Category Archives: Snacking

My Guilty Pleasure – Updated

I wrote about this guilty pleasure over a  year ago and have since tweaked it and, in fact, don’t indulge in it anymore in its original form. Why repeat it? Because it is still delicious and I recommend trying it for yourself.  Also, I have included the tweak for you to try.

I haven’t written a Mr. Lazy Cook post in a long time, so I thought I might get around to one. For the most part Lazy Cook posts have been simple, delicious and highly nutritious meals. This one not so much.

I happened upon this sandwich one day almost by accident. You know how creative people always say that they saw the idea elsewhere and simply improvised on it? Well, that’s what I did.

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A little history here. A hundred years ago, it seems, I was working at Reuters in the Chicago Board of Trade building. It was high pressure on the news desk and we welcomed our breaks which were often too few and too short. One of our favorite mid-morning things was to send someone across the street to a little diner and order a couple of their wonderful fried egg sandwiches. What made them so wonderful? Well, some culinary genius in the diner decided that instead of a mundane bread or toast on the egg sandwich he would substitute cinnamon raisin bread. In addition, he topped off the sandwich with melted cheese and bacon. So, it was ended up being a grilled cheese, bacon and egg sandwich on cinnamon raisin toast. My mouth is watering just remembering it. By the way, I make no claim as to the nutritional value of this creation, only its flavor. In fact, I was bumping up against the 175 pound level in those days. Continue reading

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Is your office bad for your health?

Okay, nobody is saying that working in an office is as dangerous as doing construction or working in a mine, but health hazards exist in offices, too. It’s easy to grow complacent about it.

Desk jobs can pose dangers to your health. Rush family medicine physician Gabriela Baeza, MD, recently discussed some of the most common hazards — and how to avoid them.

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A growing body of research suggests that simply sitting too much can endanger your health — regardless of whether you get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.

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Researchers have found that too much sitting might make you less sensitive to insulin (a hormone that helps your body process and use energy from food). It also might lead to higher levels of triglycerides, or fats, in your blood. Such effects could, in turn, make you more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease or even cancer. Continue reading

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Tricking Your Brain Into Helping You Lose Weight

If, like many folks, you overindulged during the recent holidays, perhaps this item I wrote back when the blog was still in diapers might be of help.

Besides, I think the brain is amazing and we can’t know too much about it.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Regular readers know that I am retired and have been taking courses from The Great Courses for some time. Lately, I have become fascinated with the brain and how it functions.

The latest class I am studying is “The Neuroscience of Everyday Life” taught by Sam Wang, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Neuroscience at Princeton University. Additionally, Professor Wang is the co-author of the best-selling book Welcome to Your Brain which has been translated into 20 languages.

Here is the best-selling book Professor Wang co-wrote

I have only just begun reading the book, but I ran across a passage on page 36 that I thought would interest and benefit readers of the blog. The following is from a two-page write-up titled Tricking Your Brain Into Helping You Lose Weight.

This is the conclusion of those two pages:
“Early food exposure influences dietary preferences in adulthood, and eating habits…

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5 Clean and healthy snack ideas – Infographic

I am convinced that portion control and serving size are the keys to controlling our weight and living a healthy (and long) life. Of course, we need to integrate regular exercise into the mix, too.

Also, must confess that I am an inveterate snacker. It was one of the reasons that I lost the battle of the bulge for so many years. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly to read more on it. 

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Regarding the air-popped popcorn, I personally prefer regular popped corn using coconut oil. Just don’t go crazy on the quantity. Check out my post – How healthy is popcorn(?) for the details.

I posted on hummus a while back : Is hummus good for you?

Finally, check out Healthy snacking as an act of kindness.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

 

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5 Clean and healthy treats – Infographic

I ran across these in my web wandering and thought they looked useful.

As a total peanut butter lover, I thought number one especially clever. I start every morning with a spoon full of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. If that appeals to you, consider it number six free.

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Lastly, I am not much of a drinker, my girlfriend considers me a cheap date as I rarely exceed one beer on a night out. So, number five doesn’t do much for me.

Please feel free to share any clean and healthy treats you favor.

Tony

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Bored People Reach for Snacks – Study

The principle use it or lose it is a valuable one when it comes to health. It applies to all our muscles because we are just organic machines after all. Turns out that when we are bored, our minds are not stimulated and bad food cravings arise. So we need to exercise our brains, too.

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Nuts to you is a good thing …

People crave fatty and sugary foods when they are bored.

That is the conclusion of research being presented this week at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society by Dr. Sandi Mann from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Dr. Mann and her fellow authors, Faye Ibbitson and Ben Edwards, also from UCLan, conducted two studies of boredom and food choices.

In the first study the researchers asked 52 participants to complete a questionnaire on their food preferences before and after completing the boredom-inducing task of repeatedly copying the same group of letters.

In the second study they asked 45 participants to watch either a boring or a funny video, during which a range of healthy and unhealthy snacks were available. The bowls were weighed before and after each trial to how much of each snack had been eaten.

The results from the first study showed people were more likely to express a preference for unhealthy foods like potato chips, sweets and fast food after completing the boring task.

The results from the second study showed that the participants who had watched the boring video ate significantly more unhealthy food.

Dr Mann said: “These results are in line with previous research suggesting that we crave fatty and sugary foods when we are bored. This strengthens the theory that boredom is related to low levels of the stimulating brain chemical dopamine and that people try to boost this by eating fat and sugar if they cannot alleviate their boredom in some other way.

“People designing health education campaigns to encourage us to make healthier food choices need to take boredom, including boredom in the workplace, into account. Bored people do not eat nuts.”

In this instance, the expression nuts to you is a good thing.

Please check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for more.

Tony

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Late Night Snacking Affects Brain Functioning: Why Going to Bed on Time is Important

Really useful info here. I hope you will take the time to read it. I have posted several times previously on the Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep. Also, see my Page on Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

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Tony

STAYING HEALTHY WITH AYURVEDA

I am always interested in research that gives a fuller understanding to the basic principles of Ayurveda. Over the holidays I read about a study from the University of California that concluded that late-night snacks could negatively impact brain functioning. In the study, mice that were fed during their normal sleeping times experienced a decline in both short-term and long-term memory. The study suggested that digesting food at a time we are supposed to be asleep causes distress in the hippocampus, the area of the brain where memories are formed.

There is already evidence that eating when we normally should be sleeping can cause an increase in blood sugar levels — which can lead to diabetes and heart problems. Now we find that irregular eating habits can impact mental cognition. The University of California study revealed that the mice that were given food when they should have been sleeping had…

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How Do I Handle a Bad Eating Habit?

For much of my life, I have had eating habits which were not healthy. I love pastries. Back before I ‘got religion’ writing this blog I would think nothing of eating a scone for dessert. This was following a meal of 1500 or more calories. It is no surprise that I ballooned up at my worst to the 220 pound area with a plus 40 inch waist. You can read about How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.

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These days I clock-in around 150 pounds and sport a waistline in the low 30 inch range. But I still love pastries in general and scones in particular. The difference is that I don’t eat one for dessert after a big meal. However, I still eat them and maintain my girlish figure.

What’s the trick? The photograph is one of my scones. It comes from a little coffee house in Chicago called The 3rd Coast. They make them there, so it is impossible to get a good calorie count. The scone weighs more than 8 ounces and is loaded with scrumptious dark chocolate chips. I am guessing that a single scone must total close to 500 calories. The Lose it! app puts the Jamba Juice Orange Chocolate scone at 380 calories.

So, how can I enjoy eating a sinful delight like this and still maintain my weight? Well, I have altered my eating habit as follows. I take the scones home and cut each one into at least quarters or fifths. I take one section and put it in the toaster oven while wrapping up the remainder for another day. It toasts up lovely and I am able to enjoy several luscious bites every day without packing on a lot of empty calories or fats or feeling bloated and overfed afterward. I figure I am getting around 100 to 125 calories instead of the 500 I used to consume.

You might consider something like this yourself with a particularly tasty, but empty-calorie-dense, treat that you enjoy. That way, you don’t have to white knuckle it by abstaining completely. You simply have to learn to savor it and be satisfied with some but not all of it.

So now you know a way to halve your cake and eat it too.

Tony

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What’s in Doritos? – Infographic

We have just begun football season here, so Sundays in many homes will be characterized by folks in front of flat screens cheering on their favorite team. I plead guilty. Sunday is my favorite day of the week during football season because there are games all day, followed by Sunday Night Football.

All this has to do with the fact that while we are watching we are also munching, munching. I make popcorn in coconut oil that is as healthy as it is delicious. I hope you have a similar salubrious solution to game time munchies. I ran across this infographic on Doritos and wanted you to see it. Doritos is not the answer to your game time craving.

Check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for further details on healthy snacks.

Infographic-What-is-in-Doritos

Enjoy the game!

Tony

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Nine Diet Mistakes that Are Making You Tired

For a balanced release of energy choose low-glycemic carbohydrates such as 100-per-cent stone-ground bread, 100-per-cent bran cereals, steel-cut and large-flake oatmeal, milk, yogurt, soy beverages, apples, bananas, pears, oranges, dried apricots, berries, nuts, seeds and beans and lentils.
There is wonderful, useful information in this piece. Once again, a recurring theme is how processed foods bring us down. It’s so much better to keep out food choices simple and natural.

You can check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for more.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

You eat too many refined carbs.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are metabolized into blood glucose, the only form of energy the body can use immediately. But not all carbohydrates are created equal.

Highly processed, refined carbs (e.g., white bread and crackers, refined breakfast cereals, sweets and sugary drinks) rank high on the glycemic index.

That means they cause large spikes in blood glucose followed by sharp drops, which can bring on fatigue. Sugar also blocks the activity of orexin-producing cells, brain cells that stimulate wakefulness.

For a balanced release of energy choose low-glycemic carbohydrates such as 100-per-cent stone-ground bread, 100-per-cent bran cereals, steel-cut and large-flake oatmeal, milk, yogurt, soy beverages, apples, bananas, pears, oranges, dried apricots, berries, nuts, seeds and beans and lentils.

You skimp on protein.

Protein-rich meals help you feel more alert by counteracting drowsiness that can be brought on by consuming excessive sugar or carbohydrates.

Including protein at meals…

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What About 5 Small Meals a Day? – Infographic

As a retired guy, I could actually consider this because I have the time. If you are working, I’m not sure it is practical. Anyway, it is another way to go it you are working on controlling your weight. Actually, as a snacker, this appeals to me.

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To read more on snacking, check out my posts:

Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
9 Rules Of Smart Snacking
New Research: Avocadoes May Improve Satiety and Reduce Snacking
Some Excellent Snacking Advice From Weight Watchers
How To Do Healthy Snacking – Harvard
Targeted Snacking

Tony

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20 Snacks That Burn Fat – Infographic

Everybody does it. Who doesn’t like to snack? It can make a football game more fun to watch, but it can submarine your best laid weight loss plans. I hope you enjoy this snacking infographic. To read more detail on snacking check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. With apologies to Sergio Leone.

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Tony

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Super Bowl Sunday Snacking

What are you going to be snacking on during the big game?

According to The Supermarket Guru, “It’s estimated that on Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will consume more than double their average daily snack amount; and the average “armchair quarterback” will consume nearly 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat from snacks alone- not counting meals. To burn that off, you’d have to run for about an hour and 45 minutes!”

Pigs in a blanket – One of the top five fan snack choices

Bing.com says the top five game day snacks are Buffalo wings, pizza, nachos, chili, and pigs in a blanket. I hope for your sake that you are not going this high calorie count empty nutritional value route.

I have written about snacking here before. There was Targeted Snacking in June and Smart Snacking in March. Click on the links for some positive ideas on snacks for the big game.

WeightWatchers suggests, “You can still enjoy some football fare: a chicken wing or two, some chips and dip, a slice of pizza and a cold one. Just don’t overindulge — eat and drink reasonably, keep track of what you chow down on ….

“Consider parking a few blocks from the party or heading outside for a walk instead of watching for the next wardrobe malfunction at halftime (that’s what DVRs are for anyway).”

Tony

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Filed under calories, Exercise, healthy eating, men and healthy eating, Snacking, Weight

Healthy Snack Ideas for Adults

Cooking with Kathy Man

Healthy snacks are an important part of balanced eating. Snacks are foods that are eaten between meals. They have a very important job: they keep energy levels up and provide nutrients that our bodies need. A healthy snack can also help control your appetite and make you feel less hungry between meals.

Not all snacks are created equal

For many people, the word “snack” makes them think of chips or chocolate. However, these are not the type of healthy snacks that give us important nutrients that the body needs.
The key to healthy snacking is to follow Canada’s Food Guide and include foods from at least two of the four food groups in each snack. Ideas include fruit, whole grain crackers, cheese, hummus and vegetables.

Watch your portions

A healthy snack should have between 85 and 250 calories. One way to control portion size is to serve yourself a single…

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What About Aussie Bites at Costco?

I don’t know how long Costco has been carrying them, but I just stumbled across Aussie Bites at Costco yesterday. These seem to be a variation on the theme of Sunrise Energy Bars which I posted about here in November of 2012. They look like a smaller version of the Sunrise bars, they are packaged in a transparent plastic tub and sealed similarly (see pics). And that isn’t where the similarity ends. After I wrote about the Sunrise bars, Costco stopped carrying them for awhile. You can check the comments on that post for details. One of the items readers noticed were the Aussie Bites which seemed to be a substitute.

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I am a satisfied Costco customer, but don’t have a clue about their marketing practices. Items are on the shelves then they disappear. Sometimes they reappear, sometimes they reappear with new packaging. Not a clue.

So, what about these Aussie Bites? They are granola-like with a consistency closer to a muffin. I thought they tasted similar to the Sunrise bars although somewhat sweeter.

Nutrition is as follows:
One serving is one ounce – 28 grams
Calories 130
Total fat 7 grams
Saturated fat 3 grams
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 35 mg
Carbohydrates 15 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 2 grams

The Aussie Bites ingredients include: Whole grain rolled oats, Whole grain oat flour, Unsalted butter, Expeller pressed canola oil, Sugar, Honey, Dried apricots, Raisins, Sunflower kernels, Flax seeds, Shredded coconut, Baking soda and Salt.

For nutritional comparison here is the breakdown for a single one ounce bar: 130 calories, total fat 6 grams, saturated fat 3 grams, cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 75 grams, carbohydrates 17 grams, fiber 3 grams and 2 grams of protein.

Although they have the same serving size, the Aussie Bites are smaller in size than the Sunrise bars, so you need to pay attention to how much you are eating. The 130 calories is not bad for a snack, but if you eat two or three that is another story. On the positive side, I think these are pretty dense nutritionally compared with junk food like Hostess Ho Ho’s which I wrote about two Novembers ago.

Personally, these work very well for what I consider to be energy snacks. I bring them along on a bike ride and eat about 50 calories worth when I take a break. So, I get energy without tying up my digestive system with a lot of work.

If you are a snacker, you might want to check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Tony

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Super WebMD Item on Food Frauds

Regular readers know that I have written lots of posts based on WebMD items. I think their latest one – Food Frauds That Can Wreck Your Diet is one of their best.

Here are some of the highlights:

Caesar Salads: “You might think that because it’s a salad, it’s fine. But just a small bowl has 300-400 calories and 30 grams of fat, thanks to loads of dressing.”

Banana chips are not a healthy fresh fruit snack

Banana chips are not a healthy fresh fruit snack

This is an element in most salads. You really need to watch out for how much salad dressing you add.

Fresh Smoothies: “That berry blend at a smoothie shop can have a whopping 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories or more, little protein, and often no fresh fruit. Fruit concentrates are often used instead of fresh fruit.”

Energy Bars: They recommend, “Choose bars that have 200 calories or less, some fiber, and at least 5 grams of protein, which helps provide energy when the sugar rush fades.”

Latte with 2% Milk: “Reward yourself with whipped cream on top. But this trade-off still adds up to 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat in a 20-ounce white chocolate mocha. That’s more than a quarter-pound burger with cheese.”

In my opinion, designer coffee drinks are really diabolical when it comes to watching your weight. I found out years ago that more often than not they set you back instead of helping you out.

Microwave Popcorn: “The word “snack” can be a little misleading on microwave popcorn. One popular brand packs 9 grams of fat into each “snack size” bag.”

This is another calorie trap. Popcorn is usually a healthy snack, depending on how you fix it. The microwave way, while very fast, is one of the worst in terms of health. Lots of bad fat and calories.

Banana Chips: “Deep-fried bananas don’t look greasy, but just one ounce has 145 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat: about the same as a fast-food hamburger.”

How can anything made from fresh fruit be a calorie bomb? Easy, deep fry it. WebMD suggests snacking on a fresh banana for four times the food, no fat and only 100 calories.

There are a total of 21 of these examples of what they term food frauds. I have picked out the ones most meaningful to me. Do yourself a favor and go back and click on the link for the full series. They also give suggestions on how to tweak them to make them less unhealthy.

As always, it pays you to be alert to serving size and portion control. I grew up snacking and most of the weight problems that I experienced resulted from that.

Check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for more on this.

Tony

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