All Entries For food

Eating to Fuel Different Race Lengths

Running is an incredible source of exercise and one of the best things about it is that you can compete against yourself. Whether you are participating in a 5K or a full marathon, there are races for all levels, and plenty of good causes to get you out there to run. But before you lace up and take off, make sure you are taking the time to fill your tank with proper food and hydration. Here are some ways to ensure that you are adequately fueled to finish any race with power and energy.
Posted 5/21/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   72,702 views
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Why Fruits & Vegetables Are So Good for You

The 2010 U.S. dietary guidelines recommend that all Americans eat more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Government guidelines aside, you surely grew up with your mom telling you to eat your vegetables. Or maybe you even hear it now from your doctor.  
When you're new to adopting a healthy diet, you may wonder: What's so good about fruits and vegetables anyway? What kind of benefits will I see if I eat more?  Here are four good reasons to be like Bugs Bunny and chomp away on more fresh produce.
Posted 3/9/2014  12:00:00 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 4 comments   19,973 views
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8 Ingredients for the Perfect Super Bowl Party

Hosting the Super Bowl bash this year? Beyond wings, beer, and plenty of chips and dip, there are a few more things you'll need to ensure your game-day festivities don’t commit any party fouls. Keep reading for eight ingredients for the perfect Super Bowl party!
Posted 1/20/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 6 comments   21,359 views
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15 Surprisingly Healthy Restaurant Dishes

Just because you're trying to eat healthier this year, doesn't mean you can never go out to eat with your friends or family. Instead of getting frustrated and throwing caution to the wind, just do a little research ahead of time to identify menu options that fit in with your nutrition goals.
We've scoured popular restaurant menus to give you a head start with 15 healthy dishes that will fit into most eating plans. And don't worry, even if you do make a less-than-ideal choice at one meal, that doesn't mean you have to give up on healthy eating. Just go right back to your plan at the very next meal and don't waste time feeling guilty!
Posted 1/1/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 7 comments   19,824 views
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The 15 Worst Foods of the Year

Each year many people make food-related New Year's resolutions or goals. Figuring out how to make dining out fit in with those goals can be a big challenge. Over the years, we've highlighted many of the healthier options in our Diet Friendly Dining series. Last year we were encouraged by the increased number of nutrition conscious restaurant options that were available.

This year, we've seen all sorts of new foods hit the market. Some, like the recently invented Cronut, throw nutrition caution to the wind. Others, like Satisfries, are an attempt to create tasty lower-calorie favorites. We scoured restaurant menus to find the biggest nutrition disasters so you'll know what to avoid when eating out in the new year.  
Posted 12/27/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 31 comments   87,235 views
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Gear Up for the Perfect Tailgate

Once you've planned the perfect tailgate party, you'll want to stock up on gear to help you celebrate your favorite team and serve up delicious snacks in style.

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite products to make your party even more fun.

(We're showcasing Bengals gear here, since SparkPeople's hometown is Cincinnati, but all the team products listed are available for your favorite NFL teams.)
Posted 11/15/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 7 comments   8,427 views
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Festive Football Food Accessories

Whether you're having a get together to watch the big game, a Super Bowl bash or a party for your kid's football team, there are tons of great themed accessories available to help bring your appetizers to life.
Posted 11/13/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 6 comments   12,216 views
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16 Seasonal Supermarket Treats Worth Trying

Which flavors come to mind when you think about fall? Apple, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger? Probably no flavor is more closely associated with fall than pumpkin. It seems as though every food company and restaurant under the sun is offering limited edition pumpkin delights these days—you can find the flavor in just about everything from yogurt to granola bars to tea.

But just like a lot of the foods found year-round that may sound healthy, many pumpkin-flavored treats are high in calories, fat and sugar (or all three). (Check out our list of fall's most fattening foods here.) In many cases, you'd be better off having a slice of pumpkin pie, than that "innocent" impulse item tempting you from the checkout line!

So which pumpkin treats are worth trying this fall? We scoured supermarket shelves to discover seasonal offerings that will let you indulge—without breaking the calorie bank.

