Friday, April 22, 2011

ME WANT CHOCOLATE!

Okay, my willpower is just about shot. I can't seem to go to a grocery store or convenience store these days without a basket of Cadbury Creme eggs (my kryptonite!) staring at me in the checkout line. I'm trying to hold off until Sunday, but retailers are making it super difficult by constantly shoving the chocolate sweet treat (one egg is nearly 172 calories, boo!) in my face! Oh, and I also love those Reese's egg-shaped chocolate peanut butter cups that seem to be everywhere this time of year, but that's neither here nor there.

Anyway, Sunday is almost here, so I will try to stay strong until then. And I'm debating what to make for an Easter meal - perhaps ham, a green salad, scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs and mimosas. Does that sound good? As for dessert, I'm thinking about making these low-cal, Splenda-sweetened Lemon Raspberry Bars. Or perhaps I'll try this Double-Layer Carrot Cake. Sounds delicious, amirite?

Anyway, I hope y'all have a fabulous weekend. Here's a little Easter happy, courtesy of everyone's favorite beagle.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fat Fighting Foods

I attended a wedding in Destin this past weekend. It was a beautiful beachside ceremony, joining two wonderful people together. So I couldn’t be happier for my newlywed friends. However, I ate and drank a wee bit too much over the course of the mini-vacation and am now feeling a bit, well, fluffy. Fortunately, Monday is a new day and I’m back on the workout train, eating healthy meals once again. Yay.

Anyway, I saw this article about some of the best fat-fighting foods and thought you all might enjoy it. I know I'll be loading up on these items for the next few weeks.

Berries: You probably know that fiber is the magic bullet of weight loss. It keeps you satisfied throughout the day — and away from the fridge. But you may not know that berries are an excellent roughage source. Raspberries are the fiber queens with 8 grams per cup. Blackberries come in a close second with 7.4 grams and blueberries have 3.5 grams

Turkey: This clucker has the fewest calories per ounce of any animal protein. Like dairy, it contains the amino acid leucine, which may play a role in preserving muscle mass during weight loss, keeping metabolism running at full speed. Protein is also more satiating than fat or carbs — so you're less likely to overeat.

Enova Oil: Enova — made from soy and canola oils — is made of diglycerides, a type of fat that's metabolized differently from triglycerides (found in other oils — even olive) and so not stored as fat as easily. In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dieters who used Enova lost more weight than those who used other oils.

Peanuts: Ironically, this elephant favorite fights weight gain, slows rises in blood sugar and curbs hunger. One study from Purdue University found that individuals who added 500 calories of peanuts to their diets for 3 weeks experienced almost no change in body weight and a 24 percent drop in triglycerides --blood fats associated with heart disease.

Low-Fat Yogurt: Plain, low-fat yogurt is one of the best sources of calcium -- a mineral that may fight fat. According to Michael B. Zemel, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Institute at the of Tennessee, not getting enough calcium triggers the release of calcitriol, a hormone that causes us to store fat, whereas meeting our daily calcium needs helps us burn fat more efficiently. Like turkey, yogurt and other dairy foods are leading sources of leucine, which also helps fight fat.

Breakfast Cereal: By boosting fiber and providing fewer calories from fat than other popular breakfasts, ready-to-eat cereal can help you fill up -- and slim down. Study from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that women who ate cereal were 30 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate other breakfast foods. To get the most bang for your breakfast buck, choose fiber-rich (aim for 5 grams per serving), low-fat cereals.

Statistics show that about 68 percent of the U.S. population is now obese or overweight. By regularly enjoying some of these foods (in the appropriate portions), as well as products sweetened with sucralose, you can lose or maintain weight in a healthy manner. For example, switching from a regular can of soda (cola) to a sucralose-sweetened variation could save 100 calories each day – and result in a loss of up to 15 pounds throughout the year if the calorie savings are maintained. And a blueberry muffin baked with sucralose can shave off 80 calories compared to the traditional version.

For more sucralose-sweetened tips or recipes, visit the recipe section of www.sucralose.org.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mad for a sugar-free margarita...


We went to dinner at one of my fave restaurants in the Atlanta vicinity tonight. It's this wonderful Oaxacan taqueria outside of the city - it's about as authentic a Mexican restaurant as you'll find in these parts. The food is dee-lish and there is a killer salsa bar with numerous types of salsa to enjoy. The one downside is, it's a liquor-free establishment. Now, at the end of the day, that's not too big of a problem - and certainly not enough to prevent us from going. But after hours upon hours of running errands on a humid afternoon, sometimes a margarita just goes so well with that taco, ya know?! Anyway, after stuffing ourselves on sopes and tlayuda, we went home and whipped up a sugar-free batch of margaritas...oh so good on a hot night!

Any other low-cal margarita fans out there? This one is for you. Check out this link packed with numerous sugar-free margarita recipes, courtesy of Hungry Girl.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Counting Calories


This time next year, you might see calorie information displayed next to food products sold in chain restaurants, convenience stores, concession stands and vending machines across the nation. Essentially serving as the nation's first federal menu-labeling law, the rules were proposed last week by the Food and Drug Administration and are subject to a public comment period before they are finalized and implemented in 2012.

Under the regulations, any restaurant with 20 or more locations - which includes table-service establishments, fast-food outlets, bakeries and coffee shops - would have to prominently disclose calories on menus or drive-through boards. Other nutritional information, such as sodium and fat content, would be available upon request.

Vending machines would also have to clearly display the calorie counts for each item. However, movie theaters, bowling alleys, airplanes and other places where less than half the floor space is devoted to food sales would be exempt from the rules. FYI, a medium tub of unbuttered popcorn at Regal Theaters can contain 1,200 calories, according to a 2009 laboratory analysis ordered by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Menu labeling laws have already been passed in 18 states and cities, including California and New York City, and some restaurant chains already voluntarily provide the information. While most have applauded these efforts, some experts are skeptical the calorie information will cause people to make different choices.

What do you think? Will these mandatory menu labeling efforts have a positive effect on consumer eating habits? I want to hear from you on this topic!