Recipe: Southwest Vegetarian Chili

The nutrition you need in one dish.

This vegetarian chili recipe is easy to prepare, it will keep you full and warm, and will deliver the nutrition your body needs in one dish.

It’s that time of the year when the weather turns from hot to cold and those chilly nights call for something to keep you warm. This vegetarian chili recipe is easy to prepare, it will keep you full and warm, and will deliver the nutrition your body needs in one dish.

While there’s no meat, it’s prepared with quinoa and loaded with vegetables. The corn, chili powder, cumin, garlic and onions will add that Southwest flavor you’re looking for. So grab your slow cooker, get comfy and get ready to play your favorite movie, while the smell of this recipe will make you go OLÉ.


2 ¼ cups vegetable broth
½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed if not pre-rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP chili powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
Toppings:  chopped green onion, avocado slices

Place all ingredients in a crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours, or on low for 5 to 6 hours; check the last hour or so and add liquid as needed. Makes 6 servings.

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New Year Diet Makeover: 12 proven diet tips to last all year

New Year Diet Makeover: 12 proven diet tips to last all year | Herbalife Healthy Eating AdviceIs a diet makeover on your 2015 resolution list? Here are 12 common bad eating habits and how you can resolve to change them!

For most people, the New Year is the time to make big plans – which often include eating better, losing weight and getting in shape. And while those are all great goals to have, the problem is that they’re not quite specific enough. It takes more than just deciding what you’re going to do to make yourself over this year -  you also need to figure out how you’re going to do it.

Your New Year Diet Makeover Step by Step

The first step forward in your New Year makeover is to actually take a look back, and figure out what has interfered with your success in the past.  I’ll bet you made some promises to yourself at the beginning of 2014 … so, ask yourself, how did it go? Did you make the progress you hoped you would make? Or did you start out strong – only to see your old habits sneaking back up on you?

If your 2014 resolution to get into shape didn’t go quite as well as you hoped, here’s some advice for 2015 – take some time to really think about the specific bad eating habits that you know are interfering with your progress, and then make a plan for how you’ll tackle them. And, don’t plan to tackle all of your bad habits at once. Trying to make too many changes at one time is usually very difficult to do – and it’s even harder to keep it going.

Instead, decide on one or two habits that you want to work on, and allow some time for those new habits to get established. Once they become a part of your regular routine, you can start working on the next habit you want to change.

Not everyone’s list of bad habits is the same, but most lists include some of the dozen I’ve listed below. These are some of the most common bad eating habits – with suggestions for ways to change them.

12 Bad Eating Habits – And How to Change Them For Good

You skip meals

Skipping meals rarely helps with weight loss. Most people simply make up for a skipped meal by eating more at other meals. Breakfast is the most frequently skipped meal – usually because people say they’re too busy in the morning, or they’re just not hungry. A simple remedy is to have something quick and light but satisfying – such as an Herbalife ® Formula 1 shake, some yogurt or cottage cheese with some fruit, or a hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit. If you just can’t face food first thing in the morning, try easing into it. Sip on your shake throughout the morning, or have your cottage cheese, yogurt or egg first, and then eat your fruit and hour or so later.

You eat too much

Eating quickly, eating when distracted or stressed, or skipping meals and getting overly hungry – all can lead to overeating. But the amount you eat is really determined by the amount of food that’s on your plate, so that’s where portion control really begins. When you eat at home, serve yourself in the kitchen, rather than putting serving dishes on the table – it’s easier to resist second helpings that way. Start by putting about 20% less food on your plate than you normally would. It’s an easy way to cut out some calories without feeling deprived. Use smaller plates, or even a bowl, to help you control portion size. When you eat out, you can split an entrée with a dining partner and order extra salad and veggies, or ask that part of your meal be set aside to take home before it’s served to you. Sometimes you can make a meal out of a few appetizers – the portions are usually small – but choose carefully, because some appetizer foods are often very high in calories.

You eat too fast

When you eat quickly, it’s also easy to eat too much. Eating in courses is one way to slow your pace. Taking smaller bites helps, too.  If you’re eating food that needs to be cut up – like a piece of meat or chicken – cut as you go. Practice putting your utensils down periodically during the meal, stop to sip on water, or simply take a little break. Work towards making your meal last for 15 or 20 minutes.

You eat too much sugar

Read nutrition labels carefully for sugar content and, rather than buying pre-sweetened items like cereals or yogurt, buy unsweetened versions and sweeten them yourself – you’ll probably use a lot less sugar than the food manufacturers do.  Start a habit of having fresh fruit for dessert rather than other sweets, and turn to spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves to add a sweet flavor to foods.  If you’re getting most of your sugar in liquid form, switch from sugary sodas and fruity drinks to flavorful teas, or sparkling water with a few chunks of fresh fruit added for flavor.

You eat too much fat

Deep-fried foods, fatty meats, snack foods, sauces, dressings, and many desserts can dump huge amounts of fat and calories into your system.  Use lean cuts of meat, eat more fish and poultry, and experiment with recipes so you can find other ways to prepare foods other than frying. Use low fat versions of salad dressings, cheese, milk, yogurt, mayonnaise and salad dressings (Link to video of low fat salad dressings) and season your foods with herbs, spices, lemon, onion and garlic rather than relying on high fat sauces, gravies and butter.  Instead of rich desserts, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit or an occasional scoop of sorbet.

You don’t drink enough water

When you don’t take in enough liquid, it can make you tired and irritable, and it can affect your exercise performance, too. Keeping a water bottle nearby will encourage you to drink, and many people find that it helps if they keep track of their intake, too. Make a habit of drinking a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning. If you don’t like plain water, try mineral water or tea, such as Herbalife® Herbal Tea concentrate.

