It’s the first full week of the new year! Many of us have made lengthy lists of New Year’s Resolutions that probably include many long-term goals. While long-term goals are great – and necessary for success – sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when you know that your goal is far off in the future. An easy way to avoid that discouragement is to set daily goals that you can meet every single day. Feeling a sense of accomplishment every day will help you stay motivated to reach your future, long-term goals. Here’s a template of simple, healthy goals you can meet every single day. Visit our Pinterest page for a printable version you can hang on your fridge and check off every single day. Good luck, and Happy New Year!
The first day of the New Year inspires many to start a new, healthier lifestyle. For some, the holidays have been a time of over-indulgence. Surveys suggest that the average American reports that they gain about 5 pounds during the holiday season. For others, the previous year has inspired concern with overall health. Studies consistently show that a good diet and regular exercise not only reduce the risk of heart disease, but reduce cancer risks, as well.
Whatever your reason for making healthy changes this year, we have some suggestions to help you make and meet your new goals!
1.) Know Your Numbers
Taking the time to find out your blood pressure, blood glucose level, cholesterol, and body mass index numbers can be a scary task, but deciding to know your numbers can be incredibly empowering. Having this information can help you and your healthcare provider make specific decisions about your diet and exercise plans as you resolve to make changes.
2.) Make New Habits
It’s much easier to make a new habit than it is to break an old one. For example, instead of giving up your favorite desserts altogether, decide to choose healthier options more often. Still allowing yourself to indulge now and then makes it much easier for you to maintain these new habits instead of ditching them when things get difficult.
3.) Take Baby Steps
While setting new habits into motion is key, it’s important to be sure that you’re allowing yourself room to adjust. For example, a sedentary person will likely fail in the long run if their goal is to run a 5K by the end of the month. Starting with 15 minute jogs three times a week is a much more attainable goal. Once the 15 minute jogs become routine, gradually increasing the length, difficulty, and frequency of the workout will help you reach a larger goal.
4.) Find a Support System
Don’t feel like you have to do this alone! Talk to somebody about your plans for change. Join a workout group. Encourage your partner and friends to find out their numbers and share in your goals. Finding someone to share your goals with makes the journey more doable AND enjoyable!
Looking for a way to kick start a healthier lifestyle in the new year? Starting in January 2015, Emory Johns Creek Hospital will launch a five-week course of health and wellness classes taught by community and hospital healthcare providers. The classes focus on providing general education on nutrition and health issues to help participants progress toward developing personalized health plans. Classes meet every other Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The first class meets Jan. 7, 2015 in Physicians Plaza Suite 109, located at 6335 Hospital Parkway in Johns Creek. The cost for all five sessions is $75. Class topics are:
- Jan. 7: Introduction and Initial Health Screening. Taught by Andrew Pugliese, MD, a Disease Prevention Physician at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, will set the foundation with information on how a healthy, active lifestyle can influence personal risk factors for disease. Licensed lab technicians help participants complete a personalized physical health assessment.
- Jan. 21: Healthy Eating Habits and Their Effect on Chronic Disease Management. Julie Parish, an Emory Johns Creek registered and licensed dietitian, will provide disease specific diet education relevant to participant’s personal risk factors and demonstrate how to use a food diary to track progress.
- Feb. 4: Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. Emory Johns Creek Food Services Director, Amy Davis, will talk about organic and sustainable cooking tips and how to stock your kitchen to achieve dietary success. The class will also participate in a cooking demo and prep their own healthy dinner for four to take home.
- Feb. 18: Preventative Benefits of Exercise. Kay Halbert, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Supervisor at Emory Johns Creek, discusses setting goals and general requirements for physical activity. Class participants can register to win a Fitbit to help track fitness and nutrition goals along with a pair of shoes from fleet feet and a gym membership with LA fitness.
- March 4: Wrap-up with General Well-being. Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s Sleep Lab Coordinator and Registered Respiratory Therapist Joyce Neidert and Licensed Pharmacist Roland Tam. Discuss stress management with the Director of Marketing for Massage Envy Barb Hornsby. Class members can experience a free chair massage, take home a one hour session, and enter to win a custom pillow.
For more information or to register online, visit emoryjohnscreek.com/events-classes or call 678-474-8200.
Thanksgiving. This highly-anticipated day marks the beginning of the holiday season—the time of year when we usually fall off the wagon and overindulge on fattening food and drink. With so many delicious recipes out there that seem to appear in endless quantities at our dinner tables, it’s understandable that we may indulge here and there. Just remember—everything good comes in moderation. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself every now and then, but make an attempt to maintain healthy meals at least 80% of the time. In the spirit of giving and moderation, here are a few recipes to help you cut unnecessary calories from your Thanksgiving menu without cutting the flavor or fun!
Healthy Turkey Recipes
Your turkey doesn’t need a full tub of butter to be moist, nor does it require brining days in advance for flavor. Try out this recipe instead: Cornbread-Crusted Turkey.
This recipe calls for healthier ingredients such as low-sodium chicken broth and skinless turkey fillets to cut down fat and excess salt. It also includes carrots and sage for an extra boost of flavor.
Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Side-dishes can be your biggest enemy if you’re not careful. Traditional side dishes can be filled with sugar, butter and cream, but if you’re willing to branch out, here are a couple of suggestions for lighter, healthier options:
Sweet Potato Casserole
Just putting a slightly healthier spin on a classic. This still contains butter and sugar, so watch your serving size and enjoy!
Mashed Cauliflower (instead of mashed potatoes)
Here, we’re simply substituting a high-fiber vegetable like cauliflower for the potatoes. This shaves off calories and carbs while adding more nutrients. Cauliflower is a nutrient powerhouse, loaded with more calcium, fiber, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K than a comparable amount of white potatoes.
Lemon-Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Leave the unhealthy add-ons to baked potatoes at the door. Stick with lemon and garlic for seasoning with this delicious recipe that totals about 69 calories per serving.
Mock Sour Cream
If you do decide you want to add the sour cream to your mashed potatoes and other sides, here’s a tip for making a healthier version (only 11 calories per TBSP)!
Greek Yogurt Subsitutes
Both low- and non-fat versions of Greek and traditional plain yogurts can play a part in a healthy diet by improving bone health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in adults. One of Greek yogurt’s primary benefits is it delivers higher protein and less sugar than the regular variety. Six ounces of Greek yogurt can deliver as much protein as three ounces of lean meat. As a result, Greek yogurt promotes the sense of fullness with fewer calories than many other protein sources. Check out these ways you can incorporate Greek yogurt into your favorite recipes this holiday!
Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
Thanksgiving desserts are often people’s favorite part of the holidays, and rightfully so. Homemade Thanksgiving pies are the ultimate comfort food. What’s not so comforting, however, is the amount of bad fat in most desserts. Here are a couple of healthy takes on some favorite desserts:
Diabetic Friendly Crustless Pumpkin Pie
If you’re living with diabetes, you know that finding a good diabetic-friendly dessert recipe can be a challenge. Try this one out and let us know what you think in the comments below.
New York Style Cheesecake
The ingredient choices here help this to be a better option than a traditional recipe. However, remember, this is still a dessert with calories and fat. Even though it is a better decision than traditional fare, be sure to watch your portions and keep this to an occasional treat.
Chat with Us!
Join Dr. Gina Lundberg, Clinical Director of the Emory Women’s Heart Center, on December 9 at noon for a live web chat on Heart Healthy Holiday Eating. Dr. Lundberg will give advice on how to enjoy the season while maintaining a healthy heart, ingredients to avoid if you’re worried about weight gain and more. You can still enjoy tasty and satisfying holiday fare without blowing a button, or even worse, negatively affecting your heart health. Join us for all the tips!
Pin with Us!
You can find all these recipes and more on Emory Healthcare’s Pinterest page! All recipes are Emory MD-approved and delicious! We also want you to share YOUR recipes with US! Just message or tweet us @emoryhealthcare and we’ll add you to our Healthy Recipes community board!
The difference between the Greek yogurt and regular yogurt is in the straining process. The Greek variety is strained more extensively, which removes more of the liquid whey, lactose and sugars. This also produces Greek yogurt’s thicker consistency.
Both low- and non-fat versions of Greek and traditional plain yogurts can play a part in a healthy diet by improving bone health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in adults. Yogurt, Greek or otherwise, is a good source of calcium, potassium, Vitamin D and protein. Both regular and Greek yogurts also contain active cultures (probiotics), which promote better digestive health.
One of Greek yogurt’s primary benefits is it delivers higher protein and less sugar than the regular variety. Six ounces of Greek yogurt can deliver as much protein as three ounces of lean meat. As a result, Greek yogurt promotes the sense of fullness with fewer calories than many other protein sources. On the downside, Greek yogurt can be higher in cholesterol and lower in calcium than regular yogurt. Full-fat versions of Greek yogurt can be higher in saturated fats.
Aside from all the great benefits of Greek yogurt, you may be getting bored with breakfast parfaits, don’t really like yogurt to begin with or have never been able to acquire a taste for Greek yogurt’s more intense flavor.
