9 Snacks for Vital Aging

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 47 – 4/20/15

  • Sunflower seeds – contain folate, a B vitamin we need to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. They also contain tryptophan, which is good for stress management.
  • Almonds – contain monounsaturated fats and fiber and help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Blueberries – contain high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin. May help relieve stress and even enhance our memory banks. 
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt – Add blueberries to plain yogurt (I add a little honey for sweetness) and you’ll get the goodness of berries, along with the digestive health benefits of yogurt. 
  • Light string cheese (made with 2% milk) – The Sargento brand has 50 calories in each piece. String cheese provides a nice amount of calcium and protein.  For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, pair with with a piece of fruit or whole grain crackers.
  • Beanitos – The original is made with black beans, and are great with salsa.  They’re high in fiber and protein and contain no sugar. The other varieties and more information about beanitos can be found here
  • Edamame – Looking for something different?  Edamame (Japanese soy bean) is high in fiber and protein, low in calories and fat.  It’s a great source of calcium, iron and protein
  • Garden Lite muffins –  Found in the frozen section, they come in a variety of flavors, such as zucchini chocolate, banana chocolate chip, and blueberry oat.  Made with veggies and fruits.  Tasty, low-calorie, good source of fiber and gluten-free.  
  • Kind Healthy Grain Bars – contain a variety of healthy grains,(quinoa, oats, buckwheat) good source of fiber.  Awesome variety of flavors, including Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Blueberry, and more. 

How to Use the Internet to Lose Weight

Want to lose 5, 10, or more pounds?

The internet provides some great online tools to help jumpstart your weight loss program, and many of them are free.

To determine calorie intake needed to lose weight or maintain your weight loss:

Calculator.net provides a simple calculator to determine calorie needs. You simply type in your age, gender, height, current weight and choose your activity level. Other links at this site include a body fat calculator and a BMR (basal metabolic rate) calculator.

To keep a food diary: 

My Food Diary offers a 7-day free trial, then costs $9 a month.  This site features a food diary, exercise diary, and a body log to track your progress (weight and measurements). You’ll also find a blog with weight management related categories such as: exercise, lifestyle, nutrition, recipes, etc.

Nutrimirror.com: Free to join. You can keep online logs of food intake and exercise. Downloadable resources include printable food logs, printable nutrition facts and others. Also includes BMI and other calculators. Offers an online tutorial to get you started with the site’s features. Provides personalized reports and statistics to track your progress.

Support groups and weight management programs:

  1. Calorie Count:  Free. Get weight management support from a 5 million member community. Provides calorie counts for foods, phone apps, healthy recipes, a blog that provides tips and success stories. You can also get weight management advice from a team of experts. This site even has a self-directed exercise plan with “how-to” directions for individual exercises.
  2. Weight Loss Buddy: Free. With this site, you find a buddy by filling out a short profile and browsing the buddy results. You can also join a team, ask diet advice from the panel of experts, and your own diet page with plenty of weight loss tools.

These are just a couple of options.  Others include SparkPeople, ExtraPounds, and the oldie but still dependable, Weight Watchers ($)

Blogs for fun and motivation – For Weight Loss and Fitness:

Three Fat Chicks

Roni’s Weigh

Cranky Fitness

Carrots and Cake

Looking for healthy recipes? 

Fruits & Veggies: More Matters

My Recipes

Mayo Clinic Weight Management

How about some healthy snacks?

19 Healthy Snack Ideas

Healthy Snacks from AllRecipes.com

The Minimalist Guide to Eating Healthier

Eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated. Nowadays, supermarket shelves are filled with nutritious foods for meals and snacks. We just have to ignore those shelves of donuts, candies, cookies, and all those overly processed foods that wreak havoc on our bodies as well as our minds.

If you’ve made up your mind to eat more nutritiously, here are some easy ways to do it:

In the produce department, opt for brightly-colored fruits and vegetables.

  • Dark green and red salad greens. Skip iceberg lettuce. Instead choose nutrient-filled options: kale, spinach, Swiss chard, romaine, red or green leaf lettuce, bibb or Boston lettuce. To add fiber to your salad, add celery, cabbage, cauliflower, and green pepper.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts – They are “super vegetables,” according to this WebMD article. These veggies contain phytochemicals, nutrients, and fiber, all very important for our daily diets.
  • Citrus fruits: Oranges, tangerines, clementines, lemons, limes – for vitamin C.
  • Berries of all kinds for their anti-oxidant powers. Apples because they’re crunchy and good with peanut butter. Bananas to top your cereal.
  • More must-have veggies: tomatoes (contain lycopene for fighting cancer) – carrots (containing vitamin A and C) – bell peppers (contain lycopene and folic acid)
  • Sweet potatoes – contain great cancer-fighting nutrients, high in fiber and iron)

You get the picture. Fill up that cart with fruit and veggies and your body will thank you.

While fresh fruits and vegetables are the best choice, frozen produce is a good second choice. They are usually frozen right after they ripen and are harvested, so their nutrients remain intact.

Fiber is fundamental! We need 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Fiber keeps us feeling fuller between meals, helps with weight management and can lower our risk of heart disease and cancer. Eating more veggies and fruits will help provide our dietary fiber. Other options include:

  • Whole-grain breads and cereals. Brown rice. Beans of all kinds. Whole-grain pastas. Read more about the benefit of a high-fiber diet here.
  • Tips for buying breads from WebMD (Avoid bread “myths”)

In the meat department, be a savvy shopper – think lean.

  • Choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets. For any chicken cuts you buy, choose the skinless variety.
  • Ground turkey, extra lean ground beef (90% + lean).
  • Look for the word “loin” in pork products (pork tenderloin, etc.).
  • Leanest beef: round steak, round roasts, top sirloin, chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
  • Fatty fish such as trout, tuna, salmon and mackerel.

Choose good snacks.

  • Nuts of all kinds (not salted and dry-roasted)
  • Instead of buying packaged cookies, make your own and look for recipes that use whole wheat flour, oatmeal, fat substitutes and less sugar)
  • “Light” string cheese – low-fat cottage cheese in single serve packages –
  • Plain Greek non-fat yogurt (add your own fruit and some honey to sweeten it up a tad)
  • Frozen fruit bars – Dole has a good variety, around 70 calories each (with some added sugar)
  • Moderate amounts of dark chocolate – try strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate
  • Kind bars – filled with nutritious ingredients and taste great  Check ’em out at the Kind Website.
  • Find a list of fat-fighting snacks in this article from Health.com.

Miscellaneous:

Use monounsaturated oils for cooking and salad dressings: canola, olive, or peanut oil

Drink more water and unsweetened iced tea rather than sugary drinks

Add ground flax seed to your oatmeal and fruit smoothies

Eat protein with breakfast – egg, turkey sausage or turkey bacon, etc.

For further reading:

Harvard School of Public Health: Vegetables and Fruits

Great Guidelines for Eating Healthier

How to make wise protein choices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miscellaneous tips:

Eat the right fats – choose monounsaturated (canola, peanut, olive oil)

Drink water and unsweetened iced tea instead of sugary drinks.