Tag Archives: beef

Fire Up the Father’s Day Grill with Lean Meats

Red meat is a Father’s Day favorite and sure to grace the menus of Father’s Day feasts around the country this weekend. For those looking for healthier options for their family celebrations, remember – not all cuts of meat are equal. Grilling can be one of the lightest ways to entertain, but it all comes down to knowing what cuts to look for how to prepare them and how to complement them with nutrient-rich additions to the menu.

Lean cuts of meat such as sirloin, have up to 34 percent less fat today than a few decades ago, thanks to new breeding, feeding and fat trimming at the grocery store. This is good news, but some still struggle to know how to cook lean beef cuts and keep them tender when the fat content is so low.

Adding lean cuts of beef to cool summer salads is an ideal way to turn up the flavor and certainly makes for a delicious and nutritious way to celebrate this Father’s Day. In time for firing up your grill this weekend, following are a few crowd-pleasing, healthy grilling recipes — each with less than 15 grams of fat.

Champagne Steak Salad with Blue Cheese -- 300 calories, 14 grams of fat

Recipe 1

Recipe courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 2 beef Ranch Steaks , cut 1 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
    • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
    • 2 teaspoons crushed mixed peppercorns (black, white, pink and green)
    • 2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters
    • 1 package (5 ounces) mixed salad greens
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Vinaigrette
    • 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground mixed peppercorns
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Bring 1-inch water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add green beans, cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; set aside.
  • Meanwhile, combine vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl; set aside.
  • Press 2 teaspoons peppercorns evenly onto beef steaks. Place steaks in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange peppers around steak. Grill steaks, covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 12 to 16 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness. Grill peppers 7 to 11 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until crisp-tender, turning steaks and vegetables occasionally.
  • Carve steaks into thin slices. Cut peppers into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Season beef and vegetables with salt, as desired. Divide salad greens among four serving bowls; top evenly with vegetables. Arrange beef on salad. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Note: You can use Ranch or Top Sirloin cuts – both approximately 300 calories and 15 grams of fat. 

Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing – 320 calories, 14 grams of fat   

Recipe 2

Recipe courtesy of the Texas Beef Council and The Healthy Beef Cookbook

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (approx. 4 oz. each)
    • 1/2 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
    • 1 package (5 oz.) mixed baby salad greens
    • 1 medium red or green pear, cored, cut into 16 wedges
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    • Salt (to taste)
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
    • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
  • Honey Mustard Dressing
    • 1/2 cup prepared honey mustard
    • 2-3 Tbsp. water
    • 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Season steaks with 1/2 tsp. pepper. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 7 to 9 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, whisk Honey Mustard Dressing ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Set aside. Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with pear wedges and dried cranberries.
  • Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt as desired. Divide steak slices evenly over salads. Top each salad evenly with dressing, pecans and goat cheese, if desired.

Farmer’s Market Vegetable, Beef and Brown Rice Salad; 500 calories, 15 grams of fat

Recipe 3

Recipe courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and The Healthy Beef Cookbook

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 1 lb. top round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 cups asparagus pieces (2-inch in length)
    • 1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
    • 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
    • 1 cup diced, seeded tomatoes
    • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Marinade
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 Tbsp. honey
    • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
    • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and 1/4 cup marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight. Reserve remaining marinade in refrigerator for dressing.
  • Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 12 to 13 minutes for medium rare doneness, turning once. Remove; keep warm.
  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add asparagus and squash; cook and stir 7 to 8 minutes or until tender. Toss with rice, tomatoes, beans, basil, salt and reserved marinade in large bowl.

Note: You can use round or flat-iron cuts for this recipe.

 For more ideas on heart-healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating fun and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit:http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

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Protein Series (Part 3 of 3): Protein Boosts Weight Management

Many adults do not eat enough protein, because of the calorie restrictions they put themselves on as they try to lose weight. Keep in mind that eating lean protein, such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, and low-fat cheeses, is essential for maintaining lean body muscle, which helps promote an active or healthy metabolism. Making dietary changes such as adding high-quality lean protein can ultimately lead to improved weight management. As mentioned in my Protein Series parts 1 & 2, protein promotes satiety as well as body muscle, eating a protein-rich meal or snack helps you feel full longer, and satisfies cravings faster.

Recent research found that a moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein (3-4 oz per meal) diet helped individuals lose more weight and even reduce their risk factors for metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes, compared to those who followed a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet (2-3 oz per meal) Adding just one more lean protein to each meal, such as 1 oz meat or 1 cup milk/yogurt or ½ cup beans, is enough to add weight loss benefits.

                                                         Black Bean Chili Stew – by Georgia Kostas

1 lb of lean ground beef ( 95% lean, 5% fat)

2 cans of lower-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbp cumin seeds ( or 1 Tbsp ground cumin)

1 Tbsp oregano

1 Tbsp basil

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped ( 1.5 cups)

1 large bell pepper ( red or green), chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp paprika

1 tsp ground red pepper

20 oz can of lower-sodium crushed or diced tomatoes

28 oz can of lower-sodium tomato sauce

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and minced (or small can of chopped jalapeno)

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heated non-stick skillet. Add ground beef. Stir 5-7 min, till no longer pink. Drain off fat in a colander, under tap water (not cold or hot). Set aside.
  2. To a dry non-stick skillet, add cumin seeds and heat over medium heat, to toast seeds. Add basil and oregano, shaking pan occasionally for 3 minutes, till fragrant. Set aside. (Skip if using ground cumin.)
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, add all ingredients except beans. Simmer for 40-45 minutes, till onions and carrots are soft.  Then add beans. Heat 5-10 minutes more.
  4. You may also cook everything in a crockpot for 6 hours, except beans and meat. Add meat the last hour of cooking, and beans in the last 10 minutes, to prevent beef and beans from becoming too soft.

Heart Smart Foods for February Heart Month

Healthy heart, healthy body. 

How can you prevent artery and heart disease that a majority of Americans develop over a lifetime? Take action now. Focus on heart smart foods that keep your artery walls strong, elastic, and free of plaque (from cholesterol deposits and oxidation), inflammation and clots. Heart-Smart foods fight for your life every day, by protecting your arteries from:

Cholesterol build-up:  Eat plant foods (fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, oils), foods with soluble fiber such as oats, beans and psyllium seeds; fish, poultry without skin, lean beef and pork and lamb cuts; skim milk, low-fat cheese, and spreads and special foods with stanols or sterols (i.e Smart Balance Heart Right spreads and milk). Avoid saturated, hydrogenated and tran fats in lard and fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb, hot dogs, sausage; burgers, hardened margarine sticks, commercially prepared desserts, snack foods, icing, fried foods.

Cholesterol oxidation:  Eat anti-oxidant-rich fruit and vegetables of all types, particularly deep red/blue/purple foods such as red grapes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grape juice, red wine, dark chocolate, tea, eggplant, raisins, tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Artery stiffness:  Eat olive oil, canola oil, seafood (omega 3’s), nuts, and fresh produce that contain anti-oxidants, phyto-nutrients and potassium.  Skip the salt shaker, packaged and canned foods, and salty foods that stiffen arteries.

Artery inflammation:  Select anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant-rich foods such as fresh produce, whole grains, beans, seafood, omega 3-rich foods. Eat regular meals with reasonable portions        (large meals or large portions inflame artery walls by elevating blood sugar, fats and salt). Avoid excessive sugar, salt, saturated, trans and hydrogenated fats; excess body fat, particularly middle fat; and sitting long hours. Get up and move. Treat and control elevated blood pressure and diabetes. The bottom line: reasonable portions, reasonably sized meals and regular exercise prevent inflammation.

Clot formation:  Eat nature’s natural blood thinners to prevent clots, such as seafood, olive and canola oils, red foods with polyphenols (red grapes, red onions, tea, wine, red apples, garlic, grape juice) and red/orange foods such as tomatoes, red bell pepper, berries, cherries, carrots, oranges, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cantaloupe- all are good for your arteries and blood flow. Omega 3s are found in oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, herring, bass, trout; walnuts;  canola and olive oil, as well as omega 3- fortified spreads, milk, orange juice, low-fat cheese.

In essence, enjoy 2-3 fruit and 2-3 cups of fresh vegetables daily…especially colorful ones, and a variety, to reap the greatest heart-health benefits. Eat beans 4 times a week; nuts 4 times a week -one shot glass of nuts is a serving; seafood at least twice a week; 3 whole grains daily; healthy oils; non-fat or low-fat dairy and lean protein foods.

Limit alcohol, which raises blood pressure and weight, and can interfere with medications. The American Heart Association guideline: “Limit alcohol to no more than one can of beer, five ounces of wine, or one and a half ounces of 80 proof alcohol per day,” for women; two for men. Exceed these amounts, and the benefits of alcohol are countered by increased heart risk.

