I have to admit that I am a foodie and comfort foods are high on my favorites list. Extra crispy fried chicken, pizza, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, I could gain weight just thinking about them. If I knew I wouldn’t put on ten pounds, I would probably cook them every week.
If you’re like me, you want to be healthy in menopause, but you don’t want to miss out on your old favorite foods. The trick is to learn to cook the same foods with a healthy twist, and you can maintain your shape and still be satisfied.
Here are five healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods:
My family had meatloaf every week growing up, and I always looked forward to a big slice drowned in catsup.
The traditional meatloaf recipes are usually made with ground beef or pork, and that is an awful lot of fat and sodium. Lighten things up by substituting ground turkey and you’ll lose half the fat but none of the taste.
Who can resist an extra crispy piece or two of fried chicken? I have to admit our family often made the short drive to KFC and bought a barrel of chicken and a few sides.
Try this tasty recipe that browns on the stove, then finishes in the oven. Flour and cornmeal make the chicken crunchy so you won’t feel deprived. Each piece is only 2.5 grams of saturated fat.
Lasagna is easy to put together and my version starts with uncooked noodles. Unfortunately, the other layers of ground beef, sour cream and cottage cheese pack a big fat wallop. I never forgot to add a pretty good-sized package of mozzarella cheese to make the final fat count go sky-high.
A lighter version of lasagna features store-bought pesto, and whole-wheat lasagna noodles. Skim milk mozzarella and ricotta cheeses give you that tasty cheese bite, but not all the fat and calories.
Of course you have to have dessert, at least according to my mom, who served dessert every night. Brownies are one of my favorites, and the more chocolate the better. I guess I have to be a killjoy and say that most brownies have too much sugar, fat, and calories. I am still waiting for new research that says brownies will prolong your life.
I found an unusual brownie recipe that calls for spinach, black beans, and applesauce. There is still an abundance of chocolate and even some pecans to give them some crunch.
Give these recipes a try and see if they fit into your healthy lifestyle.
You have to love menopause. One year I have an aching back, then an aching neck, and now I have a pair of aching knees. Welcome to the world of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is often referred to as degenerative joint disease, and affects approximately 27 million people, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
I have always been an active walker and usually logged 10,000 steps a day on a regular basis. I use a Cho-Pat strap to hold my patella in place, but that’s not working as well now. So I am looking into combining the walking with something like biking or shadow boxing.
I found an interesting article that details how eating the right foods may also help knee pain and I would always rather eat delicious food than down a multitude of pills. Here are five helpful tips to deal with osteoarthritis:
Lose Extra Pounds
A recent study was conducted with people who were overweight or obese and suffered from knee osteoarthritis. For each pound lost, there was a four-pound reduction in knee joint stress.
It would be nice if you could eat chocolate cake with a gooey frosting to help you lose weight. Unfortunately, it’s sticking to the basics of less food and more exercise. Eat smaller portions, limit sugary treats, and drink water instead of soda or juice.
Replace Fats with Olive Oil
There is a compound in olive oil called oleocanthal that may help prevent inflammation.
Olive oil can usually be used in recipes that call for butter or vegetable oil, or as a delicious addition to spaghetti sauce. Do as the Italians do and use it as a dip for crusty French bread.
Eat More Fish
It’s always nice when you’re trying to eat healthier, to eat something that actually tastes good. Tuna and salmon are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help lubricate stiff joints in the morning, so it’s easier for you to start your day. Other fish that are rich in Omega-3 acids are herring, mackerel, and sardines.
Boost Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C helps build healthy collagen and connective tissue. Strawberries, oranges, and grapefruit are all good sources of Vitamin C. On the vegetable side, broccoli, cabbage, and kale can be cooked alone, added to a stir-fry, or tossed in a salad.
Ask you doctor if you need to take a Vitamin C supplement.
There comes a point in every life where you may need to make a change. Change is not always easy, and some people just give up and go back to their own comfortable life, where there are no risks.
When you feel stuck in life, you may think you did something wrong, you’re not trying hard enough, or success is beyond your reach.
