Plan Your Meals Ahead Of Time To Shrink Your Waist And Budget

One easy way to help with the battle of the bulge, or simply just eating healthy, is to plan your meals ahead of time. How often have you been caught short, hungry, and only greasy take out as an edible option? The apple or salad roll that you could have so easily thrown in your bag or the car would have been a far more nutritious option. Meal planning is the best way to lose belly fat, try some of these hints.

Shop smart.

* Make a list before you hit the grocery store. This will help prevent you from forgetting vital ingredients so necessary to your diet.

* Read the labels on all those snacks to ensure you are buying the most appropriate for your individual diet. There can be an astounding nutritional difference between very similar foods.

Plan ahead.

* Think about the week ahead when you hit the grocery store. Out and about, at home, in the office? Those who move around a lot may be better off with easy to transport fruit or healthy snack bars or sandwiches.

* How many nights will you be home to cook dinner?

* Do you need to take snacks to eat before and after working out? Protein drinks or fresh fruit can be handy for this.

* Those people hanging out at home have huge options and can even prepare themselves a salad each day if they want.

* Those who work in offices may want to take fruit, sandwiches, or salads in Tupperware containers.

* Late nights can wreak havoc with the best intentions. You come home exhausted and before you know it you are ordering out for pizza, or some other unhealthy and fattening meal. Use weekends or spare time to prepare nutritious meals that you can freeze and reheat when you need them.

Healthy on the run options:

* Tinned fish can make a great and filling lean protein snack. Be sure to take a plastic spoon or fork so you can eat it.

* Boxes of nuts or dried fruits make great energy boosts. Beware of eating too many as the calories can add up pretty fast.

* Healthy snack bars. Be sure to check the GI index, calories, and fat grams so that you know what you are eating. (It will still be healthier than greasy take out.)

* Fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, and oranges are all easily portable.

* Low GI snacks such as corn crackers and rice crackers can be great between meal snacks.

* Prepackaged cheese and crackers can be filling. Check the labelling before buying.

* If you are running late for breakfast, take your diet muesli in 1 container and the milk or yogurt in another. When you can eat, add them together for a healthy breakfast on the run. (Much healthier than a donut, croissant, or super sized muffin.)

The small things:

* A lunch box that is groovy and has an area for an ice pack can help to keep the fresh fruit salad or vegetable salad crisp and non wilted while you are travelling. These can also be handy for preventing squashed bananas, sandwiches and rolls. They are also invaluable for preventing you from wearing any spilled items, dressings, or sauces on your clothes.

* Keeping a plastic fork, spoon or knife in your bag or lunch box can make eating some of those healthy items that you have packed for yourself much easier.

* Freeze waters, juices, sports drinks, and protein drinks the night before so they are still cold when you drink them later. This is especially handy if you don’t have access to fridges.

* A variety of plastic containers, even clean take out containers, can come in very handy for transporting food items. Check the lids still seal.

* Always carry a bottle of water. If you run out or it goes warm, just empty and refill from a fountain or tap. Not only will you save money, you also won’t be forced to constantly drink sodas or other fattening drinks.

* If you are a fan of soup for lunch in the office, freeze it so you won’t have to deal with any spills on the way in. By the time lunch arrives you will only need to reheat.

* Thermos drink containers are invaluable in colder weather for keeping your favorite drinks and soups warm.

Conclusion.

A little planning and preparation can make the difference between a healthy meal and total diet sabotage. Not only will your waistline thank you, but you will notice extra cash in your wallet as well.

Danger! Low Fat Foods May Be Making You Fatter!

For the past 30 years or so the Western world has seen a huge rise in the popularity of low fat foods. Yet, in the same time frame the Western world has also seen a huge rise in obesity rates. If we are all eating low fat diets why are we all getting fatter? There are several reasons why consuming foods labeled “no fat”, “reduced fat”, or “low fat” may be making you bigger.

Reduced fat foods don’t necessarily make you slim. Consider the following:

* You don’t feel as full or as satisfied after eating foods with a reduced fat content. Foods with a higher fat content leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer. The result? People who don’t eat lowered fat products tend to eat less in one meal, and then snack less. Their next main meal tends to be smaller as well.

