Fitness and Health

2011 August 2011 Karen Trom

By Karen Trom from the August 2011 Edition

Change your CHOICES, Change your LIFE

Yes- You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too!

Don’t feel you can’t have cake on your birthday just because you are eating healthier. Heck, you can have cake more than once a year if you make wise choices most of the time! I love to eat and I love to eat things that aren’t good for me like fried food and desserts. But, I also want to be slim and healthy so what’s a girl to do? You don’t have to give up ALL of your favorite foods when you decide to “get healthy.” There are a few foods (like anything with trans-fats) that you should never eat, but for the most part, with a few easy modifications and some self-control- you CAN be healthy and still enjoy what you eat.

Michelle Obama, a big proponent of nutrition and crusader against childhood obesity was recently spotted eating a hamburger, fries, and a milk shake and some media outlets went crazy. “How dare she eat this” they screamed, “she’s telling us what to do and look what she’s doing!” She knew this would be the reaction and used it to let people know that eating a big ol’ fatty meal once in awhile is ok if you typically have a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise. Again, everything in moderation.

There are SO many Choices…help me shop!

Where to start? Look at the nutrition label, not the front of the box or can. Marketers tells us that licorice is fat free but no one is going to be healthy eating Twizzlers. The cereal box tells us Raisin Bran is 100% Natural but it fails to tout the very high sugar and sodium content.

When you see the words “Natural” on packaging, keep in mind that poison ivy is also natural so you need to read the label for more information. Instead of Raisin Bran, buy Special K with Protein and add your own raisins. Speaking of Special K, bypass the varieties with added fruit-type stuff and add your own fresh fruit. It’s cheaper and much healthier. Another tip for the cereal aisle- Buy plain old oatmeal and add fruit or yogurt for toppings. The ingredient list on oatmeal should have one item: 100% Natural whole grain rolled oats. The ingredient list on the flavored, pre-packaged variety reads like a chemistry book.

A quick reference guide to the nutrition label, these are very simplified. I will get into this more in depth next month.

1- Look at the serving size and then the calories. Serving sizes are very deceptive. Who eats ½ cup of ice cream? Do the math according to how much you will actually eat

2- If the product contains trans fats- don’t buy it

3- Ingredients are listed from most to least. If the first 5 ingredients contain sugar/sugar products, think twice about it. Buy items that have a short list of ingredients.

4- Sodium is a KILLER. Current guidelines are 2,300 mg per day, but 1,600 mg per day is even better. Our typical diet is loaded with sodium, opt for low salt varieties and don’t grab the shaker.

What about claims of low fat?

When fat is taken out, something needs to be added and in the case of most grocery items like peanut butter and salad dressings, that item is sugar. Regular peanut butter is healthier than low fat and the calories are the same. Salad dressing is not a healthy item in any form but if you must use it, go with a lower calorie version. Dip your fork into the dressing, then your salad- you will be amazed at how little you use and you will never miss it. Low fat in the dairy aisle is a different story. Any chance you have to buy low or reduced fat cheese, milk, sour cream, etc. , do it. When the fat is removed, it is made more nutritious by lowering the saturated fats and calories. Even better- look for low-sodium, reduced fat cheese.

Can you still eat bread if you are trying to lose weight? There are lots of low-carb, no-carb diets out there and they do work in

the short term but I like carbs so I still eat them, in moderation, of course! White bread is on my list of never-eat foods, it is basically paste and does nothing for you nutritionally. Look for whole grain on the label and don’t buy any bread that contains high fructose corn syrup. Let’s see if you can get by with just half a bun or 1 slice of bread on your sandwich. Add a big piece of

lettuce on the top if you need something to hang on to!


White pasta is also on the Never list. If you haven’t tried whole grain pasta, give it a shot, you won’t miss the white pasta and your body will thank you for not loading it with more glue!

Veggies for Non-Veggie Lovers!


Everyone I know is now on the Green Smoothie Kick- it curbs cravings, gives you tons of fiber and vitamins, is low cal and easy to make, this sounds like a win-win-win-win! Even if you don’t like green vegetables, give this a try- trust me, you’ll like it! Be sure to wash everything thoroughly to get rid of any chemical residue and dirt.

Original Green Smoothie (yes, it is REALLY green!)


1 bunch Kale, romaine, spinach, or other dark green leafy vegetable

1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced

1 cup strawberries, washed with stems on

1 cup water

BLEND until desired consistency.

This makes about 4 servings, store the rest in the refrigerator. Give leftovers a good stir before enjoying.

This is the basic recipe, have fun testing your own combinations of greens and fruit. I haven’t tried mango, but I bet it would be excellent with some romaine and banana.

Let me know what you think. E-mail me at or visit my blog

Remember- Change your Choices, Change Your Life!

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