Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

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Simple Steps to Healthy Cholesterol Levels

September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. And while you should be aware of your cholesterol levels and what affects them every month, it doesn’t hurt to give it a little extra attention now and again.

First, it’s a good idea to know what constitutes healthy and unhealthy cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association has an established range for your daily cholesterol intake:

- Less than 200 mg/dL is considered healthy.

- 200 to 239 mg/dL is borderline high cholesterol.

- 240 mg/dL and above is an unhealthy cholesterol level.

Many foods can contribute to an increase in your unhealthy cholesterol levels, but what you may not know is that some foods actually have the opposite effect. Yes, instead of medications and supplements, sometimes actual natural nourishment is the solution.
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Food Finds: California Almonds Snack Packs

If there is one thing that I always try to communicate about managing your weight, it is definitely portion control. High calorie foods need to be consumed in smaller portions to keep total calories in check. Even healthy foods like salmon, avocado, and nuts that provide healthy fats need portion control, or you could be going over budget and the next thing you know the numbers on the scale don’t budge and you aren’t happy.

That’s why I was thrilled to see this cute idea from the California Almond Board for easy portion control and portability.


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Recommended Daily Protein Intake

“How much protein should I eat?” Have you found yourself asking this question? Well, the recommended daily value for protein is 50 grams. For those of us that exercise and push the body to the extreme, we need a few more grams per day. If you are exercising at a moderate to high intensity level, I recommend consuming 0.8 grams of protein for every pound of your body weight.almonds

For example: if you weigh 150 pounds, then you should be consuming 150 x 0.8, which is 120 grams of protein per day. Be careful and don’t over-do it though; protein is broken down into amino acids and excess amino acids are converted to fats and sugars and then stored in the body. Below are a few examples of the best sources of protein!
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March Madness Munchies

If you plan on sitting on your duff this weekend watching the March Madness Sweet 16, do yourself a favor and don’t fill up on the typical watch party snacks. Greasy potato chips, fried chicken wings and calorie-packed cheese dips are common fare at these parties. Whether you’re hosting the crowd or have been invited to attend, be prepared with healthier snack options. Your guests won’t notice the difference and you’ll look like you’re helping out the host if you are the guest. These are our top two seeds:
March Madness
Cherry Almond Clusters are a sweet, crunchy twist on traditional popcorn balls.

Ingredients
19 cups air-popped popcorn
2 cups granulated sugar (substitute Splenda, with zero calories)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup maraschino cherries, cut into quarters (use fresh cherries to reduce calories)
1/2 cup blanched, whole almonds, toasted

Preparation
1. Keep popcorn warm in a 300 degree F oven
2. In a heavy medium-size saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar and salt
3. Bring to a boil; clip candy thermometer to pan
4. Cook syrup to 250 degrees F (hard ball stage)
5. Remove saucepan from heat
6. Quickly stir in almond extract
7. Scatter cherries and almonds over the popcorn
8. Slowly pour syrup over all; toss lightly to coat evenly
9. Spread popcorn on sprayed cookie sheet and let cool
10. Separate into clusters with a fork

Caribbean Chicken Kabob have a refreshing flavor and offer plenty of protein and fresh veggies.

Ingredients
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 lime rind, finely grated
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. rum
1 packet sweetener
1 tsp. cinnamon
Fresh veggies and fruit like mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini or pineapple

Preparation
1. Cut chicken into bite sized chunks
2. Place in a bowl with the lime rind, juice, rum, sweetener and cinnamon
3. Marinate 1 hour
4. Save the juices and thread chicken on 4 wooden skewers with desired vegetables
5. Cook the skewers under a broiler or grill for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with the juices

Click here to find hundreds of free recipes at Diets In Review.



You are what you chew

We’ve all taken the food quizzes that determine what kind of personality we have based upon the kinds of snacks and foods we gravitate towards, but more and more studies show that what our bodies are designed to eat are the foods found in nature which are crunchy and chewy. I know – this doesn’t bode well for all of us ice cream lovers out there or mac and cheese fans where the creaminess and smoothness doesn’t make our teeth work too hard but it does make us appreciate how evolution has worked for both our ancestors and for us to keep us fit and healthy. Crunchy apples, crisp broccoli, hearty almonds are foods low in calories, high in fiber and low in unhealthy fats. It’s no wonder that diets are packed with fruits and vegetables which take longer to eat and make us feel full.