Walk to a Healthier You!

Today is the 9th annual National Walking Day. For the past 9 years the American Heart Association has claimed the first Wednesday in April as National Walking Day. National Walking Day was created by the American Heart Association’s “My Heart, My Life” initiative to push Americans to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

These are some of the benefits of walking: (source: American Heart Association)

•Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid profile
•Reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
•Maintain your body weight and lower the risk of obesity
•Enhance your mental well-being
•Reduce your risk of osteoporosis
•Reduce your risk of breast and colon cancer

Walking Benefits

Save or pin this infographic on Pinterest, as a constant reminder of the benefits of walking. Start your healthier life today!

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Shutdown, Slim Down: Weight, Sleep and Stress

source: nutriciouslife.org

Answer this question: when was the last time you got a good night’s sleep? Not sure? Would you be surprised to know that many Americans exist in a state of chronic sleep deprivation?

According to Dr. Priyanka Yadav, a sleep medicine specialist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center, “An estimated one-third of Americans are sleep-deprived in some way, which is an issue because a lot of important things happen as we sleep.”

Sleep deprivation may be small at first. You skip a REM cycle or two, or miss an hour of sleep here or there. Over time, the number of minutes and hours becomes more pronounced. And don’t even get us started on the quality of that sleep. We’ve all had those mornings where we wake up after a supposed seven or eight hours of sleep, but feel just as tired as we did when we went to bed!

We typically think of the consequences of sleep deprivation as being purely energy-related. That is, a bad case of head fog and relentless afternoon yawn sessions. It’s no secret to doctors and obesity researchers that the number of hours we sleep each night plays a powerful role in our ability to control food intake and maintaining a healthy weight.

Who makes good choices when they’re sleep deprived? No one. While you may not count yourself among the chronically sleep deprived (after all, you don’t look or feel like a member of the Walking Dead), even slight sleep deprivation can take a toll on your emotions – and your waistline. The less you sleep, the more you stress. The more you stress, the more you eat. It’s a vicious, loathsome cycle.

“When you’re sleep-deprived, the frontal cortex of the brain – which controls our ability to plan, problem-solve, and make decisions and naturally blunts the impulse to eat more fatty, carbohydrate-heavy, and caloric foods – is less active,” Dr. Yadav explains.

Think that lack of shuteye is a necessary evil in our go-go-go, 24/7 society? Think again. Too many of the hours we could spend sleeping are wasted on that extra

Netflix episode, or a few “harmless” minutes scrolling through Instagram before bed. If you commit to spending a full 8 hours in bed – without electronics – every night for a week, hopefully you will be well rested come morning.

Are you having trouble falling asleep at night? Try Bell Lifestyle: Sleep and Relax Tea or Bell Life: Sound Sleep. Your mind and your waistline will thank you.

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National Nutrition Month: Plan to Better Health

National Nutrition MonthLet’s be honest, shall we? We all know we could eat better, if we had the time and the motivation. But time is lacking, and it’s hard to get motivated when you’ve made big changes before and experienced less than stellar results. If you’re tired of the vicious yo-yo cycle, you need something more realistic: small, attainable goals that build on each other to produce big results.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we’ve rounded up our easiest, most effective tips to cut calories, manage cravings, and improve nutritional quality. Because after all, weight loss isn’t just about losing weight – it’s also about improving the nutritional quality of our diets. Try adding one challenge a week. By the end of two months, you’ll have reduced hundreds of calories from your diet and be on the way to a healthier, slimmer you. It won’t be fast weight loss, but stick with it! Yo-yo be gone!

  • Look at your beverages! Don’t just assume a beverage is healthy because it’s not a soda. Teas, vitamin water beverages, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, and coffee drinks can have hundreds of calories. Committing to only drinking water or other zero-calorie beverages could help your weight loss process.
  • Read food labels. It will increase your awareness of portion size and calorie content.
  • Consider your energy needs.The average, moderately active adult needs 10-12 calories per 1lb of goal weight. There are many resources available, like calorieking.com, for that provide nutritional information. Calories matter!
  • Measure, measure, measure! Stop eyeballing and start measuring your food and ingredients. Commit to measuring portion sizes for one week, minimum. A few extra calories can make a big difference over the course of weeks and months.
  • Learn to manage hunger by increasing your vegetable consumption. Non-starchy vegetables are so low in calories that you can eat a lot of them (aiding satiety) without adding a tons of unnecessary calories to your daily intake. Eat up!
  • Pay attention to added sugar. Did you know that nearly 80% of foods in the supermarket have added sugar? Adults should consume no more than 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar every day. And yet, the average American consumes 41 teaspoons! Yikes! Sugar can hide in products that don’t taste sweet. Things like salad dressing and marinara sauce are common culprits.
  • Ask yourself if you really need a snack. Often, boredom or other emotions can cause us to eat when we aren’t even hungry. Find a distraction instead. The best distraction removes you from “temptation areas” like the kitchen or house. Go on a walk or run an errand.
  •  Know how to indulge moderately. It’s ok to include your favorite treats as part of your daily diet, just make sure that you follow the suggested serving size. Moderate indulgence means knowing how much to have (remember your daily calorie limits from #3), and enjoying it as a part of a healthy diet.

 

 

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Bedtime Bites: Best PM Snacks

Let’s be honest: everyone loves to eat, and we learn very early on that snack foods are pleasurable. Whether they’re sweet, salty, or cheesy, snack foods are tasty and calorically hefty, and they’re a huge driving force of the obesity epidemic. The average American consumes 500 calories from food and beverages consumed between meals each day (586 for men and 421 for women, respectively). If you’re in need of only 80% of those calories, that’s an extra ten pounds a year!

However, there are times when snacking is in order. If you account for those calories in your daily caloric consumption, there’s nothing wrong with snacking, and it often is necessary: long days, where consumption needs to be stretched out over many hours rather than in three square meals.

We’ve all been in the position where we have calories left to consume before bed: there’s the telltale belly rumble, the void begging to be filled with a nibble or nosh. Bedtime looms on the very near horizon, and now we’re left with a dilemma: go to bed hungry, or eat a smart snack? The smart snack is the more favorable option, but…what makes a smart PM snack, exactly?

String Cheese
According to Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., author of Blood Pressure Down, string cheese is a good choice for a bedtime snack because it provides just enough filling satiety without being too hard to digest, which might disrupt sleep. For a little extra protein, consider wrapping a piece of low fat cheese in a slice or two of deli turkey.

 

Nonfat Greek
Yogurt The low fat content makes this easier to digest than higher fat dairy products, and probiotics can help reduce indigestion. Top with sliced strawberries or blueberries if you need a little something extra.

Nonfat Chocolate Pudding
Calcium-rich, pudding is the perfect healthy dessert, one that’s easily digested thanks to its low fat content. You can even add a little whipped cream for a quick dessert. Try out one of our non fat puddings.

Bananas
Bananas have a lower fiber content than other fruits, providing filling satiety and pleasant sweetness without all the fiber-induced burpy-ness of an apple. Eat as is, or blend with ½ cup nonfat milk and cinnamon for a sweet banana smoothie.

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Eight Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

It’s National Nutrition Month! As part of National Nutrition month, we thought it would be great time to share some tips on heart health. We thought these great tips would help make food choices that may improve your cardiovascular health.

cardiovascular health - nashua nutrition

  1. Consider the Quantity and Quality of your Fats. You’ve undoubtedly heard the terms “healthy fat” and “unhealthy fat”. While some fats are certainly better than others, you should always take care to limit fat consumption to 25-35% of your daily caloric intake, or about 55 grams on a 2000 calorie diet.
  2. Limit Saturated Fat. Foods high in saturated fat are particularly prone to increasing blood cholesterol. As per the American Heart Association, you should consume no more than 5% of your daily calories from saturated fat, or about 120 calories /13 grams saturated fat. Foods high in saturated fat include poultry skin, dark meat poultry, beef, lamb, certain pork products, butter, cheese, lard, shortening, cream and other whole and 2% dairy products.
  3. Eliminate trans fats. Be sure to avoid trans fats, which are often listed as “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils on ingredient lists. Trans fats increase “bad” LDL cholesterol and reduce “good” HDL cholesterol, markedly increasing your likelihood of Type II diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke.
  4. Choose lean proteins. Although we typically think of fish and seafood as the leanest sources of protein, there are lean cuts of most types of meat. While fish, seafood, and poultry are your best bets, be sure to use healthy preparation.
  5. Skip the breading! Breading can add hundreds of extra, unnecessary calories to a dish, even if you choose to bake, rather than fry. Remember to always remove skin from poultry, as poultry skin contains high amounts of saturated fat.
  6. Rethink snacks. The average American eats about 500 calories a day from food between meals alone. These extra calories are fueling the obesity epidemic, and a lot of those calories aren’t from healthy sources of food.
  7. Increase vegetable consumption; reduce caloric consumption. To reduce calories and increase nutrient consumption, try reducing the volume of your “main” dishes by 25%, and replace that volume with vegetables.
  8. Be salt savvy. Commit to reading labels! Most of us consume too much sodium, fueling high blood pressure, especially for those who are already overweight or obese.

