6 Smart Food Swaps To Save Calories

For many people, creating a balanced diet is one of the hardest tasks imaginable and when you try to make that diet include foods that actually taste good, it starts to seem practically impossible.

The good news is that it’s actually incredibly easy to eat healthy and tasty foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients. Read on to learn about six smart and simple food swaps to save you some serious calories.

Oatmeal instead of Sugar Cereal

6 Smart Food Swaps To Save Calories

The kid in you might be tempted to have a bowl of sugary cereal in the morning, but it’s going to pack on hundreds of empty calories without giving you any real nutritional benefit.

The same goes for some brands of granola, which can include a huge amount of refined sugars that equate to deceptively high calories. One cup of cooked oatmeal only has around 150 calories and can include a huge dose of dietary fiber, iron and other nutrients that are great for your heart health.

 Plain Yogurt and Fresh Fruit instead of Flavored Yogurt

Plain Yogurt

Don’t be fooled by those fruit on the bottom yogurts, which can seem like a healthy combination of milk proteins and fruits. Many of these yogurts pack the sugar into the yogurt, which already increases the calorie count, and don’t actually include any fresh fruits.

Instead, they coat the fruits in syrups that do nothing for you aside from increasing your sugar intake. Ditch these yogurts for a plain yogurt that doesn’t include any additional flavorings or add-ins.

You can even try a low-fat plain yogurt to lower the calories even more. Top it all up with some fresh fruits and berries, which only have natural sugars and include vital nutrients.

 Spaghetti Squash instead of Pasta

Spaghetti Squash

Pasta is notorious for being high in calories, even if you choose whole-grain pasta, with approximately 200 calories per cup. Moreover, since most people end up eating more than a single cup in a meal, this can add up fast.

Ditch the pasta, try out a spaghetti squash, which has an amazing 30 calories per cup, and includes a good amount of fiber and other nutrients. All you need to do is cut the squash in half and bake it, then use a fork to scrape out the insides.

This turns the squash into a stringy product that looks, and tastes, almost exactly like spaghetti without any of the extra calories that come from processed grains.

 Cauliflower instead of Potatoes

Cauliflower

It might not seem like it, but cauliflower is actually an incredibly versatile replacement for potatoes. A single medium potato can have around 160 calories, whereas the same amount of cauliflower only has around 50 calories, not to mention the huge savings in carbs.

You can easily boil and blend chopped cauliflower florets to make mashed potatoes, or bake them whole and eat them like you would fried potato products.

 Frozen Bananas instead of Ice Cream

Everyone loves ice cream, but not everyone loves all the extra calories and fat that it comes with. A half cup of vanilla ice cream start out anywhere from 130 to 160 calories, and it only goes up from there once you start looking at different flavors or adding in toppings like chocolate and cookies.

An easy swap here is to use frozen bananas to create a natural soft serve, sometimes known as “nice” cream. Simple chop up a few bananas and place them in the freezer for a few hours.

Once they are solid, place them in a blender, and blend until they reach a smooth consistency. A half cup of banana soft serve can have 100 calories or less while also giving you a serious boost in potassium, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber.

 There you go, those were 6 smart food swaps to save calories, you can start practicing them and I am sure in short time you will start to see a lot of improvement in your weight loss journey.

How Perfecting The Skill Of Mindfulness Helps Improve Your Diet

Making the decision to live a healthy lifestyle complete with a nourishing diet is easy to do. The hard part is living it out and making the decision daily to take good care of yourself and your body. By practicing Mindfulness, you can improve your diet, and stay on track with your goals.

How Perfecting The Skill Of Mindfulness Helps Improve Your Diet

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the meditation practice of sitting quietly, focusing on your breaths, in and out. Its intent is not to rid your mind of thoughts or keep from thinking. It is intended to help you balance and accept yourself, your thoughts, and be aware of your body at the moment.

How Do You Meditate With Mindfulness?

Meditation may sound intimidating or like something you don’t have the time or focus to do, but Mindfulness is something anyone can practice, no matter where they are physically, or where they are with themselves.

To Practice Mindfulness, You Can Follow These Steps:

  • Find a quiet and comfortable place.
  • Sit on a pillow, and cross your legs comfortably making sure your hips are above your knees. Place your hands palm down on your thighs.
  • Close your eyes and begin breathing, in and out.
  • Focus on your breath, and pay attention to your thoughts. If they contain worries and stresses of the day, breathe them out.
  • As you breathe, do not try to stop your thoughts or change them. Just focus on who you are in that moment.
  • Breathing in and out, become aware of your body. Use your breathing to connect to your body, mind, and self as a whole just where you are.

How Can Mindful Meditation Help Improve Your Diet?

You may wonder how Mindful breathing and meditation can help you improve your diet and stay on track with your weight loss goals, and will find that they support one another quite well.

Releases Tension And Relieves Anxiety

When you release your body of tension through Mindful Meditation, you’ll reduce the anxiety and stress that is likely taking a toll on your body. If you are peaceful, relaxed, and free of stresses you will be less likely to use food as a comfort.

Emotional eating is linked to stress. By freeing yourself from this, you can minimize or eliminate emotional eating and enjoy healthy, nourishing meals.

Engages And Focuses Your Mind And Increases Body Awareness

Breathing in and out, while allowing your mind and body to be aware of one another engages the brain and connects you to your body in a way that is calming, yet invigorating.

By being mindful of the moment you’re in, and how special you, your mind and body all are, you begin to value all your parts, thoughts, and self. This type of mindset makes you peaceful, thankful and encourages you to take the time to give yourself the best care, food, and love possible.

Creates Acceptance Of Who You Are Now, And Inspires The Journey Of Where You Want To Go

Being able to love yourself, and accept where you’re at in your journey will lend itself nicely to keeping you on track in your healthy eating ambitions.

If you constantly feel worthy of the care you’re taking to feed your body healthy fuel and treat yourself well, you’ll be less likely to become discouraged and give up before you reach your health goals.

Mindfulness calls you to be calm and recognize your thoughts, and who you are in any moment you’re practicing. Being mindful of your mind, body, and self as one can be very powerful in helping you achieve a healthy balanced life, and diet.

 

The Ketogenic Diet Versus The Paleo Diet

The Ketogenic Diet Versus The Paleo Diet

Going Back in Time

A paleo diet is all about reviving our ancestors’ diets back in the day by eating fresh, healthy, wholesome foods that have not been contaminated with additives and preservatives. This highly trending diet, which actually started in 1970 by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meats. It excludes processed foods, dairy products, grains, sugar and salt, legumes, processed oils, alcohol, and coffee.

It is mainly about promoting a healthy lifestyle. It quickly improves the metabolic effects of the body as well as body composition. People feel lighter and actually, start to lose weight with this diet because it makes people feel full quicker so they tend to consume less food.

Benefits of a Paleo diet:

  • Reduces allergies
  • Burns off stored fat because of metabolism increases
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Cleans impurities from skin and teeth
  • Improves sleep patterns
  • Helps you better absorb nutrients from food since it’s all natural

Daily calories are divided as follows:

  • 55% should come from seafood and lean meat – each taking an equal half
  • 15% come from fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds each
  • There is no dairy, no salt or sugar, and almost no grains

One of the risks of a paleo diet is that it could lead to an insufficient vitamin D & calcium intake and a risk of toxins from a high fish consumption.

How Low-Carb Can You Go?

In a ketogenic, aka low-carb, diet, you’re basically lowering your carb intake drastically, and increasing your fat intake while eating adequate amounts of protein.

The goal behind this is to reach a metabolic state known as ketosis where the body relies on fat as its energy source, instead of glucose, which comes directly from carbohydrates.

If glucose is readily available, the body will use that first because it’s easier and quicker to metabolize. However, glucose weighs the body down and when there is some left over, it quickly turns to fat, something we all dread.

When you’re on a keto diet, you’re ultimately diminishing the amount of glucose in your body to the bare minimum and teaching your body how to rely on ketones – what the body burns for fuel during ketosis.

Ketones are a type of fatty acids, which are a direct result of the liver breaking down protein to be converted into glucose. Ketones are a major source of energy for all major organs, especially the brain that is why people on the keto diet feel more focused and alert.

Benefits of a keto diet:

  • Reduces body fat while maintaining muscle mass
  • Lowers blood LDL (low-density lipoprotein; the “bad” cholesterol), blood pressure and glucose
  • Increases levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein which protects the heart against diseases; the “good” cholesterol)
  • Reduces insulin levels
  • Improves symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and reduces seizures in epileptic children

As with any new diet, your body will experience a few, harmless side effects which will be over usually within several days. This initial stage of a keto diet is referred to as “keto flu” because of its flu-like symptoms, which may include digestive discomfort, a lethargic-feeling, sleep issues, and mild nausea.

Differences between keto and paleo:

Paleo diets are not mainly low-carb. It focuses on eating foods with fat and protein but doesn’t necessarily avoid potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and other foods high in carbohydrates. Keto diets are mainly low-carb, eliminating all starches and sugars, including fruit. Most of the carbs on a keto diet come from non-starchy vegetables.

Paleo diets are not high in fat. While the paleo diet in its purest form may have been into foods high in fat, today’s ever-evolving paleo community alters its needs according to the times. Keto diets are high in healthy fats; in fact, it is the primary element of low carb as it supports ketosis or the metabolic process of burning fat for energy versus dietary carbs.

Paleo diet fans don’t eat dairy products in abundance, if at all. Keto diet fans think dairy is a great way to add fat to their diets.

Conclusion

If you’re considering starting a paleo ketogenic diet concurrently, you will definitely start seeing positive results within the first 2-3 weeks.

Everything from the inside out will start feeling healthier, you will also see your weight dropping without losing any of your muscle mass.

Remember that consistency is the key. So make sure to give your body time to adjust to this new routine and metabolic state. Once you get the hang of it, it will definitely become easier.

Check with your physician and/or nutrition expert before starting just to make sure you’re on the right track to becoming fitter, stronger, and healthier.

Fad Diets and Weight Loss Products

Approximately 8 million Americans a year, enroll in some kind of structured weight-loss program. Consumers need to be wary of claims that sound too good to be true. Almost all fad diets fail. Fad diets offer only a quick fix and not a solution to the problem. They do not attempt to change the behaviors of the person who is dieting. All too often, dieters are left with feelings of guilt and inadequacy because of their perceived failure to lose weight and maintain weight loss.

Fad Diets and Weight Loss Products

Doctors, dieticians, and other experts agree that the best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity so you burn more energy. A reasonable goal is to lose about a pound a week. For most people, that means cutting about 500 calories a day from your diet, eating a variety of nutritious foods, and exercising regularly.

Characteristics of Fad Diets:

  • promises of quick weight loss
  • limits on food choices
  • recommendations for expensive supplements or special products
  • claims to be better than recommendations from doctors and scientists
  • no requirements for physical activity

Be skeptical of any weight loss programs claiming to be:

  • effortless
  • guaranteed
  • miraculous
  • magical
  • breakthrough
  • new discovery
  • mysterious
  • exotic
  • secret
  • exclusive
  • ancient

Facts About Fad Diets and Weight Loss Products:

1. Any claims that you can lose weight effortlessly are false. The only proven way to lose weight is either to reduce the number of calories you eat or to increase the number of calories you burn off through exercise. Most experts recommend a combination of both.

2. Very low-calorie diets are not without risk and should be pursued only under medical supervision. Unsupervised very low-calorie diets can deprive you of

important nutrients and are potentially dangerous.

3. Fad diets rarely have any permanent effect. Sudden and radical changes in your eating patterns are difficult to sustain over time.

4. Some diet pills may help control the appetite but they can have serious side effects. (Amphetamines, for instance, are highly addictive and can have an adverse impact on the heart and central nervous system.) Some pills are completely worthless.

5. The FDA has banned 111 ingredients once found in over the counter diet products. The Federal Trade Commission and some Attorney Generals have successfully brought cases against marketers of pills claiming to absorb or burn fat.

Beware These Boasts:

When it comes to evaluating claims for weight loss products, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends a healthy portion of skepticism.  Before you spend money on products that promise fast and easy results, weigh the claims carefully. Think twice before wasting your money on products that make any of these false claims:

“Lose weight without diet or exercise!”

Achieving a healthy weight takes work. Take a pass on any product that promises miraculous results without the effort. Buy one and the only thing you’ll lose is money.

“Lose weight no matter how much you eat of your favorite foods!”

Beware of any product that claims that you can eat all you want of high-calorie foods and still lose weight. Losing weight requires sensible food choices. Filling up on healthy vegetables and fruits can make it easier to say no to fattening sweets and snacks.

“Lose weight permanently! Never diet again!”

Even if you’re successful in taking the weight off, permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes. Don’t trust any product that promises once-and-for-all results without ongoing maintenance.

“Block the absorption of fat, carbs, or calories!”

Doctors, dieticians, and other experts agree that there’s simply no magic non-prescription pill that will allow you to block the absorption of fat, carbs, or calories. The key to curbing your craving for those “downfall foods” is portion control. Limit yourself to a smaller serving or a slimmer slice.

“Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”

Losing weight at the rate of a pound or two a week is the most effective way to take it off and keep it off. At best, products promising lightning-fast weight loss are false. At worst, they can ruin your health.

“Everybody will lose weight!”

Your habits and health concerns are unique. There is simply no one-size-fits-all product guaranteed to work for everyone. Team up with your health care provider to design a personalized nutrition and exercise program suited to your lifestyle and metabolism.

“Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream!”

You’ve seen the ads for diet patches or creams that claim to melt away the pounds. Don’t believe them. There’s nothing you can wear or apply to your skin that will cause you to lose weight.

Factors to Evaluate if Considering a Commercial Weight Loss Program:

(1) the cost of the program and its duration,
(2) the qualifications and credentials of program staff,
(3) the risks associated with the program; and
(4) program outcomes in terms of both weight loss achieved and weight loss maintained short-term and long-term.

Supplements vs. Healthy Eating

If a healthy variety of foods are eaten, supplements are not necessary. Our bodies need a total of 42 nutrients each day. Taking in more nutrients than our body needs does not provide added energy, added brainpower or greater protection against disease.

Single-nutrient supplements or high mineral combinations may be harmful to our health. Taken in high dosages, some supplements may produce side effects such as fatigue, diarrhea and hair loss. Other more serious side effects include kidney stones, liver or nerve damage, and birth defects.

Who Needs Supplements?

People who have a chronic illness or who have very restrictive diets may need to take supplements. Otherwise, most people can receive adequate nutrition by eating a variety of foods and following the standard dietary guidelines.

Potential Risks of Supplement Use

Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before marketing, there are no provisions in the law for FDA to “approve” dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer.

Also unlike drug products, manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are not currently required by law to record, investigate or forward to FDA any reports they receive of injuries or illnesses that may be related to the use of their products. Under DSHEA, once the product is marketed, FDA has the responsibility for showing that a dietary supplement is “unsafe,” before it can take action to restrict the product’s use or removal from the marketplace.

Many supplements contain active ingredients that can have strong effects in the body. Taking a combination of supplements, using these products together with medicine, or substituting them in place of prescribed medicines could lead to harmful, even life-threatening results. Also, some supplements can have unwanted effects before, during, and after surgery. It is important to let your doctor and other health professionals know about the vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and other products you are taking, especially before surgery.

 

Here a few examples of dietary supplements believed to interact with specific drugs:

  • Calcium and heart medicine (e.g., Digoxin), thiazide diuretics (Thiazide), and aluminum and magnesium-containing antacids.
  • Magnesium and thiazide and loop diuretics (e.g., Lasix®, etc.), some cancer drugs (e.g., Cisplatin, etc.), and magnesium-containing antacids.
  • Vitamin K and a blood thinner (e.g., Coumadin).
  • St. John’s Wort and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs (i.e., anti-depressant drugs and birth control pills).

 

Choosing the Right Diet Plan

When you are ready to choose your diet or eating plan, there are certain things that you must take into consideration to make sure that you are choosing the right diet plan that will help you to attain the weight loss goals you have and to make sure you are staying healthy.

Some diets, as we mentioned, do not contain a balance of nutrition that your body needs, and can, therefore, make you very ill, and won’t help you to lose weight properly. These are considerations to make sure that you are choosing the right diet plan.

Choosing the Right Diet Plan

Realistic Expectations

You must realize that losing weight takes time, and it depends on how much you have to lose will depend on how long it will take you. You do not want to take on a plan that promises you to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, as that is most likely going to be a very unhealthy and unsafe option for you.

After the initial two or three weeks when weight gain might be up because of water loss, you should be losing around 1-2 pounds a week to maintain healthy weight loss.

The Right Nutrition

Make sure you look over any diet plans you are considering thoroughly and see what they allow or suggest for you to eat. If it has a balanced-looking diet to it with the right amounts of foods from the food groups, you are probably looking at a plan that is safe.

Any of the fad diets that cut out whole food groups, or make you starve yourself or drink strange concoctions are not safe. You also want the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fiber and make sure you are getting no more than 30 percent of your calories from fat per day.

Doable for You…or Not?

While you are researching different diet plans, make sure it is something that you think would suit you and your lifestyle. If you are a very busy person who is not home a lot, look for a plan that has convenience as well as healthy choices.

If you wind up choosing a plan that you don’t stick to for whatever reason, you will wind up failing and you will then most likely go back to your old ways, but now feeling worse than when you started out.

Calorie Level

Make sure that the plan you choose has you eating enough calories. You essentially want to cut out enough calories so that you can lose those 1-2 pounds a week. You have to weigh this all against you and your activity levels, as how many calories you need each day will vary from person to person depending on how active they are and their weight. You might want to work with a trained health professional to help you decide which is best for you.

Final Words

Those are considerations to make sure that you are choosing the right diet plan that will help you to attain the weight loss goals. If do you want to learn more about losing weight and staying thing please watch this video.