Screaming for Ice Cream? Here’s an alternative:

As good as that big bowl of ice cream tastes, it is best enjoyed in moderation. But if you can’t resist the sweet tooth, here’s a healthier alternative for you: Frozen bananas!

Take about 3 very ripe bananas. “Very ripe” is key here; the more ripe the banana the sweeter it will taste. Slice the bananas into 1/4″ slices and freeze them until they are solid.

Once the bananas are frozen, you are ready to go. Take the bananas from the freezer and dump them into a blender. Add 1/2 cup of almond milk (adjust based on how thick you want your banana ice cream; less milk will be a little thicker). Blend until well mixed and there are no more banana chunks left. Scoop out of blender and enjoy!

This is a gluten free, lactose free alternative to ice cream, and tastes fantastic. If the bananas aren’t enough for you, try topping it with some dark chocolate chips or strawberries. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Egg Muffin Cups for a Healthy Breakfast all Week Long

By now, most everyone has heard the breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But the hardest part for a lot of people is having the time in the morning to actually make and eat breakfast. Well here is a great recipe that can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for a quick and easy health packed breakfast.

I love that these healthy egg muffin cups can be made in advance. These muffin cups have less than 50 calories per muffin and are packed with vegetables, so eat up and serve with some toast, your morning coffee, yogurt, etc! showmetheyummy.com #breakfast #healthy #togo #easyrecipes #vegetarian

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil                                  1 cup Red Pepper

1 cup Green Pepper                                                        2 cups Spinach

1 cup Mushrooms                                                           1 cup Red Onion

4 whole eggs                                                                    4 Egg Whites

Salt, Pepper, and Garlic to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a standard 12 cup muffin tin and set aside
  3. Heat oil over medium heat in non-stick skillet
  4. Add peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Saute until peppers are soft, about 5-7 minutes
  5. Add spinach and cook for another 2 minutes
  6. Add garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  7. In bowl, whisk together eggs and egg whites
  8. Add in veggie mixture, and stir together
  9. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tin, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until tops are firm to the touch.
  10. Enjoy!

These muffins come to around 50 calories each, and can be stored in the fridge for about 4 days, or frozen. This recipe can also be adapted to whatever you have on hand in the fridge. If you want to add in tomatoes, leave out the onions, anything is fine! Just make sure it is loaded with veggies! Feel free to top with fresh salsa, hot sauce, or any other of your favorite healthy toppings. Happy Eating!

 

 

Holiday Eating for Healthy Waistlines

Keep your holiday cravings in check with these simple tips and tricks. Your waistline will thank you!

With the holidays and cold weather approaching, many people take this time as an excuse to overindulge and consume higher calorie foods than normal. Just because you can wear oversized sweaters and stretchy jeans is no excuse to give up on your fitness goals. Here are some easy ways to avoid the holiday weight gain.

  1. Exercise First and Last

Create a calorie deficit before indulging on your favorite high calorie cakes, cookies, and pies. Taking a walk after eating is also a great way to prevent extra weight gain. Because your body’s metabolism will already be elevated as it tries to digest the food you just ate, adding light exercise to the mix will further boost your metabolism for a short time. Light exercise after a meal also has a significant effect on lowering triglycerides in the blood. This can help prevent weight gain and cardiovascular disease.

  1. Portion Control

It may sound easier than it is, but portion control is key to prevent overeating. Rather than filling your plate to the brim with everything you can find, start with small portions, wait 10 minutes, then see if you are still hungry. If possible, try a smaller plate as well. Smaller plate sizes have been shown to help prevent overeating and the weight gain associated with it.

3. Eat Before Going to the Party

The common thinking is “I’ll save my calories for later.” However, this can actually lead to overeating and over indulging. Studies have shown that people who eat before going to a party or holiday gathering actually eat less. Which makes sense, if you are not as hungry when you go to a holiday party, you most likely will not eat as much.

  1. Easy on the Booze

What many people don’t realize, is the liquid calories can add up. Keep in mind the average light beer has around 100 calories per can.  All these calories add up quick. Try having a glass of water or seltzer between alcoholic beverages. This will help keep you hydrated, sober, and away from the extra calories.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings

If you are trying to avoid eating high sugar, high calorie foods, sitting right next to the cookie tray or bowl of candy is probably not a great idea. Move away from the temptations, and you will be less likely to indulge. Focus on family and friends instead of the pie tray.

6. Keep your goals in mind, but be realistic.

If you know you struggle to keep weight off during the holiday season, perhaps now isn’t the best time to start a weight loss routine. Focus instead on weight management instead of loss and you will have a much happier holiday season.

 

The holiday season is not a mandatory weight gain season. Remember these few easy tips, and enjoy the season!

 

 

 

Why you need to eat fat to lose fat…sounds crazy right?

Perhaps one of the most popular trends in the world of dieting and nutrition is the idea of “Fat Free.” It seems everything you can imagine comes in a “low fat” or “fat free” option. I am here to tell you that no fat may actually make you gain fat.

When we talk about “fat” in regards to nutrition, there are two different kinds we refer to, saturated and unsaturated fat. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and generally come from animal sources, whereas unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature and come primarily from plant sources. Dietary fat is responsible for many key functions in the body. The truth is, we couldn’t live without it. Some key functions include:

  • Providing energy throughout the day
  • Act as a catalyst to absorb fat soluble vitamins
  • Help maintain body temperature
  • Essential for hormone production
  • Provide structural components for brain cells and nerves.

Given all of these amazing and vital roles fat plays in the body, why would anyone recommend to limit it? Well, there are some very good reasons. One being, fat contains a lot of calories. Too many calories consumed can and will lead to weight gain. However, limiting fat doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss. Here are a few ways eating fat can help you lose weight:

  • Eating foods higher in fat will help curb your cravings between meals. Since fats are harder to and take longer to digest, you will feel satisfied longer.
  • Eating fat will enhance your body’s ability to burn fat. Diets low in fat will decrease the body’s production of certain fat burning hormones, specifically adiponectin. Adiponectin is involved in regulating glucose levels as well as fat cell breakdown.
  • Diets higher in fat and lower in carbohydrate lead to lower releases of insulin. Lower insulin levels will allow your body to burn fat, and use it as a fuel source, rather than burning carbohydrates.

As always though, everything in moderation. Keep in mind that your daily fat calorie intake should only be about 15-30% of your total daily calories. Fat does contain calories, so be conscious of your portions, and keep losing fat!

 

Patrick Scott, M.S., C.S.C.S.

Sports and Fitness Director

The health benefits of a high fiber diet

For many years, people have know that fiber is good for you and you should eat it. But what a lot of people didn’t know is just how good it is, and just how much you should consume. A diet high in both soluble and insoluble fiber has numerous health benefits.

By definition, soluble fiber is a type of fiber that attracts water and turns to a gel upon combination, which slows digestion. This type of fiber is commonly found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and veggies. The common fiber supplement Metamucil is also a soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber is therefore just the opposite. This type of fiber is able to make it through the digestive tract relatively undigested. It adds bulk to the stool, and helps foods pass through more quickly. Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. Both types of fiber are important to maintain good health.

Diets high in fiber have been shown to help lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease as well as cardiovascular disease. This is due to fiber’s ability to significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. High fiber diets have also been shown to lower the risk of developing diabetes.

Other benefits of a high fiber diet include better appetite control, improved body weight control, and improved regularity and laxation.

Some fibers can also be classified as a prebiotic. Prebiotic’s are a relatively new term in the health world. Many people have heard of probiotics, the bacteria that lives in your large and small intestines? Well prebiotics are the food for those probiotics. It is suggested that high prebiotic diets can reduce the duration and frequency of antibiotic associated diarrhea, reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, promote weight loss and prevent obesity, and enhance the bio availability and absorption of some vitamins and minerals.

