Friday, November 4, 2011

Top Diet Rankings from U.S. News and World Reports

People are constantly asking me what they should eat. They want to know the best diet for weight loss and health, and of course, they want practical suggestions for their diet. My answer depends on the individual's goals, personal tastes, and health condition, so I can't recommend one specific single diet for everyone.

U.S. News and World Report's lists of top diets seem to support this approach. Their top diets include commercial diets with processed bars and shakes, diets developed by medical institutions, and diets from national organizations.

The evaluating panel from U.S. News and World Report includes 22 health and nutrition experts from around the nation. They are dietitians, medical doctors, nutritionists, university professors and public health experts. The experts ranked the diets based on seven criteria on a scale of 1 to 5. The criteria are:

• Short-term weight loss

• Long-term weight loss

• easy to follow

• nutrition

• safety

• for diabetes

• for heart health

The best overall diets were:

1. DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet)

2. Mediteranean Diet

3. TLC Diet

4. Weight Watchers

5. Mayo Clinic

6. Volumetrics

7. Jenny Craig

8. Ornish

9. Vegetarian diet

10. Slim-Fast

Other lists were for the best weight loss diets, best diabetes diets, best commercial diet plans, best commercial diet plans and best heart-healthy diets.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


A bowl of soup can really warm you up on a cold, grey winter's day. Canned soup is quick and easy, and there are tons of flavors to choose from. Here are a few tips for keeping your hot lunch healthy!

Check the label for the serving size, since many cans have 2 or 2.5 servings in them. If you have the whole can, multiply the calories and other information by the number of servings (2 or 2.5) in the can.
  • If you make a can of condensed soup with milk instead of water, add in the calories from milk.  They are not included on the label on the can!
  • Most canned soups are packed with sodium. 1 can can easily provide all that you need in a whole day.  If you are watching your sodium, choose a low-sodium version.
  • Get a low-fat or low-calorie soup.  They taste almost the same as the regular versions, but are usually a lot healthier.
  • Choose a soup with beans or vegetables, or add your own.  You'll get extra fiber and antioxidants, and the soup will be more filling.
  • Protein is filling, so choose a soup with beans, chicken or lean beef.
  • Have your soup with a few crackers instead a high-calorie helping of bread. 
  • Have your soup with salad (light dressing, of course!) to make a bigger meal without many calories.
  • Enjoy it!
If you want to make your own, stay tuned for the next post!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Easy Exercise

Super Bowl Sunday is no excuse to skip your exercise for the day – it’s a great time to spend some active time with your family!

Get Some Fresh Air
If you’re lucky enough to be in a place where the weather allows it, go outside. Go for a bike ride, or jog with your spouse while your children bike. Set up an obstacle course in your backyard, and see who can get through it the fastest. Play follow the leader, and take turns leading for 1-2 minutes each. Walk to the supermarket to pick up a few last-minute essentials for your afternoon Super Bowl Party - and don't forget the veggies!

Stay Warm Indoors
If the weather’s keeping you indoors, take advantage! Hold a boot-camp with your family, and let your children lead it by telling you what to do. Chances are, they’ll delight in giving you a tough workout! Host a pre-Super Bowl dance party – turn on the radio, and dance to it. You can take turns each leading a song.

It doesn’t matter what you decide to do. The important thing is that you do something!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Party Time!

Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, and that means football, friends, family, fun,, of course!  What can you do to stay on your diet when you party?  Here are a few tips...

Bring Your Own
You can't control what else is at the party, but you can make sure that you have a healthy choice - bring it yourself! 

Bring some veggies with low-calorie dips.  Try baby carrots or carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets, asparagus sticks, red pepper strips, or cucumber coins.  Dip them in salsa or a low-fat or fat-free ranch or onion dip.

For a sweet treat, bring some fruit pieces on toothpicks.  They're colorful and festive, healthy, and easy to prepare.  Try cut cantaloupe or watermelon chunks, apple or pear slices, and orange or tangerine wedges. If you pick grapes or strawberries, you don't even need to cut them!

Need something warm?  Make a big pot of low-fat chili with beans, tomatoes, onions, celery, red peppers, and chili spices. Keep it vegetarian, or add some lean ground turkey.

Bonus: Your host will appreciate your contribution!

Be A Good Host
Good to your guests: Serve their favorites, and encourage them to bring their own contributions.

Good to yourself: Serve healthy choices to munch on.  Kindly offer to let your guests take away the leftovers so that they're not tempting you for the rest of the week.

Bonus: Clean-up is easier!

Choose Your Favorite
Let's face it: Super Bowl happens once a year, and there may be one or two Super Bowl Party foods that you look forward to all year. Whether it's chicken wings, blue cheese dip, or tortilla chips, don't deprive yourself. Just choose your favorite (or two), and have a small amount to satisfy your craving. 

Bonus: You'll be proud of yourself for demonstrating your control.

Have a safe party, and check back for a few tips on burning off those calories!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brussels Sprouts!

I created this recipe last was delicious and easy! 

Ingredients: Fresh garlic, brussels sprouts, and ground black pepper. The exact quantities don't matter.

Peel and slice 2-4 cloves of garlic.  Line a small baking dish with foil, and put your garlic on the foil.  Put the garlic in the toaster oven (or oven) for 30 minutes at 450 degrees.

Quarter the brussels sprouts.  Place them over the garlic in the baking pan.  Add water to a depth of about an eighth of an inch.  Sprinkle with pepper to taste.  Bake for another 30 minutes.

Enjoy!  Enjoy the taste and the good news nutritionals:

Per 4 ounce serving (about 6 large brussels sprouts, or 24 quarters): 50 calories, 5 grams of fiber (20%), and 180% of your daily vitamin C!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is a healthy food?

Doesn't everyone want to know what a healthy food is?  People ask me all the time whether a food is healthy, and I can't give them that yes or no answer that they want.  Here's an example: I had some ice cream on Sunday.  I'll tell you about it, and you can decide - is it a healthy food?

Per half cup: 110 calories, 25 calories from fat.  Okay, not bad: some of the leading brands have up to 330 calories per half cup.  I had 2 cups, or four half cups, or 440 calories.  Oops.

It has probiotics, those healthy bacteria that live in your gut and help your digestive system stay regular.  Good.

It has berries - real strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries.  Good.  They're listed in the ingredients somewhere after high fructose corn syrup.  Not so good.

It's sweetened with sucralose, a non-caloric sweetener.  Good.  It's also sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, polydextrose, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and corn syrup (did those last three look familiar?  The ingredients list label mentioned them twice, too). Not so good.
It has two grams of fiber per serving.  Hey, I ate four servings...that's 8 grams of fiber, almost a third of my daily amount.  Good.

The first ingredient is skim milk, and each serving has 10% calcium.  Good.

It has partially hydrogenated soybean oil, you know, the stuff that's famous for its artery clogging trans fats?  Not so good.

Overall? I'd like to know what you think.  Personally, I think it was a good choice for me.  It was a treat I had planned for, and it was definitely a better choice than a thousand calorie hot fudge sundae.  And I had a salad before it, so doesn't that make up for the six kinds of sugar? 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Organic pills?

I recently had the opportunity meet a representative from a weight loss company. Their program involves a diet plan and is based around the supplements, bars, and shakes that they sell. To me, it appeared similar to any other over priced and under healthy diet plan with fake foods that they claim are crucial to success.

When I spoke to her, I could not tell whether the representative genuinely believed what she was saying, or whether she was simply a good salesperson.  She spent a while telling me about the evils of all foods today, including organic and natural.  According to her, they all have chemical contaminants from pesticides or air pollution. I agree that our food probably isn't sterile, but what I'm not sure about is how her company's pills and bars solve the problem. Is it really healthier to eat a pill made from chemically produced vegetable-like compounds than a cup of broccoli? It's hard to believe!  I'm a fan of real food, and not chocolate-coated isoflavonoid meal-replacement tablets.