3 Healthier Ways to Enjoy Pizza

As seen on January 16, 2013 on:

fitbie

written by The Nutrition Twins,

 

It’s been about two weeks since we kicked off the new year–in other words, right about the time that cravings start to creep in, leading people to stray from their nutrition resolutions.

If you’re like most Americans, it won’t shock you to hear that pizza tops the list of most tempting foods. In fact we weren’t a bit surprised that a recent survey, conducted by Sbarro and Kelton Research, found that about 40 percent of the participants would rather give up Facebook for a year than sacrifice their right to a slice for the same amount of time.

Thankfully, you don’t have to renounce your beloved cheese-topped treat to keep a trim waistline. It’s all about making the right choices. Here are three ways to satisfy your pizza craving while sticking to your 2013 resolution.

When you dine out or order in:
Mistake: You grab any slice that you can get your hands on. A typical slice can set you back as much as 400 to 500 calories–and that’s before you add extra cheese and meat toppings.

The Fix: You’re allowed to go for the real deal, as long as you practice balance and deduct these calories from somewhere else in your day. Maybe you forgo dessert tonight, or skip having a soda with your lunch. If you still want to get your pizza fix for fewer calories, the Sbarro Skinny Slice™ is a great option. It contains just 270 calories and comes prepared with roasted red and green bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, and sweet, caramelized onions. It’s all topped with a sprinkling of mozzarella and pecorino romano cheeses. If you’re dining elsewhere, we recommend that you look for pies that use a sprinkling of cheese (instead of loads of it), and select veggies rather than the meat toppings. You may also want to opt for thin-crust pizza to cut calories.

When you heat up a frozen pizza:
Mistake: You eat the entire frozen pizza without realizing there were three servings in the box. This means even healthier options can set you back more than 1,000 calories. (Read about other serving size scams that make you fat)

The Fix: Read the labels so you can stick to a serving size. Each serving should contain less than 300 calories, 12 g of fat, and should have at least 3 g of fiber. Also keep a close eye on sodium. Try to keep your sodium intake for a single serving well under 750 mg. To avoid devouring the entire pizza, add a side of steamed veggies or a salad with a piece of fruit so you’re not hungry. We always do this, typically with a large side of steamed broccoli.

When you’re telling yourself not to think about pizza:
Mistake: You do everything you can to resist temptation, but end up overeating other foods in order to distract your taste buds.

The Fix: Make your own healthy pizza to satisfy the craving. Open up a piece of whole wheat pita bread by cutting around its circumference. The pita keeps your calories low and makes a nice crispy crust. Spread your favorite tomato sauce on top, add some veggies (we like broccoli, mushrooms and peppers) and some low-fat cheese. Pop it in the toaster oven until the cheese melts and starts to brown. Voila, craving quenched; possible binge diverted! (Related: 6 Ways to Slim Your Slice)

Disclosure: The Nutrition Twins are working with Sbarro this month to help the public to make healthier pizza choices by choosing the new Skinny Slice over higher calorie pizza options.

Cure Your Salt Hangover and Lose Big

Edamame Hummus

For more nutrition guidance and a ‘get healthy’ plan, please check out the “The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

Published on Fitbie on January 16, 2013

 

The White Food You SHOULD Be Eating

As seen on January 14th, 2014 on:

fitbie

written by The Nutrition Twins,

 

Nutritionists don’t always agree on what comprises the ideal diet, but there’s one food rule we all try to enforce: Ditch the white stuff. White rice, white bread, white sugar—these highly-processed carbs can leave you hungry and heavy, which is why you’ll find them on the no-no list of nearly every healthy diet. But there’s an important exception to the nothing-white rule that you may not be aware of: Produce.

As white as it is nutritious, cauliflower is predicted to be one of the trendiest plants of 2014 (kale who?). The cruciferous veggie’s newfound fame is, in part, due to a 2013 article out of Purdue University in which a nutrition scientist argued that the focus on colorful produce may lead Americans away from nutrient-dense white options like parsnips, turnips, potatoes, and, yep, cauliflower.

Alright, so we’ve established that white is the new black in the plant kingdom. Here’s why it deserves a place on your plate, plus simple, tasty ways to eat more of it:

Why it rocks:

It’s good for your gut. Thanks to an impressive fiber count—you get around 2 grams per cup, the same as broccoli—cauliflower keeps you satisfied long after you eat it, and will also keep you regular.

It fights disease. Like its cruciferous cousins kale and Brussels sprouts, cauliflower is a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying nutrients that have been shown to combat diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

It builds better bones. You need more than just adequate calcium to maintain a strong skeleton. Cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin K, which help protect your bones against breakage, like those annoying stress fractures that often plague female runners.

