Low Calorie Cocktails- I’ll Cheers to That!

What’s better than a refreshing cocktail in the hot summer sun? One that won’t wreak havoc on your waistline! Summer is a time for social gatherings, vacation, and relaxation- and let’s be honest, often that means enjoying a cocktail (or two)! Alcohol and weight loss plans often don’t mix all that well; the calories in alcohol can add up fast! Furthermore, alcohol can stimulate your appetite and cloud your judgment; so not only will you feel hungrier, you may also be more likely to choose a less healthy option than you normally would. But remember, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is dependent on a lifestyle change- not a short term diet. Cutting out alcohol forever isn’t realistic for most- and that’s okay! Enjoy in moderation and follow these simple tips:

– Smarter options include light beer, wine, or alcohol with low calorie mixers such as soda water, seltzer, lime juice, lemon juice, coconut water or light juice.
– Modify cocktails by asking for less simple syrup or replacing juice with soda water and just a splash of juice.
– Enjoy your beverage in the middle or towards the end of a meal instead of before a meal; alcohol can stimulate appetite and cause you to overeat.
– Frozen drinks often are made with high calorie mixes that contain LOTS of added sugar. Skip them! Make your own version with frozen fruit for all of the sweetness and none of the guilt.

So remember, alcohol can be a part of your healthy lifestyle as long as it is enjoyed in moderation and you make smart choices. Below are links to low cal cocktail recipes to try! And make sure to check out my book Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies for even more recipes like the refreshing Blueberry and Mint Spritzer.


Low-Cal Summer Drinks

Healthy Cocktails

Skinny Cocktails

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It’s that time of year again! Sun’s out, spatula’s out, and fire up that grill! For those trying to lose weight or just focusing on a healthier lifestyle, a backyard BBQ might seem like a diet disaster. Hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, soda,- it’s true that these food items can wreak havoc on the waistline, but who invited them to the party anyway?? With some healthy swaps and nutritious additions to the menu, your next barbeque will leave you and your guests feeling (and looking) good!

Sandwich Clipart

One thing barbeques are known for is the array of delicious munchies usually provided before the grill is even fired up. With high calorie, high fat appetizers like chips and dip, you may find yourself finishing a meal’s worth of calories before dinner even reaches your plate.
Make it healthier: Keep the appetizers simple. Serve a tray of pre-cut veggies with low fat dressing or hummus for dip. Toss together a big green salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar. Thread veggies, fruit, and one or two pieces of cheese on a skewer to make healthy kebobs. Can’t give up the chips and dip? Choose whole grain chips or pretzels and serve with fresh salsa, which is much lower in calories and fat than a creamy dip.

The Main Course:
Good news! Grilling is one of the healthiest cooking methods there is! Hamburgers and hotdogs have long been staples of the backyard barbeque- but it might be time to make room on the grill for some smarter choices.
Make it healthier: Fish and poultry are excellent sources of lean protein that taste wonderful on the grill. (Bonus: most seafood contains heart healthy omega-3s!) Salmon, tuna, shrimp, and white meat chicken are all great options.
Still pining after a burger? Try a veggie burger! Veggie burgers are gaining popularity for being low in calorie but bursting with flavor. If you choose to have meat, choose ground beef or turkey that is at least 90% lean; pork tenderloin is another lean option as well.

The Sides:
Creamy dressings, extra butter, and oversized portions are often the high calorie culprits when it comes to side dishes.
Make it healthier: Go for lighter options, such as a quinoa salad or grilled veggies. Lightly brush corn on the cob with olive oil and grill for five minutes to get delicious flavor without the need for butter. Cut sweet potatoes into wedges, brush with olive oil, season, and grill for yummy sweet potato fries. For a healthier pasta salad, try whole wheat pasta, add lots of veggies, and use light Italian dressing. Get creative with the side dishes; it is usually possible to make a much lighter version of your favorite dish with just a couple substitutions!

The Dessert
Treats are fine in moderation, but if you know you’re going to be hosting or attending a bunch of gatherings, sugary desserts can add up fast and slow your progress.
Make it healthier: You might already know where I am going with this one… fruit salad! Summer means many delicious fruits are in season, and there is nothing prettier or more refreshing than a bowl of colorful, fresh fruit! For a little extra indulgence, dip a few pieces in dark chocolate or provide light cool whip for topping. This isn’t to say you can never have a cookie or brownie, just remember to indulge in moderation and choose a healthier option more often.

