A smoothie bowl turns your favorite healthy breakfast shake into a meal with nutritious toppings. This version uses unsweetened frozen fruit and yogurt to create a creamy base with protein and calcium. It’s topped with fresh fruit for more fiber, and a few seeds add heart-healthy fat to keep you full.
Yield: 1 serving
Preparation time: 15 minutes
½ cup unsweetened frozen pineapple
½ cup unsweetened frozen mango
¼ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup skim milk
2 fresh strawberries, chopped
1 tbsp roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 tbsp roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds
½ tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
Place the pineapple, mango, yogurt, and milk in a blender. Pulse until all ingredients are blended. The smoothie will be very thick. You might need to open the blender and scrape the sides a few times to ensure everything is pureed. A single-serving drink blender works well for this recipe.
Transfer the smoothie to a small bowl. Top with strawberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and coconut, and serve.
Nutrition information: Calories 241; Total Fat 6.5 g; Saturated Fat 1.5 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 1 mg; Sodium 61 mg; Carbohydrate 34.9 g; Fiber 3.4 g; Sugar 23.5 g; Protein 11.1 g
Walking remains one of the most accessible and effective forms of physical activity for many people. Not only does it burn calories and improve heart health, research has shown that it can improve your mood and reduce tension. Use these ideas to find easy ways to walk more.
Take a Day Hike
Add some exploration to your weekend routine and plan a day hike. Whether you have access to coastal trails, deep forests, or mountains, weekend hiking is a great way to move more without making exercise feel like a chore. Pack a few healthy snacks and water, gather your family or friends, and set out to explore your area. Research shows that lower intensity, longer duration activities like hiking can improve blood cholesterol levels, improve insulin function, and burn calories for weight loss.
Give Yourself a Mental Break
Work stress and family conflicts affect everyone. Regular mental breaks are necessary to get your mind off of the problem and to help you brainstorm effective solutions. A 10 to 15 minute walk gives you a break from your current environment, adds exercise to your day, and leaves you feeling mentally refreshed. Don’t wait for a problem to arise before you take advantage of walking. Take regular breaks throughout your day to walk away stress.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone with an Active Commute
Walking to work, or to complete errands, can be challenging due to distance or lack of a pedestrian-friendly route. Investigate ways you can make a portion of your commute active. Can you walk to a coworker's house and then carpool from there? Can you walk to complete your errands or to meetings once you are at the office? Every little bit helps your health, so don’t get overwhelmed with the feeling that you need to complete a full five-mile commute to get exercise.
Always Be Prepared
You are likely faced with many opportunities to walk throughout the day, but you may be unprepared. Arriving early, waiting for a phone call, or a casual business meeting are all opportunities to squeeze in 10 to 15 minutes. Keep your tennis shoes nearby, or even better, invest in casual dress shoes that are designed with the comfort and support necessary for walking.
From improving heart health and digestion to promoting fullness, fiber is well known for its health benefits. Dietary fiber is classified as soluble and insoluble, but as researchers continue to take a closer look at why fiber keeps us healthy, we are learning that there may be more to the role than its solubility.
The viscosity of fiber (thickness as it moves through the small and large intestines) and how a fiber ferments also play a role when carbohydrates are digested. Resistant starch is a low-viscous type of dietary fiber found in carbohydrate-rich foods. As the name suggests, it resists digestion in the small intestines and ferments in the large intestines. As it ferments, it promotes beneficial gut bacteria.
What are the benefits of resistant starch?
Some studies have shown that resistant starch may help weight loss because it can increase fullness that leads to reduced food intake. There is also evidence that resistant starch reduces insulin resistance and improves blood glucose control.
What foods contain resistant starch?
Resistant starch comes in several forms. Some cannot be digested, such as parts of grains, seeds, and legumes. Others resist digestion like the starch in legumes and under-ripe bananas. In other foods, the resistant starch forms after the food has been cooked and then cooled, such as in potatoes, rice, and pasta.
How much do I need to eat?
There is no current recommendation for intake of resistant starch, but research shows it may be a beneficial part of a balanced eating plan. Incorporate foods that contain resistant starch as you aim to get the recommended amount of 25 to 30 grams of total fiber per day. Legumes, like beans and peas, and healthier versions of potato salad and pasta salad provide easy ways to eat more.
This soup provides a hearty, filling meal without the excess fat and sodium of canned versions. It uses fresh asparagus that provides vitamin K. The white beans add both protein and fiber. When blended, the beans thicken the soup to a creamy consistency without the need for cream or butter.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped asparagus
2 (15 oz.) cans no salt added white beans, rinsed and drained
2 ¼ cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp fine ground sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Parsley and shredded parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Heat the oil in a 3 to 4 quart pan over medium-high. Add the garlic and onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the asparagus and cook for 2 more minutes.
Stir in the beans and then the vegetable broth. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley.
Transfer the soup to a blender and puree for 10 to 15 seconds, until the soup is smooth. Return the soup to the pan on low heat. Stir in the salt and pepper. Serve warm, garnished with parsley leaves and shredded parmesan, if desired.
Nutrition information for 1 serving: Calories 250; Total Fat 3.9 g; Saturated Fat 0.6 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 372 mg; Carbohydrate 41.3 g; Fiber 10.3 g; Sugar 3.9 g; Protein 14.2 g
The Paleo diet refers to an eating plan that mimics what was likely eaten during the Paleolithic era, when our ancestors were hunters and gatherers.
The diet is made up of foods that could be hunted or gathered such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. The belief behind this style of eating is that foods like grains, legumes, and dairy are associated with the onset of chronic disease. Therefore, these foods are eliminated from the eating plan. Because it does not allow processed or pre-made foods, the Paleo diet limits sugar and sodium intake.
Not all Paleo diets are exactly the same. Many people eat variations of the diet, stick to it only during the week, or incorporate free days where they may eat anything they want. Others follow the guidelines strictly.
Even critics of the diet recognize that there are benefits with the reduction of sugar and sodium and with the increase in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats from fish, nuts, and seeds. But many health professionals are still concerned that excess meat increases saturated fat intake, and that the diet limits nutrient-rich foods. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, research still links the fiber from whole grains with a decreased risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and dairy may play a role in weight loss.
According to the Mayo Clinic, limited short-term clinical research conducted with small groups has shown that a Paleo diet may have moderate benefits when compared to eating plans that include whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy. There is evidence of increased weight loss, improved glucose tolerance, better blood pressure control, and better appetite control.
Larger, long-term studies are still needed. It’s possible that similar health benefits can be achieved with exercise and a balanced healthy diet, eliminating the need for such severe food restriction. Critics also argue that the basis of the diet may be oversimplified, leading to more confusion about healthy eating. Some archaeological research suggests that grains may have been present in the diets of our ancestors before the onset of farming. If this is true, it complicates the justification for eliminating them that is associated with the Paleo diet.
As always, when exploring new eating plans, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you find the best eating style that will give you the nutrients you need based on your health history and long-term fitness goals.