Healthy Food Swap: Apple Pie

Warm Cinnamon Apples (Heidi Diller, R.D.)

It’s a fall favorite: apple pie.  But depending on how you prepare your pie or where you buy it, each slice can be loaded with fat and calories.

One small serving (2.7 ounces) of apple pie from McDonald’s, for example, has 250 calories and 13 grams of fat. If that’s not scary enough, a single slice of Marie Callender’s Apple Pie has 630 calories and 39 grams of fat, without ice cream or whipped cream topping.  Yikes!

If you are trying to eat a more healthy diet, try this recipe.  It has all of the warm, creamy taste of the original, but because there is no crust, the calories and fat are significantly reduced.  And the best thing about this recipe is that you can make it in three minutes.

Warm Cinnamon Apples

  • 2 medium apples
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons walnut, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons, raisins

Wash your apples, then core and slice.  Leave the skins on.  Put them in a microwave-safe bowl and add the other ingredients.  Stir gently.  Cover it loosely to hold in the steam, and cook on high in the microwave for about 3 minutes.  It will be hot when it’s done so be careful when you remove it.  Then, if you want to add topping,  add a dollop of vanilla flavored Greek yogurt or a small spoonful of ice cream.  Yum!

The recipe comes from Heidi Diller, R.D.  Corporate Dietitian, Cub Foods.  She provides nutritional information per serving for this recipe which serves two people.  Calories: 235,  10 g fat, 42 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 3 g protein

Have you found us on Facebook?  Follow the link or search for us under “North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss.”    Join the conversation and tell me about your favorite food swap.


Nutrition Facts Label – Your Key to Smart Dieting

Look for this heading on your food package

Weight loss is nearly impossible if you don’t know what you’re eating.  And with all of the trendy labels that manufacturers use to label food, it’s nearly impossible to sort out the good from the bad.  But there is one label that doesn’t lie: the Nutrition Facts Label.

Find Nutrition Facts in One Place

Almost all packaged foods will contain a rectangular box that has clear nutritional data.  You can usually find it on the back of the package and it says “Nutrition Data” on the top.  The data contained here is regulated by the FDA, so you can generally trust its accuracy.

How to Read the Numbers

Find out how much fat, cholesterol and sodium is in each serving

So what should you look for?  First, check the recommended serving size.  This is probably the amount you should consume in one sitting.  From there, scan down the label to see how many calories, how much fat, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber and protein that is contained in each serving of that food.

You’ll also see a column on the right called “% Daily Value.”  This is the percentage of each nutrient that the food contains if you are on a diet of 2000 calories per day.  Most people who are dieting consume less than 2000 calories per day, so take that percentage number with a grain of salt.

Get Additional Information

If you are not sure how many calories, fat grams, protein grams and carbs you should eat every day to lose weight, meet with a North Memorial registered dietitian.  An R.D. can lay out a personalized eating plan that will help you reach your goals for improved health and weight loss.

Better Halloween Candy Choices

Have a healthy Halloween (photo source: earl53/Morguefile)

On Tuesday, I posted a list of the worst Halloween candy to eat if you are on a diet.  The items on the list were chosen by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Today, I promised to provide a list of better choices.  But note, these choices are “better” not “best.”

Candy is Candy

There is no “best” candy. Candy is candy: empty calories usually loaded with fat and sugar.  Does that mean you should avoid it altogether?  Maybe not.  But it does mean that you should make good choices and eat it in moderation.  These candies are better choices if you trying to eat healthy.

Better Halloween Candy Choices (as chosen by ACE)

  • Starburst Fruit Chews: 9 pieces = 150 calories; 0 fat; 22 g sugar
  • Dum Dum Pops: 3 lollipops = 59 calories; 0 fat; 11 g sugar
  • Tootsie Roll: 6 Tootsie Rolls (40 g) = 140 calories (30 calories from fat); 3 g total fat; 19 g sugar
  • Brach’s Candy Corn: 26 pieces = 150 calories; 0 fat; 28 g sugar
  • Jolly Rancher Hard Candy: 3 candies = 70 calories; 0 fat; 11 g sugar
  • Peeps Marshmallow Pumpkins: 8 pumpkins = 130 calories; 0 fat; 29 g sugar
  • York Snack Size Peppermint Patties: 1 mini patty = 50 calories; 1g fat; 9g sugar

Regardless of which candy you choose, avoid the temptation to overindulge on Halloween night.  Grab one or two of your favorite treats in the smallest snack size and set them aside to enjoy.  Then, munch on healthy snacks throughout the night and stay active so that you are not aimlessly sitting next to a bowl of calories waiting for trick or treaters.  Play cards with the family, knit, or cook a healthy pot of soup for the week.

Which Halloween candy will you choose?  Go to the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss Facebook page and let me know!

Worst Halloween Candy for Weight Loss

How scary is your candy choice? (photosource: markmiller/morguefile)

Have you bought your stash of Halloween candy yet?  Many people buy their favorite candy because during trick or treating they sample the sweet themselves.  It’s easy to rationalize because the candy portions are small.  But even if you buy the mini sample size of your favorite candy, the calories in these tiny treats add up quickly.

