Transitioning Your Workout Routine From Summer To Fall

Transitioning Your Workout Routine From Summer To Fall

This week’s post was written by guest blogger Jim Rollince who’s fitness and nutritional goals parallel my own. He is the head of the creative writing department at gymsource.com and I want to thank him for his time.

Now that the warmer weather is coming to an end, many people are confused about their workout routines.  You might have spent your entire summer swimming laps in the pool or using treadmills in an air conditioned gym just to stay cool.  With the weather changing to a cooler temperature, many exercise fanatics are finding it difficult to transition.  Believe it or not, autumn is one of the best seasons to workout.  There are quite a few benefits to exercising in this season and there are also a lot of different workouts that you can do to take advantage of the changing temps.

One of the major benefits about working out in the fall is that the temperatures outside are a lot more tolerable.  If you enjoy running or walking but have been forced to use home gym equipment because of hot temperatures, now is your time to get out into the fresh air and enjoy your exercise in a new environment.  Switching your environment when working out is essential for staying on track.  People, in general, tend to get very bored rather quickly.  This can be a recipe for disaster if you are trying to establish a steady and solid workout routine.

Another benefit for working out in the fall is that you will find it easier and more enjoyable to workout.  Just imagine yourself taking your daily hour walk, but this time you are walking in a beautiful park that is laden with autumn leaves.  The weather is cool, but you have your warm sweater on to keep you cozy.  This whole scenario will make you hungry to exercise and it will make your at-home treadmill seem boring and useless.  One way to really enjoy the fresh, crisp new weather is to take a gorgeous nature hike.  Find a hiking trail near your home and dedicate a full day to enjoying its beauty.  You will really be able to see the changes of the season when taking a hike.

Autumn really allows you to enjoy your exercise regimen more so than any other season.  If the weather outside is getting a little too chilly for your liking, do not hesitate to use treadmills, ellipticals or other equipment at home.  Instead of using an air conditioner, conserve energy by opening up some windows and smelling that delicious autumn air.  Fall is a great time to also explore your town or city.  The temperatures are just right for walking or jogging a local park or simply taking a walk down your road.  Looking at all of the fall decorations and holiday decor will also help to make your workout a little more interesting.

In general, you should take advantage of the changing season and make sure to change your workout routine with it.  Get some comfy and heavy workout clothes and do your exercises outside as opposed to staying cooped-up in the house.  You will find that you are actually looking forward to the fall weather and not missing summer all that much.

My Take

I think Jim makes a compelling argument for training in the fall. My experience in the fitness industry has shown that people tend to work out the hardest and most dilegentely from January to April due to New Years resolutions and preparing for beach season. My thoughts are with new seasons should come new challenges and goals. Personally, I intend to use the fall to try to put on a few pounds of healthy muscle. Setting fitness goals and tracking progress will help you to stick with a routine and ensure you don’t ruin everything you worked for in the spring and summer.

The main section of this article that resonated with me was the exercise outside portion. I have made it a weekend staple to wake up early on Saturday mornings and go for a run with a few friends on our football Saturdays. Running around campus and dodging the early tailgaters makes for great scenery and can turn a 30 minute grind into a 15 minute leisurely jog. So, my challenge to readers is find your own “Saturday morning run” that you actually enjoy and make it a routine.

 

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.

From South Bend,

5 Tips For A Great Early Morning Workout

5 Tips For A Great Early Morning Workout

I never used to be an early bird. Sleeping in used to be a priority in my life. If I had to be somewhere at 9, chances are I would wake up at 8:50, throw on some clothes and goin order to savor every last minute of sleep. Over the last few years (with some help from the everyday 6 AM college hockey workouts we had) that routine has drastically changed. Now, I wake up and get my workout done before my day even starts. There are  physical and mental gratifications to have your workout completed. It provides a platform to  jumpstart your day and get you off and running… literally. My blog this week can be found here www.builtlean.com/2012/08/28/early-morningworkouts

Let me know if you have any comments or questions. For more of my articles on this website checkout www.builtlean.com contributor page.

