Late-Night Snacking 101

Hello, hello! Devilishly Healthy is back and is off to a running start! Welcome back, readers. To be honest, I may or may not have gone completely overboard this winter break. Okay, I definitely went overboard. With food, family and so much fun, it was hard to stay on track healthwise. But hey, it’s a new year and now is my chance and your chance to revamp your dietary habits!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late night munchies!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late-night munchies!

This week’s topic is going to focus on late-night snacking. We’re now at that point in the semester where classes have definitely started to pick up, and at this breaking point, our bodies might not have adjusted to the workload. So, we may start to overcompensate when it comes to our nutritional needs.

So can we speak in layman’s terms now?

Do you find that after a long day of classes and a mediocre dinner at 6 p.m., that by 10 p.m. or later your stomach is grumbling? If your answer is yes, good news! You’re not alone.

The bottom line is, sometimes we don’t get the most out of dinner, or we feel inclined to eat a few hours after dinner for no legitimate reason at all. That’s okay — as long as you regulate what you consume after about 6 p.m.

The metabolism is a fascinating thing. It is known that metabolic processes are linked to the time of day you consume food. So what does this mean for you?

Generally speaking, unless you’re some metabolic anomaly, the metabolism functions at its best during the day and slows during the night. So, it’s ideal to eat your biggest meals during the day time and then eat smaller portions as the day goes on.

But what happens when you’re starving at 11 p.m.?

I interviewed ASU sophomore Ashley Garcia, a nutrition major with a concentration in dietetics. She said, while eating late isn’t ideal — the reality is that it does happen.

So we should all be prepared for this!

Garcia said that eating heavy foods with lots of fats and oils are generally not the best options for a midnight snack. But she did say that eating fruits and even dark chocolate is a good option for that late night fix.

Being a college student in the lovely downtown Phoenix, where can you get some good tasting, healthy late-night snacks?

For one thing, Devil’s Greens is a great option. It has the fruit bar and a yogurt bar that can satisfy the sweetness craving while maintaining decent calorie intake.

Another option is to buy some fruit and keep it. I would highly recommend getting your fruit from the Phoenix Public Market. It’s always a good feeling to know you’re shopping locally and eating fruit that isn’t covered in pesticides.

Well, friends, the motto of this week is: when in doubt, eat fruit! When you’re up late studying and you need a quick pick-me-up, whip out a healthy snack that’s fiber-rich. But also, remember that portions are important too!

Stay healthy, my friends!

10 Healthy Holiday Treats

There’s a certain chill in the air, stores are marketing their sales like crazy and Christmas music is playing almost everywhere you go — the holiday season is here!

Traditional holiday treats are so tempting!

Traditional holiday treats are so tempting!

During this festive time, families gather and celebrate the bonds they have. It’s truly a beautiful time. But, often during this time of year, one simple yet vital thing tends to go by the wayside: your health.

The champagne is flowing and buttered ham is roasting on the spit and unhealthy habits are waiting for the opportunity to hijack your fitness progress or push back your future fitness goals.

Don’t let this time of year compromise your health! Make these 10 holiday treats and cut back on your holiday splurging!

  1. Whole-wheat sugar cookies: With less than 300 calories per serving, whole wheat flour can take you a long way with sugar cookies! So when you bake Santa’s cookies, you’ll be doing him a huge favor by making this healthier alternative.
  2. Chocolate-covered strawberries: 57 calories? Who knew? Get that fruit serving in while on break and indulge a little. After all, 57 calories is nothing — but be careful to not have to many of these delectable delights!
  3. Avocado chocolate mousse: This might sound repulsive, but I promise, it’s not. Using avocado as the main ingredient in mousse is one of the most ingenious ideas out there. You can’t taste the avocado replacing the chocolate mousse filling, and it’s so much healthier than regular chocolate mousse.
  4. Oatmeal toffee cookies: Adding oatmeal to almost anything makes it a lot more nutritionally friendly to your body, and especially when it comes to toffee cookies. Throw a handful of oats into your cookie dough, savor the amazing taste and relish in the fact that you’re actually being healthier this holiday season.
  5. Sugared cranberries: Avoid those other confections that are loaded with everything unhealthy. Try a sugared cranberry instead! Yes, it’s sugared, so it’s not the healthiest possible option, but it’s certainly better than the piece of candy you might be tempted to eat.
  6. Cardamom-coconut creme caramel: Creme caramel is a holiday classic for my family, and the way that it’s prepared is anything but healthy! Try adding cardamom and substituting coconut milk for the cream, and you have a concoction that is extremely unique and way healthier than the traditional recipe.
  7. Dark-chocolate orange cake: A derivative of chocolate cake will probably be at every Christmas party you attend. If you host a party or just feel inclined to eat chocolate cake one day, try making a dark-chocolate orange cake. Dark chocolate is much healthier than milk chocolate, and fresh oranges to top the cake add great flavor and nutritional value.
  8. Gingerbread pumpkin bars: Gingerbread is a traditional holiday food for many families. While it’s not the worst thing in the world for you, there are ways to make it a healthier indulgence. Try mixing gluten-free gingerbread with bits of pumpkin! It’s an interesting taste that will have you coming back for more — and at little cost to your waistline.
  9. Gingered cranberry-pear cobbler: Cobblers are a must; everyone knows this. Try marinating cranberries and pears in ginger puree and making cobbler out of it. It’s divine. Also, it’s a lot better for you than a traditional cobbler, because ginger extract is actually full of many nutrients the body uses.
  10. Light eggnog: You can make your own eggnog with reduced-fat milk to cut back on a slew of calories traditional mixes contain. Just mix low-fat milk, eggs, nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon, then boil. Serve over ice. Adding alcohol to the mixture just increases the calorie count without adding any nutritional benefit, so avoid it.