You don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables

New Year Diet Makeover: 12 Resolutions to MakeFresh fruits and veggies are perishable, and they do require some preparation, which are two reasons people don’t eat them as often as they should.  This is where your freezer can be your best friend – loose pack fruits are easy to add to protein shakes, yogurt or hot cereal, and frozen vegetables can be tossed into soups, stews, curries, omelets and stir-fries.  To cut down on preparation time, look for prewashed leafy greens and pre-cut vegetables, and easy-to-eat bananas, apples, pears, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes.  Supermarket salad bars often have raw veggies that are washed and cut – which means you just need to take them home and cook.

You snack on the wrong foods

Snacking, done right, can help you control your overall calorie intake for the day by helping to keep your hunger in check. But many snack foods are high in fat and sugar, and don’t offer enough protein to satisfy hunger.  A healthy snack combines some carbohydrate – in the form of whole grains, fruits or vegetables – coupled with some low fat protein.  For snack suggestions, check out these 25 snacks for 150 calories or less.

You eat when you’re stressed

Stress eating usually has nothing to do with hunger and, most of the time, it doesn’t really make you feel better. Start by keeping a diary and make note of what triggers your stress eating – that way you can anticipate when it’s likely to happen. It’s important to find other ways to calm yourself – some deep breathing, drinking a cup of herbal tea, giving yourself a foot massage or taking a mind-clearing walk can all help.

You eat nearly every meal out

The more you eat out, the less control you have – portions are often larger than you need, foods might contain more fat, sugar and calories than you want, and servers typically try to ‘upsell’ and get you to order more than you want or need. Stick to your general eating plan and order accordingly. If you normally eat a salad with some protein for lunch, don’t even think about a sandwich or pasta. Some restaurants posts their calorie counts online – get familiar with them and decide ahead of time what you’ll have. Always get sauces and dressings on the side so you control the amount that you use. If your meal consists of meat, starch and vegetable, ask for double vegetables and skip the starch. And, start thinking about packing your own lunch or making dinner at home one or two nights per week.

You don’t read the nutrition facts

If you look at a food package, but don’t really study the nutrition facts panel, you may not always be making the best choice.  The front of the package might tell you a food is “made with whole grain” or “low fat” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you, or that it’s low in calories.  Learn your way around the nutrition facts panel, and know that all the nutrition information that’s given is for a single serving – not the entire package.  A cookie that’s low in fat might have a lot more sugar than its full-fat cousin – which means the low fat version may not save you many calories.

You don’t have a plan

Having a plan doesn’t necessarily mean that you know exactly what you’re going to eat at every meal or snack. But it does mean that you have a general idea of how your calories are distributed over the day, and what foods can be plugged into your plan to create a variety of meals. Meal plans are a huge help in keeping you on track because once you’ve got a plan in mind, you’re a bit more committed. Take a little extra time on the weekend to plan out both your meals and your shopping list for the week, or take a look at my meal plans for various calorie levels to get you started.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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Weigh Yourself: 10 Common Mistakes People Make

Weigh Yourself 101: 10 Common MistakesHave you ever looked down at the scale, wondering if it’s the correct number? It’s a common occurrence because you might be making one of these ten common mistakes when you weigh yourself!

Weighing yourself seems like a fairly straightforward procedure – you hop on the scale, see what it says, hop off, and get on with your day.  As simple as that sounds, there are some common mistakes that people make when they weigh themselves.  Here are a few tips to help you weigh yourself correctly.

Common mistakes when it comes to weighing yourself:

You weigh yourself too often

It’s normal for weight to fluctuate from day to day – by as much as a 5 pounds (or a couple of kilos).  Most weight fluctuations are due to fluid shifts, and may also have to do with what you recently ate.  For instance, if you eat a salty meal at night, your body might retain some extra fluid – and you’ll see an uptick on the scale in the morning.  On the other hand, cutting back too far on your carbohydrate intake can cause a temporary water loss, which may make you appear lighter on the scale.  Recognize these shifts for what they are, and try to weigh yourself less frequently – it will be easier for you to see how your weight is trending over time.  And, for women only: know that fluid retention during your menstrual cycle may give you the false impression that you’ve gained body weight – so you may want to avoid the scale during your cycle.

You don’t know how much your clothes weigh

When you don’t weigh yourself at home, you may not know how to adjust for your clothing – and, you may tell yourself that it weighs a lot more than it actually does. An article1 published last year actually shed some light on the topic. Researchers weighed 35 women and 15 men – wearing only their indoor clothing, but no shoes – four times during a one year period and averaged the clothing weight for each person. Men’s clothing (on average) was heavier than women’s, and – interestingly – the clothing weight didn’t vary all that much throughout the year. From their findings, it was suggested that women make a weight adjustment for clothing of about 1.75 pounds (0.8 kg) and men should make an adjustment of about 2.5 pounds (1.2 kg).

You focus only your weight, not your body composition

Keep in mind that your weight on the scale is only that – you may know how much your total body weighs, but what really matters is your body composition.  A person who carries a lot of muscle could be “overweight” according to a height and weight chart, but a body composition analysis would likely reveal a healthy body fat percentage – and that they’re actually at an appropriate weight.  On the flip side, someone who is “thin on the outside but fat on the inside” might have a “normal” weight on a height and weight chart, and yet be carrying an unhealthy amount of body fat.

You weigh yourself at night

If you’re one of those people who hops on the scale several times a day, you’ve probably noticed that your weight can shift quite a bit from morning to night. Among other things, the extra weight comes from foods and fluids you’ve eaten all day. Ideally, you should weigh yourself first thing in the morning, without clothing, after you’ve emptied your bladder.

