Posts Tagged ‘Calorie’

            Recently a dietitian on an EML (electronic mailing list) shared a link from a blog that originated from WiseGEEK. WiseGEEK showed what 200 calorie servings of  varied foods looked like. I cannot verify total accuracy, but I believe the contents worthy of checking. The presentation may serve as an eye-opener.

            I hope you enjoy this link as much as I did. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-200-calories-look-like.htm

This blog welcomes questions and comments related to posts. Tell me what you think.


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Calories are to our bodies what gas is to our car. It’s the fuel that keeps us going. We need calories. The problem is, nearly seventy percent in our nation consume too many.

The average adult needs about 2,000 calories each day. That number moves up or down according to activity, age, and other factors. After eating foods to meet nutrient needs, approximately 300 discretionary calories can be selected from calorie-laden foods.  Calories with little or no nutritive value—empty calories—come mostly from foods high in solid fats and added sugars. Too many extra calories pile on excessive pounds resulting in overweight or obesity. While snacks can add to nutrient needs, often they fall into the empty calorie category.

About one-fourth of daily calories come from snacks. According to the Food Surveys Research Group of the Agricultural Research Service, snacking among adults increased during the past thirty years. On average, men consumed 586 calories and women 421 calories daily from snacks. Those who ate between meals four or more times daily took in almost one and one-half times more calories than those who had fewer snacks. However,  normal weight, overweight, and obese people did not differ in how often they had snacks.

Alcohol contributed sixteen percent of snack-calories for men. Sugar-sweetened beverages made up fourteen percent of calories for both men and women. The next highest group of snack-calories came from salty morsels such as pretzels, potato chips, and etc.  All these are empty calorie sources.

How can you make sure your between-meal nibbles add to a healthy diet? Choose foods that supply nutrients your body needs without providing excessive fuel. Good choices include low-fat yogurt, fruit, cereal, cheese, nuts, and other nutritious fares. Make sure your calories aren’t empty.



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If you decided to express love to your valentine by making healthy food choices, consider helping the entire family live a healthier lifestyle. With so many meals eaten away from home, choosing the most healthful items becomes a challenge. Many restaurants help patrons make good choices by identifying items with fewer calories. Others offer smaller portions.

Several tips can help cut calories when eating out.

  • Order red instead of white sauces to lower calorie intake.
  • Request all dressings, sauces, butter, and gravies be served on the side so you can control serving size. Then use sparingly.
  • Choose entrees of chicken, seafood, or lean meat instead of fatty meats.
  • Check for menu items marked “healthy.”
  • Choose steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted foods instead of those fried, smothered, sautéed, creamed, or au gratin.
  • Avoid cocktails, appetizers, and bread and butter before the meal.
  • Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets and specials. Order from the menu.
  • Split orders with someone else, ask for smaller portions, or ask for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal to help control the amount you eat.

With busy schedules, sometimes fast-food seems unavoidable. To make healthier choices and to teach your children to do likewise, consider the following tips.

  • Hold the mayo and other sauces.
  • Choose low-calorie dressings for salads
  • Avoid double meat portions. One portion is usually more than a serving size.
  • Choose chicken over higher fat burgers.
  • Ask for baked, broiled, or grilled fish sandwiches instead of fried fish.
  • Omit bacon on sandwiches. It’s high in sodium, usually high in fat, and adds little nutritive value to the meal.
  • Eat sandwiches open-faced to cut the extra calories from the top part.
  • Order whole-wheat buns or bread when available.
  • Choose low-fat milk, diet drinks, or water instead of regular colas.
  • Choose unsweetened tea instead of sweetened tea.
  • Skip the fries and request a fruit, fruit-cup, or vegetable such as salad.

Eating healthy isn’t nearly as hard as some try to make it. If you can’t bring yourself to make all these changes at one time, pick out a few you think your taste buds will tolerate and start there. You will at least be on your way to healthier eating and will probably lose a little weight along the way—which for most of us would be an added bonus. Bon appétit.

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With all the festivities and celebrations during the holiday season we tend to forget or perhaps ignore healthy foods. Whether we think so or not, our bodies don’t celebrate holidays. Too many less-healthy foods reap unwanted consequences, either now or later. We also seem to disregard how much we overeat at parties and dinners.

We don’t have to completely avoid holiday favorites, but we can make practical choices and cut back on the amount we eat. Our holiday tradition calls for fresh coconut cake. I doubt any family members will go without, but they don’t have to feel guilty. With determination we can cut back on the portion size of all high-calorie, fatty, salty, or sugar-laden goodies.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) compiled “Smart Secrets for Sensible Celebrations.” The following tips, adapted from AICR, give suggestions for what they term as “healthy indulgences.”

  • Consider Plate Proportions. Cover one-third of your plate with holiday indulgences and the other two-thirds with healthier choices such as salads and vegetables prepared with limited amounts of fat, sugars, and salt.
  • Select Whole Grains. These foods contain cancer-fighting phenols and saponins.
  • Color with Synergy. The combined action (synergy) of nutrients in different foods makes for a healthier diet. The colors of varied vegetable and plant foods supply different phytochemicals that protect the body in many ways.
  • Choose Party-plate Portions. How often do we attend parties sporting tiny plates and a table laden with a vast array of foods we salivate to try? We settle for slivers of this and a taste of that. Do the same with holiday meals. Take small amounts. Remember, one-half cup of cooked vegetables equals about one portion, and a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Indulge in small tastes of calorie-laden foods—nuts, fats, gravies, and sauces—or skip entirely if you can.
  • Balance Beverages. Alcoholic beverages contain seven calories for each gram compared to four calories per gram for sugar. Consider unsweetened beverages and limit or avoid those with alcohol.

With these suggestions, you can cut calories, limit over-indulgence, and avoid feeling like the stuffed turkey.

Enjoy the holidays.

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Overweight and obesity in our society demonstrate calorie imbalance. From the 1970s to 2008, incidents of obesity for adults and for children aged two to five doubled, while the percentage for children aged six to eleven increased from four to twenty percent. The number of obese teens in that same time period tripled to eighteen percent.  Adult obesity increases risks for chronic diseases—type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and other conditions—ultimately intensifying risks for premature death.

The body burns calories in two ways, through normal body functions (metabolism) and physical activity. We have little to no control over calories used through metabolism, but we can control the amount of calories consumed and those burned through physical activity.

Some factors that have contributed to excessive weight gain include:

  • Availability. The average available calories for individuals in the marketplace have increased about 600 calories, primarily in the form of added fats and oils, grains, and milk products.
  • Portion size. We have become an age of super-size everything. It’s normal to eat what is before us. If we choose supersizes—of course, usually at a bargain—we consumer more calories. Weight loss occurs when smaller portions replace those super-sized.
  • Fast-food.  The number of fast-food restaurants has doubled since the 1970s. People in communities with more quick-service eateries tend to have higher BMI (be more obese). Likewise, those who consume one or more fast-food meals per week have a greater risk of becoming overweight or obese.
  • Sedentary activities. Whether in the work environment or engaged in leisure activities, most American expend fewer calories than in earlier years. More sedate jobs cause adults to use less energy. Today’s children engage in more technology generated games than in active sports.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests the following, based on scientific-evidence, to help maintain appropriate body weight.

  • Focus on total calories consumed
  • Monitor food intake
  • Choose smaller portions and lower-calorie options
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods
  • Limit sedentary activities such as television viewing and electronic games

These suggestions from the Dietary Guidelines will help balance calories to manage weight more effectively. Give it a try.

 Source:  http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm . Chapter 2

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What better time to talk about sweets than February. Romantics may express love to their Valentines with a box of candy.  Such treats have lots of sugar. As you gobble down those tasty morsels, will you think about health? Facts about sugars and sweeteners may help salve your conscience. Not all sweets are the same. Those heart-shaped goodies may contain one or all three categories of sweeteners: caloric sweeteners, sugar alcohols, or artificial sweeteners.

The most familiar caloric sweetener is sugar (sucrose). Sugar appeals to all ages. Most folks seem to come wired to enjoy sweet tastes. Is that a bad thing? Are there good or bad sugars?   

That depends on who you ask. According to the American Heart Association, most women should not consume more than 100 calories per day from sugar and most men should limit their daily intake to150 calories. That’s approximately six and nine teaspoons, respectively. On average, though, Americans eat or drink the equivalent of more than twenty-two teaspoons of sugar daily for a total of about 350 calories. To put into perspective, one twelve-ounce cola has about eight teaspoons of sugar.

America’s Sweet Tooth

The use of sugar steadily increased to an average U.S. annual intake of nearly 135 pounds. That’s a lot of sugar, and those calories can pack on pounds. Should you cut back on this favored food item?

The Sugar Association maintains that sugar is not the culprit. Many health professionals agree. Sugar is not harmful in reasonable amounts.

Some people have more of a sweet tooth than others. If you are one of those, keep candy and other sugary foods out of sight. Better yet—don’t have it in your house.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, will that candy affect your health? Will it make you fat? Read next week to find out. You may be surprised.

