Got Milk? Healthy Diet Tips

October 28, 2011 By: consultant 2 Comments

As a child, weren’t you always told to drink your milk to build strong bones? Milk has a rich source of calcium and phosphorus. Milk also provides a source of protein as well as vitamins A, B, and D, which help proper growth and development for your weight loss diet.

Years ago, there was just whole milk. Now, when you go to the grocery store, there is a wide variety of milk and milk alternatives available for your healthy lifestyle. All milk alternatives are fortified to contain approximately the same amount of calcium and vitamin D as cow’s milk.

So which one do you choose for your healthy diet?

Here’s the skinny:

Nutrition Facts: Skim Milk

(1 cup)

Soy Milk

(1 cup)

Almond Milk

(1 cup)

Rice Milk

(1 cup)

Coconut Milk

(1 cup)

Calories 90 90 40 120 80
Total Fat 0 g 3.5 g 3.5 g 2.5 g 5 g
Total Carbohydrates 13 g 8 g 2 g 23 g 7 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g 1 g 1 g 0 g 0 g
Sugars 12 g 6 g 0 g 10 g 6 g
Protein 8 g 6 g 1 g 1 g 1 g

Skim milk:

Skim milk is whole milk from dairy cows that has most or all of its fat removed. When the fat is removed, what is left is the protein-rich milk. If you are transitioning from whole milk to skim milk the taste may seem to be very different. Whole milk is much creamier because of the fat content. If you want to slowly transition to skim milk try starting with reduced-fat milk first, then to skim milk.

Soy Milk:

Soymilk is made from pressed soybeans. Sugar or sweetener is then added to the flavored varieties.  It is the most popular choice among individuals who are lactose-intolerant and who are vegetarian or vegan.

Original soymilk is the closest alternative to skim milk. It has a naturally low level of saturated fat because it is a plant-based protein. It provides a significant amount of protein. Make sure the check the label for “whole soy bean” and avoid brands that list “isolated soy protein”.

Almond Milk:

To make almond milk, almonds are finely ground with water and sometimes sugar (for the sweetened varieties). Almond milk is mostly water by weight causing it to have a thinner consistency. It has a mild nutty flavor. Almond milk is a choice or people who are lactose-intolerant and who are vegetarian or vegan.

The downside to almond milk is that it only contains 1 gram of protein with is significantly less than cow’s milk or soymilk.

Rice Milk:

Rice milk is a mixture of partially milled rice and water. Rice milk is a choice for individuals with allergies to other types of milk. It is another option for people who are lactose-intolerant and vegetarian or vegan.

Along with almond milk it is low in protein and only contains 1 gram per serving. Rice milk can taste a little watery or chalky.

Coconut Milk:

Coconut milk is another alternative for people with dairy allergies, vegetarian, or vegan. It is higher in fat, but these fats are medium chain fatty acids, which are good fats.

It doesn’t taste like traditional milk. It does have a distinct sweet flavor. Coconut milk is an okay substitute while baking, but not the best choice for cooking, unless the recipe requires a sweet flavor.

Healthy Lifestyle: Trick or Treat

October 24, 2011 By: consultant 4 Comments

It is almost Halloween. The “trick” is to not overdo it with the “treats” during this holiday. To stay on track with your healthy lifestyle and weight loss goals learn how to still enjoy the treats with healthy moderation. Here are some tips to stay on track:

  1. Shop last minute. Put off buying Halloween candy until the night before or day of Halloween. Then you will be less tempted to dig into the treats earlier. Also, buy candy that you don’t like, so you are less likely to indulge – in between trick-or-treaters and with leftovers.
  2. Out of sight out of mind. Don’t leave a bowl of candy out on your desk at work or your counter in the kitchen. Other colleagues may not be as health conscious, and it’s easy to just pop a little candy in your mouth every time you walk by their stash. Try chewing a piece of gum to avoid the temptation. If you decide to have a piece of candy, that’s okay. A trick to monitor your treats so you don’t over indulge is to keep your empty wrappers. If you keep your empty wrappers it will remind you of how many you ate and motivate you to stop at one or two.
  3. Keep eating healthy. Make an extra effort to stick to your well-balanced diet. Your healthy diet will keep you satisfied rather than raiding the candy bowl.
  4. Exercise. A great time to get in some extra walking exercise is Halloween night by taking kids trick-or-treating.
  5. Don’t stress. Halloween is one single day of the year. Enjoy a treat. Keep up with your healthy lifestyle and enjoy treats in moderation.

Here is a nutritional breakdown of your favorite Halloween candy:

1 fun size   Calories Fat Sugar
Snickers 72 3.7 7
Reese’s 80 4.5 7
Almond Joy 91 5.1 9.2
Milky Way 76 2.9 10.9
Butterfinger 100 4 10
M&M’s 90 4 11.5
Peanut M&M’s 93 4.7 9.1
Nestle Crunch 51.3 2.7 5.6
Peppermint Pattie 47 1 8.6
Kit Kat 73 3.7 6.7
Dots 70 0 11
Skittles 80 .8 15
Jellybeans 35 0 7
3 Musketeers 63.3 2 10
Milky Way Dark 81 3 11
Hershey’s Bar 66.7 4 7.7
Take 5 105 5.5 9
100 Grand 95 4 11
Nerds 50 0 12
Whoppers 100 4 13
Mike & Ike  


0 9
SweeTarts (more…)

Fitness Tips: Stay Injury Free by Avoiding these Strength Training Habits

October 13, 2011 By: afeldman 4 Comments

Walk into a gym and 50 percent of the people in there are doing something destructive to their joints at any given time.  No one ever realizes when they are exercising incorrectly because they’ve been doing it that way so long that the movement just feels right to them.  I have picked some of the most common things I see done in the gym that are bad for your body.  All of these problems can be corrected with a little mental focus and developing an objective eye.  Pay close attention to your exercise movements and try to catch yourself doing some of these the next time you work out.  It’s best to get out of these bad habits sooner rather than later.

Fitness Fix: Don't Pull Weights Behind the Head

When pulling a bar or weight to chin level, always do it in front of the head, not behind.

Behind the Neck Exercises
The two exercises that people will do behind the head are shoulder presses and lat pulldowns.  The shoulder press is the exercise that involves a participant pushing a weight up overhead.  The lat pulldown is the opposite motion that has a participant pulling a bar or cable down from overhead.  Lowering the weight or bar in both of these exercises can either be done to the front of the shoulders or behind the neck.  Behind the neck movements place the arms into an unnatural position.  The shoulder is already an unstable joint and when it is raised over head, many muscles are at work trying to stabilize it.  When adding in the extra weight and movement involved in a behind the neck exercise, a large amount of pressure is placed upon the rotator cuff muscles as well as an excessive stretch on the pectoral (chest) muscles.  The neck is also under pressure from leaning forward too far.  If either of these exercises is done long enough, you are more than likely to see an injury.   When lowering anything to chin level in an exercise, lower the weights or bar in front of the head, not behind.

Lifting with the Neck During Abdominal Crunches
The majority of beginning exercisers make this mistake.  If you are feeling neck pain while doing crunches, then you are guilty of this.  It usually happens when your hands are pulling up on the back of your head or your neck is being used more than it should be during crunches or situps.  The excessive strain of the neck from doing abdominal exercises the wrong way can make the neck muscles stiff, leaving them prone to injury during exercise or even later in the day.  To fix the problem of lifting with your neck, find a focal point to look at to minimize head movement while doing abdominal exercises.  Focus on lifting the shoulders and upper back off the ground instead of leading with the head.  Try crossing the arms in front of your chest and feel your stomach periodically to make sure it is contracting as you lift yourself up.

Fitness Fix: Don't Let Your Knees Go Forward When Squatting

To avoid injury when squatting, make sure your knees don't go in front of your toes. It should be a motion similar to sitting in a chair.

Allowing the Knees to go Forward During the Squat Exercise
I see exercisers that have been working out for years still doing this one.  When doing a squat the wrong way, the knees will move forward excessively towards the bottom of the motion.  This will leave the knees far in front of the toes which should not happen.  When done right, the motion should be the same as going from a seated to standing position.  This means that as you lower your body, the hips are pushed back allowing the knees to stay fairly stationary behind the feet.  However, when knees lead the way into leaning forward, there is a large amount of pressure on the knee joint.  It may take time to catch up to you but most people will feel this pain immediately while doing squats.  If this pain goes ignored long enough, it can turn into a serious injury.  The bottom line is that when doing a squat, push the hips back nice and far.  Stand in front of a chair or by a wall if you need something to hold onto for balance.  It may be more comfortable for some to spread the feet out.  Have someone watch your knees while you squat to tell you if they are going in front of your feet.

Rounding of the Back
Moms always tell their kids to sit up straight, not to slouch.  The same holds true in exercise.  Slouching in general is a bad habit.  Slouching when handling weights, however, is just plain dangerous.  If you’re rounding your back forward, the lower spine and surrounding muscles are under a lot of pressure.  Some cues to get out of this habit are keeping your chest up, shoulders back and chin from being buried into the chest.  This applies for exercises who are pressing, rowing, squatting, or even running.

Moving the Head Around while Exercising
Another common cause of injury during exercise is unnecessary movement, especially of the head.  When using weights or your body as resistance, keep your head still.  It is very easy to strain the neck with a quick movement, especially during exercise.  Going back to my recommendation for abdominal crunches, find a focal point during exercises and continue to look at it.  This goes for runners too.  I know it’s hard to stay still on the elliptical or treadmill, but all it takes is one movement while your head is turned to take a spill.

Fitness Fix: Always Adjust the Equipment

Avoid injury at the gym by adjusting the equipment for yourself. For example, on a chest press machine, the handles should be level with your chest.

Not Adjusting the User Settings on a Piece of Equipment
Since everyone in the world is not the same height, weight or body type, exercise equipment comes with multiple adjustments.  These include adjustments of a seat, adjustment of the handles or an adjustable foot step.  These adjustments are there for a reason.  Use them to set the machine at a level appropriate for your height and body type.  Most gyms have a staff member that can help you find the appropriate setting if needed.  If a seat is too low or too high, your body is not going through the motion intended for the designated machine.  Depending on the setting, you may be putting yourself at risk for injury.  For example, with a chest press machine, the handles should be level with your chest.  If the handles are level with the navel, then the seat is too high.

Switching Up Your Grains For Weight Loss

October 11, 2011 By: consultant 4 Comments

A healthy diet consists of 50-65% of grains. At least half of those grains should be whole grains. Switching to just whole grains may seem intimidating at first. To gradually get used to the flavorful taste of whole grains, start out by mixing what you normally like with whole grains. For example, mix 3/4 of a serving of regular pasta and 1/4 of a serving of whole wheat pasta. Then gradually mix 1/2 of a serving of regular pasta with 1/2 of a serving of whole wheat pasta. Soon enough you will be at a whole serving of whole grains!

What exactly is a whole grain? A whole grain consists of the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Whole Grain

The bran, or the outer shell is high in fiber. The germ is a polyunsaturated fat, in simple terms a healthy fat, and also full of vitamins. The Endosperm is the starchy component. White grains are processed and the germ and the bran are stripped away which also strips away the good nutrients from the bran and germ.

Many people automatically think of whole grains as whole wheat flour, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice. There are so many more whole grains out there to try like amaranth, barley, couscous, kamut, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, spelt, teff, wheat, and wheat berries. Try incorporating more types of grain into your weight loss diet for a healthy lifestyle.