* You actually end up eating more from perception. One of the most scary findings from dieting studies has shown that people eating lower fat foods can end up eating up to 28% more than they would have. The justification that it is lower in fat somehow seems to translate into it is OK to eat more. This can result in a calorie blowout of up to a staggering 40% for those who are already overweight and consuming larger portion sizes.

* High carb high calorie. There are many low fat items that are stuffed with high GI carbs, high calories, flavor enhancers, sugars and other baddies designed to make the food tastier. Low fat doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, low carb, or low calorie.

* Pastas, breads, candies, marshmallows, and sodas are all examples of low fat foods. However, none of these food items are necessarily nutritionally healthy and we can all see that consuming too much of any of them would result in an increase in our waistlines.

* Reduced fat foods are often less tasty than their regular fat cousins. For many this often results in eating more to get the same flavor kick or sense of satisfaction.

* Foods that are high GI foods can often be reduced fat. So instead of eating a regular yogurt because you are on a diet, you eat the no fat version, which is loaded with sugar to counteract the loss of taste with the removal of the fat. The lower fat content does not keep you feeling full for as long so you eat a snack sooner that you would have. The fact that it contains no fat means you probably ate more because you weren’t satisfied, and you also thought it was OK because it was labeled “Diet” or “No fat”. Your next meal will also be bigger than it would have been as you will be hungrier. So a false economy in all dietary means.

Dietary recommendations:

* 25% of calories in the diet should come from healthy fats.
* Trans fats and saturated oils such as animal fats and lard should be avoided.
* Deep fried foods are unhealthy and will make you fat.
* Healthy fats and oils should only ever be eaten sparingly.

Good fats.

Not all fats were created equal in the nutritional stakes. Fats that are healthy in small portions include:

* avocado
* olive oil
* nuts and seeds (a small handful daily is sufficient).
* oily fish such as tuna or salmon.

Risks of not enough fat in the diet.

* Reduced immunity. People who consume insufficient fat long term end up with lowered immune systems. The reason? The cells in the body used to fight disease prefer fats as their fuels.
* Decreased absorption of the fat vitamins A, D, and K.
* Essential fatty acid depletion leading to eventual iron and zinc deficiencies, resulting in skin, hair and nail problems.

Conclusion.

When selecting reduced fat foods it can be a great idea to check the label to ensure that they are also low in sugar. Low fat foods are not necessarily healthy, low calorie or low in sugars. People who consume foods labeled as low fat tend to consume more calories and snacks than those who don’t. Healthy fats, in small amounts, are essential for good health and immunity.

9 Tips For Eating Healthy Foods Without Deprivation

You are what you eat. We have all heard this phrase over and over, but how many of us stop to consider what that really means? Are you eating healthy fresh foods? Are you a picture of glowing health and vitality? Or do you live on a diet of junk foods, deep fried chicken and fries, take outs, and pizza? In which case you probably don’t feel fantastic, and unless you are genetically blessed, you probably don’t look your best either.

Even more scarily if you don’t feel fantastic, how do you think your blood vessels and heart are coping? Are they nice and clean, or silting up with layers of fat provided from the take out, deep fried foods, and pizzas? Here are some easy tips for better healthy eating:

1. Consume moderate portions
. “Size me up” has become a world wide phenomena. We all eat much more than our parents or grandparents did. The more you consume, the more activity you have to perform to burn it off. Consider these portion sizes and see how you stack up. 1 cup of pasta is considered 2 servings. 3 ounces of cooked meat is 1 serve. 1 medium sized piece of fruit is 1 serve.

2. Cut down, don’t totally ban.
If there are unhealthy foods that you enjoy, just eat them less often and in smaller amounts. The moment you tell yourself that chocolate is off the menu forever is the moment you feel that you can’t maintain this new lifestyle. Banned foods become even more desirable.

3. Eat a variety of healthy foods.
Your body requires many nutrients on a daily basis. These needs cannot not be meant by just one food group. Introduce eating foods from each of the food groups on a daily basis. This would mean consuming fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Foods heavy in fats and sugar should be kept to a minimum.

4. Eat on a regular basis.
Consuming 5-6 small meals per day is much better for your metabolism and blood sugar levels than 3 huge serves many hours apart. Skipping meals entirely is even worse. You will end up so hungry that you will eat vast quantities of the wrong foods.

5. Eat fruits, vegetables and grains.
Do you eat 3-5 serves of vegetables daily? Do you eat 2-4 serves of fresh fruit daily? Do you eat enough whole grains? Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain many nutrients as well as the all important fiber.

6. Alter gradually. Many people cannot totally overhaul their eating pattern overnight. Start with small changes and go from there. Evaluate your diet and work on the most deficient aspects first. Eventually you will have healthy eating habits that will last you a lifetime.

7. There is no such thing as a “bad” food.
There are more healthy and less healthy eating options. The pizza and ice cream belong in the unhealthy. Unhealthy foods should be consumed in smaller amounts and less frequently than healthy foods. If your whole diet consists of unhealthy options perhaps a visit to a dietitian could be helpful.

8. Keep track of what you are eating.
A food journal can be invaluable for showing you where you may be going wrong. It can be easy to forget about the extra beer, or the late night snacks, again. Writing down what you eat will also help you to understand your eating patterns and identify any unhealthy routines that should be adjusted.

9. Cook it yourself.
Cooking meals yourself allows you to know exactly what you are consuming. If you are totally helpless in the kitchen then why not try purchasing bags of premixed salads and adding fish, chicken or meat? Precooked and take-out meals are not only more costly but tend to be much higher in fats, salt, and sugar than you might expect.

Conclusion.

A healthy eating plan includes incorporating variety, moderation, and balance. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and a little less of the cakes, pastries, cookies, pizza, and ice cream all adds up to healthier life long eating.

The Benefits Of Garlic In Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally

Approximately 73 million people in the US and 16 million in the UK have high blood pressure. This equates to roughly one adult in three. Scarily, more than 28% of people suffering from high blood pressure are blissfully unaware that they even have it.* Untreated high blood pressure is a major cause of death, contributing to both heart disease and stroke.

A recent study performed at the University of Adelaide, Australia, has discovered that taking a garlic supplement daily can potentially lower blood pressure points as effectively as some medications. It would appear that those with the highest blood pressure to start with benefited most from the garlic.

The patients took the garlic in powdered form for periods between 12 and 23 weeks. Researchers noted that on average patients with high blood pressure had a reduced top figure (systolic reading) of 8.4 points, or mm Hg. The bottom figures (diastolic reading) dropped by an average of 7.3 points. This was then compared to a couple of widely used blood pressure medications. ACE inhibitors which generally reduce the top reading by 8 points, and beta blockers which average a drop in the top reading by 5 points.

The average person’s blood pressure dropped by 5 points off the systolic and 3 points off the diastolic. Researchers extrapolated these figures to point out that these drops in the blood pressure of the population as a whole could potentially decrease heart disease by about 20%.

How much garlic?

The participants in the study were given powdered garlic daily ranging from 600-900mg. This is equivalent to 3.6-5.4 mg allicin, garlic’s active ingredient. A small fresh clove of garlic will contain anywhere between 5 and 9mg of allicin. So roughly, you need to be consuming between 1/2 to 1 small clove of garlic daily.

Researchers pointed out that the long term effects of the garlic on lowering blood pressure needs more study. However, it would appear that eating garlic in the meantime is only going to provide yet another health benefit. For the 65%* of the population who do not have their high blood pressure under control, the addition of garlic to the daily diet, along with prescribed medications, would seem to be a simple and possibly effective additional supplement.

Conclusion.

The benefits of garlic in the daily diet have been shown to lower blood pressure as effectively as some medications.

Caution.

For those people who suffer from high blood pressure and are being treated it is important that you do not abandon your current doctor prescribed medications. Consultation with your medical practitioner is highly recommended before altering any blood pressure medications. If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked in a while perhaps you should do so.

* Figures obtained from the American Heart Organization.

Healthy Eating On A Budget. Reduce The Dollars And The Pounds

Most of us think that healthy eating on a budget is impossible, or downright tricky. Now, while certified organic foods and vegetables may well be more expensive than their non-organic cousins, there are still plenty of ways to have a healthier diet and reduce the grocery bill. Here’s how:

* Grow your own fruit, veges and herbs.
Having your own vege patch is a great way to save money, have fresh produce, and better yet, know how the produce was treated. You do not need a huge yard to start growing. Many smaller veges including tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, and herbs can all be grown in planters.

* Farmer’s markets are a much cheaper and fresher alternative than the large grocery shops. Generally, the produce has been picked just the day before, as opposed to some large chains who have produce in cold storage for months. Most farmers are happy to tell you what, if any, sprays they have used on their produce.

* End of the day
for markets and shops in general is a great way to save money. Visit your local bakery just before closing and get your bread at half price. Markets will have end of day sales as well. The down side? You may not be able to purchase what you want.

* Cook from first principles. Making meals from scratch yourself is always going to be more cost effective and healthier. You are in control of the fat, salt, and sugar content. Make a big batch and freeze the leftovers.

* Substitute
refined and processed foods for their whole grain cousins. Brown rice, wholemeal flour and pastas are more filling and provide a more stable blood sugar level than the overly processed white versions. You will fill up sooner and feel fuller for longer. The end result? You will end up eating less snacks and fattening after dinner treats.

* Join a co-op
specialising in organic produce or fresh fruits and veges. The savings will be significant as will the variety of selections.

* Start a neighbourhood co-op
or swap. Can’t get into a co-op? Growing too many potatoes in the back yard? Chooks laying too many eggs? Why not get a group of locals together and form your own co-op or neighbourhood swap? Not only will your produce bills be next to nothing, you will have a huge diversity to select from. With some careful planning, and with everyone growing different produce, you could all become quite self sufficient for fruit, veges and the like.

* Fresh is best.
That apple or banana may look expensive on the shelf. However, it is actually cheaper than a muffin and coffee bought on the spur of the moment for breakfast on the run or morning tea, or the snack at the mall. Not only is it cheaper, it contains far more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and less fats.

* Fresh snacks.
Stop buying cookies, muesli bars, breakfast bars, and chocolate bars. These products actually add up in cost, as well as calories and fats. Fresh fruits and vegetables generally have much lower glycemic indexes than packaged snacks. This will help prevent those afternoon cravings for sugar and those violent sugar swings that too many refined carbs can produce.

* Drink water.
Water out of the tap is free. Nor only that, it has no calories, sugar, or fat grams. It will not rot your teeth. It is not full of artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors. If your local water supply is questionable, invest in a water filter system. The initial cost will soon be saved with not buying sodas and packaged drinks.

* Buy seasonal in bulk. Take a drive to the country and buy direct from the roadside. Boxes of fresh produce are hugely discounted. Go with friends and buy different produce and split it all up at the end of the day. Alternatively, cook, preserve, bottle, or freeze the excess for later on in the year.

Conclusion.

There are many simple tips and strategies you can use to have a healthy diet and still cut the grocery bill. Healthy foods need not cost you a fortune. Organic food and produce may cost more, but in the long term, you may well recoup your money with savings on better health.

The Many Benefits Of High Fiber Foods Can Include Weight Loss

There are many health giving benefits of high fiber foods. Your parents were right when they told you to eat your veges. Having a daily diet rich in high fiber foods is an easy way to assist with bowel health, reduce bad cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and help manage weight.

What is fiber?

Fiber is a dietary product derived from plant sources. These plant products are not broken down in the digestive process. As a result of this, the bulk, or fiber, passes through the stomach and intestines relatively unchanged. Fiber is not absorbed by the body. There are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
* soluble fibers are those which will break down in water and include psyllium, oats, apples, carrots, peas, citrus fruits, and barley. Soluble fibers will form a gel like substance and are valuable for reducing the bad blood cholesterol and lowering glucose levels.
* insoluble fibers, as the name would suggest, do not break down when in contact with water. Nuts, vegetables, whole wheat, and wheat bran are excellent sources of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is important for maintaining food bulk as it passes through the bowel, and will aid those who suffer from conditions such as constipation and hemorrhoids.

What are good sources of high fiber foods?

It is important to consume both soluble and insoluble fiber on a daily basis. It is an excellent idea to vary your fiber sources to maintain a healthy and well balanced diet. Refined foods such as white flours and rices have a lot of their fiber removed in the processing. Peeling edible skins from fruit and vegetables will also reduce the fiber count of those foods. Legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits will all provide varying amounts of fiber.

