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Archive for October, 2013

Top 12 Easy Food Tips & Swaps for Weight Loss

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 25, 2013

My Top 12 Easy Food Tips & Swaps for Weight Loss — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted catherine-morgan.com)

If you are the kind of person who loves to take the time to cook and try new healthy recipes — that is great (I honestly wish I were like that).  If that is you, then you are super lucky, because there are thousands and thousands of healthy eating cookbooks (and just as many of them are free on Amazon with Kindle Reading App).  But, if you’re like me, and you don’t have the time or the inclination to go out and buy specific foods and ingredients to whip up exciting healthy recipes — then you are in luck.

Here are some of the ways I eat healthy without following recipes.  For me it’s all about having my staple healthy foods always available so I can easily make quick and healthy meals.

My top 12 easy food tips and swaps.

1.  We all know how important eating fish is.  It is a high protein food that is also very low in fat and calories.  My problem was that, whenever I bought costly fresh seafood, it either didn’t seem very fresh or I didn’t eat it quickly enough…so I ended up wasting a lot of money that way.  Then one day, I found out that most (or all) of the so-called “fresh” seafood was merely thawed-out frozen seafood.  I also found out that I could get the exact same fish still frozen, and then I could keep it frozen until the time I wanted to eat it, so I would never waste any of it.  Now what I do is buy individually wrapped frozen fish (I like salmon, tilapia, cod, mahi, and shrimp), I thaw it when I am ready to use it, season it, wrap it in foil, and then cook it in the toaster oven.  It is quick and easy, and it always turns out tasting wonderful.

2.  I also like to buy 97-98% lean ground turkey.  If I have time, I make it into patties and cook them on the grill or frying pan, and then I put some in the freezer and some in the fridge to be heated up whenever I am hungry.  If I don’t have time to cook the ground meat all at once, I separate it into single servings and place into storage bags and freeze.  Then I can quickly make one burger by thawing out an already portioned amount of ground turkey.   Once I have my burger ready, I put it on one of those low calorie roll-thins, and top with spinach, salsa, and avocado.

3.  I try to keep several low calorie frozen dinners on hand for times when I feel I need something fast, but have little time to cook.  Of course, it is much healthier to avoid processed foods, but a low calorie frozen dinner is still better than fast food or other high fat/high calorie foods.  These meals are also great to take to work for lunch when you don’t have time to prepare something. TIP:  Whenever possible, add fresh or frozen vegetables to your frozen meal (this will make it much more filling, as well as add to the nutritional value without adding too many calories).  Keep an eye out for sales on these meals, rather than paying full price.

4.  Chicken breast is another easy and lean meat you can prepare ahead; keep some in the freezer and some in the refrigerator.  You can do so many things with chicken breast: add to salad, heat with vegetables, make a hot or cold sandwich on a low calorie bun, or just keep bite size pieces in the fridge to munch on when you need a healthy snack.  I often get my chicken breast frozen; this way I always have some in the freezer.  Like I said before, one of the best tricks to eating healthy is never running out of healthy food.

5.  Instant oatmeal is a quick and easy meal.  You can eat it alone or with fruit, and it is basically one of the best sources of fiber you can get.  It’s also something you can easily bring with you to work.  TIP:  Eating breakfast is the best way to get your metabolism started in the morning, and studies show that people who eat breakfast lose more weight than their breakfast-skipping counterparts.

6.  Pre-washed lettuce, spinach, and other greens can come in handy if you are too busy to clean and chop it yourself.   And if you are hungry, being able to make something fast can be critical.   You can also buy cleaned and chopped bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and more.  IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SPINACH: Most experts say that if you can’t get organic spinach, then don’t get it at all (chemicals and pesticides make most spinach unhealthier for you than healthy, so the benefits of eating it don’t outweigh the risks). I’ve been buying organic spinach from my grocery store, and it is a bit more costly, but worth it.

7.  I like to buy fresh and frozen vegetables that come in microwavable bags.  This way, they can be quickly added to any meal with very little effort.  You can also get frozen rice that cooks in just a few minutes in the microwave.  TIP:  Keep an eye out for sales; I like to stock up when they are buy one, get one free.