 

 

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Avoid Drinking Your Calories: Drink Swaps

This is the 3rd month of Nashua Nutrition’s 6-month plan. For this month’s challenge we ask you to cut down the soda and sugary juices. Drinks that contain added sugar and added flavors have a high-calorie count. Think about the fact that a can of soda (12 fl.oz) can have about 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar. That’s about 8 teaspoons of sugar! If you swap a few of your high calorie, high sugar drinks for low a or no-calorie drink you will save a few hundred calories a day.

Check out some of our favorite swaps that not only help you consume less calories and sugar, but may also help you lose weight.

Nashua Nutrition - Drink Swaps

Visit the Nashua Nutrition Store for low calorie, high protein drinks.

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Easy Way To Cut Calories

We all know by now that calories are essential to weight loss, right? If you’re still not acquainted, a quick primer: Energy balance determines how much you weigh. If you consume more calories than you need, you’ll gain weight. If you create a caloric deficit (by eating less than you need) you’ll lose weight.

Weight loss is ultimately a numbers game. A deficit of 3,500 calories equals 1lb of weight loss. Therefore, to lose 1lb per week, you need to create a daily deficit of 500 calories by reducing your intake. How do you reduce your calorie intake without sacrificing the food that you love, or worse, feeling famished? Here are some easy ways to cut back.

zoodles - nashua nutrition

Try zoodles. Zucchini noodles, that is. A small, specialized peeling tool allows you to create zucchini noodles, boosting your intake of micronutrients and fiber with practically no calories. You get a larger serving size and cut out needless calories from pasta.

Give up the wine. As well as beer, and other sources of alcohol.  Alcohol does not help you stay full, and it can increase your risk of breast cancer. A mere 5oz of wine (just over ½ cup) contains 120 calories. Have a glass three days a week and that’s an extra five pounds in a year.

Use the 75% rule. Instead of changing what you eat (giving up the foods and tastes you love), you can change how much you eat. Try eating ¾ of your typical portion size of grains, fats, and protein, and fill up the remained of your plate with low-calorie vegetables.

open faced sandwich - nashua nutrition

Try open-faced. Open-faced sandwiches are a Scandinavian tradition. By eating a sandwich on one slice of bread instead of two, you can trim your meal by 100 calories.

Stop snacking! America’s endless grazing has grown out of control. Snacking was rare in the 1970’s, when we first began tracking weight data, but has grown more and more common as obesity trends have emerged. Now, we consume about 500 calories a day in snacks alone! Trade out all your snacks for sliced veggies, sans sauce or dip. You can also find some low-calorie snacks and treats at our store.

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No Cook Meal Prep Ideas

You’ve probably heard coworkers, friends, and family members overpraise the virtues of food prepping. “I do three hours of cooking every Sunday!” they tell you chirpily.

Food prepping is great way to eat well and save money. However, if you’d rather spend three hours of your time doing something more exciting, you can try our “no cook food prep” idea.  This is a great way to prep food that is an easy, healthy, go-to options sitting in the fridge, but you don’t spend hours cooking these meals.

If you assemble a virtual “fresh bar” of ingredients that can be mixed and matched to create no-cook or low-cook meals- things that you can grab and go, or dishes that can be assembled in less than 5 minutes. Our favorites?

  • Veggies: Go big here! Broccoli, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, different lettuces and herbs, radishes, cabbage, onions, sprouts, beets, snap peas, green beans, and asparagus can all be housed in different containers and used for salads, snacks, and stir-fries.
  • Proteins: Hard-boiled eggs, portioned deli meat, canned tuna or salmon, cottage cheese, yogurt, and string cheese.Nashua Nutrition Meal prep - fruits
  • Carbs: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and other “hand-held” fruits are perfect, fiber-filled sources of carbohydrate that require no prep. Simple!
  • Sauces: Portion cups of salad dressing, hummus, or cooking sauces to grab and go and put in a pan with some protein and veggies.

All said, there are still times where it’s just not going to happen, or when you crave something you just don’t know how to prepare healthfully. Let’s face it, creamy dishes and high-cal, slim-downs take time and energy, and sometimes you want something that tastes indulgent without having to spend two hours researching on Pinterest.

In those circumstances, it’s best to have some go-to meals stashed in the freezer. These easy, portion-controlled options give you a taste of the flavors you love, without the extra 700+ calories that would come from restaurant fare or a “traditional” recipe.

Between cheesy macaroni, pepper steak, and chicken alfredo, you’ll be sure to find something that will fulfill even your “darkest” cravings, and be ready with a quick blast in the microwave. Check out all of our frozen low-calorie dinners and entrees.

What is the best way to use these dinners? Get creative! Turn fettuccine alfredo into a rich, garden-fresh entree by adding a bag of frozen veggies and some lemon zest, or combine cheese steak macaroni with sautéed peppers and onions. Find a new combo that’s super-satisfying? We’d love to hear!

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