You use more than one scale

You’d think all scales would give you the same reading, but that’s often not the case. (I can’t tell you how often I’ve weighed a client in my office, only to have them say, “I don’t weigh that much at home!!”). Scales do vary, so track your progress by using readings from only one instrument. The actual weight is one thing – what really matters is the direction in which your weight is moving. If you weigh on the same instrument all the time, you’ll get a more accurate sense for what your weight is doing over time.

You don’t have a decent scale

That said, if you’re going to keep a scale at home, do invest in a reliable instrument. Digital scales tend to be more reliable than the old-fashioned spring scales. Take time to read reviews before you buy.

Your scale sits on a rug

Scales are designed to rest on a hard surface, like a wood or tile floor. If your scale is sitting on a throw rug or carpeted floor, it may not sit evenly on the floor and you may get an inaccurate reading.

You weigh on Mondays

If you’ve been reading my posts regularly, you probably know that I often suggest that people weigh themselves on Friday mornings, not on Mondays. Here’s why: Most people have a more consistent structure to their eating during the week than they do on the weekend. If they’ve been trying to keep their calories in check, their weight is often at its lowest point for the week on Friday. I think this can really motivate you to stay on track over the weekend. But, if you “blow it” on the weekend, your weight could be at its highest point on Monday morning, and the damage is already done.

You weigh after you exercise

After a workout, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced some fluid losses, so your weight might be down. Since you’re not adequately hydrated, you won’t be getting an accurate body weight. The only reason to weigh yourself after exercise is if you’re trying to keep tabs on your fluid losses during exercise. Some athletes weigh themselves before and after exercise so they know how much fluid they need in order to replenish their losses (every 2 pounds – or 1 kg – lost during activity represents 4 cups – or 1 liter – of fluid that needs replacing).

You let the reading on the scale affect your mood for the rest of the day

If the reading on the scale is disappointing to you, don’t let it ruin your whole day. Keep in mind that whenever you weigh yourself, you’re simply capturing a moment in time. And – like your blood pressure or your cholesterol level – it’s just a reading that tells you where you are … it’s not a judgment of who you are. Keep tabs on your weight to follow the trend, but don’t judge your progress solely by what the scale is telling you. In the long run, the everyday healthy habits that you establish will bring you closer to your goal, so keep your focus on all the positive changes you’re making and let your weight take care of itself.

1Whigham LD et al. Int J Obesity. 37:160; 2013.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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Don’t let holiday weight gain creep up on you! 12 tips to curb overeating

Holiday weight gain: Why it’s so easy and what you can do about itHoliday weight gain doesn’t have to happen.  Here’s how to avoid overeating during the holiday season. 

Gaining weight over the holidays is what you might call a “no-brainer.”  When you’re facing a month-long holiday season of non-stop parties, family get-togethers and once-a-year holiday foods, it’s easy to think, “who wouldn’t gain a few extra pounds?” Holiday weight gain doesn’t have to happen, but a lot of people just assume that it will.  And that kind of thinking could get you into a lot of trouble.  If you’re convinced that holiday weight gain is inevitable, you’re probably not going to do much to prevent it.

Why It’s So Easy to Gain Weight Over the Holidays

That’s not to say that maintaining your weight over the holidays is easy – it’s a huge challenge to keep your eating under control during the holiday season. When you’re facing so many situations (and for so long) that entice you to eat more than you should, your willpower is being tested nearly nonstop.

Look at it this way: in your daily life, you can probably name a situation or two that you know will trigger you to overeat.  Maybe you eat too much when you’re stressed, or you overdo it on the weekends.  And when  you’ve only got one or two triggers to manage, you can probably do that pretty well most of the year.

But when the holidays come around, it’s not just one or two things that can trigger you to overeat.  In fact, if I were to list (as I’m about to do) some of the most common overeating triggers, it’s as if every single one of them is coming at you from all sides during the holidays. And, it goes on for weeks.   When you look at it that way, it’s amazing we don’t gain more weight than we do over the holidays.

We Don’t Gain That Much Over the Holidays (But We Don’t Lose It, Either)

In fact, according to a widely cited study1, the average American only gains about 1 pound (about half a kilo) during the (roughly) 6-week holiday season that stretches from the end of November through the first of the New Year.

Now the bad news:  The same study also noted that those who start the season with extra weight do have larger weight gains over the holidays – closer to 5 pounds (2.3 kg).   And, no matter how much weight you gain over the holidays – even if it’s only a pound or so – that weight tends to stay with you. Hang onto that extra pound year after year, and you could have a case of obesity creeping up on you.