From South Bend,

Kevin

The Best Food Swap You Can Make

Lettuce wraps vs. tortillas

With time and convenience being such a big factor in people’s eating decisions and habits, having easy options is always a plus. Throwing  some turkey, chicken, or leftover meat in a wrap for the next day’s lunch is always a great meal idea and lunchtime staple. With an extra 300 calories and 50 carbs, generic tortillas and wraps can turn today’s lunch into a carb-loaded hazard. Below is the breakdown of some popular tortillas that are common among lunchtime meals.

Nutritional Breakdown

Chipotle Flour Tortilla 13″ inch

  • Calories-290
  • Fat-9 g
  • Carbs-44 g
  • Sodium- 670 g
  • Protein- 7 g

Mission Flour Taco Tortilla 8″ inch

  • Calories- 146
  • Fat- 3 g
  • Carbs- 25 g
  • Sodium- 249 mg
  • Protein- 4 g

Taco bell heat pressed tortilla 13″

  • Calories- 317
  • Fat- 8 g
  • Carbs- 52 g
  • Sodium- 887 mg
  • Protein- 9 g

Butterhead Lettuce (1 large leaf)

  • Calories- 2
  • Fat- 0 g
  • Carbs- 0 g
  • Sodium- 0 g
  • Protein- 0

Romaine Lettuce (1 large outer leaf)

  • Calories- 5
  • Fat- 0
  • Carbs- 1 g
  • Sodium- 1 g
  • Protein- 0 g
A Great Recipe “Asian Lettuce Wrap”

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

cooking sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and diced
½ cup bamboo shoots, drained and diced
½ cup water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 head butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce, washed and leaves separated

garnish:
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions

1. Place the first five ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. Pour mixture over the chicken and stir together. Set aside and allow chicken to marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Place all ingredients for cooking sauce into a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
3. Place 2 tablespoons oil into a large skillet over high heat. Sauté chicken for 6 to 8 minutes or until half-cooked. Remove from skillet and set aside.
4. Pour remaining oil into the same skillet and place over high heat. Sauté the ginger, garlic and shiitake mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add chicken back into the skillet; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Pour the cooking sauce over the mixture and stir together. Lower the heat to medium and allow the mixture to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the green onions. Adjust seasonings.
6. Remove from heat and allow chicken mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Top with a sprinkle of green onions and sesame seed and serve warm with crisp lettuce cups.

Conclusion

A lettuce wrap is a great alternative for a tortilla when making a meal. Some athletes, or those looking to gain weight and a more calorie dense meal, might make the argument that the tortilla gives them extra protein and calories to meet there needs. Instead of filling up on processed and empty carbs received from a tortilla, adding more meat, beans, or vegetables to make up for the calories you will be loosing from the tortilla is ideal.

Suggestion

Any time you can substitute a processed bun or wrap for something that is natural and has nutritional benefits is always encouraged. My suggestion is to not only substitute the lettuce for tortilla wraps, tacos, and burritos, but also for buns and bread. This will force you to add more of the “in between ingredients” which will provide more of a nutritional benefit to everyone.

From South Bend,

Kevin

An Oatmeal Recipe You Will Love

An Oatmeal Recipe You Will Love

Studies have shown that regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity by 450%!

This week’s blog can be found at http://www.builtlean.com/. This is another great health-orientated website and one that I will be writing for once a month. My article is the headline article on the homepage.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have questions or comments.

Kevin

The Ultimate Snack

The Ultimate Snack

I get more questions about this topic than any other. “What can I snack on that is low in carbohydrates but high in protein?” The truth is, you can only eat so much cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and nuts. (Which are also great snacks) Variety is one of the biggest challenges for people adjusting to a healthy nutrition regimen. “What food can I eat in between meals and at night?” Since chips, crackers, candy, and anything processed should be out of the question, options can be limited. However, here is one great option to give you some variety.

