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Healthy Snacks for Weight LossHealthy Snacks for Weight Loss

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

Healthy snacks that are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fat curb hunger and cravings. Keeping these snacks to fewer than 200 calories helps you avoid exceeding your daily calorie budget for weight loss. Try one of these ideas for smart snacking.

Hummus pita pizzas. Top a warm whole wheat pita bread with two tablespoons of hummus. Shred one medium carrot and sprinkle it over the top. Cut into wedges before serving. 160 calories

Bean dips with fresh veggies. Combine one can of beans with your favorite herbs and spices in a food processor to create a dip for vegetables. Try four tablespoons of this Spinach Bean Dip with Smoked Paprika with one cup of sliced cucumber. 104 calories

Fresh fruit with ricotta and honey. Top one cup of mixed berries with two tablespoons of part-skim ricotta cheese. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of honey. 135 calories

Chopped tomatoes with feta and basil. Chop one cup of cherry tomatoes. Stir in two tablespoons of feta cheese, one teaspoon of olive oil and two chopped basil leaves. 133 calories

Jerky and a piece of fruit. Choose turkey or buffalo jerkies made with natural flavorings that are low in sodium and sugar. Pair one ounce with one cup of pineapple. 134 calories

Nut butter on whole grain toast. Spread one tablespoon of cashew butter on a slice of your favorite whole grain toast. Top with one tablespoon of fresh blueberries. 178 calories

Simple smoothies. Combine one cup of your favorite frozen fruit with one cup of low-fat milk and one teaspoon of honey for quick smoothie. Try one half cup of raspberries with one half cup of peaches. 175 calories

Nutritious Winter Fruits and VegetablesNutritious Winter Fruits and Vegetables

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Nutritious Winter Fruits and Vegetables

If you think summer is the best time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, you may be surprised at what the winter has to offer. Cool-season produce is packed with phytonutrients that boost health and prevent disease.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts contain the highest level of cancer-fighting glucosinolates among the cruciferous vegetables. They are loaded with antioxidants that help fight the inflammation associated with chronic disease. Brussels sprouts also contain soluble fiber, which helps to lower blood cholesterol.

Collard Greens

Collards have been found to be the most effective among cruciferous vegetables for naturally lowering cholesterol levels. They are also rich in glucosinolates and vitamins A, C, E and K, which protect against chronic disease.

Dates

Dates can be used as a natural sweetener in baked goods to reduce your intake of refined sugars. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber that reduces blood cholesterol levels and promotes a healthy digestive system. Dates are rich in polyphenols (a group of antioxidants) that are linked to a reduced risk for heart disease and cancer. They also contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium that work together to improve blood pressure.

Delicata Squash

Delicata is a winter squash loaded with carotenoids that act as antioxidants to prevent disease. It contains five of the B-complex vitamins necessary for health. Research shows that the starches in winter squash may protect against diabetes and help regulate insulin.

Grapefruit

Pink and red grapefruit contain the phytonutrient lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects against cancer and other diseases. Grapefruits also contain limonoids, which have been shown to fight the formation of tumors.

Kale

This dark, leafy green contains over 45 different flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Kale is loaded with vitamins A, C and K. It also provides lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for vision and eye health.

Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit are an excellent source for vitamin C, which is important for the growth and repair of tissues, especially during wound healing. The edible black seeds provide soluble and insoluble fibers. They are rich in antioxidants and provide the minerals magnesium and potassium that are important for heart health.

Leeks

Leeks are part of the allium family, a group of vegetables with sulphur-containing compounds that promote health and protect against disease. Leeks contain flavonoids and polyphenols that have been found to protect the lining of blood vessels from the free radical damage that can lead to heart disease. Leeks also provide folate for a healthy cardiovascular system.

Oranges

Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant (Winter Citrus Salad Recipe). Animal studies have shown that the flavonoids in oranges have the potential to lower both blood cholesterol and blood pressure. These valuable phytonutrients are found in the peel and inner white portion of the orange and not the juice. Using orange zest and eating whole oranges (where some of the white pith remains) is the best way to maximize phytonutrient intake. Like grapefruits, oranges also contain liminoids that may help inhibit the formation of tumors.

Pomegranates

Research shows that the polyphenols in pomegranates may improve heart health by preventing plaque build-up in blood vessels by LDL cholesterol. Pomegranates are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, including ellagic acid which has been shown to slow the growth of tumors in animal studies.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have been found to help regulate blood glucose by increasing levels of protein hormones that support healthy insulin metabolism. Purple sweet potatoes contain anthocyanins (antioxidants that fight inflammation). Orange sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of vitamin A. Research shows that eating orange sweet potatoes with some fat (3 to 5 grams) will maximize your absorption of the vitamin.

Sources

7 Good Mood Foods7 Good Mood Foods

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Good Mood Foods - roasted chickpea recipe

Research shows that foods contain the vitamins and minerals that ward off feelings of depression and produce the mood-boosting brain chemicals that give us a more positive outlook. Put yourself in a good mood and eat some of these healthy foods every day.

Asparagus is rich in folic acid, which boosts dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with improved mood and pleasure. (Try Garlic Roasted Asparagus with Fresh Herbs and Lemon.)

Chickpeas provide vitamin B6, which is involved in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Like dopamine, it helps to improve mood. (Try Curry Chickpea and Lentil Stew.)

Cashews supply zinc. Low levels of zinc have been linked to depression.

Pistachios and other nuts contain the amino acid tryptophan, which plays a role in the production of serotonin.

Salmon and other cold-water fatty fish like mackerel, halibut, and lake trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows a link between low levels of omega-3s and depression.

Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium. Magnesium intake has been linked to decreased anxiety. It may also help improve mood swings associated with premenstrual syndrome.

Yogurt and other low-fat animal products are rich in vitamin B12, which supports the production of brain chemicals that influence mood and reduce symptoms of depression. (Try Cocoa Banana Yogurt Pops.)

New Ways to Assess Your ProgressNew Ways to Assess Your Progress

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Assess Your Fitness Progress

Weight, body mass index (BMI), circumference measurements, and body fat percentage are all good ways to assess your fitness progress, but they don’t tell the whole story. When you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you change more than your physical appearance. Don’t forget to pay attention to these improvements when assessing your progress and celebrating your success.

Cravings

Cravings can be caused by a rise in cortisol from increased stress or inadequate sleep. Eating high carbohydrate foods that cause a spike and drop in blood sugar can also trigger cravings. As you adopt healthier practices, like exercising to reduce stress and eating healthier foods, your cravings will decrease. They may not disappear completely, but you will be able to control them and the amount you eat when you decide to treat yourself.

Hunger and Fullness

As you become a mindful eater, you will begin to recognize when you are truly hungry, which will help you to stop eating when you are full. After years of unhealthy dieting, it can be difficult to recognize true hunger and fullness again so consider this a big step to improving your health.

Energy Levels

Healthy foods are rich in fiber and protein that help stabilize your blood sugar and prevent the spikes and drops that can zap your energy. Adopting healthy habits will boost your energy levels throughout the day. Pay attention to changes in how you feel at different times. You will likely find that your afternoon slump no longer occurs and that you awake each morning ready to take on your day.

Sleep

Research shows that regular exercise promotes restful sleep as long as you complete your workout at least four hours before bedtime. Staying well hydrated, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, and limiting alcohol intake can all improve your sleep patterns. Healthy foods can ease stress and anxiety further helping you to get the rest you need to feel your best. Consider keeping a sleep journal that tracks how quickly you fall asleep, how long you sleep, and how you feel when waking. Compare this to your food diary and exercise log to determine the positive changes you’ve made to improve sleep.

Moving with Ease

As you become fit, daily activities will become easier. Pay attention to your breathing when you climb a flight of stairs. Note improvements in joint pain during your workouts. As the weight comes off and you become stronger, your body will begin to move more easily. The aches and pains you once felt will lessen and often disappear.

3 Reasons Not to Skip Meals3 Reasons Not to Skip Meals

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Reasons Not to Skip Meals

Skipping meals may seem like a good idea to cut calories, but it’s not a smart tactic for successful weight loss. It is tempting to save calories so you can indulge in a big meal without regret, but it is a practice that can easily backfire. Before you deprive yourself of a nutritious meal, consider how it affects your physical and mental health.

Overeating

You may feel like you have your hunger under control, until you sit down to the table. After skipping meals all day, once you are finally confronted with food, you are much more likely to overeat and choose unhealthy foods to satisfy your cravings. One study showed that subjects who skipped meals throughout the day and ate a large meal in the evening had elevated fasting blood glucose and delayed insulin response (risk factors for diabetes) after eight weeks.

Poor nutrition

It takes planning to ensure that you get all of the nutrients you need. This is much easier to accomplish when your meals and snacks are spread throughout the day. Skipping meals can reduce your variety of foods, and therefore, your nutrient intake. You may become too full to get all the foods you need when you do eat, or the increased hunger and cravings may cause you to bypass nutritious options for unhealthy comfort foods.

Bad attitude

A grumbling stomach and dropping blood sugar can affect your mood and attitude. Fatigue, irritability, and an overall negative outlook are just a few of the consequences of skipping meals. A bad attitude threatens motivation, and your desire to make healthy choices and stick to your workouts.

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