Remember to get up and move for at least 30 minutes daily. Schedule a little exercise each day for fun, relaxation, stress release, and recreation. You heart and arteries will sing. Plaque and inflammation and clots lessen, artery elasticity and strength increase, LDL (bad) cholesterol lowers, healthy HDL cholesterol rises, blood sugar, fats, and pressure normalize. A little goes a long way to improving your overall health, heart health and sense of well-being.

Seemingly little decisions daily as to what to eat and how much, when to exercise and how much, make a HUGE impact on your heart, and your life.

Discover more heart healthy tips by visiting my website, www.georgiakostas.com. Order my book, The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009), for recipes, teaching tips, menu planning and more. You can also follow me on Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition or twitter @georgiakostas.

Protein Series, Part 2 of 3: Lean Protein is Good for Heart Health

Introduction:  Recent research indicates that a moderate serving of high-quality protein (3-4 oz) with each meal can make a significant difference in healthy aging, body strength, weight management, and disease prevention. This is especially significant since approximately 20 percent of older adults do not meet the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance of protein. Read my three-part series on Protein to learn how you can achieve optimal health as you get older.

Lean Protein is Good for Heart Health

Eating lean beef daily, as part of a heart-healthy diet, can help lower LDL-cholesterol ( bad cholesterol), lower triglycerides ( blood fats), and raise HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) more than excluding beef, according to new research published in the January 2012 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  In this study, 5 oz of lean beef were consumed daily, as part of an overall healthy, plant-based, nutrient-rich diet (DASH), which included a variety of foods from all food groups.

Lean Beef by the Numbers

Americans can feel confident in their decision to eat lean beef daily, in moderate amounts,  as part of a low saturated fat diet which meets the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It’s a complete package! A 3 oz. serving of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 1,500-2,000-calorie intake daily and it supplies more than 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for 10 essential nutrients. On average, a 3 oz. serving of lean beef (about the size of a deck of cards) contains about 150 calories and is an excellent source of six nutrients (protein, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin and selenium) and a good source of four nutrients (phosphorous, choline, iron and riboflavin).

Lean Beef by the Cut  –

Did you know 17 of the top 25 most popular fresh meat cuts sold in retail are lean? Some of my favorite choices in cuts are  Tenderloin, Top Sirloin, Flank, T-Bone steak and 95% lean Ground Beef. It’s simple to pair these delicious cuts with nutrient-rich vegetables, grains and dairy foods for an overall healthy diet.

Other Heart-Protective Foods

How can you protect your heart? Eat the right type and amount of wholesome foods! Choose colorful fruit, vegetables, and beans; wholegrains; lean protein foods ( fish, poultry, lean beef, low-fat cheese); non-fat or low-fat dairy; and the right types and amount of fat and oils  to reduce artery inflammation and lessen the development of hardening of the arteries, which underlies most heart attacks.

Lifestyle Factors that Reduce Heart Disease

  • A healthy weight
  • Aerobic exercise, 30+ minutes, 3-5 times weekly
  • Healthy eating
  • Healthy blood pressure (<120/80)
  • Not smoking
  • Treating depression
  • Managing stress
  • More vitamin D3
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Ample sleep

In summary, lean beef protein can be beneficial to your heart as long as it does not exceed saturated fat limits (3-4 oz lean beef contains 4-6 gm sat fat out of 15-22 gm sat fat limit daily). Realize the value in varying protein sources – it’s good for your taste buds, adds nutrient variety, and helps your heart. It takes your total lifestyle to keep your heart running right…combine eating right and regular physical activity for optimal health.

Need more ideas?  Check out my book The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution:  Step up to the Plate (2009), or email me at Georgia@GeorgiaKostas.com to schedule a nutrition consult in person, over the phone or online.  You can follow me on Twitter/GeorgiaKostas, Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition or visit my website http://georgiakostas.com.

Protein Series, Part 1 of 3: Benefits of Lean Protein for Healthy Muscle Mass

Introduction:  Recent research indicates that a moderate serving of high-quality protein (3-4 oz) with each meal can make a significant difference in healthy aging, body strength, weight management, and disease prevention. This is especially significant since approximately 20 percent of older adults do not meet the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance of protein. Read my three-part series on Protein to learn how you can achieve optimal health as you get older.

 

Benefits of Lean Protein for Healthy Muscle Mass

Given the growing baby boomer population (approximately 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old every day), loss of muscle mass in older adults is becoming an increasingly significant public health issue.

