Tag Archives: healthy food choices

Swap Junk Food With Healthy Food

cupcakes-1155519-mWhy are the foods that taste so good so bad for us? I love chips, soda, fast food and anything that’s called dessert.

Unfortunately, most adults and one in three children in this country are overweight or obese. Once we’ve developed the habit of eating unhealthy and extremely tasty foods, it’s really hard to make the switch to an all healthy diet.

Changing the way you eat can be easier if you start by taking small steps in the right direction. You can identify your worst “bad food” habits and replace them with healthier choices.

High calorie favorites
Most of our calories come from foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats. At the top of the list are sweets like cookies and cakes, as well as yeast breads. You may also get extra calories from fried or baked chicken dishes, sodas and sports drinks. Pizza, pasta, tortilla dishes, beef dishes and alcohol also pile on the calories.

Eat less of these foods:

  • Salt
  • Fast food
  • Saturated fats
  • Solid and trans fats
  • Added sugar
  • Refined grains

Eat more of these foods:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean protein
  • Seafood
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy oils

You can make small changes to your eating habits and make a big difference in your calorie intake. Here are some ways you can swap out less healthy choices for healthier options:

Breakfast

  • Swap sugary cereals for whole grain cereals with no sugar added and add fresh or dried fruit.
  • Swap whole milk for 1% fat or even skim milk.
  • Swap full fat Greek yogurt for fat-free Greek style yogurt
  • Swap a glass of juice for real fruit

Lunch

  • Swap fatty meats for lean protein and seafood. Shoot for at least 8 ounces of fish a week.
  • Swap white bread, pasta or rice for whole grain varieties.
  • Swap butter and cheese for low-fat or fat-free options. Use olive or canola oils that are good for your heart and your waistline.

Dinner

  • Swap fatty cuts of meat for leaner cuts or choose skinless chicken or fish.
  • Swap mashed potatoes or fries for sweet potato options or choose more colorful veggies.
  • Swap creamy or cheesy sauces for tomato or vegetable-based sauces.
  • Swap pan-frying with grilling when cooking meat.

Drinks

  • Swap whole milks for skim milk in your coffee or when you drink a glass of milk.
  • Swap sweet tea for unsweetened tea.
  • Swap sugary drinks for a glass of water.

Watch your serving size
Our portion sizes have gotten out of control in recent years. When you go to a restaurant, you get enough food to feed three people. Buffets also create a challenge because it’s hard to realize how much you’ve eaten. Start downsizing to healthier portions. You can learn to eyeball your food to make sure you are eating the right amount.

Shrink your plate
You were probably told to clean your plate when you were growing up. Just like portions, our dinner plates at home and in restaurants have gotten bigger. If you clean your plate, you’re probably eating too much. Start eating on smaller plates, and you will find that you eat less.

It’s hard to give up all of your favorite foods at once and switch to healthier options. Focus on one area at a time. For instance, start by making healthy changes in your breakfast routine. Then, switch out fatty meat options for more lean protein at lunch and dinner. Next, cut back on refined grains and choose whole grain.

By making smaller adjustments over time, you will soon find that you don’t even miss your old favorites!

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11 Tips to Eating Healthy When Dining Out

rusted-neon-green-and-white-cafe-sign-1337952-mSummertime can mean more time spent dining out. With three kids in summer sports, we often end up eating fast food between games or going out to a restaurant after the evening’s activities are finished.

We also spend more time traveling, going on vacation or visiting family and friends. It can be tempting to indulge in foods that are not necessarily part of your normal eating habits. It is also easy to eat as many as 2,000 calories in just one meal.

While you may dine out more in the summer, it doesn’t mean you have to sabotage your healthy eating habits. The key is to pay attention to your food choices and make sure that you are choosing healthy options.

Here are 11 tips to selecting healthy food choices when dining out:

Think about your beverage
Sodas and sugary drinks are a huge source of calories. Stick with water, or you can order unsweetened iced tea or fat-free or low-fat milk.

Get dressing on the side
Salad dressing can also add unnecessary calories. Request that your salad dressing be served on the side. Then, you can use only what you need. You may also want to choose vinaigrette or oil-based dressing rather than creamy dressings to cut down on calories.

