How Bad is Restaurant Food For You?

There’s no questioning the fact that the foods you eat go far in determining how quickly you’ll meet your fitness goals. 

And if you’re eating a number of your meals out at restaurants then you’re going to want to keep reading because the average restaurant meal contains more than 1,200 calories.

Most people have no idea just how fattening restaurant entrées are. In fact, the following information may shock you.

Here, in no particular order, are 5 of the most fattening restaurant dishes along with tips that I’ve included to equip you in making lighter, healthier versions of these dishes at home.

Bad Food #1: Cobb Salad
Cobb salads are loaded with cheese, bacon, egg, and topped with a creamy dressing. Sure, you’re eating a salad, but that salad is likely to contain more calories than a burger.

At-Home Version: Making a lighter Cobb Salad at home is easy and quick. Start with a dark lettuce, like spinach or arugula, to get the most nutritional value. Top it with hard boiled egg whites, baked turkey bacon, light cheese, avocado and drizzle lemon juice and vinegar for dressing. This at-home version has dramatically lower calories while still providing you with a satisfying, tasty dish.

Bad Food #2: Spinach Artichoke Dip
When it comes to appetizers, spinach dip is filled with veggies so its calorie content is often underestimated. Don’t be fooled: just half a cup of this creamy dip will set you back about 350 calories. And if you finish the bowl yourself then you’ve just taken in 1,000 calories in dip alone, not to mention the chips or pita bread you scooped it with.

At-Home Version: That delicious creamy spinach flavor can be recreated at home by using low-fat milk, spinach, some olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. A quick Google search for ‘light creamed spinach recipe’ will give you plenty of recipe options that are much lower in fat and calories than the restaurant version.

Bad Food #3: Chicken Tenders
Fried chicken of any kind from a restaurant is going to be loaded with more fat and calories than you’d believe. Even a serving on the kid’s menu will tip the scales at over 800 calories.

At-Home Version: Making faux fried chicken at home is easy and surprisingly delicious. Whip up a few eggs with some Dijon mustard, garlic powder and onion powder. Dip your skinless, boneless chicken tenders in the mixture and then coat with almond flour, thyme, paprika and salt. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until no longer pink, flipping once halfway through. Turn on the broiler for the last couple of minutes to make it nice and crispy.

This at-home version will save you hundreds of calories that would have ended up around your waist.

Bad Food #4: Sliders
Sliders are so small, there’s no harm in enjoying a couple of, right? Wrong. Despite their petite package, enjoy a couple sliders and you’ll have taken in more than 1,000 calories.

At-Home Version: The biggest problems with the restaurant slider are its fatty meat content and the refined-carbohydrate bun. So at home you can remedy these two issues. 1) Use lean, ground turkey to create petite patties. Use your grill pan to cook them with minimal oil. 2) Instead of the carbohydrate-filled bun, use large pieces of butter lettuce to wrap around your patties. Add sliced tomato, low fat cheese and grilled onion and secure the whole thing with a toothpick. These at-home sliders are guilt-free!

Bad Food #5: Pasta
Eating a pasta-based dish at a restaurant is weight-loss suicide. There’s no way to escape all those carbohydrate calories unscathed. The 1,000+ calories found in the noodles will quickly end up stored on your body as fat.

At-Home Version: There are two really easy and guilt-free ways to mimic pasta noodles at home. 1) Bake a spaghetti squash until tender, then scoop out the soft, angel hair-like strands and top with your healthy pasta sauce. 2) Using a vegetable peeler, create long strips of zucchini and top with your healthy pasta sauce.

Cooking more of your meals at home, using the tips above, will save you many hidden calories and goes hand-in-hand with regular, challenging workouts in seeing you to your fitness goal, Call or email today and I will schedule a time to meet with you one-on-one to strategize the quickest and most effective route to getting you to your fitness goals.

Give Your Entree a Makeover

We all have our favorite things to order when we eat out or get take-out. As you’ve seen above, these items can be made at home, in a much healthier way. 

This is cool because it allows you to eat the same foods that you love, while losing weight and getting closer to your fitness goals. 

It’s easier than you think. Make a list of your top 5 restaurant entrees and go online to search for healthier ways to cook them. 

Start with the recipe below for Crispy Orange Chicken.

Crispy Orange Chicken

Who doesn’t love ordering crispy orange chicken? Forget the restaurant. Now you can stay in and make it yourself at home. Rest assured that this meal is filled with healthy ingredients that will not derail your fitness results.Servings: 6

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate (no sugar added)
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Zest from one orange
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 2 packets Stevia
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Dash salt and pepper
  • Dash granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  1. Combine the orange juice concentrate, coconut aminos, olive oil, orange zest, red pepper flakes and Stevia in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil on medium-high.
  3. Generously season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and granulated onion. Add chicken to hot skillet and brown on all sides.
  4. When chicken is almost fully cooked, add the orange sauce, stirring to coat all of the chicken. Cook, uncovered, simmering the sauce until thickened and fully sticking to the chicken.
  5. Garnish with sesame seeds and freshly chopped green onion.

Nutritional Analysis: One Serving Equals, 282 calories, 12g fat, 505mg sodium, 12g carbs, 1g fiber, 35g protein

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Obese and Overwhelmed

Obese and Overwhelmed

When someone is obese weight loss can seem like Mt Everest. Weight loss exercises and weight loss diet plans are amongst the best ways to lose weight naturally without any side effects. There are specific weight loss exercises designed for the obese which will ease you into fitness and will be less intimidating. If followed with dedication, they can provide lasting results to your health
Exercising on a daily basis is a must, especially if you are tied to a 9 to 5 job that requires you to be glued to your workstation all day. A sedentary lifestyle is bound to make you gain those extra unwanted pounds. Everyone should find some time to exercise on a daily basis if they are looking to stay fit and healthy and to avoid accumulation of unwanted body fat. If you are already obese and have never exercised before this may seem like a daunting task.

The simplest of all weight loss exercises is walking. Walking can be done by anyone and doesn’t require any equipment. Even someone who is overweight or obese can walk a short distance and if exercise has not been done before the simple act of walking can make a big difference. It will kick start your weight loss. If a walk around the block is too much start smaller by going to the end of the driveway and back, then the end of the road. Eventually you will build up your endourance to walk further and as the pounds come off it will be easier.

Walking is a great low impact exercise for everyone. Morning walks are a great way to stay fit and shed those extra pounds. If you are unable to walk in the morning, try to take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the store instead of driving. To get the most from walking go for regular walks at least 5 days a week.

Once you feel comfortable with walking, incorporate some other cardio vascular exercises in your daily work out regime. These would ideally include jogging, running, push ups, sit ups or even cycling. If your body permits, you can even go in for aerobics or dance classes. Not only are they enjoyable, but they are also a great way to shed off your extra pounds in a jiffy. The sweat generated from cardiovascular exercises is what paves the way for immediate weight loss. Try these rigorous exercises for just a week and you will see the difference.

You can even go for weight loss yoga sessions under the guidance of your physical trainer. There are specific yoga postures that help you lose weight if done on a regular basis. These simple exercises don’t need large scale financial investment and can be done at your gym or at home. When you have a weight loss mountain to climb start small and eventually you’ll reach the peak.

Your Diet, Minus the Gluten

Getting stuck with a gluten-free diet doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

A seemingly harmless protein, gluten is found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye. Harmless a protein as it may seem, gluten wreaks havoc on the digestive systems of people who are living with celiac disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, avoiding gluten will prevent the intestinal inflammation and other complications that accompany the disease.

What can you do to pull the gluten out of your diet without going hungry?

Understand the Dangers

Eating even a small amount of gluten can cause substantial side effects if you’re living with celiac disease. To avoid all traces of gluten, you’ll need to study food and drink labels carefully. Ingredients to be wary of include graham flour, spelt, triticale, farina, durham, barley, kamut, matzo meal, semolina, rye, bulgur, and wheat.

Additionally, you’ll want to keep away from many products that aren’t labeled as being gluten-free. These include a variety of pastas, salad dressings, soups, beers, crackers, croutons, cakes, cookies, candies, pies, sauces, breads, and processed lunchmeats. If these or any other foods were produced in a factory that processes other foods that contain gluten, beware!

