By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., lead nutritionist for The Best Life
How long does it take you to eat a cookie or a chocolate bar? Maybe 30 seconds? You’re left feeling like you could have about five more before you even start to feel full. While I love those treats—and do indulge in them—I alternate them with low-calorie sweets that I can savor for longer. Here are some of my favorites, ranging from 125 to 165 calories.
Biscotti dipped in tea. I just had one, in fact, and timed myself: Nearly four minutes! Dip the tip of the cookie, let it cool a little, bite, chew (chewing takes even longer if it contains nuts, as my 125-calorie chocolate hazelnut variety did), have a sip or two of tea, repeat. They’re not hard to make, as you can see from this Chocolate Dried Cranberry recipe.
Homemade strawberry shortcake. I slice a 3-inch square piece of store-bought cornbread in half lengthwise, spread each piece with strawberry jam (about a teaspoon total) and slather on 1/3 cup 0 percent Greek yogurt mixed with a teaspoon of honey. Then I top the pieces with 1/3 cup strawberries. I haven’t timed myself, but this must take at least twice as long to eat as a cookie.
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Does a creamy cup of yogurt make you happy? Do you ever wonder why Jamie Lee Curtis is always smiling in those Activia commercials? It may have something to do with a new UCLA study that claims good bacteria is not only good for the gut, it may also be good for the brain.
The study, conducted by scientists with the Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, part of the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases, and the Ahmanson–Lovelace Brain Mapping Center at UCLA, appears in the peer-reviewed journal Gastroenterology. For the purpose of the investigation, a small group of women were given the same yogurt containing several types of good bacteria, also known as probiotics, and instructed to eat it twice a day for four weeks.
Before and after the study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were performed on the women. Their brains were examined at rest, and while performing an emotion-recognition task, which asked the women to look at angry and frightened faces. The result was a change in brain activity, as well as other internal “body sensations.” The women who ate the yogurt had less anxiety when looking at the images.
Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, lead author of the UCLA study is encouraged by the early findings. “Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut,” Tillisch said. “Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street.”
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If you or your kids are regular consumers of Dannon’s Danimals Smoothies, you’ve been taking in about 25 percent less sugar with each serving. Since February they’ve cut back the sugar in their kid-focused yogurt. They purposefully didn’t make a big deal about it as to avoid scaring off consumers.
It’s not the first time a brand has made a change to its formula only to reap the repercussions of consumers who prefer the status quo. McDonald’s faced backlash when switching from an animal fat frying oil to canola over concerns those world-famous fries would taste different. (Today their website boasts the use of a canola oil blend and that all fried foods on its menu are free of trans fats.)
And of course everyone knows the tale of New Coke, when the soft drink company reformulated its soda and became one of the most infamous marketing flops around. So changing something that wasn’t necessarily broken had to be done so in an exacting way by Dannon. It’s no surprise that the brand treaded these sugary waters carefully.
“One thing I have learned is that the main driver of yogurt sales above all is taste,” said Sergio Fuster, senior vice president for marketing at Dannon, to NYTimes.com. “You do not want to send any signal to the consumer that might lead her to believe the taste has changed because she will simply pick up another yogurt — and it may not be ours.”
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By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com
I’m a big fan of breakfast—in fact, starting off each day with a healthy, balanced breakfast is one of the key guidelines on my Best Life plan. A morning meal jump-starts your metabolism, delivers some much-needed energy after a night’s rest and can help with weight loss.
Don’t think you have the time? Check out these five dishes, which you can throw together in five minutes or less.
Be picky about what you pour into your bowl. Our guidelines: Opt for a cereal that has at least 4 grams of fiber, no more than 5 grams of sugar, and no more than 120 milligrams sodium per 100 calories. (Click here for a list of healthy cereal choices.) Top it off with fat-free or one-percent milk or calcium-enriched soy milk. To add more nutrients and flavor, top with some fresh fruit or a tablespoon or two of nuts. Or try this shortcut: Mix a few healthy cereals together, put them in a re-sealable plastic bag, and go.
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Peaches are one food of many that I have an opinion on. The former child in me hated peaches – the fuzzy skin and slimy texture was too much for me to handle. I’d take a pear over a peach any day. But ever since I was in California one summer and my friend’s family made me a peach milkshake with peaches picked straight from a tree in their yard, my opinion on this sweet, juicy fruit has changed.
Since August is National Peach Month, we found it the perfect time to highlight this classic summertime fruit to see just how healthy and versatile a peach really is.
Health benefits: Peaches contain a variety of vitamins, including vitamin A, which supports healthy vision; vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals and help ward off certain cancers; and vitamin K, which supports our body’s blood clotting capabilities. Peaches also provide ample amounts of thiamin, niacin, folate, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, zinc, iron and even calcium, all of which work collectively to help support proper nervous system function, red blood cell production and bone and tissue health.
One of the best characteristics of a peach is its fiber content. One large peach contains approximately 3 grams of fiber which helps promotes proper digestive and keep us full between meals. Plus, with all of the juicy water content of peaches, they keeps you fuller way longer than less nutrient-dense snacks like chips.
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