How to Eat It:

As a snack. Serve fresh pre-cut cauliflower florets with hummus or dip for a no-prep snack (or a side dish at dinner!).

As a mix-in. Enhance your Italian or Chinese food by simply steaming it (or microwaving it from frozen or fresh) and stirring it right into your pasta or rice.

As a side. Pan roast cauliflower with garlic, lemon, and Parmesan for a simple, delicious addition to your entrée.

As a comfort food. Heat five tablespoons of water or low-sodium broth in a skillet until it bubbles, then add cauliflower florets and cover for five minutes. Top with cheese, dressing, or mash. This recipe from our new book The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure is the perfect sub for buttery mashed potatoes.

Skinny Cauliflower Mash

Prep: 10 minutes
Yields: 3 servings (approximately 3/ 4 cup per serving)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen cauliflower (if you want to use fresh cauliflower, simply substitute the frozen 1-pound bag for 1 medium head, and steam it or cook it in the microwave)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/8 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Defrost cauliflower overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave

2. Crush garlic and let it sit for 5 minutes to release its health-promoting properties

3. Add cauliflower to a blender or food processor along with milk, garlic, and seasonings

4. Add lemon juice and sample for taste. Add more garlic, lemon, or spices as desired

Per serving: Calories 43; Total fat 0g; Saturated fat 0g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 46 mg; Carbohydrates 8g; Fiber 3g; Sugar 4g; Protein 4g

Up Next: 4 Reasons You’re Addicted to Sweets

For more healthy eating tips, visit nutritiontwins.com.

Edamame Hummus

For more nutrition guidance and a ‘get healthy’ plan, please check out the “The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

Published on Fitbie on January 14, 2014

Cure Your Salt Hangover and Lose Big

As seen on January 9th, 2013 on:

fitbie

written by The Nutrition Twins,

 

If getting back to post-holiday life has left you without much time or energy to meet your health resolutions, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are several simple ways to jumpstart your weight loss and see results quickly.  And if you have been making healthy changes this year (kudos!), these tactics can aid in your continued success.

Last week we mentioned that salt may make you feel heavy and bloated. You’ve probably experienced this firsthand. Maybe the day after eating Chinese takeout you’ve noticed your fingers are puffy, you have bags under your eyes, or that you’ve put on a couple of pounds–you have what we like to call, a “salt hangover.”

When you have a “salt hangover,” your body is reacting to getting too much salt by holding on to water to maintain a proper sodium concentration by diluting some of it. As a result, you look bloated. The bloat remains until you drink enough water to wash out the sodium, or until you eat foods that are high in both water and potassium. Potassium also helps the body eliminate sodium (so it’s no surprise it keeps blood pressure in check and lowers your risk of stroke to boot!).

Last week we shared a few strategies for beating bloat, and told you we’d share some of the salt hangover cures from our book The Secret To Skinny. As promised, here are some of our pound-shedding and belly flattening “salt hangover” remedies.

  • Drink at least two cups of water: One with fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from about ½ lemon) and the other with fresh-squeezed orange juice (use 1/4 an orange).  The water will flush out the excess sodium along with the water the sodium is holding onto. The fresh lemon and orange juice provide a hefty boost of potassium that will rid you of salt even faster.
  • Drink two cups of green tea and eat four dried plums. This combo fills you up with potassium, fluid and fiber to get rid of stomach irritants that may be lingering in the colon.
  • Drink two cups of The Nutrition Twins Salt Detox Juice (see recipe below), or 2 cups green tea, and eat 1 cup steamed spinach spritzed with lemon juice. Spinach is packed with potassium, and contains fiber to help push constipating foods out of the colon and slim down a bloated belly.
  • For your first meal following a salt hangover, eat: A three-ounce baked potato with 1 cup of steamed spinach, 4 ounces of halibut, and the juice from a lemon. With more potassium than a banana, the baked potato will quickly force salt out, while the root veggie’s fiber pushes toxins and other bloating culprits out of the colon. This helps create a flat belly. The provides even more potassium and fiber, while fish such as halibut or cod will round-out the meal with satiating protein and even more potassium.
  • Exercise!  Sweat out salt, toxins, and bloat while boosting your body’s feel good chemicals (endorphins).

For more remedies that include digestive enhancers like The Nutrition Twins® Tea and Melon Cure and The Nutrition Twins Skinny Anti-bloat Broth see The Secret To Skinny.

