March 31, 2007
Prenatal Exercise Basics
If you have been following a regular exercise program prior to your pregnancy, you should be able to maintain that program to some degree throughout your pregnancy. Exercise does not increase your risk for miscarriage.
• If you are just starting an exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy, you should start very slowly and be careful not to over exert yourself.
• Listen to your body. Your body will naturally give you signals that it is time to reduce the level of exercise you perform.
• Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. This is a sign that your baby and your body cannot get the oxygen supply it needs.
• Wear comfortable exercise footwear that gives strong ankle and arch support.
• Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids during exercise.
• Avoid exercise in extremely hot weather.
• Avoid rocky terrain or unstable ground when running or cycling. Your joints are more lax in pregnancy and ankle sprains and other injuries may occur.
• Contact sports should be avoided during pregnancy.
• Weight training should emphasize improving tone, especially in the upper body and abdominal area. Avoid lifting weights above your head and using weights that strain the lower back muscles.
• During the second and third trimesters, avoid exercise that involves laying flat on your back, as this decreases blood flow to your womb.
• Include relaxation and stretching before and after your exercise program.
• Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.
March 28, 2007
When you need a boost to stay on track, try these strategies:
Make lifestyle changes with a friend or family member. A partner increases the enjoyment factor of physical activity and healthful eating.
Enlist support. Those who have a support system including family and friends are more likely to manage their weight successfully. Watch out for those who attempt to sabotage your efforts.
Please yourself. Remember, the most important reason to work towards a healthy weight is you.
Enjoy how good your healthy weight feels. If you’re eating better, being more active, your clothes fit better, you have more energy, you sleep better – that’s success! Even if the number on the scale isn’t your goal weight. Celebrate your successes with non-food rewards like new clothes, fresh flowers, a special outing, new music to listen to. You deserve it!
March 23, 2007
Walk the Walk
A daily walk is a wonderful way to maintain a healthy weight. Dozens of research studies show 30- to 45-minute walks per day can help lower stress levels, improve mood, boost immune system and reduce the risk of disease.
And now, you have an extra hour of afterwork daylight to get those miles in.
Here are three easy ways to make every walk do "double duty" for your busy life:
Walk and talk. Walking and talking with a friend is good for your body, heart and soul. Walking and talking with kids or grandchildren is an active way to spend quality time together. It can also be a time to discuss serious issues like school or grades, in a less threatening atmosphere.
Walk and listen. Music lightens every step, and seems to make time go faster. Pick your favorite tunes, pick up the pace and sing along. Walking and listening to books on tape is another fun way to add extra value to a daily walk. Language tapes, CDs or podcasts also make ideal walking companions.
Walk and shop. Using your legs for transportation is a simple way to accomplish two things at the same time. Put on a backpack for your purchases and walk to the grocery store, walk to the post office or the mall. If you live too far to walk all the way from home, drive to a central location and walk from there.
March 19, 2007
Feeling tired? 6 tips for more energy
The right foods — and a little bit of caffeine — can make all the difference.
If you can’t get out of bed in the am, fall asleep at your desk in the afternoon, have trouble keeping up with your kids or find yourself dragging through the day, the following SIX strategies can help increase your energy level!
Get enough sleep:
You’ll obviously feel tired and sluggish without enough sleep. But research also shows that sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your health and weight. Aim for 8 hours a night.
Avoid late night high-fat meals
Eating high fat, high salt, high calorie meals before bed – can zap your early am energy and make it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Sort of like a food hangover.
Numerous studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast can help people feel better both mentally and physically during the morning hours.
Try moderate caffeine
Caffeine is currently the most widely used stimulant in the world and scientific studies confirm that caffeinated beverages like coffee can help keep you temporarily alert and focused. So feel free to enjoy a few cups of joe, but certainly know your personal tolerance level and don’t solely rely on caffeine as your means to stay energized.
What’s more, be sure to “decaffeinate��? by late afternoon so the caffeine doesn’t keep you awake at night (see #1!). Caffeine typically peaks within the first hour and can linger in your system between 3 and 8 hours, so adjust accordingly.