Get active!
Barbeques are a great time to gather friends and family and get active together! Toss around a football, put on some music for dancing, or take a walk together after dinner. Encourage kids to play outside, whether it is a game of tag, swimming in the pool, or going on a bike ride. Make screen time off limits during the festivities.

Barbeques are a great way to gather with friends and family and enjoy the warm weather. And with so many great options for the menu, there is no need to compromise your healthy lifestyle! If you are attending a barbeque and have less control over what’s served, contribute a dish to the event so you know there will be something healthy for you to have. Remember, a healthy lifestyle is all about balance and smart choices. Happy grilling!

*Here are some great grilling recipes to get you started. Be sure to follow me on pinterest for links to more recipes!

What’s your favorite dish at a barbeque? Do you have any go-to recipes?

Visit me at www.erinpalinski.com to sign up for my FREE nutrition newsletter. Follow me on twitter @DietExpertNJ for all of my latest nutrition and fitness tips and like me on Facebook!

Difficulty Losing Weight? Your Personality May be to Blame!


When it comes to weight loss, a lifestyle change that is customized to you and your dietary habits is the key to success. Just as we all have different personalities, we also each have a unique weight loss personality. This is why a ‘one size fits all’ approach to weight loss just doesn’t work. Tailoring a plan to your lifestyle is necessary for both weight loss, and most importantly- weight maintenance following weight loss. Let’s discuss different weight loss personalities and identify strategies for each one to promote long term weight loss success.

The Personality: ‘Perfectionist’
Do you find yourself always trying to do everything right, all of the time? Are you hard on yourself when things do not go exactly as planned? If so, you likely have a ‘perfectionist’ personality. When it comes to eating, it is nearly impossible be perfect 100% of the time. Life is going to throw curveballs that require a bit of leniency in your diet; and while you may not be able to make the perfect food choice every single time, you can still lose weight and maintain a perfectly healthy lifestyle! Often with this personality we see over restriction and emphasis on ‘forbidden’ foods. Even one diet ‘slip up’ can cause feelings of failure or hopelessness and lead to a cycle of overeating followed by over restriction.

The Strategy: Stop the cycle! Work on learning to forgive yourself when you do have a diet ‘slip up’, and try incorporating a small weekly indulgence to your diet. Adding flexibility to your diet will not hinder your health or your weight loss efforts, and you will likely feel more relaxed and at peace with your new lifestyle changes.

The Personality: Impulsive
Do you get halfway through the bag of Doritos before you even realize you grabbed them from the kitchen? Do you take seconds at dinner just because the leftovers were sitting there? These are habits seen often with ‘impulsive’ personalities. Changing your lifestyle usually requires a bit of planning and thoughtfulness, especially in the beginning while getting used to new foods and eating habits. Those with impulsive personalities are more likely make a poor dietary choice in the moment and less likely to consider the feelings of guilt that usually follow. Impulsive eating often leads to poor dietary decisions, disregard of hunger cues, and overeating.

The Strategy: Get rid of temptation! Think about the food temptations you give into throughout the day and find a way to eliminate these temptations altogether. Stock your fridge and cabinets with healthy snacks and avoid buying sugary and salty treats. Contribute a healthy dish at the next BBQ so you know there will be something nutritious there for you to eat. Keep dinner leftovers on the kitchen counter or somewhere they will be out of reach. Making your food choices more planned and deliberate throughout the day will help you stay on track!

The Personality: Night Owl
Do you find yourself staying awake late into the night even when you don’t need to? The ‘night owl’ personality is a common one, and it can have a substantial impact on your weight loss efforts. Studies have shown that people who stay up later often engage in night time snacking and consume significantly more calories than those who hit the sack earlier. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to clouded judgment when choosing foods the following day, and can also mess with your hunger and satiety hormones.

The Strategy: Commit to a bedtime! Choose a bedtime that is realistic for your lifestyle, preferably early enough to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and commit to it. To promote a more restful sleep, turn off electronics 30 minutes to an hour before getting into bed. Try practicing nighttime yoga or meditation to relax your mind and body. It will take consistency and patience while your body adjusts to the new sleep schedule, but I bet you will find the new rested you makes healthier choices throughout the day!

