All Entries For food
In January, charming little girls came to your door to ask if you would support them and purchase some cookies. Their poise and confident sales approach won you over. Your idea was to give the cookies away or hide them in the freezer when they arrived. Now that the cookies have been delivered, it isn't as easy as you thought it would be. On top of that, the energetic girls are at tables all over the city offering additional opportunities to purchase cookies to show your support. (Check out our slide show of the best and worst Girl Scout Cookies.)
Annual cookie sales provide Girl Scouts with a wonderful opportunity to learn sales and marketing skills. The better the girl's skills, the more cookies we typically purchase which can really derail our weight loss goals. Since no foods are off limits in a healthy lifestyle, mastering Girl Scout cookie portion control will be your key to successfully staying on track during this time of year.
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I am not a big fan of starvation. Feeling hungry all the time makes me miserable and likely to binge eat. After reading a book called "You on a Diet" by Dr. Oz and Dr. Rozien, I discovered how to control my appetite, or at least how to keep it from getting worse. It isn't a typical diet book and neither is "The Spark" by Chris Downie. Along with SparkPeople, both of these books changed my life. These tools are the crux of what works for me, personally. No single program fits everyone and your journey is personal and profound. Take the things you find helpful along the way and leave the rest.
For me, I find that quality over quantity of food works well to keep me full. I was brought up in the days of the diet plate. There was one rule- as long as it had protein and lettuce, it didn’t matter what you put on the lettuce. Hey, it worked, for an hour. Those were the days of salads and Volumetrics, no fat, no bread, no nothing… what was a girl to do? Finally, after reading a bit, I decided to change what I ate. No, I don't mean switching from regular potato chips to light potato chips. I mean switching from potato chips to potatoes. Read More ›
When my mom sees the things I buy from the grocery store, she often shakes her head. I’m definitely someone who loves a good deal (I get that from her), but I’m willing to pay more for organic produce, I’ll go out of my way to shop at a farmer’s market versus the store, and I really like knowing where my food is coming from.
I hosted Thanksgiving at our house last year, so I needed to get a turkey. For me, it was important to know that the turkey had a good life and wasn’t pumped full of preservatives before it reached my door. So I was willing (and lucky that I was financially able) to get a free-range turkey from a farm in our area. It probably cost me four times what I would have paid in the store, but made me feel a lot better about serving it in my home. My mom thought that paying so much for a turkey was the craziest thing in the world. Everyone is different, so obviously what is important to me isn’t necessarily important to everyone else- and that’s okay. New research says that shoppers in their 20’s and 30’s are willing to pay more for products with a low carbon footprint, versus those in their 40’s and 50’s. Read More ›
I am a creature of habit. If you took a look in my grocery cart each week, you’d see many of the same foods- bread, produce, milk, cheese, etc. I stick with the same foods and the same brands for a few reasons. One is that I’m slightly lazy, and don’t like to take the time to comparison shop for the best deals. My goal is to get through the store as quickly as possible (especially when my kids are with me), so once I find a brand I like, I stick with it. Another reason is that once I find something my kids like (our sandwich bread, for instance), I don’t usually deviate from it for fear that I’ll hear: “This is different. I don’t want to eat it.” Read More ›
One of my goals for the New Year is to become a more informed consumer. For me, it’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s important to know where my food comes from and how it makes its way to my dinner table. But at the same time, reading too much starts to drive me crazy and often leaves me with more questions than answers. Where is the balance? Do you think about how the food made it to your grocery store shelves when you go shopping? Or do you just focus on making healthy meals with the basic ingredients your local store has to offer? Read More ›
Even though summertime is the season for backyard barbeques and treats at the local creamy whip (my favorite!), I find that I’m not as hungry when the temperature rises. Maybe it’s just that I don’t like that heavy, full feeling when it’s hot and sticky outside. Maybe it’s that I’m busy chasing the kids around the yard and don’t have as much time to think about food. Or maybe it’s that my brain is hardwired to increase my appetite when the weather turns colder. Research shows that when the days get shorter and darker, our appetites tend to increase. Read More ›
As a child I remember seeing in my Grandmother's kitchen an odd-shaped red fruit with succulent red seeds. It was so eye catching that I wasn't sure I wanted to spoil it by eating it. As an adult, I’ve fallen in love with these decadent and festive pomegranates, especially since they're also super healthy: Pomegranates are abundant sources of vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fiber. Scientists have also found that they are loaded with antioxidants that can help fight heart disease, cancer and the battle with aging. The biggest challenge is how to actually get into the fruit. Tanya, a SparkPeople Healthy Eating Expert, wrote a great nutritional overview and step by step instructions on how to dig in to a pomegranate. Fuel your body with one of the healthiest winter fruits by preparing these top 10 SparkRecipes that use Pomegranate as an ingredient. Read More ›
During the holiday season many schools, religious groups, and businesses conduct food drives for local food pantries. In the rush to grab something to contribute, nutrition or food safety isn't always high on the list of considerations. While the generous efforts of donating are appreciated, sometimes the food from pantry shelves is past the expiration date, which causes them to have to be tossed out instead of being able to benefit those that need it. Many of the typical non-perishable choices picked up at grocery stores tend to be high in sodium, sugar, or calories, which do not provide maximum nutrition for those that really need to make every bite count.