8-ounce cup of coffee = approximately 100 milligrams caffeine
One cup black tea = approximately 40 milligrams caffeine
One cup green tea = approximately 20 milligrams caffeine
Keep your body hydrated:
Water is needed to maintain a healthy body, a clear mind, and a good balance within your tissues. About 60% of your body is water and to function efficiently, you must stay hydrated. How much is enough? The Institute of Medicine recommends about nine 8-ounce cups of fluid per day for women and thirteen 8-ounce cups of fluid per day for men. Even more if you live in a super hot climate or are very physically active. Sounds like a lot, but rest assured, it adds up quickly… and although water is your best bet, ALL fluids count (including coffee, tea and milk in your cereal). Even juicy fruits and vegetables!
Prevent dips in blood sugar:
* Eat every 4 to 5 hours: Eating consistently throughout the day provides your brain and body with a constant source of fuel. This 4-5 hour eating strategy can dramatically prevent dips in your blood sugar levels. Some people with diagnosed hypoglycemia may need to eat even more frequently (every 2-3 hours).
* Limit refined carbohydrates to help lessen volatile blood sugar swings: Concentrated sources of sugar like soda, candy, fruit juice, jam, and syrup can create radical spikes in your blood sugar – which often leaves you feeling tired a couple of hours later. And although refined, white starch like white bread, crackers, bagels, and rice do not naturally contain sugar compounds, they are metabolized into sugar very quickly and can often create the same affect. Instead incorporate high quality carbs like vegetables, fruit, beans, peas, lentils, brown and wild rice, and oatmeal.
* Incorporate soluble fiber: Foods rich in soluble fiber have the ability to slow down the absorption of sugar in your blood and therefore, help to level blood sugars and energy. Incorporate oats, brown rice, barley, apples, pears, strawberries, oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and beans into your diet.
* Incorporate protein with meals and snacks (whenever possible): The addition of protein to a meal will help slow the absorption of carbohydrate in the blood. This can help you feel energized and productive for hours after eating.
Bowl of whole grain cereal (for a cereal with extra protein try: Kashi Go Lean and Special K Protein Plus) with skim milk topped with sliced strawberries
Coffee with skim milk
Apple and container of non-fat, flavored yogurt
2 glasses of water
Large vegetable salad with grilled chicken with vinaigrette dressing
Whole grain roll
2 glasses of water
Gnu Bar (or 2-pack Nature Valley granola bars)
Grilled pork tenderloin or fish
Baked sweet potato
Sautéed spinach in olive oil
2 glasses of water
Ounce of dark chocolate
March 17, 2007
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Why should you never iron a 4-leaf clover? You don't want to press your luck.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
March 15, 2007
Celebrate St Patty's Day with Something Green...Asparagus!
When spring weather is just right, an asparagus stalk can grow as much as 10 inches a day. Even more impressive is what it can do for your diet. Asparagus is low in calories (about 5 calories a stalk) and is packed with vitamins A, C and E. Just a half-cup serving of asparagus delivers a third of the recommended daily intake of folate.
When shopping for asparagus, look for firm stalks with tight tips. Fresh asparagus should snap when bent. Though best eaten the day purchased, asparagus can be refrigerated, wrapped in a damp cloth inside a plastic bag, for three days.
Opinion is divided, but many people believe large stalks are sweeter and juicer than thin ones. White asparagus tends to be less flavorful. Purple asparagus will have a fruity flavor.
Peeling tough-skinned stalks with a vegetable peeler will help ensure that the tips and stalks cook at the same rate. And be sure to rinse all asparagus thoroughly before cooking to remove any lingering sand.
For an even simpler preparation, try microwaving a pound of asparagus with a few tablespoons of water in a covered glass dish for about 3 minutes, or until tender.
To roast asparagus, place the stalks on a baking sheet, drizzle with a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, and roast at 500 F for 10 minutes, or until wilted and browned in spots.
Asparagus Braised with Fresh Rosemary and Bay Leaves
(Start to finish: 15 minutes)
• 2 lbs. fresh green or white asparagus, bottoms trimmed, peeled if tough
• 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 t. coarse sea salt
• 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 3 bay leaves, preferably fresh
In a skillet large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer, combine the asparagus, oil, salt, rosemary and bay leaves. Sprinkle with 3 T. of cold water. Cover and cook over high heat just until the oil and water mixture begins to sizzle.
