Saturday, April 1, 2017
Outsmart Checkout Impulses
And the last, but certainly not least dangerous contact point between you and your supermarket's products is the checkout lane. Fully stocked with sugary, salty and saturated fatty snacks, these grab-n-go items can pack a punch when it comes to piling on empty calories. Along with the plethora of candy situated in the checkout aisle are cold sodas, foamy fountain drinks, salty trail mixes and magazines touting the latest weight-loss craze. You can easily add hundreds of calories and a few extra bucks to your bill in the minutes you spend checking out.
Battle plan: Flip through a magazine you know you won't buy, chat with the person standing behind you in line, organize your groceries perfectly on the conveyor belt—anything to keep your hand from wandering to those impulse purchases. If you haven’t eaten in hours and you don’t think you can make it home, plan ahead and purchase an extra piece of fruit to eat on your ride home.
(This is a hard one to pass by! I'm standing there waiting in line. There are all the goodies that I know taste so good. I tell myself, "OK. Lets just buy one this time. I can eat it in the car and no one will know that I cheated on my diet. That is no one but me! and my scales!)
Friday, March 31, 2017
Free Yourself from Free Samples
When you see little carts set up with mini toasters and microwaves handing out bits and pieces of goodies, you’ve entered the realm of free samples. This tactic is widely implemented by grocers to increase products sales because it works wonderfully. Free sample stations are great ways to demonstrate the versatility of certain products, but how often are the featured foods healthful or nutrient-dense? How often are they full of vitamins, minerals, lean protein, healthy fats and fiber? How often do they feature whole, unprocessed foods that are naturally good for you? The products grocers generally hand out to promote sales are convenience items, ones that shouldn’t be on your shopping list if you're trying to eat healthier.
Battle plan: If the product is free of trans fats, made with whole grains or free of added sweeteners, enjoy a little nibble. Use your label-reading skills to determine if it’s a healthful item you can pick up during your next grocery trip. Look at the amount of protein, calories, fiber, added sugars, salt, and types of fats to assess how healthful the food might be.
(Boy do I fall for this one! I sample and usually buy without reading the full label. Also, how sanitary is this item, the cooking equipment and even the cook? If it's in the bakery/deli dept and is placed out in a 'covered' tray to sample, how many other hands have been inside there? Do they possibly have a cold that I'm about to catch?)
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Bust by Bargains
You see the signs: 5 for $10! Buy two get one FREE! 2 for the price of 1! These "bargins" can seem like a great idea, but consider the product you’re saving on. If it’s on your list of super-healthy, nutritious foods, go for it! You’ve helped your health AND your pocketbook. However, consider the product—healthfulness should trump a bargain every time. Do you really need five rolls of cookie dough or a free box of pastries? It's not likely.
Battle plan: If you’re only getting it because it’s on sale, you probably don’t need it. The same rule goes for non-food items like toiletries, cleaning products and household items. No excuses here.
(This is a hard one to pass up. Whether it be donuts, cookies and worse of all, those holiday items that are on sale because the holiday has passed! Think about it. BOGO on Easter candies! BOGO on Christmas cupcakes! BOGO on everything that taste good but sure isn't good for you! Also, I've found that some of the really healthy items such as shrimp are rip-offs. I have a store that says Buy Two Get 3 Free! Well, they raised the price of the 2 that you buy to where they really aren't a very good buy so watch for that too.)
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Boycott the Bakery
The smell of fresh bread, cinnamon rolls and apple pie is wafting through the baked goods area as you’re picking up your whole-grain bread this week. Your senses are begging you to bring some home; it just smells too good! Many grocery stores strategically plan their baking times during the busiest hour of the day. It has been proved that shoppers pick up more items when the luscious smells are present in the store.
Battle plan: You've heard this one before. Never shop on an empty stomach. Shopping after a meal can help stave off cravings and keep you focused on the task at hand. Think about the delicious meals you are shopping for and don't let distraction get the best of you. If you must, send in the troops to grab your items and avoid any too-tempting aisles altogether!
(Have you ever noticed that this department is either before the produce or the dairy isle? Think about it. Bakery items before the fruit and veggies. How do I not look there 1st. And I sometimes have to walk through it just to get to that container of Almond Milk that is so good for me. Ugh!)