Home-made Beef Jerky

The Benefits

  • High in protein
  • Unprocessed
  • Low in fat
  • Versatile flavor choices
  • Low in sodium
  • Zero Carbohydrates
Why not just buy beef jerky?
Pre-packaged beef jerky possesses a few problems. Sodium(salt), saturated fat, and preservatives are the 3 downsides of pre-packaged jerky. The American Heart Association suggests keeping daily sodium levels under 1500 mg’s. One serving of pre-packaged beef jerky can contain up to 750 mgs of sodium or half your recommended daily amount. Preservatives are added to jerky to extend shelf life. Like any processed meats, sodium nitrite and MSG are concerns that can be detrimental to your health, especially in jerky products. Saturated fat for any red meat can be high, but with the home-made version you can buy a leaner meat or cut out excess fat.

 

Cooking Instructions

1. Start by cutting a 1-pound trimmed, strip steak into thin slices no more than 1/8 inch thick, 1 inch wide, and 3 inches long. (To make the steak easier to slice put it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before slicing.)

2. Refrigerate the marinated steak overnight (or during the day) in a seal-able bowl or bag.

Options for a personalized marinade per 1lb of meat. (mix and match your favorites)

  • 2 chopped garlic cloves or equivalent in minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp A-1 sauce
  • 1 tbsp Teriyaki
  • 1 tbsp whiskey
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Curry
  • Onion
  • Cilantro

3. Place the strips on a baking rack and bake in the oven until strips are dry and moisture is absorbed. Place a baking sheet underneath the rack to prevent dripping.  (Between 45 and 60 minutes at 180 to 220 degrees)

4. Remove from the oven and refrigerate in a seal-able bag or bowl for a healthy protein-filled snack!


Conclusion

The versatility of ingredients in the marinade make this an attractive snack for people looking for some variety. My advice would be to make a bulk serving on sunday night to last you throughout the week. As I have discussed in my previous blog posts, aim for healthy snacks in between meals to make up 5 or 6 smaller meals per day instead of 3 large meals. Snacking is not the enemy. Unhealthy snacking is the enemy.

My suggestion

A snack that is high in protein and has large amounts of fiber is ideal. Mix some home-made jerky with a handful of walnuts for a healthy dose of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and useful calories. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From Naples,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet 

These foods are probably foreign to most people however, they all pack a nutritional punch in terms of health benefits. Try and add a couple of these foods to your daily regimen for a more well-balanced diet. First, a great quote to start out the blog post that really puts things into perspective and something that really resonates for me right now in dealing with an injury.

To feel better, imagine the worst.  “Dont count your blessings; subtract them. “consciously spend a few minutes imagining what your life would be like without the good things. You’ll experience stronger feelings of love, gratitude, and happiness when you think about what life would be like without the people and things you love and, they’ll seem surprising and special again.”

-Psychologist Timothy Wilson

Exotic Berries- Goji and Acai

These two berries are super antioxidants that are loaded with several substances called anthocyanins and flavonoids. They work wonders on your immune system and help reduce the risk of some diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Benefits (Acai)

  • Loaded with antioxidants. (Twice the antioxidants of its cousin blueberries and 10 times more than red grapes)
  • Rich acai berries destroy cultured human cancer cells.
  • Provide an increase in energy.
  • Resistance to colds/flu.
  • Healthy and more youthful skin.
  • Promotion of weight loss.
  • High levels of omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids, which help the heart and cardiovascular systems.
  • A powerful anti aging food.
Benefits (Goji)
  • A high concentration of antioxidants.
  • Helps to slow down premature aging.
  • 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats.
  • Loaded with dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A great amino acid complex.
  • Vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.


Edamame

Also known as the soybean, edamame is a natural source of antioxidants that is made up of anywhere between 30% and 40% protein. A half-cup of these beans can have up to 11 grams of protein and are one of the few vegetarian proteins sources that have all nine of the essential amino acids the body can’t make. The fat in edamame is the heart-healthy kind, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that help to lower cholesterol levels.

Benefits 

  • Great source of fiber.
  • Rich in vitamins B,C, and E.
  • Rich in magnesium, calcium, and iron.
  • Helps reduce risk of heart disease.
  • Improves bone health.
  • Help reduce certain types of cancer.

Bok Choy

Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family that is loaded with antioxidants and can help aid in digestion. One cup of raw bok choy contains about half your daily requirement of Vitamin A, C, and K, while being low in fat, low-calorie, and low-carb.

