The Wellness Corner … by Judith Wallace, RN, FCN




In order to achieve a healthy weight, one must consider activity levels as well as food intake.  Be sure to get 20-30 minutes of active walking (not strolling), or other exercise (swimming, biking) at least 5 days a week.  Exercise boosts metabolism and helps you burn the calories you eat.

No one likes to think about counting calories and cutting out decadent treats during the summer picnic months.  But you can achieve weight loss if you think more about food color, portion size and nutrient content.  Be sure to try the nutritionally rich, low-calorie foods below each day to help you slim down this summer.  And don't forget to drink plenty of water!  The combinations will help you feel satisfied, substitute good calories for empty ones and help increase energy levels so that you can take those daily walks.

Tomatoes and Peppers: Colorful fruits and vegetables get their wide range of vivid colors from health-protecting substances such as lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin A.  Use them generously in dishes to enhance nutrients with very few calories.

   1.  Choose firm, well-shaped tomatoes that are fragrant and intensely   

        colored, store at room temperature and enjoy within a few days.

   2.  Keep canned petite diced tomatoes on hand for a low-calorie and

        nutritious addition to salads, pastas, soups, casseroles or dips.     

        Surprisingly, canned tomatoes are highly nutritious!

   3.  Roasted peppers do wonders for any dish or alone as a side dish.  Roast   

        them yourself or buy them already roasted in a jar for added color and  


Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries -- these colorful berries contain loads of antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage.  They are also an excellent source of fiber and very low in calories.  Eat them by the handful or work more of them into your salads, cereals and side dishes.

   1.  Get your day started with a healthy dose of fiber and antioxidants.  Enjoy

        whole-grain cereal, pancakes, or waffles topped with fresh or frozen


   2.  Skip the decadent dessert and satisfy your sweet tooth with a bowl of

        fresh mixed berries.

   3.  Mix fresh berries into a spinach or mixed green salad for a refreshing and

        filling first course.

Yogurt: Yogurt and other low-fat dairy products are great sources of calcium and protein.  They may also help you lose weight.  Research suggests that dairy food, when part of a reduced-calorie diet, can enhance weight loss while strengthening bones and keeping you feeling full and satisfied.

   1.  Substitute low-fat frozen yogurt for premium ice cream for added

        nutrition and fewer calories.

   2.  Make a quick batch of smoothies for a nourishing family breakfast or

        snack using any fresh or frozen fruit, plain low-fat yogurt, 100% fruit

        juice, and ice - buzz them in your blender - yummy!

   3.  Read the label and find healthy, low-calorie portable yogurt smoothies for

        meals on the go.

Beans: Beans are an excellent substitute for meat.  They are a great source of protein, full of fiber and capable of filling you up with very few calories.  They come ready-to-eat in the can or frozen, or dried for slow cooking.

   1.   Have several varieties of canned beans in your cupboard (or frozen in

         your freezer) to toss into salads, soups, stews, pasta, salsa, or rice


   2.  Dried beans must be soaked in water for several hours or overnight to

        rehydrate them before cooking.

   3.  Make a quick high-fiber, high-protein salad with a variety of drained and

        rinsed canned beans (pinto, chickpeas, and black beans) and light Italian

        salad dressing.

Mango: Mangoes are high in fiber and a rich source of potassium and vitamins A and C, with only 135 calories for the entire fruit.  The center makes it a bit tricky to slice up but the extra effort is worth it.

   1.  Increase your intake of potassium the easy way.  Simply slice up a mango

        and eat.

   2.  Chop mangoes then toss into salsas or chutneys for a tropical treat on

        grilled fish.

   3.  Stock your pantry with mango juice for a quick and nutritious smoothie.

   4.  Put spoon-sliced mangoes on top of pancakes, waffles, French toast,

        whole-grain cereal, salads, cakes, yogurt, and puddings.

Water: Most of us don't drink enough water, especially in the summer when it's easy to get dehydrated in the hot weather.  Nothing quenches your thirst quite like a glass of water and there are no calories whatsoever!  Drinking a glass of water before meals will also help you to feel full.

   1.  Don't rely on thirst; this sensation diminishes with age.  Drink often and

        choose from nutritious liquids, including 100% fruit and vegetable juices,

        skim or low-fat milk, broths, sparkling water, and teas.

   2.  You can also get fluids from foods, especially those that are liquid or

        nearly so at room temperature.  Try gelatin, frozen yogurt, soups,

        watermelon, pickles, oranges, lettuce and tomatoes.

   3.  Jazz up zero-calorie plain or sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice,

        slices of citrus, or rounds of cucumber for a refreshing beverage.

By focusing on these simple tips, you can have a healthier summer and perhaps lose a few pounds! 




Be Well! 

Sources:  WebMD, CDC, Eating Well.







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