Stock the Cupboard

Now that you know what you can’t eat, you may be wondering what is safe to consume when you’re on a gluten-free diet. Thankfully, the list is just as impressive. Safe foods that you can enjoy despite problems with gluten include just about anything made with corn (this includes pure corn tortillas, cornmeal, and corn flour), polenta, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, and hominy grits.

If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, maybe this will. While you may be allergic to gluten, your body can properly handle some of your favorite foods, including fresh meats, fish, and poultry; the majority of dairy products; wine, ciders, and distilled liquors; potatoes; fruits; and vegetables.

Be Patient

Learning how to follow a gluten-free diet is no easy task. When you first begin your new diet, you may feel that every food under the sun contains some amount of gluten. As a result, you may feel depressed and start to think that avoiding gluten altogether is impossible. But don’t give in! With some time and research, you can learn how to live a gluten-free lifestyle and feel full after eating.

Need a little help making it happen? Find others in your area that are dealing with the same issue and put your heads and recipes together! Many communities have celiac support groups, so find one in your area to join. If there is not one nearby, join one online or start one on your own. Once word gets out that you’ve started a celiac support group, you’ll be amazed at how many people in your immediate community are dealing with the same condition.

Beware False Advertisements

In recent years, a number of food companies have decided to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon. Unfortunately, there is no regulatory body that has currently stood up and defined what is required for a food to be labeled as gluten-free. In other words, there is no clear definition of what gluten-free is, which allows manufacturers to say their products are gluten-free when they really aren’t.

So what’s this mean for you if you’re living with celiac disease and can’t consume gluten? You have a choice. You can call food manufacturers to find out if their products truly are gluten-free or if they have trace amounts or even unknown amounts of gluten in them. Or you can avoid any type of food that could possibly contain gluten. The latter may seem a stretch, but your body will benefit from the additional fruits and vegetables you’ll eat with this diet. And you get to enjoy life, knowing you’re not coming in contact with gluten in your foods.

More Tomatoes, Please

Why you should include more tomatoes in your diet and how to make it happen.

The correct pronunciation has been a matter of debate for years. But no matter how you pronounce tomato, one thing is for sure. You could use a few more of them in your diet. Not buying it? Keep reading to find out what this little red delight has to offer your body and how you can ensure there is plenty of it in your diet to result in optimal health.

Red and Full Of…

Tomatoes aren’t just pretty to look at. They’re also jam packed with more vitamins and minerals than you may think. What can you expect to get out of the next tomato you chomp down on? First, you’ll get an amazing amount of antioxidants. These antioxidants – which come in the form of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin A, lycopene, and lutein – help prevent renegade cells from causing damage that can eventually lead to cancers of all sorts.

As if fighting cancer weren’t reason enough to toss a few tomatoes in your lunch box, tomatoes also have plenty of potassium, which helps your body get rid of unwanted waste. Then there’s calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and a little bit of some other vitamins and minerals. Couple your tomatoes with olive oil or avocadoes, and you multiply their effectiveness, as these groupings enable your body to absorb more of the good stuff in tomatoes.

Get Your Fill By…

Sold on your need for more tomatoes? Slipping them into your diet is a fairly easy task. All you have to do is think ahead of time and eat. Or you can just eat!

Straight: Want the quickest way to enjoy a tomato and its health benefits? Grab one off the vine, wash it off, and enjoy. No matter if you go with a handful of small tomatoes or an apple-sized tomato, eating tomatoes as presented by nature is a great way to pick up some vitamins and minerals in no time. If you have a bit more time and prefer to mix tomatoes with other flavors, you have quite a few options there as well. Slice it up and put it on your ham or turkey sandwich or chop it into small pieces to be included in a salad. Just don’t add so much fattening dressing or mayonnaise that you negate some of the tomato’s benefits.

Saucy: Prefer your tomato to be a little more disguised? Get your tomato in the sauce form. You can then add it to your spaghetti noodles or toss it on top of a pizza. Of course, if you’d like to take the night off, you can get plenty of tomato sauce at a local restaurant. And while you may think this is a cheap and lesser way to enjoy the benefits of tomatoes, take heart! Cooking tomatoes into a paste actually increases the amount of some nutrients in the tomato. So eating them cooked is actually healthier than raw!

Stuff: So you like the texture and flavor of tomatoes, but you would rather them be hidden from site? No problem. Cook up a delicious calzone and stuff it full of ripe tomatoes. This will give your body a burst of benefits that only tomatoes provides, while giving your taste buds a burst of flavor you won’t forget any time soon.

It’s a Fact!

Despite what your instincts may tell you, tomatoes are actually a fruit. What makes them a fruit instead of a vegetable? The definition of a fruit is a food made of the ripened ovaries of flowering plants. Since tomatoes are just that, they fall neatly and definitively in the fruit family!

Operation: Breakfast

How you can make breakfast one of the day’s top priorities.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

You’ve heard it a million times, and you’ve said it even more times. But sometimes, getting the most important meal of the day into your routine seems virtually impossible. What can you do to change breakfast from a chore to a priority? Try these tips out and see if it gets a little easier to make breakfast a way of life for you and your family.

Make It Easy

Think you’ve got to cook up a gourmet feast for breakfast to be beneficial? Think again. One of the biggest deterrents to eating breakfast is fear that it needs to be a big ordeal. Unless you’re planning on waking up an hour earlier than usual, breakfast cannot be a big ordeal. Rather, it needs to be a meal that you can get ready with ease. In fact, when push comes to shove, some breakfast – any breakfast – is better than no breakfast.

So instead of worrying all day about whether the breakfast you ate and fed your kids was healthy enough, take heart knowing you at least gave them something to get their day started. Of course, you don’t want to chow down on doughnuts and candy bars every morning, but even a doughnut every once in a while will help kick your system into gear after a night of sleep.

Get It on the Go

While it’s not always a good idea to eat and run, you may have to make an exception for breakfast. The next time you don’t have time to sit down for a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, don’t sweat it. Grab something and get moving! Good choices for breakfast on the go include a bagel, cup of yogurt, piece of fruit, or granola bar.

Make it even easier to get breakfast in the morning by setting your food out the night before. Put it right by your front door or beside your keys, and you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to eat breakfast again.

Eat It at Your Destination

Ideally, you’ll eat breakfast at home or on the way to work and your kids will eat before leaving for school. But as you know, life isn’t always ideal. Instead of completely missing out on breakfast on a regular basis, keep breakfast foods at work so you can get a little something to eat when you arrive at work.

In the event your children don’t have time to eat breakfast before doing to school, send some breakfast foods with them to eat on the bus. Or if your child’s school offers breakfast, send money with your child to eat breakfast at school. Typically, school breakfasts must meet certain health regulations, so they should provide a balanced meal to get your child’s day started the right way.

Feeding the Picky Ones

If you’re a parent, getting your kids to eat breakfast may not be about having enough time to do so. Rather, you may be dealing with a picky eater who simply isn’t interested in whatever foods you provide at breakfast time. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to get your child to eat breakfast every day – even if he or she is picky.

Try the following to get your pickiest to eat in the early morning:

  • give your children small portions of food that can be eaten even if they claim to not be hungry
  • set a good example by eating breakfast every day with your children
  • keep your kitchen full of kid-friendly breakfast foods that don’t take much effort to prepare
  • encourage your children to make their own breakfasts (this is easy with cereal, toast, yogurt, and/or fruit)

In the event you don’t have enough time to feed your little ones in the morning, the best solution is to wake up a little earlier. It may pain you to think of such a thing, but the benefits of a healthy breakfast far outweigh any dread you feel over hearing your alarm clock earlier than usual.

Summer’s Worst Foods

They may be tempting, but you’ll be better off saying “No thanks” to these summertime favorites.

As summer shows up and the temperature rises, your taste buds begin to go crazy. With so many delicious foods available, summer is a verifiable festival for your mouth. But before you gorge yourself on everything the hot months have to offer, take a little time to consider which summertime foods are best left on the shelf or the serving platter.
Which summer foods would you be better off avoiding?

