There seems to be a diet out these days to appeal to everyone trying to trim down. And, with the barrage of different diets in the
media, it's hard to know which diets work and which fall short.
What's important in a safe and healthy approach to weight loss? Before starting a diet be sure that your plan includes the following:
It’s balanced. By excluding food groups, your body is at risk of being deprived of the nutrients it needs to function. For example, the popular
Atkins Diet drastically reduces carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for the cells of the body and also are a main source of your daily fiber needs.
It focuses on portion control. Have you ever seen the MyPlate
icon? MyPlate focuses on portion control and balanced meals by dividing a standard dinner plate into four food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein, with a side of dairy. Portion control is important to avoid overeating and can help reduce
It teaches lifelong, healthy eating habits. Longevity is impossible with impractical fad diets like The Hollywood Cookie Diet
and The Grapefruit Diet, which severely restrict calories and lack the nutrition (not to mention the variety) that your taste buds crave. By eating balanced meals and controlling portions, weight loss is achievable and can be maintained
throughout your entire life without having to crash diet.
For a healthy, balanced diet with controlled portions always remember to:
Which diet approaches have worked for you?
This article was submitted by Lindsay Sankovsky, Dietetic Intern, and reviewed by Kimberly Hammon, MS, RD, LDN.
As the old adage goes, “You are what you eat.” When it comes to your health, this saying is true — eating healthier foods will make you feel
better, have more energy and help you maintain your weight.
Many of the foods we eat—as tasty as they are—aren’t always the easiest for our system to digest. This is true for highly processed foods, and foods high in sodium, sugar, saturated fats and cholesterol. It’s not to say that, in moderation, we can’t enjoy
some of these foods, but research has proven that a diet high in fresh food, especially green vegetables, may help prevent colon cancer.
Considering colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and women, it’s nice to know that a balanced, healthy diet may be the first step toward disease prevention.
Yolandra Johnson, MD, Gastroenterologist at NorthShore, provides easy ways to work more greens and other vegetables into your daily diet:
What are some of your favorite dishes that include vegetables? What are some of your tricks for including veggies in your diet?
It’s hard to avoid the temptation of having something sweet—whether it’s an after- dinner treat, a mid-afternoon snack or something you indulge in to reward yourself for a hard day’s work. Like most things, in moderation, sugar shouldn’t lead to any long-term
health concerns. However, when consumed in excess—both in its natural form and processed form—sugar can lead to some very serious health conditions.
Mary Bennett, RD, LDN, CDE, a diabetes educator at NorthShore, identifies some of the health concerns that excess sugar can lead to:
The American Heart Association has set a limit for consumer consumption of sugar, which includes:
How do you control your cravings for something sweet? What is your favorite alternative snack?
Author: April Williams, MS, RCEP Exercise Physiologist
Eating before you exercise is like fueling up your gas tank to get you from Point A to Point B. It allows you to get through
your workout from start to finish with enough energy. A pre-exercise meal serves a variety of purposes, including:
What to Eat Before Working Out
What you should eat prior to working out will vary from person to person. It will be trial and error to determine what works for you and your routine. As a rule of thumb, you should look for foods that are easily digestible, and often high in carbohydrates
and low in fat, such as: toast, bananas, dried cereal, crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, fig bars, and/or small servings of peanut butter, jam or honey.
What to Avoid Eating Before Working Out
There are many foods that should be avoided before you exercise. You will want to limit high-fat sources of protein, such as greasy foods like fries and cheeseburgers. Instead, choose smaller portions of turkey, hard-boiled eggs or low-fat milk. Be careful
with sugary foods and beverages as they can give you a sugar high prior to exercise and may leave you without the necessary energy to finish your routine. Stay away from anything that is high in fiber, as this type of food could cause gastric upset during
What to Eat After Working Out
Eating after you exercise can help you recover faster from your workouts. Chocolate milk or yogurt is a perfect post-workout option because each contains carbohydrates and protein. The protein will help build and repair muscle, and the carbohydrates will help
replenish glycogen stores that were used in your workouts. Some other options to help refuel your tank could include: fruit smoothies made with yogurt or milk and a handful of pretzels, juice with string cheese and some crackers, or bowl of your favorite
cereal and a banana.
What are some of your favorite snacks for before and after workouts?
All of the holiday treats and temptations on the table can make for a difficult time managing your weight and portion control. While it’s okay to indulge from time to time, it’s important to make smart choices to help keep your plate balanced.
According to the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations, half of your plate should consist of fruit and vegetables, accompanied by grains, protein and dairy. You may find it hard to have this much balance on your plate during the holidays, but planning in advance
and thinking through your meal choices can be a huge help for keeping your plate (and waistline!) in check.
Goutham Rao, MD, gives his insight on how to plan your portions and still be able to enjoy the holidays:
What is your favorite holiday treat? What do you do to resist temptation and overeating?
With the holidays right around the corner, it’s hard not to be tempted by flavorful sides, festive drinks and decadent desserts. For those with diabetes, the struggle to avoid some of these foods may be a challenge, especially with many planned family dinners
and holiday parties.
However, diabetics don’t have to completely deprive themselves from the traditional foods and meals that the season brings. Romy Block, MD, a NorthShore endocrinologist, gives the following tips for managing diabetes during the holidays:
It’s important to note that these tips shouldn’t just apply to the holidays. Managing your diabetes is a process and making small changes can really help to make a big difference.
What ways have you found success in managing diabetes during the holidays? What holiday foods are the hardest for you to avoid?
A dash of salt here and there for flavoring can’t hurt, right? While moderate amounts of sodium in your daily diet are fine, it’s often easy to eat more than necessary. Look on any label – especially those of pre-packaged and more-processed foods—and sodium
is almost certain to be one of the ingredients.
The American Heart Association recommends 2,300 mg daily as the highest daily acceptable level, and if you are over 51 years, African American or have heart disease including high blood pressure, the recommendation is 1,500 mg.
Too much salt can lead to health problems, including cardiovascular disease particularly hypertension. For this reason, it’s never a bad idea to learn some quick ways to pass on the salt.
Mary Bennett, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at NorthShore, offers the following tips to help reduce your daily sodium intake:
What do you do to limit your sodium consumption? What is one salty food you couldn’t live without?
Many juices are advertised as being nutritious, and kids love juice, so parents happily provide it, believing it is a healthy choice. However, juice does not provide the same nutrition as a piece of whole fruit, and has been linked to obesity and tooth decay.
Juice should be given in moderation and should not be thought of as a substitute for healthier choices like whole fruit, milk or water.
If you choose to give your child juice, Sara Wiemer, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, offers the following suggestions for maximizing its nutritional value:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following servings of juice:
With Halloween “creeping” up and followed closely by Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are a lot of treats to contend with.
Here are the strategies that seem to work best for my family: