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10 Reasons You Need to Eat More Fruits & Veggies

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are the most valuable players in your healthy diet because they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals and low in calories. Eating a variety of whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables will not only help you meet your weight loss goals, it will protect your overall health as well. Not convinced? Courtney McCormick, Corporate Dietitian at Nutrisystem gives 10 more reasons to eat these colorful, flavorful foods.

  1. Low-Fat Protein
    Yes, protein. We tend to classify vegetables and fruits as carbohydrates, but they also contain amino acids, the building blocks of protein. A cup of broccoli, for instance, has 2.57 grams of protein and an avocado has 4 grams. Even fruits help supply the 15 to 20 percent of total calories from protein that you need each day. Blackberries and kiwis, for example, each have 2 grams of protein per cup.
  2. Nutrient Density
    A helpful way to think about your food choices is nutrient density, a ratio of the vitamin and mineral content to calories. Fruits and vegetables top the list of most nutrient-dense foods because they’re packed with the healthiest compounds, but very low in calories. You get more bang for your buck from eating produce because you get more nutrition in every bite than with almost every other type of food.
  3. Disease Defense
    People who eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure), some types of cancer, and digestive problems, and are less likely to suffer from diabetes and other blood sugar disorders, according to the National Institutes of Health. Eating more fruits and vegetables may be the single most important step you can take to protect yourself from non-communicable diseases.
  4. Easier Digestion
    The process of breaking down food you eat into nutrients your body uses can take up to 30 hours. Fruits and vegetables contain more fiber than other types of food and it plays a key role in keeping your digestive tract working swiftly and smoothly. Eating lots of fresh produce prevents constipation and other kinds of digestive discomfort.
  5. Nearly Unlimited
    You might think of non-starchy vegetables as the hunger killers. Whenever you are feeling famished, you can snack on your favorite veggies with no guilt.
  6. Endless Variety
    From crunchy carrots to spicy peppers, buttery pears to sweet strawberries, you find more diversity of taste, texture and color in the produce department than anywhere else in the supermarket. No matter what you’re craving, there’s a vegetable or fruit that’s certain to satisfy it.
  7. True Versatility
    You can never be bored when eating fruits and vegetables because there are so many ways to enjoy them. When raw, they’re at their crunchiest and juiciest. Roasting caramelizes their natural sugars, making them sweeter, while deepening their other flavor components. Steaming brightens up their tastes, bringing their full complexity to the surface. Grilling vegetables and fruits adds smoky flavor that makes every meal seem like an outdoor barbecue.
  8. Naturally Portable
    In today’s fast-paced lives, many of us frequently refuel our bodies away from home, on the way from one appointment to the next. Fruits and vegetables are ideal for eating on-the-go because they’re so easy to take along wherever you will be. Many come in convenient single serving portions, some (like apples and bananas) even have their own built-in packaging.
  9. Best Deal
    Pound for pound, calorie for calorie, nutrient for nutrient, fruits and vegetables are the best bargain when you’re food shopping. Fresh produce costs less per pound than meat and seafood. And you get more nutrients per dollar spent from fruits and vegetables than you do from grains or any other item in the supermarket. Eating well for less is an unbeatable deal.
  10. Healthier World
    The resources, such as water and energy, needed to grow and distribute fruits and vegetables are significantly lower than those used in meat production. Eating more produce reduces the environmental impact of your diet and hel


Is it Better to Skip Breakfast or Eat a Doughnut?

Assorted donuts on pastel blue background

You’re running late for work and first thing on the agenda is a big meeting. You meant to grab a banana and a yogurt on the way out the door but you were in such a rush, they are still sitting on your kitchen counter as you sit in traffic. You finally get to work and plop down in your chair, ready for the meeting, when your tummy starts to grumble.

“Look, everyone,” one of your coworker says. “I brought doughnuts!

Normally, you’d politely say no thank you and opt for a healthier choice, but there’s no other food in sight for the next few hours and your tummy will not shut up. So, should you eat the doughnut, or go hungry?


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What is Flexible Dieting? IIFYM Explained

Dieting concept. Young Woman choosing between Fruits and Sweets

Quality over quantity? Not with flexible dieting.

