While we think are doing our best to make healthy choices, it may be that some of our decisions aren’t always the right ones
Before a workout or at the start of the day, yogurt is a good choice. Skip the flavored yogurts with extra fruit and sugar and opt for plain with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup instead.
Whole grains are a perfect choice if you’re looking to start your day off right. Whole wheat bread or bagels are an excellent breakfast choice, but when you pile on the cream cheese and sugary jams, the health factor goes out the window. Instead, choose nut butters like peanut or almond for creamy spreads.
Eggs are full of protein and are great whipped up in a hurry for breakfast. Instead of frying in butter, though, try hard boiling or poaching eggs to avoid extra fat. Also, if you are making an omelet, steer clear of the bacon and processed ham and instead choose spinach and goat cheese.
Salad with plenty of dark leafy greens is great for you, but start adding in bacon and cheese and it becomes less healthy. Instead opt for nuts, grilled chicken, or hard boiled eggs for your add-ons, tossed with a light vinaigrette dressing.
Chicken is full of lean protein that is a healthy choice for any meal — except when you load up on the fat and fry it. There are plenty of ways to enjoy chicken, the healthy way. Try grilling or baking chicken breasts with a light citrus marinade.
Vegetables are part of a nutritious diet, but preparing them in the wrong way can deplete them of many essential vitamins and minerals. Instead of boiling them, try lightly steaming them so they still have a bit of a crunch ore ting them raw in a salad.
Smoothies are perfect for after a workout or as a snack. But instead of loading them up with frozen yogurt and sherbets, stick to yogurt and fruit as a base and add in a drizzle of honey for sweetness.
Sandwiches and Wraps
These are great lunch options, especially if you are on the go and need a quick meal. Instead of loading up on the mayonnaise and deli meats, pack in extra vegetables and use some Dijon as a spread. You can also add in some creamy avocado instead of the cheese.
30 Healthy Broccoli Recipes That Are Damn Delicious
The healthy broccoli recipes some of us ate as kids didn't exactly do the delicious cruciferous vegetable justice: boiled or steamed until mushy, offensively underseasoned, and horribly bland. As adults, we know better than to sleep on the bevy of fantastic broccoli recipes at our fingertips.
Affordable and packed with nutrients like fiber and vitamin C, broccoli is worth having in your fridge crisper drawer for all of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner needs. Though not a meal by itself, pairing your veggies with a variety of protein-, complex-carbohydrate-, and healthy-fat-rich ingredients will ensure that what you're eating is always satisfying, SELF columnist Jessica Jones, M.S., R.D., certified diabetes educator and cofounder of Food Heaven, has previously told SELF. That could mean roasting your broccoli and serving it atop soba noodles with a soft-boiled egg, or baking it right into a cheesy, overnight breakfast casserole.
Broccoli is great for meal prep because of the way it maintains its texture and flavor over time, a characteristic many of these meals take advantage of. Even if you don't have time to meal prep, know that broccoli also doesn't take very long to cook in the first place and can be added to almost anything, whether that's a grain bowl or a wrap. When in doubt, having a head of broccoli on hand is a great way to guarantee there is some green goodness on your plate. These 30 healthy broccoli recipes showcase the many different ways you can make the most of this veggie.
A note about the word healthy here: We know that healthy is a complicated concept. Not only can it mean different things to different people, but it’s a word that’s pretty loaded (and sometimes fraught), thanks to the diet industry’s influence on the way we think about food. At SELF, when we talk about food being healthy, we’re primarily talking about foods that are nutritious, filling, and satisfying. But it also depends on your preferences, your culture, what’s accessible to you, and so much more. We selected these recipes with those basic criteria in mind while also trying to appeal to a wide variety of nutritional needs and taste buds.
Try the Mediterranean Diet
It's not a coincidence that the Mediterranean Diet is routinely named the best overall diet by U.S. News. in its annual Best Diets Rankings. With an emphasis on heart-healthy fats sourced from olive oil, fish, and nuts, as well as lean animal proteins including poultry, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, it's more than just a diet—it's a lifestyle.
Eating a well-balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet, can help to ensure you're getting all of the vitamins and essential minerals your body needs.
Mistake: You toss out the good parts.