The Personality: All or Nothing
Have you started a nutrition or exercise program, strayed a bit off course, and then abandoned the program all together? This ‘all or nothing’ personality can sabotage weight loss efforts; any deviation from the plan will lead to feelings of failure and subsequent giving up. This personality often relies on a very structured plan for weight loss success. While structure can be helpful while losing weight, flexibility is essential for long term weight loss and weight maintenance.

The Strategy: Add flexibility! When you begin your weight loss journey, follow a structured plan while you are getting used to the changes. After a couple weeks, allow yourself to stray a bit from the plan. This may mean experimenting with one or two different meals a week, adding in a night at your favorite restaurant or enjoying a small treat at the Sunday barbeque. Adding flexibility to your plan will allow for continued weight loss while preventing diet burn out that can occur from too much structure.

The Personality: Short Attention Span
Have you ever given up on trying to lose weight after feeling bored with eating the same foods over and over again? Structure is important for weight loss, but that doesn’t mean the foods you eat have to lack variety! Someone with the ‘short attention span’ personality may find they get into a rut of eating the same foods every day that is not only boring, but is also unsustainable. Eating should be an enjoyable experience, and the greater variety of healthy foods you have in your diet, the more likely you are to feel satisfied and find success on your journey to weight loss.

The Strategy: Mix it up! There is no way to get around the fact that structure and planning are necessary components for weight loss. To add variety but keep structure, plan out a week of meals, Sunday-Saturday. Make sure these meals differ from day to day. Now, you have seven days of different meals that will help you stay on track without becoming bored. You can repeat these meals each week, or find new healthy recipes online or in a cookbook to swap with. Getting creative in the kitchen is a great way to stave off boredom while discovering new nutritious snacks and meals.

No matter what your weight loss personality is, the important thing to remember is that the changes you are making are lifestyle changes; they have to be sustainable if you hope to reach long term success. Once you identify your weight loss personality, work with the strategies that are tailored to you and your lifestyle (a registered dietitian can help you do this!).

Which personality do you identify with? Do you have a different weight loss personality that was not mentioned?

Visit me at www.erinpalinski.com to sign up for my FREE nutrition newsletter. Follow me on twitter @DietExpertNJ for all of my latest nutrition and fitness tips and like me on Facebook!

Nutrition Label Getting a Makeover?

The FDA has proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Label that would put a greater emphasis on calories, added sugars, and nutrients such as Vitamin D and Potassium, while also reporting more realistic serving sizes. Unfortunately, obesity rates in America continue to rise, as does the incidence of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It is no secret that nutrition plays a huge role in the prevention and treatment of these diseases, and thus it is more important than ever to start paying attention to what’s on our plate!

So, what are the proposed changes? (click here to view the old vs new label)

    Greater emphasis would be placed on on calories.

o   Calories would be enlarged and bold at the top of the nutrition label. When trying to maintain or lose weight, paying attention to total calories is important to ensure that you are not exceeding your goals.

    ‘Added Sugars’ will be included.

o   Many foods, such as fruits, contain naturally occurring sugars. An added sugar refers to the sugar that was added during the production process. Foods high in added sugar include soda, sweetened yogurt, sports drinks, and candy. Over consumption of these foods has been linked to obesity.

    Calories from fat would no longer be included.

o   Research has shown that the type of fat is more important than the amount of fat. Total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat will continue to be listed. Limiting intake of saturated and trans fat is important for heart health.

    Serving sizes would be updated.

o   Serving sizes on the current label rarely reflect what people actually eat, as portion sizes have increased dramatically over the years. This may lead the consumer to underestimate how many calories he or she is actually eating during one sitting.

    Amounts of potassium and Vitamin D would be required.

o   Vitamin D is important for bone health, while potassium can lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension. Evidence suggests these nutrients can be very beneficial in the prevention of chronic disease


 The grocery store can be an overwhelming place, and reading a nutrition label is not as simple as it seems. It is quite common to feel unsure of what to look for when reviewing a nutrition label, and some people admit to skipping the label all together. The proposed new nutrition label is designed in a way that is meant to be more consumer friendly so that shoppers can make informed decisions about what goes into their shopping cart


The evidence is undeniable that eating nutritious foods can protect against many health complications and chronic diseases. The proposed nutrition label has many positive changes that would make it easier for shoppers to choose more healthful options, and it is encouraging to see the link between nutrition and disease being recognized. Whether the new nutrition label will be passed or not remains to be seen, but it is important to remember to always read your labels and stay savvy about what you put into your body!

