The Importance of Chewing Your Food Properly

Digestion initially begins in the mouth. As you start to chew your food, digestive enzymes found in saliva begin to break it down, preparing for nutrient absorption. It’s importantly to chew your food thoroughly to achieve maximum absorption of all your vitamins and minerals.

How to Chew Properly

To get into the habit of chewing foods thoroughly, try counting the chews in each bite, aiming for 30 to 50 times. Try putting your utensils down between bites to help you better concentrate on chewing.

  • Chew every mouthful of food at least 30 times each, until the food becomes liquid.
  • Chewing breaks down food and makes it easier on the stomach and small intestine.
  • Saliva assists in the digestion of carbohydrates.

If under pressure at meals, take deep breaths, chew, and let the simple act of chewing relax you. Taking the time to chew will help you to enjoy the whole spectrum of tastes and aromas that make up the meal.

Good Chewing Suggestions

Before eating

  • Wash hands
  • Shower or wash face to help relax.
  • Turn off the television, radio, telephone.
  • Do not read.
  • Find a clean quiet place to eat.
  • Light a candle or play soft music.
  • Stretch, breathe.
  • Align your posture and breathe.

During your meal

  • Place a bite of food in your mouth.
  • Put your utensil down.
  • Place your hands together while chewing.
  • Begin chewing and deep breathing.
  • Concentrate on what you’re doing.
  • Look at your food or something attractive, or close your eyes partially or fully.

After eating

  • Say thanks.
  • Sit and talk after your meal.
  • Take a light stroll.

So next time you think about gobbling your food on the go, think twice. Sit down, enjoy a nice meal and most importantly – CHEW YOUR FOOD!

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

10 Best Foods for Energy

Maybe you had a bad night’s sleep or are approaching the afternoon slump, but the bottom line is that you need an energy kick—stat! Well, skip the Red Bull because there are better and healthier sources of energy that won’t drive you into a sugar coma.

Generally speaking, all food supposedly gives you energy. But some foods are better at providing the energy kick you need to conquer the world. Try noshing on any of these picks—and go from 0 to 10 on the energy scale

1 QUINOA

Packed with more protein than any other grain, plus rich in amino acids, quinoa makes the perfect energy boost mid-day. “It is also high in folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, making it a nutrient-packed source of carbohydrates for long-lasting energy levels,” says Dr. Lindsey Duncan, celebrity nutritionist.

2 LENTILS

Lentils are a food that gives you a bang of nutritional value for barely a buck. Its high fiber content stabilizes blood sugar levels, keeping you energized all day.

3 TUNA FISH

While it doesn’t have the most pleasant smell, eating tuna fish for lunch can perk you up. Loaded with protein and vitamin B, eating type of fish can provide a great source of energy says Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D.N. A piece of advice: go for the light canned tuna which is one of the 6 Best Fish for Weight Loss.

4 BEANS

Not only will beans keep you feeling full and satisfied, but they can also prevent you from feeling sluggish midday. “The protein helps keep blood sugar levels steady to keep you energized, plus the complex carbohydrate provides energy for the brain and body,” says Zied.

5 EGGS

They’re the number one breakfast food for a reason! “Eggs provide high-quality protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and help stay energized and prevent overeating,” says Elisa Zied, R.D.N., C.D.N., author of Younger Next Week and Food, Fitness & Fiction blogger.

6 WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL

There is nothing bland about whole grain cereal! And eating this in the a.m. is a great way to pump up your energy. “High-fiber whole grain cereals slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream which ultimately translates to more consistent energy levels throughout the day,” says Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group.

7 CHIA SEEDS

Sprinkles these healthy seeds into your yogurt or smoothies and you the energy you need to fuel your day. “Chia seeds give you stable energy because of their great ratio of protein, fats and fiber combined with the fact that they’re low-carb,” says Carolyn Brown, MS, RD at Foodtrainers on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “They won’t cause spikes and drops in blood sugar or insulin levels, preventing cravings and overeating later.”

8 GREEN TEA

More of a tea drinker? Then trade the java for a some green tea; we’re such big fans at Eat This, Not That! that we created The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse. Much like coffee, green tea naturally contains caffeine, but it also has a compound called thymine that keeps you focused and alert without feeling jittery. Meanwhile, its powerful properties help burn more belly fat—which is why test panelists for the cleanse lost up to 10 pounds in a week!

