100 Calories: What it Really Looks Like

100 Calories: What it Really Looks Like


You can absolutely snack and still lose weight. In fact, the right snacks can help keep your fuel your day while crushing those between-meal cravings. But here’s the thing; what you choose to munch on drastically affects how much of it you can eat and how satisfied you’ll feel afterwards. When comparing 100 calories worth of different types of snacks, it is clear that not all calories are created equal.

Think about it; you can have three tablespoons of ice cream that tastes like pistachios or you can chomp on 25 actual pistachios. Both contain about 100 calories yet the whole pistachios are healthier, provide more nutrients and leave you feeling fuller for longer. We’ve put together this guide so that you can compare 100 calorie portions of different snack foods in order to make the healthiest choice for your Nutrisystem program.

Read on to learn what 100 calories really looks like:

1. Strawberries vs. Fruit Leather Roll

strawberries

Strawberries: 2 cups

Fruit Leather Roll: 1 large

On Nutrisystem: 1 cup whole strawberries = 1 SmartCarb

Bright, juicy strawberries are packed with vitamin C and belly-filling fiber says Healthline. While fruit leathers and fruit snacks with the same flavor may be convenient, they don’t offer the same nutritional benefits and often contain added sugar. Opt for the real deal when a sweet craving hits. If you love the idea of an on-the-go leather, use fresh strawberries to make your own healthy version. Try this delicious recipe: Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Leather >

2. Popcorn vs. Potato Chips

100 calories

Popcorn: 3 cups

Potato Chips: 15 chips

On Nutrisystem: 1 cup plain popcorn = 1 Extra

You say you’ll stop at just a few. But once you start chomping down on salty potato chips, your good intentions go out the window. All it takes is a measly 15 chips to set you back 100 calories, plus a whole bunch of extra fat. With popcorn, you don’t need to test your restraint. If you think popcorn is boring, think again! Check out Four Ways to Pump Up Your Popcorn >

3. Apple vs. Individual Apple Pie

100 calories

Apple: 1 medium

Individual Apple Pie: 1/3 of a pie

On Nutrisystem: 1 medium apple = 1 SmartCarb

You get maybe two bites of an individual apple pie before you hit 100 calories. Pick the actual fruit for a snack and you get to eat the whole kit and kaboodle. Keep the skin on for more fiber. It will fill you up fast and leave your belly feeling satisfied for longer. Try making these Air Fryer Apple Chips >

4. Grapes vs. Jelly Beans

100 calories

Grapes: 60

Jelly Beans: 10

On Nutrisystem: 1 cup (about 40) grapes = 1 SmartCarb

That’s right—you get 50 more grapes than jelly beans (which are pretty much all sugar anyway). Go with red or black grapes for the sweetest flavor and weight loss benefit. Healthline explains that Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes, has been shown to provide protection against cancer and heart disease and lower blood glucose levels. Freeze your grapes for a refreshing treat that tastes like candy or try this Lean, Green, Grape Machine Smoothie >

5. Sliced Peppers vs. French Fries

100 calories

Sliced Peppers: 4 cups

French Fries: 1 kids’ size

On Nutrisystem: 1 cup raw bell peppers = 1 Vegetable

Sure, sliced red peppers may lack the salty bite of fast-food fries. However, the vitamins, minerals, satisfying crunch and sheer volume you can eat for 100 calories makes up for it. Add some flavor by dipping your pepper slices in a yummy dip like this Artichoke Basil Hummus >

6. Baby Carrots vs. Crunchy Cheese Twists

100 calories

Baby Carrots: 30

Crunchy Cheese Twists: 12 twists

On Nutrisystem: 1 cup raw carrots = 1 Vegetable

They share a hue and are heavy on crunch. However, you can eat more than double the amount of baby carrots than you can of unhealthy twists. According to Healthline, studies show that carrots may help lower cholesterol and improve eye health. They are also a good source of fiber and antioxidants. Carrots are delicious raw or cooked. Check out this recipe for Honey Balsamic Glazed Carrots >

