Tag Archives: snack food

Why we choose the donut over the apple – MNT

As a person who has had a weight problem for much of his adult life, food choices loom large on my radar. I love snacking, pizza, cheeseburgers, you name the junk food, I likely love it. However, I weigh in the mid 150 pound area and have done so for the past seven years. What has worked for me is clearly thinking about what the food means to me in terms of my health. Not focusing on how good it is going to taste and how much I have always loved that flavor. I tie my action to its likely consequences. The clear goal of eating healthy has been my solution. These researchers have some interesting ideas to add to the discussion.

Cinnamon-Apple-Donuts-10

Everyone knows that an apple per day is a more healthful option than a donut and yet, given the choice, many people would still choose the donut. A new study has revealed that food choices could be down to the associations that we make with food-related stimuli.

Researchers explain why the urge to eat a donut is mightier than the urge to eat an apple — even though the apple is the more healthful option.

 

Aukje Verhoeven, Sanne de Wit, and Poppy Watson, all psychologists at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, conducted the research.

Their findings were published in the journal Appetite.

The consumption of unhealthful foods is on the rise around the world, which is contributing to the more than 1.9 billion adults who are overweight globally.

Among children in the United States, more than 27 percent of calories each day come from snacks, including salted snacks, candy, desserts, and sweetened beverages. This could have hazardous consequences for their health.

Learned cues affect food choices

Government initiatives have focused on making people more aware of the adverse effects of eating unhealthfully. However, most people fail to adhere to the recommended food guidelines, and eating behaviors often remain unchanged.

Though it is not clear why informational interventions do not work, evidence suggests that food-related stimuli in the environment may play a role in triggering unhealthful eating habits.

“Health warnings often make people want to choose healthier food products, yet many still end up picking unhealthy food products,” explains Verhoeven. “We suspected this might partly be due to the fact that people learn to associate specific cues in their environment with certain food choices.”

For example, seeing a large “M” sign in the environment has been linked to reward, such as eating a cheeseburger, which then prompts a craving and could trigger a trip to the restaurant for a burger. Continue reading

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Filed under food choices, good weight loss foods, ideal weight, normal weight gain, snack foods, Snacking, weight control, weight loss

Tufts offers smart snacks for pre-exercise

I have written about snacks and snacking numerous times. You can check out my Page Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly if you want more details. Herewith The Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter take on the subject.

Make sure you’re properly fueled for a workout, but avoid mindless snacking.

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If you start exercise low on fuel, you could end up feeling weak and run out of steam. Or, you may simply feel hungry, making it hard to focus on your exercise. However, unnecessary snacking before a workout may make exercise uncomfortable and add calories you don’t need, counteracting the calorie burn of your physical activity.

What you’re already eating for meals and snacks likely covers your exercise energy needs.

“I think there’s a misconception that you need to eat a snack before exercise, but this is generally only necessary if it’s been at least 2 to 3 hours since your last meal,” says Jennifer Sacheck, PhD, an associate professor at Tufts’ Friedman School who specializes in physical activity research. “For example, if you eat lunch at 11 a.m. and are going to the gym at 5 p.m., or you exercise first thing in the morning, you’ll need to refuel before exercise.” However, if you ate a late lunch at 2 p.m., and you’re working out at 4:30 p.m., you shouldn’t need a snack first. Continue reading

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Green Ginger Grapefruit Smoothie – Guest Post Kelli Jennings

Regular readers know that I am a nearly daily bike rider here in Chicago. As such I read some cycling blogs, too. One of my faves is Loving the Bike.

And, one of that blog’s regular contributors is Kelli Jennings, an Expert Sports Nutritionist who writes Ask the Sports Nutritionist.

Kelli is not only a world class athlete, but also a first rate nutritionist who writes clearly and accurately about her subject.

She recently wrote an item Green Ginger Grapefruit Smoothie   that I thought would interest you.

red-grapefruit

 

I hate to be a downer, but I’ve got some bad news.  Grapefruits are tough to come by in the summer.  The prices go up and they’re not as plentiful.  I know, this likely ruined your Thursday.  I guess the only thing to do is eat ‘em up, while you can.

This week, we’ll review why grapefruits should be one of your go-to fruits and we’ll “wake it up” with a wonderfully refreshing grapefruit smoothie.  Grapefruits go above and beyond the nutrients of many foods, even other ones found in produce section.  Did I mention they can help you lose weight?  Bring on the grapefruits!

Recipe of the Week: Green Ginger Grapefruit Smoothie

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Greek yogurt or 1/2 scoop protein powder
1/2-1 pink grapefruit, peeled well
3/4 cup berries
1/4 avocado
1 cup spinach or other greens
1/2″ slice ginger
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup water ice, if desired for consistency

Instructions:
Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Enjoy!