Monday, March 27, 2017
Show Seasonal Spirit Who's Boss
Memorial Day (Super Bowl Sunday, Thanksgiving, or really, any other holiday) is right around the corner and you can bet your buttons the local grocer won’t let you forget it! Decorations, party favors and supplies are mixed in with fat- and sugar-laden desserts and snacks, all in one convenient center aisle display. Grocery stores play on your holiday spirit, enticing you to pick up extra goodies on a whim! These add-ons amp up your bill at the check out and can add loads of calories to your stash very quickly.
Battle plan: Plan your celebration, complete with healthy snacks and recipes, and stick to it. Ditch the “we just might need” mentality. Simplicity is best (and healthiest) during these times of year!
(I hate this tactic! I walk into the store and the holiday goodies are usually the 1st thing I see and it's really hard to walk past without thinking "I might need some of this just in case I have company.")
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Shelve Your Impulses
Major brands pay grocers to shelve their top-selling items at eye level. They even go so far as to place products geared toward children right within their little paws’ reach—cartoon characters, bright colors and all are low to the ground or cart-level for wee ones who sit in the seat of your shopping cart.
Battle plan: Make an educated decision. Glance up and down before choosing an item (less inexpensive generic items, often the same nutritionally, might be lower or higher on the shelf than more expensive brand named products). And always check out the nutrition facts label. Also, if you are shopping with the kiddies, ask them to help you find healthful foods in the store. Turn your grocery list into a scavenger hunt checklist to play as you shop.
(I've found this to be the case when my kids were young and it apparently put me into the habit of looking at the middle shelves which I'm now trying to break. There are so many really delicious products up high and down low.)
Friday, March 24, 2017
I try to eat healthy and lose a little weight along the way but have found that going to the grocery store doesn't necessarily make this task easy. While reading some info sent out by SparkPeople I ran across something that I felt must be shared with those of you that, like me, have a hard time going to the grocery store and not picking up those items that are not only on our list but also not on our diet.
End the End Cap Enticement
Conveniently placed on the end of every aisle, "end caps" are home to sale items and seasonal kits that may not have been on your list but look oh-so-inviting when you see them. Items for s’mores, pumpkin pie, or green bean casserole are often creativity combined on these aisle ends. Foods on end caps are generally low in nutrients and high in added fat and sugar.
Battle plan: If it’s on your list for greater health, you just saved a trip down the aisle. If it’s not, smile, but keep walking past the pretty display and find your next listed item.
(This also takes place in the produce department! Ever noticed that stationed by the bananas you'll sometimes find vanilla wafers for making banana pudding? Or pound cake beside the strawberries?)
Thursday, March 2, 2017
(Again - Not Guilty!!!! I don't drink soda either. Used to drink sweet tea but gave that up for water.)
Quite possibly one of the worst items on our list is Soda. These empty calories are adding to the weight problem all over America. Soda can keep you up late at night with high levels of sugar and caffeine. Even if you are opting for sugar-free and caffeine-free soda, you could still get heartburn from the carbonation. As tempting as it could be to watch your favorite show and sip on your favorite soda before bed, you need to stay away from these drinks. If you were able to give up soda all together, you would notice a very positive shift in your health overall.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
(Not Guilty!!!! I don't like chocolate, unless its white chocolate)
If you love to pamper yourself and live the good life, you may wind down your night by sitting in a bubble bath while eating some chocolates. While this may be very relaxing at the time, it might actually be keeping you from getting a good night's sleep. Chocolate has caffeine content that may keep you up when you should be sleeping. This snack can also leave you feeling hungry after your short snack. Instead of having chocolates during your bubble bath, try replacing this snack with a cup of milk or calming tea.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
(Guilty! I don't go for the Lucky Charms but a bowl of rice cereal with a bit of sugar always made a good snack for me. And yes I did usually wake up hungry. Just didn't know why)
Lucky Charms can be a great snack during the day. While it isn't very healthy, if you are active through your day, you should be fine. However, when you eat sugary cereals late at night, you are asking for trouble. Foods high in sugar will mess up your blood sugar levels and most likely make it hard for you to sleep throughout the night. You will wake up a few hours later feeling hungry and possibly even with a headache. Instead of having a bowl of sugary cereal, try having some oatmeal or other hot cereal that is low in sugar.