Burn Off That Turkey! 5 Ways to Blast Belly Fat This Holiday Season!

Join me on Monday November 26th at 7:00PM EST for a LIVE interactive discussion.

I have teamed up with Shindig Events to host a live, interactive book talk and discussion to reveal the best ways to beat belly fat over the holidays!

The average person gains 5-7 pounds during the holiday season- don’t let that be you! I will be sharing tips and tricks from my new book, Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, to help you effectively burn belly fat and actually lose weight before the New Year! Participants will also be able to ask their burning belly-fat questions via video chat during this live, interactive event!


RSVP at http://www.shindig.com/event/turkey

Live Chat Beings at 7:00PM EST



An Apple A Day Can Help You Live Longer?

The fall is here and you know what that means- it’s apple season! We’ve long known how an apple a day can help keep the doctor away, and now there is scientific proof.

A recent study published in ACS’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry indicates apples can actually extend your lifespan by as much as 10%! So why are they so healthy for us?
Apples are loaded with antioxidants that help protect the body against damage by free radicals- these are toxins that can damage the body’s cells such as cigarette smoke, pollutants, and even poor food choices. Out of all foods, apples also contain some of the highest levels of procyanidins, a flavonoids shown to improve vascular health. The highest amount of this flavonoid was found in the Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples.

They also contain a high level of quercetin, which is an anti-inflammatory substance that has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. When our body is inflamed, it is easier for plaque to build in our arteries and cause a blockage. By reducing this inflammation, this may help to prevent plaque buildup and in turn prevent heart disease. Quercetin has also been shown to help prevent fat cells from expanding, especially around the waistline, which may help prevent accumulation of visceral fat, the most dangerous form of fat!

So not only do they taste great, but apples may protect your heart, shrink your waistline, and help you live a longer and healthier life! So dig in!

Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy apples:

*Dark Chocolate Covered Apple Slices- Dip apples in 60% cocoa or higher dark chocolate, chill, and enjoy: Apples contain a high level of quercetin, which is an anti-inflammatory substance that has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate contains catechins, which can help decrease the risk of hardening arteries. When eaten together, these two substances can help to reduce the stickiness of blood platelets, which can provide another protective benefit to your heart.

*Peanut Butter Apple Crunch – Take thinly sliced apples, cover in natural peanut butter, and roll in oat flakes

*Cinnamon Apple Oats- puree fresh apples into an applesauce consistency, mix into warm steel cut oats, and top w/ cinnamon

If you are looking to revamp your diet, lose weight, or get in shape- you’re in luck! I now offer online and phone nutrition coaching, E-nutrition Mail packages, Mini Meal Makeovers, and Custom Meal Planning. Contact me today for more information or schedule your session online: http://www.erinpalinski.com/counseling.html

Copyright ErinPalinski.com 2012. All Rights Reserved.

For more information, check out my website, America’s Belly Fat Fighter, at www.erinpalinski.com

Follow me on twitter @DietExpertNJ

Always Hungry?

 Are you always hungry? Do you have a hard time controlling your portions or pulling yourself away from the snack cabinet?

Well good news! You can get your hunger under control- which in turn helps promote weight loss!

Your appetite is regulated by chemicals within your body that send signals to your brain. As food enters your stomach, a hormone is released that signals your brain to let it know your stomach is full. Once this occurs, your appetite then gradually decreases. This process takes about 20 minutes, so if you eat too fast, your brain may not know you are full until you have overeaten. Focusing on eating meals slowly will give your body the time it needs to feel satisfied and therefore, lead to a decrease in appetite after a meal.

Exercise is also a great way to decrease your appetite. Research has shown that your appetite is actually lowered for several hours after activity. Planning to exercise an hour or two before a large meal may help to curb your appetite and consume less food.

Here are a few more tips to help control your appetite:

–          Eat on schedule. Don’t allow yourself to go too long without a meal or snack. If you let your body get too hungry, you will most likely end up overeating. Eating regularly throughout the day also helps to keep your metabolism increased to help burn calories and maintain your weight.

–          Drink plenty of water! Drinking 8 glasses of water everyday not only helps your body function correctly, but also helps keep your stomach feeling “full.”

–          Include some healthy fats everyday. Fat is digested in our stomachs slower than other nutrients, such as carbohydrates. This means that it will stay in the stomach for a longer period of time, leading to a lasting sensation of fullness and a decreased appetite.

If you are looking to revamp your diet, lose weight, or get in shape- you’re in luck! I now offer online and phone nutrition coaching, E-nutrition Mail packages, Mini Meal Makeovers, and Custom Meal Planning. Contact me today for more information or schedule your session online: http://www.erinpalinski.com/counseling.html

Copyright ErinPalinski.com 2012. All Rights Reserved.

For more information, check out my website, America’s Belly Fat Fighter, at www.erinpalinski.com

Follow me on twitter @DietExpertNJ

Just Because It’s Healthy Doesn’t Mean More is Better!

We’ve all heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And while that may be true, eating 10 apples a day may have you lining up at your doctor’s door. Now, you may not be eating 10 apples a day, but this metaphor holds true for many assumedly healthy foods. For instance, take nuts. I have lots of clients that tell me they are eating nuts throughout the day for good health. And that’s great! Nuts are loaded with heart healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, and fiber. But did you know 1 cup of nuts contains almost 900 calories! If your snacking in excessive amounts, you may be packing on the pounds, which instead of helping your heart can be increasing your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Just like with anything in life, moderation is key. Healthy foods are great and even “less-than-healthy” foods can have a place in your diet occasionally, but it all comes down to how much you eat of them and how often you eat them. Having a handful of candy won’t hurt you if you have it once a week, but having multiple handfuls each day sure can. The bottom line is to be healthy and maintain a desirable body weight; you have to focus on your portions. To help with that, here are a few tips:

– Use smaller plates, such as salad plates over dinner plates to help your plate look “full” with smaller quantities of food
– Have a small meal or snack every few hours to prevent you from becoming too hungry and overeating
– Use your hand to guide you: a palm full of pasta is a serving whereas the tip of your thumb is a serving of oil or butter
– The only food group you truly can eat in almost unlimited amounts is non-starchy vegetables (vegetables other than corn, beans/legumes, peas, winter squash, and potatoes). So fill your plate with veggies to help you keep your other portions in check.

What healthy foods do you overeat at times? Can you think of some ways to adjust that?

If you are looking to revamp your diet, lose weight, or get in shape- you’re in luck! I now offer online and phone nutrition coaching, E-nutrition Mail packages, Mini Meal Makeovers, and Custom Meal Planning. Contact me today for more information or schedule your session online: http://www.erinpalinski.com/counseling.html

Copyright ErinPalinski.com 2012. All Rights Reserved.

For more information, check out my website, America’s Belly Fat Fighter, at www.erinpalinski.com

Follow me on twitter @DietExpertNJ

5 Simple Nutrition Changes to Improve Your Health & Shrink Your Waistline!

It’s National Nutrition Month! Let’s celebrate by 5 simple and easy changes you can make EVERYDAY to improve your health, energy levels, and overall well-being. And best of all, these simple habits can also help you lose weight and keep it off for good!

5 Simple Nutrition Changes to Start Making

Watch What You’re Drinking
A flavored coffee in the morning, an iced tea at lunch, a sports drink when you work out, and maybe a soda at night. All seems innocent enough, right? Wrong! These drinks can be loaded with hidden sugar and calories. And worst of all, research has shown us that you just don’t feel full from them. You’ll eat just as much the rest of the day, with or without these fluid calories. And since each of these drinks can pack in anywhere from 50-300 calories per serving, it can really add up!
In addition, consuming simple sugars on a regular basis can increase insulin resistance (a precursor to type 2 diabetes) along with increasing inflammation- a condition that research has indicated may be responsible for everything from heart disease to obesity and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Instead, drink water, unsweetened ice tea, coffee with just a splash of milk, and- if you want a sweeter drink- try my favorite trick: Freeze 100& fruit juice in an ice cube tray. Then, add one fruit-cube to a glass of water. It will provide you with a hint of natural sweetness without all the added sugar and calories.