9 YOGURT

“Yogurt is a great source of high-quality protein to fill you up and provide basic energy for the brain, says Zied.” The best part about this food is it pairs well with pretty much everything. Add some granola, nuts, or fruit to amp up its flavor.

10 ORANGES

Oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, which can make you less tired two hours after intake.

Source: Eatthis.com | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Did you know? Useful tips on walking and fitness

Side walk! Walking sideways burns 78% more calories than walking forward. Lateral motion takes extra effort by putting your body to work in unfamiliar ways.

Walk away from trouble. A study done at the University of Pittsburgh found that postmenopausal women who had walked regularly for more than a decade, avoided heart disease, falls, hospitalization and surgeries far more successfully than their inactive peers.

Do you have a need for speed? Quick! Check out this Web site: www.racewalk.com

A walker’s motto: “Always be prepared.” Keep a pair of your old walking shoes in your car. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to squeeze in a 10-minute walk.

Why weight?: A weight gain of 11 – 18 pounds increases your risk of heart disease by 25%. More than 25 pounds and your risk goes up 200% – 300%.

Step’n out! The average person takes 9,000 steps each day. In a lifetime that is 3.5 trips around the Earth.

New soles! Your walking shoes should be replaced about every 500 miles. Special tip: buy two pairs of shoes to walk in. Wear one pair to walk regularly in and wear the other pair just on Sundays. When you begin to feel the difference between the two pairs of shoes, it’s time to buy a new pair of shoes. Now use your previous Sunday pair for your regular walks and your new shoes as your Sunday pair.

Head for the hills! To increase body toning, cardiovascular fitness and calorie burn, walk uphill.

A man’s and women’s best friend. Does your dog insist you take her (or him) for a walk? Look for a retractable leash. It can help free up your arms so you can keep pumping them and that will help you get as much or more benefit from your walk as Fifi (or Fido)!

Keep on walkin’. About 80% of hospital admissions are the result of bad health habits such as leading a sedentary lifestyle. Don’t let you or some one you love become a statistic. Get them up, out and walking!

A good idea. Freeze water in your water bottle. It will melt slowly while you walk so you’ll have a constant supply of cold, refreshing water.

More work, less play? Since 1970, working Americans have seen their leisure time drop from 26 to 17 hours per week. A Walking Vacation is a perfect way to fill this precious time. We make all the plans! You sit back and relax!

Don’t be a statistic! Twenty-five percent of people who start an exercise program quit the first week. Another 25% quit within the first six months.

Roughing it! Walking on a rough but level track requires 50% more energy than walking on a paved road.

In the fast lane! Do you know how fast you are walking? To get a close estimate, count the number of steps you take in a minute and divide by 30. For an example, if you take 120 steps you would be walking about 4 mph.

Fight the fat! Blend equal portions of nonfat yogurt with your favorite salsa for a fat-free, low-calorie dressing for salads, chicken and fish.

An ounce of prevention One of the best ways to protect yourself during the cold and flu season is to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

A little bit goes a long way. The risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes can be reduced just by taking the dog for a walk, climbing the stairs or sweeping the driveway.

Source: Active.com | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Walk, Don’t Run, Your Way to a Healthy Heart

OK, so you’re not much into running? Or maybe you’ve had an injury and can’t run. Then just walk — every step you take is part of your journey to good heart health.

In fact, walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running, according to a new study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkley, Calif. All three conditions are risk factors for heart disease and stroke — and you can do something about them.

Researchers analyzed 33,060 runners in the National Runners’ Health Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. They found that the same energy used for moderate- intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the study’s six years.

The more people walked or ran each week, the more their health benefits increased.

“The findings don’t surprise me at all,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. “The findings are consistent with the American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity in adults that we need 30 minutes of physical activity per day, at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week to derive benefits.”

On Your Mark, Get Set … Walk!

Maybe you’ve been sedentary for a while. No problem.

“Just get started,” Pate said, “even if it’s a few additional minutes per day.”

It’s not all or nothing; it’s step by step.

So set a reachable goal just for today. Then you can work toward your overall goal of 30 minutes a day by increasing your time as you get in better shape.

“Just find an approach that you find enjoyable,” said Pate, who is also a volunteer for the American Heart Association. “It may be the setting, doing it with someone or walking alone because you appreciate the solitude.”

And if you’re busy — like most of us — you can split up your walks into 10-15 minutes each.