8.  What about bread, pasta, rice?  On many diets, you are encouraged to eat little or none of these foods, but as long as you are keeping track of your calories, these carbs can be eaten in moderation as part of your healthy diet.  However, you NEVER want to eat the “white” version of these foods.  Don’t eat white bread; find a whole wheat bread.  Don’t eat regular pasta; take some time to acquire a taste for whole wheat pasta.  

9.  Mrs. Dash seasonings have many flavors, and they are all salt-free.  Using these specially combined seasonings is the easiest way to add a wonderful flavor to your food.  My favorite is Hot & Spicy (I add it to just about every meat and fish I cook).  And, if you Google “Mrs. Dash.” you will find an unlimited number of recipes.

10.  If you haven’t already, try some of the Laughing Cow spreads.  They are very low in calories and fat, and can really enhance a plain sandwich that you might have previously used mayo or cheese on.  There are at least a half a dozen different flavors to choose from.

11.  We all know that salad dressing can quickly add to your calorie and fat intake.  Always buy light dressings…and if you can, water them down even more.  I try to keep an empty bottle or two, and then make my own dilution depending on the dressing.  You may be surprised at how quickly you begin to enjoy the watered-down versions of your favorite dressings.  TIP:  When you are out at a restaurant, you can discretely dilute your dressing by using lemon wedges.

12.  Avocado is a great way to add healthy fat and omega-3s to your salads and sandwiches.  The problem is that avocados are often expensive, are hard to peel, and go brown quickly. Instead of using avocados, I have been buying fresh guacamole I find in the produce section…the one I buy is 95% avocado.  It’s just another way you can get the benefits of a healthy food without the time-consuming preparation.

Update:  If you are a South Beach Diet Fan, you have to check out Kalyn’s Kitchen (she has the best healthy recipes around).

So, there you have it.  I hope you find these tips and swaps helpful.  Do you have any personal food swaps or tips for losing weight?  If so, please share them with us in comments.

**If you like these tips, you will love my new book (coming in November) Love the Diet, Lose the Fat.  For a pre-release offer to get the book for $1, go to the Love the Diet website and sign-up with just your email address.

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Posted in cooking, fitness, food, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, lose weight, nutrition, weight loss, women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Top 12 Easy Food Tips & Swaps for Weight Loss

Best Health & Wellness Blogs

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 25, 2013

Fantastic Health & Wellness Blogs Friday — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted to BlogHer)

Since I decided to start blogging much more, and one of the things I like best about blogging is featuring links to other bloggers — I am starting a weekly series called Fantastic Health & Wellness Blogs Friday.  Hope you will take some time and check out these wonderful blogs.

Here are some blogs I featured  way back in  2009, and they are still going strong…

A Merry Life

Hi! I’m Mary. Welcome to my blog.  I lost 40 pounds, fell in love with being active, and learned how to cook healthy food, all in the pursuit of being healthy and happy.

Cranky Fitness

Cranky Fitness is a health blog, sort of. It was started by Crabby McSlacker in 2007, and has also featured co-bloggers Merry, Gigi and Jo. Regular publishing ended in March of 2010, but the blog has been semi-resurrected!  New posts come out approximately weekly, but there are over 1,000 posts in the archives, so feel free to browse.  There’s a search bar on the right sidebar that may come in handy.

Blog topics at Cranky Fitness include general health, fitness, nutrition, personal development, disease prevention, aging, and whatever else the authors happened to feel like whining about on a given day.

Fit & Inspired Living

After losing all of my blog content from 2011, and a lack luster posting schedule in 2012 (I did manage to post more regularly on my other blog),  I’ve decided that 2013 is going to be a great year for Fit & Inspired Living.  I have already taken a few steps towards that end – updated my blog design, created a content schedule and most importantly, made up my mind to make it happen.

Raise Healthy Eaters

After having my first child in 2006, I found feeding to be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. Much of the struggle I felt — and still do sometimes — comes from the modern-day pressure we all face to get our children to eat a certain way.

As a registered dietitian and family nutrition expert, I’ve come to realize this view of “getting-children-to-eat-healthy” not only leads to feeding mistakes, it leaves parents in a constant state of guilt, blaming themselves when their child eats less than perfectly. And worst of all, children eat less well with this kind of approach.