As you can see, these 10 items are fairly easy to make, and each of them has a unique flair. Be that person who has the “cool” food. Be unique and be conscious of what you’re eating.

Well, friends, I wish you an absolutely delightful holiday season, no matter what you celebrate. Have a joyous time this last month of 2013, and make good choices!

Stay healthy!

How to Stay Moderately Healthy this Thanksgivukkah

A week from today, we will experience something extremely rare — the intersection of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!

Budget your calorie intake this Thanksgiving!

Budget your calorie intake this Thanksgiving!

So how are you celebrating this holiday anomaly?

Whether you’re having a romantic, candlelit Thanksgiving for two or you’re enjoying the company of your jubilant extended family, one thing’s for sure — this Thanksgiving has to be celebrated on epic proportions.

And no, I don’t mean pig out. This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to control your portions and eat smartly.

This doesn’t mean miss out on your holiday favorites! It just means that you’ll make a few adjustments that shouldn’t affect your overall Thanksgivukkah experience.

Follow these eight steps for a healthier Thanksgivukkah celebration:

  1. Practice portion control: Even though Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, and you might have this raging urge to just eat and eat and eat some more, don’t. Take a little bit of everything at the Thanksgiving buffet, and eat with moderation.
  2. Use low-calorie substitutes: If you’re making any sort of sweet delight this Thanksgiving, cut back on a lot of calories by using a sugar substitute or honey! Any way you can cut back is beneficial to your health, even if it’s as simple as a sugar substitute.
  3. Eat a meal early: Most people think that if they starve themselves all day and “save” up for the big Thanksgiving meal, they will somehow be budgeting calories in an efficient way. This couldn’t be more false! Make sure to eat a meal before the huge feast. That way, you won’t binge later. High-fiber meals in the morning are highly recommended.
  4. Avoid eating seconds: Yes, I know this one may be hard, but try your hardest! Even though everything is going to taste so good, you don’t need more than one serving in one sitting.
  5. Go for the veggie options: Be sure to eat your veggies! Whether they’re boiled, steamed, baked or fresh, eating veggies as part of your Thanksgiving meal will only make your diet that much more balanced.
  6. Try to stick to water as your primary drink: Thanksgiving is one of the many holidays with delicious drinks everywhere, and whether it’s an aged wine or a nice glass of sparkling apple cider, be careful not to drink too many calorie-filled drinks. In fact, if you can stick to water as your main drink, you will be even healthier in the long run. Think of this as calorie budgeting.
  7. Savor your food: Really take your time when chewing. Research has shown that when you chew slower, your digestive processes work better. So be sure to slow down and really enjoy what you’re eating.
  8. Stay away from turkey skin: Turkey skin is a huge no-no! While it may taste delicious to some, it is extremely high in fat. Instead, you should eat the white meat of the turkey.

Ultimately, it’s about sacrificing a little in order to be your healthiest this Thanksgiving. Making a few of these small changes will benefit you immensely! So try them. Give them a shot and notice how much better you’ll feel.

Well folks, now you know how to have a healthy, happy Thanksgivukkah! Follow these eight steps and you won’t feel bad when you’re trying on that new pair of jeans on Black Friday!

Happy Thanksgivukkah – make the most of this special time!

All you need to know about calories

Calories. We all secretly pay attention to them, right? But did you know that they are not only important to losing weight, but also to maintaining and gaining weight?

Caloric intake levels are different for every person and lifestyle. If you’re inactive, your body does not need as many calories as someone who exercises a lot. Think of Michael Phelps when he was training; he needed more than 12,000 calories because he burned so many in the water. The average adult needs about 2,000 calories a day. Can you imagine what would happen to your body if you had a 12,000 calorie diet?! Let’s hope that never happens.

Photo from Seriouseats.com

Calorie basics

Calories are the amount of energy supplied by a food. Energy can come in many different forms such as protein, carbohydrates, fats and sugars. The goal is to find what your body needs in order to perform to its maximum capacity, whether that’s maintaining your weight, building muscle and gaining weight, or losing weight.

Tips and tricks

  • Low-fat and fat-free doesn’t mean that there are less calories in what you’re eating.
  • Be sure to watch out for extra sugars or sugar substitutes. They have calories too.
  • Low-calorie isn’t always what you need. A healthy diet has a mix of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins and dairy.

Exercise and calories

How much energy are you using when you exercise? It depends on the type, your body weight and composition and the level of intensity at which you are working out. Here are a few examples for someone 150 pounds:

  • Playing basketball for an hour on a half-court burns approx. 405 calories
  • Biking on flat land for an hour burns approx. 441 calories
  • Dancing (depending on the type) burns approx. 370 calories an hour
  • Jogging burns approx. 675 calories an hour
  • Sleeping burns approx. 45 calories an hour (who knew?!)
  • Playing soccer for an hour burns approx. 468 calories
  • Swimming burns approx. 608 calories per hour

Listen to your body and find out what it needs. If you’re starving after a workout, you’re allowed to eat! It’s encouraged. A great post-workout snack is a lean protein that will fill you up and help you build muscle. If you’re going to have a hard day at the gym, make sure you’ve gotten enough fuel and water before you head out. It’ll take a little time to figure out what’s going to work best for you, but be patient and have a little faith!