Pasta has gotten a bit of a bad rap. Most people would agree that if you’re looking to lose weight or simply to maintain your weight loss, it’s best to cut out pasta completely. This isn’t necessarily true, though. As is the case with everything, moderation is key. Don’t eat it for dinner each night, and when you do, keep your serving size to a minimum. People tend to eat A LOT of pasta–certainly more than the single-serving that’s suggested on the side of the pasta box.
Along with limiting the quanity of pasta you consume, consider experimenting with other types of pasta as well. No, I don’t mean switching up your rotini for fusilli or your linguine for fettuccine. Traditional pasta that we all know and love is made with refined white durum flour. Think of this type of pasta as the white bread of the pasta world. We all know if you’re watching your waistline, you should avoid white bread and other refined starches. Fortunately there are many other options.
Switching from “normal” pasta to whole wheat pasta is definitely a healthier option, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. The texture just isn’t the same, but if you’re looking for a pasta fix, this is a suitable replacement. Just make sure that you keep the creamy sauces to a minimum, opting for a thick and chunky tomato-based sauce that will fill you up more than a thinner creamy sauce. An added bonus: whole wheat pasta has a lot more fiber than traditional pasta, which can also help you to feel more full.
Those on a gluten-free kick will likely be aware of the ever-growing availability of corn and rice-based pastas lining store shelves. These will likely seem like the healthiest option, but a quick comparison between nutrition labels will reveal that these gluten-free pastas tend to have more carbs and less fiber than the gluten-based pastas. So, unless you’re choosing gluten-free out of genuine health concerns, there’s likely a better option.
So what’s the best compromise if you want the taste and texture of traditional pasta but with the benefits of whole wheat pasta? Check out multigrain pastas at your local grocery store. They’re the best of both worlds, providing you with the increased fiber from whole wheat pasta with the familiar taste and texture from regular pasta.
Although I prefer salty snacks, I’ll admit that I do have a sweet tooth. One of my favorite drinks has to be chocolate milk, and I’m sure anyone who includes dairy in their diet will agree that it is delicious no matter what your age is! What’s surprising to me though is that I’ve been hearing a lot lately about drinking chocolate milk after a workout. But is it just hype from the dairy companies designed to sell more milk?
The nutritional benefits of milk are obvious, as milk is full of calcium, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Of course, some people will think that the inclusion of chocolate into the mix will add sugar (which it does) but at the right times, this can be a good thing. For example, after exercising, the sugar in chocolate milk provides an insulin spike which helps our bodies recover quicker by refueling the muscles.
Chocolate milk is also packed with carbohydrates to replenish glycogen along with sodium and potassium which help restore electrolytes within the body. Chocolate milk also has a high protein content. Just flip the carton or bottle around and it should be listed along side the ingredients. Ideally, after working out you should consume between 10 and 20 grams of protein. A 500ml carton (or about 16 ounces) should give you close to this amount.
That being said, chocolate milk could still be labeled as “junk food” when you’re not working out, so it’s not necessarily something you should reach for after mowing the lawn, for example. Just like you wouldn’t feel like you need a Gatorade to do some yard work. Because chocolate milk does have a high sugar content, those who work out intensely will obtain the most benefits from drinking chocolate milk after exercise.
I’ll speak honestly and say that for most of my life I didn’t eat honey. I didn’t put it on toast, I didn’t add it to my tea. I just didn’t use it, and there wasn’t any in my cupboard. But I was a little curious when I started seeing things going around Facebook a few weeks ago about the benefits of honey and how it can help with illness. That prompted me to do some research for myself and see if I should add honey to my diet.
I read a lot about how it can prevent cancer and heart disease and help with gastrointestinal issues, but I wanted to find out about honey’s more tangible benefits. Improvements that I would actually notice. One well-known benefit is that it’s helps with throat irritation. We’ve all heard how singers drink tea and honey to help preserve their voices. Well, it can help with those of us who simply have a sore throat and a hacking cough. Try buckwheat honey if you have these symptoms, it should soothe them enough so you can have a good night’s rest.
If you have acne, rashes, scrapes, cuts, burns, mosquito bites, or any other type of skin ailment, give some honey a try! Honey is packed with anti-inflammatory agents and naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide, making it an ideal natural remedy for virtually all skin issues. Many mix it with olive or castor oil to help it go one smoothly. Try the same combination in your hair for silkier and shinier hair!
One benefit of honey that appeals to me the most is that it’s the perfect carb to have before exercising. The highly effective carbohydrates found in honey are easily digested and released into the body steadily. In a nutshell, this is because the glucose in honey gives us an instant boost of energy, while the fructose helps us maintain the energy. Try a spoonful before you workout and add some to the water you drink while exercising. Cheaper and infinitely healthier for you than any sugary sports drinks!