These are some of the higher fiber content foods:
* beans such as kidney, lima, black beans, and baked beans.
* lentils.
* vegetables such as peas, broccoli, green beans, artichoke, turnips, and corn.
* fruits such as pears, raspberries, apples, figs, blueberries, peaches, oranges, strawberries, and apricots.
* nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios.
* others such as oats, wholemeal flours and pastas, wholemeal bread, and popcorn.

How much fiber should you eat?

As a rough estimate, men under 50 should consume 38 grams daily, while men over 50 need 30 grams. Women under the age of 50 should consume 25 grams daily, and women over 50 need 21 grams. Children’s needs vary greatly depending upon their age.

Health benefits of high fiber diet:

* assists in weight loss. High fiber foods tend to take longer to chew and are more bulky. This aids in filling you up sooner, and leaving you feeling satisfied for longer. High fiber foods tend to have less empty calories and generally make for healthy snacks.
* reduces bad cholesterol. Soluble fibers tend to help absorb the harmful LDL’s.
* prevents constipation. Fiber adds bulk to your food, making passage through the intestine much easier. Be sure to also drink plenty of water.
* assists blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of sugars in foods through to the bloodstream. This can be particularly helpful for diabetics.
* reduces risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Easy ways to increase your fiber:

* add psyllium husks to breakfast cereals and yogurts.
* bake with wholemeal flours instead of plain flour.
* feed the family wholemeal pastas, and use brown rice instead of white.
* buy breads with fiber added, or the wholemeal varieties.
* leave the skin on your fruit.
* add extra vegetables to your dinner.

Conclusion.

A diet rich in high fiber foods has been proven to reduce the incidence of colon (bowel) disease, reduce bad cholesterol levels, assist with weight management, and stabilise blood sugar levels. For more information on high fiber foods the Mayo clinic has an excellent fiber chart which you can access here Mayo Clinic’s Fiber Chart.

How Do High Protein Diets Work In Keeping Lost Pounds Off?

OK. So you have lost your love handles and dropped a dress size. Fantastic. Now you want to keep it off. There is nothing worse than losing all that weight to have it all creep back on. However, new research has shown that by following a high protein diet you can easily keep those lost pounds away. How do high protein diets work? Read on.

A recent survey was performed in Europe on 200 dieters who had managed to each lose at least 8% of their body weight. These people were subsequently placed on 5 different types of post diet eating regimes for the following 6 months. The five different eating patterns were low protein, low GI; low protein, high GI; high protein, low GI; high protein, high GI; and lastly, a balanced diet.

The high protein groups were all receiving 50% of their calories from carbs, and 25% of their calories from protein. The low protein groups consumed 12% of their calories in the form of protein, and up to 60% of their calories from carbs.

All of the people who were on the low protein and balanced diets regained weight. The average amount regained was about 4-6 pounds. However, the people on the high protein diets, regardless of the GI values of the foods they ate, regained less than 2 pounds.

Researchers concluded that for the average person, the GI values of foods was not as important as the levels of protein that they consumed. Having protein with each meal tends to leave the dieter feeling fuller for longer. Not being hungry means there is not so much inclination to cheat. Eating 3 meals and 3 snacks, all with some form of lean protein, will suppress the hormones governing your appetite.

The high protein foods used in the study were eggs, fish, meat, and whole grains. Low GI foods are useful for diabetics controlling their blood sugars and included many fresh fruits and vegetables. High GI foods were refined carbohydrates including potatoes and white breads which are quickly released into the bloodstream causing a spike in blood sugar levels.

High protein diets are an effective way to keep the pounds off after a weight loss campaign has been finished. High protein diets tend to leave a person feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer. This seems to stop excess food consumption, and the likelihood of cheating. Binge eating is also reduced. A high protein diet was defined as a diet with more than 25% of calorie input coming from protein sources.

Brain Foods Make For A Healthy Mind And Body

More and more research is showing the correlation between what we consume and how our brains perform. Much like every other organ of our body, the brain needs a certain amount and type of nutrition to produce optimal performance. Can you really improve your IQ or your concentration? The answer would seem to be “Yes”. The foods on our compiled list of brain foods will not only provide optimal brain health and performance, but benefit many other organs and systems of your body.