Fatty Meats: While it may be true that tossing meat on the barbecue is a much better alternative than deep-frying it, some meat is best left alone regardless of how it is cooked. If you find yourself in the midst of a fat-laden hamburger cookout, bring your own lean ground beef or turkey to add to the mix. This way, you can have your burger and eat it, too – without shoving extra fat and calories onto your waist.

Chips: While heading out for a day in the sun, few snacks are as portable and tasty as a bag of potato chips. Unfortunately, as easy as they are to transport from one place to the next, potato chips are even easier to eat a lot of. They may be thin and seem innocent enough, but a day of potato chips will put you back in basic training for swimsuit shape.

Fried Chicken: No matter if you make it yourself using Grandma’s famous recipe or pick up a box of it at a restaurant, fried chicken is never a good option – even in the warm summer months when it tastes so good. Do your arteries, your heart, and your belly a favor by picking up a few organic chicken breasts and grilling them instead. Then toss your favorite barbecue sauce on, and enjoy!

Hotdogs: Yes, they look great on the grill, and if you’re good you won’t lose more than three when transporting them from the grill to your plate, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to eat all the hotdogs you want. In fact, you should probably stay clear of any and all products that are hotdog shaped, as they nearly all are jam-packed with high levels of fat, calories, and sodium. And no, you don’t need any of those in excess.

Cool Fats: You need something to go along with all those delicious foods that come piping hot off the grill. In steps potato salad, coleslaw, and pasta salad to bring a nice change of temperature and a large amount of fat. Want to enjoy these colder delights with less regret? Use light mayonnaise, use more vegetables in your salads, or try substituting low-fat yogurt for some of the mayonnaise. These changes won’t make them fat-free, but they’ll make your favorite summer salads a bit healthier.

Frozen Goodies: Every time the ice cream truck circles your neighborhood, you feel the call. It’s hard to turn away from the allure of ice cream on a stick, especially when it’s being sold out of a van with seductive music blaring out of a speaker mounted on the roof. But be strong. If you simply must delight your sense of taste, go to the ice cream truck and ask for a fruit bar or head to the store and pick up some low-calorie sherbet.

Drink Healthy, Too.

Summer is full of unhealthy choices, including what you have the opportunity to drink. To help your body stay in good health and maintain your summer shape, drink mostly water during the hot months. To give your taste buds something exciting, it’s okay to occasionally sip on sweet tea, soda, energy drinks, or those fruity alcoholic beverages. Just don’t make it a habit, as they can fill you up with useless sugars and calories.

Healthy Eating Tips Your Kids Will Love

Every parent wants good things for their children: a positive outlook on life, a healthy respect for authority, a strong sense of self, a disease-free body…a healthy body weight.  Despite our best intentions, a recent report suggests that for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. With all the advances in medicine, how could this possibly be true? The blame falls squarely on today’s toxic food environment.

In short, your kids are eating too much junk.

And who can blame them? Junk food tastes great.

The good news is that healthy food also tastes great. Take these simple tips and transform your child’s diet into one that is packed with good health.

1) Add Color

Adding bright and colorful fruits and veggies to your child’s plate will get their diet on the fast track to health. Fresh fruits and veggies are filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health.

If your kids are resistant then make it fun. Serve veggies with salad dressing as a dip. Cut fresh fruit in the colors of the rainbow and place them on a skewer. Serve a color themed meal – all green, all red or all orange. Use your imagination and you’ll come up with an endless number of ways to make fruits and veggies fun to eat.

2) Think Whole Foods

Processed foods are the biggest problem with our modern diet. Packaged and refined food products are devitalized and filled with empty calories that quickly lead to weight gain. Unfortunately, processed foods make up a large portion of the diet of many children.

Train your kids to opt for whole foods, rather than packaged ones. Whole foods are foods that are in their natural state. An apple. A piece of sprouted grain bread spread with natural peanut butter. A piece of hormone-free chicken. A bowl of beans. You get the idea.