With just a few creative reconfigurations, you can introduce the healthy benefits of Greek yogurt into your favorite snack foods, recipes or toppings, while getting the benefits of active cultures (to promote digestive health), higher protein and lower fat. Remember to choose a low-fat or no-fat Greek yogurt.
- Sour cream. For the simplest of swaps, top your tacos or baked potatoes with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Compare the numbers: one ounce of low-fat sour cream (which is half a tablespoon) contains 51 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of protein. On the other hand, the same amount of Greek yogurt contains 22 calories, 0.6 grams of fat, a little more than 1 gram of carbohydrates and 2.9 grams of protein.
You can also thin out Greek yogurt with a bit of 2% milk and add your favorite Ranch dressing or French onion seasoning to make a healthier version of your favorite dip (make it even healthier by substituting raw veggies for the potato chips).
- Mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is a creamy dressing made mostly from eggs and oil, which are both fats. Using Greek yogurt replaces fat with protein in recipes like tuna, macaroni, chicken, or potato salads. It works well in deviled egg recipes and in creamy salad dressings, like Caesar and Ranch.
- Heavy cream or milk. Use Greek yogurt in your mashed potatoes, soups or sauces. Chef’s tip: To prevent curdling, remove the dish from the heat source before adding Greek yogurt to the recipe. Yogurt as a milk substitute is one of the reasons yogurt parfaits have become popular.
- Use in baked goods. Reduce the fat content in store-bought mixes for cakes, muffins, pancakes by replacing eggs and oil with Greek yogurt and water. You can also substitute Greek yogurt for cream cheese when making cake frosting.
Finally, make sure you check the nutrition label. The ingredient list should be fairly short, with milk and active cultures at the top of the list. Some brands contain more sugars and less protein than others. Fat content can also vary. As with any dairy product, opt for the low-fat or no-fat version for maximum health benefits.
If you want to improve your heart health, you can make simple changes to your recipes, such as switching your butter/shortening/lard for vegetable based oils, like olive or canola oil. While fat is an essential macronutrient that our body needs to provide energy, support cell growth, absorb key vitamins and insulate and protect our body’s vital organs, not all fats are created equal. Butter, lard, and processed foods contain saturated and trans fats, which increase the LDL (bad) cholesterol in your body.
Olive oil, canola oil and other vegetable oils are great heart healthy choices because they contain mono and poly unsaturated fats, which decrease LDL cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are usually liquid like olive or canola oil, but can also be found in fish, nuts, seeds and avocados. Each oil contains a different combination of mono and poly unsaturated fats, and provides its own unique flavor. Because of its robust flavor, olive oil is great to use for salad dressing or marinades. Vegetable oils also are excellent for grilling, sautéing, roasting, baking, poaching and steaming . Consider switching canola oil for solid fat when baking to decrease calories, saturated and trans fats. Use 25 percent less oil than solid fat. For example, substitute ¾ cup oil for one cup solid fat.
Although these vegetable oils are heart healthy, it’s important to be mindful of portions. One gram of fat provides nine calories, while one gram of carbohydrate or protein only provided four calories. For example, 1 Tbsp of oil= 140 calories, 14 grams of fat . If you’re not careful, you can easily add 500 calories or more s to a meal with 3 ½ Tbsp of oil. To avoid this pitfall, when you are cooking, consider how many servings you intend to make. Aim to limit one to two tsp per serving (or 45-90 calories, 5-10 grams of fat).
Each oil also has its own smoke point. A smoke point is the temperature at which an oil will start to smoke. Heating oils past their smoke point can impact flavor, leaving food with a burnt taste.. Canola, safflower, and sunflower oils have high smoke points >460◦F, while olive oil has a lower smoke point of 330◦F. Consider how much heat you will use while cooking when choosing an oil.
Tropical oils such as coconut, palm, or palm kernel oils recently have been receiving a lot of attention in the media. It is important to note that these oils have a high amount of saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to no more than five to six percent of total calories when trying to control cholesterol levels.
The use of mint for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years. According to ancient Greek mythology, mint came to be when Persephone, wife of Hades, became jealous over her husband’s relationship with the river nymph Minthe. In her jealous rage, Persephone turned Minthe into a lowly plant. As Hades didn’t have the power to turn her back, all he could offer was a sweet scent, giving us the aromatic plant we know today.
While you might not buy the story of how this popular herb came to be, there’s no denying the medicinal qualities of this plant. Aside from the obvious oral care advantages, mint provides many health benefits. Check out a few of our favorites below!
- Allergy relief. Extracts from mint leaves have been shown to inhibit the release of histamines, which often spur on the severe nasal symptoms that are associated with hay fever and seasonal allergies. Extracts of peppermint have also been shown to help relieve the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis (colds related to allergy). 2
- Digestion and IBS relief. Mint promotes healthy digestion and soothes stomachs in cases of indigestion or inflammation. Studies also have revealed peppermint oil to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including indigestion and colonic muscle spasms.3
- Weight loss. Mint stimulates digestive enzymes that absorb nutrients from food and consume fat and turn it into usable energy.1 So by adding mint to your diet, you are increasing the amount of fat that is being consumed and put to use, rather than being stored and contributing to weight gain!
- Fights depression and fatigue. Mint is a stimulus, and when inhaled, it can give a healthy burst of energy. It has also been proven to revitalize and contribute to better overall mental health, combatting both depression and anxiety.
So next time you’re looking to freshen up your favorite springtime beverages or recipes, mix things up and add some mint. Not only will its cooling qualities help keep you cool and relaxed in the warmer weather, but you might just find a few unexpectedly healthy side effects!
If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy beverage that incorporates fresh mint, check out our infused water recipes!
- Ramakrishna Rao, R., Platel, K. and Srinivasan, K. (2003), “In vitro influence of spices and spice-active principles on digestive enzymes of rat pancreas and small intestine.” Nahrung, 47: 408–412.
- Osakabe N1, Takano H, Sanbongi C, Yasuda A, Yanagisawa R, Inoue K, Yoshikawa T. (2004), “Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect of rosmarinic acid (RA); inhibition of seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR) and its mechanism.” Biofactors, 21(1-4):127-31.
- Merat S1, Khalili S, Mostajabi P, Ghorbani A, Ansari R, Malekzadeh R. (2010), “The effect of enteric-coated, delayed-release peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome.” Dig Dis Sci., May;55(5):1385-90.
- Raudenbush B, Koon J, Meyer B, Flower N: “Effects of ambient odor on pain threshold, pain tolerance, mood, workload, and anxiety.” In Second Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Washington DC: Society for Psychophysiological Research; 2002.
When you think of cherries, we’re willing to bet that “amazing superfood” doesn’t immediately jump to mind. You’d be surprised to know that cherries are one of the most nutrient-rich fruits available! From fighting cancer to helping you get a good night’s sleep, cherries are one food that you shouldn’t be underestimating. Here are a few reasons why:
- Sleep better. Tart cherries contain melatonin, which is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Cherries increase melatonin levels in the blood, therefore improving the way you sleep. Try cherry juice for a fun new nightcap!
- Lose weight. A cup of cherries is less than 100 calories and packs 3 grams of fiber, which will keep you feeling full longer. They also contain many B-vitamins which are aid metabolism and convert nutrients into energy.
- Gets gout out. Cherries can help mitigate the intense symptoms of arthritis and gout. The pain from arthritis is due to excess uric acid in the bloodstream. A study done by the USDA found that uric acid can be reduced by as much as 15% by eating two cups of Bing cherries. 1
- Reduce muscle soreness. Cherries provide natural osteoarthritis relief, and can even help relieve post-workout soreness. Studies suggest a cup and a half of tart cherries or one cup of tart cherry juice can significantly reduce muscle inflammation and soreness.3 Another plus—if you cut down on post-workout soreness, you can feel free to exercise more often, contributing to overall weight loss and a healthier lifestyle!
- Cancer prevention. Cherries contain a compound called perillyl alcohol (POH), which is useful in reducing the occurrence of cancer. Researchers found that POH stops the growth of cancer cells by depriving them of the proteins they need to grow.2 Cherries, along with many other berries, are also a rich source of antioxidants, which replace free radicals in your body before they can cause any damage to cells.
Of all the varieties of cherries, tart cherries have been found to have the most significant health benefits. While they’re in-season now, they’re also readily available in freeze-dried, frozen and juice form year- round!
- Foods that Fight Breast Cancer For You
- Understanding Nutrition’s Role in Fighting Cancer
- Top Health Benefits of Kale
- Top Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
- Top Health Benefits of Cauliflower
1. United States Department of Agriculture: “Fresh Cherries May Help Arthritis Sufferers” http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/may04/cherry0504.htm
2. American Institue for Cancer Research “Foods that Fight Cancer” http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/tab-content/cherries-research.h…
3. Connolly DA, McHugh MP, Padilla-Zakour OI, Carlson L, Sayers SP. Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. Br J Sports Med 2006;40:679-683.
Hailed as this year’s kale, cauliflower is an often overlooked superfood. Low in saturated fat, carbohydrates and cholesterol, cauliflower is an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins.
Not only is cauliflower packed with nutrients, it’s also a popular choice of vegetarians. When cooked properly, cauliflower’s strong flavor is robust enough to stand on its own without other meat or fatty sides, and can even be used as a substitute for starchier, high-carb foods, like mashed potatoes. Check out our post on substituting cauliflower in your favorite mashed potato recipe for examples! Check out some of the other great benefits of this versatile superfood below:
- Cancer prevention. Studies link cauliflower to cancer prevention, particularly with respect to bladder, breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer. In fact, according to an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, high intake of cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower—may be associated with reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer.1 How? Cauliflower contains a compound called indole-3-carinol, or I3C, as well as an important phytochemical called sulforaphane. Both of these components stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify and repair damaged DNA that can prevent cells from turning cancerous.2
- Antioxidant benefits and detox support. Cauliflower contains antioxidant nutrients, namely vitamin C, manganese and beta-carotene. Eating cauliflower regularly will help protect you from free radical damage and reduce your risk for diseases caused by oxidative stress, such as cardiovascular diseases and some cancers.4
- Anti-inflammatory benefits. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin K, which regulates our bodies’ inflammatory responses. It also contains an anti-inflammatory compound that can prevent the initiation of inflammatory responses. Since chronic inflammation leads to conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, and ulcerative colitis, eating cauliflower can help prevent these conditions and can have a calming effect on inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s.
- Defend against diabetes. In recent years, studies have shown that chronic inflammation can induce insulin resistance, which can lead to the development of type II diabetes. Thanks to cauliflower’s anti-inflammatory benefits, you can reduce your risk for the disease just by eating this veggie. Also, since it’s a great source of potassium, cauliflower could help regulate glucose metabolism and insulin levels.3
- Digestive support. Did you know that there are almost 10 grams of fiber in every 100 calories of cauliflower you consume? Good news for you, because fiber helps clean your digestive system and gets rid of unwanted toxins. Additionally, a substance called glucoraphanin present in cauliflower can help protect the lining of your stomach.
Cauliflower is one of the most versatile veggies out there. Its unique texture and ability to absorb flavor makes it one of the most flexible and useful vegetables on the market, serving as a nutritious main course or a tasty substitute in gluten-free and low-carb dishes. Check out our related resources section below for recipes and tips on how to incorporate cauliflower into some of your favorite dishes!
- 4 Heart Healthy Benefits of Almonds
- Health Benefits of Kale
- Top Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
- Top Health Benefits of Quinoa
1 Journal of the National Cancer Institute: “Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Prostate Cancer” http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/99/15/1200
2 National Cancer Institute: “Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention” http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/diet/cruciferous-vegetables
3 Chatterjee R, Yeh HC, Edelman D, Brancati F. Potassium and risk of type 2 diabetes. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab.2011 Sept;6(5):665-72.
4 Lee JH, Khor TO, Shu L, Su ZY, Fuentes F, Kong AN. Dietary phytochemicals and cancer prevention: Nrf2 signaling, epigenetics, and cell death mechanisms in blocking cancer initiation and progression. Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Oct 3. [Epub ahead of print]
Quinoa dates back 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, and originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia and Peru1. It’s been called a “super grain,” but quinoa is actually a seed from a vegetable related to spinach and beets. It’s become so popular that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” Want to know why this little grain is so awesome? Check out the top five health benefits of quinoa:
- Protein: quinoa is packed with protein. One cup (185 grams) packs a whopping 8 grams of protein per serving. While most grains are considered to be inadequate as total protein sources because they lack sufficient amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine, quinoa contains an abundance of both of these and is considered a complete protein source.
- Fiber: Most Americans don’t get enough fiber – on average we take in roughly 15 grams a day of the 25 to 38 grams that are recommended depending on your gender2. Fiber has been linked with heart health, blood sugar control, weight loss and gastrointestinal health, to name a few. One cup of quinoa contains more than 20% of your recommended daily intake.
- Quinoa is gluten-free. Many people are finding they feel better and lose weight when they reduce gluten grains and wheat products from their diets.
- Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 breaks down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and helps produce energy. It also helps control free radicals and is useful in preventing cancer and heart disease.
- Quinoa has lots of iron. Iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, which is the principal carrier of oxygen throughout the body and gives the dark red color to blood. Iron is also necessary for muscle and brain function.
If you’ve never cooked with quinoa before, check out our related resources section below for tips on how to prepare and cook quinoa.
1Kolata, Alan L. (2009). “Quinoa”. Quinoa: Productiononsumption and Social Value in Historical Context. Department of Anthropology, The University of Chicago.
2: Trends in dietary fiber intake in the United States, 1999-2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22709768