Thursday, December 20, 2012

Steps for a Perfectly Healthy Lunchbox:

1. Start with a PROTEIN . Make sure your selection provides at least eight grams of high quality protein -- protein can help stabilize your child's blood sugar level and keep them feeling fuller for longer periods of time. The following are some popular kid-friendly ideas:
* Turkey roll ups
* Cheese pinwheels ( low-fat sliced cheese rolled in whole wheat tortillas)
* Part skim string cheese
* Low-fat or non-fat yogurt with a small bag of whole grain cereal
* Soy nuggets
* Vegetable bean or chicken noodle soup in a thermos
* Turkey              
* Peanut butter and jelly sandwich(use low-sugar jam and whole wheat bread)
* Grilled chicken and vegetable wrap
* Pasta salad with vegetables and shredded chicken (tossed in light Italian dressing)
* Scoop of chicken salad made with low-fat mayo plus whole grain crackers or mini rice cakes
* Turkey or bean chili in a thermos

2. Always include PRODUCE. When it comes to veggies, anything goes! The most popular kid-friendly raw varieties include baby carrots, celery, pepper sticks (especially red), cherry tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers. Favorite cooked veggies include sugar snap peas, string beans, broccoli, and corn on the cob. For fruit, toss in easy-to-pack, hand-held selections such as apples, bananas, peaches, plums, clementines, or grapes that are naturally low in fat and chock-full of nutrients and fiber.

3. Avoid CALORIC BEVERAGES. Don't let your kids drink their calories -- instead, save them for food. Pack appealing bottles of plain old water... Consider freezing their bottles the night before, so that they are still cold and refreshing by lunchtime.

4. Don't forget the FUN FOOD. If your child craves a sweet or salty treat -- throw one in. As long as snacks are portion appropriate and no more than 150 calories, anything can work (really). In fact, provide a variety of options and let your child select his or her daily fun food. Of course, shop for brands that avoid trans fat and high fructose corn syrup when you can. Try low-fat granola bars, 100-calorie packs, baked chips, soy crisps, 2 cookies, 4 Hershey Kisses, a Rice Krispie Treat, container of low-fat pudding, or even a fun-size chocolate bar.

5. Be CREATIVE. Put a smile on your child's face with a note from mom or dad, a temporary tattoo, or a fun riddle to figure out.

Fruits and vegetables

All fruits and vegetables—raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, canned—belong on the Picture Perfect Anytime List. Avoid any packaged fruits that have added sugar. Otherwise, the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the better.
Soups
You've heard of value for your money. Soups give you very good value for the calories. They are filling; a bowl of soup can be an entire meal. They are satisfying.
Cereals
# Kellogg's All-Bran with Extra Fiber: 50 calories and 15 g fiber per 1/2 cup
# Fiber One: 60 calories and 14 g fiber per 1/2 cup
# Wheaties: 110 calories and 2 g fiber per cup
Spreads
# Peanut butter
# Low-sugar or sugar-free jams and jellies with 10 to 40 calories per tablespoon
Breads
# Light breads with 40 to 45 calories per slice: oatmeal, premium white, wheat, rye, multigrain, sourdough, Italian
# Whole grain regular breads or rolls
Rice and Pasta
# Whole wheat/whole grain pastas
# Brown rice
# whole grain cornmeal, kasha, bulgur, millet.
Frozen Meals
# Low-calorie frozen breakfast foods such as those from Kellogg's, Aunt Jemima, and Pillsbury—and a special mention for the low-calorie, whole grain offerings from Van's
# Low-calorie, vegetable-focused frozen meals in the 150- to 350-calories-per-package range, especially the Amy's brand
Beans
# All beans, dried or canned
# Low-fat or fat-free refried beans
Snacks
# Make it a point to eat starchy, crunchy snacks only in conjunction with a food from the Anytime List. For example, have fruit with popcorn or soup with crackers. Fill up on the former, and go easy on the starchy snack.
Protein Foods
# Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas
# Soy products: bean curd/tofu.
# Seafood: fresh (do not fry!), smoked, canned, frozen

What is Omega -3 Fatty Acids ?

It's already been established that omega-3 fatty acids are important nutrients for a healthy body, but they can also promote healthy hair. The addition of omega 3 can prevent hair loss and help hair grow faster.
Fat
1. Fat isn't all bad, and omega-3 fatty acids come under the good fat category. Nutritionist Samantha Heller from NYU Medical Center believes good fats like omega 3 can help promote "healthy hair."
Anti-Inflammatory
2. Omega-3 fatty acids have properties that act as an anti-inflammatory. This can open up the hair follicles, allowing them to grow.
Omega 3 in Foods
3. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish (fatty fish like salmon and mackerel have the most), oatmeal and oils like canola, safflower and flaxseed. It is also in oatmeal and walnuts.
Supplements
4. If you don't think you are getting enough omega 3 in your diet, nutritional supplements are available containing omega-3 fatty acids.
Precaution
5. Consult with a physician before taking omega 3 fatty acids. It can be dangerous if the dose is exceeded or when mixed with certain medications (like anti-inflammatories) as it acts as a blood thinner.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What is Whole-Grain ?

