Monday, September 24, 2012

Control Your Snack Cravings

Have you been hungry recently, but the only snacks around you are chips and cookies?  The following list, which I found on my school's Campus Recreation page, gives healthy alternatives to common snacks that we eat, based on what nutrients you need.  I found this list interesting and helpful.

Have a look:

(Credits go out to St. John's Campus Recreation Facebook Page)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Healthy Grocery Shopping List

My school, St. John's University, recently sent us an email giving us tips on how to "live swell off-campus".  Because I was stuck inside due to a rainstorm, I decided to take a look.  When we go to the supermarket, there are hundreds of choices to choose from.  Some foods are cheaper than others, but they might not be better for your body.  Inside the document was a list of Healthy Grocery Items to purchase.  By stocking your house/apartment with these foods, you have made healthy eating a lot easier.  

The purpose of this list is to help guide you to buying healthier foods in the supermarket.  Of course, you do not have to follow this like it's a law, but if you incorporporate a few of these items into your diet, it will improve your health.  Here are some to share with you:

Breads, Cereals, Rice, Pasta
Breads: whole wheat, rye, or pumpernickel
Multigrain crackers
Pasta: Whole wheat noodles, spaghetti, or macaroni
Brown Rice

Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits: any fresh, canned, dried, frozen, without any added sugar
Vegetables: any fresh or frozen without cream or cheese sauce
100% fresh or frozen juices, without added sugar (ex: cocktails)

Milk and Yogurt
Fat free, 1% milk, or 2% milk
Low-fat or non fat yogurt

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans, Eggs, NutsBeef: eye or round, top round, sirloin, tenderloin
Lamb: leg-shank
Chicken or turkey, white or light meat
Luncheon meats, 95%-99% fat free
Fish (most white meat fish is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol)

Sweets and Snacks
Low fat cookies: animal crackers, devil's food cookies, fruit bars, graham crackers, lemon wafers
Angel food cake
Pudding (fat free or 1% milk)
Gelatin desserts (Jello)
Popcorn without butter or oil, pretzels, baked tortilla chips
Fruit Gushers

Fats and Oils
Canola Oil
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil (see Coconut Oil: The Best Oil? post for more information)
Butter-like spreads with no trans fats

Sparkling water
Coconut Water
100% Fruit Juice, regular or low calorie
Gatorade Series Low Calorie
Naked Smoothies

Herbs, spices
Non-stick cooking spray
Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise
Low sodium soy sauce
Salsa or picante sauce
Spaghetti sauce
Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Antioxidant Myth

Examples of Antioxidants
Mostly all of us know that antioxidants are good and that they protect our body against free radicals and our cells from aging.  That is true.  Most people also think that all antioxidants come from fruits and vegetables.  That is false.  Infact, the entire plant kingdom, which includes beans, nuts, seeds, and grains, is rich in antioxidants.
These also are Antioxidants

 The reason is because all plants produce antioxidants to fight against predators and UV rays.  The one exception is refined grains, which is found in white rice, cookies, and brownies (to name a few).  Even meat, dairy products, and eggs contain antioxidants.  These come from the nutrient-rich plants the animals eat. 

Unfortunately, these don't contain Antioxidants

So for those of you "allergic" to fruits and vegetables, do not worry.  You can still get your antioxidant filling every day. 

Source: 1001 Muscle Meals

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coconut Oil: The best Oil?

When cooking, there are many types of oils that you can choose from.  Some are: vegetable oil, corn oil, and olive oil. People ask all the time: Which is the healthiest oil to cook with?  While that question is up to debate, I have an alternative: Coconut Oil.

"Coconut oil is one of the best oils to cook with because it won't turn into harmful trans-fats when heated at high temperatures."

Coconut oil is made from the meat of mature coconuts and contains "Medium chain fatty acids", which behaves differently from other types of fat.  These medium chain fatty acids can be absorbed directly by the cell, which means they are less likely to be stored as excess fat, which leads to weight gain.

Coconut oil also contains high levels of lauric acid, which helps strengthen the immune system.  Researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medicine Research have found that a diet rich in coconut oil will help keep fat off and protect you from insulin resistance.  Even though I haven't cooked with coconut oil myself, I will be on the lookout for a bottle in the future.

Source: Heal Yourself Essentials: 101 Tried & Tested Tips & Secrets

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

5 High Fiber Foods

Note to all readers: Due to the fact that school has started, I will be updating this blog a lot less.  I will try to update this periodically, but it will be a lot less often due to my heavy courseload this semester.  Thank you for your understanding.

Fiber is an important nutrient that has many benefits.  Fiber helps moves things through your digestive system and lowers your chance of developing diverticulitis, a disease in which small pouches form in the colon.  Also, fiber helps lower your risk of cardiovascular disease because it lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Below are 5 foods that are high in fiber:

1. Almonds (3.5g per oz)

2. Sweet potato (5g for 1 medium)

3. Apple (4.5g for 1 medium)

4. Oats (4g per 1 cup cooked)

5. Pinto/black beans (7.5g per 1/2 cup cooked)

Source: All You magazine, Issue 8