I love cooking my own meals. There are many benefits to cooking at home: it’s cheaper than eating out, you can alter ingredients to suit your tastes and dietary needs, and you can control your portion sizes more easily.
However, there is a downside: it can be difficult to know the nutrition information for the meals that you are cooking. You could spend hours searching for the nutrition information for every ingredient you use to cook with, combining the totals for each ingredient in each recipe, and then dividing the totals by portions. Honestly, that sounds like a lot of work to me. So, you can imagine how excited I was to discover Foodily.com.
Foodily.com is a cool new recipe search website that offers recipes from popular websites such as All Recipes, The Pioneer Woman, Martha Stewart, and many more. Users can search the entire database for recipes that they want to cook based on ingredients, keywords, and even ingredients that they do not want to cook with. You can also filter your results by recipes that originally appeared on a blog, ones that contain high levels of fiber, are low in fat, or are considered to be low carb. Now, you can search many Internet recipe website at one location to find one that meets your dietary needs or satisfy that late night craving. Think of it as the Google for recipes.
In the course of writing for this blog, I find myself looking up the calorie content and nutrition information on a variety of food products, from the exquisitely healthy to the very unhealthy. I use a number of free online tools to find this information, and it occurred to me that our readers could benefit from a quick run-down of the different sites out there and the resources they offer.
First and foremost, all of these sites will tell you a reasonable portion size for almost any given food and its corresponding calories. You can search both name-brand products and generic types of foods. They will also give you a “Nutrition Facts” panel such as you would find on a food package, that include varying degrees of detail. Many of these sites will also give you some sort of composite grade or score, which makes it easier to compare the nutritional quality of foods. A few of these sites also offer a visual tool to accompany this information.
Social expectations can be huge pitfalls to healthy eating. It feels wrong to skip the cake at a friend’s birthday or a cocktail when celebrating your co-worker’s promotion. How do we get out of these situations without being a wet blanket? We’ve got solutions for some common food temptations.
Temptation: Office Birthday
Solution: Bring your own mug of coffee or tea, which will keep your co-workers from offering you soda, plus hot liquids can help you feel full. It is probably obligatory to eat a few bits of that store-bought cake, but don’t feel bad asking for a thin slice or ditching your portion at an appropriate moment.
Food journaling is a great way to become more aware of how much you eat and how many calories you consume each day. If done with dedication, it’s a great tool to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Although keeping a food journal can be tedious, there are a variety of apps to help speed up this process and even provide you with a more detailed look at your daily nutrition.
Foodurama is one such app, which is now available in the Mac App store. You can use the database of over 7,000 different foods to record your diet, create daily meals plans and track calories. Foodurama will also tell you how much fat, carbs and protein you’re eating. You can also record any physical activities you do throughout the day, and the app will automatically adjust your requirements.
Counting calories can be an excellent way to lose weight. After all, to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you take in. By tracking your calories each day, you can better balance how much exercise you need to create a deficit. The more you go over your calorie goal, the more you’ll need to burn in the gym or compensate for with your next meal. Remember, you need a 3,500 calorie deficit to lose one pound.
So, just how do you count calories? Well, it’s pretty easy. First, you determine the best way for you to track your calories. There are many online places to log your calories, food journals you can buy, or you can even make your own food diary using a plain notebook. Be sure to pick the method that is most convenient for your lifestyle. Next, you need access to a reliable calorie-counter book or website, such as CalorieKing.com. From there, you just write down every little thing and bite that you have no matter how small it is, along with its amount of calories. At the end of each day (or as you go), tally up how many calories you’ve eaten and see if that number meets your calorie-restriction goals. Adjust as necessary!
When you think weight loss you think food and when you think food you think kitchen and when you think kitchen you think refrigerator. So what better place to visually keep yourself on track than with a meal planner right on the front of your refrigerator? The new Biggest Loser White Boards from Expo do just that.
I’m a big proponent of this tactic, and have shared here the benefits of weekly meal plans. You’ll save calories, money and time that you can’t afford to lose. I personally use a tear-off pad with seven spaces that stays on the front of the refrigerator and revise it each Sunday.
So in that spirit, these new wipe-off boards from Biggest Loser and Expo could be just one more simple (and affordable) tool to eliminate the excuses and start holding ourselves accountable for making healthier decisions. (more…)
Image Via: TechCrunch.com
As if Google hasn’t cornered the Internet market on just about everything, one of its many children, Google Health, just enjoyed a serious makeover, making it one of the most comprehensive and integrated online health tracking tools ever.
In the past, Google Health allowed you to store and track your own health information online, but its recent partnerships with CardioTrainer and FitBit add more texture and tools to anyone wanting to stay more accountable of their health.
CardioTrainer is a a mobile app for tracking fitness activity and weight loss and FitBit is a wearable device that tracks not only how many calories you consumed at lunch, but also how many steps it took you to walk from your car to your office and how many minutes it took you to fall asleep. (more…)
Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.
At this point in time, 70 percent of American adults are trying to lose weight. That’s what the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) found in its 2010 Food & Health Survey. IFIC is dedicated to communicating science-based information on nutrition for the public good. It is a not-for-profit foundation that does not lobby for political causes or corporate interests. They surveyed about 1,000 American adults for the fifth year in a row.
Trying to Lose Weight
It makes sense that 70 percent of Americans are trying to lose weight. Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that 65 percent of America’s adults are overweight or obese by Body Mass Index (BMI). At least we know we’re overweight, and we deserve some credit for that.
But here’s the problem: despite our best efforts, we are not giving weight loss our best shot. Weight loss is still a matter of calories-in vs. calories-out and calorie control is the way to see results. More calories in than out and you’ll gain. More calories out than in and you’ll lose. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Obesity Working Group (OWG) recommends a “calories count” focus for its messages because of the importance of calories in weight control. (more…)
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined how different percentages of fat, protein and carbohydrate affect weight loss in individuals consuming the same numbers of calories. In the study, 811 overweight adults were randomly assigned to one of four diets: high fat and high protein, high fat and average protein, low fat and high protein, or low fat and average protein. Each diet totaled at least 1,200 calories and fell within the guidelines for cardiovascular health. The dieters were encouraged to exercise at least 90 minutes a day, in addition to being offered individual counseling every eight weeks and group counseling several times a month. (more…)