Watermelon Fun!

Today is the first day of July and the summer time is here! What better way to celebrate the first day of July with a fun watermelon drink? Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C,  has plenty of antioxidants (watermelon gets it reddish-pink shades primarily from lycopene!), and has a rich supply of an amino acid called citrulline.

A fully ripened watermelon will feel heavy for its size. Heaviness in a watermelon is a good thing because the water content of a watermelon will typically increase along with ripening, and a fully ripened watermelon will be over 90% water in terms of weight! A fully ripened watermelon will also often have a ground spot that has turned creamy yellow in color.

Looking for ideas on what to do with watermelon? Make it into a fun drink. I used plain seltzer water mixed with watermelon for a light spritzer drink to enjoy on a hot day. About 1 liter of seltzer mixed with the inside of the watermelon makes a fantastic drink! I scooped the inside of the watermelon out with an icecream scoop and blended it in a blender with the seltzer water. You can add a hint of lime juice to the drink if needed. I picked up a handy watermelon kit at my local ShopRite that came with stands to hold the watermelon balanced, and a spout to pour the drink out of the watermelon– very easy to use!!

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I also made a delicious watermelon and feta salad last month! It was DELICIOUS! Did you ever think of mixing watermelon with cheese? The next time you are thinking of making a salad and you are a watermelon lover, this is definitely the choice for you!

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The possibilities with watermelon are endless! What better way to enjoy the summer than with a refreshing watermelon recipe?

 

 

Nutrition Content in Alcohol

Serving size and calories:

  • 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (150 calories)
  • 12 ounces light beer (95-110 calories)
  • 8-9 fluid ounces of malt liquor (165 calories)
  • 5 fluid ounces of table wine (125-165 calories)
  • 3-4 ounces of fortified wine (such as sherry or port) (75-90 calories)
  • 1 ½ ounces of brandy (98 calories)
  • 1 ½ ounces of “hard liquor” (165 calories)
  • 4 fluid ounces margarita (168 calories)
  • 9 fluid ounces Piña Colada (490 calories)
  • 3 ½ fluid ounces whiskey sour (160 calories)
  • 2 fluid ounces daiquiri (112 calories)

 

  • Alcohol contains empty calories meaning it has no nutritional value.
  • Alcohol supplies energy (7 calories/gram).
  • Drinking a moderate amount means 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men.
  • A big risk that will come from drinking alcohol is the additional calories provided, which may contribute to unwanted weight gain. Alcohol is also known as a discretionary calorie.
  • The liver can metabolize only a limited amount of alcohol per hour— A healthy, average person can eliminate 1/2 ounce of alcohol per hour. Remember, women and men do not metabolize at the same rate
  • More than a dozen studies have shown a positive correlation between moderate alcohol consumption and decreased incidence of heart disease. The protective effect of alcohol is the result of increased levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. However, if you don’t drink, the possible   benefits don’t outweigh the risks.
  • If you drink excessively on a regular basis, your nutritional status will become compromised. Alcohol effects every tissue’s nutrient metabolism in different ways.
  • Other risks that come from drinking too much alcohol include: night blindness, cancers, liver damage, high blood pressure, stroke, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal symptoms, decreased sex hormone  production, anemia, and emotional and social problems.
  • Binge drinking means drinking at least 5 drinks at one time if you are a man and 4 drinks at one time if you are a woman.
  • Alcohol consumed by a pregnant woman travels through her bloodstream and across the placenta to her baby. The unborn baby’s body can metabolize the alcohol. The alcohol level in the baby is a lot higher than the mother’s which stays in the baby’s blood longer, leading to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

 

  • Red wine contains polyphenols (antioxidants) protecting the lining of the heart’s blood vessels.
  • Generally, the lower the proof, the lower the calories.
  • If you enjoy liqueurs, be careful with portions— the sweet taste adds up calories quickly.
  • Based on calories alone, the best options of alcohol are light beer, scotch on the rocks, or a glass of dry wine.
  • The key is to stick to  serving sizes!

Don’t Be Fooled By Food Labels!

Many of us overlook nutrition labels on the back of products we consume because we either don’t want to take the time, don’t care what we are putting into our bodies, or don’t understand how to read them! Here are some helpful tips to reading labels that might surprise you!

  • Most of us overlook liquid calories, so you might not notice that Arizona Green Tea (yes, the cans that are usually 99 cents) has THREE serving sizes within ONE can. And to top it off, it also contains 12 teaspoons of sugar in just one can!
  • Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels contains 3 servings per bag as well! If you finish one bag, you have also finished about 1/3 of your carbohydrates you need in an entire day. Stick to the serving size: 20 pretzels!
  • You wouldn’t eat 4 apples in one sitting– but that’s the caloric equivalent of what’s in a bag of Seneca Crispy Apple Chips! These apple chips have the same caloric count of a bag of potato chips with even more added sugar!
  • You could eat two whole oranges for the calories that are in Sunkist Mandarin Oranges. These oranges are sitting in pear juice concentrate which is more added sugar!
  • Blue Bunny Personals Premium Ice Cream may be a bit confusing having the name “personals” in it. If you eat the entire product, you will be eating 16g of fat, and 15% more calories than a Haagen-Dazs dark-chocolate-covered vanilla ice-cream bar. Share this “personal” ice cream another person!

