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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 21th - Eat Spring's Freshest Picks

Monday, March 21, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"It's spring! Enjoy this season's freshest picks: asparagus, bananas, beets, berries, figs, green beans, kiwi, mangos, pears, peppers and pineapple."

After a long winter of lots of rain and snow, I'm sure we're all ready for Spring - the season seen as a time of reawakening and renewal. Ahhhh yes, the birds are starting to sing more, blossoms will soon start to appear on the trees and bulbs are already starting to poke up their new growth from out of the slowly warming earth. After a season of eating heavier comfort foods and being less active, Spring brings with it the time for more activity and lighter eating as lots of fresh, colourful, nutritious fruits and veggies become more available. Yes, green peas and firm asparagus will soon be at their peak along with plump red strawberries and fragrant pineapples. All a harginger of the larger fresh bounty to come. Eating seasonally is not only cheaper, but the produce is tastier, fresher, and more nutritious when in season. Fresh is Best!

Here's a 5-star asparagus recipe you may want to try this spring from www.whats4eats.com/vegetables/aspara

Asparagi alla Parmigiana
(Italian asparagus gratin)

Roasting is an excellent way to prepare asparagus. This simple dish with a tasty Parmesan crust is a snap to throw together. Asparagi alla parmigiana is a springtime favorite in northern Italy.

4 to 6 servings

•Asparagus, trimmed -- 2 pounds
•Butter, cut into pieces -- 2 to 3 tablespoons
•Parmesan cheese, grated -- 1/2 to 2/3 cup
•Salt and pepper -- to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter a shallow gratin or baking dish that is just large enough to hold the asparagus. Place a layer of asparagus in the dish, with the tips all facing the same direction. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and some of the cheese. Keep adding layers until all asparagus and all cheese is used, finishing with the cheese.
2. Dot the top of the dish with the pieces of butter and place the dish on the top rack of the oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the asparagus is cooked through and beginning to brown and the cheese is melted.

•Instead of the butter use olive oil or half butter and half olive oil.
•Use half Parmesan and half shredded fontina cheese for a creamier gratin.
•Layer a couple of slices of prosciutto in with the asparagus if you like.
•Sprinkle with a little lemon zest for added zing.


And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Sensitive Plant"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/22/2011 12:46AM

    I love asparagus, thanks for the recipe there. Yum!

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JUSTBIRDY 3/21/2011 11:10PM


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DEE107 3/21/2011 10:56PM

    thanks for sharing reciepe sounds yummy

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EGRAMMY 3/21/2011 10:09PM

    emoticon I toast your wonderful blog.

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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 20th - Eat Fish For The Omega-3's

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Fish for Omega-3's. Two to three servings per week are good for your heart, brain and body. You'll find it in fatty fish (like salmon and albacore tuna), ground flaxseed, soybean oil and walnuts."

www.besthealthmag.ca/omega tells us that

Omegas (3, 6 & 9) are types of polyunsaturated fatty acids and are called “essential” fatty acids because the body needs them but can’t manufacture them, so we have to get them from our diet. Researchers believe our contemporary Western diet is unbalanced, because it contains high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids (which come from grains) and not enough omega-3s. Scientists believe omega-9s, found in fats such as olive oil, are neutral (meaning they are not necessarily good for you, but are better to consume than unhealthy saturated fats). However, most of us don’t consume nearly enough omega-3s. And that imbalance could lie at the root of many modern health problems.

Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in keeping the heart, kidneys, and digestive system healthy. The body needs omega-3 fatty acids to make prostaglandins that regulate blood clotting, hormone production, and inflammation, pain, and swelling in the body.

The three types of omega-3 fatty acids are - docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which are found in fish oil, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is found in plant foods such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils (especially flaxseed oil).

Studies have shown that getting enough DHA and EPA through diet or supplementation protects against cardiovascular disease by lowering the levels of triglycerides (fats) in the blood, while raising levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent the buildup of cholesterol that can clog the arteries and lead to heart attack and stroke. It also helps keep blood platelets from becoming sticky and clumping together to form blood clots.



Atlantic salmon, farmed 2,153
Sardines, canned 2,000
Chinook salmon, wild 1,741
Halibut 1,176
Tuna, white, canned in water 859
Shrimp 317
Haddock 235
Tilapia 100

*NOTE: Levels are approximate, as they can differ due to seasonal and feeding variations.


Canola oil, 1 tbsp (15 mL) 2,000
Ground flaxseeds, 1 tbsp (15 mL) 900
Walnuts, 1 tbsp (15 mL) 750
Soybeans, 1/4 cup (50 mL) 500
Canola spread, 2 tsp (10 mL) 500
Baked beans, small tin 340
Omega-enriched egg, 1 250
Broccoli, 1/2 cup (125 mL) 100

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EGRAMMY 3/20/2011 10:36PM

    emoticon Thanks

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DEE107 3/20/2011 10:35PM

    thanks for sharing

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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 19th - Green Flag Restaurant Menu Words

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Look for "green flag" menu words. Healthy restaurant foods are usually described as baked, boiled, broiled, fresh, grilled, light, multi-grain, poached, reduced, roasted, seasoned, steamed, or stir-fried."

Other healthy dining out tips provided by www.womenontheirway.com/jane-air/201


• For a lighter meal order a healthy appetizer with a salad or two healthy appetizers instead of a high fat/calorie entrée.

• Start your meal with a clear-based soup or salad instead of a cream-based soup.

• You can ask that the bread basket not be put down on the table. If that's not an option, make a rule about how much you'll have before you go and stick to it!

• At a buffet or salad bar, load up on the vegetables and watch out for high fat toppings and mixtures.

• Portion off half of the entrée and share it or have it packed it up to take home for another meal.

• Substitute fruit, salad or steamed vegetables for high fat side dishes.

• Use condiments like ketchup, mustard, vinegar, lemon and salsa in place of butter, sour cream, cheese or creamy sauces

• Ask to have any sauces or dressings on the side.

• Use the "fork trick" for your salad. Instead of piercing the salad first then dipping it into the dressing try it in reverse! Dip the fork in the dressing first...then pierce the salad. You'll still enjoy the flavor without using nearly as much as if you did it the other way.

• When drinking alcohol, you can pre-plan the amount you'll have and stick to it! Remember, if you "fail to plan, then plan to fail!"

• Slow down your eating! Put your fork down between bites, drink plenty of water to help pace yourself and enjoy heaping conversations versus heaping portions of food!

Make smart choices and you'll be able to stay within your eating plan while still enjoying your dining out experience. Bon Appetit!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GARVCO 4/15/2011 4:28PM

    was looking for just this motivation. Headed out to California for a week of college visits with family..... So glad I am hooked on sticking to my calorie intake and now you little tidbits for menu strategy will help me enjoy myself! No plans to fail here!

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EGRAMMY 3/20/2011 5:16PM

    Thanks for the green up.

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OURELEE1 3/20/2011 10:06AM

  Very good tips. Love reading your blogs so full of information.

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/20/2011 3:13AM

    Awesome, thanks for sharing and for taking the time to post it for us.

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EGRAMMY 3/19/2011 10:41PM


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DEE107 3/19/2011 10:23PM


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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 18th - Read Nutrition Labels

Friday, March 18, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Get the nutrition facts. The front of a package won't tell you the whole story. Read labels and compare key nutrients, calories, serving size, fat, fibre, calcium and ingredients to make the best choice."

tells us:

The Nutrition Facts Table gives us the following information: Calories and 13 nutrients: Fat, Saturated fat, Trans fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrate, Fibre, Sugars, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron.

You can use the Nutrition Facts to:

•Compare products more easily
•Find out the nutritional value of foods
•Better manage special diets, such as one that is low in sodium
•Increase or decrease your intake of a particular nutrient (for example, increase fibre, decrease saturated fat)

Five easy steps to help you read the label are:

Step 1: Look at the serving size
Compare the serving size on the package to the amount that you eat. If you eat the serving size shown on the Nutrition Facts Table you will get the amount of calories and nutrients that are listed.

Step 2: Look at the calories
Calories tell you how much energy you get from one serving of a packaged food.