How many times have you chopped the stalk and leaves off your broccoli and tossed them into the trash? Or peeled off cucumber and potato skins? Don't be embarrassed if you do it quite often—it's a common error. But now's the time to change your ways and stop throwing out the healthiest parts of the veggies. Skins, leaves, and stalks have unique nutrients not found in other parts of the vegetables. They also have higher concentrations of vitamins than parts more commonly consumed.
The solution: Step away from the peeler and chill with the chop-n-toss. Use broccoli stalks and leaves in stir-fries, soups, and salads to get a hefty dose of health-boosting nutrients.
3. Olive Oil
You've probably already heard that olive oil is good for your heart, but it may be good for your waistline, too. According to an October 2018 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, study subjects who were given olive oil over soybean oil lost more weight over nine weeks.
Researchers weren't entirely clear on the reason, especially since there's no calorie difference between the oils, but it may have something to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil (inflammation and obesity are often present together).
Keep calories in check by substituting olive oil for other oils or butter rather than increasing the overall amount in your diet.
This dangerously drinkable infusion is made with moonshine, a.k.a. "white whiskey," which is enjoying a comeback these days. Substitute it for vodka, if you like.
Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.
Here&rsquos how to sauté the healthy way. And yes, it&rsquos still going to taste awesome &ndash we promise.
- Heat one to two tablespoons of broth or water in a skillet over medium heat.
- Once the liquid begins to bubble, add the chopped or sliced onions and cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.
- Don&rsquot stress if the onions start to stick to the pan. Just add a little more liquid and keep stirring. This will free the onions that got stuck to your pan and, believe it or not, those little sticky pieces can add delicious flavor to your dish. If your onions look like they&rsquore starting to burn, just turn the heat down a little.
8 Hunger-Suppressing Foods You Should Definitely Be Eating
What if you could eat foods that would keep you from, well, eating more food? It's definitely possible. Each of the items on this list uniquely suppresses sensations of hunger. Work them into your meals and snacks and you'll find that you'll naturally eat less.
That oil and vinegar dressing on your salad may be helping your body control blood sugar&mdashwhich can keep hunger in check. Researchers at the University of Milan found that red wine vinegar can cut the so-called glycemic response&mdashthe rise in blood sugar&mdashfrom a high-carbohydrate meal by 30%. When blood sugar rises rapidly, it then plummets just as fast. Not only is this hard on your body, but the rapid drop signals to the brain that you need more food, fast.
Researchers at Arizona State University repeated the study with similar results: When volunteers downed four teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before a high-carb breakfast of bagels and orange juice, their blood sugar response fell by 55%. And Japanese researchers found that when vinegar was included in a sauce during a meal, it could depress blood sugar and insulin response in men by 20 to 40% it also slowed the accumulation of body fat.
How does vinegar manage this magic trick? It contains acetic acid which seems to interfere with the breakdown of starches and slows the digestion of carbohydrates. You can use white, red wine, rice wine, apple cider, or balsamic vinegar with olive oil on your salad. And you can add it to sauces for fish, poultry, or beef.
Here's something most people forget about this movie-time snack: It's a whole grain. A serving of popcorn&mdashabout three cups &mdash provides 70% of your daily whole grain needs, making it a surprisingly simple and almost indulgent source. All that fiber fills you up, keeping snacking urges at bay.
Popcorn holds more surprises: A study from the University of Scranton finds that this whole grain contains at least as many polyphenols&mdashantioxidants that help ward off heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases&mdashas fruits and vegetables. "Those hulls deserve more respect," says study author Joe Vinson, PhD. "They are nutritional gold nuggets." Just avoid microwave popcorn, which is loaded with fat. Better yet, try another topping, like chili powder (which can also help suppress appetite&mdashsee below) or tamari sauce.
Photo by James Ross/Getty IMages
Bread is generally a no-no when you're trying to shed pounds. But sourdough bread contains "starter," a combination of living yeast and bacteria which helps ferment the dough and gives the bread its unique flavor. The lactic acid produced by the bacterial culture helps tamp down the seesaw swings in blood sugar that leave you feeling ravenous. A small study in Sweden found that eating a breakfast that included sourdough toast suppressed blood sugar levels by nearly 30% compared to a breakfast that included regular bread. By the way, rye bread is usually made with sourdough starter as well.