Do any of these surprise you?

For more information: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/food-labeling?page=10

Need Some Flavor In Your Water?

A lot of people I talk to have trouble drinking water without any flavor.. and I don’t blame them! Our taste buds like a little flavor, but there are healthier ways to add this flavor rather than buying flavored waters, drinking sports drinks, relying on soda to fill the need of flavor in our beverages. Here are some tips to adding NATURAL flavors to our water!

You will need…

-1-2 liters’ of water, depending on how strong you want it to taste
-Part of 1 watermelon or 1 cucumber
-1 lemon or lime
-A handful of fresh mint leaves (approximately 10-13)
-Ice cubes

Slice up a good amount of watermelon into cubes, rind and all, and put them into a jug or pitcher. Cut 1 juicy lime into wedges and toss in with the watermelon. Add a handful of fresh, fragrant, mint leaves and pour in 2 liters of cool water, filling the jug all the way to the top. Let this sit overnight in the fridge and let all the yummy flavors steep and infuse the water. When you want to drink it, put in a generous helping of ice cubes, pour, and enjoy daily.

Remember: You can always substitute a fruit or a vegetable depending on your own taste! You don’t have to follow this recipe step by step, this is just to give you an idea of how great you can make your water taste.. and look!

Doesn’t this look refreshing?

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Don’t Reach For A Sports Drink, You Most Likely Don’t Need It

Most sports drinks are loaded with sugar and are not necessary for consumption before, during, or after exercising, unless you are an athlete who does high-intensity workouts over an hour. Here are a list of beverages to keep in mind to skip the high sugary sports drinks the next time you exercise..

  • Best drink for hydration: Coconut water–  coconut water is low on the glycemic index, so it won’t dramatically affect your blood sugar, this drink may also promote heart health.

Vita Coco 100% Pure Coconut Water (1 bottle, 17 fl oz) 90 calories, 0 g fat, 22 g sugar

  • Best drink for enhanced performance: Coffee– scientific research has linked caffeine consumption with increased endurance and reaction times. The problem is, most caffeine-enhanced energy drinks are loaded with added sugars.

Coffee (8 fl. oz) = 2 calories, 0g fat, 0g sugars [without milk/cream or sugar of course!]

  • EBoost: A great way to get green tea on the go: EBoost. Unlike most green-tea based energy beverages, it’s sweetened with natural, zero-calorie Stevia, and it has an impressive antioxidant profile.

EBoost (1 packet): 5 calories, 0g fat, 0g sugars

  • Chocolate Milk: Drinking a combination of carbohydrates and protein after a hard workout can help restore your energy and aid in building lean, metabolism-boosting muscle

Low Fat Chocolate Milk (8 fl oz): 158 calories, 2.5g fat, 25g sugars, 8g protein

  • WATER!: Nature’s beverage is calorie-free, cost-free, and unless you’re an elite athlete who does high-intensity exercise for more than an hour at a time, it’ll take care of all your workout hydration needs.

Water: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g sugars

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For more information: http://eatthis.menshealth.com/blog/5-sports-drinks-actually-work-0

 

How Much Sugar Are You Consuming?

The average American consumes, 18-23 teaspoons a day, or 2 pounds of sugar a week, about 2.5 times the recommended daily limit. That is equal to 100-156 pounds of sugar in a year! In the last 20 years we have increased sugar consumption in the United States from 26lbs. of sugar to 135lbs. of sugar per person every year. Sugar is the most widespread form of carbohydrate and the most common ingredient in processed foods. Half of our sugar intake come from “invisible” sugars (foods you don’t think would have sugar in them)

Even if you don’t feel like you are consuming a lot of sugar, you are most likely eating more sugar than your body needs. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

Added sugar is found in many unexpected food items, including sliced bread, wheat crackers, salad dressing, ketchup and energy bars. Soft drinks are largest source refined sugar in children’s diet. Clinical studies show that sugar-free diets are more difficult to follow in the long-term. Sugar-free eating can trigger cravings for sweet foods and disordered eating. Being able to enjoy occasional sugary foods is important (remember moderation is KEY!)

There are many different names for sugar that are on food labels. The trick is if it ends in “ose” it is sugar. Just to name a few: honey, lactose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, corn sweetener, juice concentrate, natural sweetener, high fructose corn syrup. Remember to always read food labels and choose brands with lower sugar content. Also, keep in mind that artificial sweeteners, like Splenda, are two hundred times sweeter than sugar! It’s not ideal to consume artificial sweeteners if you want to reduce a sweet tooth.