Benefits

  • High in vitamin A, C, K, B6, calcium, dietary fiber, folate, and iron.
  • Lung, colon, prostate, and endometrial cancers seem to be reduced with bok choy intake.
  • Loaded with beta-carotene  which can help reduce muscular degeneration.

Lean Bison Meat

Bison or buffalo, is a lean protein that contains all the essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. Buffalo offers an alternative to other commonly eaten lean proteins such as chicken breast, turkey, and pork tenderloin. In looking at the comparison table you can see it has more protein with fewer calories, less fat, and is lower in cholesterol than other protein sources.

Benefits

  • Bison spend their lives on grass and are generally not subjected to questionable drugs, chemicals, or hormones.
  • A nutrient dense food because of the proportion in protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids, to its caloric value.
  • Has a greater concentration of iron than other meats.
  • No growth hormones, steroids, or sub-therapeutic antibiotics. These animals are both environmentally friendly and people friendly.

Quinoa

Quinoa, considered the “mother of all grains”, is a complete protein, packing all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. Quinoa has about twice the protein of regular cereal grains, fewer carbohydrates, and even a dose of healthy fats. This is great gluten-free alternative to wheat carbohydrates.

Benefits

  • An awesome alternative to the proteins found in meat.
  • Entirely gluten-free.
  • A very good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus.
  • Great source of fiber that can provide cardiovascular health and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Canned Salmon

Canned salmon is a quick and easy way to get 1 of your 3 recommended servings of fish per week. Like other varieties of canned fish, canned salmon is a convenient protein source that contains healthy monounsaturated fats with no sugars or carbohydrates and contains lower mercury levels than canned tuna.

Benefits

  • A good source of  B-vitamins, especially vitamin B12.
  • Very low in environmental contaminants such as mercury and pesticide residues.
  • Contains an abundance of nutrients that protect your bones, prevent cardiovascular disease, and help keep you mentally sharp.
  • One cup of canned salmon provides almost 30% of the 1,000 mg of calcium you need each day.

Venison

Like bison meat, venison is a great low-saturated fat alternative to generic red meats. Venison comes from any large game animal like deer, elk, moose, or caribou. Venison is low in cholesterol and like any non-farm produced animal, is resistant to disease and does not live on a diet of antibiotics and steroids.

Benefits 

  • Venison houses fewer calories, less fat, and more iron than chicken breast.
  • Rich in various nutrients including proteins, iron, vitamin B12, B6, riboflavin, and niacin.
  • A great option for those who are vulnerable to heart disease.
  • Can help increase energy and boost your metabolism.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent snack that is low in fat and carbohydrates, but packed with protein. Cottage cheese is a favorite food among athletes, weightlifters, and dieters for its high content of casein protein, or slow digesting protein. Research suggests that cottage cheese makes a great late night snack to allow your body to utilize the slow digesting protein while you sleep and can also help your muscles to recover.

Benefits

  • A good course of calcium, with vitamin D.
  • Great source of casein protein.
  • Helps control your appetite.
  • Great nighttime snack to keep you from feeling hungry while you sleep.

Spaghetti Squash

Comparison of  spaghetti squash noodles to one cup of enriched white spaghetti

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to high-glycemic carbs that are associated with most white and wheat pastas. Spaghetti squash gives you the advantage of not spiking your insulin and is relatively low in carbohydrates. The low caloric value will allow you too add more natural ingredients to your spaghetti, such as more proteins and vegetables, versus getting calories from processed white or wheat noodles.

Benefits

  • Rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • High levels of vitamin A and C, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, folate, beta carotene, and more.
  • Can promote brain function while inhibiting inflammation.
  • Great alternative to high-carb/high calorie pastas.

Chia Seeds

There was a great article this week in the Wall Street Journal about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and how he lives and dies by chia seeds… Seems like my kind of guy. Chia seeds are another complete source of dietary protein, providing all the essential amino acids. They can make a great addition to your morning oatmeal or shake.