The Nutrition Twins Salt Detox Juice

  • Thoroughly blend all ingredients together, ideally in a juicer.
  • 3 sprigs parsley (a natural diuretic)
  • 6 carrots (scrubbed well and tops removed)
  • ½ beet (optional)
  • 1 red or yellow apple (cored, seeds removed)

For more nutrition guidance and a ‘get healthy‘ plan, please check out the “The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

Published on Fitbie on January 9, 2013

 

4 Reasons You’re Addicted to Sweets

As seen on:

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written by The Nutrition Twins,

 

As registered dietitians, we’ve encountered many a sweet tooth over the years. Our clients often tell us that they suffer from sugar addiction to the point that they can’t control themselves around the cookie tray, and their desire for dessert is sabotaging their workouts and otherwise healthy food habits.

If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, you’re not destined for sweet slavery. When someone tells us they want to quit the sweet stuff once and for all, we take a closer look at their diet and lifestyle habits. The source of their addiction? It’s usually one of the four sugar saboteurs below. Luckily, there’s a solution for each that’ll help you quit your cupcake—or candy, or chocolate—habit for good!

chocolate_chip_Peanut_butter_cookies

Sugar Saboteur #1: You’re tired

If you haven’t slept well, you’ve gone a long time without eating, or you’ve eaten processed snacks like chips or pretzels, you’re more likely to reach for sweets for an immediate burst of energy. Problem is, that sugar rush is swiftly followed by a drop in blood sugar that causes you to crave—you guessed it—more sugar. Before you know it, your brain and body get caught in a vicious cycle of sugar cravings.

Sweet Solution: Get a good night’s rest and don’t go for more than 4-4.5 hours between meals/ small snacks to stay fueled and avoid the need for a quick pick-me up. When you do need a boost, avoid processed snack foods and choose fiber-filled carbs like fruit, quinoa or oatmeal and always pair them with a little protein or fat, like a yogurt, an egg or nuts. This will stabilize your blood sugar and prevent an energy dip and another craving. Also, when a sweet craving does hit, go for fruit first as your sweet to quench your craving. Other energizing solutions: Stress reduction and working out, which have both been shown to give you more energy and ward off junk-food cravings.

Sugar Saboteur #2: You’re being “good”

Sticking solely to lean proteins, fruits, and veggies, and avoiding grains and other starches because you’re afraid they’ll pack on the pounds can leave your sweet tooth throbbing by the afternoon. The reason: You may not be providing your body with enough long-lasting energy. Similar to the previous situation, you end up reaching for a sweet boost.

Sweet Solution: Simply add either ½ cup of cooked whole grains like oatmeal or brown rice, or a 3.5-ounce baked potato, sweet potato, or winter squash to your meals. These one-hundred calorie, fiber-rich portions of complex carbohydrates keep you full and stabilize your blood sugar, preventing you from gorging on hundreds of calories of dessert later on.

Sugar Saboteur #3: You simply love sweet foods (We hear ya; we think they’re delicious too!)

If you associate sugary treats with the pleasure of eating food, then you may feel that no other tastes or flavors compare. No wonder you continuously indulge!

Sweet Solution: Try to “reset” your taste buds. Your taste buds are like all other cells in your body, they turn over and create new ones. The longest it will take is 21 days/ 3 weeks. You can either try to stay away from sugar altogether to overcome your sweet tooth and not crave it anymore, or you can try some of  these tactics to “cleanse” your body and recharge that don’t require quite as much discipline.  Whichever you choose to employ, your sweet tooth will appreciate less sweet flavors.

Sugar Saboteur #4: You turn to sweets for comfort. When you’ve had a bad day or you’re stressed out, eating something sweet can give you pleasure and make you feel better—temporarily. The trouble is, high-sugar foods only make you feel worse in the long run, and if you make sugar soothing a habit, you’ll automatically crave cookies and candy whenever you’re feeling down.

Sweet Solution: First, make sure you’re not eating in a way that drains your energy (if so, see solutions #1 and #2 above). Next, experiment to find what works for you. The answer may be one small portion of a sweet treat that satisfies your craving, or it may be popping a mint in your mouth to give you that pleasure and comfort, or, even better, it may be finding ways to relax (or celebrate) that have nothing to do with food, like watching a good movie or taking a relaxing bath. The bottom line: High-sugar foods make you feel lethargic, can mess with your sleep patterns, and lead to weight gain and other health woes. Nothing comforting about that!

For more ways to kick your sugar habit to the curb, check out

For more healthy eating tips, visit nutritiontwins.com.

