Should I take a multivitamin?

But what if, like most Americans, your diet falls short of the recommended intakes for some vitamins and minerals? Should you take a multi?

It depends how far you fall short. If your diet is merely “suboptimal,” there’s no convincing evidence that you’ll benefit from a multi. If, however, you have severe deficiencies (because of malnutrition, for instance, or absorption problems), targeted supplementation, under medical supervision, may be necessary. If you are living totally on junk food, no supplement— even one with dozens of components—can make up for the vitamins, minerals and other potentially beneficial compounds found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and the rest of a healthy balanced diet.

Are multis safe? There’s no evidence of harm from those supplying 100 percent of the recommended intakes (listed as Daily Values on the labels). But again, multis vary so much, it’s hard to give them all a pass. And some contain nutrients that can be dangerous in very high doses (such as beta carotene, vitamins E and A, iron, zinc, selenium or copper) or include herbs and other substances of unknown safety.

This post is quoted from an article on BerkeleyWellness.com: http://www.berkeleywellness.com/supplements/vitamins/article/should-you-still-take-multi?s=EFA_140701_001&st=email&ap=ed

 

Banana Nut Bread made with Whole Grain Flour

The delicious banana nut bread recipe contains 50% whole grain flour thus providing you with some fiber in your diet. Enjoy a piece of bread with skim milk in the morning and you have a breakfast of less than 350 kcals. Remember: eat in moderation!

1 loaf = 12 servings        

Nutrition Value of 1 serving:

254 Kcals     36.3 g of Carbohydrate (2.6 g Dietary Fiber)     11.3 g Fat     4.2 g Protein

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar     Image
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 large ripe mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ C walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350o
  2. Grease the pound pan
  3. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  4. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition
  5. Sift all-purpose flour and salt together
  6. Add baking soda dissolved in hot water
  7. Stir in whole wheat flour and mix well
  8. Fold in mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and walnuts
  9. Pour mixture into pan and bake 50-60 minutes or till the cake tester comes out clean
  10. Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan

10 Simple Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

These 10 simple tips will help you and your family live a healthy lifestyle.

1. Start with yourself – be a positive role model for the kids, siblings, and everyone at home.

2. Do not buy “junk food” – If it’s not at home, you are less likely to eat it.photo 2

3. Have healthy snacks readily available– For example, washed and cut fresh fruit in the refrigerator, baby carrots and fat-free ranch dressing, fat-free yogurt, home-made smoothie, whole-grain pretzels, 100% fruit juice popsicle for the kids, etc. When I am hungry, I want something right away and it helps to have veggies and fruits that are ready to eat.

4. Stay hydrated! Many times we feel hungry but we are really thirsty. Drink at least 1500 ml of water a day (that is 3 of these water bottles).

5. On the road? Have healthy snacks (my favorite: a bag of mixed nuts) with you so you don’t have to stop at a convenience store or pickup fast food. Also, never leave your home without a water bottle.3water bottles

6. Don’t skip meals – waiting to eat till you are extremely hunger can cause you to over eat.

7. Avoid or limit sodas – these are empty calories that can easily be avoided. Get in the habit of drinking water, milk or 100% fruit juice.

8. Avoid or limit fast food – if kids insist on fast foods then help them choose the healthy sides from the menu. For example, instead of soda they can order milk and instead of fries they can order apple slices.

9. Park your car farther from the store entrance – every step counts!

10. Do physical activity together as a family – go to the park regularly or play your favorite sport together.
Remember: no one has to be deprived of their favorite chocolate as long as it is in moderation. There is nothing wrong with enjoying these foods once in a while.

Easy Hummus Recipe with Nutrient Analysis

Hummus is a very common side dish in the Middle East that is gaining popularity in the West. It is a great low calorie snack and a good vegetable source of protein.

Chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, are rich in fiber and protein. They also contain vitamins and minerals such as folic acid (chickpeas tend to be higher in folic acid than other beans), zinc, and magnesium.

Read complete article here.

Number of Servings- 8     Serving size – 2 tbsp

Nutrition Info:

114 Kcals     16.7 g CHO     4.6g Pro     4.3 g Fat

Hummus with Pita Chips
Hummus with Pita Chips

Ingredients:

  • Chickpeas – 1 can (15 oz)
  • Lemons – 6
  • Tahini – 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic cloves – 2
  • Cold Water – 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil – 1tbsp

Directions:              

Blend it all and refrigerate

Enjoy with pita chips or fresh veggies!

Eat Your Way to a Better Holiday: 10 Tips

By Karen Sechowski, RD

Karen Sechowski is a registered dietitian in the Greater Chicago area whose passion is prevention through education. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Health Science. She completed her dietetic internship at Prairie View A&M University in the Houston area. 

Maybe you’ve worked hard all year to be healthy. Maybe you haven’t but you still don’t want to gain too much weight this holiday season. Whatever your situation is, it is possible to have fun and be healthy during the holidays because, let’s face it, you will have to face the New Year once all of the festivities are over and done. Follow these ten tips to keep your holidays bright and light:

  1. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. It is a common misconception that skipping meals helps you lose weight, but all it really does is slow down your metabolism and make your body hold onto whatever nutrients you do have because it thinks you are starving. Eat three regular-sized meals or six small meals to keep your metabolism going.
  2. Stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle with you at all times so you don’t mistake your thirst for hunger and indulge when you don’t really need to eat.
  3. Remain physically active. The minimum recommended guideline for adults calls for 150 minutes of physical activity per week. During the holidays, it is even more important to keep up with your exercise because of the increased calorie intake.
  4. Choose smaller plates. Literally. The more reasonably sized (smaller) the plate is, the less food you will eat. Studies have shown that adults will mindlessly pile more on their plates if the plate is bigger than they would if the plate were smaller. They were satisfied with the amount on the small plate but asked for more when given the same amount on a big plate.
  5. Choose reduced-fat cheese from the cheese plate. Any cheese from skim or part-skim milk is going to be lower in fat. Mozzarella cheese is a good example of a cheese that is naturally lower in fat.Limburger cheese
  6. Make your dips with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  Greek yogurt is lower in calories and provides a good dose of protein.
  7. Get cooking. Cooking at home can save hundreds of calories because you can control the portion size and what goes into the food.
  8. Eat slowly. Your brain needs about 20 minutes to receive the trigger from the stomach saying it’s full.
  9. Be conscious of your nibbling. It’s hard to resist the extra goodies laying around the house, but those extra calories add up over time.
  10. Everything in moderation. It’s okay to enjoy your favorite food, even if it is high in fat and calories. It is, after all, the holidays. But enjoy one small serving, and jump back on the healthy bandwagon.

Breakfast: important meal!

Have a balanced breakfast that consists of carbohydrates and protein!

  1. Carbohydrates: choose “complex” carbs that will provide soluble fiber. It will slow stomach emptying and help you feel fuller longer. Good sources are oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, apples, and kidney beans
  2. Protein: good lean sources of protein are chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, beans, and lentils

Breakfast ideas: less than 360 calories 

1) 1 large egg cooked in minimum oil with chopped tomatoes and green peppers, 2 slices of whole wheat toast, and 1 cup of skim milk or 100% fruit juice
2) 1 large egg (cooked in minimum oil) wrapped in a 6 in. whole wheat tortilla with 2 Tbsp of salsa, 1/2 cup of skim milk with Cheerios
3) 1/2 cup of oat meal with 1 cup of skim milk and 1 medium apple
4) 2 whole grain waffles with 1 tbsp nut butter (ex. peanut butter) and 1 cup of skim milk
5) 1 hard-boiled eggs with 1 tbsp of nut butter, 1 slice of toast and 1 cup of skim milk
6) 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 tbsp nut butter, 1 cup of skim milk and 1 serving of fruit

Homemade Strawberry Smoothie

This simple and easy smoothie is a great snack that will provide calcium, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and some monounsaturated fats (healthy fats)!

Strawberrry Smoothie

Number of servings: 2                       150 calories per serving

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 medium banana

1 cup of skim milk

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 tbsp of almonds

Directions: Blend together all the ingredients and enjoy. You can try it with any of your favorite fruits!

Are Carbohydrates Bad?

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our brain.  Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommend 45-65% of the calories from carbohydrates.  If we deprive ourselves of this essential nutrient, we won’t have the proper energy for our daily routine. Lack of carbs in the diet can make us feel tired, weak and light-headed.

When it comes to eating carbohydrates, here are two simple tips:

A. Eat the right type of carbohydrateThere are two types of carbs: simple and complex

  • Simple: white bread, refined rice or pasta, milk, candies, sodas
  • Complex: vegetables, some fruits, whole-grain, legumes (peas and beans), brown rice

Complex carbohydrates are a good source of dietary fiber and fiber is important for a healthy digestive system. Soluble fiber also helps lower cholesterol and slow the digestive system making us feel full. The feeling of fullness will prevent us from overeating. Simple carbs do not have fiber and are processed quickly in our bodies. But not all simple carbs are bad. For example, milk is a source of protein and carbohydrate and provides calcium that is necessary for strong bones.

B. Eat in proper portions:

Carbohydrates should be part of every meal in the form of whole grain bread, brown rice, fruit, and chickpeas, but in proper portions. Check out the link below to learn more about appropriate portion sizes.

portion-control-guide

http://www.webmd.com/diet/printable/portion-control-size-guide

ENJOY FOOD …in moderation!

A healthy iftaar

After fasting for more than 12 hours, I am ready to eat! Here are some tips that I keep in mind especially at an iftaar party:

Pick up the healthy options: Most likely we will be eating our traditional/cultural foods.  When it comes to our traditional foods, not all of them are unhealthy. Cholay (chickpeas), fruit chat, daal (lentils), haleem (lentils and meat) are some great food choices. Cholay, daal, and haleem have protein and carbs and usually not cooked with much oil (Click here to check out my nutrient analysis of homemade daal).

Go easy: Items like samosas and pakoray are deep-fried so don’t eat too many. I love these foods and it would be wrong to ask anyone to avoid their favorite foods. The key is to enjoy them in moderation.

Avoid eye-contact: With the dessert I mean… If you keep staring at the dessert…your mouth will start watering and you are more likely to fail at resisting your urge, and going to end up eating it. Tell yourself you are satisfied and just don’t make eye contact! Busy yourself with a good conversation or better yet head out for prayer.

Haleem 3
1 cup Haleem with fresh cucumber and cantaloupe

Remember: Vegetables are very low in calories so you can eat a lot of them!

What about Tandoori Naan?

Just 1 Deep brand Tandoori Naan has 250 kcals! If you eat 2 Chapli Kabobs with 1 naan that will put you over 500 kcals. A better option would be to choose a whole wheat tortilla instead of a naan.

Bottom Line is to eat what you enjoy in moderation. Try to include fruit and some veggies with your dinner to balance your meal, as well as get fiber and nutrients into your body. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

Mindful Eating Tip

“As the size of our dishes increase, so does the amount we scoop onto them. They cause us to serve ourselves more because they make the food look small…The smaller the serving dish, the less you take, and the less you eat” Brian Wansink

After Taraweeh late night healthy snack ideas:

Low-fat frozen yogurt
2 cups of watermelon
Cup of milk with an apple
100% fruit juice popsicle stick
Low-fat popcorn
Click here for more snack ideas of less than 200 kcals

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