If your Easter weekend was filled with nonstop friends and family time, indulgent dishes, and a mimosa or two, now's the time to get back on track. Here are five ways you can start the week off fresh.
1. Eat detoxifying foods: It may be tempting to continue to indulgent celebrations, but starting off on a healthy foot is crucial to making sure you don't waste the week as well. Pick a few of these detox recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you spend the day eating fresh foods that help you feel your best.
2. Energize: That cup of coffee may not cut it if you're feeling tired and bloated and underperforming. For a quick pick-me-up without the wired feeling, mix up thiscranberry and apple cider vinegar energy drink.
3. Sweat it out: Feeling exhausted? No, you shouldn't skip that workout — even a few minutes working up a sweat will actually make you feel better and more energized. If you're not into a full hour-long workout, do one of our intense 10-minute Class FitSugar workouts to burn calories and increase your heart rate in just a few minutes.
4. Decompress: If you've had a full, active weekend, you probably need time to decompress and refocus for the week. Take a few minutes at some point today to relax and unwind. It can be as easy as making your commute meditative or taking a hot bath tonight. Read about more ways to de-stress here.
5. Set up for sleep success: A busy weekend of cooking and family time can mean that quality sleep goes by the wayside, so tonight, make sure you settle in for a solid session. Read our tips for getting the best night's sleep and use a few sleep strategies tonight.
These 10 snacks top our "just-don't-do-it" list. Most are packed with sugar, fat, and calories. Check out what you should avoid — and then choose from our smart snack options instead.
The Worst Pick
1. Drake's Apple Fruit Pie
440 calories, 27g fat, 7g sat fat, 8g trans fat
The Bottom Line: Nutritional nightmare
2. Austin Cheese Crackers with Cheddar Cheese
210 calories, 10g fat, 2g sat fat, 4g trans fat
The Bottom Line: A trans fat fest
Other Guilty Pleasures
3. Pop-Tarts Frosted Strawberry
420 calories, 10g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 40g sugar
The Bottom Line: For sharing only
250 calories, 13g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 2g fiber
The Bottom Line: "Nacho" best option
250 calories, 2.5g fat, 2.5g sat fat
The Bottom Line: More calories and fat than Twizzlers
6. Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers (27)
160 calories, 8g fat, 2g sat fat
The Bottom Line: No fiber, no protein
7. Ruffles Original
160 calories, 10g fat, 3g sat fat
The Bottom Line: Nothing but empty calories
8. Cheetos Crunchy
160 calories, 10g fat, 1.5g sat fat
The Bottom Line: Not great, but could be worse
280 calories, 14g fat, 11g sat fat
The Bottom Line: More "bad" fat than a Snickers
10. 3 Musketeers
260 calories, 8g fat, 5g sat fat, 40g sugar
The Bottom Line: Lower fat, but still candy
Nutritional information is for contents of entire package, unless otherwise noted.
These 10 low-fat and fat-free vending machine offerings are the best of the bunch — and some even include nutritious fiber, protein, and healthy fats!
1. Planters Sunflower Kernels (1/4 cup)
160 calories, 14g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 4g fiber
The Bottom Line: Full of healthy fats
2. Baked! Lays Original
210 calories, 3g fat, 0g sat fat, 4g fiber
The Bottom Line: Surprisingly fiber-full
Other Smart Snacks
3. Sun Chips Original
140 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g fiber
The Bottom Line: Made of whole grains
4. Snyder's of Hanover Mini Pretzels (20)
110 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat
The Bottom Line: Naturally fat-free
5. Smartfood Reduced-Fat Popcorn
120 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g fiber
The Bottom Line: Low fat, and has fiber!
6. Peanut M&M's
250 calories, 13g fat, 5g sat fat, 2g fiber
The Bottom Line: Just don't go nuts
7. Fig Newtons
190 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 2g fiber
The Bottom Line: It's fruit!
8. Nature Valley Granola Bar, Oats & Honey
180 calories, 6g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 2g fiber
The Bottom Line: Beats hunger
9. Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts (39)
160 calories, 13g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 6g protein
The Bottom Line: High in protein
10. Quaker Chewy Low-Fat Granola Bar, Chocolate Chunk
110 calories, 2g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 1g fiber
The Bottom Line: Guilt-free chocolate
Nutritional information is for contents of entire package, unless otherwise noted.
It’s becoming clear that millennials are responsible for much of the turbulence in the snack industry, particularly in the area of savory, healthy snacks.
This young generation, spanning the ages of 18 to 34, is currently coming into its own in purchasing power and surpassing baby boomers in numbers. While they are the most highly educated of any generation, they are also deeper in debt than any other. However, while low-paying jobs and high debt may be keeping millennials from traditional life steps such as getting married, buying homes and having children, they are ready to spend the money they do have on food.
Because Millennials grew up in a time of increased concern over obesity they have driven their generation to have a preoccupation for healthy foods, particularly in snacks, and has led to brands such as Skinny Pop and Kind seeing explosive growth. Promising a low-calorie but satisfying snack, Skinny Pop saw a 1,900% increase in sales from 2011-14, according to Euromonitor. The R.-T.-E popcorn category as a whole saw 10% sales growth from 2008-14 while the microwave popcorn category suffered declines. After partnering with Starbucks, Kind was able to get its product in front of consumers. With recognizable ingredients that consumers could see as well as a commitment to social responsibility, the brand ropes in millennials who have no qualms about voting with their dollars based on these values.