You can also work in walking when you:

Take the dog out for a stroll through the neighborhood.
Spend quality time with the family at the park.
Park farther from your workplace and use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Window shop at the mall.
There’s lots of ways to engage in it,” Pate said.
It’s So Easy — and It Works

All you have to do is lace up with a good pair of sneakers — and walk. It’s that easy. It’s also safe, the least expensive and has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise.

“It’s not a skill-dependent form of activity,” Pate said. “It’s the most accessible form of physical activity. You can do it almost anywhere. And it doesn’t require a lot of equipment.”

Before you know it, brisk walking can become a part of your daily routine. And you’ll reap plenty of benefits.

“Clearly, walking is an important form of physical activity,” Pate said.

Source: American Heart Association | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Why we walk on our heels instead of our toes: Longer virtual limbs

James Webber took up barefoot running 12 years ago. He needed to find a new passion after deciding his planned career in computer-aided drafting wasn’t a good fit. Eventually, his shoeless feet led him to the University of Arizona, where he enrolled as a doctoral student in the School of Anthropology.

Webber was interested in studying the mechanics of running, but as the saying goes, one must learn to walk before they can run, and that — so to speak — is what Webber has been doing in his research.

His most recent study on walking, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, specifically explores why humans walk with a heel-to-toe stride, while many other animals — such as dogs and cats — get around on the balls of their feet.

It was an especially interesting question from Webber’s perspective, because those who do barefoot running, or “natural running,” land on the middle or balls of their feet instead of the heels when they run — a stride that would feel unnatural when walking.

Indeed, humans are pretty set in our ways with how we walk, but our heel-first style could be considered somewhat curious.

“Humans are very efficient walkers, and a key component of being an efficient walker in all kind of mammals is having long legs,” Webber said. “Cats and dogs are up on the balls of their feet, with their heel elevated up in the air, so they’ve adapted to have a longer leg, but humans have done something different. We’ve dropped our heels down on the ground, which physically makes our legs shorter than they could be if were up on our toes, and this was a conundrum to us (scientists).”

Webber’s study, however, offers an explanation for why our heel-strike stride works so well, and it still comes down to limb length: Heel-first walking creates longer “virtual legs,” he says.

We Move Like a Human Pendulum

When humans walk, Webber says, they move like an inverted swinging pendulum, with the body essentially pivoting above the point where the foot meets the ground below. As we take a step, the center of pressure slides across the length of the foot, from heel to toe, with the true pivot point for the inverted pendulum occurring midfoot and effectively several centimeters below the ground. This, in essence, extends the length of our “virtual legs” below the ground, making them longer than our true physical legs.

As Webber explains: “Humans land on their heel and push off on their toes. You land at one point, and then you push off from another point eight to 10 inches away from where you started. If you connect those points to make a pivot point, it happens underneath the ground, basically, and you end up with a new kind of limb length that you can understand. Mechanically, it’s like we have a much longer leg than you would expect.”

Webber and his adviser and co-author, UA anthropologist David Raichlen, came to the conclusion after monitoring study participants on a treadmill in the University’s Evolutionary Biomechanics Lab. They looked at the differences between those asked to walk normally and those asked to walk toe-first. They found that toe-first walkers moved slower and had to work 10 percent harder than those walking with a conventional stride, and that conventional walkers’ limbs were, in essence, 15 centimeters longer than toe-first walkers.

“The extra ‘virtual limb’ length is longer than if we had just had them stand on their toes, so it seems humans have found a novel way of increasing our limb length and becoming more efficient walkers than just standing on our toes,” Webber said. “It still all comes down to limb length, but there’s more to it than how far our hip is from the ground. Our feet play an important role, and that’s often something that’s been overlooked.”

When the researchers sped up the treadmill to look at the transition from walking to running, they also found that toe-first walkers switched to running at lower speeds than regular walkers, further showing that toe-first walking is less efficient for humans.

Ancient Human Ancestors Had Extra-Long Feet

It’s no wonder humans are so set in our ways when it comes to walking heel-first — we’ve been doing it for a long time. Scientists know from footprints found preserved in volcanic ash in Latoli, Tanzania, that ancient hominins practiced heel-to-toe walking as early as 3.6 million years ago.

Our feet have changed over the years, however. Early bipeds (animals that walk on two feet) appear to have had rigid feet that were proportionally much longer than ours today — about 70 percent the length of their femur, compared to 54 percent in modern humans. This likely helped them to be very fast and efficient walkers. While modern humans held on to the heel-first style of walking, Webber suggests our toes and feet may have gotten shorter, proportionally, as we became better runners in order to pursue prey.