12 Reasons Why We Overeat at Holidays

  • Longer meals can lead to overeating. Holiday meals tend to be more leisurely – we enjoy sitting around the table visiting, without the need to rush.  But the longer you sit at the table, the more you’re likely to eat . You absent-mindedly grab another spoonful of potatoes or a second slice of pie.  To signal that your meal is over, take your plate into the kitchen, or pop a breath mint in your mouth.
  • Eating with other people can lead to overeating.  When you eat with other people, meals tend to be longer.  You might also find yourself influenced by the large portions other people are eating, and give yourself permission to follow suit.  Being the first one to plate up sometimes helps – that way, you can serve yourself a reasonable portion without being swayed by the amount of food others are piling onto their plates.
  • Drinking alcohol can lead to overeating.  An alcoholic drink or two can loosen your inhibitions – often bringing on the “what the heck, it’s the holidays!” attitude.  Your best defense here is to set a limit of how many drinks you’re planning to have – and stick to it – and alternate alcoholic drinks with calorie-free beverages.
  • Exposure to a wide variety of foods can lead to overeating.  The more variety on your plate, the more you’re likely to eat.  That’s because it takes longer for your taste buds to get bored – when every bite is a little different, you just want to keep eating.  To handle this, you can either limit the number of choices you allow yourself, or keep your portions very small if you’re going for variety.
  • Pressure from friends and family can lead to overeating. At no time of the year is the pressure more intense, it seems, than at holidays.  Relatives knock themselves out making special holiday dishes, and you run the risk of insulting them if you don’t indulge (or over-indulge).  You can gently push back by agreeing to just a small portion, or you can try saying, “I know I’d enjoy this a lot more if I weren’t so full – maybe later.”
  • Getting out of your usual routine can lead to overeating. One reason people overeat on the weekends is because they’re out of their usual routine – and the holiday season can seem like a weekend that lasts for a month.  Even when you have parties and get-togethers to attend, it’s unlikely that every single meal is affected.  So, stick to your usual eating routine when you’re not at an event, and make a commitment to stay on track with your exercise, too.
  • Eating away from home can lead to overeating.  You tend to eat more calories when you eat away from home because it’s harder to control portion sizes or ingredients. Holiday meals often involve large portions of rich food, so you need a strategy.  Do your best to keep portions of rich food on the small side, and try to load up on any items that won’t break your calorie bank, like vegetables and green salads.  Resist the temptation to fill your plate, and use a smaller plate if one is available to help you control portions.
  • Stress can lead to overeating. Holiday time is fun, but it’s also stressful.  If stress is one of your overeating triggers, you’ll want to find other ways to calm down.  Try to carve some downtime for yourself so you’re not over-committed, and be sure to set time aside for the best stress-buster of all – exercise.  Rather than turning to food when you’re stressed, have a cup of tea, call a friend, take a walk, or meditate for a few minutes instead.
  • Family style meals can lead to overeating.  When serving dishes are placed on the table – as they often are at holiday meals – overeating is encouraged.  Second helpings (and thirds…) can happen before you know it.  Pass bowls and platters of tempting foods to the opposite end of the table to get them out of your line of sight.
  • Serving yourself from large containers can lead to overeating.  Behavioral psychology research tells us that we serve ourselves more food from large containers than we do from smaller ones.  Holiday platters are often gigantic, and food is piled up so high that even if you take an enormous serving, it hardly makes a dent.  Keep an image in your head of the portion sizes you know you should eat, and do your best to stick to them.
  • Eating from a buffet line can lead to overeating. Buffets can be the ‘’perfect storm” of overeating – there’s lots of variety, serving dishes are huge, you can go back as many times as you want, and you have no idea how most of the dishes were prepared.  Before you dig in, take a stroll down the length of the buffet line and determine what you’re going to have.  Fill up your plate with as many of the lower-calorie items that you can identify, with much smaller portions of the richer fare.  If you can, sit with your back to the buffet line.  Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Increased exposure to food can lead to overeating.  Ever notice how – at holiday time – there’s food everywhere you go?  From goodies in the break room at work, candy canes on the counter at the bank, and gift baskets arriving unexpectedly at your door, you’re exposed to more temptation at this time of the year than any other.  While it’s hard to limit your exposure to all these treats, you can change the way you respond when you see them.  Rather than letting your impulses get the best of you, stop and ask yourself, “did I plan to eat this?”  If you didn’t plan for it, didn’t want it until you saw it, or wouldn’t go out of your way to get it – you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

1Yanovski JA et al. N Eng J Med. 2000; 23:861

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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Want to Eat Better? 6 Quick Fixes to Improve Your Diet

Want to Eat Better? 7 Quick Fixes to Improve Your DietA few simple steps can help you eat better and improve your diet overall.

When your diet isn’t as good as you’d like it to be – and you know you’d like to eat better -  it’s sometimes hard to know where to start.  There’s so much information floating around about what constitutes a ‘healthy diet’ – but sources may not always agree.  Does eating better mean you should go gluten-free? Or vegetarian?  Will you have a better diet if you eat only raw foods? Or should you eat like a caveman?  There will always be trends in diets and diet advice, but just because “everyone is doing it” doesn’t mean that the latest diet fad is the one for you.  The trick is finding ways to eat better from now on – not just until the next trend comes along.

Eating Better – Make it Personal

When you break it down, the basic components of a healthy diet are really pretty simple – lean protein, plenty of vegetables and fruits, some starches in the form of whole grains or beans, a bit of “good” fats for flavor, and fluids to keep you hydrated.  Then, you put all of that into a meal pattern you can live with, and you’re good to go.

The key in all of this is to find foods that you truly enjoy eating that are also good for you. They’re out there – trust me.  With literally thousands of foods to choose from, you should be able to find – with a little experimentation – plenty of things to eat that fill the bill.

Just because everyone is eating kale (and you simply can’t get it past your lips) doesn’t mean you need to eat it.  There are plenty of other leafy greens you can try that offer up a similar nutrition profile.  Choking down something that you hate – just because it’s good for you – is hardly a habit in the making.