Benefits

  • Highest plant-based source of omega 3’s.
  • Rich in dietary fiber and protein.
  • Doesn’t carry the health concerns of flax seeds.
  • Naturally gluten-free.
  • Large amounts of B-vitamins and calcium.
  • Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they hold around 10 times their weight in water. For athletes, this is a good thing, helping hydration during exercise.

Adding these foods to your diet will give you some great nutritional benefits and help you to yield greater results whether you are trying to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain a healthy balance. Thanks for reading.

From Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com

Is It Time To Go Gluten-Free?

Is It Time To Go Gluten-Free?

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple years then you have probably heard about the “gluten-free” diet. Here is a quick synopsis to get you up to speed.

  • Gluten is a protein found in most grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats, that is consumed all over the world.
  • Gluten-free diets were originally formulated to treat celiac’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects 1% of the US population who are allergic to gluten and gluten products. In recent years, upwards of 6-10%  have been treated with mild cases of a “gluten sensitivity”.
  •  Some evidence attributes gluten to numerous diseases ranging  from obesity to autism and everything in between. There is also some evidence that shows gluten possibly contributing to overall inflammation in the body which is a major cause of more serious illnesses such as heart disease and joint pain.
  • A gluten-free diet allows for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, many dairy products, rice, corn, soy, potato, tapioca, beans, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, nut flours and many specific gluten-free products while excluding all ordinary breads, pastas, and many convenience (processed) foods.
The Science In Support Of A Gluten Free Diet
  • When the human body senses the gluten, it needs to break it down, and it takes fairly strong enzymes to do that. The small intestine is not necessarily designed to digest large amounts of processed carbohydrates and gluten dense foods present in the evolving “Western Diet”. Therefore, the 99% of Americans who don’t have celiac’s disease also tend to respond favorably to a gluten-free diet.

The Benefits And Hype

  • While people with celiac disease have little choice but to avoid gluten, others may be avoiding gluten in an effort to;
  1. Trim pounds
  2. Benefit cholesterol levels
  3. Aid in digestion
  4. Increase energy levels
  • Wheat and other grains associated with the gluten-free diet are considered moderate to high on the Glycemic Index. ( A measurement of the type or quality of carbohydrates in a particular food and how fast they raise blood glucose levels. AKA the lower the better) Anything with a Glycemic Index rating over 50 is considered counterproductive for fat loss in high quantities. Many foods considered “healthy” like some breakfast cereals often contain a GI of 70+. More on the Glycemic Index to come later this month.
  • Marketers estimated in a 2008 study that 15% to 25% of consumers desired or wanted gluten-free foods, even though doctors estimate just 1% of actually having an allergy to gluten itself.
  • Gluten-free diets have gone mainstream getting endorsements from people like Oprah to Chelsea Clinton. In the most recent endorsement, Madonna was publicized as serving gluten-free brownies at her 52 birthday,
  • Many mainstream companies have created gluten-free products as well.

The Reality 

  • I believe the increased energy levels and documented weight loss isn’t from substituting generic whole grain bread for gluten-free bread or gluten-free products in general. Instead, people (excluding those with celiacs) “feel better” because they consume fewer fast and processed foods, which tend to contain gluten. They are substituting starchy carbs, breads, and convenience foods for more fruits, vegetables, and other natural carbohydrates.
  • In fact, many processed gluten-free foods and gluten-free junk foods contain almost twice the calories as their traditional counterparts, not to mention they are usually much more expensive. Processed gluten-free foods are generally lower in fiber, so you won’t stay full as long, creating an increase on overall caloric intake in the long term.
  • It’s a surprising statistic, but one study found that 81% of people suffering from celiacs disease (gluten intolerance) who followed a gluten-free diet actually gained weight. That’s because there is a common misconception that anything labeled “gluten-free” must be good for you.

  • Many gluten-free products are not fortified or enriched and contain lower amounts of nutrients such as folate, iron, and fiber than other foods
  • Some other drawbacks of specific gluten-free cultivated products;
  1. Less fiber than whole grain products
  2. Lower levels of certain essential vitamins and nutrients
  3. Avoiding grains with a gluten-free diet may mean eating fewer of these enriched products
  4. Manufacturers replacing gluten with more calorie dense substances causing an increase in overall caloric intake.
  5. THE COST FACTOR
The Cost Factor For Specific Gluten Free Products (not substituting products containing gluten for fruits and veggies)
The following data is from a 2007 US Government study. It shows that the cost of gluten-free products are considerably higher than their equivalent wheat filled products. Here are some extreme cases;
  1. Wheat flour $0.34/lb TO Brown rice flour $1.89/lb
  2. Wheat bread $1.09/loaf TO Gluten-free bread $6.00/loaf
  3. Wheat pasta $0.87/lb TO Gluten free pasta $3.69/lb
  4. Chocolate chip cookies $2.69/lb TO Gluten free chocolate chip cookies $12.83/lb
  5. Wheat crackers $1.63/lb TO Rice crackers $9.12/lb
  • The average unit price for gluten-free products was $1.71
  • The average unit price of regular products was $0.61
Conclusion
So, the answer to the article is yes and no. If you are substituting regular wheat products like breads, pastas, and processed foods, for more natural foods like fruits and vegetables than, YES, a “gluten-free diet” is great. Should you start buying gluten-free pastas, breads, and mixes? NO. The benefits of gluten-free products don’t seem to outweigh the negatives of the cost and convenience factor. However, anytime you can substitute gluten dense products like a high carb tortilla or wheat wrap for a more natural lettuce wrap is highly encouraged and very beneficial. The benefits and weight loss people experience from a gluten-free diet is not buy substituting breads, pastas, and processed foods, for their more expensive gluten-free counterparts. It is by eliminating these foods completely or opting for a more natural version where people see benefits. (For example, using spaghetti squash noodles instead of starchy, high-carb pasta noodles.)
Saving your money on what you would have paid for a gluten-free product and spending it on something like organic produce, dairy, or grass-fed meats, is going to be much more beneficial to your overall diet and wallet. The last and most important fact of gluten-free diets is; Do people know one of the ingredients in some of the most popular beers around? Gluten! Have fun drinking this on Friday night if you are giving the gluten-free diet a shot.
 

Healthy Versions Of Your Favorite Meals

HEALTHY VERSIONS OF YOUR FAVORITE MEALS

Changing your diet does not mean getting rid of your favorite foods. Any diet (whether you are trying to gain or lose weight) that has you completely changing the foods you eat, while eliminating some of your favorites, is setting you up for failure. Alterations to portion sizes and ingredients can transform notoriously unhealthy foods, such as ice cream, pizza, or burgers, into a healthy dinner option. This blog is intended to show you some good, bad, and everything in between, of popular foods we consume as a society. Each individual meal below can be catered toward your specific need, whether you are trying to put on muscle, lose fat, carbo-load for an event, or need an idea for your next dinner.

“The danger is not to set your goal too high and fail to reach it. It’s to set your goal too low and reach it.”

(Take a look at the change in obesity rates from 1991 to 2003 in America. Thanks to Doctor Anderson for forwarding this literature to me.)

 

 

PIZZA

The average American eats 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year. 

Examples of things to stay away from: Keep in mind the American Heart Association recommends your sodium intake to be 1500 mg per day or less.

1. Papa John’s Pizza Pan Crust Cheese Pizza (1 slice)

  • 380 calories
  • 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat)
  • 1000 mg of sodium


2. Sbarro Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza (1 slice)

  • 960 calories
  • 42 g fat
  • 3,200 mg sodium

3. Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Meat Lover’s Pizza (1 slice)

  • 480 calories
  • 26 g fat (12 g saturated, 1 g trans)
  • 1390 mg sodium


4. Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (Individual pizza)

  • 2,310 calories
  • 162 g fat (54 g saturated fat)
  • 4,920 mg sodium

Common Mistakes

1. Being influenced by America-The motto that” bigger is better” has jumbo sized many of our foods and toppings. Italy, where pizza was originated, has pizza that is based around a thin crust (usually half the amount of flour as a traditional american, thin crust) with a flavorful, low-sugar, tomato based sauce, loaded with fresh-cut veggies and “SOME” cheese.

Try to guess which pizza is from America!