Implement One Plant Based Day per Week
Ever hear of Meatless Mondays? It’s a movement to encourage having at least one day per week where you follow a vegetarian based lifestyle. Why? Research has shown that eating a plant based diet helps reduce body fat, decreases cardiovascular disease risk, and increases your intake of disease fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.

But you have to do it right- sure eating candy and pasta all day is “meatless,” but that kinda defeats the point  Try plant based proteins such as beans and lentils or even edamame. Snack on fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Aim to make every food you put in your mouth rich in nutrients. And who knows, maybe you can even aim for two meatless days a week!

Eat Breakfast
If you want to make a huge impact on fighting fat, you have to start first thing in the morning. Breakfast is truly the most essential meal of the day, but to many people it’s an afterthought. If you are serious about losing weight for good, then you have to get started as soon as you wake up. Eating breakfast is essential for two reasons- it boosts metabolism and it helps you make better food choices throughout the day.
Breakfast also helps balance your blood sugar throughout the day- keeping cravings and hunger at bay. And, whether you are headed off to work or school, eating breakfast keeps you mentally sharp too. So eat up! What’s your favorite breakfast?

Eat at least one more fruit and one more vegetable per day
I find most of my clients, and even myself some days; do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Why? There are tons of reasons- food preferences, convenience, availability, and the list goes on and on. Although we should be eating 5-7 servings per day, many of us are just not doing this. Instead of focusing on this amount, feeling overwhelmed, and just giving up- try this. First, think about how many vegetables and fruits you typically eat daily. Is it one of each? Now, for this week, try to eat one extra vegetable and one extra fruit daily. After you do that successfully, aim for an extra fruit and vegetable everyday next week, until you are eating 5-7 total servings each day.
Remember, fruits and vegetables can do everything from decreasing inflammation, reducing heart disease risk, fighting cancer, and promoting weight loss. So, as you can see, there are MANY reasons to eat more daily!

Get Seedy
Have you heard of chia seeds, psyillum seeds, and flax seeds? If not, you should! Chia seed and flax seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats that fight inflammation, reduce the risk of heart disease, and even may improve cognitive function. Psyllium seeds are loaded in soluble fiber, helping to reduce cholesterol levels and promote heart health. Start adding in 1-2 Tbs of seeds per day. Toss them in a salad, blend them in a smoothie, or even add them into a recipe, such as flax seed muffins. Your heart and brain will thank you!

What other healthy changes can you start making during National Nutrition Month?

If you are looking to revamp your diet, lose weight, or get in shape- you’re in luck! I now offer online and phone nutrition coaching, E-nutrition Mail packages, Mini Meal Makeovers, and Custom Meal Planning. Contact me today for more information or schedule your session online: http://www.erinpalinski.com/counseling.html

Copyright ErinPalinski.com 2012. All Rights Reserved.

For more information, check out Erin’s website, America’s Belly Fat Fighter, at www.erinpalinski.com

Celebrate the Last Few Days of American Heart Month – Lower Your Cholesterol!

American Heart Month is coming to a close, but don’t let that be an excuse to forget about eating for your heart! Diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol. Here are five foods that can lower your cholesterol and protect your heart.

1. Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol.

2. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids
Eating fatty fish can be heart-healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. Doctors recommend eating at least two servings of fish a week. The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in such fish as salmon, sardines, albacore tuna and halibut, to name a few. Be sure bake or grill the fish to avoid adding unhealthy fats.

3. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts

Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. According to the FDA, eating about a handful a day of most nuts may reduce your risk of heart disease. Just make sure the nuts you eat aren’t salted or coated with sugar.

4. Olive oil

Olive oil contains mix of antioxidants that can lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol but leave your “good” (HDL) cholesterol untouched. The FDA recommends using about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day in place of other fats in your diet to get its heart-healthy benefits.

5. Foods with added plant sterols or stanols

Foods are now available that have been fortified with sterols or stanols — substances found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol.

Margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks with added plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent. The amount of daily plant sterols needed for results is at least 2 grams — which equals about two 8-ounce servings of plant sterol-fortified orange juice a day.

What are your favorite ways to include these foods daily?

For more information visit erinpalinski.com

Copyright 2012. ErinPalinski.com. All Rights Reserved.