Friday, July 30, 2010

Pregnancy and a Sugar-Free Lifestyle

Hey gang. One of my pregnant friends asked me about this yesterday, so I wanted to clear the issue up. She was concerned that her love for diet soda and foods made with sucralose and other low-calorie sweeteners might harm the baby. The response is: not at all! Research has shown that sucralose does not have harmful effects on pregnant women or their babies. Obviously, while sucralose may be consumed as part of a healthy pre- and post-natal diet, a pregnant or breastfeeding woman should still talk to her physician or health care provider about consuming the necessary nutrients to support her and her baby’s health throughout pregnancy and infancy.
For more information on the topic, check out this "Myth of the Month" from the Calorie Control Council website.
"The use of low-calorie sweeteners in pregnancy has been well studied both in humans and in animals. Before approving the currently available low-calorie sweeteners, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that the low-calorie sweeteners are safe for all populations, including special groups such as the elderly, children, and pregnant and lactating women. Further, leading health groups such as the American Dietetic Association and American Diabetes Association support the safe use of low-calorie sweeteners during pregnancy. Low-calorie sweeteners can help pregnant women enjoy the taste of sweets without excess calories, leaving room for nutritious foods and beverages without excess weight gain. Excess weight gain during pregnancy has been shown to be harmful to both the mother and developing baby."

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cheers to Cheesecake!

Guess I'll be busting out the cooking apron tonight because tomorrow is National Cheesecake Day, my peoples! And fortunately, there are a ton of low-calorie cheesecake recipes for all of you fighting the sweet tooth.
Here are a few of my favorite sucralose-sweetened versions. Which one do you think I should whip up tonight? They're all so yummy, I can't decide!

Marvelous Mocha Cheesecake
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Cups
Almond Cheesecake Bars

Speaking of sweet treats, my office is hosting an "ice cream social" this afternoon. Please send me strength because I'll need it to get through the event with minimal waistline damage! Here's hoping there are a few tubs of sugar-free ice cream over there.

More low calorie recipes here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Siren Call of Fro-Yo

Yogurberry, Yogli Mogli, The Yogurt Tap, Pinkberry! Every time I turn around, a new frozen yogurt spot is opening in Atlanta. Not that I mind. I'm a big fan of the chilled sweet treat, especially on a hot summer day. And seeing as how I'm hopping in a car this sweltering afternoon and heading up to a relative's lakehouse in Tennessee for the weekend, I think I just might have to grab a container of frozen yogurt for the road. By the way, I'm super excited. I haven't really taken a vacation yet this year, so it will be nice to sit my butt on a boat and soak in the rays for two days - even if I don't get to take any time away from work to do it. Anyhoo, back to my fro-yo craving: I think some pomegranate yogurt topped with strawberries, mango and kiwi might do the trick!

And for all you make-it-at-home types, here is a sucralose-sweetened frozen yogurt recipe. Have a great weekend!

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cheering for Cherry Cola!

This day is officially awesome. After hitting the salad bar at a local Jason's Deli, I found a Diet Black Cherry soft drink by Boylan Bottleworks. It was the only one left in the display case and I GOT IT!! Honestly, it's total yum. Zero calories, no fat, carbs or sugars and a rockin' good, refreshing taste. I only wish it was easier to find. Does that mean I'll have to make a weekly trip to Jason's Deli just to get my Boylans Diet Cherry fix? Sigh.

Tricks to Suppress Your Appetite

Came across a recent MSNBC article featuring appetite-suppressing tricks. Oh, if only it were that simple! For some reason, my tummy doesn't want to listen to my head when hungry - or is it the other way around? Anyhoo, I'm willing to give a few of these a shot, so I'm including a few (but not all) of the highlights:

Rise and shine with protein. Nutritionists are always raving about lean protein, and for good reason: It keeps you fuller than other nutrients and takes your body more time to digest and absorb. But what you may not realize is that when you eat it also matters. A Purdue University study found that eating lean protein (such as Canadian bacon, egg whites, or low-fat yogurt) at breakfast keeps you satisfied longer than if you were to consume it at other times of the day.

Chow on potatoes. The no-carb craze made spuds out to be dietary villains, but these starches actually have appetite-slaying superpowers. They contain a special type of starch that resists digestive enzymes. Because potatoes take a while to break down, they stay in your intestine longer, delaying the onset of hunger pangs. Have a baked potato with dinner (a medium spud is only about 100 calories) or better yet, try potato salad made with vinegar instead of fattening mayo; chilling cooked potatoes increases their hunger-busting abilities.

Gobble up grapefruit. In a study at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego, people who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds in three months. According to Ken Fujioka, M.D., the study's principal researcher, these yellow-orange orbs lower your postmeal levels of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar and fat metabolism.

Chew on this. A University of Rhode Island study found that people who chewed gum for one hour in the morning consumed 67 fewer calories at lunch and didn't compensate by eating more later in the day.

Take a whiff. Smelling food can trick your brain into thinking you've eaten. One study found that people who inhaled a peppermint scent every two hours ate 2,700 fewer calories per week than they normally did — that's nearly a one-pound loss! Banana, green apple, and vanilla had similar effects in other studies. And the more often you sniff these aromas, the more weight you'll lose, say experts.

Well, color me interested. Guess I'll give it a trial run and stick a vanilla candle next to my computer (and bed at home), keep a pack of gum in my bag at all times and carry around grapefruit for a few weeks. What say you? Think these will prove effective? Here's hoping!

Friday, July 09, 2010

I can't believe it's not sugar!

As a kid, whenever winter rolled around, I always craved three sweet treats: fudge, hot chocolate and sugar cookies. And guess what? I still do! Yes, despite the name of my blog, I loves me some sugar cookies around the winter holidays...especially the ones decorated with frosting or sprinkles. YUM! But even though I'm now a sugar-free kinda gal, I've still found ways to enjoy the classic cookie.

What's that you say? It's the wrong season to whip up a batch of sugar cookies? Nonsense. Today is National Sugar Cookie Day! So here are a few sucralose-sweetened, low-cal recipes to enjoy. Happy Friday!

Chocolate and Vanilla Sugar Cookies

No-Sugar Sugar Cookies

Sweet as Sugar Cookies

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Happy Fourth!

Anybody ready the long holiday weekend? While I'm normally hitting the road right about now for a mini-vacation, I'll be spending the next couple days moving into a new place. Yes, I'm one lucky lady, ey? Still, I plan to have a little fun in honor of our nation's independence.

I'm also planning out my menu for the weekend. As many of you know, the Fourth of July is often a high-calorie extravaganza thanks to all those cook-outs and parties. Fortunately, there are ways to get through the holiday without major weight gain.

* If you're heading to a BBQ at a friend or relative's house, bring some low-calorie snack options such as a fruit salad or raw veggies and hummus.
* Don't show up hungry. Take time to eat a light, healthy snack before chowing down.
* Use a smaller plate. And when fixing it, make sure the bulk of the meal is fruits and veggies, such as salad, baked beans, corn, watermelon and grapes. That way you can fill up your belly faster with healthier items.
* Eating smaller portions is key. Yes, you can indulge in some potato salad and that scrumptious looking slice of cake. But don't pile a mountain of it on your plate or eat half a pie in one sitting.
* Avoid adding lots of butter, salt and fatty dressings. And skip the chips, crackers, breads and other high-calorie items.
* Try not to get seconds until a few hours after you've eaten the first plate.
* Always eat dessert last.
* It's all about water. Drink lots of it to help fill you up.
* Think before you drink. The rule of thumb is, the higher the proof, the higher the calories, and the creamier the cocktail, the more fattening it is. Some cocktails - take a Long Island Iced Tea, White Russian or Mai Tai - can pack 400 to 800 calories in a standard 12-ounce glass. In addition, juices, full-calorie sodas and tonic water add more calories to any drink. The best plan is to stick with wine, light beer or cocktails containing sugar-free mixers. And remember to always pace yourself.

These types of tricks can save you hundreds of wasted calories without sacrificing the good times. And if you plan to serve as a chef this weekend, here are a few low-cal recipes ideal for the hungry masses:

Cucumber and Onion Salad

Sweet Sesame Chicken

Fresh Strawberry Pie

For more options, check out these tasty food and cocktail recipes courtesy of Hungry Girl.

Either way, have a happy and healthy holiday. And to really get you into the spirit of things, here is the festive Fourth-related finale from The Music Man. Enjoy!