Category Archives: fruit

On-the-run breakfasts can still meet nutritional needs

Breakfast on the run can still jumpstart your day (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

A bowl of steaming oatmeal with a fresh-cut orange and a side of cinnamon toast, eaten leisurely with a couple of mugs of coffee is my choice of a day-starter. However, many people probably consider a “day-starter” the time their ignition keys make their car engine turn over.

And often, we don’t take time to eat. Yes, we all know how important a good breakfast is. The word comes from “break the fast”, which is exactly what the morning meal does. We may have not eaten for close to twelve hours, our physical engine is running on empty, and our metabolism is definitely stalling out.  Fuel is needed, but the morning time-crunch can prevent that from happening.

It’s so easy to grab a sugary treat as we breeze through the local fast-food joint, or run in the gas station. A fuzzy brain and some hunger pangs about 10:00 a.m. will probably be the results of this choice. However, a little pre-planning at the grocery store can help us fuel up and get our metabolism revving. A protein/carb duo is a wise morning choice, but in lieu of scrambled eggs and a whole-wheat muffin, the pictured breakfast can hold you in good stead. The Fiber One Chewy Bar provides a whopping portion of fiber to keep you satisfied (with only a few grams of sugar), the “pre-packaged, ready-to-eat” banana  is easy to consume and provides additional fiber, and a cup of milk (skim or 1%) provides needed calcium and also a chug-a-lug of protein. So in this quick “meal” (which you could grab-and-go, and  consume in five minutes before entering your workplace), you have good portions of healthy carbs, fiber, protein and calcium, all for about 325 calories.  

The fruit and milk are a healthy given, and there are many choices of breakfast-type bars on the market. Careful label-reading is advised, though, as some are loaded with sugar.

All in favor of a quick, healthy breakfast, raise your keys!

(A note from Slimvictory: if you’d like to receive my new articles as they post, you can subscribe on my home page. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.)



Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, food, fruit, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, label-reading, meal preparation, menu planning, nutrition data

A PEACHY way to reduce sodium and fat

Fresh peaches
Fresh fruits and veggies – great way to cut dietary fat and sodium! (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

Farmers’ Markets are such a blessing any time of the year, but especially during the summer. My son and I visited a local one near his home, and got some great buys that didn’t have to travel across the continent to be enjoyed!

One of our succulent treats was a basket of peaches grown just a county or two away, and boy, are they good! Since I have to watch my blood pressure, I’m always on the lookout for items with low or no sodium….can’t beat fresh fruits and veggies! Most taste just great in their natural state, so when added in abundance (did I mention they are also fat-free?) to our daily menus, they’re definitely nutritional powerhouses!

Here’s a favorite recipe that’s quite healthy if you go easy on the salt:

 Summer Veggie Casserole

  • 3 medium yellow squash
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • Parkay 44% vegetable oil spray
  • a few Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

 Slice vegetables about ¼” thick. Place a layer of onions on bottom of a 9” x 13” glass pan. Add a layer of zucchini. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, mist with Parkay spray and cover with about 2 Tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Add a layer of yellow squash and tomatoes. Repeat the toppings. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes in 350° oven. Great with grilled chicken! Makes 8 servings.


What are some of your summertime produce faves?

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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, food, fruit, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, meal preparation, recipes

Appetite suppressants – cheap and not-so

As I roamed the aisles at my neighborhood pharmacy looking for some D-vites, an item in the weight-loss product aisle caught my attention. For a mere $2.25 (plus tax), this one-serving bar is to be eaten a bit before a meal to help curb one’s appetite so he/she can eat less and still be satisfied.

Well, for a scientific experiment, and an excuse to nibble on something chocolate, I decided to shell out the money to check it out. The calorie count is a reasonable 160, but as I left the store, I began to consider what else I could eat to suppress my appetite for the same amount of calories and a lot less pocket change. Right off the bat, I thought of half a ham sandwich (with two ounces of lean ham on my 50-calorie bread) and a small piece of fruit. Seems a treat of this nature eaten half-an-hour before my meal would go pretty far to curb my appetite.

So the experiment will begin late tomorrow morning. I’ll try “Product #1”  (the bar), and then the next day, I’ll sample “Product #2 (the sandwich/fruit combo). I’m anxious to see if the bar does a better-than-expected job of quelling the hunger pangs as they set in, and result in my eating considerably less than I normally would. If so, I’d almost consider it a meal substitute. My well-researched report will be posted early next week.

As we face the daily weight-loss eating decisions, we learn what works for us and what doesn’t. After reading so many reports about the body not needing but four to five ounces (or the equivalent) of protein daily (for my calorie level), I’ve found I need a bit more to keep me satiated. I’m discovering also, as I approach my goal weight, that a moderate amount of exercise isn’t going to do the trick to sustain continued loss, even when combined with eating right. I’ve gone from thinking 30 minutes several times a week is sufficient, to realizing it’s going to take more like an hour on most days, plus giving up a bit more precious calories!

What are some things you’ve learned on your journey?

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Fruits…sweet and delicious…nature’s “candy”

God loves to give good gifts, and fruits are one of the edible kinds I enjoy most! (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

Ahhh, summertime…don’t you just love the abundance of fresh fruits? There’s something about slicing into a ripe kiwi fruit or a juicy orange that reminds me of God’s creative genius. Fruits, the delectable sweets than could be referred to as “nature’s candy”, are part of the blessings God gives us to keep us healthy and well nourished.

 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Yes, our heavenly Father definitely “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17), and when we consider the rich variety of fruits available for our selection, won’t you agree He outdid Himself in that area?

 Most of us don’t need any coaxing to bite into a ripe peach, top our cereal with slices of golden banana, or make a smoothie with our favorite berries. But have we considered why fruit is such a vital part of a healthy diet? Here’s some data gleaned from a site with a wealth of dietary information –

 “Health benefits:

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colon-rectum cancer.
  • Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Eating fruits and vegetables rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and may help to decrease bone loss.
  • Eating foods such as fruits that are low in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.”

 The site also points out that “people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.”

Thought for the day:

For more fiber, and staying power, “eat” your fruit instead of drinking it.

Question: What are you top three favorite fruits?


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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, food, fruit, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, meal preparation, menu planning, snacks, summer meals