Nutrition information: Approximately: 385 calories, 44 gm carbs, 11 gm fiber, 15 gm protein.

Comments:

1) In the picture, this smoothie is obviously not green. I call it “green” because it includes a grapefruitsmoothie1-225x300whole cup of green. The berries’ color overtake the green. Either way, it’s not easy being green, and it’s all good stuff.

2) This is not Jamba Juice. If you want your smoothie to taste like Jamba Juice, you’ll have to go there and pay for a smoothie much higher in sugar and processed ingredients. If not, I think you’ll feel refreshed and satisfied having started your day with some ginger, greens, and grapefruit. I know I do!

Next, there’s lots of good reasons to eat grapefruits while you still can. On the list, is potential weight/fat loss. You’ve heard of the grapefruit diet, right? Eat grapefruits and lose weight. And of course, most cyclists wouldn’t mind losing fat and improving strength to weight ratio. But, is it science or quackery? Is there something magic to the grapefruit? Well, you can rest assured that I’m certainly NOT recommending you eat nothing but grapefruits. But, it may help to add them. Here’s some food for thought: Continue reading

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Filed under biking, diet food, Exercise, ginger, LDL Cholesterol, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Let Ginger Be Your Medicine – Guest Post Kelli Jennings

Regular readers know that I am a nearly daily bike rider here in Chicago. As such I read some cycling blogs, too. One of my faves is Loving the Bike.

And, one of that blog’s regular contributors is Kelli Jennings, an Expert Sports Nutritionist who writes Ask the Sports Nutritionist.

Kelli is not only a world class athlete, but also a first rate nutritionist who writes clearly and accurately about her subject.

She recently wrote an item Let Ginger Be Your Medicine which I thought would interest you.

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With an average 80 revolutions per minute on the bike, knee flexion and extension occurs about 4800 times an hour. That’s a lot of joint use. Perhaps joint overuse throughout an entire season. It’s estimated that 50% of cyclists experience knee joint pain as an overuse injury, in addition to other joint overuse pain in the back, hands, and shoulders.

As you head into the on-season, you can plan to protect your joints. In fact, you can do so with your foods.

This week, we’re heading into the kitchen to whip up a wonderful dip for vegetables, meats, sandwiches, and more. It’s loaded with foods that protect, heal, and reduce pain in joints.

ginger-health-benefits-uses

Recipe of the Week: Delicious Spicy Ginger Dip

Ingredients:
Avocado Mayo:
1 avocado
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
6 Tbsp. olive or avocado oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp water

Ginger Dip:
1 Tbsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 Tbsp. fresh ginger (finely chopped) or 2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 dash habanero garlic hot pepper sauce

Instructions:

First, mix all ingredients of avocado mayo until smooth in food processor (or by hand if okay with more coarse mix). Then, add in the remaining 5 ingredients to make ginger dip. Use as a dip/sauce on chicken, beef, seafoods, vegetables or kale chips.

***Ginger tip: If using fresh ginger, easily remove the skin of ginger by scraping it with the edge of a spoon.

Comments
To a cyclist, joints are supremely important. They are what make the pedals go round. And when they hurt, they put the ride to a halt fast. Revolution after revolution, you need healthy, happy joints. And, believe it or not, some foods are pro-healthy-joint. This week, we’re reviewing the benefits and research on ginger and joints.

First, ginger is loaded with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (trust me, all good things!), and specifically it has benefits for joint pain and joint health. Additionally, studies in the last few years show that it’s effective in reducing muscle soreness in athletes. In fact, in one study, participants took either 2 grams ginger or placebo each day for several days before strenuous exercise, and the ginger participants had a 25% reduction in soreness indicators vs. those on placebo.

To use ginger to reduce soreness (along with rest days, l-glutamine, recovery snacks, hydration, and activities like foam rolling), aim to get 2 grams per day. You can choose 4 ginger pill supplements per day (check out the label, but most are 500 mg each), 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger each day, or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

Reduced muscle soreness is great, but what else do you get from ginger? You’ll get strong anti-inflammatory nutrients with (anti) inflammation score of +129, slightly better than garlic. Since inflammation plays a role with almost every chronic disease, oxidative stress, obesity, and fatigue, it is very beneficial to include as many anti-inflammatory foods in our diets as possible. Ginger also promotes gut health, may be anti-cancerous, is immune boosting, and anti-inflammatory.

Bonus: Find additional ginger recipes here.

Bonus: More joint health with dark cherry juice here.

You can keep your joints feeling great, and rotating smoothly this season. You can proactively nourish them. Let your food be your medicine.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.

Tony

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Super High Energy Snack – Hot Roasted Chickpeas – Guest Post Kelli Jennings

Regular readers know that I am a nearly daily bike rider here in Chicago. As such I read some cycling blogs, too. One of my faves is Loving the Bike.

And, one of that blog’s regular contributors is Kelli Jennings, an Expert Sports Nutritionist who writes Ask the Sports Nutritionist.

Kelli is not only a world class athlete, but also a first rate nutritionist who writes clearly and accurately about her subject.

She recently wrote an item Hot Roasted Chickpeas (World’s Best Snack) which I thought would interest you.

Chickpea

I can’t stop eating these.  Seriously. I just about ate the whole dang batch.  I hate to brag, but they might be the best snack food in the world.  I’ve saved about 1/2 cup for my family to share.  And the only reason I’ve saved it and not finished them off myself?  To brag to them.

This week, we’re talking chickpeas.  We’re seasoning them (with real spices and not monosodium glutamate, right, corn nuts?), oiling them, lime-juicing them, and roasting them.  The whole prep process takes 5 minutes. Then, just stick ‘em in the oven…simple as that.

Have I convinced you to give them a try yet?  If not, hold on tight because there are many compelling nutrition aspects for a cyclist to consider as well.  Also, I may or may not have just licked the roasting pan.

Recipe of the Week: Hot Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:
• 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, thoroughly drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• juice from one lime
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
2. Place all ingredient in a large bowl and toss urntil thoroughly mixed.
3. Spread the chickpeas in a single, even layer on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 40-45 minutes.
4. Try about 1 cup for a snack.  These may also work well as a spicy, salty fuel option for long rides.  Keep it to just 1/4 -1/2 cup or so at a time.  They are a great source of carbs and sodium, but the extra fiber may be too much for some cyclists while riding.

Comments:
These really are a great snack food.  How can I tell? When I’m looking at a recipe or a commercial product, I start with the ingredients, NOT the nutrition label.  You see, companies can make all sorts of non-real-foods seem good by manipulating them to appear good on the nutrition label. Then, they make all sorts of unsubstantiated nutrition claims about their nutrient-manipulated non-real-foods. What a crock. Instead, simplify.  Look for real, whole foods in the recipe or on the ingredient list.  If these check out, then move to the label (if you want) to see if they fit into your goals at hand.  Looking for carbs before a ride…take a look.  Need protein in recovery…check it out.  And, for a snack? How about a real food like chickpeas and spices that provides carbs, protein, and fiber. Done and done.  Nutrients can be important, but ALWAYS start with the ingredients.

And here’s some information on three of ours:
Chickpeas: Chickpeas are a high nutritious superfood that provide carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.  What’s more, they’ve been shown in research to suppress the appetite and allow for those trying to lose weight to eat less; improve blood fats and reduce LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides; improve blood sugars and insulin secretion; and, improve digestion and intestinal health.  Sounds like a winner, huh?
Cumin: Cumin might be my favorite spice.  It’s delicious.  It’s flavorful. And, it’s good for you.  Find out all the details here.
Chili: A spice with a punch! Real chili (freshed or dried/ground) can clear sinuses, add antioxidants, and even rev up the metabolism.  If you want to know more, read about chili here.

Then, we round it out with lemon juice, salt, and olive oil.
How do corn nuts, a snack food some might think is similar to ours, “round it out?” How about some high omega-6 corn oil (not good) and monosodium glutamate instead of real salt (no thank you).

This week, it’s easy, it’s compelling, and it’s very tasty to snack smart.  It’s the perfect snack food for a cyclist who wants to maintain a lean weight and promote health and wellness. Most of my meal plans suggest a snack of about 150-200 calories for most clients…so about 1 cup of these will do nicely.  As if you can stop there! Hopefully you have more self-control than me.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.

I especially like Kelli’s comments on paying attention to the ingredients in a product and not being distracted by the nutrition label.

Tony

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How Healthy is Popcorn?

Everybody likes to snack at some time or another. So, how healthy is that perennial snack – popcorn?

As a kid growing up in the 1950’s I fell in love with the taste of popcorn at the movies and that’s the way I eat it now – nearly every night.6a00d83451be3669e2011279443eee28a4-800wi

The Popcorn Board offers the following nutritional information:

“It’s hard to believe a snack food that tastes so good can actually be good for you! With suggestions from organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.), there’s no doubt popcorn is a perfectly sensible snack to fit into any meal/fitness plan.

• Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 55 calories per cup.
• When lightly buttered, popcorn contains about 133 calories per cup.
• Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a good-for-you food.
• Popcorn provides energy-producing complex carbohydrates
• Popcorn contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet.
• Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories.
• Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives, and is sugar-free.
• Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn’t spoil the appetite.
• 3 cups of popcorn equal one serving from the grain group.
• Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn’t spoil an appetite.”

ScienceDaily reported Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a pioneer in analyzing healthful components in chocolate, nuts and other common foods, explained that the healthful antioxidant substances called polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4 percent water, while polyphenols are diluted in the 90 percent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables.

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