3) Use Wholesome Sweeteners

Refined sugar and corn syrup are packed into many of the foods that your kids love. Continue reading “Healthy Eating Tips Your Kids Will Love”

Dieting That’s a Cinch!

Because every diet deserves to be made a little easier, right?

“Cinch Diet is not just another fad diet. Cinch was designed by nutritionist and health educator Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., R.D., who is the creator and co-author of the New York Times Bestselling Flat Belly Diet.”

This is the introductory comment found on the official website for Sass’s Cinch Diet. And while you may be hoping this is the diet that is going to fulfill all its promises and help you shed the pounds that have been clinging to your hips and elsewhere for years, pay close attention to the wording of the first statement. It doesn’t say that the Cinch Diet isn’t a fad diet. It just says it’s not “just another” fad diet. So what is it?

A Puzzle

To follow the Cinch Diet, you’re going to have to eat four meals a day, consisting of only five different foods. These foods? Whole eggs, yogurt, spinach, raspberries, and almond butter. Sounds like a delicious way to eat for a week, doesn’t it? To top it off, the Cinch helps you figure out how much of each food you should be eating during your diet.

According to Sass, putting these foods together is like working a dietary puzzle, but one that can be put together in a variety of ways. And as the Cinch hits the major food groups (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and vegetable-based fats), you can’t help but have a slightly well-rounded diet. Drop in a little dark chocolate every day (you read right – this diet includes a little douse of chocolate), you also maintain your mental well-being that makes it possible to get through every day of the diet!

A Promise

Whereas other diets make multiple promises that are very rarely fulfilled, the Cinch Diet has a single promise: do it for five days and lose 8 pounds. It may sound too good to be true, but if you’ve ever started a fad diet in the past, you probably realize that a single change in your eating or exercise habits can have an immediate impact on your weight or other health goals. So it should be no surprise that the Cinch makes the promise of 8 pounds in five days.

This promise’s potential is made clearer when you understand that Sass considers this a cleansing diet. In other words, eat these foods for five days, and you’ll remove all sorts of toxins from your body, many being kicked out via urination or bowel movements.

A Possibility

Difficult as it may be for you to buy into another fad diet (or as easy as it may be for you), the Cinch has some potential that shouldn’t be ignored. No, the Cinch won’t get you back to your teenage body, but it may give you a jumpstart. Additionally, if you pay close attention to what the Cinch is forcing you to eat, you may be reminded of the need for a regular diet that includes all sorts of food to ensure your body has all it needs for maximum efficiency.

Besides, if you can lose 8 pounds in a week and get that much closer to the goals you’ve set for yourself, it may be worth a shot. Just be careful that you don’t go with the Cinch only to return to unhealthy eating habits afterward, as these can quickly reverse any positive strides you may have taken toward improved health.

Packing for Health

A few tips for brown bagging your way to improved health.

Lunch. If you work, it’s not always easy to make it a healthy affair. And if you aren’t careful, you can easily find yourself eating at fast-food joints a few days a week. Instead of doing that, brown bag your lunch. Don’t have the time or dedication to make your lunch in advance? Keep a few handy items on hand at your job and you’ll eat healthier than ever.

Which foods should you consider packing for your healthier than ever lunches?

Peanut Power

With a heaping helping of peanut butter, you give yourself an equally large helping of protein. Toss some peanut butter on a couple pieces of wheat bread, add some honey, and you’re in for a smooth lunch delight that’ll power you up for the rest of the day. Use local honey and you’ll even bolster your immune system against potential allergens. Prefer something more substantial than honey? Slice up a banana and pile it on. You’ll get a nice load of potassium to complement the protein!

An Average Calorie Count. Did you know that the average fast-food meal with hamburger and fries contains more than half your daily allotment of calories? Beat the average by brown bagging your lunch. Your waistline will thank you, and your coworkers will envy you.

Green Goodies

Salad is the new healthy brown-bag alternative. If you think an all-green salad is a bit bland for your taste buds, add some color by chopping up and adding some of your favorite veggies and fruits. Carrots, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and tangerines can all add some color, flavor, and nutrition to your salad. Want to give it even more help? Cook up some lean chicken the night before and toss it on when you’re ready for a substantial and delicious salad.

