Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easy as 1-2-3. Just heed the advice from experts like Alex Jamieson and Leanne Ely:
It’s no secret that the average American diet has room for improvement, especially when it comes to the amount of saturated fat and sugar we consume. Each year we eat an average of 30 pounds of cheese and 64 pounds of sugar! Indulging during special occasions isn’t the problem, it’s the small food choices we make every day that can add up to big health problems down the road.
“Foods high in saturated fat and simple sugars can be toxic to the body,” says Alex Jamieson, Holistic Health Counselor and author of The Great American Detox Diet. “These foods increase blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels, leading to inflammation in the body.”
Chronic inflammation has been linked to a host of serious health concerns including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Beauty woes, from acne and eczema to bloated bellies, can also be a reflection of the inflammatory effect unhealthy foods have on the inside of the body.
“Your body doesn’t need refined sugar or saturated fat,” says Jamieson, “Limiting or, even better, eliminating these foods from your diet is one of the best things you can do for your waistline and total health.”
Jamieson offers the following tips for detoxing your diet:
1. Cheese is the #1 source of saturated fat in the American diet.
Contrary to popular belief, dairy is not an essential food group. There are plenty of plant-based sources of calcium, like soy. Try replacing cheese with Galaxy Nutritional Foods’ soy-based Veggie® cheese alternatives for a healthy calcium and protein boost without the saturated fat and cholesterol. These tasty cheese alternatives can be found in the produce section of most major grocery stores.
2. Start the day off right and skip breakfast sandwiches and sugary pastries.
They are loaded with fat, sugar and salt. Try nutritious high fiber options like whole grain cereals topped with soy or rice milk and fruit smoothies blended with flax seed so you’ll feel full and have energy for the day.
3. Become a “diet detective” and read labels to find hidden sources of sugar.
Tomato sauce, salad dressings, canned soups and some yogurts contain surprisingly high amounts of sugar.
4. Dehydration can zap energy.
So, don’t reach for sugary sodas, coffee drinks or juices that cause a temporary boost followed by a crash. Drink plenty of pure, filtered water throughout the day to flush out the toxins and keep energy levels stable.
Everyone loves to celebrate warm, sunny days with friends, family and an outdoor grill.
But cookouts often mean greasy cheeseburgers, mayonnaise-laden potato salads, sugary soda and other foods that contribute to expanding waistlines. Obesity rates in America have more than doubled for adults since 1980. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 33 percent of Americans are now considered obese. Don’t despair! You can enjoy a lighter cookout without sacrificing fun or flavor. Nutritionist Leanne Ely, author of the “Saving Dinner” cookbook, offers the following tips:
Upgrade the Protein
Trim fat by choosing leaner meat for hamburgers. Buy turkey or vegetarian burgers for guests who do not eat red meat. For extra fiber, serve on whole wheat buns.
Try grilling soy burgers, turkey burgers or grilled chicken with your favorite flavor of Veggie Slices on top for a healthier cookout.
Choose Better Burger Toppings
Hit the produce section for crisp lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and while you’re there, pick up soy-based Veggie slices for the cheese lovers in your family. This tasty cheese alternative melts like real cheese but without the saturated fat or cholesterol. Instead of mayonnaise, serve condiments like salsa and spicy mustard, which add fat-free flavor.
Make your own marinade by combining sunflower oil, wine, vinegar or citrus juice and some fresh herbs and spices to make even the most mundane piece of meat or poultry taste exotic and delicious without adding extra calories.
Skip Sugary Drinks
It’s important to stay hydrated on warmer days, so skip sodas – even diet sodas contain too much sodium. Instead, drink unsweetened iced tea with lemon, orange or lime slices, or make a spritzer by mixing cranberry juice with soda water for a refreshing summertime treat.
Ely says, “The best way to maintain a healthy weight is by eating more lean protein, veggies and whole grains, and avoiding foods high in saturated fat, like dairy. Take advantage of the abundance of fresh produce available during the warmer months and fire up the grill!”
The school cafeteria is filled with poor diet choices. From fast food offerings to soda machine temptations, today’s kids are faced with a lot of unhealthy options at lunchtime. So what can parents do? They can pack a better lunch! But many parents could use some help – the typical child’s lunchbox is often filled with fat, sugar and salt, and lacking healthy fruit, protein and whole grains.
Healthy lunchboxes are an easy way to reinforce good eating habits in childhood. Instilling good eating habits early is more important than ever as child obesity rates have soared in recent years!
According to Leanne, lowering your child’s intake of fat, especially saturated fat, is an important part of making over the lunchbox. The other key to a well-packed lunchbox is balance. Having a decent protein to carbohydrate ratio in your child’s lunchbox will help them finish the day with energy to spare. Below are Leanne’s top 5 tips for packing a better lunchbox.
1. Wipe Out White Bread
Breads made with whole grains are better sources of fiber and keep your kids feeling full longer. They also have important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. The good news is that it’s easy to find whole grain options at grocery stores for everything from bread to crackers to tortillas.
2. Be Choosier with Cheese
Cheese is the #1 source of saturated fat in our diets! Try swapping out high fat cheese with a cheese alternative. Soy-based Veggie Slices taste like real cheese so kids won’t know the difference in their favorite sandwich (Click here or see yellow banner above for recipe). Look for Veggie cheese alternatives in the produce section.
3. Don’t Skimp on Fruit
Swap fruit for sugary snacks that cause kids’ energy lives to nosedive mid-afternoon. Bananas are great for lunchboxes. They are convenient, a great source of potassium and come in their own carrying case. Pack it on the very top and wrap in a napkin for protection. Sliced apples, peeled oranges and grapes make great lunchbox additions too.
4. Skip the Chips!
Most kids feel their lunchbox isn’t quite packed unless there are chips aboard. Parents know most store-bought chips are not the healthiest food around. Baked tortilla chips are a good option or even better are baked pita chips, which are easy to make at home (Click here or see recipe in the lunchbox packables icon above).
5. Be Choosy About Beverages
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, drinking too much juice (yes, even 100% fruit juice) can contribute to everything from cavities to childhood obesity, not to mention the discomfort of gas and bloating! Get your child into the good habit of drinking water. Try freezing a bottle of water instead of the usual juice box and flavored drinks – and skip soda altogether. The bottle will keep the lunchbox cold and will be thawed by lunchtime!