A type of couscous, Israeli couscous, which is sometimes called pearl couscous, are small, round, pasta-like granules made from semolina and wheat flour.

Other grains are typically dried and packaged and then rehydrated when cooked. Israeli couscous is toasted instead. It gives a distinct nutty flavor and a sturdier composition which makes is such a versatile grain that can stand up to any type of sauce, soup, or salad.

Israeli couscous has great nutritional benefits. A 1/2 cup of cooked Israeli couscous is 88 kcal, 3g protein, 18g carbohydrates, 0.1g fat, and 2g fiber.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Shrimp

Israeli Couscous Salad with Shrimp

Israeli Couscous Salad with Shrimp

Makes 4 servings

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup Israeli couscous
5 tablespoons of olive oil
6 ounces of shrimp, grilled
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 lemons, juice
A large bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly grounded pepper to taste


1.  Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Pour over the couscous in a bowl and leave to sit or 10 minutes.

2.  Place 5 shrimp on a skewer. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with minced garlic. Grill over high heat until fully cooked.

3.  When the couscous has absorbed the chicken broth, add the olive oil and lemon juice. and break up any lumps that may have formed with a fork. This will give a lighter texture to the salad.

4.  Peel the cucumber and cut lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and dice. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Add the cucumbers and tomatoes to the couscous.

5.  Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice as needed.

6.  Let the couscous salad marinate together for at least 20 minutes for flavors to enhance.

7.  Serve with grilled shrimp.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 279 kcal
Total Fat: 17.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 19.9 g
Dietary fiber: 2 g
Protein: 11 g

Healthy Eating: A Lesson on Legumes

October 6, 2011 By: consultant 2 Comments

Garbanzo beans, also commonly known as chickpeas, are a versatile and tasty legume. They have a nutlike taste and buttery texture. They can be tossed in salads, roasted, mashed, stirred into soups, and even incorporated into desserts! They are also a healthy food, perfect to incorporate into any weight loss diet for your healthy lifestyle.

Originated in the Middle East, whose food cultures heavily rely upon this high protein legume. They are typically categorized in the Mediterranean flavor profile.

Make garbanzo beans a staple in your pantry. Not only are they taste, they are quick and convenient and pack in a lot of nutritional value.


Garbanzo beans are a good vegetarian source of protein. When paired with whole grains, it makes it a complete protein which is comparable to meat, without the added saturated fat or cholesterol found in meat protein sources. One cup of garbanzo beans has about 27% of the daily protein requirements.


Legumes are rich in fiber, Garbanzo beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber works in the digestive tract and helps lower cholesterol where as insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders. By having each type of fiber, it keeps the body healthy and working properly. Garbanzo beans contain 12.5 grams of fiber per cup. That’s 50% of the Daily Value!


Garbanzo beans are a great source of iron. Iron is important for energy production. High sources of iron can be found in red meat. For vegetarians, garbanzo beans are a great way to fit in more iron. Deficiencies of iron can result in fatigue.


How to select and store:

In the grocery store, garbanzo beans can be purchased either dried or canned.

Dried garbanzo beans can be found in bags or in bulk bins. Make sure there is no moisture and that they are whole and not cracked.

When purchasing canned garbanzo beans, look for the ones that have no extra salt added. Rinse under water before using. Extra beans, store in a sealed plastic container in the fridge.

Enjoy these three fun new ways to cook with garbanzo beans!


Lemon Garlic Hummus

Use chickpeas to make homemade hummus for a nutritious snack.


Lemon Garlic Hummus

Makes 24 servings


2 cups can chickpeas, skins peeled off*
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste


Open and drain the chickpeas. Remove the outside skin of the chickpeas.*

Put the chickpeas in the food processor and pulse about 5 times.

Add the lemon juice and minced garlic. As the chickpeas are processing stream in the olive oil slowly.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with sliced vegetables to dip.

Nutrition and Cooking tips:

  • Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans.
  • The skins are edible and are usually left on when cooking with chickpeas, but can be removed when making hummus to make a creamier consistency.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 85
Total Fat: 7.0 g
Total Carbohydrates: 4.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.0 g



Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tasty dessert made from healthy chickpeas.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus

Makes 18 servings


2 cups can chickpeas, skins peeled off*
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips*



Open and drain the chickpeas. Remove the outside skin of the chickpeas.*

Put the chickpeas in the food processor and pulse about 5 times.

Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract. Pulse until creamy.

Fold in the chocolate chips. Serve with slices of apples.

Nutrition and Cooking tips:

  • Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans.
  • The skins are edible and are usually left on when cooking with chickpeas, but can be removed when making hummus to make a creamier consistency.
  • Dark chocolate chips are a better choice than milk chocolate because it has less sugar and more antioxidants.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 77
Total Fat: 2.8 g
Total Carbohydrates: 11.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 2.4 g



Roasted Chickpeas

Spice up your chickpeas by roasting them in the oven.


Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Makes 15 servings


One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch, Salt
Spice blend of your choice (Examples: creole or cajun seasonings)


1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Drain the can of garbanzo beans in a strainer and rinse with water for a few seconds to clean off the beans. Shake and tap the strainer to rid of excess water. Lay paper towel on a baking sheet, and spread the beans over. Use another paper towel to gently press and absorb the water on the beans. Roll the beans around with the paper towel to also remove the thin skin from any of the beans. Discard the skins and the paper towels.

3. Drizzle the olive oil over the beans and use your hands or a spatula to toss around and coat. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the beans are a deep golden brown and crunchy. Make sure that the beans do not burn.

4.  Season with salt and spice blend.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 115
Total Fat: 3.1 g
Total Carbohydrates: 17.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.9 g
Protein: 5.5 g

Apple Season!

October 4, 2011 By: consultant 3 Comments

It’s my favorite season of the year. Fall. I love the leaves falling, the cool crisp air, and the fun activity of apple picking. Apples are at their peak in the fall. The season of apples run from late August through November. This is when they will taste the best and local Farmer’s markets will be overflowing with their supply.

Apple Season

When Buying:

Look for firm, heavy apples that are bright colored and crisp.

Avoid apples that are bruised and have damaged skin.

How to Store:

Store in a cool dry place.

For longer freshness, store in a crisper drawer (or a plastic bag) in the refrigerator.

Apples can be stored up to a month in the fridge.

* Quick tip: Remove apples that are over-ripe because they will cause others to ripen more quickly.

Best Ways to Use:

There are many apple varieties and all have different properties. Some are firmer, sweeter, crunchier, etc. For baking, chef’s use firmer and tart apples to hold their structure in the baking process and to contrast well with sugar.

Best for baking:

Spy gold, Spartan, Pink Lady, Northern Spy, Mutsu, Jonathan, Jonagold, Honeygold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Gold Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Empire, Cortland, Baldwin, Braeburn, Rome Beauty, Pippin, Winesap, Gravenstein

Best for Applesauce:

Spartan, Pink Lady, Northern Spy, Mutsu, McIntosh, Jonathan, Jonagold, Honeygold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Cortland, Braeburn, Rome Beauty, Pippin, Winesap, Gravenstein

Best for Pies:

Spy Gold, Spartan, Pink Lady, Northern Spy, Mutsu, Jonathan, Jonagold, Honeygold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Empire, Cortland, Braeburn, Rome Beauty, Pippin, Winesap, Gravenstein

Best Eaten Fresh:

Spy Gold, Spartan, Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Mutsu, McIntosh, Jonathan, Jonagold, Honeygold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Empire, Cortland, Braeburn, Pippin, Winesap, Gravenstein

Best for Drying:

Spartan, Jonathan, Honeygold, Honeycrisp, Gala, Empire

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