Archive for January, 2013

Superbowl Recipe Ideas that are Heart Healthy?

80 million.  That’s the amount of pounds of avocados estimated to be eaten on Superbowl Sunday.  Enough to fill a football field, 11.8 feet deep. 

30 million.  That’s approximately the number of pounds of five popular snack foods (potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, popcorn, and nuts) Americans will eat on Superbowl Sunday.

2.5 million.  That’s how many nuts will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday.

1,200.
That’s the approximate amount of calories people will eat on Superbowl Sunday in snacks alone.  Not counting the meals (or drinks)!

20%.  That’s the increase in sales of antacids on Superbowl Sunday alone. 

Startling facts, huh?  Think we overdo the high fat, high calorie foods and alcohol a bit too much?

Is it possible to still be “heart healthy” and enjoy the Superbowl?

OF COURSE!  

Here are a few ideas…

We talked about avocado earlier in the week – well with 80 million pounds eaten on Superbowl Sunday, it’s one food we do pretty well with.  Here’s a recipe for homemade guac – a favorite Superbowl snack at the Mohr House (even Ella loves mashed avocado)!  

Guacamole

We won’t revisit the nutrient benefits of avocados – check out our article on the health benefits of avocado here.

Instead, here’s a super simple guacamole recipe you can try for the game tonight:

Ingredients

2 fully ripened Avocados, halved, pitted and diced
1 tsp salt
1 TBS fresh lime juice
2 TBS, chopped cilantro
Dash cayenne pepper (optional if you want some added kick)

Directions:

In a bowl, combine all ingredients.  Cover and chill until ready to serve (NOTE: the avocado might get slightly brown in the fridge.  No problem, just stir it up.
Prep time: 5 minutes.  Yields 1 ½ cups

Nuts

Nuts can be fantastic for you, but at the same time they can be way too easy to overeat.  

That’s where in shell pistachios come into play – take off the shell, enjoy the pistachio, but then don’t discard the shells.  Leave them visible in a bowl – research published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that when people saw the “residue” of foods they’d eaten, they ate 27% less overall! 

That’s an incredibly simple way to eat less fat and calories.  

Pizza

It’s estimated that at least 58% of Americans order pizza on Game Day.

Save some money.  Save the hassle.  And save a ton of fat and calories by making your own – with a tortilla base rather than a thick, doughy, fiber free crust.

Try this super simple recipe – or watch our video on how to lose fat eating pizza!

Ingredients

Sprouted grain tortillas
Favorite tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Favorite toppings (ideally choose veggies over meats)

Directions
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees
Top each tortilla with sauce, cheese, and your favorite topping
Place in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.  Enjoy!

Moral of the story – enjoy the game, eat foods you love, and may YOUR team win!

Practical, yet still healthy.

 

3 Meals or 6 Smaller Meals – What’s Best for Fat Loss?

It’s time to bring up a hot topic in the world of nutrition.

How many meals should you eat for the BEST results?  Should you eat 3 traditional, breakfast, lunch and dinner meals?  Should it be 6 smaller meals?  Maybe somewhere in between?

fat loss adviceWell, there’s a general consensus that eating smaller, more frequent meals is best for fat loss and general health.

You’ll be more full.

You’ll better control your blood sugar.

You’ll better control your hormones.

And, at the end of the day, this means you’ll lose more fat and keep your muscle.  Sounds good to us.

But it is TRULY that simple?  If you eat the same number of calories spread out through multiple meals vs. eating just a few meals/day that magic bullet for fat loss?

Trying to lose fat can be REALLY confusing!

A friend from the University of Missouri — Dr. Heather Leidy — published her research in the journal, Obesity, asking this very question.  And Heather is no stuffy lab scientist who barely knows how to spell the word exercise.  She IS a smart scientist, but feels right at home in the gym training as well.

So let’s get to the results.

3 meals.  6 meals.  What’s best?

In this small study of just 27 overweight or obese men, subjects were assigned to "high" protein diets (25% of their calories) or regular protein diets (14% of their total calories).  Then, they were also divided into 3 meals/day (~5 hours apart) or 6 meals per day (2-3 hours apart).

The higher protein group DID report being more full throughout the day, in the evening, and later at night.  This isn’t surprising as there’s no doubt protein is more filing than either carbohydrate or protein. 

But, interestingly, the group randomly assigned to eat just 3 meals per day reported feeling more full than the group eating 6 meals/day

Hmmm, this is interesting.  For years and years, lay audiences, magazines, etc have suggested smaller, more frequent meals is the BEST approach.  Now Dr. Leidy’s research suggests otherwise.  Maybe the smaller, more frequent feedings is more than it’s cracked up to be.  And from her research it actually seems as if protein is the bigger "driver" when it comes to fat loss rather than how often you’re eating.  This certainly isn’t the final word on this, but for now from our real world data combined with the science that’s out there, we suggest two things:

  1. Make sure you eat protein with every single meal (and snack, if you eat snacks)
  2. Do what works for you.  For us that is smaller, more frequent meals — but our lifestyle allows that.  The key is to plan ahead so whether you’re eating 3 larger meals or 3 smaller meals + 2 snacks, they’re super high quality.

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13 Nutrition Trends for 2013

It’s that time of year again.

Gyms are crowded.  Diet books aplenty. And everyone is talking about how to best achieve your 2013 goals.

Now that we’ve been in this field for awhile, we continue to see things come and go and often come and go again. 

I remember sitting in my first nutrition class at Penn State.  My professor taught us all about the benefits of a low fat diet.  Low fat for heart health.  Low fat for weight loss.  Low fat, low fat, low fat.