It may be hard to believe, but feeling stuck is actually a good thing. You’re getting closer to your goals. Here are five signs that you’re about to experience a breakthrough:
You’re Fed Up
You’re tired of being broke, or carrying those 20 extra pounds. Your job sucks and you’re tired of annoying co-workers and a boss that’s a jerk. Does this sound familiar? Circumstances are different for each person, but you know when you’ve reached the breaking point.
Nothing is Working
What you’re doing is no longer enjoyable, and you’re not making any progress. Your venture is not profitable and your energy is non-existent. Things you have tried in the past are no longer working.
Things Become Critical
If you’re facing bankruptcy, and living under the bridge becomes a real possibility, change becomes critical. You may be facing health challenges that require time off, or that force you to seek out a new career.
You Learn From Successful People
One thing that has worked for me when I’ve felt stuck, is to find others’ in my chosen field, and see what they’re doing. Follow others blogs, books, and magazines. Google your goal, and you’ll find lots of success stories from those you admire.
A Door Opens
This can be the most interesting part of the journey because you never know when or how you’ll receive that golden nugget of wisdom that helps you get your life back on track. You may read a book, talk to a friend or get inspiration from a coaching session. Oddly enough, I get most of my inspirational ideas in the shower.
Dinnertime has its challenges. You want your family to eat healthy, but at the end of a long day, you don’t feel like standing over a hot stove all night, so fast food is often a convenient option.
What if you could have a pre-set menu for each day and not have to make a last-minute run to the grocery store? Best of all, what if these foods were family favorites, and even the picky eaters in your house would clean their plates.
Using an online menu planner makes all the difference, and you’ll be able to put a nutritious meal on the table in no time. Here are five benefits:
Keeps Your Recipes in One Place
If you’re like me, you probably have your favorite recipes in different cookbooks, filed in a recipe box, or saved online. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that keeps your recipes all in one place. Using a simple bookmark tool, you can also drag and drop any online recipes you want to try.
Choose Recipes for Specific Dates
Your recipes will be on the left side of your screen and a calendar will be on the right. Choose which recipes you wish to use and drag it to the date and meal that you want to serve it. You can plan weekly menus or if you want to be more organized, plan for the whole month.
Use An Automated Grocery List
How many times have you shopped and forgot the most important ingredients you came for? It’s not fun to have to make another mad dash to the store. When you decide to make a recipe from your online planner, an automated grocery list is generated, so you can quickly pick out your items and head for the checkout line.
Waste Less Food
It’s easy to buy too much food and end up throwing it away. Now, you can stick to your automated grocery list, and if you end up with leftovers, you can schedule them for another day.
Cook in Batches
If you’re like me, you have a busy schedule. However, if you can carve out some extra time, maybe on a weekend, cooking meals ahead and freezing will allow you get dinner on the table in record time. Use stackable plastic jars or plastic freezer bags that keep out moisture and oxygen.On the day you plan to serve, all you have to do is defrost, add a salad or bread, and dinner is ready.
Online menu planners may offer a 30-day trial so you can use it and see if it works for you.
I‘ve always been interested in good health, but when I took a bone density test, I was given a diagnosis of osteopenia. Osteopenia occurs when your bones are weaker than normal, but not to the point of having osteoporosis, when bones are more likely to fracture.
A woman in menopause has enough problems with hot flashes, depression, weight gain, and dry skin without having bone health added to the mix.
Here are four changes you can make for better bone health:
Eat Calcium-Rich Foods
Foods that are rich in calcium usually include some of your favorite foods. In the main dish department, cook dried beans such as pinto, navy, or kidney beans. Dairy products such as low-fat or non-fat milk can be used in cooking or poured over your morning breakfast cereal. I have developed a taste for Greek yogurt, which is also a good source of calcium.
Take Calcium Supplements
It is hard to eat enough calcium-rich foods for optimum bone health, especially if you’re watching your calories. Your doctor may recommend taking a calcium supplement. For a woman in menopause who might not be producing as much stomach acid, calcium citrate may be more easily absorbed.
Increase Vitamin D Levels
One of the best sources of Vitamin D is sunlight. Now, with all the emphasis on making sure you apply sunscreen every 20 minutes when you’re outside, you don’t get those beneficial rays that could increase your Vitamin D.
