Monthly Archives: June 2014

Here’s What a Snack REALLY Looks Like

Here’s What a Snack REALLY Looks Like

June 13, 2014 | By

Photo: @DunkinDonuts on Twitter

Photo: @DunkinDonuts on Twitter

You may have heard that Dunkin’ Donuts just added “snacks” to its menu with a bakery sandwich line that includes chicken salad on a croissant, grilled cheese on Texas toast, and fried chicken with bacon and ranch on a bun. The grilled chicken flatbread is 360 calories, but some options clock in at more than 600 calories. Dunkin’s CEO is adamant that these items are snacks, not lunch, which begs the question: Just what is a “snack” anyway?

By definition, a snack is a smaller portion of food eaten between meals, but snack trends have changed. For many people, snacks have become as substantial as breakfast, lunch, and dinner—essentially a fourth daily meal. I’m OK with that when I’m counseling my clients, assuming these three conditions are met. First, the fuel must be needed, so the snack doesn’t result in a surplus of calories that wind up feeding fat cells. Second, the snack should be healthy (for more on why not all calories are created equal, check out my previous post 6 Diet Myths, Busted). And finally, snacking should make sense as part of a daily food “budget.” For example, many of my female clients need about 1,500-1,600 calories a day to get to (and stay at) a healthy weight. If they eat four meals a day that are all equally portioned, that means they have about 375-400 calories to “spend” at snack time, their fourth meal.

In choosing snacks, my top goal is to keep it real, by selecting nutrient-rich foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Here are five clean eating snack options that do just that. Each provides less than 400 calories, from a bit of healthy protein, slow burning carbs, and good-for-you fat, to balance blood sugar, and leave you feeling fueled, energized, and satisfied. Two are sweet, two are savory, one’s a little bit of both, they’re all pretty quick. And I included a fast casual restaurant option you can grab on the go. So snack away—just be smart about it!

Fruity coconut smoothie

Whip one cup of frozen fruit, like berries, cherries, or mango, with either a single-serve container of nonfat organic Greek yogurt, or a protein powder (like pea, hemp, or organic grass fed whey) plus a half cup of water, along with a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil, and a dash of fresh grated ginger.
About 300 calories

Mock cobbler

Fold a quarter cup of rolled oats into two tablespoons of almond butter. Toss one cup of fresh sliced strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries with a half tablespoon each of fresh squeezed lemon juice and water, and warm on the stovetop until juicy. Top warmed fruit with almond oat crumble.
About 300 calories

Mediterranean munchies

Serve up a quarter cup of hummus with 15 baby carrots and a side of 10 Kalamata olives.
About 300 calories

Chocolate almond popcorn

Place a quarter cup of organic popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag, fold the bag over a few times, and microwave on high for two minutes to pop the popcorn. In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of hot water to two tasting squares of 70% dark chocolate and stir slowly until chocolate is melted (if needed, add more water one teaspoon at a time). Drizzle chocolate over popcorn, then sprinkle with a quarter cup of sliced almonds.
About 400 calories

Chipotle veggie salad

Order a salad at Chipotle Mexican Grill with romaine, no dressing, no rice, black beans, fajita veggies, mild salsa, and guacamole.
370 calories

What are your thoughts on this topic? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Here’s What a Snack REALLY Looks Like

Here’s What a Snack REALLY Looks Like

June 13, 2014 | By

Photo: @DunkinDonuts on Twitter

Photo: @DunkinDonuts on Twitter

You may have heard that Dunkin’ Donuts just added “snacks” to its menu with a bakery sandwich line that includes chicken salad on a croissant, grilled cheese on Texas toast, and fried chicken with bacon and ranch on a bun. The grilled chicken flatbread is 360 calories, but some options clock in at more than 600 calories. Dunkin’s CEO is adamant that these items are snacks, not lunch, which begs the question: Just what is a “snack” anyway?

By definition, a snack is a smaller portion of food eaten between meals, but snack trends have changed. For many people, snacks have become as substantial as breakfast, lunch, and dinner—essentially a fourth daily meal. I’m OK with that when I’m counseling my clients, assuming these three conditions are met. First, the fuel must be needed, so the snack doesn’t result in a surplus of calories that wind up feeding fat cells. Second, the snack should be healthy (for more on why not all calories are created equal, check out my previous post 6 Diet Myths, Busted). And finally, snacking should make sense as part of a daily food “budget.” For example, many of my female clients need about 1,500-1,600 calories a day to get to (and stay at) a healthy weight. If they eat four meals a day that are all equally portioned, that means they have about 375-400 calories to “spend” at snack time, their fourth meal.