As years went on, I learned a little more, that wasn’t quite true. And, lo and behold, then it became low carbohydrate — that was the newest/hot trend. And more recently we’ve seen some other diets and diet philosophy’s rise in popularity.

We’ve also seen certain foods and ingredients grow in popularity.

All that being said, it’s time to check in and predict some of the biggest Nutrition Trends for 2013, looking at individual ingredients/foods and some general principles as a whole.

  1. Balance.  Seems that we’re moving away from low fat and away from low carbohydrate.  Instead, many are moving towards a more balanced approach to eating.  Of course you’ll still see and hear various media reports, articles, etc supporting both ends of the spectrum, but balance seems to be a big "driver" in the diet world and will be for the year.
  2. Simple.  We’re all busy.  Work. Kids. Life.  If there was a way to simplify cooking and meal prep, it would be an instant success. As savvy consumers grow more privy to marketing, you’re looking for less "fluff" and less ingredients.  Simple, basic foods.  And a lot of companies are starting to move in this direction.
  3. popcorn is gluten freePaleo Diets.  These diets have grown in popularity from Crossfit.  On a very simple level, it’s basically getting away from processed foods, very limited in carbs, low-no grains, no gluten, and high in veggies, fish, healthy fat, and fruit.  As a whole we do like some of these principles; who can argue with eating less refined foods, less ingredients, less junk?  Though we do think some quality grains (see #4) have their place, particularly among athletes.
  4. Popcorn.  Yes, good ‘ol basic popcorn is growing in popularity.  In fact, we were recently at a high end restaurant in DC that had popcorn all "fancied up" on the tables instead of bread. We’ve even seen more and more popcorn themed stores popping up in airports and malls and there are now a good amount of popcorn based products sold at higher end grocery stores as well.
  5. Carbs are in.  But and this is a big but, only if they are the "real deal" carbs that actually have nutrients.  Quinoa, barley, beans, bulgur, sweet potatoes, etc.  These are all in.  Fortunately fiberless, junky carbs are out. So toss the sugar laden cereals, Pop Tarts and whatever else is lurking in your cabinet and choose from those choices above.
  6. Greek yogurt.  This is one trend that has been on a massive upward trajectory the last few years.  With Chobani leading the market, it’s a trend we love and have recommended for years — with double the protein and half the carbs as "regular" yogurt, Greek yogurt is a winner!
  7. Raw cacao powder and cacao nibs.  Dark chocolate is hot — and is only getting hotter, particularly with the evolution of the industry and super high quality products out there.  We use Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao in smoothies, yogurt, and occasionally make a little hot chocolate treat with it.  It’s loaded with antioxidants and other powerful nutrients that are fantastic for you.  You’ll be seeing more of these products in foods and in restaurants.
  8. gluten free foodsGluten is out.  Interesting to say carbs are in, but gluten is out.  Well, there are plenty of gluten free carbohydrates — like those listed above and others.  We’re not of the mind that gluten is the enemy, unless there is a specific allergy, but many of the naturally gluten free grains are fantastic choices, so enjoy healthy portions of those (about 1 handful/meal).
  9. Natural sugar "alternatives."  Two are leading this fight — coconut sugar, coconut nectar and monk fruit sweetener.  You’ll see a lot more of all of these this year.  Coconut sugar is simply the dehydrated form of coconut nectar.  We do like them both better than traditional table sugar, but of course encourage limiting the use of any added sugar.  Monk fruit sweetener is a non calorie containing sweetener that is marketed as "natural."  Of course that term should be used lightly as there’s of course a whole lot of processing that goes into making a sweetener from the monk fruit, but it’s not a chemical smorgasbord like many of the other current artificial sweeteners. 
  10. coconut waterFarmed fish is back (and healthy?).  It was really easy when we could say this is bad or this is good.  But, it’s not black and white.  There’s certainly gray and, very often, the answer with nutrition is "it depends."  And that’s the same with fish.  Farmed fish got a bad wrap and for very good reason. It was higher in contaminants, lower in omega’s.  But some forward thinking companies — like Australis — that sustainably farm Barramundi are changing that.  Here’s a link to a video I did about them awhile back.  And there is a similar company doing the same with sustainably farmed salmon.  Keep an eye out for this one down the road.
  11. Coconut Water Powder.  Coconut water emerged several years ago and still remains hot.  What’s even hotter  now coconut water powder.  So rather than shipping heavy, already bottled/packaged coconut water across the world from where it’s produced, which of course comes with an environmental impact, companies like Navitas Naturals and others have packaged freeze dried coconut water powder that you simply add water to reconstitute it and enjoy a delicious alternative to higher calorie drink options.
  12. Coconut oil/coconut.  Seems to be a lot of coconut themes in this Nutrition Trends newsletter — well, coconut as a whole is hot.  It’s a saturated fat that, because of it’s specific fatty acid makeup, has some solid support in terms of its health benefits.  And it tastes great, so you’ll see more and more of it in restaurants and recipes.
  13. Whey protein.  As the data continue to mound in support of adding whey protein to the diet, whey makes more and more inroads into our food supply.  No longer is it only found in tubs of protein at your local GNC to add to smoothies; now mainstream foods like Special K bars, cereals, oats and many other food products have added whey to boost their nutritional profile.  And for a good reason — most people could benefit from more consistent protein intake, so whey is an easy to make that happen.

And there you have it.  Our 13 Nutrition Trends and Predictions for 2013.  Let’s see how we do.

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