Six Tips for a Better Diet

Make Healthy Protein Choices

One problem in choosing which proteins to eat is that -  if you’re not careful – you can end up eating a lot of fat, too.  If fatty cuts of meat, sausages and ground beef are your go-to proteins, start thinking about what you would be willing to eat instead.  An easy first step is to ditch the ground beef and replace it with ground poultry breast – in most recipes, the difference isn’t that noticeable.  When you’re ready to try adding more fish to your diet, you might try starting with something familiar – maybe for you that means shrimp or canned tuna.  Look at your everyday recipes and see where you might substitute these for fattier meats – maybe in a pasta sauce, a wrap, or in tacos.  Canned beans are convenient, mild in flavor and very low in fat – you can make a vegetarian stew, add them to soups, or whirl them in the blender with a little olive oil and garlic for a healthy dip for raw veggies.  Tofu is worth a try, too – it’s got a very mild flavor that works well in soups and stir-fried dishes, or you can try roasting it.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Those who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables often say it’s not because they don’t like them – it’s just that they don’t always have them on hand, or that these foods simply spoil before they get around to eating or cooking them.  The easiest work-around here is to stock your freezer with loose pack fruits and veggies – frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh – and you don’t have to worry about spoilage.  Then, it’s  easy to add fruits to your morning protein shake or your yogurt, or to add veggies to soups, omelets, pasta dishes, and stir-fries.  Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter, and cut up veggies in the refrigerator –having them visible and ready-to-eat will encourage you to eat more.  Make a goal to have a fruit or veggie with every meal or snack.  When you go out to eat, order double veggies and skip the starch, or start your meal with a colorful salad or veggie soup.  And get in the habit of having fruit for dessert.  If taste is what’s stopping you from eating enough vegetables,  find some new ways to season them.

Swap in Whole Grains for Refined Grains

This is probably one of the easiest ways to improve your diet.  When you switch from refined grains (like white bread, white rice, refined pasta, flour tortillas) to whole grains, you get a big boost in nutrition and fiber, too.  You can find whole grain counterparts for all your usual refined grains, so start experimenting with whole wheat pasta, brown rice, corn tortillas and 100% whole grain bread.   For side dishes, you might want to experiment with other grains, like quinoa or wild rice.

Eat Healthy Fats in Small Amounts

Fats – even the “good” ones – pack quite a few calories.  That’s why you should focus on reducing your overall fat intake – by steering clear of high fat snack foods, desserts and fried foods – and allowing yourself small amounts of healthy fats to supply necessary fatty acids.  Nuts, avocado, olive and canola oils are considered healthier than other fats, so find ways to incorporate these foods into your diet.  Avocado makes a good replacement for mayonnaise or butter, and nuts – in small amounts – can contribute healthy fats to salads, vegetable dishes, hot cereal or yogurt.  Rather than grain-based oils, switch to olive or canola oils when you cook.

Drink More Water and Tea

Good nutrition and plenty of fluids go hand-in-hand. Water serves many functions in your body, not the least of which is that it helps you digest your food and it helps transport nutrients to your cells.  If you don’t drink as much liquid as you should, try to foster the habit by keeping a water bottle nearby during the day.  If you don’t care for plain water, have tea instead, or make your own spa water by adding some fresh fruit or cucumber slices or herbs to flavor your water.

Eat Healthier Snacks

Snacking is not a bad thing if you do it right.  A well-chosen snack can help keep you from getting overly hungry between meals (which can lead to overeating when you finally do sit down), and having a snack means an opportunity during the day to sneak in some extra protein, vegetables, fruit or even some calcium-rich dairy. Ideally, you’ll want a combination of protein and carbohydrate to get the most staying power from your snack.  You can get really creative or you can rely on quick and easy fresh fruit, raw vegetables with hummus, nuts, edamame beans, protein bars and cartons of yogurt.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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Trying to Eat Less Sugar? Five Tips to Help You Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Trying to Eat Less Sugar? Five Tips to Help You Reduce Your Sugar IntakeIf you want to eat less sugar, you’ve got to know where to look.  Sugar hides in hundreds of everyday foods.

Trying to eat less sugar is difficult – and not just because we like it so much.  Sure, it’s hard to give up something that tastes so good… but what really makes eating less sugar so tough is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to avoid it.

There is so much sugar added to so many foods that the average American adult eats about 22 teaspoons of sugar – that’s 350 calories’ worth – every single day.  To put another way, that means we’re each eating about 3 pounds of sugar a week, or 150 pounds a year, or nearly 18% of our total calories from sugar alone.  Where is all this sugar coming from?

What are Added Sugars?

Some sugars naturally occur in foods – like lactose (natural milk sugar) or the natural fructose that adds sweetness to fruits.  Those aren’t added sugars – they’re just a component of these foods in their natural state.

But added sugars are just what they sound like – they’re sugars that are added to foods during processing, or during preparation, or at the table.

When spread jam on your toast, or sprinkle sugar in your coffee, or when a recipe calls for a sugary ingredient, you’re adding sugar to your food, of course. But it’s the processed foods we eat that dump lots of added sugar into our bodies.   As foods are processed – becoming further and further removed from their natural state – a lot of sugar is often added along the way.  A small fresh apple has some natural sugar in it – maybe 15 grams or so – but process it into sweetened applesauce and you’ve now got another 15 grams of added sugar per serving.  Natural whole wheat has virtually no sugar in it -  but process it into sugary cereal flakes and you could be eating a few tablespoons of added sugar in every bowlful.

Sugar In Foods – The Sugar You See

Some added sugars are pretty obvious – like the jams and jellies, table sugar, honey or syrup we put on our foods.  Then there’s the 53 gallons of sugary soft drinks that the average American consumes every year – which accounts for about a third of our total added sugar intake.   We also get plenty of sugar from treats like cakes and cookies, candies and frozen desserts.  These are the sugars we can see – but nearly a quarter of the sugar we eat is hidden away in processed foods.

Sugar In Foods – The Sugar You Don’t See

Unless you are a fanatic about reading ingredients labels, there’s a good chance that you’re eating sugar you didn’t even know about – and in places where you wouldn’t expect to find it.  I’ll bet you didn’t think a serving of pasta sauce could harbor nearly 5 teaspoons of sugar, or that 80% of the calories in ketchup come from sugar.  Once you start looking at ingredients lists, you’ll find sugar in everything from soups to salad dressings.

 5 Tips for Cutting Your Sugar Intake

  • Read Nutrition Labels.  This is really the first step in reducing your sugar intake for a couple of reasons.  First, sugar comes in many forms, so you’ll want to read your ingredients list carefully for words other than just “sugar” – sucrose, glucose, dextrose, latose, maltose, brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltodextrin, corn syrup, molasses are just some of the many, many forms of sugar added to foods.  On the flip side, be aware that those sugars that naturally occur in foods – the lactose in milk and the fructose in fruit, for example – will show up on the nutrition facts panel as “sugar” even though no sugar is added.  The nutrition facts panel on a package of frozen, unsweetened strawberries might list 10 grams of sugar per serving, but that’s just the natural fructose in the fruit.  Check the ingredients list to be sure – which, in this case, should just say, “strawberries”.
  • Sweeten foods yourself.  Many foods that come pre-sweetened – like cereals, yogurt, salad dressings or ‘alternative’ milks (like rice, hemp or soy) have surprising amounts of sugar.  Some varieties of instant oatmeal have more than a tablespoon of added sugar (in a very tiny packet – and who eats just one?), some single-serve yogurts pack 30 grams (7 ½ teaspoons) of sugar, and vanilla-flavored rice, hemp or soy milks can have more than 3 teaspoons of added sugar in an 8-ounce (240mL) cup.  Even if you add your own sugar to these foods, you can certainly get by with less.  To cut sugar even further, try sweetening cereal with a sliced banana or a handful of berries. And here’s another trick – try dropping a whole date or a few raisins and a few drops of vanilla extract into your carton of unsweetened ‘milk alternative’.  It adds lots of flavor with just a trace of sugar.
  • Enjoy naturally sweet flavors.  Your taste buds may be so over-saturated with sugar that you’ve lost your appreciation for foods that are naturally (but not overly) sweet.  Fruits are an obvious substitute for sugary desserts, but sweet spices – like cinnamon, nutmeg or clove – add sweet notes to fruits, cereals or yogurt in place of sugar. 
  • Cut back on liquid sugar.  It’s an obvious suggestion, I know.  But when you consider that half the US population consumes a sugary drink on any given day, or that 25% of American adults take in 200 calories a day from sugary beverages, it’s a suggestion worth repeating. Curb your intake of soft drinks, sweetened coffee and tea drinks, and fruity drinks like lemonade.  Instead, try flavorful teas, or add some citrus peel or a slice of fruit to your water for a calorie-free beverage.   
  • Picture how much sugar you’re eating.  Sometimes it helps if you visualize how much sugar you’re actually eating, so here’s a tip for you.  Every four grams of sugar that’s listed on the nutrition facts panel is equal to a teaspoon of sugar – or about one sugar cube.  A soda label that lists 36 grams of sugar in a serving may not sound that bad … but when you picture the nine sugar cubes it contains, you just might think twice about drinking it.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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Drink More Water: 7 Ways to Boost Your Intake

Water can be more refreshing when it’s cool.

Need to drink more water?  Try these tips for boosting your water intake every day.

“I should drink more water.” It’s something I hear from clients all the time. They know their water intake isn’t up to par – but they just can’t figure out how to drink more water than they usually do. When I ask people why they don’t drink enough water, I usually hear one of two things – many tell me that they just haven’t established a regular water-drinking habit, and lots of people I talk to say that they just “don’t like water.” I probably don’t need to remind you why drinking enough water is so important… but I’m going to anyway, because it might help “drive you to drink.”

 RELATED ARTICLE: Don’t like plain water? Here’s how to get your 8 glasses a day

Why it’s Important to Drink Enough Water

Your body is more water than it is anything else – about 60-70% of your body weight is water.   And the fluid in your body is involved in an amazing number of important tasks.  You need to drink enough water so that your body can properly digest your food and deliver nutrients to your cells – and to get rid of substances that your body doesn’t want. Without enough water, controlling body temperature would be a challenge, your joints would lack lubrication and your muscles would tire more quickly, too.  The bottom line is this:  every cell, tissue and organ needs water in order to function properly.

7 Tips to Help you Drink More Water

If you find it hard to drink enough water every day, here are some tips that might help you.

  • See it. It can be really helpful if you can actually see the amount of water you plan to drink and to track your progress over the course of the day.  Put the amount of water you plan to have in a pitcher on your kitchen counter or keep it at your desk.  It will serve as a reminder to drink more, and you’ll be motivated to sip on it as the day goes by – and meet your goal of finishing it.
  • Cool it. Cold water often seems more refreshing than room-temperature water.  Try stashing a bottle of water in your freezer, and carry it with you during the day.  It will stay cold for several hours, and you might be encouraged to drink more.
  • Wake up to it. “Morning mouth” is a reminder that most of us are naturally a bit dehydrated in the morning. So, keep a glass of water by your bed, and drink it first thing – before your feet even hit the floor.
  • Sip it. Try sipping through a straw.  Maybe it’s just more fun, maybe it’s that you take larger sips of water –  I don’t know why this works, but lots of people tell me that they drink more water when they use a straw.
  • Flavor it. Make your own spa water.  Add a slice of fresh lemon or lime, some cucumber, a few berries, some fresh mint or a slice of fresh ginger to your water.  It makes it feel special and adds a hint of refreshing flavor.
  • Eat it. Treat water like an appetizer and start your meals with a glass of water.  Not only will you work more water into your day, it might curb your appetite a bit, too.
  • Track it. Just like keeping track of your calorie intake, keeping track of how much water you drink can help a lot, too. That’s why the pitcher-on-the-desk trick works so well – at any moment, you can see how much water you’ve had and how much you need to drink before the day is over. If you want to go high tech, there are apps for your phone that can send you drinking reminders, keep track of your progress and even give you a virtual pat on the back when you’ve met your goal.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics

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3 steps to help you achieve your body composition goals

3 steps to help you achieve your body composition goalsIf weight loss or weight maintenance is one of your goals this year, understanding how to keep a good energy balance, how to burn calories with exercise and how to maintain lean muscle mass during the process may help you to finally achieve your body composition goal.

Many people I meet want to lose body fat, gain lean muscle mass and eventually maintain a healthy body weight. In my opinion, the only way to achieve this is to start with understanding your body and striving to find the best balance for you. We are all individuals with likes and dislikes, so finding your individual balance is the key to long- term success. 

I feel that finding balance is not finding a set formula that you will stick to forever. Instead, it’s about making a commitment to adjusting to your body’s ever changing needs.

Today I want to give you some tips to help you make positive choices that will help to keep your body progressing toward your ultimate desired body composition. Here are my three tips that can help anyone—regardless of their current activity level.

Find balance with your nutrition plan

Controlling your nutrition with calorie intake and the types of foods you eat should be the primary focus of any healthy active lifestyle plan. In addition, exercise should always be part of your long-term body composition strategy because the health benefits associated with exercise are vast and definitely worth the time commitment.

Many people believe that if you’re exercising, you can eat what ever you want. The truth is that it’s very difficult to burn the number of calories found in just one large glass of soda. It’s true that exercise burns calories, but not enough to allow you to eat poorly. My favorite quote is “you can’t out train a bad diet.”

Burning calories with exercise is a pretty simple concept to understand. Calories are in essence your body’s fuel source. The more you move and the harder you work, the more overall fuel you will burn. The number of calories each individual burns varies from person to person and all exercises are not created equal when it comes to calorie burning. Thirty minutes of high intensity exercise will burn more overall calories than 30 minutes of low impact exercise. The mode of exercise you choose and the amount of time you commit to exercise can make a difference in your overall results.

Improving your body composition is not just a numbers game. You can’t just think about calories consumed vs. calories burned because the quality and source of the calories plays an important role. For example, 200 calories consumed by eating sugary fast food has a very different effect on your body than consuming 200 calories from fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s why I always say that finding your balance through both diet and exercise is important to long-term body composition success.

Perform a balanced and well-rounded exercise routine

Exercise is essential for long-term weight management and achieving great body composition results. Performing a balanced routine that challenges you enough to improve, but doesn’t challenge your body to the point of injury is essential. A balanced routine should include stretching, an element of resistance training, and a focus on cardiovascular activities including an activity that helps you to improve your endurance level. You don’t have to combine all of these elements into one fitness session, but each week try to ensure you’ve checked each box. A great starting commitment is 30 minutes of exercise on five days of the week.

Make a mental commitment to becoming the best you can be

I often talk about finding your athlete mentality and believing in your body’s ability to achieve greatness. The majority of our physical actions start out as a thought, so if you keep your thoughts positive, your actions will tend to be positive too!

I understand that changing your thought process into a more positive mindset can be a challenge for many people, especially if they’ve struggled to achieve their ultimate body composition goals in the past. I believe that a change in attitude is a gradual process that involves making small changes that help boost your overall confidence. As your confidence level soars, positivity seems to follow naturally. Set yourself up for success by understanding it takes a nutritional, physical and mental commitment to achieve your goals. Start today and create positive healthy habits both physically and mentally. It makes long-term success more achievable.

I read a quote recently that said “The body achieves what the mind believes.”  It made me get focused on my goals, and I hope reading this today will help you to do the same!

 Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.

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25 Healthy Snacks for 150 Calories or Less

Stay consistent with healthy snacks.

Snack smart! Here are 25 great snacks with 150 calories or less.

Snack smart! Here are 25 great snacks with 150 calories or less.

If you’re running out of healthy snack ideas, today’s post is for you. Ideally, healthy snacks should consist of some beneficial carbohydrates and a bit of protein. The protein helps to satisfy your hunger, and the healthy carb sources (like fruits, vegetables and whole grains) have water and fiber in them, so they help to fill you up.

We all get into ruts with our eating, and snacking is no exception. If you’re turning to the same old snacks every day, here are some healthy snacks to try—all for 150 calories or less.

Protein Snack Bar – There are plenty of snack bars to choose from with 150 calories or less. For the most staying power, look for one that has some protein—10 grams or so per serving is a good target.

Mini Smoothie – Whip out your blender and make a snack-sized smoothie with ½ cup (125 ml) low-fat milk, ½ cup (75 g) of frozen berries and a scoop (12 g) of vanilla protein powder. About 140 calories, 8 grams of protein.

Greek-style Vanilla Yogurt and Fruit – One single-serve (5.3 oz/150 g) carton of yogurt + ½ cup (75 g) sliced strawberries. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon. About 145 calories, 13 grams of protein.

Low-fat Cottage Cheese + Chopped Veggies – ¾ cup (160 g) low-fat cottage cheese + ½ cup (60 g) chopped mixed veggies (carrots, cucumber, peppers). Add a few twists of fresh ground pepper. About 130 calories, 21 grams of protein.

Vegetables and Hummus Dip – 1/3 cup (80 g) hummus + cucumber, carrot, celery sticks. About 150 calories, 6 grams of protein.

