Posts Tagged ‘reduce calories’

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s five grocery store shelves filled with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar. You may find this hard to believe, that’s probably because sugar is so abundant in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we’re consuming in everything we eat.  The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. The AHA recommendations focus on all added sugars, without singling out any particular types such as high-fructose corn syrup. For more detailed information and guidance on sugar intake limits, see the scientific statement in the August 2009 issue of Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association.

Tips for Reducing Sugar:Sugar

  • Plan and prepare ahead.
  • Take sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey and molasses out of your reach! Don’t keep them on the counter or table, if you have to open a cupboard to get them out, you may not use them as often.
  • Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like pancakes, coffee or tea. Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and make changes from there.
  • Buy sugar-free or low-calorie beverages.
  • Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice.
  • Add fresh fruit to cereal or oatmeal instead.
  • When baking cookies, brownies or cakes use modifications to the recipe instead of sugar by adding extracts such as almond, vanilla, orange, lemon or applesauce. For more ideas check out this factsheet http://go.osu.edu/modify.
  • Drink more water.
  • Eat more fiber.

Remember that treats should be occasional! Keep them away from both your home and your desk! This is not always easy but a few tips can help us start the New Year with healthier habits.


American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp

USDA : http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib33.aspx

Ohioline : http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5543.pdf

Written by: Marie Diniaco Economos, Ohio State University Extension, Extension Educator Family & Consumer Sciences, Trumbull County, economos.2@osu.edu.


Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University Extension, Extension Educator Family & Consumer Sciences, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Liz Smith, Ohio State University Extension, Program Specialist SNAP-ED, North East Region, smith.3993@osu.edu.




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What’s the better choice for a healthier snack: a big bowl of frozen yogurt or a small chocolate chip cookie? If you guessed the cookie, you’re right—but most people guess the frozen yogurt. In one recent survey, 62% of people said that the kind of food you eat matters more than how much you eat when you’re trying to lose weight. But new research on portion control says that’s wrong. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who shrank their portions by 25% slashed 250 calories a day—enough to help them lose a half-pound a week— that’s 5 pounds in 10 weeks! And they still felt full.

Super-sized fast food meals, plate crowding entrees, and quart-plus sized fountain drinks are common examples of the increase in portion sizes for food served both inside and outside the home over the past two decades. It is probably not a coincidence that rates of over-weight and obesity among American adults and children have also increased profoundly over the past twenty years. While researchers are hesitant to blame portion size exclusively for obesity increases, a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that portion size does influence how much we eat. People served large portions generally do not respond to fullness cues from their bodies and tend to eat more calories than those served smaller portions.

In addition to eating smaller portions, use the following pointers to practice good eating habits:

Trim your trigger foods.
Most people typically overeat two or three favorite foods—usually pastas, breads, meats, snacks, or sweets. Get to know recommended serving sizes for your favorites, and stick to them as closely as you can. Start slowly. Eat a few spoonsful less of rice and pasta, or go with half a sandwich instead of a whole.

See less, eat less.
Studies show that we eat whatever portion is on our plate. So the trick is to avoid seeing more food than you want to eat. Immediately put away food after serving yourself the right-size portions.

Shrink your plate.
Plates today are much larger than they were 20 years ago. Try eating dinner on smaller side plates; you’ll have less to eat.

Give your brain time.
It can take as much as 20 to 30 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it is satisfied and no longer hungry. Before taking seconds give this time to register.

Using the USDA MyPlate method http://www.choosemyplate.gov / is a good way to control serving sizes and improve nutrition at meals.

Author: Polly Loy, Ohio State University Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, http://ross.osu.edu.


American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/.


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If you’re like most people in this country, you could lose a few pounds for either personal appearance or for health concerns. A simple way to accomplish this is to avoid overeating. Overeating is when you eat more food than what your body needs for daily maintenance and growth. The extra food you consume simply has no purpose for your body and therefore gets stored as fat. Overeating is triggered by different signals in different people. These may be the temptation of seeing delicious looking food or even just smelling food.

The first step to conquering overeating is portion sizes. In a study examining recipes from The Joy of Cooking cookbook from the last 75 years, recipes have 63% more calories in them now compared to 75 years ago. About 2/3 of this is because the serving have increased in size, the other third is because the recipes have more energy-dense ingredients such as butter. Next time you cook from a recipe, look at the suggested serving size and compare it to how much you should be having. If it’s more than what you need, adjust the recipe size to make as much as you need or put some away for leftovers right away so you’re not tempted to eat everything.

The size of your plates also makes a difference in how much you eat. Believe it or not, people who eat with larger plates, bowls and glasses consume more food without even realizing it. If you’re the type of person who knows they’re done eating when your plate is clean, you will consistently eat more food. In a famous study by Dr. Brian Wansink of Cornell University, some participants were given soup bowls that constantly filled with more soup and others normal soup bowls. The bottomless soup bowl participants consumed on average 72% more soup. The surprising result was that these people said they were not full even after consuming well over a normal bowl of soup because their brain did not register how much they have eaten.

To prevent these events from happening, simple steps can be taken.

  1. Look at the portion sizes given in recipes and restaurants. If it is too much, set it aside immediately to take home as leftovers. Ask for a to-go box when you order even.
  2. Start using smaller chinaware. Plates, bowls and even glasses all contribute to overeating. Try using tall, skinny glasses that look like more fluid than short, wide glasses.
  3. You don’t have to clean your plate. Times have changed since you were a child, and it is perfectly acceptable to leave food on your plate. Just save it for leftovers.

Written by: Andrew R. Richardson, Dietetic Intern with Wood County Extension FCS Program, Masters Food & Nutrition Program, Bowling Green State University, School of Family & Consumer Sciences.

Information gathered from:

Brain Wansink. Modifying the food environment: from mindless eating to mindlessly eating better [pdf document]. Retrieved from Con Agra Foods Science Institute at http://www.rippeinfoservices.com/conagra-foods-science-institute/webinars/introduction.htm

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Have you wondered just how lean that piece of meat is?  When comparing ground meats do you get confused as to what may be the leanest?

As of March 1 fresh meat and poultry has to carry the Nutrition Facts label we see on other packaged goods.  Not all packages have to contain a label but the information has to be on a poster or in a brochure at the store.  However, all ground meats must be individually labeled.   You should be seeing Nutrition Facts for the most popular cuts of beef, chicken, lamb and pork.

These Nutrition Facts labels will make it easier to identify what meat and poultry items are the leanest.  The label has to include calories in a defined portion size, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate and total protein.

The USDA’s rules use averages for the nutritional data.  Certain factors can make a difference in the nutritional data such as portion size, cooking method, grade of meat, and non-trimmed fat.

For most whole cuts of meat the nutritional facts are based on the three-ounce cooked portion.  However, shrinkage during cooking of some cuts of meat can make a big difference.  Ground meat labels are based on a four ounce raw portion which cooks down to about three ounces.

The cooking method can reduce the fat content of the meat, thus affecting the numbers.  The labels give the numbers for healthier cooking methods such as broiling, grilling, roasting on a rack and sautéing.

Grades of meat contain different amounts of fat marbling in the meat which affects the numbers.  Thus, you will see different numbers for meat from choice to select grades.  The Facts label assumes that all but one-eighth inch of fat has been trimmed away.  This may not be the case so the trimming the fat can save you in fat content and calories.

Understanding the labeling on ground meats will be easier.  The new label will include the lean and fat percentages by weight.  You will be able to check the saturated fat per serving to decide which ground meat is leaner.

When shopping look for these leaner cuts of meat:  eye round steak and roasts, sirloin steaks, ground beef that is 90% lean, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken and turkey breasts.  Make sure your portion size is not oversized.  A portion of meat is usually considered three ounces which is about the size of a deck of cards.  Happy Shopping!


Tufts University, [2012].  No more meat mysteries, Health & Nutrition Letter,  The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, March 2012, #3(1)   3.

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Hunger strikes and you are out shopping for the holidays.  No time to cook?  It is so convenient to go through the drive thru and pick up a meal.

Instead of ordering the first thing you see on the menu, plan ahead to pick some healthier choices.  If you have those choices in mind, you can make good selections at the drive thru window.

How can you make a healthier choice?

  • Think SMALL not large.  Check out the child’s menu.  Order a smaller sandwich or side dish.
  • Watch anything that is breaded or fried.  Choose GRILLED instead.
  • Choose a SALAD but go easy on the dressings, bacon, cheese and sour cream.  Ask for light or low-fat dressings.
  • Watch the calories in BEVERAGES.  Order water, unsweet tea or diet sodas to reduce calories.
French Fries

French Fries

Here are some calorie and fat comparisons from some national chain restaurants.

Be informed, know the calorie content and use that information to make a healthier choice.

McDonald’s Restaurant

Single Cheeseburger                                             300 calories       12 grams fat

Double Quarter Pounder w. Cheese                        740 calories        42 grams fat

Small Fries                                                           230 calories        11 grams fat

Large Fries                                                           500 calories       25 grams fat

Taco Bell

Crunchy Taco                                                       170 calories        10 grams fat

Fiesta Taco Salad- Chicken                                    730 calories        35 grams fat


6″ Veggie Delight                                                 230 calories         2.5 grams fat

6″ Spicy Italian                                                    480 calories         24 grams fat

Remember “extras” add up.  Adding mayonnaise to your sandwich can add 100-110 calories and 12 grams fat.  Veggies, vinegar, pickles and peppers only add flavor, not calories.  Add a variety for additional flavor.

Veggie Sub

Veggie Sub

As you can see, you can make healthy choices while visiting a fast food restaurant.  Think fresh, grilled and portion size.  Watch the “extras” – they may just add fat and calories.  Pack a piece of fruit or vegetables with you so you aren’t famished.
Please note:  this article is not endorsing restaurants but is for informational purposes only.
Nutritional Guide to Fast Food  Healthy Ohioans (2004).  www.healthyohioans.org
McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items from http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/nutritionfacts.pdf
Subway Nutrition Information from http://www.subway.com/nutrition/nutritionlist.aspx

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A  piece of pie after dinner, an extra serving of stuffing and gravy – it all adds up to excess calories and a few extra pounds.   We all  know that watching our calories this time of year is particularly difficult.  But what about limiting your liquid calories during the holidays?  Having a couple of extra drinks a day almost adds up to eating an extra meal.  But you don’t have to limit your beverage choices to water or diet soda.  Here are some tips for you to enjoy your favorite beverages while saving on calories, too!

  • Skip the alcohol   Eliminating alcohol from any cocktail trims almost 100 calories per shot.
  • Cut back on whipped cream  Although whipped topping adds richness and flavor, it can also add fat, sugar and extra calories.  Try low-fat whipped topping or skip it altogether.
  • Fizz it up  Adding a splash of club soda or a flavored seltzer makes any drink more festive.  You’ll avoid calories and extra sugar, too!
  • Like egg nog?  Try the low-fat or non-fat versions.  A dash of nutmeg spices things up, so you won’t miss the extra fat and calories.
  • At the coffeehouse…  Flavored coffee drinks – hot or cold – can have up to 800 calories and almost 50 grams of fat!  Ask for your coffee (or hot chocolate) to be made with non-fat milk, sugar-free syrup and light (or no) whipped cream.
  • Watch what you add   One teaspoon of honey adds 20 calories, while one teaspoon of sugar adds 16 calories.  One ounce of cream equals 39 calories and 4 grams of fat.

When possible, read the nutrition label on products and go for the lighter version.  Enjoy, but in moderation!

Submitted by:  Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.  Source:  Consumer Reports Quick and Easy Shopping Guide, ShopSmart, December, 2011.

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Making healthy choices in what we choose to drink is a giant step toward a healthy diet.   However, in American our consumption of soft-drinks has increased almost 500 percent over the past 50 years.   When you drink non-diet soda you take in more calories than those who do not.  Non-diet soda accounts for almost half (46%) of the total amount of sugar in the diet.   Since most 12 ounce cans of soda contain 150 calories, one soda a day could lead to weight gain of 15 pounds in one year increasing your risk of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes.

Sports drinks have become popular with children and teens.  They tend to have less added sweetener and fewer calories, but were developed for people who were doing high intensity physical activity for 90 minutes or more.  Since the activity level of most youth and adults is not that intense water is a better choice to drink.
When choosing drinks try these tips:

  • Make water your first choice and help your children learn to enjoy drinking water. *
  • Make soft drinks a “sometimes” beverage to be enjoyed in moderate amounts. Remember soft drinks include fruit-ades, fruit drinks, lemonade, energy drinks, sweet tea, and sports drinks. *
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for easy access. *
  • Add lemon, lime, other fruit, or a splash of juice to water. *

*from http://www.extension.org/pages/Rethink_Your_Drink

So what is our best choice to quench our thirst?  As you have guessed water is the best choice.  No calories, no problems for our teeth, no caffeine, and it is what our body really needs. Enjoy a glass of cool water!

Reference:  http://www.extension.org/pages/Rethink_Your_Drink

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 We are rolling into the most festive time of the year. And that means all those tempting delights that we all enjoy making and sharing puts our appetite into high gear.  Weight gained during the six-week holiday period accounts for most of a person’s total weight gain over a year’s time! 

 You can make your favorite holiday foods with fewer calories and without sacrificing taste!  Try these easy ingredient substitutions and reduce some extra calories in our favorite holiday recipes.


  • In place of regular cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise or salad dressing in your dip, cheese ball or cheesecake, use low fat or fat free products. 
  • Low fat yogurt can also be substituted for sour cream in some recipes.  Consider that 1 cup of sour cream = 495 calories while 1 cup low fat yogurt has just 145 calories!
  • Use skim milk in your creamed dishes and soups.  For more consistency try evaporated skim milk as a replacement for cream.
  • Choose low fat cheeses on your appetizer tray and in recipes.
  • Purchase low fat or fat free whipped toppings and Half and Half


  • Reduce sugar by ¼ in baked goods and desserts.  If your recipe calls for 1 cup, use 3/4 of a cup.  That saves nearly 200 calories!

  • Replace part or all of the sugar with sucralose (Splenda granular).  You may need to reduce baking time slightly.   Other sweeteners work well for desserts that are not baked. 
  • Choose sugar free gelatins, puddings and beverages.

 Combining these simple changes along with sensible portion control can help you curb weight gain over the holiday season.

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