“When you’re running, if you have a really long foot and you need to push off really hard way out at the end of your foot, that adds a lot of torque and bending,” Webber said. “So the idea is that as we shifted into running activities, our feet started to shrink because it maybe it wasn’t as important to be super-fast walkers. Maybe it became important to be really good runners.”

Source: Sciencedaily.com | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Using Meditation To Improve Your Health

For thousands of years, meditators have claimed many benefits for their practice. Regular meditation can be an effective treatment for stress, worry, lack of focus, relationship problems, addictions and more. It creates peace of mind and wellbeing, improves focus and creativity and strengthens relationships.

Through meditation, your brain physically changes, even though you’re not aware of it re-wiring itself. Meditation activates the ‘relaxation’ part of our nervous system which supports stress management. It also affects awareness and allows you to put stressors and “to-do” lists on the back burner by filtering out that part of your thought process. Researchers have found that after just 11 hours of meditation, practitioners had structural changes in the part of the brain involved in monitoring our focus and self control.

Researchers have found that, compared with the people who didn’t meditate, those trained in meditation concentrated and stayed on task longer. It has also been shown that the majority of practitioners see a noticeable reduction in anxiety and anxiety related behaviors.

Meditation has also been shown to improve relationships, including marriages. It can improve mindfulness of how the couple treats each other as well as improve communication and connectedness.

Try this amazing five-minute meditation from Dr. Alejandro Junger. (http://www.cleanprogram.com/group-detox-cleanse)

*Commit to daily practice and make note of the changes in your behavioral patterns*

Step 1: Get Comfortable & Breathe

Sit up in a chair with your back straight. Place your feet flat on the floor under your knees. Rest the palms of your hands on your thighs and relax your arms. Look straight ahead but try not to focus anywhere in particular. Instead, notice everything in the room at once.

Take a deep breath and start feeling your feet. Feel them touching the floor or the inside of your shoes. Feel the temperature, the humidity; feel the texture of your socks. Feel your feet intensely from inside. Do not “think” about them, just feel them, sense them.

Step 2: Scan Your Body with Attention

After a few breaths, move your attention to your calves and legs. Feel and sense these for several breaths. Then move your attention from body part to body part, first to your thighs, then your bottom against the chair, then to your abdomen and lower back, your chest and upper back, your shoulders, your arms, your hands, your neck, face, and lastly your head.

Then let your awareness cover your whole body at the same time. The idea is to “scan” your body with your attention, stopping for a few breaths on each part. This practice will strengthen your ability to direct and hold your focus.

Step 3: Thank Your Monkey Mind for Sharing

You may notice that the moment you sit down, you start remembering things and feel the urge to act on them. This is part of the process. When those thoughts come and try to steal your attention away from your body, simply say silently to yourself, “Thank you for sharing,” and direct your attention back to your body.

If you feel discomfort or frustration and want to stop, just keep sitting calmly. Know that the discomfort you feel is not caused by the exercise itself. It’s what happens when you become aware of your baseline state, that underlying anxiety you are typically not aware of when the outside world is at full volume and your attention is far from your body.

Becoming aware of this underlying state is the first step toward dissolving it, and claiming back the energy it consumes.

Step 4: Where did that thought come from?

When you find yourself consumed by your monkey mind, try for a second to separate your attention from your thoughts and re-focus it on the present. Ask yourself: “Who is deciding that I think these thoughts? If I had a choice, would I be thinking them?”

Step 5: Use Anytime, Anywhere

This technique can also be used in the middle of any stressful situation like a business meeting or a job interview. When we are nervous, it is because our unconscious thoughts are interpreting, judging, measuring and expecting. This process takes energy and attention.

By re-directing our attention to our body and breath, we reclaim this unnecessary use of energy. It may be hard to remember to do this in difficult situations. Start with easy ones. Then try to do it in harder and harder ones.

My personal experience is that if I have the presence of mind for a split second to remember and start doing it, immediately the energy of the situation shifts, usually for the better. When you become more present, others in the room feel it as well.

Practicing being present will help clear out your mind. You will begin to be able to use your energy and attention to stay present and be more productive. This practice will also help you be more aware of the decisions you are making about what you eat.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Managing Hot Pavement Burns On Your Feet

I just LOVE summer! The sun shining down, walking to the beach, playing outside with my kids. It seems I often find myself barefoot and I have definitely been the victim of a few minor burns to the bottom of my feet from walking on hot pavement or even sand. I’m not talking about giant, blistering burns, just skin that is slightly red, hot and sensitive to the touch.