Hot peppers may be an acquired taste, but it's a taste worth acquiring. In 2011, Purdue University researchers found that eating food spiced with cayenne powder suppressed appetite while cranking up calorie burn. And it only takes a little heat to work wonders: In the study, volunteers added about half a teaspoon of cayenne powder to meals. Tasting the spice is key for the appetite-suppressing effect, say the researchers, so don't rely on capsaicin-containing capsules. You can mix cayenne or chopped up chilies into pasta dishes, stews, sauces, soups, beans&mdashand popcorn, of course. Keep a hot sauce bottle on the table and next to the stove and use it to spice all types of food.
One of the longest running research projects around, the Nurses' Health Study, discovered that women who ate peanut butter at least five times a week weighed about 10 pounds less on average than women who avoided peanut butter. (They also had 30% lower incidence of diabetes.) According to a Purdue University study, the spread seems to quell appetite for up to two hours longer than a low-fiber, high-carb snack such as potato chips. Just be sure to choose the all-natural version when you shop. Check out the label: It should be limited to peanuts, oil, and maybe a little salt.
Photo by SR77/Getty Images
In 2012, U.S. Agricultural Research Service food scientist David J. Baer, PhD, found that pistachios had about 6% fewer calories than everyone once thought, putting them at 160 calories an ounce. That's the lowest calorie count of any nut, says Baer. The reason? The body has trouble digesting the fat in this nut. In other words, you get to taste the fat when you eat pistachios, but you don't digest it&mdashthat's the perfect diet food, as tasting that fat will help tame your hunger. There's another advantage, as well: Pistachios weigh less than other nuts, which means that you can eat more for the same amount of calories. An ounce of walnuts gives you about 14 halves an ounce of almonds is 23 nuts. But an ounce of pistachios gives you 43 nuts. And since pulling apart the shells slows down your snacking pace, your gut has time to register that it's getting the sustenance it needs. Keep a snack-size baggy on hand for those times your stomach begins to growl.
You no doubt know that delicious avocadoes rely on healthy unsaturated fats for their creamy goodness. What you may not know is that a new study at Loma Linda University found that having some avocado at lunch can cut hunger nearly in half. Volunteers ate lunches with and without avocadoes and then kept track of how hungry they felt for the rest of the day. Compared to a lunch sans avocado, the avocado meal cut the volunteers' feeling of hunger by 40%. "Fullness is important," says study author Joan Sabaté, MD, chair of the department of nutrition. "People are less likely to snack between meals." You can get your avocado with guacamole, sliced over a salad, or smushed onto your sandwich.
Put another check in the positive column for this heart-healthy oil: German researchers found that it's more likely to satisfy your hunger than other types of fat. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, University of Vienna researchers fed people yogurt fattened with olive oil, butter, rapeseed oil, or lard. Over three months, the researchers carefully tracked how many calories the volunteers ate overall. During the time the volunteers ate the olive oil-based yogurt, they took in about 175 fewer calories a day compared to the other types of fat. You'll be happy to know that you don't have to add olive oil to your yogurt. After further analysis, the researchers believe that it's the oil's distinctive aroma helps tame hunger, so anytime you cook with it or sprinkle it over salad (with vinegar, of course), you'll benefit.
8 Ways You're Ruining The Health Perks Of Your Coffee
Yes, coffee is kind of magical&mdasha slew of research links it to everything from a reduced risk of dementia to revving your metabolism. And then, of course, there's the essential energy boost it provides when we need it most (like, every single morning).
So what's the catch? You may be unintentionally countering some of the brew's benefits depending on factors like when you drink it and what you add to it. But don't worry&mdashwe're here to help you clean up your coffee habit in the least painful ways possible. Check out these 8 common mistakes, and how to get the most nutritional bang from your beans.
Get your hands on some whole beans. Sure, they require a little extra effort since you have to grind them yourself, but research in the journal Food Chemistry shows that preground coffee contains more free radicals, which can contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. (Try Prevention's Don't Burn Out Roast Organic Coffee Beans!)
Store those beans in an airtight container&mdashnot in the bag. The same Food Chemistry study found that levels of free radicals in coffee increase with greater air exposure and when that happens, more of coffee's health-promoting antioxidants are used up in order to neutralize them. This results in fewer antioxidants making it into your body.
Pounding a coffee at 7 AM isn't doing your energy levels any favors. That's because in the first couple hours after waking, your levels of the stress hormone cortisol are at their highest, which actually gives you a natural energy boost. So many experts agree that the best time to have your first cup is sometime between 10 AM and 12 PM, when cortisol levels start to dip. That way, you'll be taking advantage of your body's natural high, and saving that hit of caffeine for when you really need it.
Here's one rule anyone can stick to: Drink the roast that you think tastes best, not the one you assume you should drink because it contains more antioxidants. Here's why: "Research on the optimal type of coffee for health is still at an early stage and it's unclear which roast is healthier," says Rob van Dam, PhD, adjunct associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Per van Dam, both actually seem to be pretty good: Light roasts contain more of the phenolic compound chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar, possess antioxidant properties, and contribute to other health benefits. Dark roasts contain higher concentrations of compounds called melanoids, which have been associated with antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypertensive properties.
Hate to break it to you, but that's the opposite of what you should be doing&mdashlighter roasts actually contain more caffeine than dark roasts. The reason: The roasting process burns off caffeine, so the longer a coffee roasts, the less caffeine it will have. If you happen to be more sensitive to caffeine, or you're just looking for a less jitter-inducing brew, French roast can be a smart pick.
More isn't always better sometimes it's just more. In general, the health benefits associated with coffee tend to cap off at five to six 8-ounce cups&mdashwhich works out to about 400 mg of caffeine, says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, a nutritionist and author of Eating in Color. (Check out the Your Body on Coffee infographic to see the health perks associated with various quantities of coffee.) Drinking more than that isn't doing you any favors, and for some individuals&mdashlike those who have difficulty controlling conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)&mdashthe cons of excess coffee could certainly outweigh the pros.
One of the coolest perks of coffee is that it's been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, thanks in part to its antioxidants. But what about when you add sugar? According to van Dam, a little sweetness is probably okay, but turning your coffee into dessert is not: "The evidence is mixed&mdashsome studies suggest you can add a little sugar and still experience a reduced risk of diabetes, while others have only shown those benefits for unsweetened coffee drinkers. It's likely a matter of quantity." (We tried the coffee that had 40 times more caffeine than normal joe. here's what happened.)
As for milk or cream? You may be in the clear if these are your add-ins of choice. "So far, there's no good evidence that black coffee is more strongly linked to health benefits like lower diabetes risk," says van Dam. In fact, in one of his studies, half of the coffee drinkers added milk to their brew and half drank it black, but both groups experienced the same reduced risk of diabetes.
Tell us if this sounds familiar: You brew a cup of coffee, take a few sips, set it down, forget where you put it, find it 2 hours later, reheat it, take a few sips, set it down&hellipyou get the idea. Well, all that time spent sitting around actually increases your coffee's acidity. Not a huge health risk, but that extra acid may up your risk of heartburn and indigestion, and potentially contribute to greater erosion of tooth enamel. Coffee that sits out too long may also pack less of an antioxidant punch due to air exposure&mdashsome researchers suggest drinking coffee within 20 minutes of brewing for maximum antioxidant benefit.
10 Secrets to Cooking Healthier
Looking to eat healthier? Let our 10 principles of healthy cooking help get you started.
If your eating habits are anything like those of most Americans and you are looking for the simplest advice possible we would tell you to eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Most of us don&apost eat enough produce and we are really lacking in fiber in our diets and those are great sources.
If you&aposre craving just a bit more guidance about healthy eating, one of the best places to start is to cook more at home. When you cook at home you control the ingredients and restaurant meals are almost always higher in calories and sodium than something you would make yourself. Plus, you get to make what you like! If you&aposre not sure how to start cooking healthier here are 10 ways to make cooking healthy meals at home a little easier.
1. Make a plan
Without a plan, it&aposs easy to draw a blank with what to make for dinner (or breakfast or lunch for that matter). For some people meal planning means writing down a detailed menu and shopping list on a Sunday to be good to go all week. For others, it may look more like scribbles on a sticky note-taco night, pasta night, stir-fry night. Whatever your process is, having a plan helps set you figure out what you&aposre going to make and sets you up for success.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Only 14 percent of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables and 18 percent eat enough fruit. That means more than 80 percent of us aren&apost eating enough produce! Fruits and vegetables are rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. It&aposs recommended we eat 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables every day (adult men are on the higher side for veg). (Here are 8 ways you can get the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables.)