Edamame Hummus

For more nutrition guidance and a ‘get healthy’ plan, please check out the “The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

Published on Fitbie on January 7, 2014

The Secret To Skinny

As seen on January 2nd, 2013 on:

fitbie

written by The Nutrition Twins,

 

The Secret To Skinny-2Hello, 2013! And hello, resolutions! For many, this means losing the weight that has been lingering since last year, and ditching those extra pounds that showed up during the holiday season. We’ve helped thousands to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and know the key to lasting weight loss is to make lifestyle changes that cause a quick initial weight loss, for encouragement, but that don’t require drastic measures. So if the holidays have left you feeling a bit bloated (maybe you’ve noticed a full face, bulging belly, or puffy ankles when you look in the mirror), start by following a few suggestions from our book The Secret To Skinny. It provides a realistic plan that is flexible enough for you to follow for a long period of time, yet gets you immediate results. You’ll shrink your tummy, hips and thighs, which will give you the motivation you need to continue.

Tip #1: Avoid salt–the biggest bloat-promoting culprit
Why it works: Not only does salt make you hungrier, thirstier, and increase cravings, but it also causes your fat cells to store more fat, including the fat on your belly. Have you ever noticed that after a meal filled with salty foods (think soy sauce, deli meats, canned soup, processed foods, restaurant meals, fries, or chips) your stomach is distended and you weigh more the next morning? That’s your body’s reaction to eating too much salt.

When we eat a lot of salt, our bodies respond by holding on to water to dilute the sodium and maintain it at the proper concentration, which is why you look bloated even if you’re skinny. The bloat remains until you drink enough water to wash out the sodium, or until you eat foods that are high in both water and potassium (this mineral helps the body eliminate sodium—see tip #2).

How to do it:
• Steer clear of processed foods and packaged foods and try to cook more at home. Eighty percent of the salt we consume comes from processed, packaged and restaurant sources, not from your salt shaker
• Use spices and herb-infused vinegars and oils to replace salt on all foods at the table from fish to chicken to soups, salads and sandwiches. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice to cooked veggies (a trick many chefs use)
• Read labels and pay attention; go for low-sodium options when available. Aim to get less than 1,500 mg sodium daily

7 Salt-Free Ways to Flavor Food

Tip #2: Eat potassium-rich “anti-bloaters,” such as: Apricots, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, watermelon, asparagus, beet greens, cucumbers, kale, spinach, and tomatoes (for a full-list see The Secret To Skinny).

Why it works: Potassium counteracts sodium, so potassium-rich foods help you get rid of the excess water causing bloat. These foods restore normal hydration while filling you with fiber and few calories. Focus on eating these foods, and you’ll have less room on your plate for high-calorie sodium-loaded fare.

How to do it:
• Stuff egg white omelets with spinach and tomatoes
• Make nonfat Greek yogurt with cantaloupe and strawberries your breakfast or snack.
• Enjoy a kale salad with watermelon and sunflower seeds for a starter at dinner
• Try one of our “Potassium Packed, Salt Hangover Cures” (stay tuned for our blog on this, or check out The Secret To Skinny)

Tip #3: Focus on “flushers,” such as: Apples, berries, currants, figs, kiwifruit, oranges, pears, prunes and raisins, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash, to name a few.

Why it works: Constipation often contributes to bloating. When things are backed up, the way they can be after a night of over-indulgence, certain high-fiber foods come especially in handy. We call these particular fruits and vegetables “flushers” because they flush you out by creating a stool that can be easily eliminated. They also flush out irritants that may be lingering in the colon and contributing to the bloat, but without adding as many calories as other high-fiber foods, like whole grains. When high-fiber foods work their magic, you can lose several pounds and your puffy stomach will instantly go down.

How to do it:

• Have a probiotic-rich non-fat yogurt and apple for breakfast
• Go for bell peppers or carrots for a snack
• Swap out pasta and go for spaghetti squash for dinner

What do you do to drop those pounds and shed the bloat? Have you tried any of these strategies before?

5 New Ways to Beat Bloat

Published on Fitbie on January 2, 2013

 

Banana Kiwi Weight Loss Smoothies

If you’re looking for a healthy snack that is satisfying, scrumptious and feels like an absolute splurge, then look no further then this weight loss smoothie!  It’s got 7 grams of protein to fight hunger yet only 90 delicious calories!

(Psst… On days when we feel like we need something to give us an extra lift, we have one of our refreshers like our Sparkling Cucumber and Refresh Detoxer or we go for one of our smoothies that use the Easiest Way To Get our Greens)

 

 

Banana Kiwi Smoothie

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 kiwi, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt

Directions

  • Place kiwi, banana, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.
  • Blend until smooth or desired thickness.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!!

What’s your favorite banana recipe!?

Nutrition Facts: 90 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 63 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 7 g protein

 

The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure!

 

 

 
Banana Kiwi Weight Loss Smoothies
 
Nutrition Facts: 90 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 63 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 7 g protein
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 kiwi, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. Place kiwi, banana, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth or desired thickness.
  3. Serve immediately and enjoy!!
  4. What’s your favorite banana recipe!?