The Great Quartet Of 10s!

What’s better than one article? Four of them of course!

We compiled 4 common questions that our clients have asked us before and decided to do a Top 10 list to answer them. Here are the burning questions answered:

  1. How do I help my family take more greens?
  2. What’s the best and quickest way to improve my health?
  3. I heard antioxidants are good for the heart, how do I get those?
  4. Why is obesity so common?

Here’s our take on these questions.


10 Ways To Sneak Some Extra Fruits And Vegetables In Your Family’s Diet

 

We all know by now that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not easy to get them all in there. We are constantly tempted to fill up on convenience and junk food. Most Asian families are pretty similar, they’d much rather fill up on a bubble tea or a bowl of rice or noodles instead of trying an apple or a plate of steamed broccoli. So we’ll have to get creative. Here are a few ideas to “sneak” some extra vegetables and fruits in your family’s diet.

 

  1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. To make it even more appealing for your kids, use some frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream in the smoothie. They won’t believe that you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast.
  2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your child’s lunch box, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your husband’s briefcase and keep some fruit mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning.

    Anyone remember this?

  3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some sliced bananas, apples or strawberries to a peanut butter sandwich. Top an egg sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and anything else they will eat. You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some mayonnaise and cheese on bread.
  4. Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad.
  5. Let them drink their fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and encourage everyone to drink them as a snack. Get creative. You could start “family cocktail hour” by pouring everybody a glass of his or her favorite juice over ice. Add some straws, cocktail umbrellas and sit together to talk about how everybody’s day went.
  6. Try this for dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit.

    It really looks like a dessert!

  7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can slice apples and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with dip. And of course there’s ants on a log. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).
  8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, jalapenos, avocados, bell peppers, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your grocery store.
  9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold.
  10. Start “My Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before, otherwise they lose a turn and Mom gets to pick.

 

Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time.

Here is another tip: 

Now that everyone in the family has gotten a taste for it, make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on.


10 Small Steps To Improve Your Health

 

Many of us make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, stop smoking or join the neighborhood gym. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.

“Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”

 

Here are 10 to try:

  1. Keep an eye on your weight and work on making sure you are not gaining extra kgs. Even if you gain just a kilo or two every year, the extra weight adds up quickly.
  2. Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
  3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall. For a filling and nutrition-packed breakfast, top some rolled oats with fresh fruit slices and low-fat or fat-free milk.
  4. Switch three grain servings each day to whole grain. If you’re like the average Asian, your daily diet consists mostly of simple carbohydrates.
  5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.

    Hmmmmm……

  6. Trim the fat. Fat has a lot of calories, and calories count. Purchase lean meats, eat poultry without the skin, switch to lower-fat cheeses, use a nonstick pan with only a dab of oil or butter.
  7. Consider calcium by including two or three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Dairy calcium is good for bones and may also help you strengthen them.
  8. Downsize. The smaller the plate, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat.
  9. Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge; lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
  10. Keep track of your eating. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less.

    Or you can use mobile apps like MyFitnessPal

In fact, special bonus for you who are reading this right now, an additional 18 even simpler ways!


10 Ways To Get More Antioxidants Into Your Diet

 

It’s no secret that antioxidants are incredibly beneficial to good health. It’s believed the antioxidants in food can help prevent cancer, reverse or slow aging, enhance your immune system, increase your energy and improve heart and other organ health.

Given all we know about antioxidants and their beneficial properties, it’s amazing more people don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, the primary sources of antioxidants. Experts recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, but some say getting 7-10 servings is best.

 

Here are 10 steps to getting more antioxidants into your diet.

1.Breakfast

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a hurried bread and butter on the way out the door. Throw some strawberries, 100% juice and yogurt into a blender; pour your delicious mixture into a cup and head out the door. You’ve just added one to three servings of fruits to your daily intake. Or throw some berries onto your cold or hot cereal.

2.Snacks

Here’s an easy way to get more antioxidants in your diet. How about a handful of raisins for a snack, or some fresh red grapes? Dip some strawberries in yogurt. You’ll feel decadent, but the berries provide the color you’re looking for. Need crunch? How about some baby carrots dipped in hummus? Consider a handful of nuts(like almond or pecans) for crunch and a nice antioxidant boost.

3.Lunch and dinner

It might sound trite, but adding a salad to each of your main daily meals can add loads to your overall health and well-being. They don’t have to be boring, and they don’t have to be just salad greens. If you’re going classic, add some red pepper slices to your green salad, some tomatoes to the salad, or some diced carrots to your field greens. Whip up a broccoli salad for lunch, or be adventurous and mix up a rice salad with a mix of fresh vegetables like beans, tomatoes, peppers and red onions.

4.Dessert

Berries, with or without whipped cream or chocolate are a wonderful way to end your day of healthy, antioxidant-rich eating.

5.Beverages

Replace your soda with tea or coffee, both of which boast antioxidant compounds. Have a glass of wine with dinner, or for a real change of pace, pour a glass of chai tea.

6.Think outside the box

We know we can get our antioxidant fix from berries, salads and the like, but researchers say powerful antioxidants can also be found in a variety of unexpected foods, like russet potatoes, artichokes, and small red beans. The beans, in fact, may have more antioxidant power than blueberries, experts say. So next time you eat your rice full of vegetables, add some beans for even more antioxidants.

7.Cook lightly

You think you’re being good, preparing vegetables each night for your family’s dinner. But if you’re overcooking the vegetables, you’re cooking out a lot of the beneficial properties of the antioxidants. Steam (don’t boil) vegetables, and stop cooking them when they will have all of their bright color and most of their bite.

8.Plant a garden

Experts believe that people who plant and harvest vegetables from their own yards are far more likely to eat more vegetables and fruits than people who buy their produce from the store. So plant a garden, watch it grow and eat the fruits (literally) of your labor.

9.Take your healthy diet on vacation

Too many of us consider going on vacation an opportunity to take a vacation from everything, including healthy eating. Think of vacation as a way to be introduced to new foods. Order an interesting vegetable dish in a restaurant and then pay attention to how the chef prepared the dish.

10.Learn to cook

If you’re cooking, you’re not opening bags and boxes. Cooking involves scrubbing and peeling vegetables, preparing whole foods and paying attention to how things are cooked. If you’re ordering out every night, you’re far less likely to be eating the whole foods and natural fruits and vegetables that provide the base for our antioxidant intake.


10 Possible Causes of the Obesity Epidemic

 

It’s well accepted that reduced physical activity and fast food are linked to obesity. But the evidence that these are the main causes of obesity is largely circumstantial. To stimulate debate, experts suggest 10 other possible causes of obesity, outlined in the International Journal of Obesity.

 

  1. Sleep debt. Getting too little sleep can increase body weight. Today, many get less shut-eye than ever.
  2. Pollution. Hormones control body weight. And many of today’s pollutants affect our hormones.
  3. Air conditioning. You have to burn calories if your environment is too hot or too cold for comfort. But more people than ever live and work in temperature-controlled homes and offices.
  4. Decreased smoking. Smoking reduces weight. People smoke much less than they used to.
  5. Medicine. Many different drugs including contraceptives, steroid hormones, diabetes drugs, some antidepressants, and blood pressure drugs can cause weight gain. Use of these drugs is on the upswing.
  6. Population age, ethnicity. Middle-aged people and certain ethnic groups tend to be more obese than others. 
  7. Older moms. There’s some evidence that the older a woman is when she gives birth, the higher her child’s risk of obesity. Women are giving birth at older and older ages.
  8. Ancestors’ environment. Some influences may go back two generations. Environmental changes that made a grandparent obese may “through a foetally driven positive feedback loop” visit obesity on the grandchildren.
  9. Obesity is linked to fertility. There’s some evidence obese people are more fertile than lean ones. If obesity has a genetic component, the percentage of obese people in the population should increase.
  10. Unions of obese spouses. Obese women tend to marry obese men, and if obesity has a genetic component, there will be still more obese people in the next generation.

 

These other contributing factors deserve more attention and study. Even more explanations include: a fat-inducing virus; increases in childhood depression; less consumption of dairy products; and hormones used in agriculture.


So, here are the answers to the 4 most common questions we received from our clients! Yes, it might be difficult to change your own or family’s habits right now, but every little bit counts. Once you and your family get the hang of it, it will be easy!

Start living healthy with your family today by joining our FREE webinar to find out more about how you can get fit and healthy without even leaving your home!