Millennials’ diversity also has influenced their snacking tastes. Being the most ethnically diverse generation and growing up in an increasingly global society, these young people are looking for interesting flavor combinations. No longer are they satisfied with simple pepper, these shoppers look for jalapeño, chipotle, habanero. In an effort to reinvent themselves, savory snacks also are looking toward sweet flavors for limited-time-only products, such as Cinnamon Sugar Pringles.
Trends revolve around healthy eating, home cooking, gourmet ingredients, innovative flavor combinations, on-the-go eating and snacking as meal replacement. It’s in these trends that the snack industry can — and has — found continued growth in the past few years.
The obsession with healthy eating also has influenced this generation to learn to cook at home more, a trend many believe offers a great opportunity for snack producers. While home cooking is on the rise, it has been reported that 72% of home cooks want to improve in their cooking skills and three-fourths of them want more recipes.
In this new food landscape, reinventing snacks and the way consumers view and consume them is where continued growth will come from, whether it’s through portability, nutrition or interesting flavors.
Eating healthy isn’t always easy, but committing to a healthy diet can be one of the smartest decisions you ever make. Why? Not only can eating well make you look and feel better, it can also save you money on future health costs.
But even if you intend to “eat healthy,” knowing exactly what that means can be challenging. “Following a healthy diet includes choosing plenty of lean meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, whole grain and dairy products,” says Debra Nessel, a registered dietitian with Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California.
Eating well also means leaving out or only rarely consuming foods that are high in added sugar, saturated fat and sodium. That includes most fast food, full-calorie sodas, processed snacks like chips and crackers, and anything with more milligrams of sodium than there are calories in a serving.
If you need some help getting motivated, here are the top reasons to sneak a few more nutrient-packed foods into your diet.
1. Increase productivity
Like a car, your brain needs quality fuel to run efficiently. When it comes to your job, working more efficiently can help you earn more, since high achievers are usually first in line for promotions and raises. Nessel says her clients frequently experience increased focus shortly after improving their diets.
How much can eating healthy help? One 2012 study published by Population Health Management found that eating an unhealthy diet puts you at a 66% increased risk of productivity loss. Another study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that an unhealthy diet represented the highest risk for low productivity out of 19 possible risk factors, including lack of exercise, chronic pain and financial instability.
2. Save money on life insurance
Health insurance premiums can no longer be based on health factors, since everyone is required to have health coverage. However, life insurance is elective, and those premiums are indeedpartially based on how healthy you are.
If you’re shopping for life insurance, you could be required to hand over your medical records or be subjected to a health exam so the life insurance company can assess how healthy you are. You could face double the life insurance cost in premiums or be denied for coverage altogether if you’re obese. Simply switching to a healthier diet and dropping a few pounds before you apply for a policy could significantly lower your costs.
3. Enhance mood
What you eat has an impact on your brain, including the parts that regulate mood. Although there’s no single food that acts as a proven antidepressant, maintaining stable blood sugar through regular, proper nutrition will help you feel better overall on most days. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits, whole grains and vegetables, have been associated with an overall lower risk of depression, as have foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as nuts, salmon and other fatty fish.
True happiness isn’t just about the absence of depression; it also includes general well-being. “I frequently hear clients rave about their increased energy, more stable moods, better sleep, decreased joint pain” and greater ability to focus their thoughts after switching to a healthier eating pattern, Nessel says.
Eating healthy can reduce stress too. When your body is in a chronic state of stress, it breaks down protein to prepare for battle, but certain foods have the ability to moderate the body’s level of cortisol, the stress hormone. Some studies have found that consuming foods with omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium may help reduce cortisol levels. Eating a protein-rich diet, including fish and dairy, can help replenish protein stores and keep cortisol levels low.
4. Regulate weight
Most people know this one, but it still deserves a place on this list since more than half of Americans are overweight or obese, andobesity contributes to nearly 1 in 5 American deaths. Even if it’s only by 5-10%, reducing your body weight can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.
Simple healthy choices such as replacing soda with water, choosing veggies instead of chips, and ordering a side salad in place of fries not only will help you lose weight, it also can help you save money. The average obese person spends $2,741 more on health care per year than a normal-weight counterpart, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Health Economics that looked at data from 2000-2005.
5. Be healthier
Not everybody who is thin is healthy, and not everyone who is overweight is unhealthy, but eating right can improve health for even thin people who are junk food junkies. You can think of junk food as anything that’s high in calories and low in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. This includes potato chips, greasy foods like french fries, and soda.
If you miss out on too much of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs, you could put yourself at risk for early death. A 2014 study published in the British Medical Journal found that eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day was associated with lower risk of dying from any health-related cause.
6. Live longer
The same diseases that make you feel bad and cost a lot of money may also lower your life expectancy. A diet of fruit and vegetables, in combination with exercise, was associated with extended life expectancy for women in their 70s, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Other studies have shown similar associations between a long life and calorie restriction or consumption of a Mediterranean diet, which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fats from fish and olive oil. No matter how you cut it, a healthy diet can play an important role in how long you’ll live.
Tips for eating healthy
If switching to a healthy diet were easy, everyone would do it. So what should you do if you’re having a hard time choosing the right foods and sticking to a healthful eating pattern?
“Small changes over time result in big payoffs,” Nessel says. That means setting small, attainable goals each day that will translate into long-term results. Here are some of her tips: