Thursday, 27 December 2007

Gearing Up to A Healthy New Year!!

Phew…how times passes by unknowingly. Christmas has come and gone which seems like yesterday. I remember waiting and planning for it to come so I could have a long holiday in Singapore! And now, New Year is just around the corner. Already there are people who zoned into early New Year mood. You can see from people taking holiday and not in the mood of working. And holiday mood is a holiday mood and thus people seems to let their guard down an binge into more guilty indulgence. So, I came up with a pl an and eating tips that will still make you look good and be healthy in January without having to deprive yourself of all the holiday treats.
  • Don't go to a party hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry - therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at the party.
  • Watch your portion: treat yourself a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweets without guilt, but always watch your portion. Go for small portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
  • Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: high fat food items can be found in fried food, cream-based soup, sweet stuff such as cakes, cookies, processed meats such as burgers and sausages, some pastries and baked goods.
  • Try other versions of alcohol: instead of beer, cider, Bailey's and Kahlua, try dry wine, Bloody Marys or spirits with diet mixer which have fewer calories. Remember: Calories from alcohol tend to be stored in the abdomen. People who are overweight actually gain weight more easily when they consume alcohol.
  • Drink plenty of water: alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body.
  • Physical activity: take nice brisk walks with your loved ones and enjoy their company in the holiday season. Or do some roller-blading or go down to a skating rink…It is an absolute good workout for your thighs and bums!
  • Try substituting your snack to healthier version: I have to admit that I’m a person who loves food and desserts. But, I always will try to research on a healthier substitution to satisfy to cravings! I have extracted some snack swapper tips from this renown dietitian Lyn Grieger:

Cereal: There are three guidelines for choosing a healthy cereal. First, look for the word "Whole" in the first ingredient, meaning that the cereal is made primarily from unprocessed grain that contains more of its natural vitamins, minerals and fiber. If the whole grain is oats or wheat, that's even better. Second, be sure to choose a cereal with no more than 8 grams of sugar per serving. And finally, avoid any cereal that contains trans fatty acids, which increase risk of heart disease. Measure out one or two servings, pour on fat-free milk or yogurt and enjoy!

Chocolate: Chocolate -- especially dark chocolate with cocoa solids or chocolate liquor listed as the first ingredient -- may actually be good for your heart due to its antioxidant content. However, it still contains more calories than we'd like to admit. The secret is to enjoy dark chocolate in very small quantities, for example, two to three strawberries dipped in dark chocolate or one Hershey's Miniatures Special Dark chocolate treat (only 45 calories!).

Donuts: Be careful what you order. A glazed donut contains 180 calories, but a glazed cake donut packs almost twice as many calories (350). Don't be fooled by the phrase whole wheat in the whole-wheat glazed cake donut -- it's still over 300 calories. Better to enjoy just one glazed donut hole for only 40 calories. Sorry guys who enjoy donuts from J-Co Donuts or Big Apple.

Potato Chips: A single-serving bag of most plain potato chips contains approximately 150 calories. You'll save half those calories if you choose fat-free baked chips. But if what you're truly craving is something crunchy and salty, opt for popcorn instead of chips. One cup contains only 55 calories if you don't add extra butter.

Cookies: There are two problems with cookies: We can't eat just one, and if we can, the one we eat is usually HUGE. A typical chocolate chip cookie at a mall cookie store contains over 300 calories. One bite-size chocolate chip cookie has only 11 calories. Eat five of these mini-cookies slowly, enjoying every morsel, and you'll get the taste sensation you crave without adding to your waistline. Also instead of cookies, you might want to consider whole-wheat crackers from Jacob. It taste incredible good too. Or my recent craving is McVities, ginger nut cookies. It is yummy......

Fried Food:
Choose the unfried version whenever possible. Have a choice of crispy or grilled chicken on your salad? Go for the grilled. Broiled or fried fish? Broiled is better. Raw veggies with dip or tempura veggies? You know the raw version wins every time. Baked or regular potato chips? Baked is a no-brainer. Learn to oven-fry foods at home by baking at a high temperature until crispy. A spritz of cooking spray or drizzle of olive oil before baking adds flavor and contributes to crispness without hurting your heart -- or your waistline.

Ice-Cream: Fat-free ice cream or ice milk may contain fewer calories, but most people don't appreciate the gritty texture. Frozen yogurt sounds like a healthy alternative, but it's still packed with fat and sugar. Try a fruity sorbet instead of ice cream. You'll save 13 grams of fat and 100 calories, and the intense fruit flavors simply pop in your mouth. Just one scoop is plenty! You can try the New Zealand Ice Cream or Lecka-Lecka which is made out of gelato. Tasty and guilt free!

Nachos: They may look healthy because they contain foods from most of the food groups, but you know better. Just one loaded nacho chip will set you back 50 calories, with over half those calories from fat. But who eats just one nacho? One cup of nachos (about two handfuls) contains 560 calories and over half the amount of fat most active women need in one entire day. To prepare guilt-free nachos, cut soft flour tortillas into wedges and crisp in a 400 degrees F oven for four minutes. Then top with lots of veggies: tomatoes and onions, of course, but also add shredded carrots, lettuce and jicama and green and yellow pepper strips. Instead of hamburger, use fat-free refried beans and sprinkle with low-fat shredded cheddar cheese. You'll save more than half the calories without sacrificing taste.

Pastry: One cheese Danish will set you back 260 calories and 24 percent of your total fat and saturated fat needs for the entire day. If grabbing a midmorning pastry is your habit, it's time for a new snack! A piece of whole-grain toast bread with peanut butter contains fewer calories (170) and half the fat. Plus, it supplies whole grains and fiber, protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top if you crave something sweet.

Cream Based Soup: It's simple to make your own healthy, low-fat, creamy soups at home. Instead of cream, trying using fat-free evaporated skim milk. You'll save 87 grams of fat and 620 calories per cup! To make an even healthier cream soup, use pureed white beans or pureed vegetables (try potatoes or cauliflower) instead of the cream. Thin it to the desired consistency with skim milk or broth. If you're using canned cream soup, reconstitute with skim milk to reduce the fat and calories and boost your calcium and vitamin D intake. Try using lower-fat canned cream soups when making casseroles; you'll never notice a taste difference.

Coffee: Long gone are the days when people routinely drank black coffee. It's astounding that many of us regularly guzzle 16- to 20-ounce coffee drinks every day -- sometimes two or more times per day! Down a 16-ounce caffe mocha and you just drank 300 calories -- 400 if you add whipped cream. Drink two of these each day, and you've spent one-third of your daily calorie budget! If plain black coffee isn't your cup of tea, try these ideas to downsize the calories, fat and sugar in your coffee drinks:

  • Ask for skim instead of whole milk and save 50 calories in most 16-ounce drinks. 1. Downsize to the smallest cup available. Cutting back from a 20-ounce to a 12-ounce cuts 100 calories. 2. Avoid whipped cream -- it tacks on 80 to 130 additional calories depending on the size and type of drink you order. The amount of added sugar in some coffee drinks is simply unbelievable. 33 grams (eight teaspoons of sugar) in a 16-ounce syrup-flavored latte, 50 grams (12 teaspoons of sugar) in a 16-ounce caramel mocha. It makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it. Your best choice? A 16-ounce caffe Americano -- only 15 calories and no sugar.

  • Soda
    :Drink water instead. If it's bubbles you crave, try carbonated mineral water. If you simply have to drink something sweet, choose diet soda or calorie-free flavored water. And anyone concerned about building strong bones or losing weight should opt for fat-free milk instead of soda -- the calcium and vitamin D are essential to health.

    Pasta: The real key to eating healthier when you eat pasta is to reduce the portion size. Rather than making a platter of pasta, have a small dish (about two cupped handfuls). Switch to whole-wheat pasta to bump up your intake of whole grains. You can get this from Tesco. And of course, choose a sauce that's low in fat and packed with veggies.

    Anyway, my conclusion guys is "Moderation is the key!" .I hope you enjoy this article and wishes you a Happy Holiday & Happy New Year!!


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