In recent years, consumers have started to pay more attention to the quality of food rather than just calories. Looking at the ingredients list on food packaging can be very telling when it comes to the kinds of nutrition present in food. RXBars are perfect for those who need a grab-and-go snack option that has a simple ingredients list and is high in protein. These bars have no added sugar; instead, the sweetness you taste is from dates. RXBars also have nuts, full of heart-healthy fat.
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So many of us are in weight-loss mode year-round. Once we get to Thanksgiving, I like to shift our goals from weight loss to weight maintenance. Here’s the rationale behind this:
Oftentimes, we think of “The Holidays” as a long stretch, starting with Halloween and ending at New Years. Instead of thinking of these two months as one big block of time, remember that the Holidays only take place over a day or two at a time. Celebrate Thanksgiving on the day of but not the surrounding weeks as well. Send tempting leftovers home with guests so you enjoy your favorite treats on the holiday and can then move on afterward. Also, try to keep to your regular routine on other days as best you can and as much as possible on the holidays themselves. If you usually eat a bowl of oatmeal or a plate of scrambled eggs in the morning, keep to it! Do you like to get to the gym before the day begins? Why stop now? Having a sense of routine will help you navigate these next two months with ease.
You’ve probably heard friends talk about and seen “healthy” ice cream like Halo Top, Enlightened or Breyers Delights in your grocery store. These ice creams contain anywhere from 60 to 100 calories per half-cup serving and are high-protein. If you’re an ice cream lover like I am and scratching your head over these products, here’s what you should know:
So Is It Actually Good for Me?
News Flash: Ice cream isn’t a health food, whether it’s marketed as one or not!
“Healthy” ice cream is low in calories, which can be helpful if you love to indulge in ice cream regularly but have a hard time sticking to a half-cup portion. If you are good at having no more than a third of a pint and choose to indulge in this treat only semi-regularly, then this could be a good option for you.
Perhaps the biggest problem with these products is that they encourage you to eat the whole pint. Pints of Halo Top advertise “Forget the bowl because you are going to want the whole pint.” The front of the package lists how many calories are in the entire pint, rather than a traditional half-cup serving. We want to learn how to enjoy treats in moderation, and I think we can all agree that polishing off a pint is the very definition of not eating in moderation, regardless of the calories in the food. It’s best to learn self-control, savor a small portion of a treat, and stop when you’re satisfied rather than when your spoon scrapes the bottom.
These ice creams are indeed high in protein and fiber, but not in the ways that would usually fill you up. The protein and fiber in these products are isolates or added to food. Scientific studies tell us that these aren’t as filling as protein and fiber found in poultry, eggs, dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Also, prebiotic fiber, which is found in Halo Top, is food for the good bacteria in your digestive system, but can cause stomach upset and gas in some people.
Halo Top, Enlightened and Breyers Delights also contain non-nutritive (i.e. no- and low-calorie) sweeteners like erythritol, monkfruit extract, and stevia. Erythritol doesn’t have any effect on blood glucose and insulin levels, making this an ideal choice for those with diabetes; however, erythritol can cause bloating and stomach upset. Also, research suggests that eating foods sweetened with these substances can actually make you crave more sweets. If you are someone who eats ice cream every once in a while, it may be better to go for the “real deal,” have a scoop, savor it, and move on guilt-free.
Bottom Line: These treats may be a good choice for you if you like to indulge in ice cream on a regular basis and if you can serve yourself an appropriate portion size and put the rest back in the freezer. They may also be a good alternative if you have diabetes and are working on blood glucose control. Just remember to make sure that the majority of your diet consists of vegetables, fruits, protein, healthy fat, and whole grains!
Product of the Month: Sargento Balanced Breaks
Looking for a satisfying and nutritious snack that is going to tide you over until your next meal? Try a Sargento Balanced Break! These are pre-packaged and pre-portioned to-go containers with cheese, nuts, and dried fruit. The Sweet Balanced Breaks contain dark chocolate or Greek yogurt chips. I love these snack-packs because they don’t break the bank at fewer than 200 calories and also contain protein, fat and fiber that will satisfy your hunger. An added bonus: they’re delicious!