When you think about cooking, have produce be the star of your meals. Make a fruit smoothie in the morning, a big salad for lunch and stuff a spaghetti squash at dinner. Use vegetables as noodles by spiralizing a zucchini or sweet potato. Try to make half your plate fruits and veggies. Snacks are a great way to sneak in extra produce servings too-baby carrots, apple slices, dried fruit or vegetable soup are all great options.
3. Choose whole grains
Pick whole grains over refined grains, at least 50 percent of the time. Whole grains like brown rice and bulgur have their bran intact and thus have more fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients. Try quinoa, whole wheat pasta, oats, farro and barley as side dishes, on top of salads and in soups.
4. Mix up your protein
Meat is a great source of protein but it&aposs often served in really large portions. A serving of protein is 3 ounces cooked or 4 ounces raw, about the size of a deck of cards. So eat smaller amounts of meat, fish and poultry. Fill up the rest of your plate with healthy vegetables and whole grains. And it doesn&apost have to be meat. There are plenty of vegetarian proteins and vegan protein-rich foods that are a great way to add more plant protein to your diet.
5. Cook with global flavors
Some of the healthiest diets-think Mediterranean diet or traditional Japanese or Chinese cuisine-are rich in vegetables and grains and skip packaged processed foods. Using spices, like curry powder, and herbs, like basil, help flavor your food without adding salt. Plus, eating meals like Thai curries and Greek salads are not only good for you, they&aposre delicious (and not that hard to make at home!).
6. Keep portions reasonable
Even healthy foods, when heaped onto your plate, can be too much of a good thing. We&aposre not saying you need to measure out every bite you put in your mouth (that would get old really fast) but having an idea of healthy portions before you plate your meal can help you from eating more than you intended. Get 10 Simple Ways to Control Portion Sizes.
7. Add healthy fats
Fat is not bad. Even though new research has dispelled the myth that low-fat diets are the healthiest, people still believe that fat is bad for you. Fat is very filling (so if you eat less of it you may not be satisfied after your meals). It also helps you absorb nutrients-namely vitamins A,D,E and K. And, it tastes good! Choose unsaturated (e.g., olive oil, avocados, nuts) over saturated fats, such as butter, more often.
8. Limit added sugar and salt
Most of us eat more than the recommended amount of added sugars and sodium every day. Eating too much of either, over time, can put you at risk for health conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease.
Aim for less than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day if you&aposre a woman, and less than 9 teaspoons if you&aposre a man. That includes white sugar, brown sugar, honey and maple syrup. Check ingredient labels on products and use sweeteners sparingly when you cook.
As for salt, it&aposs recommended we eat no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (for some people, like those with heart disease or kidney disease, it&aposs even less). Here&aposs where cooking can really help you. Sodium is found mostly in processed foods (see the top 10 high-sodium foods in our diets) so the more you cook at home, the easier it is to eat less. Cook with fresh whole foods as much as possible, and use herbs, spices and vinegar to add flavor without adding sodium.
9. Enjoy treats!
Yes, you read that right-treat yourself. Just because you&aposre eating healthier and cooking healthier doesn&apost mean you shouldn&apost enjoy what you eat and that includes dessert. Depriving yourself can backfire, because when foods off limits it&aposs much more desirable. Go ahead and eat chocolate after dinner or a cookie as a snack. Try not to eat desserts just because they&aposre there (think-donuts in a break room) but rather because you really want it. Dark chocolate is good for you, but if you don&apost like it, there are plenty of other ways to tasty ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Be mindful of portions here because while treats are tasty, they won&apost be adding lots of nutrients to your diet.
10. Be mindful and enjoy
Mindful eating can feel overwhelming if you&aposre used to eating on the run. But being more mindful doesn&apost mean you need to sit down and savor every bite slowly. While sometimes that&aposs ideal, mindful eating in real life may just be about making more conscious food decisions about what you&aposre going to eat. For the most part try to choose delicious foods and savor them. Enjoying what you eat is crucial to feeling satisfied and decreasing stress about your diet.