Reduce heat to medium and braise the asparagus, covered, turning from time to time, until the asparagus begins to brown in spots, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the asparagus. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 68 calories, 4 g total fat, 3 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 594 mg sodium
March 13, 2007
Give Breakfast a Boost
Breakfast should include three food groups: a fruit or vegetable, protein and whole grain.
Slide whole-wheat or another whole grain bread into the toaster or pour high-fiber cereals into your bowl. While white bread and cereals with little or no fiber can leave you feeling hungry a couple of hours later, high-fiber foods are more filling.
Protein is key to breakfast's staying power. Simply spreading peanut butter onto your toast can give you just the punch of protein you need. Add sliced strawberries or bananas to provide extra nutrition. Peanut butter is a great source of protein that helps to keep you full a little longer, so you can kind of avoid that midmorning trip to the vending machine or to the doughnuts.
Choose foods low in fat and sugar. If you're having cereal, look for those with less than 3 grams of sugar per serving.
Think about nontraditional breakfast foods if you're tired of the same old thing. If you like sandwiches, have one for breakfast, or dig into some leftovers.
Breakfast doesn't have to be labor-intensive. Make a pancake roll-up by microwaving a frozen pancake, adding fresh fruit and some yogurt or cottage cheese. Whole grain waffles could also be topped in similar way. Or tuck some scrambled eggs and salsa into a pita pocket.
Smoothies made with nonfat or low-fat milk or yogurt and whatever fruit you enjoy make for a drink that's good on the go.
Grab some trail mix or string cheese.
Save time by preparing breakfast options the night before. Use prepackaged, precut fruits and vegetables.
Set the table the night before, so your empty cereal bowl serves as a breakfast reminder.
Vegetable omelets made with egg whites or an egg substitute are a good start to the day.
In an oatmeal rut? Lots of other grains, such as barley, are tasty hot alternatives.
March 9, 2007
A mixture of soybean and canola oil which has been chemically modified to include more diacylglycerides.
Traditional cooking oils consist mostly of fat molecules called triacylglycerols, or TAGs, with a small amount of diacylglycerols, or DAGs. TAGs carry three fatty acids on a backbone molecule; DAGs carry two fatty acids in the first and second positions on the backbone (1,2 DAGs) or in the first and third positions (1,3 DAGs). Your body breaks down Enova™ oil and traditional TAG oils exactly the same way and absorbs the resulting fatty acids into the intestine.
Your body breaks down the fat in foods into components the intestine can absorb. These components are called fatty acids. Then the intestine rebuilds the fatty acids into fat molecules and combines them into packets that are sent to the bloodstream, to be stored in body tissues.
Enova™ oil consists of at least 80% DAGs. Approximately seventy percent of these DAGs are the (1,3) form of diacylglycerol. Due to the shape of the (1,3) DAG molecules, enzymes in the intestine can't recombine most of the pieces of this fat into fat molecules, so less fat is passed into the bloodstream to be stored in the body. Less of the DAG in Enova™ Oil is stored in the body as fat.
Easy Greek Salad
6 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into 11/2-inch pieces
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons Enova™ brand oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion and cheese in large serving bowl.
Whisk together Enova™ brand oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt in small bowl. Pour over lettuce mixture; toss until coated. Serve immediately.
Yield: 6 Servings
Serving Size: 1/6 of total recipe per serving
Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories 81, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 7mg, Total Carbohydrate 5g
Dietary Fiber <1g, Sugars 2g, Sodium 290mg, Protein 2g
Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms
• 1 tablespoon Enova™ Brand Oil
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 cups (about 8oz.) mushrooms, sliced
• 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
• ¾ cup green onions, sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 cans (10 ½ oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 1 package (12 oz.) wild rice blend
• 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Heat Enova™ Brand Oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, onions, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Set aside; keep warm.
Combine salt and broth in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add rice; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in mushroom mixture; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Stir in pecans.
Yields: 14 servings
Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories 140; Calories From Fat 36; Fat 4 g (Saturated Fat 1 g; Monounsaturated Fat 2 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g); Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 260 mg; Carbohydrates 22 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 4 g;
Salmon, Asparagus & Orzo Salad
1 (8-ounce) salmon fillet
1 cup uncooked orzo
8 ounces asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch lengths (about 11/2 cups), cooked
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons Enova™ brand oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
11/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Prepare grill for direct grilling. Grill salmon over medium coals about 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until opaque. Remove from grill; cool. Flake salmon into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt; drain and cool.
