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Posts Tagged ‘Meal’

Do decisions about when to eat affect health? After a night’s fast, breakfast may be the most important meal of the day. I want to eat each morning as soon as my feet hit the floor. Many make excuses for delaying or skipping breakfast.

Health professionals have purported the benefits of breakfast. Those who skip this significant meal usually fail to meet daily nutrient requirements. Breakfast enhances mental ability while those who skip this meal report more irritability and tiredness. Eating breakfast helps control weight, whereas skipping can increase the possibility for obesity and make weight control more difficult.

New evidence suggests more benefits. At the 2012 American Diabetes Association convention, A. O. Odegaard and his cohorts reported that for men and women ages twenty-five to thirty-seven, their choice to eat or not eat breakfast affected their risk for developing type 2 diabetes (defined as those with a fasting-blood glucose greater than 126 mg/dL).

From a group of 3,500, those who ate breakfast five or more times per week reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 31% and gained less weight than those who ate breakfast zero to three times per week. Participants who ate a more nutritious diet had even less risk, but the frequency of eating breakfast was more important than quality of food. In other words, a doughnut was better than nothing.

Often people claim to miss this important meal because of limited time in the early morning. For a quick nutritious breakfast, pair a make-ahead muffin with a glass of milk and fresh fruit. You can find a great recipe for Banana Ginger Muffins at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/breakfast-on-the-go.html . Toss in a few nuts for extra protein and you have a great start on the day. Your extra effort will help control weight, provide more energy, improve mental alertness, and help prevent type 2 diabetes. For a healthier you, try breakfast.

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If you decided to express love to your valentine by making healthy food choices, consider helping the entire family live a healthier lifestyle. With so many meals eaten away from home, choosing the most healthful items becomes a challenge. Many restaurants help patrons make good choices by identifying items with fewer calories. Others offer smaller portions.

Several tips can help cut calories when eating out.

  • Order red instead of white sauces to lower calorie intake.
  • Request all dressings, sauces, butter, and gravies be served on the side so you can control serving size. Then use sparingly.
  • Choose entrees of chicken, seafood, or lean meat instead of fatty meats.
  • Check for menu items marked “healthy.”
  • Choose steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted foods instead of those fried, smothered, sautéed, creamed, or au gratin.
  • Avoid cocktails, appetizers, and bread and butter before the meal.
  • Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets and specials. Order from the menu.
  • Split orders with someone else, ask for smaller portions, or ask for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal to help control the amount you eat.

With busy schedules, sometimes fast-food seems unavoidable. To make healthier choices and to teach your children to do likewise, consider the following tips.

  • Hold the mayo and other sauces.
  • Choose low-calorie dressings for salads
  • Avoid double meat portions. One portion is usually more than a serving size.
  • Choose chicken over higher fat burgers.
  • Ask for baked, broiled, or grilled fish sandwiches instead of fried fish.
  • Omit bacon on sandwiches. It’s high in sodium, usually high in fat, and adds little nutritive value to the meal.
  • Eat sandwiches open-faced to cut the extra calories from the top part.
  • Order whole-wheat buns or bread when available.
  • Choose low-fat milk, diet drinks, or water instead of regular colas.
  • Choose unsweetened tea instead of sweetened tea.
  • Skip the fries and request a fruit, fruit-cup, or vegetable such as salad.

Eating healthy isn’t nearly as hard as some try to make it. If you can’t bring yourself to make all these changes at one time, pick out a few you think your taste buds will tolerate and start there. You will at least be on your way to healthier eating and will probably lose a little weight along the way—which for most of us would be an added bonus. Bon appétit.

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