Also referred to as IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), flexible dieting is a nutrition plan originally followed by bodybuilders and fitness competitors that allows you to eat whatever you want and not have it effect your body composition or performance, as long as it fits into your daily calorie and macro needs. Example: Can I eat this slice of pizza? Sure, if it fits your macros (get it?)

Let us explain: IIFYM is based on the principle of “calories in, calories out” combined with the idea that eating the exact ratio of macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) for your body, regardless of their source, will not cause you to gain weight or body fat. As long as you don’t exceed your total caloric and macronutrient ranges for the day, you can eat virtually whatever you want.

Flexible dieting is essentially the opposite of clean eating, which emphasizes eating healthy, quality foods over the quantity of them. Flexible dieting, on the other hand, puts strict parameters on how much you can eat, but what you eat is up to you. Those who struggle with strict diets think flexible dieting is a miracle, while strict dieters feel it’s simply a way to justify eating junk food, which serves nothing in terms of health.

To quickly answer your question: flexible dieting works. Some of the most shredded physiques follow the IIFYM way of eating and they are doing photoshoots and taking home trophies year round. However, it’s important to remember a low body fat percentage does not equal a healthy body. Eating a diet high in junk food and low in nutrient dense foods will have negative effects on your health, even if it doesn’t effect your waistline.


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Celebrate #NationalDrinkWineDay the Right Way

Glass with Red Wine

February 18th is National Drink Wine Day, and you may be surprised to hear us say, let’s celebrate!

While those looking to eat healthy and lose weight usually are told to avoid alcohol like the plague, wine is in a different class, and can fit into any healthy diet. While often considered a carbohydrate, alcohol is technically in a nutrient class all of its own. Aside from the typical macronutrients carbohydrates, proteins, and fats the only other substance that provides our bodies with calories is alcohol: 7 per gram compared to carbs’ and protein’s 4 calories and fat’s 9 calories per gram. Alcohol, however, should not be considered a macronutrient because we do not need it for survival.

While many would then write alcohol off as empty calories, wine, which is made from fermented grapes as opposed to barley and yeast, has unique redeeming nutritional properties and is widely accepted as a healthy option when enjoyed in moderation.

Many studies indicate that red wine lowers the risk of heart disease and may raise high density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, when consumed in moderation. Moderation is defined as one 4 ounce glass of wine per day for women and two for men. Diets from around the world that encourage drinking red wine in moderation daily, like The Mediterranean Diet, have consistently shown lower rates of heart disease in their populations. The health benefits of red wine can be attributed to flavonoids and resveratrol, which is found in grape skins and seeds and work to help increase good cholesterol and prevent blood clots and plaque from building up on artery walls.

While red wine and white wine are comparable in calories and carbs (120 calories and 3.8g of carbs per serving) white wine has more sugar, while red wine offers more potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Because it has so many more minerals and less sugar per serving, always opt for a robust red over a sweet white.

Also Read:

Workouts and Wine: The Newest Trend in Napa

Wine May Protect Against Cancer

Drinking Wine Helps Keep You Smart



Day After Super Bowl Biggest Diet Decision Day for Men

Chips, football and Six Pack of Beer and TV

According to an online US survey, 1 in 4 football fans claim to have gained an average of 10 pounds during football season.

The survey, conducted on behalf of Nutrisystem by Harris Interactive, found that out of 1,283 American football fans polled in early January 2013, 25 percent reported that they gained weight during the football season. For those that reported weight gain, the average was 10 pounds, while 16 percent admitted they gained 20 pounds or more.

Here’s another shocker: According to the USDA, the Super Bowl is the second largest food consumption day behind Thanksgiving. Americans will eat 30 million pounds of snacks, with the average football fan consuming 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat, reports The Calorie Control Council. And that’s just from snacking- it doesn’t even take into to account all the alcohol and calorie-laden beverages that are also consumed.

This weight gain can be made even worse if you’re a fan of the losing team. According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, fans of the losing team tend to load up on saturated fats and sugars the Monday after the big game, whereas fans of the winning team opt for healthier foods.


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