A Vitamin D3 supplement promotes calcium absorption and bone mineralization. Your doctor will advise which dosage requirement will work best for you. I take 1000 IUs a day, but if your levels are lower, you may need to take more until your bone density increases.
Any exercise is beneficial but when you’re working on better bone health, you need to do some strength training. When I first heard about strength training for women, I had a picture in my mind of standing in the gym lifting weights. You can lift weights, but not everyone can pony up the big bucks for a gym membership, and there are exercises you can do at home that are just as beneficial.
Start out slowly, and if you have physical limitations such as joint replacement, bad knees, or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor first.
Since I have been following these tips, my last bone density test showed my bone mass had increased.
Remember Fred Mertz on “I Love Lucy?” He couldn’t find his glasses and he would search and search, and finally found them right on top of his head. It’s amusing to watch that kind of thing on TV, but when it crops up in your own life it is not that amusing.
I find myself going into a room and forgetting why I came, leaving my glasses on the restaurant table, and walking out of the store with a full basket minus the most important item I came for.
What causes these memory lapses in menopause? The most likely culprit is declining levels of estrogen, because it affects our attention, mood, memory, and other brain processes.
Here are three off-beat tips you can use to improve memory loss:
I used to chew the Bazooka gum when I was a kid, and of course I like to get a gumball out of those high-priced machines at the mall, but I never thought it could improve memory loss. Psychologists in the UK report that people who chewed gum throughout a series of short- and long-memory tests, scored nearly 25% higher others taking the test.
How is this possible? There is no clear explanation, but some researchers think that there is increased activity in the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for memory and attention.
Write Instead of Type
This is a hard one for me because I have to wear splints when I type, and writing aggravates my arthritis symptoms. If you don’t have physical problems with your hands or fingers, writing with a pen or pencil is better.
In a study conducted by UCLA researchers, laptop users took more notes than hand writers, but the hand writers had a stronger memory of what they were learning.
Move Eyes From Side to Side
This is exciting because it is so easy to do and takes little time. Participants in a research study were asked to move their eyes from side to side for 30 seconds. When performing recall tasks later in the day, they performed an average of 10% better.
You may be wondering how moving your eyes could help your memory. While there is still a need for more studies, researchers think that the eye movements link the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Memory loss is a complex subject, and more research is definitely needed. Try these three tips and see how they work for you.
I don’t own a scale because I tend to weigh myself several times a day, so I rely on a tape measure to help keep me on track. It’s been frustrating because even though I have been as good as gold on my diet, my waist, thighs, and calf measurements are always the same.
Of course, I have never claimed to be perfect, and I have had some slips here and there, but I thought I was balancing it all out. When I slipped off my diet one day, I was extra diligent the next, but apparently that didn’t work as well as I thought.
As I analyzed my food intake, I realized that making some small changes could make a big difference. Here are five small changes to jumpstart your weight loss:
Suck on Sugar-Free Candy
Hormonal changes in menopause and certain medications can make your mouth feel dry as the desert. Hard candy keeps your mouth moist, but each piece is 20 calories, and that can quickly add up. Sugar-free-candy has less calories, and you’ll be reducing your sugar intake, which is always a good thing.
Top Oatmeal With Grapes
A bowl of oatmeal keeps you full until lunch time and is a good source of fiber. One popular topping is raisins, but a quarter cup contains 123 calories. A good nutritional swap is to top oatmeal with eight grapes, which only sets you back 27 calories.
Eat Sandwiches Open-Faced
Who doesn’t love a delicious sandwich at lunchtime? Delicious deli meats and cheese, tuna or chicken salad, or in my case, the good old standby peanut butter and jelly. You’ll save 100 calories by ditching the top slice of bread, and you won’t have to sacrifice flavor.
Skip Chips with Your Burrito
Mexican restaurants bring out that yummy bowl of chips the minute you sit down, and it’s a temptation to dive in until the bowl is empty. You’ll save at least 100 calories if you skip the chips, and you can concentrate on that delicious burrito.
Drink Water Instead of Coke
I know the commercial says “things go better with Coke,” but even the new skinnier cans have almost 100 calories. I used to be a Diet Coke fanatic and it was a hard addiction to beat, but now I have water with every meal and it’s so much more refreshing. I’m sure if I tasted a Diet Coke now, it would just taste like colored chemicals.