In choosing snacks, my top goal is to keep it real, by selecting nutrient-rich foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Here are five clean eating snack options that do just that. Each provides less than 400 calories, from a bit of healthy protein, slow burning carbs, and good-for-you fat, to balance blood sugar, and leave you feeling fueled, energized, and satisfied. Two are sweet, two are savory, one’s a little bit of both, they’re all pretty quick. And I included a fast casual restaurant option you can grab on the go. So snack away—just be smart about it!

Fruity coconut smoothie

Whip one cup of frozen fruit, like berries, cherries, or mango, with either a single-serve container of nonfat organic Greek yogurt, or a protein powder (like pea, hemp, or organic grass fed whey) plus a half cup of water, along with a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil, and a dash of fresh grated ginger.
About 300 calories

Mock cobbler

Fold a quarter cup of rolled oats into two tablespoons of almond butter. Toss one cup of fresh sliced strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries with a half tablespoon each of fresh squeezed lemon juice and water, and warm on the stovetop until juicy. Top warmed fruit with almond oat crumble.
About 300 calories

Mediterranean munchies

Serve up a quarter cup of hummus with 15 baby carrots and a side of 10 Kalamata olives.
About 300 calories

Chocolate almond popcorn

Place a quarter cup of organic popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag, fold the bag over a few times, and microwave on high for two minutes to pop the popcorn. In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of hot water to two tasting squares of 70% dark chocolate and stir slowly until chocolate is melted (if needed, add more water one teaspoon at a time). Drizzle chocolate over popcorn, then sprinkle with a quarter cup of sliced almonds.
About 400 calories

Chipotle veggie salad

Order a salad at Chipotle Mexican Grill with romaine, no dressing, no rice, black beans, fajita veggies, mild salsa, and guacamole.
370 calories

What are your thoughts on this topic? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Low reps vs high reps

  1. Low reps vs high reps

    Hi all, I was just hoping for some advice on low reps vs high reps.

    I workout at home with dumbells and a kettlebell. After warmup I usually cycle alternate muscle groups on weights with or without a bench (so 3 sets each chest/back, bi/tri, etc) splitting muscle group exercises with cardio (shadowboxing) and ab floor exercises (russian twist, plank, etc).

    I know that if I want to really build size I’d need to suck up the cash, pay for the gym and get access to the bigger weights for low rep exercises, but to be honest my main intention is more toning/definition than packing on mass or size. My question is am I shooting myself in the foot sticking with the weights I’ve got instead of pushing forward to the big stuff? I am still stressing my body, i.e. the last few reps of the second and third set are near-fail, but for some stuff like bench press I’m getting up to higher reps.

    So for instance lateral raise I’m doing 3 sets x 18-20 reps @ 15kg each arm, bench press 3 sets x 30 reps @ 15kg, kettlebell clean and press 3 sets x 10 reps @ 16kg.

    Any thoughts?


  2. You are definitely in the extreme endurance/ stamina range there, and I would advice getting more weights or using the weights in more intense ways.
    15 kg is not much for bench press, but have 15kg on your shoulders feet on the bench and do push ups suddenly it becomes a lot more intense and 30 reps will drop fast.
    There are always ways of making things more intense if needed, slow reps was one of mine recently. Of course getting to a gym with loads of kit is good or alternatively getting more kit for at home as I did.

    If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re probably right – Henry Ford


  3. Thanks for the advice. I’ve been doing essentially the same routine for the last year almost and just recently decided to step it up to the next notch, I was getting slack on pushing myself. Having a kettlebell’s certainly made a difference and I’m trying new variations (like the one-arm row where you’re essentially in a spread out downward dog position lifting the weight off the floor).

    I think you’re right though, I’d love to give some super heavy lifting a go but not quite prepared to stump up the fee for a gym at the moment, so home weights it is. I’ll try the slower reps. Maybe the next stage would be some 10kg plates so I can move up to benching 20/30kg with each arm.


  4. Variety is the spice of training, sorry with a username like yours I couldn’t resist, mine being so tame and all.
    I change my weight routine every 8 weeks almost religiously and know most respond best to changing between every 6 -8 weeks, those more gifted to power generally shorter, the rest of us longer.
    Change can be style of session, exercises or both. Being more than a bit crazy I tend to do a mix most times.
    Most people start out doing the same thing for a long time, I did the same thing for years as a school child and got good at those movements, nothing else, and virtually no gains at all.
    Kettles are good, I have a variety of them and rate them as very useful, if somewhat pricey. There are many ways you can make them feel heavier, throw and catch or single hand work are a couple. I like doing single arm swings where I let go at the top and catch it with the other hand, have to be confident about your lower back strength for this one.
    Leverage and impact are good ways to shift intensity, changing squats for overhead squats where you have the weight at arms length overhead or jump squats are ways to make lighter weights work you harder, be very sure you have good form and can withstand the impact before trying these of course. I don’t know how old you are but if you are at pre bone fusing age, keep impact to a pessimistic level.
    Of course nothing beats adding more iron. I can shift more on the simple movements without complications by a long way and there is something very nice about looking at an absurd amount of inanimate metal that is sat there minding it’s own business after you have finished giving it hell to move it. Maybe that’s just me, but I doubt it.

    If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re probably right – Henry Ford


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Chorizo crusted haddock, with cheese sauce, carrot and swede rosti and roasted tomato

Chorizo crusted haddock, with cheese sauce, carrot and swede rosti and roasted tomatoes, all for 580 cals!

Ingredients: (this made a decent sized meal for 2)

400g haddock fillets (349cals)50g chorizo (166cals)
one slice of bread with crusts cut off (56cals)
one lime, zest and juice (20 cals)
1 garlic clove (4cals)
5g parmesan cheese (25cals)
salt and pepper

some grated carrot and swede: as little or as much as you like-mine came up to 170 cals
1 garlic clove (4cals)
rosemary (you can use whatever you like though)
1/2 tablespoon oil (60cals)
plenty salt and pepper

200mls skimmed milk (68cals)
2 laughing cow light cheese triangles (50cals)
40g smoked cheese (130cals)
5g cornflour mixed with a little water (18)
salt and pepper
(i put a few dried onions in as well)

tomatoes (40 cals)

Total 1160/2= 580 cals each

Method

1) Zest and juice the lime. Pour the juice ove the fish and leave to one side
2) grate root vegetables, add in chopped rosemary, plenty salt and pepper and one of the cloves of garlic. Use the half tablespoon of oil and sweat these down gently in a pan. Transfer to baking sheet and press down firmly (in hindsight, I think I would use an egg to bind next time, as my rosti didn’t really stick together, although still tasted lovely. Maybe potato as well, but this would obviously increase calorie count). Put them in the oven until they’re done :-)
3) dry fry chorizo (has enough fat of it’s own!) and add the piece of bread, torn into pieces. cook for a few minutes, then leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
4) blitz the chorizo/bread in the food processor, adding a clove of garlic, the parmesan cheese, lime zest and salt and pepper to taste
5) put your fish on a baking tray, along with the marinating juices and top with chorizo breadcrumbs. Throw some tomatoes on the tray and put in the oven. I cooked mine for 18 mins and if I’m honest, the fish was a little dry!
6) meanwhile, heat milk in pan and add smoked cheese, cheese triangles, salt and pepper and onions (if you like). Once melted, stir in the cornflour paste untilo thickened!

The fish recipe is adapted from the hairy bikers recipe-it’s worth checking out some of their recipes, as many of them can be adapted to low cal!

If anybody gives this a try, let me know what you think!

Here’s What a Snack REALLY Looks Like

Here’s What a Snack REALLY Looks Like

June 13, 2014 | By

Photo: @DunkinDonuts on Twitter

Photo: @DunkinDonuts on Twitter

You may have heard that Dunkin’ Donuts just added “snacks” to its menu with a bakery sandwich line that includes chicken salad on a croissant, grilled cheese on Texas toast, and fried chicken with bacon and ranch on a bun. The grilled chicken flatbread is 360 calories, but some options clock in at more than 600 calories. Dunkin’s CEO is adamant that these items are snacks, not lunch, which begs the question: Just what is a “snack” anyway?

By definition, a snack is a smaller portion of food eaten between meals, but snack trends have changed. For many people, snacks have become as substantial as breakfast, lunch, and dinner—essentially a fourth daily meal. I’m OK with that when I’m counseling my clients, assuming these three conditions are met. First, the fuel must be needed, so the snack doesn’t result in a surplus of calories that wind up feeding fat cells. Second, the snack should be healthy (for more on why not all calories are created equal, check out my previous post 6 Diet Myths, Busted). And finally, snacking should make sense as part of a daily food “budget.” For example, many of my female clients need about 1,500-1,600 calories a day to get to (and stay at) a healthy weight. If they eat four meals a day that are all equally portioned, that means they have about 375-400 calories to “spend” at snack time, their fourth meal.

In choosing snacks, my top goal is to keep it real, by selecting nutrient-rich foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Here are five clean eating snack options that do just that. Each provides less than 400 calories, from a bit of healthy protein, slow burning carbs, and good-for-you fat, to balance blood sugar, and leave you feeling fueled, energized, and satisfied. Two are sweet, two are savory, one’s a little bit of both, they’re all pretty quick. And I included a fast casual restaurant option you can grab on the go. So snack away—just be smart about it!