The American Dietetic Association recommends that men between the ages of 18-50 consume 38 grams of fiber per every 1000 calories of food. For women, they recommend 25-26 grams per 1000 calories of food. Now that’s a lot of fiber….

Slavin, J. (2008) Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108: 1716-1731.

Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits.Nutrients, 5(4), 1417-1435.

Are multivitamins worth the chew?

It seems more and more these days, people are turning to multivitamins and multi-minerals to help them feel better, sleep better, have more energy….The list goes on and on. But are they really working? And is it worth shelling out your hard earned cash for them? Well that depends on who you ask.

In a recent WebMD article, author Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, states that while a multivitamin can help to fill in the gaps, it is no supplement for what’s on your plate. “Vitamins and other dietary supplements are not intended to be food substitute. They cannot replace all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods,” says Zelman. That is why they are referred to as a supplement. Multivitamins are intended to “supplement” what you are already doing. Taking a multivitamin/mineral cannot replace or be instead of healthy eating habits.

But Zelman also goes on to cite numerous studies that show the benefits of certain vitamins. One such study was performed by the National Institute of Health. It found that supplementing with Calcium and Vitamin D in postmenopausal women can help to reduce bone fractures. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggests people over 50 get a majority of their Vitamin B12 from synthetic sources.

So back to the original question, are they worth it or not? The short answer is maybe. For certain populations, such as postmenopausal women, or older individuals, supplementing with a specific vitamin or mineral can have benefits. But it should not replace or be instead of healthy eating. Supplements should always be in addition to what you are already doing. For the everyday average individual who does not fall into one of these special populations? Focus on the healthy eating first, and if your doctor suggests something, then try it.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/help-vitamin-supplement?page=1

Which Protein is the Best?

This is a question I am constantly asked; which kind of protein should I consume to help build muscle and lose weight. With so many options out there, ranging from soy protein and animal protein, to supplemental proteins like whey and casein. When looking at a protein source, there are several things to keep in mind. One is the completeness of the amino acid profile, as well as the digestibility of the protein.

Animal protein, widely considered the best protein available, has both a complete amino acid profile, as well as easy digestibility. Amino acids are known as the building blocks of muscle. There are 20 amino acids that help to build a complete protein, and these are broken down into both essential and non essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are acids that must be obtained from food, because they cannot be readily produced in the body. Non-essential amino acids can be synthesized, as long as a diet contains nitrogen. A complete protein contains all 20 essential and non essential amino acids (Liska, 2004). This is why animal protein is generally preferred over plant protein when looking at muscle building capability. Dairy protein is usually easier to digest than meat protein, when looking at animal protein. Here is a chart published in the journal of sports science and medicine ranking different proteins (Hoffman, 2004). When looking at different types of animal proteins, casein, or milk protein, is generally considered the gold standard of proteins. Studies have shown casein protein to provide the greatest increases in muscle mass and protein synthesis when used over a period of time (Hoffman, 2004). For a more in depth look at proteins, here is an excellent article discussing this topic in depth. If you are trying to increase your casein protein intake, but do not want to increase milk intake, casein protein is readily available in supplement form. Look for pure casein protein, without any added sugars or fillers. The other milk protein, whey, is also available in many supplement forms.

If you are vegetarian, or have difficulty digesting animal proteins, soy protein is the next best thing. When compared to casein protein (considered the gold standard of protein), soy protein has been measured as high as 92% as effective as casein protein, which is pretty good for a plant protein (Liska, 2004). Soy based foods, such as tofu and soy flour, are also easily digested by a majority of the population.

Hoffman, J. R., & Falvo, M. J. (2004). Protein–which is best?. Journal of sports science & medicine, 3(3), 118.

Liska, D. (2004). Clinical nutrition: A functional approach (2nd ed.). Gig Harbor, Wash.: Institute for Functional Medicine.