Cut the Salt, Keep the Flavor

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You may love spicy foods while a friend prefers milder flavors. But we all have different taste sensitivities and perceptions. In the American diet, many of us have one taste in common: a preference for and high consumption of salty foods.

Limiting your sodium is important to reduce your risk for high blood pressure (and likely stomach cancer). You don’t have to sacrifice flavor when you cut back on salt! Here are seven tricks I’ve found that help:

1. Go Slow: Our bodies quickly become accustomed to salt so cut back slowly, starting with holding back on the salt shaker at the table. The American Heart Association recommends that all Americans aim for <1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Slowly reducing your intake to this amount over the next month or two will allow your taste buds to adjust so you can enjoy the natural flavors of foods. Read more… “Cut the Salt, Keep the Flavor”

Six Websites for Weight Loss and Good Health

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AICR’s October eNews article features 7 phone apps for good health and cancer prevention. If you’re trying to lose weight, tracking your food intake is one of the best ways to get started – it holds you accountable for what you eat and allows you to see areas for improvement. You might realize foods (or drinks) that seemed harmless, like your daily coffee with cream and sugar, can really add up in the calorie bank.

If you want to track your intake on a computer, here are six great websites for weight loss. These sites are either personal favorites or ones that have successfully helped clients of mine manage their weight.

Getting Started: Determine your daily calorie goals. This varies for everyone but you can use an online calculator like this one for an estimate or go to a health professional (e.g., a registered dietitian). Many of these sites use a similar calorie calculator when you sign up for an account.

1.     Myfitnesspal.com – At this site you enter what you’ve eaten and those foods are subtracted from your daily calorie goals. It’s rare that I can’t find something I have eaten on this website! It has just about everything, ranging from individual foods to common restaurant meals. You can add customized recipes and set your home screen to display the nutrients you care most about (e.g. calories, carbohydrates, protein, sodium, and fiber). Read more… “Six Websites for Weight Loss and Good Health”

Finding Healthy Convenience Foods on a Budget

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There’s been a lot of press lately on the cost of foods after a USDA report found that healthier foods are not necessarily more expensive.

But one reason people turn to less healthy options is because often, they are just more convenient. Take the time to make your own popcorn and you’ll get whole grain goodness with only 31 calories; microwaving a pre-packed bag saves time but runs about 85 calories. Cooking up brown rice, spices and veggies doesn’t cost that much, but sometimes it’s a lot easier to grab the box. Those packaged, boxed meals or convenience foods are…convenient. They are also typically heavy on the calories, sodium, and fat.

But they don’t have to be. There are ways you can get all the convenience of those packaged foods, save money, and eat a cancer-protective diet. In my last blog I wrote about a study to promote healthy purchasing in a low-income area of Baltimore. Here are some budget-friendly tips we used:

1.     Snack seasonally.

Rather than grabbing chips or cookies, take a piece of fruit or a vegetable that you can have on the go. The cost of fresh fruits and vegetables changes with the time of year, and when they are in season you can buy them for a lot less money (and help support local farmers, too!). Peaches are in peak season right now, and packed with vitamin C. Read more… “Finding Healthy Convenience Foods on a Budget”