Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vary your Veggies

10 tips to help you eat more vegetables
It’s easy to eat more vegetables! Eating vegetables is important because they provide vitamins and minerals and most are low in calories. To fit more vegetables in your meals, follow these simple tips. It is easier than you may think.
  1. Discover fast ways to cook. Cook fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave for a quick-and-easy dish to add to any meal. Steam green beans, carrots, or broccoli in a bowl with a small amount of water in the microwave for a quick side dish.
  2. Be ahead of the game. Cut up a batch of bell peppers, carrots, or broccoli. Pre-package them to use when time is limited. You can enjoy them on a salad, with hummus, or in a veggie wrap.
  3. Choose vegetables rich in color. Brighten your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, or dark green. They are full of vitamins and minerals. Try acorn squash, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or collard greens. They not only taste great but also are good for you, too.
  4. Check the freezer aisle. Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to use and are just as nutritious as fresh veggies. Try adding frozen corn, peas, green beans, spinach, or sugar snap peas to some of your favorite dishes or eat as a side dish.
  5. Stock up on veggies. Canned vegetables are a great addition to any meal, so keep on hand canned tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, and beets. Select those labeled as “reduced sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added.”
  6. Make your garden salad glow with color. Brighten your salad by using colorful vegetables such as black beans, sliced red bell peppers, shredded radishes, chopped red cabbage, or watercress. Your salad will not only look good but taste good, too.
  7. Sip on some vegetable soup. Heat it and eat it. Try tomato, butternut squash, or garden vegetable soup. Look for reduced- or low-sodium soups.
  8. While you’re out. If dinner is away from home, no need to worry. When ordering, ask for an extra side of vegetables or side salad instead of the typical fried side dish.
  9. Savor the flavor of seasonal vegetables. Buy vegetables that are in season for maximum flavor at a lower cost. Check your local supermarket specials for the best-in-season buys. Or visit your local farmer’s market.
  10. Try something new.  You never know what you may like. Choose a new vegetable—add it to your recipe or look up how to fix it online.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Low Down on Fad Diets

As fad diets come and go, the weight goes up and down.

When bathing suit season approaches, there’s always a diet that promises you’ll be thinner in six weeks. The appeal of these diets comes from the hope that we can be slim and trim with as little effort as possible. Most fad diets work in the beginning, usually because the suggested eating regimens help you cut calories in one way or another. But diets that restrict certain food groups or promise unrealistic results are difficult – or unhealthy – to sustain over time. As soon as you go back to your usual eating patterns, the weight comes piling back on. This creates the yo-yo effect of losing and regaining weight.

There is no magic bullet.

No matter which hook a fad diet is using, it isn’t reasonable to expect miraculous weight loss that will last. The trick is to find an everyday eating plan that not only keeps the pounds off but also provides the right balance of calories and nutrition – and that combination requires a lifestyle change.

While most fad diets result in quick weight loss early on, more research is needed on the effectiveness for long-term weight loss. If followed for a long time, these diets may result in potential health problems. To lose weight safely and effectively, you should eat an appropriate number of calories from a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free dairy products. Also cut back on the nutrient-poor foods, and be physically active.

You’ll know it’s a fad diet if it:
  • Promises magic or miracle foods that burn fat.
  • Requires you to eat unusual quantities of only one food or food type.
  • Requires rigid menus of a limited selection of foods to be eaten at a specific time and day.
  • Requires you to eat specific food combinations in certain sequences or combinations.
  • Promises rapid weight loss of more than two pounds a week.
  • Has no warning for those with diabetes or high blood pressure to seek medical advice before starting the diet.
  • Does not include increased physical activity as part of the plan.
American Heart Association

Check this out: Staying Away from Fad Diets from the American Dietetic Association.  This is another great resource with great information about fad diets.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Focus on Fruit

10 tips to help you eat more fruits

Eating fruit provides health benefits. People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall
healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health, such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid). Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. None have cholesterol. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as a part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.