Nonfat Latte – Made with 12 ounces (360 ml) low-fat milk or soy milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon. About 150 calories, 6-12 grams of protein.

Hard-boiled Egg on Tomato Slices – Slice a medium fresh tomato and one hard-boiled egg. Top tomato slices with egg slices, season with salt and pepper. About 120 calories, 6 grams of protein.

Edamame Soybeans – Drop 1 cup (150 g) frozen edamame soybeans (in the pod) into boiling water for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt or soy sauce. About 150 calories, 12 grams of protein.

Tuna + Avocado – Pop open a single-serve can or pouch (2.5 oz/75 g) of tuna and mix with ¼ medium avocado, mashed. About 150 calories, 18 grams of protein.

Turkey Sticks – 3 ounces (90 g) roasted turkey breast wrapped around ½ medium cucumber cut into sticks. About 120 calories, 25 grams of protein.

Tortilla + Beans – Heat up two corn tortillas, top with 1/3 cup (50 g) cooked black beans and tomato salsa. About 140 calories, 7 grams of protein.

Vegetable Soup + Low-fat Cheese – Heat up one cup (250 mL) of low sodium vegetable soup and top with 1 ounce (30 g) grated nonfat mozzarella cheese. About 150 calories, 14 grams of protein.

Rice Cake + Nut Butter – Spread one rice cake with 1 TBSP of almond butter. About 135 calories, 5 grams of protein.

Shrimp + Cocktail Sauce – 3 ounces (85 g) cooked whole shrimp dipped in 3 TBSP of salsa or cocktail sauce. About 150 calories, 20 grams of protein.

Quick Spinach and Egg Cup – Put ½ cup (75 g) frozen chopped spinach in microwaveable coffee mug. Microwave on high 30 seconds. Pour 1 beaten egg, seasoned with salt and pepper, on top and microwave another 90 seconds, stirring after 45 seconds. About 100 calories, 6 grams of protein.

Quick Quinoa Salad – Mix together ½ cup (90 g) cold leftover cooked quinoa, with ¼ cup (30 g) minced veggies/parsley + 1 oz (30 g) fat-free feta cheese. Drizzle with lemon juice, season with salt & pepper. About 150 calories, 16 grams of protein.

Sweet Potato with Yogurt – Top ½ medium baked sweet potato with ½ cup (100 g) of plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt. Sprinkle with nutmeg. About 115 calories, 10 grams of protein.

Quick Bean Salad – Mix ½ cup (80 g) cooked white beans + 1 small chopped tomato + 1 TBSP of low-fat Italian salad dressing. About 150 grams, 8 grams of protein.

Tempeh Wraps – Slice 2 ounces (60 g) tempeh into long sticks. Wrap with thinly sliced cucumber. About 120 calories, 11 grams of protein.

Roasted Garbanzo Beans – Drain a 1-pound (454 g) can of garbanzo beans. Toss with 2 tsp olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast on cookie sheet at 400 degrees, 30 minutes or until crunchy. Let cool. 1/3 recipe = about 150 calories, 12 grams of protein.

Turkey Jerky + Fruit – 1/8 medium-sized cantaloupe melon + 1 ounce (30 g) low sodium turkey jerky. About 100 calories, 14 grams of protein.

Soy Nuts + Fruit – 1/3 cup (30 g) dry roasted soy nuts + 1 small peach. About 150 calories, 11 grams of protein

Oatmeal with a Protein Boost – Cook 1 packet of low-sugar instant oatmeal in water; stir in 1 TBSP (6 g) plain protein powder. About 150 calories, 9 grams of protein.

Salmon and Crackers – Mix 2 ounces (60 g) canned salmon with 1 TBSP of Dijon mustard. Spread on a 4 medium-sized whole grain crackers. About 145 calories, 13 grams of protein.

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Nutrition question? Ask Susan, our Registered Dietitian

Nutrition question? Ask Susan, our Registered DietitianHaving trouble sorting through the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of good nutrition?

It seems every day we hear about a new diet to try or a new superfood to eat – but how can you tell what’s true and what’s a trend? As a Registered Dietitian, I can help you get to the bottom of all your questions about healthy eating. Add your nutrition question in the comments section below and I’ll select the most popular questions to answer.

Twitter AMA Chat

I’m also hosting an ‘Ask Me Anything’ chat live on @Herbalife on Wednesday, June 11 2014 at 10am PCT. Please tweet your questions to #AskSusan or post them as a comment here. I’ll answer as many of your questions as I can, so mark the time in your calendar and let’s set a date to chat!

Ever wonder how to create a personalized meal plan?  Are you looking for tips on how to subdue those unhealthy snack cravings?  Is there a thing as eating too much kale? Does when we eat have an impact on our weight? Your nutrition questions can cover anything – including questions about food, dieting, cooking and healthy eating, such as:

•    Will a gluten-free diet really help me lose weight?

•    How can I get more protein in my diet?

•    Is fruit really “all sugar”?

•    How can I deal with stress eating?

•    Can you eat too much of the right foods?

•    What are the best fats to use when I cook?

Whatever your nutrition question, just ask me! No nutrition query is too big or small because there are bound to be other people who need to know too. And, if you think you have the perfect diet then please share your advice below. We’re all looking for good advice about food, dieting and nutrition.

I’ll also be providing short answers in the comments below so make sure you check back regularly.

Susan is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife and is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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North Beach Nutrition - San Clemente Nutrition Bar - Offering Healthy Smoothies - Hot & Cold Tea - and Health Coaching To Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals. 1502 N El Camino Real San Clemente CA 92672