Snack Away

Lunch doesn’t always have to consist of one large item with a few sides to go along with it. Actually, some of the best lunches contain a handful of smaller items and nothing else. Turn your favorite health snacks into a meal by grabbing a fruit-filled container of yogurt, a sandwich bag of carrot sticks, some cheese and crackers, and a tall glass of water. It’ll delight your taste buds, give you lots of variety, and provide your body with plenty of vitamins and minerals you need to keep on keeping on.

Golden Leftovers

Have something healthy and delicious for dinner last night? Don’t let the leftovers go to waste in your refrigerator. Pack the food up in an appropriate container and bring it to work. If your leftovers are rather small in size, be sure to pack an apple, orange, or something else to make sure you fill up on healthy foods and can withstand the temptation of the snack machine later in the day.

Wrap It Up

Love sandwiches but growing tired of the same old thing, day after day? Get everything you love about sandwiches in a new package by wrapping it up. Grab some whole-wheat tortillas and toss in some lean lunchmeat, your favorite vegetables, and whatever else suits your fancy. Top it off with a side of applesauce and a bag of nuts, and you’ve got a brown bag full of delicious, health-improving lunch!

Think Breakfast

Yes, you already had a healthy breakfast before heading off to work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy breakfast foods at lunch. Whether you prefer a bowl of cereal with a banana on top and low-fat milk or a bagel with low-fat cream cheese, eating breakfast for lunch is a great and healthy way to fill up without worrying about excessive calories.

Where to Get Your H2O

It’s not just in your faucet.

Water. It covers approximately 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight, helping you maintain a healthy temperature, get rid of waste, and protect your joints. Obviously, getting enough water each day is important to your good health. In fact, if you don’t get enough water each day, you put yourself at risk for all sorts of potential problems. When you wind up dehydrated from a lack of water, you can expect to feel tired and unable to perform the daily tasks of living. Go a little longer and hang out in the heat, and you can expect a heat stroke and other more serious conditions.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to down some good ol’ H2O and ensure your internal system stays up and running. Here are just a few.

Drink Water

This one seems a bit obvious, but drinking water every day is the surest way to get it in your system. Go with a few glasses every day and you’ll go a long way toward protecting against dehydration. How much water should you drink? The rules have changed over the years, and there are now a number of schools of thought on the matter. However, if you drink at least 64 ounces (1.9 liters) of water a day, you should be in good shape water-wise.

Down Other Drinks

Though water is the purest and most apparent way to stuff a little H2O in your belly, it’s not the only way. Many other drinks you sip on each day have a great amount of water in them. Milk, juices, beer, soda, coffee, and tea all consist largely of water. However, juices can have more sugar than you should add into your daily diet, beers are typically filled to the brim with useless calories, and soda and coffee often contain excess caffeine that could be detrimental to your health. So while it’s okay to enjoy each of these drinks on occasion, relying on them to be large contributors to your daily water intake is not a good idea.

Eat Well

On top of drinking your H2O via water and other drinks, a well-balanced diet will give you about one quarter of your daily water intake from the foods you eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken broth, and other foods all contain a lot of water. Some of them – such as tomatoes, watermelon, and lettuce, consist of as much as 90 percent water. Therefore, eating your fruits and veggies is as important in your quest for avoiding dehydration as downing a few glasses of water each day.

Consider Your Environment

Think everyone should drink the same amount of water every day? Think again. If you live in a particularly hot climate or sweat excessively during work or play, you’ll need to get extra water in your system to prevent problems from arising. How much more depends on your exact locale and volume of sweat being produced. A good rule of thumb is to sip on water throughout the day, not going more than an hour or so without drinking water – especially if you’re at increased risk for losing water.

Regardless of your environment, if you’re pregnant, are taking diuretic medications, or are dealing with certain dehydrating health conditions, you’ll need to up your water intake to protect against dehydration and its complications.

Litmus Test

Wondering if you’re getting enough water each day? If your urine is dark yellow or you feel thirsty often throughout the day, you need to drink more water. Otherwise, you’re probably drinking enough to keep your body’s systems in good working order.