It’s a fact of life that our body changes as we age. Those transformations happen in body composition, skeletal changes, metabolism slows down, aerobic (oxygen) capacity declines, and our immune system weakens. So, how do we prevent these changes?

The most practical dietary strategy to stimulate muscle growth is to include high-quality protein during each meal, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Aug 2007). Research indicates that a moderate serving of high-quality protein (3-4 oz) with each meal can make a significant difference in body strength. This is especially significant since approximately 20 percent of older adults do not meet the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance of protein.

Be Lean Protein Savvy

Enjoying these high-quality protein foods can help you build a healthy lifestyle at any age:

  • Consume 3-4 oz servings of protein-rich foods at each meal daily.  ( 1 protein equivalent = 1 oz meat or 1 cup milk or yogurt or ½ cup beans or 1 egg )
  • Vary protein sources weekly. Try poultry,  fish, lean beef or pork,  bean or all-vegetable meals, low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt, cheese.
  • Choose low-fat toppings. Top baked potatoes with cottage cheese, yogurt, marinara sauce or salsa, and top salads with balsamic vinegar, lemon, cottage cheese, or yogurt.
  • Snack on healthy alternatives such as nuts, popcorn, wholewheat bagels, pretzels, popsicles, frozen nonfat yogurt, carrots, homemade Chex cereal mix, wholegrain crackers or toast. 

Add Muscle with Protein

Building optimal muscle mass comes from pairing the right types of high-quality protein with the right exercise routine, and making that a habit. First, exercise is not all about the amount that’s important, it’s the type of exercise that’s important. Did you know that starting at age 25, you can lose 8-10 lbs of muscle mass each decade? Did you know cardio workouts such as walking and running will help you maintain muscle, but resistance training is what really helps you build muscle? Stimulating the right muscles, over several repetitions, helps you build muscle mass over time. In addition, eating lean protein within 30 minutes after resistance training helps builds muscle more effectively. 

Exercise Variety Leads to Optimal Benefits

Enjoy changing up your routine with these exercises. And, remember to set goals that are appropriate to your age group and ability to get the most out of all of your efforts.

  • Aerobic (heart, lungs, weight, stamina, balance)
  • Flexibility/stretching (joints, range-of-motion)
  • Strength (bones, muscles, core)
  • Balance (reduces falls, hip & spine fractures; adds stability, coordination, functional fitness)
  • All-in-one (yoga, pilates, aqua exercise, Zumba, bar/ballet classes, functional fitness, bands with cardio, circuit classes)

Sample Weekly Workout Plan/Goals*

  • Cardio – moderate intensity, 30 minutes, 5 times/week OR vigorous intensity, 20 minutes, 3 times/week
  • Strength – 8-10 exercises, 10-15 repetitions, 2-3 times/week
  • Balance/Core – 3 or more times weekly
  • Stretching – 5-10 sets per day

*Note: these particular sample exercise goals are intended for adults over the age of 65. See a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

In summary, you can age gracefully. Achieve optimal health as you get older with 1) 3-4 oz. lean protein with each meal daily along with other nutrient-rich foods, and 2) exercise for cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility weekly. Become proactive and live a healthy, active lifestyle starting today.

Remember to sign up for my blog, so you don’t miss out of part 2 and 3 of Protein series. You can also follow my updates on Facebook.com/GeorgiaKostasNutrition and Twitter @GeorgiaKostas. For more nutrition and wellness tips, recipes, handouts, and to get a copy of my book The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009), visit my website www.georgiakostas.com.

Georgia’s Favorite Beef Filet: Simple-and-Delicious

Did you know? May is Beef Month!  And, May 28th is Hamburger Day! Choose 90% lean ground beef, and add twice the amount of tomatoes, lettuce and onions for the healthiest version!

Entertain guests this Memorial Day weekend with my favorite simple and delicious beef filet recipe:

2 6-oz tenderloin filets, cut 1.5 inch thick

1 teaspoon canola oil

½ teaspoon melted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Marinade:  ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce 

                    ¼ cup sherry

                    1 tablespoon olive oil 

                    1 tablespoon Greek seasoning blend

                    ½ teaspoon pepper 

Instructions:

  1. Combine 5 marinade ingredients. Marinade filets in sealed plastic bag 1- 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, add 1 tsp. canola oil. Heat on high until skillet is hot. Place filets in skillet. Sear each side approximately one minute.  Reduce heat to low. Cook approximately 5 minutes each side (“medium” doneness), turning once with tongs, to avoid losing meat juices if fork used.
  3. Sprinkle lightly with salt to taste and brush each side with 1/8 teaspoon melted butter.
  4. Side dishes:  sautéed mushrooms, steamed spinach, grape tomatoes, and mashed potatoes go great with this recipe and are healthy add-ons!!

