Saturday, December 24, 2011

Healthy Snacks for Kids and Teens

As soon as your kids and teens get home from school, the first thing they want is a quick snack. Their bodies are running low on energy after a long day in school. They want a boost of energy right away. However, what you give them will mean the difference between a healthy snack and junk food.

Like many parents, you may feed your children snacks such as cookies and processed foods. While these give a quick burst of energy, they’re not the best choice for your child or teenager. Instead of high calorie, high fat treats you need to focus on foods that will provide good nutrition for their growing bodies.

Here are some healthy alternatives for snacks:

Fruits: These are great after school snacks for kids and teens. Keep apples, pears, strawberries, peaches, and plums stocked in your refrigerator to give them choices for eating healthy snacks. To give your children easy access, wash your fruits right after you get home from the store and put them in a bowl for an attractive display.

Veggies: Keep a stock of bite-sized vegetables in your refrigerator. Try cutting up carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and celery and keeping them in the refrigerator. Also keep a vegetable dip handy to add some extra flavor if your children are fussy about eating raw vegetables.

Natural Snacks: The healthiest snacks are those that are found in nature and not processed. You can give your kids and teens nuts, popcorn, dried fruit, string cheese, yogurt, and milk as a snack.

Avoid any snack that has added sugar and saturated fat. You may also want to limit foods that are high in preservatives and have extra coloring.

Dipping fruits or vegetables in peanut butter is a great way to help your children enjoy their flavor without adding unhealthy calories.

Unfortunately, many snacks that are marketed for children aren’t the healthiest for them. As a parent, you’ll have to be diligent in making sure your children are eating healthy snacks.

How to Lose Weight on a Raw Food Diet

If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, then it might be time to look at raw food diet weight loss plans.

Believers of raw food diet weight loss programs say that it is virtually impossible to gain weight on raw food, especially if you are overweight to begin. For that reason there is no particular food plan to follow when you go raw. The only rule is that you do not eat anything that has been cooked or processed using heat over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This automatically rules out almost anything that you would buy in a package or a jar.

Even people of normal weight who switch to a raw diet usually lose weight. The exception might be people who eat a very large amount of nuts. Even then, you will probably find that you lose weight in the beginning. If you hit a plateau where you stop losing for a while, you might want to consider your nut consumption and reduce it if it is very high. The raw food diet is sometimes criticized for having a high level of fat and the culprit is usually nuts.

How to Avoid Temptations When Ordering Takeout

How many times have you given into temptations when ordering takeout food? Come on, be honest now. If you are the average person on a diet, then you’ve experienced times where you fall off the diet wagon and succumb to the many temptations in your daily life. It’s all too easy to be tempted by advertisements of juicy hamburgers so perfectly put together and just waiting for you to order them.

Unfortunately, those ads can sabotage us when we’re trying to stick to our diets. One effective advertisement and you can cost yourself too many calories or fat for the day, but more important is the mental damage it does when you decide to give up your whole diet just because you had one bad day.

It may seem like the only answer to this situation is to stay away from fast food and not watch television commercials for the rest of your life, but that’s not realistic. There are other ways to avoid being tempted by images of diet-killing foods.

What you see isn’t really what you get - Keep this in mind. How often have we seen the image of the perfectly thick hamburger and ordered it – only to find that what you get is a smashed up mess? The temptation is in the perfection. Let go of the image and focus on what it will really look like when you get it. Most of the temptation will be gone.

Get it your way - Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or don’t want. If you decide you need a burger, then order it with no cheese or mayo as an open-faced sandwich. A regular hamburger can satisfy your hunger and will have less fat.

Use drive-thrus - Many times, you plan ahead what you’re going to order, but then you’re hit with large, tempting images on the menus inside the restaurant. Drive through menus have some images, but not as many – and it’s easier to divert your eyes away from the board if you already know what you want to order.

Drive-thrus are also helpful when the smell of the fries boiling in oil tempts you to order the biggest size available. When you go through the drive through, the smell isn’t as apparent as it is inside.

Deliveries - If a restaurant delivers, use it to your advantage. You can plan what you want and order it without having to go to the establishment to see all of the tempting pictures on the wall. If they don’t deliver, ask someone else to go get your food for you.

Sometimes paying a little extra money to someone for doing you a favor can keep you from falling off the diet wagon. Let’s face it, temptations are out there and are noticed more readily by those who are on a diet. Take steps to prepare yourself for those situations ahead of time.