  1. Keep visible reminders. Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator.
  2. Think about taste. Buy fresh fruits in season when they may be less expensive and at their peak flavor. Add fruits to sweeten a recipe.
  3. Think about variety. Buy fruits that are dried, frozen, and canned (in water or 100% juice) as well as fresh, so that you always have a supply on hand.
  4. Don’t forget the fiber. Make most of your choices whole or cut-up fruit, rather than juice, for the benefits that dietary fiber provides.
  5. Be a good role model. Set a good example for children by eating fruit every day with meals or as snacks.
  6. Include fruit at breakfast. At breakfast, top your cereal with bananas, peaches, or strawberries; add blueberries to pancakes; drink 100% orange or grapefruit juice. Or, try a fruit mixed with fat-free or low-fat yogurt.
  7. Try fruit at lunch. At lunch, pack a tangerine, banana, or grapes to eat, or choose fruits from a salad bar. Individual containers of fruits like peaches or applesauce are easy and convenient.
  8. Experiment with fruit at dinner, too. At dinner, add crushed pineapple to coleslaw, or include orange sections, dried cranberries, or grapes in a tossed salad.
  9. Snack on fruits. Dried fruits make great snacks. They are easy to carry and store well.
  10. Keep fruits safe. Rinse fruits before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub fruits briskly to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. After rinsing, dry with a clean towel.

Friday, January 25, 2013

10 Tips to a Great Plate

10 Tips to a Great Plate

Making food choices for a healthy lifestyle can be as simple as using these 10 Tips. Use the ideas in this list to balance your calories, to choose foods to eat more often, and to cut back on foods to eat less often.
  1. Balance Calories - Find out how many calories YOU need for a day as a first step in managing your weight. Go to to find your calorie level. Being physically active also helps you balance calories. 
  2. Enjoy your food, but eat less - Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it. Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough. 
  3. Avoid oversized portions - Use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass. Portion out foods before you eat. When eating out, choose a smaller size option, share a dish, or take home part of your meal.
  4. Foods to eat more often - Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or 1% milk and dairy products. These foods have the nutrients you need for health—including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber. Make them the basis for meals and snacks.
  5. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables - Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert.
  6. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk - They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.
  7. Make half your grains whole grains - To eat more whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product—such as eating wholewheat bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice
  8. Foods to eat less often - Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt. They include cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, sweetened drinks, pizza, and fatty meats like ribs, sausages, bacon, and hot dogs. Use these foods as occasional treats, not everyday foods. 
  9. Compare sodium in foods - Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled “low sodium,” ”reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.” 
  10. Drink water instead of sugary drinks -  Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar, and calories, in American diets.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Choose My Plate

This is an overview of the Choose My Plate guidelines. Future posts will go into a little more detail on the individual sections of Choose My Plate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Losing Weight the Healthy Way

Research from the National Institutes of Health suggests that losing 1/2 to 2 pounds a week by making healthy food choices, eating moderate portions, and physical activity is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. By adopting healthy eating and physical activity habits, you may also lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Losing even 5-10% of your body weight can lower your risk for chronic diseases and improve your health.

To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you eat. It is possible to eat any kind of food you want and lose weight. You need to limit the number of calories you eat every day and/or increase your daily physical activity. Portion control is key. Try eating smaller amounts of food and choosing foods that are low in calories. However, it is important that you DO NOT go to the extreme of eating too few calories either. 

Very low calorie diets may result in some dramatic weight loss in the beginning but this behavior is not sustainable and can have very negative effects on your overall health such as: heart arrhythmia and/or gallstones. Low carbohydrate diets can cause constipation from lack of fiber and put you at higher risk for gout. 
Reducing your calorie intake by 15-20 % can help you achieve your weight loss goals in a safe, effective and healthy manner. 

Remember: The key to losing weight and keeping it off is lifestyle change!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Daily Caloric Intake Part 2

Once you have an idea of what your daily caloric intake should be based on the previous post you can then make your weight loss plan.

3,500 calories = 1 lbs.

This means that you need to consume 3,500 less or burn 3,500 more in order to lose 1 lbs. Based on the previous posts 1/2 - 2 lbs. a week are examples of healthy and maintainable weight loss.

Let's take a look at two examples of how you can adjust your individual weight loss plan to achieve your weight loss goals.

Example 1
BMR: 1,800 kcal
Physical Activity Level: Moderate Activity Level (Exercises 3 days a week for at least 30 min.)
Daily Caloric Intake: 2,520 calories a day (to maintain current weight)

In order to lose 1 lbs. a week this female needs to consume 500 calories less or burn 500 calories more from exercise a day in order to lose 1 lbs. a week. She could also do a combination of both consuming less and exercising more (i.e. consume 250 calories less burn 250 calories more). Having a 500 calorie deficit each day will result in the 3,500 calorie deficit for the week resulting in the 1 lbs. weight loss.