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Welcome to a new year. If you made resolutions, have you managed to keep them thus far? Many, once again, have resolved to lose weight. Numerous others want to live a healthier lifestyle. Problems with resolutions occur when we slip one time and decide we can’t stick to promises we made to ourselves. One mistake shouldn’t shatter our personal goals for the entire year.

Food Insight, the newsletter of the International Food Information Council Foundation, made holiday suggestions in their December 2010 issue that can help weight conscious people throughout the year. Highlights included the following:

  • Choose at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. These foods help give satiety and keep calorie intake lower. They also contain fiber plus major sources of vitamins and minerals.
  • For those who imbibe in alcohol, choose lower-calorie options.
  • Focus on portion size. Many exaggerate the amount of a portion. Consider the following  as one serving: meat the size of a deck of card; cooked fruits and vegetables, one-half cup; fresh fruits and vegetables, one cup; and bread the equivalent of one slice. A serving of milk equals one (eight-ounce) cup or one ounce of cheese. 
  • When eating from a buffet, view the entire selections before making choices. To sample a number of items, take no more than two tablespoons of each prepared food.
  • Choose sensible portions of desserts and savor each bite.
  • Keep moving. Whether or not you take part in a regular exercise program, increase daily activities by moving more and sitting less. Take advantage of using stairs instead of elevators or parking farther from your destination. Every calorie burned counts.

These small steps along with other simple calorie-saving measures will help keep you fit and healthy throughout the year. Enjoy your dining experiences without nagging thoughts of continuous calorie-counting.  

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Do you anticipate holiday parties and then shudder to think of the calories you may consume? Fret no more. You can enjoy luscious tidbits without piling on extra weight.  Before the next party, consider the following pitfalls and avoid plunging into the calorie trap.

  • Avoid starving yourself all day. Your body fares better if you eat regular small meals during the day. Eat a light snack, like an apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter, before going to the party. You will be less hungry and less tempted to eat too much.
  • Avoid standing near the food table. Park yourself away from food. Talk more, eat less. Resist gulping down extra calories in beverages. Think black coffee, unsweetened teas and colas, or tonic water.
  • Avoid selecting pastries or high-fat dips and sauces. Red sauces usually contain fewer calories than white. White cheeses generally have fewer calories than yellow. Enjoy fresh plain vegetables and fruits. Dry-roasted nuts are nutritious yet lower in calories than many other party foods.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reminds revelers that “Alcohol is a cause of several cancers.” They recommend sticking to one standard serving of alcoholic beverage or a single 6-ounce serving (3/4 cup) of sweeten non-alcoholic drink. Add pieces of fruit to plain sparking water for a refreshing touch.

Select foods carefully during the holidays and take time to savor those you choose. As AICR suggests, “be creative in finding new ideas for flavor and refreshment.” You can enjoy delectable foods without the worry of that proverbial New Year’s resolution to lose weight gained during the festive season.

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A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie s...

Image via Wikipedia

Do you come away from holiday dinners feeling more stuffed than the turkey? There’s help and hope. The long holiday season swarms with temptations to overeat. Eating frenzies from Thanksgiving through New Year’s may increase weight by as much as four to five pounds, but the average gain comes closer to one pound. Planning ahead helps avoid increased calorie intake and excessive eating  during special occasions.

What holiday dinner choices tend to add the most extra calories? Delicious stuffing? Yams floating in sugar and butter? Tantalizing desserts?  Simple tips can help decrease holiday over-indulgence.

  • Identify foods loaded with the most calories and make an alternate choice.
  • Pass up second servings. Most of us leave holiday dinner tables not only full, but miserable. Fill your plate once and if you sample many dishes, cut portion size to less than usual.
  • Eat slowly and savor the flavor longer. Take time to think about what you are chewing and relish every morsel.
  • Consider lower calorie desserts.  Compare the following approximate calorie values per serving and choose wisely:
    • mincemeat pie (500 calories);
    • pecan pie (450 calories);
    • apple pie (425 calories);
    • pumpkin pie (325 calories);
    • coconut cake (400 calories);
    • fruitcake (150 calories);
    • eggnog (350 calories);
    • mixed frozen fruit (250 calories).

If you can’t resist eating a high-calorie dessert, request a half-serving. For pies, consider leaving the crust and foregoing the whipped topping.

Calorie-laden foods need not enslave us this Thanksgiving. Choose wisely and be thankful for the bounty God provides.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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