I’m certainly not a medical professional, but I am very savvy when it comes to using natural remedies for minor “injuries” such as this. I wanted to share a few of my favorite simple tips for soothing minor burns on the bottom of your feet.

  1. Aloe vera: Just as you use aloe for sunburn on your body, you can use aloe on the bottom of your feet if they are burned. I find aloe to be even more soothing when it’s stored in the refrigerator so it’s nice and cold.
  2. Lavender oil: Prepare a large bowl with cool water and about 5 drops of lavender oil to soak your feet in. Lavender can be very soothing for minor burns, and also helps to alleviate pain and heal naturally.
  3. Tea tree oil: If you don’t enjoy the scent of lavender oil, or don’t happen to have it on hand, you can prepare a foot soak tub, just as described above, but use tea tree oil rather than lavender oil.
  4. Stay off your feet as much as possible: This sounds like common sense, but a lot of people forget that when you have an injury, even a minor one, it is important to be sure that you give the body adequate time to heal. The more you walk on your feet when they are burned, the longer they will take to heal. So relax, and put your feet up – literally!
  5. Wear footwear with adequate cushioning: Rather than harsh flip flops or sandals, try to wear sneakers or sandals that have a soft, cushioned insole. In fact, if you can wear orthotics for additional cushioning in your sneakers, that’s even better. Lynco makes customizable orthotics that allow you to remove pods in particular areas of pressure. This can be especially useful if you have blisters in particular areas of your feet that need more room to “breathe.”
  6. Don’t slather your feet in thick salves or ointments that don’t allow feet to breathe. This can prevent the burns from healing.

If you’re like me and love being outside and enjoying all that summer has to offer, the occasional burnt foot is well worth it. Using these tips can help you heal faster so you can get back out there for more outdoor fun as soon as possible.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

33 Healthier Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

I’ve always been one of those people that needs something sweet after dinner. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just something to satisfy my sweet tooth and stop it from nagging me. But sticking to just a small, sweet snack can be tricky.

Let’s be honest: Anything that seriously satisfies our sweet tooth isn’t going to be the epitome of a healthy meal. Though all of these snacks contain (gasp!) sugar, we aimed to find lower-sugar options that offer something beneficial, whether it be a sneaky superfood (like strawberries and grapes) or additional nutrients like fiber or protein. So here are 33 less guilty ways to indulge any sweet tooth.

1. Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry

Combat chocolate’s not-so-healthy side by using it as a semi-sweet jacket on superfoods, like strawberries! Dip and let set in the refrigerator until the chocolate coating has hardened.

2. Choco-Nut Popcorn

Pop a small bag of natural popcorn and top with 1 tablespoon melted peanut butter and a dusting of cocoa powder. Crunchy and the perfect amount of sweetness! Not sweet enough? Try swapping peanut butter for Nutella.

3. Frozen Chocolate Banana

This is the perfect frozen sweet treat with some extra nutritional punch! Bananas are a great source of vitamins C and B6, and are also packed with fiber and potassium. Peel a banana, cut into two equal halves, and freeze. Once solid, take out and roll in melted dark chocolate. While the chocolate’s still melty, roll in whichever crunchy topping you like—sprinkles, nuts, and granola all work well! Return to the freezer until the chocolate is set (at least an hour). Enjoy!

4. Yogurt Parfait

Top 1 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla) with your choice of toppings: crumbled graham crackers or granola, nuts, and fruit are all healthy choices. Add some shaved chocolate if you must!

5. Fresh Fruit

Can’t get more simple than this. Any piece of fresh fruit should offer enough natural sugar to fill those cravings. Plus, it’s definitely the healthiest choice and you get added nutrients and fiber!

6. Dark Chocolate

Sorry, friends—not any old chocolate bar will send you to healthful heaven. But dark chocolate (think more than 70 percent cacao), which lacks all the added fat and sugar of classic milk chocolate, can actually be a healthy treat in moderation. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and can even help regulate levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

7. Chocolate Milk

Not only is chocolate milk a great way to fit a hint of sweetness into your day, research shows it’s actually an effective post-workoutrecovery drink, too!

8. Smoothie

It’s easy to find an easy, healthy smoothie recipe for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. In fact, here are 54 healthy smoothie recipes sweet enough to fill any of those cravings.