Your brain is made up of more than a 60% fat content. In fact, the brain actually needs a certain amount of fats and proteins for neurotransmission to occur successfully. (Neurotransmission is the process whereby your brain receives and sends messages.)

The following is a list of foods that most researchers acknowledge to be beneficial for your brain’s health:
* Oily fish such as mackerel, trout, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and most importantly, salmon, are all plentiful in omega-3 fats. Low IQ, poor memory and concentration, depression, and problems with learning, have all been linked to insufficient intake of omega-3 fats. By eating these oil rich foods you are replacing the essential fats that your brain needs and that your body cannot make itself.
* Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans are all excellent for improving the performance of your brain.
* Seeds such as sunflower, linseed, flax, pumpkin, and mustard seeds are all excellent brain foods.
* Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower may improve your memory.
* Meats, cheeses, milk and eggs all contain protein which is a vital component of neurotransmitters. Any source of good quality protein, including soy and beans, will have you feeling more confident and alert.
* Water is needed by your brain for optimal performance. Drinking 8 glasses of water daily will improve your concentration and ability to learn.
* Oxygen. After eating a big meal you often tend to feel sleepy. This is because the oxygen that your brain needs is being utilised in the digestive process instead. If you need your powers of concentration try and eat smaller protein rich snacks instead of a huge stodgy lunch.
* Complex carbohydrates found in legumes, whole grains, leafy vegetables, and brown rice, will provide your brain with a steady supply of glucose which is what your brain uses as energy. Recent studies have shown that eating complex carbohydrates can improve your concentration skills within an hour of consumption.
* B group vitamins are essential for memory and mood. The B group vitamins can be found in whole grains, Brewer’s yeast, nuts, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and dairy products.
* Antioxidants can be found in rich supplies in blueberries, spinach, grape juice, hot cocoa, extra virgin olive oil, and leafy greens. Antioxidants assist in fighting the free radicals in your body and brain which contribute to the damaging effects of aging. Antioxidants are believed to prevent the deterioration of coordination, memory, balance and motor skills.

Not only will this list of brain foods ensure that your brain remains in good health, but the rest of your body will also benefit. In particular, Omega-3 fats and antioxidants have found to be beneficial in maintaining heart health, slowing down the aging process, boosting the immune system, and protecting against some forms of cancer. Brain foods will not only result in optimal brain health, but total body health.

Benefits Of Eating Breakfast

There are many benefits of eating breakfast. The main ones are a more even blood sugar level, better energy levels, sharper concentration, a faster metabolism, and improved moods. The word breakfast literally means “breaking the fast” which is what your body has been in since your dinner the previous energy. When you skip breakfast your body is being deprived of the fuel that it needs to keep your brain and central nervous system functioning optimally.

Those people who miss breakfast often encounter a drop in their blood sugar levels mid-morning resulting in grumpiness, loss of concentration, and an overwhelming desire to eat that doughnut, muffin, or danish. From a calorie and fat gram consumption, the slice of toast, cereal, oats, or piece of fruit that could have been breakfast is already less calories.

Breakfast eaters tend to consume fewer calories collectively throughout the day, as compared to breakfast skippers. Breakfast skippers tend to binge eat later on in the day. People who eat breakfast have more even blood sugar levels, and do not feel the need for the extra energy provided by that sugar high. Eating breakfast will dampen your appetite later on in the day.

Skipping breakfast puts your body into starvation mode. The very next thing that you put in your mouth is going to stick. (That doughnut or danish isn’t looking quite so tempting now, is it?)

Research has shown that children who miss breakfast are not able to concentrate or learn as well at school as the child who has eaten their toast or cereal.

Many people skip breakfast in the misguided notion that this will help with their weight management campaign. However, skipping breakfast results in the exact opposite. So for those of you battling the bulge, an easy way to start dropping the pounds is to start eating a healthy breakfast.

What is a healthy breakfast?

Ideally, a healthy breakfast will allow you to power through the first half of the day. Many nutritionists say that your breakfast should contain at least one third of your daily calories. By consuming those calories first thing in the morning, your body has a much better chance of burning them off.