Fruity coconut smoothie

Whip one cup of frozen fruit, like berries, cherries, or mango, with either a single-serve container of nonfat organic Greek yogurt, or a protein powder (like pea, hemp, or organic grass fed whey) plus a half cup of water, along with a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil, and a dash of fresh grated ginger.
About 300 calories

Mock cobbler

Fold a quarter cup of rolled oats into two tablespoons of almond butter. Toss one cup of fresh sliced strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries with a half tablespoon each of fresh squeezed lemon juice and water, and warm on the stovetop until juicy. Top warmed fruit with almond oat crumble.
About 300 calories

Mediterranean munchies

Serve up a quarter cup of hummus with 15 baby carrots and a side of 10 Kalamata olives.
About 300 calories

Chocolate almond popcorn

Place a quarter cup of organic popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag, fold the bag over a few times, and microwave on high for two minutes to pop the popcorn. In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of hot water to two tasting squares of 70% dark chocolate and stir slowly until chocolate is melted (if needed, add more water one teaspoon at a time). Drizzle chocolate over popcorn, then sprinkle with a quarter cup of sliced almonds.
About 400 calories

Chipotle veggie salad

Order a salad at Chipotle Mexican Grill with romaine, no dressing, no rice, black beans, fajita veggies, mild salsa, and guacamole.
370 calories

What are your thoughts on this topic? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


4 Unexpected Benefits of Donating Blood

4 Unexpected Benefits of Donating Blood

June 13, 2014 | By Rachel Swalin

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

When’s the last time you stopped to appreciate all the good stuff your blood does for you? Without it, oxygen would never reach your cells and carbon dioxide would be filling your blood vessels as we speak.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood and more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day, according to the American Red Cross. So while you may never worry about having enough blood to function, plenty of others aren’t as fortunate. With World Blood Donor Day approaching on Saturday, June 14, that gives you more reason than ever to get out and donate.

While giving blood should be all about helping those in need, there are a few things in it for you. Here are four health perks to becoming a blood donor:

Your blood may flow better

“If blood has a high viscosity, or resistance to flow, it will flow like molasses,” says Phillip DeChristopher, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Loyola University Health System blood bank. Repeated blood donations may help the blood flow in a way that’s less damaging to the lining of the blood vessels and could result in fewer arterial blockages. That may explain why the American Journal of Epidemiology found that blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack.

It’s not clear if there are lasting health benefits associated with better blood flow. (These kinds of studies can’t prove cause and effect—for example, blood donors might lead healthier lifestyles than the general population.)
“What is clear is that blood donors seem to not be hospitalized so often and if they are, they have shorter lengths of stay,” Dr. DeChristopher says. “And they’re less likely to get heart attacks, strokes, and cancers.”

You’ll get a mini check-up

Before you give blood, you’ll first have to complete a quick physical that measures your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels. After your blood is collected, it’s sent off to a lab where it will undergo 13 different tests for infectious diseases, like HIV and West Nile virus. If anything comes back positive, you’ll be notified immediately.

“If year after year your tests come back negative, then you’ll know for sure there’s nothing you’ve been exposed to,” Dr. DeChristopher says. The physical and blood tests are no reason to skip your annual doctor visit, but they’re good for peace of mind. But you should never donate blood if you suspect you might actually be sick or have been exposed to HIV or another virus.

Your iron levels will stay balanced

Healthy adults usually have about 5 grams of iron in their bodies, mostly in red blood cells but also in bone marrow. When you donate a unit of blood, you lose about a quarter of a gram of iron, which gets replenished from the food you eat in the weeks after donation, Dr. DeChristopher says. This regulation of iron levels is a good thing, because having too much iron could be bad news for your blood vessels.

“The statistics appear to show that decreasing the amount of iron in otherwise healthy people over the long run is beneficial to their blood vessels, and diseases related to abnormalities in blood vessels, such as heart attack and stroke,” he says.

Still, data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that nearly 10% of women in the U.S. suffer from anemia, a condition where your body lacks red blood cells or hemoglobin (most commonly due to an iron deficiency). In that case, it’s best not to give blood until the anemia is resolved, he says.

Women who haven’t hit menopause yet may find it hard to donate blood, too. “Pre-menopausal females can be somewhat iron depleted with blood counts just under the lower limit,” Dr. DeChristopher says. If you have low iron and you still want to be a donor, taking an oral iron supplement may help you re-qualify, he says.

You could live longer

Doing good for others is one way to live a longer life. A study in Health Psychology found that people who volunteered for altruistic reasons had a significantly reduced risk of mortality four years later than those who volunteered for themselves alone. While the health benefits of donating blood are nice, don’t forget who you’re really helping: A single donation can save the lives of up to three people, according to the Red Cross. “The need for blood is always there,” Dr. DeChristopher says. “It’s important to recognize how important willing donors are.”

MORE:
15 Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency
10 Ways to Live to 100
11 Ways to Boost Your Energy With Food