All Posts tagged healthier

Eating fast foods the healthy way

There are some tricks that can help make any fast food meal better for you and your family. Follow these tips to cut down on fat, sodium, sugar, overall calories and make your meal healthier:

  • If you are ordering á la Carte items on the menu, find out if there is a child’s size available. Another option is to order the regular size and split the order and share it. Avoid ordering extra large portions just because they are a deal! These deals usually have the words jumbo, giant, super sized or deluxe in the name.
  • Don’t be shy about making substitutions! Children love kid’s meals because it comes with a toy and it is usually in a cool looking box. Let them order it but ask to make substitutions for the fries and soda if possible. Many restaurants will offer milk or water as a beverage and apple slices instead of fries.
  • Talk to your child before ordering a meal and give them a choice of milk, juice or water (make sure it is low fat milk or 100% fruit juice.) Explain to them that soda is high in empty calories that will just fill up their tummies.
  • Let your child know that they can ask for items prepared a specific way. For example, salad dressing on the side, baked or grilled instead of fried, brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Finally, set a good example by ordering a healthy meal for yourself.

What Can Parents Do?

By learning how the food is prepared, you will be able to make healthier choices ordering from a menu:

  • Order foods that are not breaded or fried because they are higher in fat and calories. Foods that are breaded and deep fried include: chicken nuggets, fried chicken, fried fish sandwiches, onion rings and french fries.
  • Order foods that are prepared by being steamed, broiled, grilled, poached, or roasted.
  • Have gravy, sauces and dressings served on the side so you can control the amount you eat.
  • Use salsa and mustard instead of mayonnaise.
  • Use non-fat milk or low fat milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream.
  • Order a salad with ‘lite’ or non-fat dressing instead of regular dressing.
  • Choose a regular, single patty hamburger without mayonnaise and cheese.

Over the last few years, many chain restaurants have been adding healthier menu options. They also started providing nutrition information for all the foods on the menu, but you usually need to ask for it. Try checking their website as well for additional information.

Hamburger fast food restaurants are the most popular with children. However, other options are available such as Asian food, sandwiches, or Mexican grills. Keep in mind that every fast food restaurant has both healthy and less-healthy choices. Here are some pointers to remember that can help you make better choices when eating out at various fast food places:

Mexican food:

  • Choose grilled soft tacos or burritos instead of a crispy shell or gordita-type burritos.
  • Black beans are a better choice because they have less fat than refried beans.
  • Ahhh, the Mexican condiments! Salsa is low in calories and fat and it makes a great substitute for sour cream, guacamole and cheese.

 Deli sandwiches:

  • Choose lean meats such as chicken breast, lean ham or roast beef, instead of salami or bacon.
  • Ask for 100% whole wheat bread for sandwiches. Skip the croissants and biscuits because they are high in fat.
  • Add low fat salad dressings instead of special sauces or mayonnaise.
  • Choose baked chips or pretzels instead of regular potato chips.

 Asian food:

  • Steamed brown rice has more nutrients and less calories than fried rice.
  • Stir fried, steamed, roasted or broiled dishes are healthier choices than battered or deep fried.
  • Sauces such as low sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, wasabi, or ginger are better choices than sweet and sour sauce or coconut milk.

It’s OK to enjoy fast food once in a while, but try to limit the visits to no more than twice a month. An average meal at a fast food restaurant has around 1000 calories and does not have the vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients that your child needs to grow healthy and strong. While fast food consumption has greatly increased over the years there are several contributing factors why childhood obesity is becoming more and more prevalent. While all the above information is important, we need to keep things in perspective by understanding that the weight epidemic in this country is because of how much food children eat, rather than what food children eat.

If your family is going to have fast food for one meal, just make sure the other meals that day contain healthier foods like fruits and vegetables. Perhaps you could take an afternoon with your child and prepare a few homemade meals in advance that can be served quickly to avoid the temptation of getting fast food too often while at the same time teaching them some simple food preparation steps. Either way, just remember, it is not that difficult to eat healthy even when you don’t have much time.

 

This family wellness article is provided by Nourish Interactive, visitwww.nourishinteractive.com for nutrition articles, family wellness tips, free children's healthy games, and tools.  Available in English and Spanish.

Copyright ©2009 Nourish Interactive – All Rights Reserved.

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Kitchen Counter Diet

Can eating less be as simple as leaving serving dishes on the stove and off the table? According to a team of researchers from Cornell University, it can.

At this week's Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, Calif., researchers led by Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, shared findings of their “Serve Here; Eat There” study of 78 adults.

“We looked at whether serving foods from the kitchen counter, instead of at the table, would reduce the number of times a person refilled his or her plate,” Wansink said.

“Quite simply, it is a case of 'out of sight, out of mind,'” he continued. “When we kept the serving dishes off the table, people ate 20% fewer calories. Men ate close to 29% less.”

The same strategy can be used to help increase the consumption of healthier foods, Wansink explained.

“If fruits and vegetables are kept in plain sight, we'll be much more likely to choose them, rather than a piece of cake hidden in the refrigerator.”

Dining environment, plate and portion size, and other hidden cues that determine what, when and how much we eat are familiar topics in Wansink's work. He is the author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

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Special Diets and Rheumatoid Arthritis

The new study comprised 366 people with RA from eight separate trials. Fasting followed by eating a vegetarian diet for 13 months or eating a Mediterranean style diet replete with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and legumes for 12 weeks may relieve pain, the study showed. These diets did not improve morning joint stiffness or physical function when compared to regular diets.

There was not enough data to draw any conclusions about how vegan and/or elimination diets affect RA symptoms.

The positive changes seen with vegetarian and Mediterranean diets may be a result of simply adapting a healthier way of eating as opposed to any specific diet, the study researchers conclude.

People with RA who were put on special diets were more likely to drop out of the studies, suggesting that some people may have difficulty adhering to the eating plans.

Some special diets also resulted in weight loss which may not always be a good thing people with RA who are already at risk for nutritional shortfalls.

“There is a need for more and better research on dietary interventions for RA,” conclude researchers led by Geir Smedslund, PhD, a senior researcher at the Centre for Rehabilitation in Rheumatology at the Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo, Norway.

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Be Good to Yourself

Due to loss of loved ones, health problems, trouble paying bills, or other reasons, many older people feel lonely, sad, or stressed in their daily lives. Feelings like these may cause you to lose energy, not feel like doing anything, not eat enough, or overeat. Being good to yourself may help you to cope with your feelings and improve your energy level, eating habits, and health. Here are some ideas for being good to yourself:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Stay connected with family and friends.
  • Join a walking group, or other social group.
  • Surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy.Volunteer or get active with groups in your community.
  • Try a part-time job at a place you would enjoy working for a few hours a week.
  • Watch a funny movie and laugh.
  • Take up a hobby such as playing cards, gardening, cooking, or dancing.

Remember, it's never too late to improve your eating plan, be more physically active, and be good to yourself for a healthier life. If you need to talk, make an appointment to see Nastaran.

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