If you are craving a sugary food, try reaching for a food that is naturally sweetened like fresh fruit. But remember,  just because it is a fresh fruit, doesn’t mean you can eat the whole bowl and not expect your blood sugar to rise. A lot of sugar into the bloodstream upsets body’s blood sugar balance, triggers release of insulin which the body uses to keep blood sugar at a safe level. Insulin also promotes the storage of fat (linked to weight gain and cardiovascular disease). High fiber content foods slows down process of digestion which results in slow release of glucose.

Sugar-quantity-in-common-foods

For more information: http://www.northjersey.com/news/196728311_Know_how_much_added_sugar_you_re_consuming__content_is_no_sweet_surprise.html?c=y&page=1

http://www.facethefactsusa.org/facts/the-sweet-life-and-what-it-costs-us/

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/DPHS/nhp/adults/documents/sugar.pdf

Bigger Portions, Bigger People

Food has gone through a technological revolution in the US in the last 50 years.  Food is available in more variety, in more forms and in more combinations than ever before.  Portions haven’t just got bigger in restaurants, there are also bigger bags of chips, bottles of sugary and energy drinks, and the list goes on…

When eating or snacking in front of the TV, encourage people to put a reasonable amount of food into a bowl or container, and leave the rest of the package in the kitchen. It’s easy to overeat when a person’s attention is focused on something else. Place especially tempting foods, like cookies, chips, or ice cream, out of immediate eyesight, like on a high shelf or at the back of the freezer. Move the healthier options to the front at eye level.

Americans are surrounded by larger portion sizes at relatively low prices, appealing to the consumer’s economic sensibilities. However, the cost to America’s health may be higher than most people realize. Do people look at food that is offered and automatically assess how much is a normal serving size, and then actually eat only the normal serving size? Do they adjust what they eat after consuming large portion sizes?

portions-have-changed

For more information: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Science/Portion-control-key-to-fighting-obesity-expert-says

http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/nutrition/pdf/portion_size_research.pdf

If It’s March, It’s National Nutrition Month!

Happy National Nutrition Month! National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

This years theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” encourages personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices. Registered dietitians play a critical role in helping people eat right, their way, every day.

It’s important to realize that eating your way can be possible when you pay attention to portion control, smart eating, and including all food groups into your diet when possible. Anything can be incorporated into your diet– the important thing to recognize is that moderation is key. You can still indulge in your favorite foods, but pay attention to the serving sizes you eat and how often you eat a particular food item. Also, pay close attention to the beverages you consume! One 20 oz. bottle of soda is equal to one hour of walking to burn it off! Stick to water as much as possible (it’s all we need to survive!) Don’t look into diets, look into LIFESTYLE changes! Feed your body what it deserves: a balance of nutrients that make you glow and feel healthy because nothing looks as good as healthy feels!! And never forget that moving your body with some sort of physical activity is needed in order to live a healthy lifestyle as well!

Promote and support nutrition awareness starting today, for the rest of the month, and for the rest of your life! Today is the day to make a change and stick to it for a lifetime. You deserve to be happy and full of energy through nutrition and fitness!

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For more information: http://www.eatright.org/nnm/#.UTAUbze_CSo

Juicing Your Diet

It can be a challenge to get the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Juicing is a great way to get vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you might not eat.  Juicers cost between $50 and $300. Some will allow you to throw in the food whole, while others require you to peel and core. Dietitians say the beauty of juicing is you can incorporate fruits and veggies you may not normally eat, like spinach. The juice will stay safe in the refrigerator for about a week, but it’s best if it is used within the first few days to get the most nutrients. Adding fiber to it can be helpful as well, like Chia seeds, to help keep you full since most of the fiber is taken out during the juicing process.

Do you juice? What do you use in your juicer? Do you feel this helps you get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet?

juicing

For more information: http://whotv.com/2013/01/31/healthy-juicing-squeezing-in-your-produce-servings/

Eat Too Much At Your Super Bowl Party?

By some estimates, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest feasting events in the United States (second only to Thanksgiving dinner) and accounts for $55 million in food and beverage purchases.

Here are some statistics for you:

  • Almost 15,000 tons of chips and 4,000 tons of popcorn are consumed
  • Twice the average daily amount of snack foods are consumed, about 30.4 million pounds
  • Some 12 million pounds of avocado are sold in preparation for the game so Americans may gorge themselves on an estimated 8 million pounds of guacamole
  • Sales of flavored snack crackers increase 68 percent
  • Sales of frozen breaded mushrooms increase 36 percent prior to the Super Bowl
  • Sales of processed cheese loaves increase 30 percent the week before the Super Bowl
  • Sales of frozen shrimp increase 29 percent
  • There is $237.2 million spent on soft drinks at grocery stores during Super Bowl week
  • There is an additional $11.8 million spent in sales of beer
  • Frozen pizza is the top Super Bowl seller at grocery stores

Did you eat too much on Super Bowl Sunday? What are some of your ideas of eating less?

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For more information: http://www.albertleatribune.com/2013/02/02/mayo-dietitian-warns-against-excess-snacking/