Wednesday, 29 August 2007

5 simple tips to supercharge your diet

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My fiance is an avid collector of women's health and fitness magazines, something I'm certainly not going to complain about (even if they are occasionally scattered across the coffee table, usually with a cat or two splayed out on top of them). These magazines are great resources for exercise and nutrition tips, which is why I commonly take a quick flip through them (it has nothing to do with the attractive women featured inside, I swear ;). While thumbing through a recent edition of Fitness Magazine, I happened upon a great piece on 5 simple ways to "Supercharge Your Diet."

Here is what the folks at Fitness suggested:

1 - Try a Fat-Free Greek-style Yogurt: Regular yogurt does have its health benefits (acidophiles, vitamins, calcium, etc.), but it also has a great deal of sugar and calories. Even the low-fat versions are typically quite high in sugar. But, Greek-style yogurt is different; containing about 13 grams of protein and 6 grams or fewer of added sugar per serving.

2 - Whole Grain Crackers Instead of White Bread: White bread is very nasty on blood glucose levels. It will cause them to spike higher than will a slice of chocolate cake!! Whole grain crackers, by contrast, take much longer to digest, which means that their effect on your blood sugars will be far more in range. Plus, the added fiber -- combined with the longer digestion I just mentioned -- will leave you feeling fuller for a longer period of time than will white bread.

3 - Beans and Beans: Brown rice is better for you than white rice, basically for the same reasons listed in #2 about whole grain crackers versus white bread. But, brown beans are an even better option. If you're a beans and rice fan, maybe try a little beans and beans instead. One cup of kidney beans has 16 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein. For variety, try making a dish with kidney, black, and cannellini beans.

4 - Eat the Whole Egg: The egg-white omelet has become quite popular, largely because the white was touted as being the healthy part of the egg. While it is true that most of the egg's protein is found in the white, all of its nutrients are found in the yolk. The only word of caution is that the verdict is still out on whether or not egg yolks can contribute to a raise in cholesterol (although I've seen recent evidence to suggest that it doesn't).

5 - The Healthier PB&J Sandwich: Ditch the low-fat peanut butter and replace it with a healthy, regular version. Peanut butter is loaded with good fats (monosaturated), which are great for protecting your heart. Plus eating good fats with bread (as you would with a peanut butter sandwich) will slow down the absorption of the carbs found in the bread, therefore making them less likely to effect blood sugars and potentially be stored as fat. Just be sure to find a healthy version of peanut butter (i.e. not one loaded in sugar). As for the jelly, opt for the low-sugar or no-sugar kind. Most of these will be flavored with Splenda or some other sugar substitute. So, if you're the type that likes to avoid eating these chemically produced sweeteners, instead choose a jelly that is made from 100% fruit and does not contain any sugars beyond those found naturally in the fruits themselves.

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