Step 3: Look at the per cent Daily Value (% Daily Value)
% Daily Value puts nutrients on a scale from 0% to 100%. This scale tells you if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in one serving of a packaged food. Use this percentage to compare the nutrient content of different foods.
•If a food has between 5% and 14% of a nutrient, it means that the food is a source of that nutrient.
•Between 15 and 24%, means the food is a good source of a nutrient (over 30% for vitamin C)
•And over 25% is an excellent source of a nutrient (over 50% for vitamin C)

Step 4: Try to get more of these nutrients
•Fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium

Step 5 : Try to get less of these nutrients
•Fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, cholesterol

tell us

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reading a Food Label

Avoid these common mistakes when reading labels:

- A label may say that the food is reduced fat or reduced sodium. That means that the amount of fat or sodium has been reduced by 25% from the original product. It doesn't mean, however, that the food is low in fat or sodium. For example, if a can of soup originally had 1,000 milligrams of sodium, the reduced sodium product would still be a high-sodium food.
- Don't confuse the % DV for fat with the percentage of calories from fat. If the % DV is 15% that doesn't mean that 15% of the calories comes from fat. Rather, it means that you're using up 15% of all the fat you need for a day with one serving (based on a meal plan of 2,000 calories per day).
- Don't make the mistake of assuming that the amount of sugar on a label means that the sugar has been added. For example, milk naturally has sugar, which is called lactose. But that doesn't mean you should stop drinking milk because milk is full of other important nutrients including calcium. What you can do is look at the list of ingredients. If you see the words high-fructose corn syrup or sugar high on the list of ingredients, it probably means refined sugar has been added to the product.
- A common mistake people make, especially with packages dispensed from vending machines, is to assume that a small item contains one serving just because the package is small. If you eat a bag of pretzels from a vending machine, for example, you may find that it contains 2.5 servings. So you need to multiply the numbers by 2.5 to figure out how many calories and the amount of sodium and other nutrients you are eating.

Reading Label Lingo

In addition to requiring that packaged foods contain a Nutrition Facts label, the FDA also regulates the use of phrases and terms used on the product packaging. Here's a list of common phrases you may see on your food packaging - and what they actually mean.

- No fat or fat free: Contains less than 1/2 gram of fat per serving
- Lower or reduced fat: Contains at least 25 percent less per serving than the reference food. (An example might be reduced fat cream cheese, which would have at least 25 percent less fat than original cream cheese.)
- Low fat: Contains less than 3 grams of fat per serving
- Lite: Contains 1/3 the calories or 1/2 the fat per serving of the original version or a similar product
- No calories or calorie free: Contains less than 5 calories per serving
- Low calories: Contains 1/3 the calories of the original version or a similar product
- Sugar free: Contains less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving
- Reduced sugar: at least 25% less sugar per serving than the reference food
- No preservatives: Contains no preservatives (chemical or natural)
- No preservatives added: Contains no added chemicals to preserve the product. Some of these products may contain natural preservatives
- Low sodium: contains less than 140 mgs of sodium per serving
- No salt or salt free: Contains less than 5 mgs of sodium per serving
- High fiber: 5 g or more per serving (Foods making high-fiber claims must meet the definition for low fat, or the level of total fat must appear next to the high-fiber claim)
- Good source of fiber: 2.5 g to 4.9 g. per serving
- More or added fiber: Contains at least 2.5 g more per serving than the reference food

With some Nutrition Facts practice, you'll be able to quickly scan a food label and learn how the food fits into your nutrition and diet for the day.

Comparing Labels:

The 1st label is for a beef burger & the 2nd label is for a chicken burger.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/19/2011 1:47AM

    Lots and lots of great info there, Thanks.

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DEE107 3/18/2011 11:44PM

    great information

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EGRAMMY 3/18/2011 10:01PM

    emoticon This is such great information

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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 17th - Limit Alcohol Intake

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Happy St. Patrick's Day! Research shows that moderate drinking can prevent certain diseases, but occasional binge drinking has negative effects. Limit it to 1 drink daily for women and 2 drinks daily for men."

tells us that drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and it can also harm the liver, brain, and heart. Alcoholic drinks also contain calories - 1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories - which matters if you are trying to lose weight. As mentioned above in SP's tip, if you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount — one drink a day for women; two drinks a day for men.

What counts as a drink?

- 12 ounces of beer (regular or light, 150 calories), or
- 5 ounces of wine (100 calories), or
- 1 ounces of 80-proof whiskey (100 calories).

And in keeping with the festivities of the day, here's an Irish wish for you all.

May there always be work for your hands to do,
May your purse always hold a coin or two,
May the sun always shine on your windowpane,
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain,
May the hands of a friend always be near you,
May god fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/18/2011 12:55AM

    Thanks for the Irish wish there. Good thing I'm not much for drinking or today could have been bad, LOL!

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EGRAMMY 3/17/2011 10:32PM

    Thank you for the Irish wish

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DEE107 3/17/2011 6:47PM

    thanks for sharing

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JUSTBIRDY 3/17/2011 10:18AM

    emoticon emoticon

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