2. It’s not just cheese that’s hurting you– Sausage, ham, beef, and bacon, are just a few of the most popular toppings that exist today. Many of these salt-cured meats contain more than a day’s worth of sodium and are loaded with fat and grease. Salty meats coupled with a surplus of processed cheese does not make for the healthiest combo. Add some grease with a refined, carbo-loaded crust and you will help contribute to the obesity charts listed above.

3. Portions- Restaurants such as Sbarro serve up gigantic slices that are often two slices piled into one.

Quick fixes

  • As a general rule, avoid all over sized and stuffed crusts at pizza chains. Stick to a regular or thin sized crust. Better yet, make a multi-grain or whole wheat crust. Many pizza places now carry these different options.
  • As far as toppings go, stay with ham, Canadian bacon, or grilled meats, and nix the pepperoni and sausage. Load it with veggies instead.

Barbecue Chicken Thin Crust Pizza-A great example

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) thin pizza 100% whole wheat  or multi-grain pizza crust
  • 1/3 cup barbecue or homemade tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/4 pound)

Dominos Crunchy Thin Crust  Hawaiian Pizza- decent restaurant option

1 slice

  • 150 calories
  • 8 grams of fat
  • 315 mg’s of sodium

BURGERS: Food industry consulting firm Technomic says, “Almost half of Americans, 48 percent, eat a burger once a week.”

Examples of things to stay away from

1. Hardee’s Monster Thickburger

1,420 calories
108 g fat (43 g saturated fat)
2,770 mg sodium
230 mg cholesterol

2. Five Guys Cheeseburger (plain)
840 calories
55 g fat (22.5 g saturated)
1,050 mg sodium
3. Burger King Triple Whopper Sandwich with Cheese and Mayo
1,250 calories
84 g fat (32 g saturated, 3.5 g trans)
1,600 mg sodium
Common Mistakes
1. American Influence: The “bigger is better” motto is probably most prevalent in the burger industry. With sandwiches such as the Triple Whopper or Big Mac, you can easily find burgers with 2 or 3 patties in many restaurants and chains.
2. Choosing the wrong meat: Problems start with the high fat ground beef that is often chosen because it is cheap and easy to make. Substituting standard ground beef with a lean-ground turkey meat, bison, poultry, or lean-ground beef, will make a world of difference.
3. The way the meat is prepared:  Restaurants and fast food chains have been known to deep fry high-fat burgers in a mixture of grease and oil. Play it safe and grill your meat or throw it in the broiler for the best results. Using a 90/10 lean ground beef and cooking it over medium heat for even browning will provide great results.
4. Using Mayonnaise: 1 tbsp of mayo has 11 grams of fat and 100 calories and most people probably use at least double that as a topping on a burger. Substitute mayo with avocado or a healthy guacamole instead.
5. Choosing the wrong bun: White buns are the most common choice among burger consumers. White bread is refined flour that spikes your blood sugar and is extremely high on the glycemic index with almost no protein and affects your body in the same way as white sugar.
6. Choosing the wrong sides: Fries are the most common side ordered with a burger. I could probably write a whole book on the negatives of french fries but instead I will just suggest that you substitute them for sweet potato wedges, a healthy coleslaw, or a side salad.

What to choose instead

1. Keep it lean: Either the extra lean (also known as 5% or 95/5) or the lean (also known as 10% or 90/10) ground beef is a healthful substitute for a standard beef patty. Get creative and make a bison burger or turkey burger for even more health benefits and great taste.
2. Choose the right sides: Complement your lean burger with fresh fruit, a green salad, beans, veggies, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, or basically anything other than standard french fries.
3. Choosing a soft cheese: For a healthier sandwich topping, try soft cheeses, like mozzarella or feta cheese. Soft cheeses tend to be lower in fat and less processed then something like american cheese.
4. The right bun: Many restaurants offer a whole wheat or multi-grain bun as a substitute. If you are making a burger at home use half a bun and load it with veggies instead.
Greek Bison Burger-a great example
Nutritional Information

(per serving)