Request whole-wheat bread
If you’re at a restaurant that serves bread before your meal arrives, ask for whole-wheat bread. You can also request whole-wheat bread on your sandwich or as a bun. In addition, order brown rice instead of white rice, and whole-wheat pasta instead of white pasta.

Find hidden calories
You can keep an eye out for the most fattening foods at restaurants by reading the menu closely. Watch for words like deep-fried, sauteed, battered, breaded, cheesy, creamy, buttered or creamy. These phrases are usually signs you’ll be eating extra fat and calories.

Ask how it’s cooked
How your food is prepared makes a big difference. If the menu description isn’t clear, ask how the item is cooked. For instance, baking fish with herbs and veggies adds very few calories and fat compared to deep-frying or even sauteeing in sauces or butter. Other great cooking options include grilling, broiling, roasting, poaching and steaming.

Order sauces on the side
Even if you’re ordering a salad or a fish dish that appears to be healthy, be wary of the dressing or sauce. You may be getting tons of calories without even realizing it. As we mentioned earlier, you can request to have these add-ons served on the side. Better yet, you may find that some dishes taste great even without the added sauces. It’s also best to choose marinara or tomato sauce over an alfredo or cream-based sauce.

Choose fruits and veggies
Pick vegetables sides, such as broccoli, cauliflower, corn, green beans, peas or lima beans. You may be able to select a fruit as a side or even for dessert. Just like at home, try to make fruits and vegetables half your plate.

Substitute
You can make substitutions if your meal comes as a platter or combination. Ask to substitute a vegetable for french fries. Or, if your main dish comes with coleslaw, ask for a salad or fresh fruit instead.

Mind your portions
Portions have gotten out of control over the years. It is even more likely you’ll be served an over-sized portion at a restaurant. You can control your portions by splitting a dish with someone else, ordering appetizers as your main dish, or taking home leftovers.

Share dessert
While extremely tasty, desserts at restaurants are typically loaded with calories and fat. To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can split a dessert with a dinner companion. Or, if you’re dining out with a group, order a few desserts to share. You can also order fresh fruit to help balance these more decadent desserts.

Eat slowly and enjoy
Take the time to enjoy your food. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you’re full. If you eat quickly, you are more likely to overeat. Chew your food slowly and be mindful of what you are eating. Savor your food. Eating should be relaxing. When you enjoy your meal, you digest better and feel more satisfied.

You can also prepare ahead of time when you know you might dine out. Plan a light lunch if you know you’re going out to eat for dinner.

You should still eat regular meals rather than skipping meals and over-indulging later. You also don’t want to go to a restaurant starving and then eat too much. Balance your meals throughout the day so you can enjoy eating out without overeating.

10 Healthy Foods to Stock in Your Pantry

Best foods to keep in your pantryI keep a lot of junk food in my pantry. I have three kids involved in multiple sports, and it seems like we are always running somewhere. We grab a snack bar or a prepackaged, sugar-loaded treat. If I fix a meal, it comes out of a box or a frozen package because it’s quicker than cooking from scratch.

One of the easiest ways to improve your diet is to stock your pantry with healthy foods. Keeping nutritious yet convenient staples in your cabinets will encourage you to make healthier choices.

First, let’s clean out the bad foods to make room for the healthy foods. Here are some of the worst offenders you should ban from the house:

  • Sodas and sugary drinks – give you added calories without any nutrients.
  • Potato chips – contain bad fats and salt.
  • Cookies, snack cakes and cupcakes – these sweet treats include refined flour, sugar and saturated fats, all ingredients we need to cut out of our diets.
  • Cereal, muffins and cereal bars – these breakfast foods are full of added sugar.
  • Buttery microwave popcorn – contains large amounts of trans fat and salt.
  • White breads, white pasta and white rice – the refining process removes most of the nutrients and leaves empty carbs and salt.
  • Vegetable and corn oil – small amounts of oil are okay, but extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil are better choices.

