Rethink Your Calories When Eating Out

This gives us all a great perspective on what we really are eating when we order from restaurants! This short video shows that it may not be a bad idea to over-estimate your caloric intake when reading nutrition information. Until the FDA makes food companies report accurate information for the public, remember to rethink what you actually are eating.

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!

Turn Your Halloween Candy Into A Nutritious Treat!

The average American eats 24.7 pounds of candy each year. Most candy contains high quantities of sugar with nothing but calories and no nutritional value. Here’s a quick little breakdown of Halloween candy calorie content that might make you rethink opening that wrapper this year …

Starbursts: 8 pieces = 160 calories — instead you could be eating one medium apple with 1 tbsp. of peanut butter!

York Peppermint Patties: 3 miniatures = 150 calories — instead you could be eating 3 cups of air-popped popcorn with 1 tbsp. of Parmesan cheese

Brach’s Candy Corn: 19 pieces = 140 calories — instead have a 6 oz. low fat yogurt with half a cup of blueberries and you will still be saving 20 calories.

Reese’s King Size Peanut Butter Pumpkins: 2 cups = 350 calories — instead try eating a nutritious meal of 6 oz. of grilled chicken, 1 cup of green beans, 2 tsp. of butter, 1 small tossed salad with 2 tbsp. of low-fat dressing,

Caramel Apples: 1 apple = 250-350 calories — instead you could be eating a whole meal of 2 oz. of tuna fish with 2 tsp. of light mayonnaise, with one 4 inch pita with 1/2 cup of spinach. This all could be served with an apple and 1 oz. of baked tortilla chips!

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate: 3 snack size bars = 190 calories — Instead you could be eating 10 baby carrots and 2 tbsp. of hummus and save yourself 20 calories.

Tootsie Rolls: 6 pieces = 140 calories –instead reach for a whole grain English muffin with 1 tablespoon of fruit spread and you will still be saving yourself 10 calories!

Skittles: 1 regular pack = 250 calories — instead you can eat an entire meal of 1 egg, 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 tsp. of butter, and 1 cup of strawberries.

calsPhoto credit:

Traffic Light Labeling

A new system is in place at Massachusetts General Hospital to improve customers health by choosing healthier food options. A color coded system for nutrition labels was implemented for their customers to make healthier choices. Even though most restaurants and fast food chains have postings of nutrition information on their menus, such as calories, fat, and sodium content, there still seems to be some confusion on reading labels and what it means for someone’s health. Having a system like this hospital has adapted, seems to improve customer’s knowledge of what the healthiest choices are based on a red, green, or yellow “traffic light” system.  Green being the healthiest, yellow less healthy, and red with little or no nutritional value. A way the hospital is keeping track of this is by having the cash registers record each purchase as a green, yellow, or red item in order to see if there is an increase in making healthier choices.

Although this system may not show directly if customers are more aware of nutritional knowledge, it can potentially show if the customers will make healthier choices based on the “traffic light” labeling.

I think this is an excellent idea to try! It gives customers an eye-opener of what foods are actually more nutritious than others without looking at the label. The hospital has done the thinking for the customers already and when someone is on a time limit, it’s a quick way to make a healthy choice. What do you think about this? Should restaurants or food stores start implementing a system like this?


Photo credit:

Read more:

Stay Motivated As The Weather Gets Cooler

It’s that time of the year again when we tend to eat more calories because of holidays, weather, and social gatherings. Do not get discouraged! There are plenty of  healthy “fall foods” that are packed with nutrients. Here are a few tips:

  • Soups can be great for you if they’re based around vegetables and not made with cream or cheese. Also, it’s important to watch your serving sizes!
  • If you are a fan of stew, make vegetables your main focus and go light on the meat and potatoes
  • Be conscious of what you’re eating and never eat out of a bag or box. Take the right serving sizes with you on your plate, bowl, to the table etc.
  • Many of us can’t live without pizza– and that’s fine. Just stick to one slice and add nutritious toppings (mainly vegetables) to get the nutrients you need while making you fuller
  • Instead of an apple pie, try apple crisp! Bake your apples and lightly dust them with cinnamon
  • The weather in the fall is extremely perfect for activities outdoors– hiking , riding bikes, walking (just to name a few) Get out there and enjoy the weather before the winter months ahead!

fall students walkingPhoto credit:

Grocery Shopping When We’re Hungry=No, No, No!

Grocery shopping when we’re hungry is not a healthy way to approach food shopping and will most likely result in buying foods that we weren’t aiming to buy in the first place– wasting MONEY, CALORIES, and TIME! (I’m guilty of this!)

Eating a light snack before grocery shopping or after eating a larger meal such as breakfast, lunch, or dinner is key. We will see numbers go up on the scale from buying foods we were tempted to eat when we were hungrier (and these foods are most likely not healthy options!) Keep it simple, stick to a list, aim for FRESH foods!

It’s extremely important to have a list with us at all times and ONLY buy what is on that list.  We should all get into a habit of writing down foods during the week that our families can agree on and only stick to those foods. Aim for a time in the day that works best to go grocery shopping– when we are relaxed and our tummies are feeling full!


Photo credit:

Do you have any suggestions/tips/comments on grocery shopping?

Health Food Fakes

Some foods are labeled very well to make us think that what we are eating is healthy for us! However, sometimes you wouldn’t believe how much sugar, calories, carbohydrates etc. you might actually be taking in without even knowing it! Here are some tricky foods to look out for thanks to Molly Kimball, Registered Dietitian in New Orleans:

  • Pretzels: You might as well call  them white bread. The main ingredients in Rold Gold pretzels, for example, are enriched wheat flour (translation: white flour). The stats of a single 1-ounce handful of pretzels (110 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber) are nearly identical to two slices of plain old white bread. And don’t be fooled by pretzels that appear to be whole grain; most really aren’t.
  • Post Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch: Whole grain flakes may be the first ingredient, but sugar in some form (e.g. honey, corn syrup, brown sugar) shows up on the ingredient list 11 different times.
  • Flavored Yogurt: flavored yogurt can easily pack in the equivalent of as much as seven sugar packets!! Instead, buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit to it!
  • Granola: They may provide us with some whole grains, but most types of granola and granola bars are filled with added sugar – and a half-cup serving of some types of granola can pack in 300-plus calories – more than a McDonald’s hamburger or a Hershey Bar.
  • Fiber bars:  The bulk of the fiber is from chicory root (also referred to as inulin, is a fiber isolated from the chicory root plant that hasn’t been shown to have the same health benefits that we’ve come to expect from fiber-rich foods like beans and oats.)
  • Protein bars: There are tons of protein bars that, while they may be high in protein, also have just as much sugar, if not more! Be sure to read your labels!

For more information: labels


Snacks under 200 calories!

The main rule when it comes to snacking is portion control. Here are some snacks under 200 calories:

  • One 6-inch flour tortilla with ¼ cup black beans and 2 tablespoons fresh salsa.
  • Small baked potato topped with salsa and 1 ounce low-fat cheese.
  • Veggie pizzas: Split whole-wheat English muffin. Top with 2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese, ½ cup diced fresh veggies and 1 ounce low-fat mozzarella cheese.
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter spread on slices of a medium apple.

If you want to have more variety in your snacks, mix and match! Here are some examples..

  • 60 calories
    Small (5-ounce) fresh fruit cup
  • 70 calories
    1 1/2 tablespoons Back to Nature Nantucket Blend Trail Mix
  • 67 calories
    1 cup bell pepper strips with 2 tablespoons fat-free ranch dressing
  • 95 calories
    9 Garden of Eatin’ Baked Blue Corn Chips with 1/2 cup salsa
  • 104 calories
    4 Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 38 calories
    1/2 ounce herbed goat cheese
  • 56 calories
    7 Kashi TLC Honey Sesame Crackers
  • 51 calories
    1/2 cup sugar snap peas with 3/4 tablespoon ginger-and-miso dressing

apples and PB


For more information:,,20344449_2,00.html

Way to Go Coca-Cola!

The Coca-Cola industry is taking initiative in raising public awareness on the obesity issue in their new advertisements on television. They will begin airing commercials of Coca-Cola’s record of providing drinks with fewer calories over the years but will note that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind — not just soda. Later this year, New York City is said to be the first in the nation to put a cap on the size of soft drinks sold in public areas. Also, under consideration is putting the amount of activity needed to burn off the calories in a drink on cans and bottles. I think this would be a great idea in order to gain public recognition of how much time would have to be spent exercising in order to burn the amount of calories consumed just from a bottle or can of soda.

Also, when PepsiCo Inc., the No. 2 soda maker, recently signed a wide-ranging endorsement deal with pop singer Beyonce, critics called for the singer to drop the contract or donate the funds to groups that fund health initiatives.

What are your thoughts/comments on this?

Read more:,0,7945990.story