Tag Archives: veggies

8 Myths and Facts About Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits-and-VegetablesWe all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. However, you’ve probably heard some things about fruits and veggies that are touted as facts but aren’t necessarily entirely true. Many rumors were started when low-carb diets became the latest trend. The natural “sugar” in fruit and the starch in potatoes also got a bad rap.

Here are some of the common myths about fruits and vegetables, as well as the facts you should know:

Myth 1: Fresh is best
Many people believe that only fresh fruits and vegetables count toward your daily intake. In fact, all fresh, dried, and frozen fruits and veggies can be used to make up your daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. All forms are full of essential nutrients. The most important thing is that you eat them!

Myth 2: Juice is bad
Consuming 100% juice is nutritious for you and an easy way to add fruits and veggies to your healthy diet. However, drinking all your fruits and veggies doesn’t cut it. You should mix in other sources fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Myth 3: Organic is more nutritious
In fact, there is no proof that organic fruits and vegetables are more nutritious for you than traditionally harvested fruits and vegetables. If you are concerned about consuming pesticides, the risk associated with consuming them is far less than the risk of not eating enough fruits and veggies.

Myth 4: Potatoes are fattening
When potatoes are dripping with butter, bacon and high-fat cheese or deep-fried, then they are full of calories, fat and cholesterol. A plain medium potato can actually help with weight loss. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, B6 and fiber. And, potatoes have more potassium  than bananas.

Myth 5: Colorful fruits and veggies are better
In general this is a good rule to follow, but white foods have appealing nutritional values, too. Cauliflower is full of antioxidants, vitamin C and folate. Mushrooms and cabbage also provide many vitamins and minerals.

Myth 6: Vegetarian diets are lacking
Research has shown that vegetarian diets and lifestyles can lead to maintaining optimal health and having a longer life expectancy. The key to a healthy diet is providing your body with a balanced amount of nutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Myth 7: Sugar in fruits is bad
Fruits do contain sugar, but this is different than the added sugar in many of our processed foods. Added sugar lacks the multiple health benefits of fruits, such as phenols, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Myth 8: Fruits and veggies are expensive
Even on a budget, you can include fruits and vegetables in your regular diet. You may even find that buying fruits and veggies is less expensive that some of the more processed foods that come in boxes and packages.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, what matters most is MORE. Americans overall are not eating enough fruits and veggies, and studies are showing they have an even greater role in human health than we once believed. Enjoy your fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow every day!

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Most Fattening and Healthy Summer Foods

bbq-spare-ribs-1091654-mWe tend to be more active during warm weather. You may be doing yard work, taking walks, swimming or biking around your neighborhood.

Yet, summertime is also about lazy days and relaxing. I try to spend as much time as possible lounging at the pool, going to backyard barbecues or watching ball games.

And while I’m doing outdoor activities, I also end up eating. We may snack or drink something sugary while at the pool. Picnics and barbecues are laden with fattening meats, salads and frozen desserts. Not to mention, ballpark foods can be some of the worst things to eat.

Let’s take a look at some of the more fattening summer foods, and then we can talk about healthier alternatives.

Here are some of the more fattening summer foods to avoid:

Barbecued meat
Big hunks of steak, ribs and hamburgers can be rough on your waistline. Pork and beef ribs are the fattiest part of the animal. Large cuts of meat can weigh in at more calories and fat than you should eat in an entire day. Hot dogs, sausages and bratwurst are also high in fat, calories and sodium.

Mayonnaise-based salads
What goes with hot dogs and summer parties? All those yummy salads and side dishes, such as coleslaw, potato salad and chilled pasta salads. A half of a cup of potato salad can have 180 calories and 12 grams of fat. Coleslaw is almost as bad.

Ice cream sandwiches
Ice cream sandwiches, cones, sundaes and all those tasty treats can pile on the calories. An ice cream sandwich made of two cookies filled with vanilla ice cream can be as many as 500 calories.

Fried dough
Deep fried flour, butter, shortening and sugar are one of the worst sources of trans fat. While funnel cakes and elephant ears may seem like a taste of heaven, they will contribute to bad cholesterol levels and summer weight gain.

Sweet drinks
Homemade lemonade on a hot summer day sounds refreshing, but it is one of those deceiving drinks. Lemonade is full of sugar – with as many calories as you would get from a full-sugared soda. It also doesn’t really count as a serving of “fruit juice.”

Be wary of frozen or chilled alcoholic drinks. While delicious and tempting when it’s hot outside, the calories will add up in a hurry. Pina coladas and daiquiris can have up to 800 calories each.

Salty snacks
While eating a handful of potato chips or cheese puffs is okay, snacking on a bag or box all day long can be bad for your healthy diet. Nachos and cheese, movie popcorn and caramel popcorn can also add up to a lot of calories and fat.

Fried chicken
A bucket of fried chicken is great for picnics and summer gatherings, but eating several pieces means more calories and fat. Deep fried drumsticks at fairs and carnivals are actually turkey legs and can be close to 1,000 calories.

Corn dogs
Another fattening food found at summer fairs, carnivals and ballparks is the corn dog. Once again, deep fried foods add extra calories and trans fats to your diet.

Here are some healthier picks for your summer eating habits:fresh-fruits-810609-m

Grilled chicken
Put some skinless chicken breast on the grill or make chicken kabobs. Create veggie kabobs with zucchini, bell peppers and squash to add some color and loads of antioxidants.

Corn on the cob
Corn on the cob (without the butter and salt) is a good source of fiber and part of a low-calorie diet. You can also cut the corn off the cob and use it in salads or healthy salsas. You can even throw it on the grill with your chicken and other vegetables.

Fruit salad
Summer fruits make a great, nutritious salad. You can mix together all your favorite fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, apple chunks, kiwi, cantaloupe, honey dew, raspberries, blackberries, grapes and more. Fruits are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and are a source of fiber.

A veggie platter
Cut up a variety of vegetables to create a nutritious snack platter. You can include carrots, cucumbers, celery, green peppers and more. For another healthy snack option, munch on pickles, olives or cheese cubes.

Unsweetened ice tea
A glass of tea can be a refreshing summer drink filled with antioxidants. Tea has zero calories as long as you make it yourself with black or green tea and leave out the sugar. It’s just as beneficial whether it’s hot or cold.

Salsa
Salsa can give you a more healthy option over dips made with cream cheese or mayo. You can use it with tortilla chips, crackers or even veggies.

Watermelon
Watermelon is a tasty snack and a good way to rehydrate if you’re spending time in the sun. It also acts as a source of lycopene, known to fight cancer.

You can still eat healthy when you head out to all those summer activities. Pack your cooler with refreshing, low calorie snacks, such as fruits, veggies and lower fat meats. Also be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

If you’re eating at the ballpark, fair, carnival or local ice cream parlor, try to make healthier choices or scale down your potions to avoid eating large amounts of calories or fats.

By making good food choices, you can keep your waistline trim all summer long!