We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But I hear all too often from patients that they skip breakfast daily. Most do this because time is an issue while others have the mindset that skipping breakfast will help […]
I’m sure we all remember the fat free diet era of the the early 90s. Pass the Snack Well cookies, they are fat free so I can eat the whole box.. Well some of that mindset is still around today when it comes to individuals trying to lose weight. I often here clients say they are eating fat free salad dressing, margarine or peanut butter in efforts to lose weight and they are often surprised to here me recommend against these products. The problem is when something that naturally contains fat is overly processed to become reduced fat or fat free the manufactures are typically adding sugar or salt to the product. This is thought to be one of the reasons we have the obesity epidemic we do now, stemming off of more carbohydrates to replace those fats.
Of course there are definitely some unhealthy fats to avoid including hydrogenated oils and trans fats that are often found in processed foods and fast foods. And even with the good fats portion control is still a factor. But there is something very satisfying about eating some fat with meals. People on low fat diets often feel unsatisfied because they are lacking the satiety that fat provides.
Fat plays a key role for many things in our bodies including hormone regulation, helps with satiety and adults are recommended to get 20-35% of their daily diet from fat. Heart healthy fats can help lower cholesterol, help fight inflammation,
So what fats are heart healthy and how to you use them?
Polyunsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats- Found in nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, fatty fish and vegetable oils like grape seed oil and sunflower seed oil. These contain essential fatty acids, omega 3’s and omega 6s which our bodies cannot make and must be obtained by food. Consuming this type of fat helps lower cholesterol when replaced for saturated and trans fats.
Cooking with oil- Heart healthy fats are found in many plant based oils like olive oil, sunflower seed and grape seed oil. Olive oil is great used in salad dressings but has a low smoke point so grape seed oil or sunflower seed oil is a better option for cooking.
Adding flavor to your food- Using avocado in place of mayo in a tuna salad is a great way to get some healthy fats and give you some extra flavor. Add some walnuts to your morning oatmeal for an extra crunch. Incorporate olives into your salad at lunch for a change.
Go Fish- Fish is a great way to add more omega-3s to your diet. A goal of 2 servings a week is a good way to get your omega 3s that help fight inflammation that can lead to chronic disease including heart disease and cancer.
Can I eat butter and ice cream instead of margarine and fat free frozen yogurt?
I say yes and yes.. Sautéing your vegetables in a little butter for flavor is a better option than “fake butter” like the tub butters or margarine that are often filled with trans fats. Full fat dairy and ice-cream contain saturated fat and it is recommended by the American Heart Association to limit saturated fat to 5-6% of total calories or around 120 calories if you are following a 2,000 calorie diet. You may also find your self way more satisfied over a scoop of full fat ice cream vs frozen yogurt if you are mindful about when and how much you eat.
Overall choosing the heart healthy oils when you cook, real peanut butter with the only ingredients as peanut and salt, a little cream in your coffee vs fat free highly processed creamer that you can’t pronounce half of the ingredients or an avocado on your morning toast is going to be better for your body than processed fat free products.
Life is too short to eat fat free peanut butter! Enjoy a spoon of the real deal.
If you are curious about ways to cut back on some of the starchy carbs in your diet, here is your guide. The trend of spiralizing veggies and turning them into noodles has really taken off, as well as rice substitutes like riced cauliflower. There […]
Pumpkin Energy Balls
Don't let the pumpkin stop you from making these all year around. These are a great snack or sweet treat to have on hand for any time of day.
- 1 cup Sunmaid pitted dates
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1.5 cups gluten free oatmeal
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
- Step 1 Combine the dates, oatmeal and nuts in a high speed blender. Blend on high for 3-4 minutes or until coarsely ground. Add remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and blend for 3-4 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll into 20 balls. Store in the fridge for 1 week or freezer for 1-2 months.
I recently read the book “The Blue Zones” that focuses on 5 areas of the world where people live the longest, many past their 100th birthday. This book looks at the culture including their diet and lifestyle. One of the blue zones was a section […]
Feeding your family healthy meals while sticking to a budget can often be overwhelming. Navigating the store, planning ahead and being an over all smarter shopper can help you eat healthy and also save money. Try these tips when you head out for your next grocery run!
- Plan to eat. Take inventory of what you have on hand that needs to be used while making your plan for the week. Do you have some frozen seafood in the freezer? All you will need is to add a few sides for a quick dinner. Also pull out your weekly calendar and think about how much time you will have in the evenings, if Monday night you have a meeting or a child in sports and won’t get home until 6:30, it may be best to make something ahead by doing some meal prep to save you from the drive through. Planning these situations helps you stay on track to make healthy choices and save you money.
- Write it down. Write out a few options for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Make a grocery list based on these meals. Having a list helps you stick to your plan and avoid impulse buys(unless you bring your child or husband with you)
- Shop store fliers when making your meal plans for the week. By shopping the fliers and knowing whats on sale you can really add up your savings, if chicken breasts were what you were wanting for dinner one night, could you swap for chicken thighs that are on sale that week? Lots of stores will also offer store coupons like Kroger that you can add to your Kroger Card online and save money in the store.
- Be flexible. Go to the store with your list but if you find better deals on certain items while in the store just make adjustments. For example, a few weeks ago I had strawberries on my list and at the store found a 2 lb bag of organic mandarin oranges for 99 cents, I couldn’t pass those up. So substitute the item vs adding to your list.
- Stretch your protein. Protein sources tend to be the most costly portion of the grocery bill. Make sure you are watching your portions and filling your plate with a 1/4 protein, around the size of the palm of your hand for reference or a checkbook for a piece of fish. Also find ways to stretch out your protein throughout the week. Make one night meatless each week by making a veggie soup, quinoa stir fry, frittata or other meatless meal. Getting your protein from non meat sources until dinner will also help you save. Good non-meat protein rich options include beans, nuts, hummus, nut butters, quinoa and eggs.
- Don’t fear the freezer. Frozen produce often gets a bad rap. But they are packed at the peak of freshness, are low to no sodium and allow you to always have vegetables and fruits on hand for easy weeknight side dishes or to even add to smoothies. In my freezer I like to keep blueberries, chopped onions, cauliflower to make mashed cauliflower, mixed pepper onion blend, black eyed peas and broccoli to roast.
- Make your own snacks. Packaged snacks are super nice to have on the go but when you are trying to save a little money and be more in control of your ingridients, making homemade snacks is the way to go. Ideas include a homemade trail mix with whole grain low sugar cereal, mixed nuts, raisins and dark chocolate chips. There are also energy ball recipes all over the internet or my Instagram page, these are easy to store in the freezer or fridge for an easy grab and go snack.