This winter, more people than ever are expected to visit a local food bank or seek out a pantry or assistance for utilities, housing and medical care than ever before. Use this list of suggestions to makeover your food pantry donations this holiday season and all winter long. Your healthier donations will go a long way to help those who receive them be as healthy as possible.
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Prices for everything have been going up, including groceries. Whether you are trying to stick to a budget or not, it always feels great to eat healthy AND save money on groceries. At times it may seem impossible to eat healthy on a budget, but it can be done! We've rounded up a variety of resources to help you learn all you ever wanted to know about saving money on groceries and eating healthy on a budget.
Slash Your Grocery Bills: A Dozen Smart and Simple Tips from Food Bloggers
How Members Eat Well for Less
Printable Cookbook: Delicious Dinners on a Dime
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You’ve been working hard all summer, taking care of business, your household, and the never-ending to do list. As the long sunny days of summer begin to vanish, trade in laborious and time-consuming cooking, for fast and easy recipes that are healthy and taste good too. We’ve gathered 11 recipes from SparkRecipes that minimize preparation, while maximizing flavor.
I'll admit that I'm not a fan of grocery shopping. One of my biggest pet peeves is going back to the store multiple times a week for more milk, fruit, or because I forgot an ingredient for tonight's dinner recipe. So I make a list once a week before I go, planning out the week's meals, and I even organize it by row so that I can get through the store as quickly as possible. Read More ›
School bells will soon be ringing all across the country. This means lunchrooms will fill up with hungry children ready for a nutritious break in their day. While you may have prepared to pack a waste-free lunch, are you ready to pack one that is nutrient rich?
Some of the best ways to increase nutrition and decrease waste is to skip pre-packaged, convenience foods that are expensive and offer processed foods that tend to be loaded with sodium and preservatives. If you can include last night's leftovers in a way it can be consumed at a safe food temperature, go for it. Avoid thinking of lunch in terms of a sandwich, chips, and a cookie like what you get in a boxed lunch from the deli. Instead, think balanced meals, whole foods, and creativity. After all, finger foods are usually a hit with the kids and can save on utensils too. You might also want to include a wet washcloth in a container so they can easily wash their hands. Here are some helpful tips to help you create a nutrition rich, penny-wise lunch for children and adults alike. Read More ›
An estimated 23.5 million Americans (including 6.5 million children) live in areas where it is difficult to find healthy, affordable foods. Commonly referred to as "food deserts", residents might have to drive 10 miles or more to find stores with items they can afford. Even then, these stores might not carry important items like fruits and vegetables. Now a new program between major retailers and the Partnership for a Healthier America (started by Michelle Obama) aims to give these areas better access to foods that are a key part of a healthy diet. Read More ›
In the recently updated 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the term SoFAS is defined as solid fats and added sugars.
Solid fats are those that remain in solid form at room temperature. They tend to be high in unhealthy saturated fats that can increase total cholesterol especially the LDL's. Some solid fats are found naturally for example in lard. Others like stick margarine or vegetable shortening are the result of the hydrogenation process which also produces trans fats.
Many foods have sugar but not all foods have added sugar. Most carbohydrate containing foods contain sugars in the form of glucose, fructose, or lactose. For example, fruit and the juice squeezed from fruit naturally contain the sugar fructose that makes them sweet. Fruit drinks on the other hand contain added sugars that make them sweet.
Health experts recommend a daily calorie intake that contains 15 percent or less from SoFAS. However, Guideline studies found the actual intake for Americans of all ages and sexes to be more like 35 percent from foods and snacks such as pies, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, soda, fruit drinks, energy and sports drinks. Several health organizations, including the American Heart Association, suggest that added sugar should be limited to no more than 6-7 percent of your total calories. That would indicate that solid fats would contribute 8 percent or less of daily caloric intake.
In the old Food Guide Pyramid fats, oils and sweets were found at the top of the diagram and visually encouraged sparing consumption. In the new My Pyramid graphic, this group doesn't have the same visual prominence or reminder of limitation. Here are three basic keys to help you remove the SoFAS from your kitchen.
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