Now, we can stock the pantry with 10 healthy and nutritious food choices:

Canned tuna, chicken or salmon
Tuna and salmon are filled with omega-3s and protein. Chicken is also a good source of protein. Canned or in a pouch, you can make a quick sandwich, add it to salad or create a healthy casserole.

Oatmeal and whole grain cereals
Oatmeal is high in protein, low in salt and packed with fiber. You can use low sugar instant oatmeal for a quick breakfast. You probably have boxes of cereal in your cabinets. However, the best cereal choices have whole grain as the first ingredient and are a good source of fiber. Stay away from any cereals with more than 8 grams of sugar per serving.

Whole grain pasta
Make a quick meal with whole grain pasta and a zesty marinara or spaghetti sauce. You can also add vegetables to your pasta for even more healthy benefits.

Marinara sauce
Marinara sauce is a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You can use sauce with pasta, homemade pizza, or with whole grain tortillas to make a healthy wrap. You can even add it to chicken dishes or use it to top burgers. Marinara has vegetables in every serving!

Canned beans
Beans – including white, black, kidney and garbanzo – are a good source of protein, fiber and phytochemicals. Make sure you choose “no salt” or “low salt” options. Just rinse and drain the beans before you add to soups, salads or casseroles.

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Olive oil contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and phytochemicals. Use olive oil as a dip for bread or an ingredient for salad dressing. You can use flavored olive oils for dipping vegetables or crackers, or when cooking fish, chicken or vegetables. Balsamic vinegar has a light flavor and can be mixed with olive oil to jazz up salads and vegetables.

Green tea bags
Green tea provides many health benefits, including being a source of two powerful flavonoids – anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin. These flavonoids have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is also a healthy drink choice, instead of grabbing a soda or sugary drink.

Canned fruit and veggies
Select no salt added canned vegetables for good nutrition and convenience. You can eat veggies as a side or add them to soups or salads. Canned fruit – in its own juice – is also a good staple for your pantry.

Low salt snacks
Add some unsalted nuts to your pantry so you can grab them for a quick snack. Nuts have three times the fiber and protein of potato chips and much less salt. You can also make your own trail mix by combining different types of nuts and dried fruit.

Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants. Dark chocolate and cocoa may also help you relax, reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. However, chocolate still has fat, sugar and calories so a little bit goes a long way!

By keeping healthy staples in your pantry, you can make nutritious food choices even when you’re in a hurry. What are some of your favorite healthy must-haves to stock in your pantry?

12 foods that reduce stress

Citrus fruits help alleviate stressWhen I feel stressed, I want to indulge in food choices that are bad for me. I start craving comfort foods like candy bars, potato chips, cookies or even iced coffee.

Those foods we like to grab when we’re having a rough day can actually increase our stress levels. You should avoid too much coffee and other caffeinated drinks. They can cause anxiety and make it harder to concentrate. Salty snacks and sweet treats can be full of simple carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar, and then cause you to be tired and unmotivated when you come down from the sugar rush.

The good news is there are foods that can help you lower your stress levels. Here are 12 healthy foods that can alleviate tension and are good for you:

Turkey
Turkey contains tryptophan, which is a feel-good amino acid that triggers the production of serotonin and melatonin. These chemicals have a calming effect and can help you feel more relaxed.

Citrus fruit
Oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and can help boost your immune system. The vitamin C also brings down your blood pressure after a stressful situation, helping relieve anxiety.

Nuts and seeds
Nuts are packed with Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids and can help reduce stress. Almonds have B and E vitamins, which are good for your immune system. Walnuts and pistachios help lower blood pressure. Sunflower seeds have that feel-good tryptophan.

Salmon
Salmon has Omega 3 essential fatty acids and helps boost your serotonin levels. Salmon and other fish also help keep the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, at a steady level.

Avocados
Avocados sometimes get a bad wrap because they are high in fat. But, it’s a good kind of fat. They also contain potassium, which helps decrease blood pressure and has a relaxing effect.

Spinach
Spinach gives you magnesium – a mineral that helps you feel more calm. Magnesium can also prevent headaches and a feeling of fatigue. Spinach is also a good source of fiber and can boost your energy levels.

Oatmeal
Oats have magnesium, which we know is calming, and potassium to help lower blood pressure. In addition, the complex carbohydrates in oatmeal can help you produce more serotonin.

Sweet potatoes and carrots
These orange, root vegetables can help you boost your serotonin levels with fiber and carbohydrates. They also have beta-carotene and other vitamins that are good for boosting immunity.

Green vegetables
Green veggies, such as broccoli and kale, are great sources of vitamins. These nutrients can help replenish your body in times of stress.

Bananas
Bananas are known for potassium which helps fight fatigue and are good for your blood sugar. Bananas are also a great source of carbs and can help produce serotonin. Choose a banana over other sugary or starchy options.

Whole grains
Brown rice and whole wheat choices are better for you than white rice or bread. Whole grains are full of B vitamins and serotonin, which help you relax without feeling fatigued.

Dark chocolate
If you’re hit with a chocolate craving, opt for a dark chocolate snack. Dark chocolate contains magnesium which helps alleviate tension. It also has theo bromine and can naturally elevate your mood. Just remember to indulge in moderation.

The next time you feel like hitting the vending machine or ordering french fries, consider one of the healthy options above. Not only can you help reduce your stress levels, you will also feel good about making a healthy food choice.

9 ways to eat healthy this 4th of July

4th of July and healthy eating tipsI look forward to 4th of July every year – partly for the amazing fireworks, but also for the tasty picnic food. However, backyard barbecues held on the 4th of July tend to be less than healthy.

I made a commitment to healthier, more balanced eating at the beginning of this year. So, I am a little worried about the 4th of July spread of yummy potluck and picnic foods.

Here are 9 ways to eat healthy this 4th of July without giving up the fun, festivities and good food:

Eat healthy foods first
Starting with healthy food choices first will help fill you up so that you are less likely to pig out on the bad stuff. Salads, fruits and vegetables are a great way to begin. You can also add some protein to help you feel full sooner.

Put color on your plate
The MyPlate healthy eating guidelines recommend that you fill your plate at least half full with fruits and vegetables. You can grill skewers that include veggies, such as peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, onions and more. Corn on the cob also tastes great off the grill. It’s easy to throw together a fruit salad with watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, sliced apples, kiwi, etc.

Choose whole wheat
When you load up on white bread, your insulin levels spike and your body goes into fat storage mode. Eating whole-wheat breads and grains can help keep fat storage at bay and allow your body to maintain a steady insulin level.

Grill healthy
We recently wrote about healthy grilling tips. While you need to be aware of the toxins that can be produced from grilling, you can take advantage of the benefits of grilling. Choose lean meats to grill or remove excess fat before cooking. You can grill as many fruits and vegetables as you want because they don’t produce harmful substances.

Use small plates
By using a smaller plate, you may find that you eat less than you normally would. You may eat more slowly and even if you go back to fill your plate a few times, you will still end up eating less.

Go easy on dessert
Sugar and refined carbs are some of the worst things to eat. You don’t have to skip the dessert, just take smaller portions. Sample little bits of several different desserts. You will get your dessert fix without feeling like you’ve blown your healthy eating habits.

Drink water
Since it’s normally hot on 4th of July, be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Drinking water will also help you feel fuller and less tempted to graze and overeat. In addition, water is a better option than soda, punch or sugary drinks. Keep in mind that the calories in alcohol can also add up quickly. Pace yourself throughout the day and be sure to drink water as well.

Don’t skip meals
You may be tempted to skip a meal so that you can eat more during the 4th of July festivities. However, this strategy may backfire on you. You are more likely to overeat and make poor food choices. By eating regular meals, your metabolism will burn energy at a steady rate throughout the day.

Stay active
Take advantage of the great outdoors and the summer weather to get in some exercise. You can fit in a game of basketball, volleyball, badminton, softball or even swimming, depending on your location. You can also play horseshoes, bean bag toss or other backyard games. Or just go for a walk – whatever it takes to get you moving and away from the food tables!

Do you have a favorite healthy 4th of July dish? Or do you have tips for sticking to your healthy eating habits during backyard cookouts? We would love to hear from you!

13 foods for fighting cancer

foods that fight cancerThis year, two of my friends have battled cancer. One friend is doing well, and the other passed away. I lost all four of my grandparents to cancer. I guess you could say cancer has been on my mind lately. I have been doing some research into how to prevent and fight cancer.

Do you know the best way to reduce your risk of cancer? Eat a healthy diet.

Experts recommend a plant-based diet. That means eating mostly foods that come from plants, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and beans. Lifestyle choices, bad eating habits and obesity may increase our risk of cancer more than our genetics.

To me, that’s important. By living a more balanced life, including eating a more healthy diet, exercising, getting enough sleep and managing stress, I may be able to fight my chances of having cancer. That sounds good to me!

While researching, these are the top 13 foods that I found were recommended the most often:

cabbage cruciferous vegetableCruciferous vegetables
I will be honest. I didn’t know what cruciferous meant. I had to look it up. Cruciferous means belonging to the plant family Cruciferae, which is basically known as the cabbage family. Examples of these types of vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale. And they all contain phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber that are important to your health. They can also help lower your risks of getting cancer.

It’s important to include a variety of all vegetables in your diet. For instance, carrots and sweet potatoes contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce the chances of many types of cancers.

Dark greens
Dark greens, such as spinach, romaine lettuce, beets and red cabbage, provide fiber, folate and other cancer-fighting carotenoids.

Grapes and red wine
Red grapes contain bioflavonoids that work as powerful antioxidants to help prevent cancer. Grapes are also a rich source of resveratrol, which can inhibit cancer cell growth. Red wine has antioxidants known as polyphenols that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals.

Citrus fruits
Eating more fruits is also good for your health. For one thing, if you’re eating fruit it means you may be passing up less healthy choices made up of sugar and refined flours. (Yes, that means cookies, cake, donuts, etc.) Fruits also provide cancer-fighting benefits. For instance, citrus fruits – such as grapefruits, oranges and lemons – contain monoterpenes. It is believed that monoterpenes sweep carcinogens out of the body to help prevent cancer.

Berries prevent cancerBerries
All berries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Black raspberries have high concentrations of anthocyanins, which help slow down the growth of premalignant cells. Blueberries have also been shown to have many health benefits.

Once again, all fruits are a great addition to your diet. Eat more apples, pears, peaches, plums, pineapples, pomegranates, strawberries, blackberries, red raspberries, bananas, papayas, or any other fruits you like.

Avocados
Avocados are rich in glutathione – another antioxidant that attacks free radicals. They also have potassium and beta-carotene.

Nuts
A handful of walnuts a day can help reduce your risk of cancer. However, all nuts – including peanuts, almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts – make a good snack.

Fish
The omega-3 oils in wild salmon can dramatically reduce your cancer risk. Seafood, such as salmon, cod and shrimp, also have a high concentration of vitamin D.

Flaxseed
Flax contains lignans, which may act as an antioxidant and help block cancerous changes in your cells. Flax also gives you essential fatty acids and other good fats.

Soy products
Soy milk and tofu contain phytoestrogens. These substances help block and suppress cancerous changes.

Garlic and onions fight cancerGarlic
Garlic – as well as onions, leeks, shallots and chives – has many anti-cancer substances. In particular, allicin appears to help break down cancer causing substances and enhance immunity to fight cancer.

Green tea
You’ve probably already heard that green tea offers many health benefits. The antioxidants in green and black tea appear to prevent cancer cells from dividing.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene stops cancer cell growth. Tomatoes also have vitamin C which has been shown to prevent cellular damage that can lead to cancer.

I admit that I would rather grab a cookie or a fudge round than eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans. But as I work at finding more balance in my life, I am noticing time and again that eating a more balanced diet of healthy foods can have a huge impact on all aspects of my life.

14 healthy foods that boost energy

1411446_empty_and_full_1I start to drag in the afternoons at about 2pm. I crave foods that are not the best choices, such as cookies, cake, donuts or any prepackaged sugary treat.

