these won’t ruin your diet but also will give you that little sugary fix you rave.
Another great step to healthy eating, when you’re first starting the process, is to take a few moments to learn what foods are the healthiest for you and how they work within the body. To start eating healthily we must begin by thinking healthily. Most people understand that fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meats and dairy products are good for you, but few people understand why. The key is learning about nutrients. When you understand how specific nutrients work and why you need them, it becomes more reasonable for you to make healthier choices for your body. Knowledge really is power!
Preparation is a major key in commencing a new healthy diet. You must take into consideration your schedule for meals. If you often eat in a rushed hurry at odd times of day, you probably more inclined to grab a rushed meal which will probably do more harm than good. So plan ahead! Instead of grabbing a fast food lunch on the go, take a bagged lunch to work, complete with a healthy wrap and some fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember not to forget your evening meal, a simple plan to have a meal ready before you get home would be perfect, but in our fast paced life style, sometimes this just can’t be done. One way to solve this problem is to plan out your evening meals for the week, on your days off. Perhaps just before you do your weekly shopping. Another warning: when going to the shops, do not venture their hungry because if you’re anything like me, one or two chocolate bars won’t hurt! That becomes the first break in your healthy eating.
Initially many will find it very difficult to make those necessary changes to healthier eating. Along with the difficulty of change, you may not feel well for a short period of time. Usually this is normal as your body is adjusting to your new and improved life style and is cleansing itself from the unhealthy toxins built up from poor eating habits. However if this feeling continues or you are worried a visit to your doctor would be the correct thing to do.
Start with baby steps. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are really improving your calorie intake. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, try replacing that half of the time with better quality foods. When you start by taking small steps you aren’t cutting out all of the foods you love all at once. By taking your time to learn about your eating habits and slowly replacing them with better meals, by taking the time to learn and understand why you should be doing that and making the necessary changes in an orderly fashion, you will feel much better within yourself physically, mentally and emotionally and well on the road to becoming as healthy as you can be
Food (and water) is the absolute first thing you need in order to ensure life. Without it you would wither away and die. You need food for its nutrition and for its sustenance. But are the foods you consume today supplying you with good solid nutrition, or are many of them slowly robbing you of your health and taking years from your life?
Here are some things to consider:
THE HAZARDS OF EATING MEAT
Eating meat (particularly pork and red meat such as beef) in of itself is unhealthy especially when eaten in too large of quantities. Certain meats, such as beef, can take up to 72 hours to digest completely. Therefore, if you eat meat two or three times a day, you could still be digesting the food you had for breakfast the other day while you are again consuming another round of it.
This explains why many autopsies reveal from 5 to as much as 40 pounds of undigested meat still in the systems of many people! Now, imagine how unhealthy it becomes if the animal where the meat came from was treated with antibiotics and other artificial health sustainers? These chemicals stay in the meat fibers; and no amount of washing, cooking, or boiling will get rid of them. Do you really want that in your food?
Hence, many people today are immune to antibiotics for humans. They ingest the antibiotics from animals, and the extra strong antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria in the human body. The more you eat chemically treated meat, the more you weaken your body’s defence mechanisms. This hazard is aggravated further when the meats are processed with artificial flavours and preservatives.
PRECAUTIONS WHEN CONSUMING FISH
Many “fresh” fish in the market today are loaded with preservatives to lock in their “freshness.” Some use formalin, a chemical used in embalming human corpses, to preserve newly caught fish. A few wicked sellers may wash marketed fish with food colouring or textile colour to give these fish a “fresh” look. To ensure your safety and enjoy the nutritious benefits of fish, buy them from trusted sources only.
PRECAUTIONS WHEN CONSUMING BREAD
Many white breads are hard to digest. Their hard residues stay long and may form blockades in the intestines. Moreover, eating white bread actually rapidly elevates blood sugar levels in your body. Whole wheat bread is a healthier food alternative to white bread as it supplies better nutrition, but many of the whole wheat breads today still have preservatives because they are commercially produced. Make sure it is made with “whole wheat flour” and not “enriched whole wheat flour”. Always check the ingredients just to be sure.
CHEMICALS IN FOOD
Aside from having their nutrition values greatly reduced, a lot of food today is treated with harmful chemicals. Washing, cooking, and boiling for long hours may lessen the chemicals in your food, but these harmful substances may not be fully eliminated. Peeling the skin off some fruits will not ensure safety either.
Imagine swallowing and accumulating all those fertilisers and pesticides in your body. Do you still wonder why we have so many deadly diseases today that were unheard of in the days of our ancestors?
Insects know better. They will not touch crops with pesticides. That is why you will find these crops sold in the market without any sign of insect bites. People buy them because they look clean and delicious. They don’t know that these outward appearances conceal inner hazards of the food they are buying. Some people think it is a good option to eat fruits and vegetables that show a few nibbles from insects.
After having your veggies and fruits treated with fertilisers and pesticides (and these are given to farm animals as part of feeds), they also undergo artificial processing to prolong their “freshness.” They are treated with preservatives, which mean more chemicals. Some instant noodles are treated with chemical wax, which may be cancer causing. Do you know that these noodles are banned in some countries?
Because processed food terribly lacks real nutrition, their sellers sometimes put synthetic vitamins in them and pass them off as “plus factors” for good health when actually; these synthetic vitamins often do little to nothing for you or in some cases can even harm your health.
If you want to live a long, happy, and healthy life, always be on the lookout for the presence of preservatives in your food. Look at the labels and find out if some of the ingredients can be harmful to your health.