• Skinny Girl Lunch Ideas

    For many, lunch surpasses breakfast as the most important meal of the day. Lunch is a chance for the body and brain to refuel and get ready for whatever the remainder of the day has to bring. A midday meal should fill you up without being too heavy, and it should include just the right balance of nutrients to ward off the 2 p.m. slump --- sometimes easier said than done. Quick, simple, low-calorie meals will keep you energized and keep your healthy eating habits on track.

    Get Raw

    "Incorporating a few uncooked meals each week is a good start that may bring immediate changes including feeling more vibrant and energetic," said Sarah Cahill, a Florida-based raw-foods chef. That energy, Cahill explains, protects against the dreaded afternoon lull.

    But you don't have to go extreme to eat raw, Cahill says. Lettuce wraps make an easy and filling uncooked lunch. Combine a variety of raw vegetables --- think sliced red bell peppers and cucumbers, diced zucchini, finely

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  • Avoid the Weight Gain Trap

    The never-ending fight against weight gain sometimes seems like a lost battle. One minute you're devastating the competition -- eating healthy and fighting off junk-food cravings. The next, you're back on the ropes, muttering to yourself, "I can't believe I ate that whole thing." For some, it's emotions and circumstances that can wreak havoc on a diet, whether it's a breakup, stress or pure boredom. For others, it's a never-ending cycle of new diets that promise results too good to be true and abs that look airbrushed.

    No matter what trap you find yourself in, there's always a way out.

    The Trap: Emotional Eating

    If the words "emotional eating" bring to mind an image of a disheveled Bridget Jones toting a pint of Ben & Jerry's, think again. Emotional eating is not just inhaling spatula-fuls of Cherry Garcia between post-breakup sobs. In reality, 95 percent of eating is emotional, says Beth Castle, an emotional eating expert in Alberta, Canada. And when emotions

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  • Dieting Blues

    If you are among the 68 percent of overweight Americans, dieting may seem like your gateway to happiness. The media touts headlines about the population's perpetual weight gain and associated risks. Perhaps your doctor gives you knowing looks or a heart-to-heart each time you step on the scale. And don't forget the billboards, movies and magazines that praise the latest diet techniques particular A-list celebrities credit for their slender thighs or washboard abs.

    "Yes," you may think to yourself, "if I just shed the pounds, health, happiness and all of my dreams will be achieved."

    But not only are most diets ineffective, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, they often cause anxiety, chronic depressive moods, increased stress and low self-esteem.

    Lose Weight, Gain Depression?

    In a study published in "Psychosomatic Medicine" in 2010, 121 females consumed a restricted-calorie diet or nonrestrictive diet for three weeks. Researchers found that

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  • When Good Foods Go Bad

    It's a popular proverb: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what happens when, instead of that one apple, you eat 3 lbs. of the fruit? Can there be too much of a good thing?

    Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian in St. Petersburg, Florida, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, thinks so. She says that everything, even the nutritious foods, should be eaten in moderation.

    "More of anything is not always the answer," Krieger said. "Not picking on apples, it could be anything. It could be pears."

    While some foods are healthy for you, "more" does not always mean "better." Eating too much of even healthy foods can cause trouble.

    An Embarrassment of Riches

    Apples, rich in vitamins, also contain fiber. But consuming too much dietary fiber can adversely affect your health, says Lona Sandon, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

    The American Dietetic

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  • What Do the Dietary Pros Eat?

    he root word, "diet," in the term dietetics has acquired a four-letter-word connotation in the United States, and the term "nutritionist" can raise notions of dietary perfection, restriction or bionic willpower. But dietetics, or the science of nutrition, seldom relates to going "on a diet."

    While fad diets come and go, rarely leaving health or happiness in their wake according to the National Eating Disorders Association, a balanced lifestyle based on healthy foods seems golden.

    Sound easier said than done? Take notes from five dietary professionals who say otherwise.

    While many paths lead to wellness, the featured experts share a passion for wellness and an intense appreciation for food.

    Healthy Play

    Registered dietitian Robyn Goldberg became aware of her cholesterol levels during childhood.

    "Everyone in my family has high cholesterol and/or heart disease hereditarily," she said. "My father would always talk to me about how weight is not the issue -- cholesterol

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  • Giving Bloat the Boot

    I ignored the first warning sign. It happens to everyone, I thought. Your body just changes as it gets older. I slid the dress back down below my hips, the unclosable zipper hanging open like a gaping wound.

    The second warning was harder to ignore. During my yearly check-up, the nurse put me on a scale. I blinked twice when I saw the result. I was 32 years old, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 137 pounds and in the worst shape of my life.

    My doctor gave me a lecture. Ten more pounds, she said, and I would be classified as overweight according to the Body Mass Index scale. Your BMI, she explained, is a statistical comparison of your height and weight to those of the general public; it classifies you as normal, overweight or obese. My number, 23.5, was at the high end of "normal" and she ordered me to do something about it.

    When I got home, I took a hard look at myself in the mirror. Who was this tired woman with rolls around her midsection and thighs that bore the seam

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  • PMS SOS! Can Diet Help?

    You know those days -- when you feel more like Eeyore than Tigger, when your abdomen feels like a gargantuan balloon that you wish would just drift away. Premenstrual syndrome is not an illness, but a natural condition characterized by at least one of 150 potential symptoms in most menstruating women, according to "Women's Health" magazine.

    For the majority of women who face PMS, symptoms are tolerable but bothersome. Bothersome enough, in fact, that a web search of the phrase "PMS and diet" results in more than 5 billion websites, many touting natural remedies, dos and don'ts, and supposedly sure-fire ways to completely conquer your symptoms. While "completely conquering" your symptoms through dietary changes may not always be possible, certain foods and dietary habits can help minimize your symptoms, which is always a welcome prospect.

    Not Quite Magic

    If particular foods or supplements could cure PMS, they'd likely become best-sellers, dietary staples among the

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  • 5 Foods that Keep You Thin

    It's true: Apples can help you stay thin. (Thinkstock)It's true: Apples can help you stay thin. (Thinkstock)Take a look around any book store, and you'll find dozens of diet books lining the shelves. Despite their bright and cheerful covers, with their positive, upbeat claims, many of them are filled with information that promotes all the wrong messages.

    "The word 'diet' is negative and implies people can go on and off them," said Jane Korsberg, a senior instructor in the department of nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

    Korsberg is one nutritionist who thinks it would be better to re-think the whole concept of dieting.

    "'Diet foods' are confusing to many people," she explained. "What diet is the 'diet food' geared for? Is it low-calorie, low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar, gluten-free, et cetera?"

    Besides, many of the foods that specifically target dieters seem to rarely satisfy. Take those 100-calorie snack packs, for example, made to help people control calories. Those often don't even work, Korsberg says. After all, few people actually stop at only one pack.


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  • A Runner's Guide to Eating

    A tall, cold glass of chocolate milk, the drink many associate with fond childhood memories, is perhaps one of the healthiest to have after a vigorous run. For runners -- or anyone who engages in regular workouts -- knowing what to consume and when to consume it is essential to get the most out of any physical activity.

    The carbohydrate-protein mix found in chocolate milk is the ideal combination that nutritionists tout for runners to enjoy after running. The chocolate provides the carbs; the milk provides the protein. And, yes, the sugar in chocolate is good for a runner's body, notes Jason Karp, a San Diego-based running coach, exercise physiologist and author. Despite a recent backlash against carbohydrates, mostly due to fad diets, they remain a vital nutrient in a healthy diet, especially for those hitting the pavement on a regular basis.

    "All carbohydrates are important because that's what you use to fuel the muscles," Karp said. "There's really no such thing as

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  • How to Not Be Intimidated in the Gym

    For some, the hardest part of working out is not the cardio, the leg presses or even the spinning classes -- it's walking into the gym.

    People may think health clubs are filled with incredible hulks and smiling supermodels, surrounded by mysterious, sinister-looking weights and machines. In other words, the gym can be intimidating.

    But don't let it stop you. Five fitness experts offer surefire suggestions on how to better understand and enjoy the gym and make it a welcome part of your fitness program.

    Where to Start?

    The atmosphere of the gym can contribute to intimidation.

    "The open spaces can be intimidating, the cardio machines may feel too close together and, of course, the aggressive salespeople can send anyone packing," says Cindy Whitmarsh, a San Diego-based fitness and nutrition expert.

    Jackie Warner, celebrity trainer and Beverly Hills gym owner, adds that a lack of familiarity with the equipment and "gym etiquette" can scare many people

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