Option 1: Exercise
This female could eat her recommended 2,520 calories and exercise more to burn the extra 500 calories.
Option 2: Nutrition
She could also eat 2,000 calories a day to achieve the 1 lbs. a week weight loss goal.
Option 3: Combination of Exercise and Nutrition
She could eat 2,270 calories per day and burn 250 calories more through exercise.

*NOTE: ALL these options keep her daily caloric intake above her BMR.

Example 2
BMR: 2,200 kcal
Physical Activity Level: High Activity Level (Exercises 5 days a week for at least 30 min.)
Daily Caloric Intake: 3,300 calories a day (to maintain current weight)

In order to lose 2 lbs. a week this male needs to consume 1,000 calories less or burn 1,000 calories more from exercise a day in order to lose 2 lbs. a week. He could also do a combination of both consuming less and exercising more (i.e. consume 500 calories less burn 500 calories more). Having a 1,000 calorie deficit each day will result in the 7,000 calorie deficit for the week resulting in the 2 lbs. weight loss.

Option 1: Exercise
This male could eat his recommended 3,300 calories and exercise more to burn the extra 1,000 calories.
Option 2: Nutrition
He could also eat 2,300 calories a day to achieve the 2 lbs. a week weight loss goal.
Option 3: Combination of Exercise and Nutrition
He could eat 2,800 calories per day and burn 500 calories more through exercise.

*NOTE: ALL these options keep his daily caloric intake above his BMR.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Daily Caloric Intake Part 1

Everyone has different energy needs, and your daily calorie requirement is determined by several factors such as:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Physical Activity Level
  • Amount of muscle you have (muscle burns more calories than fat)

In order to determine your daily caloric intake you must first understand your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).  Your BMR is the minimum number of calories required for your body to sustain daily functions such as: breathing, heart beat, circulation, brain functions, managing hormones, etc.  An individual’s BMR can be calculated on a body composition machine or by using a BMR calculator or formula.

IMPORTANT: When determining your daily caloric intake NEVER eat less than your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).  Doing so can have harmful effects to your body and metabolism in addition to preventing you from achieving your long term weight loss goals.

Physical Activity Levels
Sedentary: No exercise, sitting most of the day
Light Activity: No exercise, on feet during the day
Moderate Activity: Exercise 3 days or more a week for at least 30 min.                  
High Activity: Exercise 5 days or more a week for at least 30 min.

*All activity levels include daily activities like light housework and walking  

Daily Caloric Intake = BMR x Physical Activity Level
Sedentary: BMR x 1.2 = Calories per day
Light Activity: BMR x 1.3 = Calories per day
Moderate Activity: BMR x 1.4 = Calories per day
High Activity: BMR x 1.5 = Calories per day

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How Do You Measure Success?

One important way to measure your success toward your healthy weight loss goals has nothing to do with a scale.  Success can also be measured by inches lost.

This chart is a way to keep track of your measurements at the beginning of the contest and compare the difference at the end of the contest. What a great reward to see inches lost or muscles gained in certain areas on your body as well as see an improvement to your overall fitness. A copy of this chart can also be found in your Exercise and Nutrition Habit Tracker (pg. 3)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Understanding Your Body Composition

During your initial weigh in and assessment we measured your "Body Composition". You should have received a printout that looks similar to this: 
This printout has a lot of information that can help you make wise decisions when it comes to weight loss. The most important thing when it comes to weight loss is what type of weight are you losing. Are you losing water weight, muscle or fat? Losing water weight and muscle is not what you want to lose. Obviously, you want to lose fat mass which cannot be achieved the "cheater" way meaning large amounts of weight loss in a short period of time.

Proper weight loss requires a healthy BALANCED diet with a proper exercise regime. FAD DIETS are NOT the answer! We will measure your body composition several times during the competition to monitor your proper weight loss progress.

More detailed information about this printout can be found in your Exercise and Nutrition Habit Tracker (pg. 6-7). We will also provide additional information about Daily Caloric Intake based on your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) in the days following.

FYI: Your BMR can be found on this printout. Make sure you use the number next to the kcal NOT the kJ.

If you have more questions please contact me (Linsey Miller) with the Salt Lake Valley Health Department. I will be more than happy to explain your results and help you set up a weight loss plan.

Contact information:, or (385) 468-4058. You are also welcome to come talk to me at the weigh-in's.