Hungry Hungry Hippie

Hi! I’m Elise. I’m a nurse. An exercise lover.  A whole foods connoisseur.  A health enthusiast.  And I have IBS.  No need to cue the sappy violin music yet…

I’ve found that eating a low FODMAP, mostly plant-based diet has allowed me to continue to live and love life to the fullest.  Although moderation isn’t something I do well, I’m 100% devoted to giving my body pure, wholesome, quality food. Nutritious and delicious, all the time.  Hungry Hungry Hippie is a way for me to share my daily dealings with food, fitness, and everything in between.

Fit Mama Eats

I counsel and teach about 100 people every week, which is rewarding hard work. My greatest hope is to make a difference in people’s lives and motivate them to live strong and be healthy no matter what life’s challenges are. My work isn’t all roses as I often connect with discouraged and very ill people and sometimes there is only so much help one can offer. But if I’ve convinced someone to take one positive step forward that forever changes their path, I’m satisfied.

I don’t live to eat but I cook and eat to live vibrantly. FitMamaEats offers my two cents on Boston-area restaurants, new food products, easy healthful recipes, and general health trends. You may also see product and book reviews related to food and fitness or a write-up about a health-related business that I strongly believe in.

Girl Get Strong

My name is Melanie (aka Crazy Legs) and I have been friends with Sian (GoGo Girl) and Susan (Pink Panther) since our eldest children were all in kindergarten together. I hope I’m not dating myself too much here, but it has been a few years and 11 kids later (between the three of us) since we first met! That kindergarten year was the year we each decided it was time to reclaim a bit of “me” time to shred the weight and get in shape (and perhaps it was also an escape from the craziness of mommy life!).

Broccoli Cupcake

I began blogging in 2009 to share our family’s journey to overcome a host of health issues including anxiety, allergies, eczema and chronic upper respiratory infections. By changing our lifestyle, we’ve improved our health and overall quality of life, but the journey is far from over and we’d love for you to join us.
Since launching Broccoli Cupcake, I’ve worked with leading brands including Seventh Generation, Applegate, Nintendo and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I’m a former healthy living expert for FOX 17 Tennessee Mornings and have been a freelance writer for outlets ranging from Yoga Journal to SavvySource.com.

These are just some of the blogs I featured back in 2009, I have many more that are still going strong, and I will feature more of them in upcoming Fantastic Health & Wellness Blogs Friday.

Now here are a few I just happened to come across this week…

The Happiness Project

In just 21 days, you really can take steps to make your life happier—without spending a lot of time, energy, or money.  I’ve created four premium 21 Day Happiness Projects for you to follow, if you want to tackle one of these common happiness challenges.

Sodium Girl

Faced with kidney failure and a handful of other medical complications, I decided that nothing would stop me from having a full life and a full belly.  I discovered that a well controlled, salt-free, low-sodium diet was key to staying healthy and active. But it took time and years of experimentation to achieve the delicate balance of eating well while maintaining a busy schedule and a budget.  With a few years of salt-free cooking, eating, and living under my belt, I started this blog to give others a jump start in their own journey.

Healthy Food For Living

I am a 30 year old living outside of Boston with my wonderful husband, beautiful baby daughter, playful dog, and cuddly cat.  I have degrees in both psychology and guidance counseling, and have worked in a variety of school settings.  I strive to find a balance between the two basic food philosophies of “eat to live” and “live to eat“.  I believe that food should be (and is!) one of the great pleasures of leading a healthy lifestyle.

Marc and Angel Hack Life  –Practical Tips for Productive Living

Marc and his Angel both share a great passion for inspiring others to live to their fullest potential, and they honestly feel best when they are inspiring others to be their best. They started their blog with the goal of inspiring as many people as possible, and they work passionately every day to fulfill this goal through the thoughts and ideas they share online.

oh she glows – vegan recipe blog

I’m Angela. Welcome to Oh She Glows – an award-winning vegan recipe blog featuring over 400 healthy recipes! For the past 5 years, I’ve shared wholesome, energizing recipes that I eat on a day to day basis as well as oodles of drool-worthy photographs. My goal is to inspire others to embrace more plant-based foods in their diet without feeling deprived. Get ready to glow!

So, there you have it, my first list of Fantastic Health & Wellness blogs.  Come back every Friday to see more health & wellness blogs that I think are pretty fantastic.  

If you have a health & wellness blog that you would like to have featured here — please leave your link in comments, and I will check it out. 

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, family, health, Health & Wellness, healthy living, life, self help, women, women's health, women's issues, writing | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Best Health & Wellness Blogs

 
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