Great breakfast ideas are:
* 2 slices of wholewheat toast or a wholewheat bagel. Try for the lower GI brands to prevent blood sugar spikes. Select breads containing a minimum of 2 grams of fiber per slice.
* scrambled eggs.
* grilled tomatoes with or without toast.
* cooked oats with calcium enriched low fat milk. The oats will provide you with complex carbohydrates that are low in GI. Oats will leave you satisfied for longer.
* healthy mueslis or breakfast cereals. Look for those high in fiber and low in sugar. Ideally your cereal should contain more than 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar per serve.
* fresh fruit with a low fat yogurt.
* fruit smoothies.
* lean bacon and cooked eggs, without the oil.
* omelets with bacon, low fat cheese, or fresh vegetables (such as mushrooms, spinach or tomatoes).
* if you are eating breakfast on the run, read the labels carefully. Opt for the brands with the lowest sugar and fat contents.
* substitute sugar on your breakfast foods with nutmeg, vanilla, or cinnamon.

No matter your age, the benefits of eating breakfast are numerous. You will have a more productive day, feel more alert, have more energy, be in a better mood, have a faster metabolism, and be less prone to gaining weight.

What Is The Recommended Daily Water Intake To Maintain Optimal Health?

Constantly thirsty, fatigued, and suffering headaches can all be the signs of dehydration. To maintain optimal health you need to ensure an adequate intake of fluids daily. Your body requires a certain amount of water daily to maintain essential life giving properties. All your vital organs, and in particular, your kidneys, require water to function. Inadequate fluid supplies will lead to dehydration. The minimum recommended daily water intake is about 8 cups for the average adult. However, many day to day factors can dramatically change your body’s fluid requirements.

Factors to consider:

How much water you really need to drink each day will change with many circumstances. Everybody needs to drink a minimum of 8 cups daily. Indeed, many sources recommend that men drink 13 cups of water daily. These people need to drink more:

The athlete. The more you exercise, the more you sweat. The more you sweat, the more water you need to drink to replace what you have lost. If you are unsure of how much you need to drink after exercising, try this simple trick. Weigh yourself immediately before and after the exercise. The weight you have lost off the scales is what you have lost in fluids. If you have lost 1kg then you will need to drink 1 liter of water (about 4 cups.) This equates roughly to 2 cups of water for every pound lost. The extreme athlete or marathon runner will need to not only replenish their fluids but also their electrolytes. This can be easily achieved by drinking sports drinks enriched with electrolytes such as Gatorade.

Pregnant and nursing mothers. It is important to stay well hydrated while pregnant. It is recommended that pregnant women increase their water intake to 10 cups of fluid daily. Nursing mothers are using enormous amounts of fluids to produce milk. These ladies need to drink 13 cups of fluid daily.

People living in high altitudes and humid climates. People who live in altitudes over 8,200 feet (2 500 meters), will need to up their daily fluid intake,as their breathing becomes more rapid and their urine output is increased. Those who live in hot, humid, or both, environments also need to drink more fluids to replace the extra sweat.

Unwell or feverish. People who are suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea, or fevers, can easily become dehydrated. It is important in these situations to carefully monitor the fluid input. Sucking on ice is one way to keep some fluids down in easy to manage amounts.

Signs of Dehydration:

* dry mouth
* fatigue
* headache
* little or no urine output
* thirsty, mild to extreme
* dizzy or light headed
* weakness of muscles

Extreme dehydration is dangerous and can often require a hospital visit for fluids to be administered intravenously.

Easy tips to stay hydrated:

* Take a water bottle with you everywhere. Small sips soon add up.
* Be sure to drink adequate amounts of fluid before, during, and after exercise.
* Drink more on hot days, or when you are out in the sun.
* Serve water with all your meals.
* Have at least 1 glass of water between each meal.
* Remember that there is water in all beverages that you consume. Milk, juice, soda, tea, coffee, and even beer and wine, do contain varying amounts of water. Remember though, that tea, coffee, and alcohol, all act as diuretics, so too much of these and you could dehydrate yourself.

Water is essential to life. Consuming adequate amounts of water will contribute to glowing skin and a sense of vitality. Water is cheap, healthy, and calorie free. Reach for a glass now.