If you are trying to lose weight, you either need to promise yourself that you won’t sample the candy, or you need to make a careful choice about which candy to buy.  The American Council on Exercise recently compiled a Better and Worst Halloween Candy list.  Listed below are the “worst” options.  On Thursday, I’ll post a list of better choices.

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: 1 cup = 105 calories (40 calories from fat); 6.5 g total fat; 10.5 g sugar
  • Mounds Snack Size: 1 bar = 80 calories (40 calories from fat); 4.5 g total fat; 7 g sugar
  • Almond Joy Snack Size:  1 bar = 80 calories; 40 calories from fat (4.5 g total fat); 8 g sugar
  • Kit Kat Snack Size Bars:  3 pieces (42 g) = 210 calories; 90 calories from fat (11 g total fat); 21 g sugar

Keep in mind that any candy is bad for your diet if you eat too much of it.  Moderation is the key.  If you know that you will be tempted to overindulge, set aside one or two pieces and save them for the end of the night.  During trick or treating, have healthier snacks available to munch on.

Got another suggestion for this list? Can you guess which candy will be on the list of better choices?  Join the discussion on Facebook.  “Like” us to get daily tips about diet, exercise, nutrition and motivation. If you’re part of the Twitter trend, you can follow us @NMWeightLoss.

Have Fun, Lose Weight, Bust Breast Cancer

Join the Party in Pink on Saturday, October 20

What’s the best way to have fun, slim down and lower your risk of breast cancer?  Take part in the North Memorial Party in Pink Zumbathon this Saturday, October 20, from 12 to 1 p.m. at Manor Park, 3459 Lowry Ave. N., Robbinsdale (behind North Memorial Medical Center).  The event is put on by North Memorial’s Employee Fitness Center in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The party costs $10 per person and is open to the public.  Tickets can be purchased the day of the event.

No Zumba Experience Required

If you’ve never done Zumba, don’t worry.  Instructor Holly Perry offers assurance that this event is designed so that anyone at any level of fitness can participate and have a great time.

Zumba is fun for all people, no matter what age, shape, or exercise level they are at.  You can make Zumba what you want, high or low impact, and you can always modify the moves to fit your comfort level.  This is an event for everyone, as a fun way to raise money for our favorite charities.

Lose Weight to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

Being overweight or obese and lack of physical activity are factors that increase your risk for breast cancer. In addition,  a recent study found that women with higher BMIs have an increased risk of a breast cancer recurrence.   So why not help yourself feel good and get stay healthy at the same time?  This fun event could be the start of a new fitness plan and a first step towards a healthier you.

If you are looking for more ways to slim down, check out the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.  We want to hear from you!  What are your struggles, your tips and your questions?  Get connected today.

Healthy Food vs. Weight Loss Food: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between “healthy” food and food that helps you to lose weight?  In many cases, nothing.  People who are trying to lose weight should eat healthy food.  But in some cases, there’s a big difference.  And the difference could be the reason that you are not losing weight.

“Healthy” Food: Not Always the Best Choice

The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the use of the word “healthy.”  So you might buy a food that says healthy on the label and, in fact, the food is not necessarily good for you if you’re on a diet.  In addition, there are other terms that can be similarly confusing.  These might include the terms “organic,”  “multi-grain,” or “natural.”  Just because a food package has those words on the label doesn’t necessarily mean that the food is the best choice for you or that it will help you to lose weight.

For example, natural cookies are still cookies.  They don’t necessarily make a better snack than an apple or a handful of carrots.  The other pitfall is that sometimes we have a tendency to eat more of certain foods if we think that food is healthy.  A study done at the University of Michigan found that when a food was labeled “organic,” dieters tended to eat more of it.

Make Better Food Choices

So what’s the best way to come up with a plan for healthy eating?  How to you choose the best foods to help you lose weight?  The first step is to read the Nutrition Facts Label on every food that you buy.  This label will provide the real details about what you are eating, including the number of calories, the grams of fat and the ingredients.  The next step is to consider working with a registered dietitian.  Talk to your physician about getting referred to one of these experts who can help you decode the grocery aisles and help you to make better choices.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Linked to Sleep Habits in Teens

Get diagnosed to get better sleep

Your teen needs a good night’s rest
(source: kevinrosseel/morguefile)

If you have a teenager at home, you know that their sleep habits can be difficult to manage.  Sometimes, they sleep all the time and then other times they stay up all night.  In order to improve their ability to focus in school and to maintain good general health, it’s a smart idea to promote regular sleep habits in adolescents.  But researchers have found another reason to encourage a decent night’s rest – it may help to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Less Sleep May Mean Greater Risk of Diabetes

A new study published in the journal Sleep, found that teens who slept less had an increased risk for developing insulin resistance.  People who have insulin resistance have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes.  Lead author Karen Matthews commented on the findings.

“We found that if teens that normally get six hours of sleep per night get one extra hour of sleep, they would improve insulin resistance by 9 percent.”

Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, most teenagers need about nine hours of sleep each night.  The best tips for improving your teen’s ability to sleep at night may be the same tips for you to improve your night’s sleep. In fact, they may be more relevant for your teen.

Experts find that the use of smart phones in or near the bed has a negative effect on our ability to sleep.  If you find that your teen keeps his or her phone near the bed, encourage them to charge it overnight in the kitchen or in some other room in the house.  Physical activity during the day will also help your teen be ready for bed at a reasonable hour.