Combine salmon, orzo, asparagus, cranberries and green onions in large bowl. Whisk together Enova™ brand oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour over salmon mixture; toss until coated. Chill 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Yield: 4 Servings
Serving Size: 1/4 of total recipe
Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories 387, Total Fat 14g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 33mg, Total Carbohydrate 47g
Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 12g, Sodium 373mg, Protein 18g
March 5, 2007
Whole Grain Goodness
It's pretty tough to find whole barley outside of health food stores and even the most "whole" version will be missing its hull. This "hulled barley" has still got much more fiber and minerals than pearled barley which has been stripped of the germ and the bran and polished up to six times to give it a smooth surface. Over half of the barley grown in the US is used for beer and nearly all of the rest is used for livestock, although this is a truly delicious and nutritious grain.
Hulled barley can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container or at least kept away from light, heat, and moisture-it will stay fresh for up to several months. Pearled barley can be kept at room temperature for a longer time since most of the oils which could go rancid have already been removed.
Substitute hulled barley for any recipe where you see pearled barley, but keep in mind that it will take closer to two hours to cook, much longer than the 45 minutes recommended for pearled. You might want to cook it in a separate pot and add it into recipes at the end, so your other cooking times don't change. You can also serve it on its own with simple seasoning as a side dish or in grain salads.
Toasted Barley Salad with Red Bell Pepper,Corn and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 1/2 cups canned vegetable broth
1 large poblano chili or green bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
2 large plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Nonstick olive oil spray
4 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped away
24 large spinach leaves
Place barley in heavy large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until pale golden, shaking pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add broth to pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until barley is tender and broth is absorbed, about 35 minutes. Uncover and let barley cool. Char poblano and red bell pepper over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag and let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed and dice poblano and red bell pepper. Place barley, poblano and red bell pepper in large bowl. Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients; toss to blend. Season salad with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Spray mushrooms with nonstick spray; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface; slice thinly. Arrange 6 spinach leaves on each of 4 plates. Top with barley salad. Arrange 1 sliced mushroom alongside each salad. Serve while mushrooms are still warm.
Fruited Breakfast Barley
Grinding the barley cracks the grains, which allows them to cook faster and maintain their chewy texture; toasting the grains brings out a nutty flavor. To decrease morning prep, grind and toast the barley ahead of time and store in an airtight container.
1 1/4 cups uncooked pearl barley
5 cups water
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
Place 1/3 cup barley in a blender; process until coarsely ground (about 15 to 20 seconds). Place ground barley in a large saucepan. Repeat procedure with remaining barley. Cook barley over medium heat 4 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently.
Add water, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 25 minutes or until barley is soft, stirring frequently. Add milk; cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Stir in raisins, apricots, and almonds. Serve immediately.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 329(15% from fat); FAT 5.6g (sat 0.8g,mono 3.1g,poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 8.2g; CHOLESTEROL 2mg; CALCIUM 105mg; SODIUM 425mg; FIBER 9.6g; IRON 2.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 65.8g
March 1, 2007
March is National Nutrition Month
As consumers increasingly take responsibility for their own health, people want all the information they can get on making healthful choices, including what to eat. Yet sometimes the public's hunger for information makes many people vulnerable to food and nutrition misinformation. That’s why the American Dietetic Association chose the theme, "100 Percent Fad Free" for National Nutrition Month.
• Develop an eating plan for lifelong health. Too often people adopt the latest food fad rather than focusing on overall health. Get back to basics and use the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid as your guide to healthy eating.
• Choose foods sensibly by looking at the big picture. A single food or meal doesn't make or break a healthful diet. When consumed in moderation in the appropriate portion size, most foods can fit into a healthful diet.
• Learn how to spot a food fad. Unreasonable or exaggerated claims that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrient supplements or combinations of foods may cure disease or offer quick weight loss are key features of fad diets.
• Find your balance between food and physical activity. Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness plus it helps control body weight, promotes a feeling of well-being and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
• Food and nutrition misinformation can have harmful effects on your health and well-being, as well as your wallet. Registered dietitians are uniquely qualified to communicate current and emerging science-based nutrition information and are an instrumental part of developing a diet plan that is unique to your particular needs.
Visit www.eatright.org for more information.