9. PB&J

We’ll admit it: A good portion of the Greatist office is addicted to peanut butter and jelly. Half of a classic sandwich on whole wheat bread (grape, strawberry, or whatever type of jelly you like) provides an excellent amount of sweetness with a little dose of protein and fiber to boot.

10. All-Fruit Popsicle

There’s no added sugar in these sweet and cool treats. Simply puree watermelon chunks and some lime juice, freeze, and enjoy. If it’s not watermelon season, try any other juicy fruit: Pears, peaches, or berries with a touch of apple juice for base will all make great pops.

11. Cafe Mocha

This is the perfect way to get a kick of caffeine and a serving of dark chocolate all at once. Opt for low-fat milk and stick to a small size to keep the calorie count low.

12. Banana Ice Cream

This one-ingredient ice cream is the perfect after-dinner treat. If you’re feeling fancy, try mixing it up and adding in a peanut butter swirl or a few teaspoons of cocoa powder for some chocolate flavor.

13. Nutella Yogurt Dip with Fruit

This is a healthier take on chocolate fondue. Instead of pure chocolate, mix Nutella with Greek yogurt and use as a dip with some fresh fruit or low-sugar cookies or crackers.

14. Cereal and Milk

You can make this one as healthy or unhealthy as you like. Opt for a high-fiber, whole-grain cereal if you’re going the healthy route and sweeten with a bit of honey or cinnamon. Of course, if you feel like going the “naughtier” route, there’s always chocolate chex.

15. Sorbet

Especially during warmer months, keeping a pint of healthy homemade sorbet on hand is the perfect way to fill sugar cravings without overdoing it on the white stuff. This super-simple plum sorbet doesn’t use any sugar—just 3 little tablespoons of honey per quart (and we promise there’s no lack of sweetness!).

16. KIND Bar

These are a Greatist HQ staple. Kind bars come in a ton of awesome slightly-sweet flavors (including a few drizzled in chocolate — yum) perfect for sweet tooth snacking. Plus, you get a dose of omega 3s and protein. Go for a full-sized bar if your stomach’s grumbling, or opt for a “mini” if hunger pangs haven’t quite set in.

17. Graham Cracker with Peanut Butter

This is a classic combo. The graham cracker is just sweet enough and the peanut butter adds a luxurious silky smooth texture. If you need a little more sweetness, opt for chocolate or cinnamon-flavored graham crackers. Bonus points for getting an extra dose of calcium when enjoyed with a small glass of low-fat milk!

18. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pretzels

A little salty sweet combo can cure those sugary cravings. Microwave 1 square of dark chocolate and 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter until melted, and dip 1 large or 10 mini pretzel rods.

19. Frozen Greek Yogurt Drops

This one’s brilliant. It’s this simple to turn a cup of plain old Greek yogurt into a quick frozen treat that’s fun to eat: Combine 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup frozen berries and stir it all up until the fruit has broken down and the mixture has an even consistency. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and drop 1/4 teaspoons of the mixture onto the sheet, leaving enough room between each drop so they don’t touch. Freeze for a few hours until solid and pour all the drops into a plastic baggie. Store in the freezer until you’re ready to snack!

20. Fruit Leather

Fruit-by-the-Foot? Not exactly a healthier choice. But a low-sugar, fruit-only dried fruit leather can be a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Just make sure to find a brand with no added sugar.

21. Baked Apple

This treat is easy to make ahead and reheat, or whip up in an instant right when you want it. Stuff the apples with oats, nuts, and just a little honey for sweetness.

22. Pudding

Chocolate, vanilla, pistachio—take whichever flavor you like most and whip some up with skim milk. Enjoy ½ cup without any guilt! Top with some fresh berries for added fiber.

23. Fruit and Cottage Cheese

Not only does this option satisfy sweet teeth, it provides a perfect serving of filling protein, too. If plain fruit isn’t sweet enough, try drizzling with honey or mixing in a teaspoon of cocoa powder.

24. Frozen Grapes

Pop a vine in the freezer for a few hours and out comes a long-lasting, slightly sweet treat packed with antioxidants and other nutrients. The biggest health boost? Resveratrol, which studies suggest may help lower levels of LDL cholesterol and promote blood vessel health.

25. Animal Crackers

A small handful of animal crackers is not just an ideal snack for kindergarteners. A good-sized handful (about 16 crackers) has just about 120 calories and only 7g of sugar.

26. Hot Chocolate

Skim (or soy) milk can make a healthful base to this slightly sweet drink—just don’t overdo it on the chocolate syrup.