Most of us suffer from fatigue from time to time. We are stressed, often sleep deprived and eat fast food on the go. Our bodies simply run out of fuel. One of the best ways to fight fatigue is by eating foods that boost energy. Smart and healthy food choices can help improve your overall health and well-being. They can also help you feel more energized.

All foods give you energy, but how the energy is released determines which foods are better at helping you feel more invigorated. Caffeine and energy drinks can give you a quick energy boost, but the right foods can help keep you going all day long.

Our fuel comes from the food we eat, but some foods can provide a richer and more long-term source of energy than others. Here are 14 healthy, energy boosting foods:

Vegetables
Green vegetables contain vitamins and minerals – including vitamin B, magnesium and iron – that help boost energy. Some examples include spinach, asparagus and broccoli. Cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, watercress and kale are all high in nutrition and act as energy boosters.

Cereals
Cereals are typically digested slowly so they release over time and help keep your blood sugar more level. Many cereals, such as shredded wheat, corn flakes, bran flakes and oatmeal are good energy boosters. They also contain fiber which helps your body release energy steadily.

Eggs
Eggs are a good source of protein. Protein helps with almost all of your bodily functions so you experience improved energy levels. Eggs also contain iron which is good for sustaining energy throughout the day.

Nuts
All nuts are a good source of minerals and are high in nutrition. Nuts have vitamins A, B and E, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Almonds are a good source of healthy fats and have protein that helps balance out blood sugar. Almonds also improve heart health and may lower risks of some cancers. Walnuts also have energy boosting properties and overall health benefits.

Seeds
Many seeds, including pumpkin and sunflower, are rich in minerals and contain protein. They are also a great source of magnesium and iron.

Fruits
Fresh fruits – apples, oranges, grapes, peaches, watermelon, pineapples, bananas – can give you an energy boost. Fruits have simple carbohydrates or sugars which are easy for your body to break down and use for energy. Fruits are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and water.

Citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes, contain vitamin C which is good for your immune system. Dark berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, are full of antioxidants. They can be good for your heart health by helping to lower blood pressure.

Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are good sources of carbohydrates and potassium. Lentils and other legumes, such as kidney beans and chick peas, help level out blood glucose levels so that you avoid that mid-afternoon crash.

Honey
Honey has been called nature’s energy booster. It is great for building up your immune system. Honey is also a natural remedy for many ailments, such as sore throats, sleeplessness and may even have cancer-fighting properties.

Green and other teas
Green tea gives energy to your entire body. It’s also a great source of antioxidants. Green tea offers many other health benefits, including fight cancer and heart disease, lowering cholesterol, burning fat for weight loss, preventing diabetes and stroke, and staving off dementia.

Chamomile tea is great for calming the mind and reducing stress. Black tea may help lower levels of cortisol when you drink it on a regular basis. Ginger tea is also fused with nutrients and can help you avoid afternoon fatigue.

Yogurt
Eating yogurt gives you both protein and carbohydrates – both of which can give you energy and a feeling of fullness. Yogurt also contains probiotics which are known to aid in healthy digestion.

Water
Our good friend water has so many health benefits. Water keeps your body hydrated and allows it to work at optimum levels. It helps you digest, absorb and process nutrients. If you don’t drink enough water, you can become dehydrated and may experience a feeling of fatigue. So, drink more water!

Peanut butter
Peanut butter that contains monounsaturated fat can be a healthy choice for a snack. It has protein, potassium and iron. Smart snacking with smart carbs and protein-rich foods can help keep your blood sugar level throughout the day and give you the energy to tackle whatever comes your way.

Salmon
Salmon is great source for omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. Cold water fish, like salmon, sardines and tuna, give you more omega-3 fatty acids than warm water fish. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in energy production, brain activity and are good for heart health.

Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate provides energy by supplying your body with magnesium and iron. It contains flavenoids that help keep your blood vessels healthy and reduce inflammation. Dark chocolate may also lower cortisol – a stress hormone that can lead you to eat more and gain weight. That’s plenty of reasons for me to eat chocolate!

So, fuel your body with energy boosting foods. You’ll feel better throughout the day and be on your way to creating a healthier, more balanced you!