Monday, February 27, 2017
(Guilty again but not with the fast foods. I'm guilty of making a nice roast beef sandwich!)
At night, it is difficult to sleep while you are digesting foods. This is why it is important to resist your craving for fast food burgers. While drive-through is almost always open late, you will have a hard time falling asleep with this meat sitting in your stomach digesting. While that midnight burger might be calling, stay away from red meat late at night.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Yes I'm still trying to eat healthy so when I found this info from Health Alert News in my email, I had to share.
(I'm guilty of this)
Cheesy SnacksWhen you get hungry late at night, a cheesy snack can be quite tempting. However, this snack is high in fat and is not a good option right before bed. Here are a few examples of cheesy snacks that will not be good to eat before bed:
cheese and crackers
grilled cheese sandwich
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The first week or two of a diet can result in five or more pounds lost, a significant change that can be exciting for anyone who has struggled with excess weight. But after that initial drop, progress generally slows to a healthy one to two pounds lost each week. That can be discouraging, but remember that you are probably trying to reverse years of weight gain.
Be patient. Slow but steady isn’t exciting, but a study by the National Institutes of Health found that those who lost at the healthy rate of one to two pounds per week were far more likely to keep the weight off than those who lost faster.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Regular exercise is important to your health and helps keep your body burning calories, but working out does stimulate your appetite and that can leading to overeating. The journal published an analysis of many studies which revealed that up to 50 percent of people trying to lose weight actually increased their daily calorie consumption when they begin an exercise routine.
Stick to your healthy eating plan even when working out leaves you extra hungry. Your metabolism will adjust as your body adapts to the increased activity.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Paying attention to the amount of food you consume is an important step in eating healthy to lose weight. But most of us are so conditioned by the enormous portions of food served in restaurants that we don’t accurately gauge the right amounts when we’re eating at home.
Remember these simple rules of thumb for healthy portions: A baseball-size serving for chopped veggies and fruits; a golf ball for nuts and shredded cheese; a fist for rice and pasta; and a deck of cards for lean meats and fish.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Many fad diets claim that certain types of foods, most notably carbohydrates and fats, are the primary cause of excess weight gain and should be eliminated from your diet. But a study published in found that low-carb and low-fat diets do not lead to faster weight loss than eating a reduced-calorie diet that includes these food groups.
Eat a well-balanced diet, that includes complex carbs (like whole grains and fresh fruit) and healthy fats (like avocados and nut butters) to ensure your body has the fuel it needs to keep you energized and your metabolism burning.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Many food brands try to appeal to dieters with fat-free products, such as salad dressing and snacks. But fat-free items often have as many or more calories as full-fat versions (because extra sugar has been added, for instance, to help with flavor). Even worse, researchers at Cornell University found that people who eat fat-free snacks tend to consume more calories than those who eat the standard versions because they make up the difference by consuming more of the food.
Reduce your fat consumption by eating foods that are naturally low in fats but still filling, such as vegetables and fruit, and opt for healthy fat options like avocados and nuts. When selecting low-fat or fat-free products, check the sugar content on the item to ensure all of the fat hasn’t just been replaced by sugar.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Many people today are trying juice “cleanses,” hoping to lose weight by replacing meals with fresh fruit and vegetable drinks. But juicing extracts the fiber in fresh produce that helps you feel full and it can increase your calorie intake. A cup of fresh pineapple, for instance, is about 83 calories, while a cup of pineapple juice is about 120 calories.
Enjoy juice as an occasional between-meal snack, but not as a substitute for meals. And make vegetables the primary ingredients in juice, as they are lower in sugar and calories than fruit.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
As always, I'm still on a diet. I've tried everything and seem to get so far and the loss just stops. This information came from NutriSystems and find myself doing several of these 7 things that may be preventing me from losing weight. Wanted to share with other dieters out there.
(This is one I'm guilty of doing)
(This is one I'm guilty of doing)
Passing on breakfast or lunch to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day can seem like a shortcut to losing weight, and this strategy may lead you to drop a few pounds in the short term. But a study published in the reports that skipping meals actually increases belly fat, so no matter what the scale says you end up looking like you’ve gained rather than lost weight.
Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your metabolism working steadily–that’s the safe way to reduce calories.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
While making my sausage balls using my small muffin tins I found myself short in filling up the full 24 tins so I decided to make what I'm calling my Cheese Crust Pizza Bites. I simply filled each empty tin with shredded cheese and topped it with a slice of pepperoni allowing it to bake along with my sausage balls. (375 degrees for 12-14 minutes). They came out perfect and make yet another game day snack. You can serve them as is along with salsa, pizza sauce and even sour cream. Change the flavors by using cooked chicken, sausage, bacon, ground beef or go veggie by using mushrooms, onions and/or peppers. You can change the flavor too by changing the cheese. Use Italian blends, Mexican blends, or keep it straight with cheddars, etc. These little treats are really good, easy to make and have many variations.
I love sausage balls but for some reason only seem to make them during the holidays. Well, I had a package of sausage that needed to be used and the first thing that came to mind were sausage balls. Why not make them all year long and especially for game day. Here is my quick and simple recipe with just one change. I topped each with a small square of cheese.
1 lb. lean sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Hot)
1 cup Bisquick
2 cups finely shredded cheese (finely shredded blends better and you can use any flavor or blend)
Sliced cheese (I had some white American so that's what I used)
Preheat oven to 375. Mix sausage, bisquick and shredded cheese blending well. Roll into 11/2" balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or place each in small muffin tins (I used my small muffin tin which is coated making it stick free.) Cut each slice of cheese into 9 even squares and place on on top of each ball. Bake 12-14 minutes or until done, cheese has melted and lightly browned. I usually get about 40 sausage balls from this recipe.
Adding that little extra cheese makes these even better. Next time I make them I'm going to use cheddar cheese.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Frozen Vegetables - Make your own frozen vegetable combinations by buying bags of individual vegetables and combining your favorites. Re-package in resealable plastic bags and freeze. Try adding chopped onions, garlic or cooked pasta to the vegetable mixture as well.
I want to add to this - you can divide your veggies, fresh or frozen, into more 'needable' sizes. I often buy a large package of frozen vegetables but won't be needing the whole package at any one meal. You can divide them into smaller packages so that when needed you can thaw only what you need. I often buy vegetables such as celery, bell peppers and onions but find that they won't be used before I find they have to be thrown out. I'll chop these up, scatter in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides, freeze and then place into a bag for later use. These work perfectly in soups and stews.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Picking and Storing Carrots
Most experts recommend that you buy carrots with the tops still attached for optimal freshness. But these are not available everywhere and not everyone has the time to cut and prepare carrots at home. So some healthy snackers choose baby carrots instead.
Baby carrots are simply smaller carrots that are cut from larger carrots. Baby carrots are usually already washed and cleaned so you can eat them right from the bag, making them a convenient and healthy snack.
Carrots should be stored in the refrigerator to retain the taste, freshness, and texture. Carrots can be frozen, but putting them in the freezer may change the vegetable's texture.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Carrots and Weight Loss
The "problem" with carrots is that they are easy to overeat. Of course, if you're going to overeat any food, carrots are probably one of the better options.
But if you are trying to lose weight, learning to eat every food in moderation is important. And if you overeat carrots and dip, then you could easily consume a day's worth of calories in a single sitting.
If you snack on carrots, try to avoid dipping them into a high calorie spread. The calories in onion dip, for example, could be higher than the calories in an entire meal if you don’t watch how much you eat. Remember that even healthy snacks can be bad for your diet when you add sauces, dips and condiments.
If you're trying to lose weight by cutting carbs, you might skip carrots because they are higher in sugar than other snack veggies. But if you compare the 4 grams of sugar in carrots to a fruit snack like a banana, an orange or an apple, which each contain 20-30 grams of sugar, then the carrots don’t look so bad. If you’re worried about the sugar in carrots, mix your vegetable snack bag with other crunchy snacks like celery or broccoli. That way you get to indulge in a crunchy treat without derailing your diet.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Health Benefits of Carrots
Even though carrots add sugar to your diet, the easy-to-eat veggie provides health benefits as well. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin A is essential for vision and helps the body with cell growth, immune function, reproduction and healthy communication between your cells.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
I found this on the Very Well site and want to share it with my carrot lovers.
If you like crunchy snacks, carrots might be the perfect treat. Carrots are easy to prepare, easy to pack and they don't need to be refrigerated so you can eat them on the go. But there are a few things about carrot calories that healthy eaters should know.
Carrot Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 medium (61 g)
% Daily Value*
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Dietary Fiber 1.5g
Vitamin A 204% · Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 2% · Iron 1%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Carrots are a healthy, crunchy treat. The veggie is high in fiber and a single serving of carrots contains only 30 calories. Not bad, right? But that's if you only eat a single serving. A single serving might be a small handful of baby carrots or one large carrot.
Friday, January 13, 2017
'Potato Masher Twist' - a straight down move and then a slight twist of the wrist.
Did you know that potato mashers have more uses than just mashing potatoes? Well, they do. I've found just a few and if you think about it I'm sure you can come up with more. Here are just a couple of things I do beside mashing the potatoes.
When one of my ingredients calls for browned ground beef I've found that you can crumble it by using your trusty old potato masher. You simply smash down and give it a little twist. You can do this after the meat is cooked but it's a lot easier if you do it as it's cooking.
When I make my beef veggie soup I like to cook the meat until it's falling apart. To help it along I use the 'Potato Masher Twist'. This breaks the meat up to the size you want it to be.
Mixing butter and flour is made a little easier by using the potato masher. It won't do the job completely but it sure is a quick start allowing you to only use your hands near the end. This also works with cream cheese.
When I made my sausage balls this year I started my blend of flour, sausage and cheese using the masher.
These are just a few of my uses. I would love for you to post any other uses you've found for this remarkable little tool. There is just one thing that I have to warn you about. Make sure you use the type pictured above. If you try doing this with one that has holes it will work but not as well and it's a lot harder to clean up.
Waiting to hear from you!
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Oil Rags and Hand Cleaner
If we may state the obvious: Cars are dirty. And in inclement weather like rain or snow, they're even dirtier. In the case of a tire change or even more minor problems, save your clothes—and the inside of your car—by packing four or five rags and some hand cleaner in your emergency car kit.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Wool or Mylar Blanket
Having a spare wool blanket in the car will go along way to keeping you and your grandkids warm if you break down in the dead of winter. The American Red Cross suggests stocking your emergency kit with a mylar, or space, blanket, which is designed to reflect 80% of your body heat back to you.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Triangular Folding Reflector or Flares
The shoulder of any road — highway or otherwise — is a dangerous place to be. Once you're safely pulled over as far to the right as possible, make sure you and your car are visible to approaching traffic by setting up a sand-weighted reflector triangle or roadside flare. Turning on your hazard lights is another easy precaution recommended by AAA.
Friday, January 6, 2017
There's no shortage of things that could cut, burn, pinch, or scrape your hands when you're fiddling around under the hood or dealing with a broken car part, making a good first-aid kit essential in an emergency. Prepackaged kits are available, but if you want to create your own, Edmunds.com suggests including bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors, and aspirin.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Is there anything duct tape can't do? Google search "duct tape car repair" and you'll soon find out the answer to that question: not much! Reach for a roll of duct tape to secure a hanging bumper, reattach a broken side-view mirror, or tape plastic over a broken window. For more fix-it ideas, the car advice web site AskPatty.com suggests 38 other uses for duct tape.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Fluids (for you)
In winter or summer, it's a good idea to stock the car with a few bottles of water in case of a breakdown. There's nothing like no access to water to work up a desperate thirst! You'll probably also be thankful for a few granola bars and a jar of peanuts, if help is a long time coming.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Fix-a-Flat Tire Sealant
If you notice a minor puncture in your tire, lots of experts (from Edmunds to CarTalk.com to Consumer Reports) recommend temporarily sealing the hole with Fix-a-Flat, and driving to a tire repair center where they can either repair your tire or give you a new one. Intended for single use on one tire, this product contains liquid rubber and air, and is designed to seal small holes and inflate your tire enough to get the rim off the ground.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Fluids (for your car)
The Department of Motor Vehicles recommends storing common car fluids in your emergency kit, including:
2 quarts of motor oil
power-steering fluid (if applicable)
automatic transmission fluid (if applicable)
1 gallon of water
1 gallon of antifreeze
Do yourself a favor and throw in a funnel, as well. It can be hard to have a steady hand in an emergency.