Monday, January 31, 2011

Grain Tips

Choose more whole grain breads.
  • Pick whole grain bread instead of white bread—look for whole wheat flour or whole grain as the first ingredient on the food label.
  • Check the label and choose breads with at least two grams of fiber per slice.
  • Choose brown breads that feel firm—they are probably made with more whole grain.
Try other whole grain foods.
  • Whole grains are foods like brown rice, oats, and whole wheat pasta.
  • Whole grains are good ways to get fiber and B vitamins.
Eat whole grains for breakfast.
  • Choose whole grain cereals. Cereals like shredded wheat, bran flakes and old-fashioned oatmeal are high in fiber.
  • Stay away from cereals with lots of added sugar. Top your cereal with bananas, strawberries, or peaches instead.
  • Munch on whole grain cereals for a healthy snack any time of the day!
  • Avoid instant grits and other cereals with added salt (sodium).
Go easy on biscuits and cornbread.
  • Regular biscuits, cornbread, and croissants are often high in trans fat, saturated fat, and salt (sodium).

Grain, Grain, Oh Glorious Grain

Grains are generally divided into 2 subgroups, Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel while refined grains have been processed to remove the bran and germ. Grains are processed to give the grain a finer texture and improve their shelf life. However, the processing of the grain removes dietary fiber, iron, and vitamins that are extremely useful to our bodies. Ideally all of our daily grains would be whole grains however that may be somewhat difficult, so the USDA recommends that half of all the grains we eat should be whole grains.

The amount of grains you need depends on your age, gender and level of exercise. The links below may be beneficial in determining the number of servings needed by different individuals. There is also additional information about what counts as a serving of grain. Check out the links for more information about grain, grain, oh glorious grain.

Recommended Daily Grain Intake
Servings of Grain

Friday, January 28, 2011

Roasted, Toasted Asparagus

Roasting the asparagus intensifies its natural flavor and sweetness, and the toasted sesame oil adds a subtle nuttiness. You can serve this dish warm or at room temperature, which make it a natural buffet.

Serves: 4 (4 ounces per serving)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 minutes

Vegetable Oil Spray
1 lb. fresh asparagus (16 - 20 medium spears)
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/8 tsp. salt

Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.  Trim about 1 inch from the bottom of the asparagus. Dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place asaparagus in a single layer on baking sheet. Lightly spray asaparagus with vegetable oil spray. Broil about 4 inches from heat for 4 minutes, or just until asaparagus is tender-crisp and a few brown spots appear. Remove from broiler. Using a pastry brush, brush sesame oil over asaparagus and sprinkle with salt.

Cooks Tip on Asaparagus:
To trim asparagus, hold the cut end of a spear. Bend it gently until you feel where the tough part if the spear begins, often about 1 inch from the bottom. Snap the spear at the point, discarding the tough end. A rule of thumb is that the thinner the asparagus, the tenderer it will be. If you peel the thicker stalks, they'll also be tender.

Nutrition Facts: (per serving)
Calories: 32
Protein: 1 g
Carbohydrates: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 77 mg
Total Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 
Monounsaturated Fat:
Fiber: 1 g

Source: American Heart Association - Meals in Minutes Cookbook pg. 269

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Week 1 Weight Loss Totals

The results from Week 1 are finally posted. They can be found under the Weekly Weight Loss Totals tab here on the blog!

Great first week everyone! Keep it up!

Ham and Vegetable Casserole

Serves: 5 (1 1/2 cups per serving)
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Standing Time: 5 minutes

1 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch slices
2 cups sliced crookneck squash (about 12 ounces)
2 cups frozen chopped green bell peppers (1 1/2 large)
1 cup thinly sliced and chopped low-fat, lower-sodium ham (about 4 ounces)
1 cup frozen chopped onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup snipped parsley
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
3 ounces reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)

Put potatoes, squash, peppers, ham, onions, parsley, water, cayenne in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir to mix thoroughly. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 18 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, then sprinkle with cheese. Let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes to melt cheese.

Cooks Tip on Red Potatoes:
Be sure to use red potatoes in this recipe. They are considerably moister and hold their shape better than other varieties.
Nutrition Facts: (per serving)
Calories: 181
Protein: 13 g
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Cholesterol: 21 mg
Total Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 468 mg
Source: American Heart Association - Meals in Minutes Cookbook pg. 221

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thirty-Minute Minestrone

Serves: 6 as a main dish (1 2/3 cups per serving)
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

4 cups water
2 cups miniature peeled carrots
15 ounce can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
14 ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, cut up
1 cup chopped onion
4 tsp. low-sodium beef bouillon granules or 2 tsp. regular beef bouillon granules
1 tsp. bottled minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
9 ounce package frozen no salt added Italian green beans
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup elbow macaroni, alphabet macaroni, or broken spaghetti, uncooked
1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, combine water, carrots, beans, tomatoes, onion, bouillon granules, garlic, basil, oregano, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add green beans, zucchini and pasta. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Facts: (per serving)
Calories: 204
Protein: 11 g
Carbohydrates: 37 g
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Sodium: 278 mg
Total Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g

Source: American Heart Association - Quick & Easy Cookbook pg. 55

Friday, January 21, 2011

Improving Your Eating Habits

When it comes to eating, we have strong habits. Some are good ("I always eat breakfast"), and some are not so good ("I always clean my plate"). Although many of our eating habits were established during childhood, it doesn't mean it's too late to change them.
Making sudden, radical changes to eating habits such as eating nothing but cabbage soup, can lead to short term weight loss. However, such radical changes are neither healthy nor a good idea, and won't be successful in the long run. Permanently improving your eating habits requires a thoughtful approach in which you Reflect, Replace, and Reinforce.
  • REFLECT on all of your specific eating habits, both bad and good; and, your common triggers for unhealthy eating.
  • REPLACE your unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones.
  • REINFORCE your new, healthier eating habits.
Reflect, Replace, Reinforce: A process for improving your eating habits

1. Create a list of your eating habits. Keeping a food diary for a few days, in which you write down everything you eat and the time of day you ate it, will help you uncover your habits. For example, you might discover that you always seek a sweet snack to get you through the mid-afternoon energy slump. It's good to note how you were feeling when you decided to eat, especially if you were eating when not hungry. Were you tired? Stressed out?

2. Highlight the habits on your list that may be leading you to overeat. Common eating habits that can lead to weight gain are:
  • Eating too fast
  • Always cleaning your plate
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Eating while standing up (may lead to eating mindlessly or too quickly)
  • Always eating dessert
  • Skipping meals (or maybe just breakfast)

3. Look at the unhealthy eating habits you've highlighted. Be sure you've identified all the triggers that cause you to engage in those habits. Identify a few you'd like to work on improving first. Don't forget to pat yourself on the back for the things you're doing right. Maybe you almost always eat fruit for dessert, or you drink low-fat or fat-free milk. These are good habits! Recognizing your successes will help encourage you to make more changes.

4. Create a list of "cues" by reviewing your food diary to become more aware of when and where you're "triggered" to eat for reasons other than hunger. Note how you are typically feeling at those times. Often an environmental "cue", or a particular emotional state, is what encourages eating for non-hunger reasons.

Common triggers for eating when not hungry are:
  • Opening up the cabinet and seeing your favorite snack food.
  • Sitting at home watching television.
  • Before or after a stressful meeting or situation at work.
  • Coming home after work and having no idea what's for dinner.
  • Having someone offer you a dish they made "just for you!"
  • Walking past a candy dish on the counter.
  • Sitting in the break room beside the vending machine.
  • Seeing a plate of doughnuts at the morning staff meeting.
  • Swinging through your favorite drive-through every morning.
  • Feeling bored or tired and thinking food might offer a pick-me-up.

5. Circle the "cues" on your list that you face on a daily or weekly basis. Going home for the Thanksgiving holiday may be a trigger for you to overeat, and eventually, you want to have a plan for as many eating cues as you can. But for now, focus on the ones you face more often.

6. Ask yourself these questions for each "cue" you've circled:
  • Is there anything I can do to avoid the cue or situation? This option works best for cues that don't involve others. For example, could you choose a different route to work to avoid stopping at a fast food restaurant on the way? Is there another place in the break room where you can sit so you're not next to the vending machine?
  • For things I can't avoid, can I do something differently that would be healthier? Obviously, you can't avoid all situations that trigger your unhealthy eating habits, like staff meetings at work. In these situations, evaluate your options. Could you suggest or bring healthier snacks or beverages? Could you offer to take notes to distract your attention? Could you sit farther away from the food so it won't be as easy to grab something? Could you plan ahead and eat a healthy snack before the meeting?

7. Replace unhealthy habits with new, healthy ones. For example, in reflecting upon your eating habits, you may realize that you eat too fast when you eat alone. So, make a commitment to share a lunch each week with a colleague, or have a neighbor over for dinner one night a week. Other strategies might include putting your fork down between bites or minimizing other distractions (i.e. watching the news during dinner) that might keep you from paying attention to how quickly — and how much — you're eating.

Here are more ideas to help you replace unhealthy habits:
  • Eat more slowly. If you eat too quickly, you may "clean your plate" instead of paying attention to whether your hunger is satisfied.
  • Eat only when you're truly hungry instead of when you are tired, anxious, or feeling an emotion besides hunger. If you find yourself eating when you are experiencing an emotion besides hunger, such as boredom or anxiety, try to find a non-eating activity to do instead. You may find a quick walk or phone call with a friend helps you feel better.
  • Plan meals ahead of time to ensure that you eat a healthy well-balanced meal.

8. Reinforce your new, healthy habits and be patient with yourself. Habits take time to develop. It doesn't happen overnight. When you do find yourself engaging in an unhealthy habit, stop as quickly as possible and ask yourself: Why do I do this? When did I start doing this? What changes do I need to make? Be careful not to berate yourself or think that one mistake "blows" a whole day's worth of healthy habits. You can do it! It just takes one day at a time!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Weigh Biggest Losers of West Jordan is now on Facebook!

The Weigh Biggest Losers of West Jordan is now on Facebook!

Bran Muffin Breakfast Trifle

This recipe uses store-bought bran muffins. Be sure to buy muffins that are low in fat and high in fiber, or make your own if you have time. Choose a pretty variety of fresh fruits, such as kiwi, melons, berries, pineapple, bananas and mangoes.

Serves: 6 (1 cup per serving)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 6 hours or overnight

3 cups coarsely crumbled low-fat bran muffins (about 3 medium muffins)
4 cups assorted fresh fruit chunks
2 cups nonfat or low-fat vanilla or fruit flavored yogurt


Place half the muffin crumbs in a 2 1/2 quart glass bowl or airtight container. Arrange 3 1/2 cups of fruit on top. Cover with remaining muffin crumbs. Spoon yogurt evenly ofver the top. Top with remaining fruit, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Nutrition Facts: (per serving)
Calories: 177
Protein: 6 g
Carbohydrates: 38 g
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Sodium: 98 mg
Total fat: 2 g
Polyunsaturated: 1 g
Monounsaturated: 1 g

Source: American Heart Association - Quick & Easy Cookbook pg. 33

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weigh Biggest Loser Kickoff

The kickoff for the 4th Annual Weigh Biggest Loser Contest is TONIGHT!

When: January 18th, 2011

Where: Gene Fullmer Recreation Center
(8015 South 2200 West)

Time: 6:30 PM