Easy healthy holiday Recipes + Tips (Avoid weight gain, EAT Christmas treats & stay healthy!)
Q&A: Best Foods for Weight Loss
I'm trying to lose weight, so I'm drinking protein shakes for breakfast. Is this a good choice? I've heard pros and cons.
Maria Patino, Lake County, IL
Protein (meal replacement) shakes are perfectly fine, and for some people, the convenience of having the same shake for breakfast every day makes dieting mindless and less of a hassle. If you do decide to go this route, it's simple enough to make your own shake in a blender instead of buying a premade version. You get to control what goes in (for example, adding fresh produce gives you fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals) and what doesn't (packaged shakes can contain preservatives, sugar or corn syrup, and unnecessary added vitamins and minerals). Here's the recipe for my Protein Power Smoothie. It's perfect for breakfast or lunch: It has plenty of filling protein to curb your appetite, plus colorful frozen berries for fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural sweetness.
Joy's Protein Power Smoothie
305 cal, 31 g protein
¾ cup milk (skim, soy, or almond)
½ cup frozen raspberries
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (may sub soy/rice/pea protein)
5 ice cubes
I'm confused about how much fish oil should be in my fish oil supplement.
Lorna Stapula, Allendale, MI
Fish oil capsules contain a blend of different types of fatty acids. You want to zero in on the total amount of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, not the total amount of fish oil. If you don't eat fish, I recommend a daily combined dose of 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA to protect your heart and overall health. Read the label closely and add up the EPA and DHA counts; you usually have to take more than one pill to reach 1,000 mg. (Talk to your doctor before taking fish oil, since it can interact negatively with some medications or conditions.)
How do I pick a healthy butter substitute spread? I'm confused by all of the choices at the grocery store.
Dawn McLean, Riverview, FL
The most important thing: Choose one that's trans fat–free. On the Nutrition Facts panel under Total Fat, be sure it says Trans fat 0 g; also, there should be no partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list. If a product has less than 0.5 g trans fat per serving, manufacturers can round down to 0 g, even though the product may have some partially hydrogenated oils.
Also check calories and saturated fat. Choose spreads with no more than 2 g sat fat per serving. If you're watching your weight, choose a "light" one, which has about half the calories and fat of the regular types. If you have high cholesterol, consider spreads with plant stenols or sterols, which can help lower cholesterol. Crave the taste of real butter? Try whipped butter. It's butter made with lots of air, which cuts sat fat and calories. Still, it has 3.5 g sat fat per serving, so use it in small amounts.
Joy's Healthy Spreads
All of these have 0 g trans fat and are free of partially hydrogenated oils. For 1 Tbsp:
Brummel & Brown Spread Made with Yogurt
45 cal, 5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat
The nonfat yogurt (10%) gives this spread a creamy texture.
45 cal, 5 g fat, 1 g sat fat
Good source of omega-3 fats from soybean and canola.
Smart Balance HeartRight Light
50 cal, 5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat
Made with plant stenols, as well as EPA and DHA.
Land O'Lakes Whipped Butter50 cal, 6 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat
Half the calories and 45% less fat than regular butter.
JOY BAUER, RD, is the health and nutrition expert for the TODAY show and bestselling author of Joy Bauer's Food Cures.
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