27. Waffle-wich

Time to give that Eggo a makeover. Start with a whole-grain version of the classic frozen waffle. Toast to desired crispiness and slice in half. Top one half with 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 2 sliced strawberries. Top with other half, and enjoy!

28. Flavored Greek Yogurt

Typically, we opt for plain yogurt with our own tailored flavorings to cut back on sugar. However, if you’re looking to indulge a bit in the first place, a small cup of flavored Greek yogurt is a great option. Even though it has some sugar, it also offers a good amount of protein and will keep you full until that next meal.

29. Cinnamon Toast

No, Cinnamon Toast Crunch doesn’t count. Instead, toast up a slice of whole-grain bread and top with ½ teaspoon of butter (or substitute), ¼ teaspoon of sugar, and as much cinnamon as your heart desires!

30. Trail Mix (with Dark Chocolate)

A small serving of a healthy mix of nuts like almonds and pistachios with a few nice chewy pieces of dried fruit (like cranberries or cherries) and some dark chocolate pieces makes a great snack mix with good nutritional value too.

31. “Banana Butter” Rice Cake

Here’s a surprise: Bananas are so sweet on their own they can help sweeten any treat. Mash ½ a ripe banana until mushy, and swirl in a teaspoon of peanut butter. Spread on a rice cake, and enjoy!

32. Yogurt Dipped Fruit

This one’s sweet—literally. Start by making the yogurt coating mixture by combining 1 cup of your favorite Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar. Blend until completely smooth. Now get dipping: Coat your favorite fruits (grapes, bananas, apple slices, and strawberries work well) in the yogurt mixture and set on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Once full, place the sheet in the freezer until the yogurt hardens. (The sugar is what creates the semi-hard shell on the outside of the fruit. If you like, you can omit the sugar and just keep the fruit frozen so the yogurt “shell” stays intact.)

33. Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

When ice cream cravings hit, try whipping up some of this frozen blueberry-based treat.

Source: Greatist.com | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Healthy Eating for an Active Lifestyle

10 tips for combining good nutrition and physical activity

For youth and adults engaging in physical activity and sports, healthy eating is essential for optimizing performance. Combining good nutrition with physical activity can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

  1. Maximize with nutrient-packed foods
    Give your body the nutrients it needs by eating a variety of nutrient-packed food, including whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Eat less food high in solid fats, added sugars, and sodium (salt).
  2. Energize with grains
    Your body’s quickest energy source comes from foods such as bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereals, and tortillas. Be sure to make at least half of your grain food choices whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread or pasta and brown rice.
  3. Power up with protein
    Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle. Choose lean or low-fat cuts of beef or pork, and skinless chicken or turkey. Get your protein from seafood twice a week. Quality protein sources come from plant based foods, too.
  4. Mix it up with plant protein foods
    Variety is great! Choose beans and peas (kidney, pinto, black, or white beans; split peas; chickpeas; hummus), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers), and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  5. Vary your fruits and vegetables
    Get the nutrients your body needs by eating a variety of colors, in various ways. Try blue, red, or black berries; red and yellow peppers; and dark greens like spinach and kale. Choose fresh, frozen, low-sodium canned, dried, or 100 percent juice options.
  6. Don’t forget dairy
    Foods like fat-free and low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and fortified soy beverages (soymilk) help to build and maintain strong bones needed for everyday activities.
  7. Balance your meals
    Use MyPlate as a reminder to include all food groups each day.
  8. Drink water
    Stay hydrated by drinking water instead of sugary drinks. Keep a reusable water bottle with you to always have water on hand.
  9. Know how much to eat
    Get personalized nutrition information based on your age, gender, height, weight, current physical activity level, and other factors. Use SuperTracker to determine your calorie needs, plan a diet that’s right for you, and track progress toward your goals. Lean more atwww.SuperTracker.usda.gov.
  10. Reach your goals
    Earn Presidential recognition for reaching your healthy eating and physical activity goals. Log on to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition website to sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+).

Source: Choosemyplate.gov | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

How to Soothe Your Inflamed, Aching Feet

Try It—Three Weeks to Happier Feet
If you want to have less foot pain, follow these steps for the next three weeks and see how much better you feel:

Remove all sugar, processed carbohydrates and refined oils from your diet.
Eat meals that consist of meat, vegetables and a good fat. For example, start your day with Turkey Breakfast Sausages and half a sweet potato with butter on it. For lunch, eat Wild Rice Meatballs and a salad topped with olive oil. For dinner, have a Chicken Patty and steamed broccoli drizzled with olive oil or coconut oil. Any combination will do. Just make sure you have a meat, vegetable and fat at every meal.
Up your intake of omega-3 EPA. Eat more salmon and consider supplementing with a quality omega-3 product.
Did you know…each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments? This means there is a lot of room for error and helps explain why 75 percent of adults have experienced foot pain such as Plantar Fasciitis or other painful conditions. Yet, only a very small percentage of people are actually born with abnormalities affecting their feet. With so many people experiencing foot pain, we have to wonder, did Mother Nature mess up when she designed our feet or is there something we are doing, wearing, or eating that is causing all this foot pain?

What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The most common type of foot pain is Plantar Fasciitis (PF); where the plantar fascia ligament, which runs from the heel to the toes, becomes inflamed. Ligaments are similar to rubber bands, they stretch and contract. By attaching bones to bones, they limit the movements of joints and provide stabilization. The plantar fascia aids in the stabilization of the arch and helps support the weight of the body. PF accounts for 80 percent of the heel pain seen by physicians. It typically occurs as a result of overuse such as standing for long periods of time, high impact physical activities including running or jumping, and wearing the wrong shoes. Women frequently experience PF as a result of wearing high-heeled shoes.

Is Your Diet Causing Your Foot Pain?
Now you might be asking yourself, “So how does my diet impact my foot pain?” It comes back to inflammation. For some, the inflammation manifests in foot pain. To reduce inflammation, you have to help your body stop producing it. The two food groups that increase inflammation the most are sugar and refined oils.

Sugar means the obvious sources such as leftover Easter candy, soda, sport drinks, cookies, ice cream and donuts. Not-so-obvious sources of sugar include bread, crackers, pasta, pretzels and potato chips. These foods are high in carbohydrates, meaning they will turn into sugar after being digested and spike your blood sugar. High blood sugars lead to high insulin levels which cause blood vessel constriction. Narrow blood vessels will not allow blood to flow well to injured body parts and inflammation will persist. Maybe you changed your running shoes, but you also need to change your post run hydration from sugary Gatorade to water.

In addition to sugar, oils made from corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed are inflammatory in your body. They contain the inflammatory omega-6 fat, arachidonic acid. Oils from these sources are heavily refined and therefore damaged. When you consume these oils they send a signal in your body to produce prostaglandins. These chemical messengers send signals within the cell to respond with typical inflammatory responses such as swelling, pain and increased temperature. When you stop eating damaged oils, your body stops producing as many inflammatory prostaglandins. Unfortunately, food manufacturers like to use refined oils because they are cheap and extend the shelf life of products. Even so called “healthy” foods often use these fats. Look for them in the ingredient list on salad dressings, whole grain breads, roasted nuts and protein bars.

Anti-Inflammatory Fats Your Feet Will Love
Cutting out the processed carbohydrates and refined oils is the first step toward pain-free feet. The next step is to fill your plate with colorful vegetable carbohydrates and 1-2 tablespoons of healing fats every time you eat. Fats nourish your tissues, even the tendons and ligaments in your feet. Two amazing and flavorful fats are butter and coconut oil. Yes they are saturated fats, but just think of them as saturating your tissues with moisture.

Many people know that fish oil is anti-inflammatory and that salmon is high in the omega-3 fat EPA, which has been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation. Wondering how to get more salmon in your diet?

Breakfast: Try eating Salmon Salad Supreme—it’s a great way to start your day; and one batch will give you enough for two meals.
For an easy grab-n-go lunch, make and freeze some Salmon Cakes. All you have to do is thaw one out and pair it with fresh or frozen vegetables for a delicious meal.
A healthy snack: You could whip up some Salmon Deviled Eggs to bring to your next book club meeting or to have as a mid-afternoon snack.
Not a fish eater? Supplemental EPA can be taken in the form of fish oil.

Most people need 3000-6000mg of fish oil per day to reduce their inflammation. Our Nutrikey omega-3 is a great choice since it has been filtered to remove mercury and contains only fish oil—unlike other brands which sometimes dilute their products with inflammatory soybean oil.

Other things to consider
Along with eating an anti-inflammatory diet people can treat acute cases of Plantar Fasciitis by sitting down and elevating their feet, icing the affected area, massaging the foot, and wearing a special brace at night to help stretch the plantar ligament.

Source: Weightandwellness.com | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide