Fast Food Infographic

In  relation to this last post, I wanted to share this to put into perspective how unhealthy many of our “go to” fast food choices are.

fast food infographic

Options for Eating Fast Food

fastfoodWouldn’t it be great if we could eat at healthy restaurants or bring your own lunches with us every single day, but unfortunately that’s not always an option. Sometimes we have to eat at those dreaded fast food places. It’s even worse when we are trying to eat healthy and are on a diet. Believe it or not you can actually eat healthy when you’re dining out at a fast food restaurant. I’m not kidding! In this blog post I tell you exactly what options you have to eat healthy while eating out.

Our criteria

When choosing lunches that are healthy these are the criteria that we kept in mind- we wanted the meals to be low in calories. For example 500 cal or less. We wanted meals that had a good amount of protein. We wanted meals that were not super high in sodium. We also wanted to look for meals that were somewhat low in sugar and did not have a ton of trans fat. Also as a word of warning please do not order a super sugary drink on the side because this will basically ruined the whole concept of eating healthy at a fast food restaurant. You can add a dash of protein powder to help you increase your protein intake if you decide upon one of the restaurant’s healthy smoothies.

So let’s cover the top fast food restaurants….

1. McDonald’s

At McDonald’s you have a few choices. You can try the grilled chicken sandwich or a six piece chicken nuggets. Both of which are under 400 calories. They also have healthier sides if you’re wanting the kids  to eat healthy too (and who doesn’t!), such as apple slices. Yum!

2. Subway

Subway offers a ton of options to eat healthy because you can customize your orders. This offers the perfect opportunity to eat healthy. In fact, it’s my go to choice when eating out. You can choose a lot of vegetables and forgo things like cheese and fattening spreads like mayonnaise. You can also be sure to keep your sandwiches 6 inches or less. Do not buy a 12 inch. At Subway one has the option is the 6 inch turkey breast with Swiss cheese, cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes with a dash of vinegar dressing. Who needs mayo? They also offer chips and cookies, which I would avoid unless buying the baked Lays.

3. Taco Bell
Whoa! You mean I can eat healthy at Taco Bell?  Indeed you can. You do not have to sacrifice a good diet by eating at this restaurant that is notorious for breaking diets everywhere.  There are several items that are actually not too bad at Taco Bell. One such item is the bean burrito or you can choose the shredded chicken burrito for about 400 cal and 16 g of protein.

Summary
In summary just because you have to eat at fast food restaurant doesn’t mean that you have to eat unhealthy. That is unless you want to eat unhealthy. Your variety of options that are somewhat healthy and will not totally destroyed your diet. There are a tons more of fast food places out there and most, if not all places, have nutritional information online. The best thing you can do is plan ahead and look up the nutritional content ahead of time.

Sources and References:

http://www.crazybulkreviewed.com/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/carolynkylstra/healthy-fast-food-yes-for-real

Saving Money Grocery Shopping Is A Matter Of Attitude

groceries clipartOne of the biggest budget-busters is shopping for convenience. It’s so easy just to go to the store and grab whatever you want and not to even think about it. How many of you can relate to that? I know I used to. You know, those pre-made meals that cost WAY more than doing it yourself. It’s also easy to skip the store all together and order take out, but if you’re on a budget this just doesn’t work for you. Try making your favorite take out meals at home or save take out for more infrequent occasions. This article will tell you how to go grocery shopping without breaking your budget. Remember, in this economy, every penny counts, so stop overspending today. The grocery store is a great place to start saving money.

A great way to save money grocery shopping is to adopt an attitude from past generations. Rediscover what you can prepare at home, rather than paying for pre-prepared in the aisles. With slow cookers and simple recipes available online, there’s no reason to stress about meal prep. It’s so super simple now a days! I use my crock pot at least once if not twice a week and I often prep several meals on Sundays when I have the time to spare. You can do this!

A huge portion of the expense in groceries is found in what consumers pay for packaging and factory preparation. A smart grocery list should include staples like dry grains, hearty meats, and veggies and fruits with a high macro-nutrient quotient. Make breads at home or at least forgo the expensive name brand breads. Fill menus with soups, stews and simple old recipes. Never pay for exotic foods that have perfectly wonderful local substitutes while on a tight budget. Want to get even more local? Try a small vegetable garden in your backyard. It literally takes only a few feet of soil to have wonderful tomatoes, peppers, and (with a little more space) and abundance of zucchini. This will save you trips to the grocery store for some of your stable goods. Try canning to keep them fresh during the off season.

Try thinking more practically at the grocery store. Sure, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is delicious, but for the same price you can get three times the quantity of ice cream. Do you really need the name brands? Can you find a proper generic substitute without sacrificing taste? Next time you are at the store try something cheaper and see how it tastes. You can always go back to the name brand version if need be. For example, I tried off brand  peanut butter years ago and haven’t gone back. It’s seriously just as tasty as Jiff and less expensive. Gotta love that!

It’s time to ask, “What are groceries for anyway?” They are to nourish! Revisiting the quest for shopping for food as fuel, instead of impulse satisfaction, is a huge step to saving money and reducing the grocery budget. It’s also much healthier in the long run.

Foods that Boost Brain Power

Scanning of a human brain by X-rays

The brain is a powerful, well-built machine and is the most complex area of the whole human body. Weighing 3 lbs, it’s where we get our intelligence. It’s how we interpret our senses. It’s where bodily movement and behavior is initiated. Our brain even works when we are sleeping by regenerating cells and consolidating memories. It’s in a sense the brain really is what makes us human. 

Given all the brain does, is it any surprise that it literally uses over twenty percent of our overall calorie intake? Yep, something that weighs just 3 lbs uses up that much calories! It needs a frequent stream of glucose to maintain its pace. Why? Our neurons are different than most other cells in our bodies because they don’t store glucose. They use it as fuel and then they’re done with it and thus constantly need more glucose. This is one reason the brain uses so much of our caloric intake.

Because we know more about the brain than ever before due to immense technological advances, we now have a greater understanding of this complex part of the body. This understanding includes the interplay between what we eat or ingest and how that impacts our brain functioning, including how we solve problems, how we deal with stress, and our memory. Also because we understand so much more about the brain, the field of nootropics has skyrocketed and we now have pills that help memory and cognition on the market.

In addition to glucose, our brain also uses other nutrients, but not for fuel. For example, research shows that eating too low fat of a diet is correlated with negative conditions such as depression and dementia. However, we all know that a diet high in unhealthy fats is bad for you, so choose healthy fats (omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids), which includes those found in seeds, avocados, and coconuts. That’s not to say you can’t eat saturated fat, but really keep this limited.  

Foods to Boost Your Brain Power 

Coconut Oil

The benefits of coconut oil are numerous. Coconut oil contains capric, lauric and cprylic acid, which function as a antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti fungal, and antibacterial. It has been related to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. It contains triglycerides, which the body utilizes for energy and thus frees up glucose to be used by the brain. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides that the body uses for energy, leaving glucose for the brain. antibacterial and soothing qualities.

Avocado

Avocados offer an abundance of healthy fats, included monounsaturated fats, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids. These fats help elevate the flow of blood to the brain, aid in lowering cholesterol, and help absorb antioxidants. As an added bonus, they also include vitamin  K, which may help the brain by lowering stroke risk.

Broccoli

I’m a lucky mom and my kids LOVE broccoli,which is great because it’s so nutritious. It contains, vitamin C and B, calcium, beta-carotene, fiber, iron, and vitamin K. All of these improve blood flow to the brain, protect free radicals, and remove metals that can harm the brain.

Blueberries

Blue berries are amazing. They contain tons of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the brain from damage. Slow down premature aging. Help slow down Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

Other foods include:

Chia 

Dark Chocolate 

Nuts 

Quinoa

Red Cabbage 
Rosemary 

Spinach 

Sunflower Seeds 

Tomatoes

Whole Grains 

Healthy Cookout Ideas

cook out tipsIt is that time of year again when you want to rush outside and fire up the grill.  Summer always brings family together for some memorable cookouts.  Most cookouts are filled with tons of unhealthy food. From hot dogs to yummy hamburgers, it seems like the unhealthy choices are EVERYWHERE, but you can indeed create a fun, healthy cookout if that is what you are looking for. Better yet, you can create a healthy item to bring to a cook out and give others healthy options too. You don’t have to pack on the pounds just because it is grill out season.

Cooking doesn’t have to be unhealthy, even in a cookout setting.  Meat and veggies are going to be your go to food when trying to add a healthy touch to your event.  Since the traditional cookout idea is grilling hamburgers and hot dogs you could always try grilling turkey burgers and turkey dogs.  This adds a healthier touch to the grill and is still an awesome menu. If you must have a hot dog, try sticking to just one and choose low cal condiments. Next add lots of veggies and some fruit to your plate.

Other healthier food ideas when cooking for a cookout is yummy grilled chicken.  Since chicken is a lean meat anyway, it is perfect for a healthier meat.  You can choose some pretty amazing seasoning instead of using a high in sugar marinate or barbeque.  Kabobs are also a popular grill item that can be extremely healthy.  You can do a full on veggie kabob or add some meat such as steak or chicken.  These are a huge hit to any outdoor event.  There are a lot of veggies you can add to the grill.  Grab some aluminum foil and wrap some corn on the cob with a little seasoning and olive oil. This will be healthy and taste great!  It is perfect for outdoorsy eating too.

Not all of your healthy food has to come from the grill.  Try sweet potato fries if you are thinking about adding fries to the menu.  They are generally even a kid pleaser!  Watermelon is perfect for a hot summer day or night.  Kids will love this fruit and possibly have a seed spitting fight for additional fun.  A fruit and or even a veggie tray is always welcome with some awesome veggie and fruit dip.  You can probably find some pretty healthy veggie and fruit dip recipes to add an even healthier taste to your menu.

Healthy Dessert Ideas

What about dessert?  Well of course the fruit can take the place of any dessert, but you could add some light whipped cream for some added tastes and textures. Even better make a healthy fruit salad.  You could also serve lower calorie cakes such as strawberry shortcake with angel food cake, strawberries, light whipped cream and a light sauce. There are a ton of dessert options that don’t involve a ton of fat or calories.

Overall, there are tons of healthier choices when it comes to desserts and food.  Your cookout will be a healthy success!

For more healthy cook out ideas, please visit healthy.com for more great info! http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306849,00.html