7. Salsa vs. Guacamole

100 calories

Salsa: 18 tablespoons (about 1 ¼ cups)

Guacamole: 3 ¼ tablespoons

On Nutrisystem: Salsa = Free Food

Don’t get us wrong; avocados have earned superfood status. They provide healthy fats, fiber and potassium but are quite high in calories. It’s important to watch your portions as only one tablespoon of avocado counts as one Extra on Nutrisystem. A lot of pre-packaged guac also comes with added saturated fats that you want to avoid. So, if you’re looking to dip a bunch of veggie sticks, consider lower-calorie salsa as a higher-volume alternative. Learn how to make your own delicious salsa here >

8. Blueberries vs. Fruit Flavored Candies

Blueberries

Blueberries: 1 ¼ cups

Fruit Flavored Candies: 1/8 cup

On Nutrisystem: 1 cup blueberries = 1 SmartCarb

Both of these little brightly-colored gems provide a pop of sweetness. However, you get more than an extra cup worth of fresh berries to fill your belly. You also get a healthy dose of antioxidants to help keep your heart and brain healthy says Healthline. Check out these 10 Tasty Blueberry Recipes >

9. Banana vs. Chocolate Chip Cookie

Banana

Banana: 1 medium

Chocolate Chip Cookie: 1 ½ cookie

On Nutrisystem: 1 medium banana = 1 SmartCarb

Granted these may not be an obvious pairing for comparison, but when one is sitting in a bowl on your countertop and the other in a jar right next to it, which do you go for? Preferably the yellow-skinned sweet and creamy option. According to Healthline, bananas are packed with heart-healthy potassium, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

When you’re not snacking on this healthy fruit, try these ideas: 10 Banana Recipes You’ll Go Bananas For >

*All calories per serving provided are from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).





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Sweet! 14 Awesome Ways to Eat Sweet Potatoes This Season

Sweet! 14 Awesome Ways to Eat Sweet Potatoes This Season


From helpful lists of the latest diet superfoods and ways to burn fat to the tips for navigating the grocery store, learn how to eat healthy and lose weight with expert tips from our weight loss counselors and nutritionists.

As our understanding of the science behind diet and nutrition change, so too do the techniques behind dieting to lose weight. The Leaf weight loss blog is dedicated to keeping you informed about the most nutritious diet foods and dietary habits, working with top nutritionists to identify key ingredients to a balanced diet while still giving you the weight loss tools to indulge yourself in moderation.

For more information on how your individual dietary and nutritional needs influence your weight loss plan, check out our comprehensive guide to the Nutrisystem program and get started in choosing the diet plan that’s right for you.





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Chicken Nugget Recipes for Dieters

Chicken Nugget Recipes for Dieters


Not that there’s anything wrong with a nice and simple grilled chicken breast: It’s packed with lean protein to help build muscle; you’ll feel fuller, longer when you eat it; and on Nutrisystem, it’s a great PowerFuel choice. But. If you’ve had enough nice and simple pieces of grilled chicken to last you (give or take), a lifetime, we’ve got some exciting chicken nugget recipes to shake up your chicken habit.

Here are our five favorite chicken nugget recipes that are as delicious and guilt-free as it gets:

1. Boneless Honey BBQ Chicken Bites >
Boneless Honey BBQ Chicken Bites Recipe

When it comes to chicken nugget recipes, this one takes the cake. The sauce you make yourself, and it’s got a whole lot of goodness in it: Honey, obviously, but also molasses, tomato sauce and paste, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, paprika and other spices combine for a perfectly sweet and tangy flavor. Smother your baked nuggets in the smooth sauce and dig right in—guilt-free. Each savory serving is only 134 calories; log it as one PowerFuel and one Extra on your NuMi App.

2. Boneless Sweet & Spicy Thai Chicken Bites >
Boneless Sweet & Spicy Thai Chicken Bites Recipe

Enjoy flavors of the Far East with these Asian-inspired bites. The chicken is baked crisp in a seasoned coating, and the sauce—made with chili garlic, lime, rice vinegar, and honey—bring in the traditional tastes. Sprinkle some sesame seeds to finish off dish and enjoy a little sweet and a little spice in every delicious bite.

3. Boneless Buffalo Chicken Bites >
Boneless Buffalo Chicken Bites Recipe

They may be small in size, but they’re feisty in flavor. Cayenne powder in the breadcrumbs and a coating of hot sauce kicks up the heat; but at 103 calories per serving, they won’t pack on the pounds. These buffalo bites make a great app when you’re hosting game night, or having friends over to watch weekend football.

4. 5-Star Skinny Chicken Nuggets >
chicken nuggets

Nope, they’re not breaded. Not fried, either. As much as they look like the stuff you get from the drive-thru, the chicken bites are baked into a much healthier—and much tastier—version of fast-food nuggets. And they don’t take a lot of effort: Cut chicken breast into chunks; roll the pieces in a mixture of garlic powder, paprika, a little cayenne and a little black pepper; and bake to a golden crisp. They’re perfect for sharing—but after one taste, you may not want to!

5. Sweet Potato Chicken Bites >
Sweet Potato Chicken Nuggets

An unconventional take on traditional chicken nugget recipes, these Sweet Potato Chicken Nuggets feature a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors that are only enhanced by the homemade Honey Mustard Sauce that takes mere minutes to make. Count this delicious dish as one SmartCarb and one PowerFuel in your NuMi log.





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Turmeric: Everything You Need to Know

Turmeric: Everything You Need to Know


As far as superfoods go, turmeric may seem “new” in the sense that it’s trending. However, it’s certainly not new in terms of longevity. It’s been around for ages. According to the book Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, Second Edition, turmeric has been used as a medicinal plant for around 4,000 years. More recently, its use and benefits have been well-researched with thousands of studies and articles published on it over the past few decades. As you see more and more news about turmeric continue to emerge, you might be wondering what exactly it is and how you can incorporate it into your own healthy diet.

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Read on for everything you need to know about turmeric:

What is Turmeric?

turmeric

Turmeric is a plant related to the ginger says the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). It’s roots and stems (also known as rhizomes) are dried and made into the beloved golden spice. In fact, it is turmeric that is responsible for giving curry its golden yellow color. It is also added to a variety of food products and cosmetics due to its golden hue. However, it’s important to note that turmeric is more than just a pretty color. Over the years, research has uncovered a variety of amazing health benefits.

Health Benefits

turmeric

There have been many studies done on turmeric in order to uncover its potential health benefits. According to the Arthritis Foundation, turmeric and its component curcumin have been shown to provide anti-inflammatory benefits and prevent pain and inflammation of the joints in several studies.

There may be a multitude of other health benefits beyond its pain-relieving purpose. Scientists have even found that there may be a link between turmeric and brain cell regrowth. In a study published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, researchers discovered that when they put neural stems cells in petri dishes and bathed them in extracts of a chemical found in turmeric, up to 80 percent more of the stem cells grew into neurons or other cells, compared to the control experiments where the chemical wasn’t used. These findings just may hold future possibilities for Alzheimer’s research and treatments.

In addition to brain health, NCCIH states that other studies have researched the compounds found in turmeric for potentially treating diabetes, cancer, colitis and arthritis. However, more research is needed in these areas. Researchers have even studied the chemical curcumin and its ability to fight heart disease. According to Healthline, several studies suggest that curcumin can improve the lining of blood vessels and decrease inflammation, both of which play a role in developing heart disease.

No matter what its exact benefit, it’s clear that turmeric is a potent antioxidant that may deliver a variety of benefits. For that reason, you’re likely wondering how you can get more of it into your diet.

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Turmeric in the Diet

turmeric

If you’re interested in turmeric as a supplement, there are a lot of options. It’s important to do your research and make sure that you are getting a high-quality product. It’s always important before starting any new supplement regimen, that you first check with your doctor. You should also avoid taking excessively large doses.

Instead of taking turmeric as a supplement, you could also incorporate the spice into your diet when cooking. There are many different ways to add ground turmeric to your foods. You could blend it into smoothies, add it to soups and stews and even mix it into your tea as it brews. Cooking lentils and legumes in olive oil mixed with a teaspoon of turmeric is a great way to add some flavor while also boosting the health power of your meal.

You might also consider cooking with fresh turmeric—right from the root. Just like ginger root, you can grate it or cut it and add it directly to meals. Consider stirring freshly grated turmeric into your salad dressings, batters for baking or even your smoothies. You’ll intensify the flavor and increase the health potency of your dish. Juicing turmeric has also been a popular method of getting more of this zesty spice.

If you’re looking to add more if this spice to your menu, you will be happy to know that it’s considered a Free Food on the Nutrisystem program!  Check out these Nutrisystem-approved recipes featuring turmeric:

No matter how you choose to consume it, research certainly seems to lean in the favor of finding ways to add turmeric to your diet. With all the potential health benefits and its bold flavor, you’ll be glad you did.

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Healthier Halloween: Delicious Candy Recipes

Healthier Halloween: Delicious Candy Recipes


If you’re trying to lose weight, Halloween can be really scary: There’s candy everywhere! And even if you’re loading up on fiber to stay full and staying on your meal plan, willpower will only get you so far—if you’ve got a sweet tooth, those fun-sized temptations are bound to lead to candy cravings and lead your astray from a healthier Halloween.

Don’t deny yourself completely. Nutrisystem dietitians say that the best way to curb a craving is to tackle it head on—if you want candy, you should have some in a smart, portion-controlled way to help quell your craving.

Instead of raiding the office candy dish, try one of these seven easy, sweet bars for a healthier Halloween:

1. Four-ingredient Peanut Butter Rice Krispies >

rice-krispies

Calories: 71

Counts as: Two Extras

to kick off your healthier Halloween, we’ve got a classic. Most crisp rice treats are held together with sugary marshmallows and calorie-dense butter. What if you could have fewer calories, less sugar, and more flavor? It’s not magic: It’s peanut butter! These better-for-you treats are just as gooey as the original, but add the flavor of peanut butter to the sweetness of honey to hold steady.

2. Cake Batter Rice Krispies >

Cake-Batter-Rice-Krispie-Treats

Calories: 68

Counts as: Two Extras

Not a peanut butter fan? These treats bring back the butter flavor without the extra calories, and add in the flavors of cake batter—without the risks of eating it raw. Almond butter, coconut oil and brown rice syrup make them as sticky-sweet as any treat you’ve ever had, and at 68 calories each, they’re guilt-free.

3. Salted Orange Bark Bars >

chocolate-bark

Calories: 33

Counts as: One Extra

Dark chocolate has antioxidant and heart health benefits that you’ve probably heard about (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16774-heart-healthy-benefits-of-chocolate), but in a season of caramel-stuffed, peanut-packed goodies, the dark stuff can seem like … diet chocolate. Kick it up a notch and add flavor and a fancy feel with just two ingredients: Orange zest and sea salt. It only takes a few minutes to make, and it’ll take your treat from bland and bitter to surprising, fresh, and fancy.

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4. Quinoa Chocolate Bars >

quinoa-chocolate-bars

Calories: 87

Counts as: One SmartCarb

You might be asking, “Quinoa?” A better question: Why not? You’re already used to grains like puffed rice adding crunch to your candy. Quinoa takes the same idea and adds protein: The South American staple is higher in protein than almost any other grain, meaning these bars won’t just satisfy your sweet tooth, they’ll help you get full and stay that way thanks to the gut-filling power of your muscles’ favorite nutrient.

5. Pumpkin Spice Bars >

pumpkin-bars

Calories: 52

Counts as: One Extra

If you spend the fall craving pumpkin lattes and find yourself tempted by pumpkin spice popcorn, candy, cookies and cakes, this one’s for you. By adding pumpkin spice and puree to a traditional crisped rice treat recipe, these bars wind up being lower in calories than normal treats, have added fiber and vegetable nutrition from the pumpkin, and, of course, have that taste of fall you crave.

6. Grasshopper Candy Bars >

Grasshopper-Rice-Krispie-Treats

Calories: 61

Counts as: Two Extras

Mint and chocolate are a classic flavor combination, and with these six-ingredient bars, you get all the flavor without the guilt. Each bar is loaded with chocolate chips between layers or cocoa-flavored crisp rice held together by delicious, melted marshmallows. But there’s no trick with this treat: Each bar is just 61 calories, 30 fewer than you’d have from a traditional, chocolate-free rice krispie treat.

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7. Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars >

healthier halloween

Calories: 174

Counts as: One PowerFuel and one SmartCarb

Enjoy a healthier Halloween with this delicious “crunch” bar that combines the rich flavors of chocolate and peanut butter to make a protein-packed sweet treat. If you’re a peanut butter lover, this bar is a great alternative to your favorite vending machine treat. Whip up a batch of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars and enjoy a healthier pick that will fill your Halloween candy sweet tooth.





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Diet Tricks and Treats for a Healthy Halloween

Diet Tricks and Treats for a Healthy Halloween


In some ways, Halloween is the toughest holiday to navigate when you’re dieting. While most seasonal festivities involve food, this one involves candy, one of the most irresistible sugar delivery systems ever invented. It’s sweet, delicious and almost addicting. With so much candy around, you need diet tricks and treats to stay on plan.

You can avoid candy the rest of the year (if you exert willpower in the supermarket checkout line) but on Halloween, you bring tons of it into your house to give away. Then your kids bring more.  You may try to limit yourself to “just one,” but that gives way to “just one of each” and before you know it, those bite-sized morsels turn into unwanted pounds.

If you don’t have trick-or-treaters at home, you could skip the holiday altogether. Keep the porch light off and hide in the dark. Better yet, leave it off and go out to dinner until the ghosts and goblins are back home in bed. If there’s no way out, you can use these creative diet tricks to help you get through the week safely. You’ll see that we’ve paired each trick with a Nutrisystem treat.  The first trick will tell you why!

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Here are 11 diet tricks and treats to keep you on track this Halloween:

1. Don’t deprive yourself.

diet tricks

Trick: One of the worst things you can do is avoid your favorite treats. When dieting is all about “no,” you’re more likely to fail, says a 2016 study by researchers at Baylor University. Their research found that successful dieters are the ones who focus on the healthy foods they can eat, not the ones they think they need to avoid. Even Nutrisystem sweets are healthy for you—portion-controlled, low in fat, calories and sugar. When your cravings get too big to resist, don’t. Just choose a satisfying sweet that won’t break your diet.

Treat: No need to wait till the Girl Scouts show up. Nutrisystem’s Thin Mint Crisp Bar is chocolate through and through. Fudge morsels on top and a thick ribbon of milk chocolate, all paired with the cool taste of mint for only 150 calories.

 2. Buy candy the day of Halloween.

halloween candy

Trick: Tell the truth— Have you bought Halloween candy weeks in advance and then had to buy it all over again because you and the entire family wiped it out? Try to keep candy in the house for the shortest amount of time possible. In fact, if you can, buy it on Halloween. It’s likely to be on sale then too.

Treat:  Now that you’ve saved calories and money, indulge in Nutrisystem’s delicious, crunchy Chocolate Brownie Bar. It’s filled with cocoa crisps and covered in dark chocolate flavored coating. Best of all, it’s only 150 calories and contains a whopping 10 grams of protein. No candy can say that!

3. Pick candy you don’t like.

diet tricks

Trick: When you’re candy shopping, be sure to stay away from your favorites. Choose candy that the kids love but you don’t. If you love chocolate, choose fruity and sour gummy candies. Are you a sucker for hard candy? Buy sticky taffy or toffee.  Purchase the sweets that you don’t like (but they do) and you’ve kept yourself away from temptation.

Treat: If you’re a chocolate lover, you can feel free to indulge in Nutrisystem’s NutriChocolates! They’re a fun treat that can replace any unhealthy chocolate bar. You can even melt them to create chocolate covered fruit and nuts.

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4. Don’t let yourself get hungry.

diet tricks

Trick: Candy may always be tempting. However, you may be less likely to give in if you’ve eaten plenty of healthy, fiber-rich meals all day before you’re faced with bowls and bags of sweet treats. Don’t save any calories for Halloween candy. Make sure you feel too full to eat anther thing.

Treat: If you do have a little room left, Nutrisystem’s Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies are bite-sized treats that go great with a glass of skim milk. At only 150 calories, they’re packed with protein and fiber to satisfy your sweet tooth.

5. Be the parent (or grandparent) who goes trick or treating.

trick or treating

Trick: Turn your kids’ trick-or-treating into a little exercise for yourself. Walk the neighborhood with them and while they’re at the door getting treated, do a little jogging in place.

Treat: For a great post-workout recovery treat, grab a Nutrisystem Lemon Cooler Cookie. These zesty, sugar-dusted cookies are only 140 calories and can squash an lemony candy craving you may have.

6. Stash the stash.

halloween candy

Trick: Have someone else in the household hide the Halloween candy so temptation is out of sight and out of mind. Just don’t ask the kids to hide it because you may never see it again. And don’t go looking for it!

Treat: You won’t care where the candy is when you know exactly where you’re keeping your Nutrisystem Milk Chocolate Flavored Pretzels. They have the sweet and salty taste you love with only 130 calories. The extra protein and fiber make them ultra-satisfying.

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7. Chew gum.

chew gum

Trick: Chewing gum is a great way to fight temptation. A study published in the journal Appetite found that chewing gum is a simple way to modestly control appetite. In their research, people who chewed gum ate 68 fewer calories at lunch. Sugar free gum is a Free Food on Nutrisystem, so feel free to chew away those cravings!

Treat: Toss your gum away for a few minutes to enjoy Nutrisystem’s Snickerdoodle Cookie. It’s a soft-baked, whole grain cookie dusted with cinnamon, the spice of the season. With only 130 calories, it’s sure to spice up your Halloween.

8. Freeze your kids’ candy.

diet tricks

Trick: Keep both you and your youngsters from eating all the candy in one sitting by freezing their Halloween hauls. Parse out a few pieces they can eat each day. Not only are you eliminating temptation for you, you’re give your kids a great message about not overeating sweets.

Treat: Something you can eat frozen is our Ice Cream Sandwich. With vanilla flavored ice cream between two chocolate cookies, it clocks in at only 130 calories. You can even throw it in the blender to make this Ice Cream Sandwich Shake! >

 9. Don’t hand out candy.

diet tricks

Trick: You can buy pencils and stickers or a bulk pack of Halloween toys from your local party or dollar store. You can also try online shopping for fun Halloween trinkets. Zero fat, zero sugar and zero calories!

Treat: While you’re rocking your new Halloween spider ring, dig into a Nutrisystem Chocolate Brownie Sundae. You’ll be scooping up decadent fudge ribbons and brownie chunks throughout creamy chocolate ice cream. Bye, bye chocolate cravings!

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10. Craving candy? Brush your teeth.

diet tricks

Trick: Diet tricks can seem difficult. However, some are as easy as brushing your teeth (literally)! Have you ever tried to eat or drink something sweet after brushing? If you have a candy craving, the magazine Popular Science recommends brushing those fangs. They explain that one of the chemicals in toothpaste, sodium laureth sulfate, temporarily squashes sweet taste bud receptors so candy doesn’t taste so yummy after you’ve brushed.

Treat: Don’t brush before you’ve treated yourself to our Chocolate Cupcake! At just 150 calories, it’s full of luscious, chocolatey goodness that you can feel good about enjoying.

11. Keep giving out candy after Halloween.

diet tricks

Trick: The last but certainly not the least of our diet tricks involves giving. Many organizations have started accepting donations and buying leftover Halloween candy to send to American troops. They put the candy in care packages and send them to troops all over the world. You can even create your own care packages and hand them out to those who are in need.

Treat: You’ve done a good deed. Treat yourself with a Nutrisystem Butterscotch Cake. Drizzled with icing, this slice contains only 140 calories.

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