What is Whole-Grain?
A whole grain contains all edible parts of the grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Health Benefit:
Eating more whole grains is an easy way to add a layer of "health insurance" to your life. Whole grains are packed with nutrients including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium).
Whole grains can be an excellent source of fiber. But not all whole grains are good sources of fiber. Whole wheat contains among the highest amount of fiber of the whole grains. Brown rice contains the least.
A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Whole-grain diets also improve bowel health by helping to maintain regular bowel movements and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.
List of Whole-Grains:
* Whole-grain corn
* Whole oats/oatmeal
* Popcorn
* Brown rice
* Whole rye
* Whole-grain barley
* Wild rice
* Buckwheat
* Bulgur (cracked wheat)
* Millet
* Quinoa
* Sorghum
* 100% whole wheat flour
Ways to consume it:
Breakfast: For a quick and easy breakfast, pour milk over a bowl of ready-to-eat whole-grain cereal- an unsweetened, low-fat variety.
Lunch: It's time to throw out that loaf of white bread, along with your sandwich bread that looks brown, but doesn't say "100% whole wheat" or "whole grain" on the package. Bread is often brown because coloring has been added, not because it's made from whole grains, and "wheat bread" is not the same as "whole wheat bread," so read the package carefully.
Snack: Whole rye crackers with plain or flavored cream cheese make a delicious and healthy snack.
Low-fat microwave popcorn is a good option too.
Dinner: If you're planning on preparing the old standby - spaghetti - for dinner tonight, replace your refined white noodles with those made from whole wheat.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hongkong Trip


The pilot’s voice to fasten our seat belts in order to get ready for landing within few minutes woke me up. After quickly doing the needed I glanced out of my window and the beauteous view amazed every bit of my senses. The Hong Kong city is a perfect example of modern architecture with towering skyscrapers and magnificent infrastructure along with natural harmony of land and sea which seemed to embrace each other passionately and mutually. An unbeatable surprise came when the aircraft landed and I saw the sea only a few meters away from the runway. I experienced joy for the picturesque beauty of the sea underlined by a trifle bit of fear of the sea’s anger as tide or maybe the Tsunami!
But the fear was short lived as the aircraft soon moved away from the sea towards the
Chek Lap Kok Airport Building . Welcome to the Hong Kong Airport Island.
Hong Kong is an impressive and vibrant city located on China's south coast, 60 km  east of Macau. It is surrounded by the South China Sea on the east, south, and west, and made up of a combination of 262 islands.The largest one being the Lantau Island followed by the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
The best place to stay in Hong Kong is where I stayed!  Tsim Sha Tsui, a busy hotel and shopping district. Centrally located and a stone throw away from all predominant places of tourist interest.
Transportation is easy in HK with umpteen choices. The MTR (underground Metro Rail System) is fast, frequent, efficient, economic and clean. Other options include the taxi, Bus, Ferries, Tram which cover and connect all parts of the island well. The Best way to explore the City deeply is of course on Foot!
Modern culture, tall buildings, clean roads and warm, friendly people are the city’s main characteristics. The climate is pleasant even in May with the Maximum day temperature ranging between 23-30 degree Celsius.
It is safe to move around at any time in Hong Kong because it is a very safe city where East meets West and which lives 24 hours a day. At night the beauty of the city is doubled. It can rightly be called the city of Lights and there are many activities to do in there. For a memorable night out Lang Kwai Fong is the place boasting many bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants .Thus a popular choice for the well-off locals, expats and tourists alike.
For shopping freaks The Stanly Market is undoubtedly the shopper’s paradise for the purchase of authentic souvenirs and gift items like silk, garments, leather hand bags, sportswear, Chinese artwork and accessories for family and friends back home. 
All these are available at a bargained and affordable price. The richie-rich can buy exceptional and exotic Chinese art and souvenirs at Hollywood Road or gem stones like Jade at the Jade Market where there are more than 400 stalls selling various types of Jade, a precious stone in Chinese culture in the form of rings, bracelets, pendants and other ornaments.
A wise decision I made was to use a map to avoid confusion and loose time in striding the same street more than once because when you are in a city for a limited number of days you cannot afford to loose time! The more you save time the more you get to see!
It is best to opt for a half day city tour of the HK island to visit the important destinations like
The Man Mo temple. Built in 1847 dedicated to the Man (literature) and Mo (martial arts) God.
  1. The Peak. An unsurpassable location, looking down I was astonished to see the spectacular view of the surrounding city skyline, famous Victoria Harbour, towering skyscrapers and lush, peaceful green hillsides. I was bewildered at the splendid harmony of nature and technology….both hand-in-hand.
  2. Madame Tussards. The only permanent one of its kind in Asia. Jack Chan and Bruce Lee are favourites here.
  3. The Peak Tram. Getting to the peak is another ravishing and enthralling experience. The Tram climbs up a steep 373 meters  pulled by steel cables.
  4. Aberdeen Fishing Village. I think this is the most unique dwelling village in the whole world with the poor locals, mostly fishermen live in the sea inside their old junk boats since owing a land in expensive HK is not everyone’s cuppa. In there is located the Jumbo Floating Restaurant where a traditional Dim Sum Lunch can be relished.
  5. Avenue of Stars. The city tour is close to end with a ride through the Avenue of Stars that features plaques for honoured movie celebrities on the walk of fame, milestones, and sculptures about HK film industry.
  6. Symphony of Lights. Awarded ‘Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show’ by Guinness World Records, this show takes place at 8pm daily. It creates an all-round vision of coloured lights, laser beams and searchlights performing a stunning, unforgettable spectacle synchronized to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong. It will leave you spell-bound.
There are other alluring places HK where an entire day will keep you on your toes like The Ocean Park, a marine themed amusement park is a journey into the oceanic life in the form of numerous rides, dolphin and whale shows. There is a 4-story aquarium, a home for over 2000 fishes of various colour and species.
My visit to HK would have been incomplete without spending an entire day at Disneyland where I re-lived my childhood by interacting and greeting  those cartoon characters I have admired and valued all through my growing years. The characters I saw are Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Tarzan, Lion King and mischievous alien Stitch.I experienced a calm sail through the fairytale stories featuring Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Pooh.
 To conclude, it would not be wrong to say that HK holds a promise to give the most enchanting and captivating moments of your life.