There are actually more supermarket options than you might think, some of which even contain real pumpkin (instead of artificial pumpkin flavor). Pumpkin, along with the rest of the winter squash family, is packed with beta carotene, vitamin C, niacin, phosphorus, potassium and fiber.
The top supermarket pumpkin treats worth trying fall into three categories:

Pumpkin-Flavored Drinks
While you won't find any actual pumpkin in most pumpkin-flavored drinks, they can still offer a low-calorie way to enjoy fall's most popular flavor.

Pumpkin-Flavored Bars
You always have to be careful in this aisle, as snack and energy bars are often just candy bars wearing a "healthy" halo. But the right bars can be a convenient, on-the-go choice when you're busy.

Pumpkin-Flavored Breakfast Foods and Snacks
Pumpkin makes a great complement to many breakfast foods. It's easy to find pumpkin donuts and pastries at the grocery store, but there are low-calorie, high-flavor options, too.

This tea offers lots of flavor with zero calories. 

If you have a Keurig brewer, you can try this flavorful brew.  

If you use a regular coffee machine, Trader Joe's offers this fall coffee flavor.

To punch up the flavor of pumpkin or regular coffee, use this syrup.  

If you like your coffee with cream, International Delight offers this tasty creamer

If you crave a cold, pumpkin-flavored drink this beverage could be just the thing to quench your thirst.  

This coconut milk contains some real pumpkin and only 1 gram of fat. 

These granola bars are 170 calories per serving (that's two bars per package).

These nutrition bars would be appropriate before or after a strenuous workout.

This Alt bar is also workout-worthy with 220 calories and 10 grams of soy-free protein.

This cream cheese spread is offered every fall—and it’s made with real pumpkin.

Pop two of these waffles into the toaster for a filling breakfast at home or on the go. 

For a protein-packed option, this yogurt flavor comes with a whopping 14 grams of protein per serving.

These cereal bars are not a bad choice to satisfy a pumpkin craving without going for a pastry.

Swap out your usual breakfast cereal for one serving of these for a tasty choice to keep you full through the morning. 

To add protein, healthy fat and some fun pumpkin flavor to yogurt or oatmeal, try these almonds.  

Serving  Size  Calories  Fat  Carbs  Sugar  Protein  Contains Pumpkin
Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
Califia Pumpkin Spice Latte Cold Brew Coffee 8 oz 90 3 g 15 g 12 g 1 g yes
Clif Spiced Pumpkin Pie Bar 1 bar 240 4.5 g 45 g 25 g 8 g yes
Green Mountain Coffee Pumpkin Spice K-Cup 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
International Delight Fat Free and Sugar Free Creamer 1 Tbsp 15 0 g 3 g 0 g 0 g no
Kashi Crunchy Granola Bars Pumpkin Spice Flax 2 bars 170 6 g 26 g 10 g 5 g yes, seeds
Kellogg’s Pumpkin Spice Mini-Wheats 25 biscuits 190 1 g 46 g 12 g 5 g no
Larabar Alt Pumpkin Pie Bar 1 bar 220 6 g 30 g 18 g 10 g yes
Nature’s Path Pumpkin Spice Waffle 2 waffles 210 7 g 35 g 6 g 2 g yes
Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds 28 g 160 12 g 9 g 5 g 5 g yes
Siggi’s Pumpkin & Spice Yogurt 1 container 130 2 g 13 g 11 g 14 g yes
So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk Beverage 1/2 cup 70 1 g 15 g 14 g 0 g yes
Torani Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Syrup 1 oz 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
Trader Joe’s low-fat Pumpkin Bars 1 bar 140 2.5 g 27 g 1 g 15 g yes
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread 2 Tbps 70 5 g 6 g 4 g 0 g yes
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Coffee 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
More Food Ideas for Pumpkin Lovers
  • These sweet treats feature the goodness of real pumpkin, which adds moisture and flavor while lowering the fat in the recipes.
  • For a festive fall twist on hummus, try this pumpkin bean dip.
  • To warm up a fall evening, fill up a bowl with delicious spiced pumpkin soup (that can be made in just 20 minutes)!
What your favorite healthy way to enjoy fall's favorite flavors? Have you tried any of the fall foods above?
Posted 11/1/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 42 comments   62,083 views
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What Did the Founding Fathers Eat?

The Fourth of July is a time for flags, fireworks, food and fun!  It’s also a time to remember that safe and convenient food has not always been readily available in our country.  Today, the average person spends about 50 minutes in the kitchen each day preparing meals—about five minutes for breakfast, 15 minutes for lunch and up to 30 minutes for dinner. In colonial America, cooks would slave away over the stove for hours.  Talk about your American Revolution!
However, some of our modern dining habits actually do bear similarities to those of our colonial ancestors.  Beef, chicken, pork, fish, fruits, vegetables and baked products would have been familiar foods in colonial times. Colonial cooks used some of the same cooking methods we still use today, like frying, baking, broiling and boiling.  And while the colonists enjoyed their coffee, tea, and hot chocolate like we do, they didn’t have a Starbucks in every neighborhood!
Not much else was the same.  While we may not know exactly what George Washington ate for dinner on July Fourth, we do know several things about the preparation of foods in 1776.  Here are a few highlights:
Posted 7/4/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Becky Hand : 49 comments   31,801 views
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How to Conquer Your Snack Attack

I’ll admit it up front: I am a snacker. In fact, I have a snack twice a day. My body screams for food around three p.m. every day, even though I make a point to eat breakfast and lunch. If I ignore the hunger, I end up grabbing and devouring handfuls of chips or cookies as soon as I get home around five p.m.  Therefore, I plan ahead and have a non-perishable snack stashed in my desk drawer at all times, usually homemade trail mix.
My second snack attack hits in the evening, and is not related to true belly hunger at all.  In the evening, I want to eat food for comfort.  You know what I’m talking about. At the end of a long day, all I seem to want is chocolate ice cream along with my favorite TV show, book or magazine. 
There is nothing inherently wrong with snacking. In fact, snacking can help with weight loss by warding off afternoon and evening binge eating.  However, the snack should be factored into your total calorie intake for the day, and should contain about 150 calories. A balanced snack should have about 15-30 grams of carbohydrates and three to five grams of protein.

Unfortunately, this type of healthy snacking is NOT happening in America, for children or adults.  While I know you are probably not really surprised by this statement, you may be surprised at the numbers. 
Posted 6/6/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Becky Hand : 144 comments   128,165 views
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10 Tips for Preventing Colorectal Cancer

Research has shown that at least 50% of all cases of colorectal cancer could be prevented by lifestyle, and one recent Harvard study found that risk could be reduced by as much as 70% to 75%! Here are 10 things you can do to minimize your risk for colon cancer: 
  1. Maintain a healthy body weight. Watch portion sizes and balance your food intake with activity to reach or maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Be physically active. Walking just 4 hours a week significantly reduces your risk, and being active will also help you achieve tip #1.
  3. Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk of many cancers not just colon and rectal cancer.
  4. Practice moderation when drinking alcohol. For women this means consuming no more than one drink per day, for men no more than two. All of the following equal one drink:
    • 12 oz. can or bottle of beer or wine cooler
    • 5 oz. glass of wine
    • 1½ oz. shot of hard liquor
Since your colon is part of your gastrointestinal tract, it makes sense that your diet would have a powerful impact on colorectal cancer risk. Here are the most important things to consider when eating for cancer prevention:
  1. Eat a plant-based diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants and are the best source of important phytochemicals. Green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are especially helpful as they may slow down or block the expression of cancer genes.
  2. Increase your intake of fiber. Whole grains, beans and legumes contain important vitamins and minerals, and are excellent sources of fiber. They help to soften your stools, prevent constipation and keep things moving through your GI tract.
  3. Eat less red meat and avoid processed meats.
  4. Don’t overcook your meat. It’s important to cook meats enough to prevent food-borne illnesses, but overcooking can cause cancer-causing compounds to form.
  5. Replace animal fats with nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Olive and canola oil are great choices. Fish oils containing omega 3 fatty acids offer additional health benefits for your heart, brain and immune system.
  6. Be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D in the body are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. For the best advice on whether you need extra calcium or Vitamin D, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. 
And here’s the best news! The same lifestyle choices that reduce your risk for colon cancer also lower your risk for other forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. In addition, they enhance the quality of your life by improving your overall physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Since its inception, the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation (Susie’s Cause) has followed a specific road map for success and firmly established itself as the National Voice for the prevention, early detection, and treatment of Colon Cancer. (Susie’s Cause) will continue to strive to eliminate colon cancer as a life-threatening disease through the development and dissemination of grass roots educational programs and a robust online campaign to touch both medical professionals and the general public worldwide. Please support our efforts to save tens of thousands of lives each year.
Posted 4/26/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   15,620 views
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5 Foods I Never Feed My Children

One of my biggest priorities as a mom is providing my kids with a healthy diet.  Sometimes I'm met with success (they love vegetables), but other times it's a little more difficult ("Eww!  What is this?!?"). I try to expose them to a wide variety of healthy foods, so that eating this way becomes a normal part of the rest of their lives.  My kids are 6, 4 and 1, and even though I control most of what they eat at this age, I still shake my head at some of the food that's served when I'm not around.  My kindergartner can't go to a Girl Scout meeting, sporting event or even morning snack at school without adults serving her junk food.  So when I'm given the opportunity to bring something, I see it as a chance to show kids that healthy food can taste good.
Sometimes I get flak from other parents (including my own) because I don't let my kids order whatever they want at a restaurant or limit the foods I bring into our home.  I don't think I'm denying my children the joys of childhood by not serving them many common "kid foods."  If substituting vegetables for French fries or telling them they can't have the corndog on the menu is the worst thing I do as a mom, I think I'm on the right track.   
At the same time, I realize that putting some foods off-limits often makes them the "forbidden fruit," and they can become the food my kids want most.  Just like adults, completely denying yourself the foods you enjoy makes you more likely to binge on them later.  I don't want my child to go crazy at a friend's house because their mom serves chocolate milk and I only serve plain.  My kids get treats and snacks they like, but there are certain foods they will just never get from me.  Recently, I read an article about the top foods nutrition experts won't feed their kids, which inspired me to write this blog.  Wondering what foods are on the "off limits" list for this personal trainer's kids?
Posted 2/25/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 139 comments   64,341 views
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Stuff We Love: Coach Nicole's Fit Summer Picks

The heat is on! But as much as we can complain about it, I am loving every minute of this summer. How about you? I've been enjoying just the right amount of busy-ness and relaxation, and I'm not letting the high temperatures get in the way of my fun—or my fitness.
Here are some of the fitness products, apparel, foods and otherwise healthy pursuits that I can't get enough of this season. Hopefully some of them will help YOU stay on track, too!
Posted 8/1/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 19 comments   14,965 views
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Study: The Hungrier You Are, the More Certain Foods Appeal to You

One thing I don’t have patience for is being hungry.   I’ve never been one of those people who can go all day without remembering to eat.  My body is like an alarm clock, and when the buzzer goes off that it’s time to eat, it just keeps getting louder until I do something about it.  When I get really hungry, the first thing I grab for is usually a granola bar or something else that’s high in carbohydrates.  I always figured that’s because it’s quick and easy, but new research shows that my growling stomach could be causing me to gravitate toward these types of foods.
Posted 7/17/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 34 comments   15,737 views
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Does 'Disney-Approved' Mean It's a Healthy Food?

Disney began focusing on providing healthier kids' meals at their Parks and Resorts beginning back in 2006. Now kids' meals routinely include low-fat milk and carrots unless parents opt out. Disney internal statistics reveal that parents will stick with these healthier side options six out of ten times instead of requesting substitutions. With more than 12 million kids' meals served annually in Disney Parks and Resorts in the U.S. alone, the changes are making a difference in how children are eating. In September of 2010, The Walt Disney Company launched Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a national multimedia initiative to help families raise healthy, happy kids.
Last month the Walt Disney Company took another step forward in their brand commitment to healthy eating by introducing new food advertising standards. Under Disney's new standards, after 2015 all food and beverage products seeking advertisement, sponsorship, or promotion on any Disney-owned television channels (including Saturday morning programming on Disney owned ABC), radio stations, or Web sites will need to comply with the company's new nutrition criteria for programming targeting children under the age of 12.

By the end of 2012, consumers will also begin seeing the new Mickey Check symbol on Disney-licensed food products. Disney anticipates this tool will help consumers easily identify nutritious choices in stores, online and while visiting Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disney also updated their nutrition guidelines to reflect current federal standards and recommendations. The new criteria include not only specifics related to calories but also to reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.

Let's take a closer look at the details of the Disney Nutrition Guideline Criteria to see how they stack up nutritionally.
Posted 7/16/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 17 comments   9,684 views
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