For more beef receipes, visit http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/. Enjoy!

Tips for Eating the Mediterranean Way

For Good Health, Lowering Cholesterol, Preventing Heart Disease & Diabetes

May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, so what better time to start eating more healthy foods and beverages than now. Here is a list of some of my favorite foods that fit into the Mediterranean Diet. They are delicious, colorful and packed with nutrients that are scientifically proven to promote good health. I encourage you to give them a try today!

  • Seafood:  Eat seafood two to four times a week. Try salmon, shrimp, snapper, tilapia or tuna fish. Choose light white tuna chunks (note: albacore may contain mercury). The American Heart Association recommends 500-1000 mg omega 3’s daily, which equals 7 grams (7000 mg) weekly.
  • Berries:  Try fresh or frozen bags of mixed berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries. Top pancakes, oatmeal, toast, yogurt and light ice cream with berries. Make a smoothie by blending together yogurt, berries, half a banana and a little orange juice.
  • Red foods:  Enjoy red foods daily. Try tomatoes, marinara sauces, carrots, cantaloupe, oranges, red onion, red bell pepper, red cabbage, red beets, red apple with peel, red grapes, purple grapes, cherries, berries eggplant and sweet potatoes.
  • Greens:  Try spinach, asparagus, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lettuce (with red veins) and broccoli.
  • Fruit & Vegetables:  Have two fruit and three vegetable servings (1/2 to 1 cup) each day. For picky eaters, get creative and find ways to sneak veggies into favorite foods.
  • Beans:  Enjoy a half cup of beans almost daily. Try different kinds of beans such as hummus, lentil soup, black bean soup, limas, black bean & corn salsa, butter beans and black eyed peas. Prepare navy beans cooked with carrots, onions and celery, or combine garbanzo beans with rice and serve on top of spinach. Dip baby carrots and red bell pepper strips in hummus as a snack.
  • Oatmeal and Whole Grains:  Oats lower cholesterol. Prepare a fiber-rich bowl of oatmeal by combining half a cup of dry oatmeal with one heaping tablespoon of Quaker Oat Bran. Add your favorite toppings such as raisins, berries, peanut butter, or chopped almonds or walnuts. Or eat three cups of Cheerios.
  • Enjoy three servings of whole grains a day. One serving equals half a cup of cooked oatmeal, brown rice,  corn, barley, a corn tortilla, two cups popcorn, six low-fat Triscuit crackers or one slice of 100% whole wheat bread such as Sara Lee, Nature’s Own or Orowheat. Choose items with the highest number of whole grains (Nature’s Own: 23 grams of whole grains per slice; Quaker oatmeal: 38 grams per bowl).
  • Lean Protein:  Choose lean beef and pork cuts, poultry without skin, seafood, nonfat milk and yogurt and 2% or low-fat cheese. Visit http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/ for recipes using lean beef.
  • Healthy Fats and Oils:  Use olive, canola, soy or sunflower oil and tub spreads such as Smart Balance HeartRight Buttery Spread (stanols added). Consume two tablespoons of healthy fats and oils daily. Eat 1.5 oz (3 tablespoons) of walnuts, almonds or pistachios daily…they lower blood fats.
  • Products that Help Lower Cholesterol:  Add one heaping teaspoon of sugar-free citrus-flavored Metamucil to a glass of water at three meals daily. Eat soluble fiber found in beans, bananas, apples, oranges, carrots, oats and eggplant. Include new foods with stanols or stenols. Consume 2 grams (2 servings) a day to lower blood fats. One cup of Smart Balance HeartRight Milk or Kroger Active Lifestyle Fat Free Milk counts as one serving, and are delicious!
  • Physical Activity:  Get up and move every hour of the day! Walk around, move your feet and arms as you sit, march in place, climb some stairs. Use bands or hand weights, toss a ball, play ping pong, throw a tennis ball, dance or do a quick set of jumping jacks. By remaining on the move, you get the benefits of improved circulation, energy and health; plus a smile on your face.

For more resources and tips, visit http://www.georgiakostas.com/. Follow me on Twitter @georgiakostas or like my professional Facebook page, Georgia Kostas Nutrition.