Calories 392
Total Fat 16g
Saturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 68mg
Sodium 671mg
Total Carbohydrate 30g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars
Protein 35g
Calcium
Ingredients(serves 2 to 4)
  • 1 pound(s) ground bison
  • 1/2 cup(s) cooked spinach, squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup(s) crumbled feta cheese, preferably sheep’s milk
  • 2 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon(s) minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup(s) non-fat or low-fat Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh dill
  • 4  French rolls or 4-inch pieces of baguette, preferably whole-wheat, split and toasted
  • 16 slice(s) (thin) English cucumber
  • 8 slice(s) vine-ripened tomato
  • 4 slice(s) (thin round) red onion
Balsamic Turkey Burger
Turkey Burgers With BBQ Sauce and Bell Peppers
Ingredients
  • 1 Whole wheat english muffin
  • Kale or lettuce
  • 1 slice Provolone Cheese
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • 1/2 pound of lean Turkey meat with1/2 cup chopped red onions sautéed with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic-vinegar
  • Calories per serving: 470; Fat: 12 grams

SALADS: People always affiliate salads as automatically being healthy. But, as depicted below, this is not the case in several circumstances.

Some examples of things to avoid:

1. Chili’s Southwestern Cobb Salad
  •  1,080 calories
  • 71 grams fat
  • 2,650 mg sodium
2. Applebee’s Santa Fe chicken salad

  • Calories: 1300
  • Saturated Fat (g): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 3420
  • Carbohydrates (g): 57
3. Outback Steakhouse queensland salad.

  • Calories: 1129
  • Saturated Fat (g): 26
  • Sodium (mg): 1975
  • Carbohydrates (g): 42
Common Mistakes
  1. Processed Salad Dressing.. Like RANCH– A mixture of trans fat, sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavoring, make for a deadly combo. (1 serving of ranch has 140 calories, 14 g fat, and 260 mg sodium). Opt instead for vinegarettes, balsamics, light olive oils, tomato salsas, or make your own.
  2. Using Iceberg lettuce– Contains almost no nutritional value. Opt for darker greens like spinach, mixed greens, kale, or arugula. This is something you will actually benefit from and tastes better.
  3. Using Croutons– It is white/dried/processed bread.. Enough said. 1/2 cup croutons has 100 calories. If you have to use them, use 100% whole grain croutons or make your own from 100% whole grain bread or some sort of sprouted grain bread.
  4. Bacon bits– Despite how good they taste, most bacon bits are highly processed and made up of mostly sodium and saturated fat. Opt for a natural protein like beans, grilled meats, or nuts.
  5. Cheese– A good salad shouldn’t need a lot of cheese but if you like it use it sparingly and opt for a more natural cheese such as feta.
What to add instead
1. Beans-Beans are high in protein, iron,  and a complex carbohydrate. With varieties such as black, kidney, garbanzo, you can substitute this protein for the more unhealthy fried/breaded meats, or some of the high sodium deli meats like pepperoni or salami.
2. Nuts and seeds-Almonds, walnuts, cashews, flax-seed, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds, can all be added as a substitute for croutons to keep the crunch of your salad, while adding essential vitamins and minerals, that you will benefit from.
3. Dried fruits– Cranberries, raisins, and apricots, can all add some sweetness to your salad. While they do contain moderate/high amounts of sugar, using a handful of dried fruits will not affect you and the antioxidant properties will outweigh any negatives caused by the sugar.
4. Avocado– A great source of healthy fats that is loaded with vitamin E can make for a nice addition.
5. Whole grains– Whole-wheat couscous, quinoa, and barley are all protein rich grains that are high in fiber toppings and make a great addition.
6. A healthy dressing– Vinegarettes and light oils are generally the safest but a healthy tomato salsa or lemon juice can give it a nice kick as well.
7. Creative veggies- There is nothing wrong with green pepper, cucumber, and carrots, but those can get got boring. Next time, opt for some artichoke, beets, radishes, turnips, or parsnips.
(A great example)
Salad of grilled chicken tenderloins with avocado, tomatoes, red onion, green beans, spinach and arugula. Delicious healthy eating. Stock Photo - 5366430
Ingredients
  • grilled chicken tenderloins
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • green beans
  • spinach
  • arugula
  • balsamic vinegarette dressing

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Thanks for reading, from Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com