Aside from fruits and veggies, there are so many great healthy foods that I recommend for a balanced and healthy diet. Unfortunately, companies believe that foods will sell better if they taste better. Therefore, heart-healthy foods (when served alone) become heart-unhealthy (and waist-line unfriendly) when they are packaged or prepared by someone other than yourself. Would you like specifics?
-REGAL medium, no-butter popcorn - 1,200 calories, 60g saturated fat, 980 mg sodium (the butter adds 200 calories and 3g sat fat per 1.5 tbsp). *1 cup air-popped popcorn - 31 calories, .4g fat, 1mg sodium, 1.2g fiber, 1g protein
-Linguine Alla Marinara Olive Garden dinner entree - 551 calories, 8g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 770mg sodium. *1 cup whole wheat pasta - 174 calories, .8g fat, 4mg sodium, 6.3g fiber
-2/3rd cup Oats and Honey Granola Cascadian farm - 230 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 120 mg sodium, Sugar 13g *1/2 cup oatmeal - 150 calories, 3g fat, 4g fiber, 5g protein *1 tbsp blackstrap molasses - 60 calories, 10g sugar
-Nesquick chocolate milk 1 cup - 200 calories, 5g fat, 3g sat fat, 30g sugar *1 special dark Hershey Kiss - 20 calories, 1.3g fat, .8g sat fat, 2.3g sugar *1 cup skim milk - 86 calories, .4g fat, 12.5g sugar, 8.4 g protein
Over the past few years, I've learned that there are no good or bad foods. There was once a time in my life when I thought carbs and fat made me fat and feeling hungry meant that I needed to eat more fruits and veggies. Boy was I wrong! That way of eating wasn't not maintainable and I was certainly not enjoying food. Not to mention, my diet was lacking in key ingredients to support my vegetarian/athletic lifestyle. I think we can all agree that there are foods which can sabotage your mission to improve athletic performance and keeping your heart healthy. But if your diet is consistently healthy and balanced, once one or two times of enjoying/trying something different can be a welcomed changed and a reminder that consistency with healthy eating has countless rewards. So, when it comes to creating a balanced diet, if you focus on foods with little or no ingredients you will find that there are so many healthy foods that you can eat on a daily basis. There is no reason to fear healthy fats, high-fiber carbs or lean/low fat protein. I believe that everyone handles foods differently and we should never forget that we all require a different percentage of fat, protein and carb to fulfill our daily calorie requirements which support our daily activities, nutrient recommendations and training routine.
Here's my new favorite snack! Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain? Talk about a great way to add more fiber to your diet! How did I go so long without appreciating the value of homemade popcorn?? Looks like I will be busy making healthy popcorn "creations" for the next few days. Any suggestions?
Homemade popcorn: 1/3 cup kernels (I bought a 4 lb bag of Jolly Time popcorn at Big Lots for $2.50) 1 1/2 tsp olive or canola oil
1. In a large cooking pot (w/ lid), pour olive oil over kernels. Mix well so that kernels are coated with oil. 2. Turn on burner to medium heat (I used a setting of 5) and cover pot. 3. Wait 4-5 minutes until the kernels start popping. When you hear (and smell) the popcorn, lift pot off burner and give a little shake every 20-30 sec. 4. After 2-3 minutes, popcorn should be finished and ready for seasoning. *use no-salt seasonings, pepper, herbs/spices or cinnamon (this recipe makes 6 cups popcorn!!)
-rather than using a zillion sprays of spray-butter, melt 1/2 tbsp smart balance butter in microwave (10-15 sec.), pour over popcorn and toss. Calories and fat in 1/2 tbsp butter: 22.5 calories, 2.5g fat
Nutrition of popcorn kernels2 tbsp unpopped (1 cup popped) 20 calories 1g fat 0mg sodium 26g carbs 7g fiber 4g protein
Nutrition of 1 1/2 tsp olive oil45 calories 5.25g fat
Nutrition of 1 cup popcorn (my recipe)27.5 calories 1.8g fat