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The Missing Link in Your Worksite Wellness Program

June 6, 2018

How helping employees develop healthy eating habits is crucial for your bottom line

In recent decades America has fallen victim to the ‘save now, pay later’ mentality. Cheap, fast food that wreaks havoc on our bodies and leads to sky-high healthcare costs is a prime example—costs spared on one’s grocery bill will surely end up on one’s medical bills. Full-time workers who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health problems cost employers more than $153 billion in lost productivity each year. At the individual level, an unhealthy employee could cost up to twice as much as a healthy employee.

When it comes to your bottom line, business owners have no choice but to pay attention. Employers and CEOs are moving beyond the aforementioned short-sighted mentality and demonstrating their belief in the phrase ‘a business is only as good as its people’ by investing in their employees’ health through workplace wellness initiatives. Some corporate wellness programs see $3-$4 return on every $1 invested.

But what makes for an effective corporate wellness program? All good intentions are out the window if a program isn’t properly implemented or doesn’t target crucial health metrics.

  1. Ease of implementation. Most businesses don’t have the time, resources, or employee motivation to maximize the benefits of intensive programming. A custom, turnkey, targeted wellness tool that takes the work of developing and managing a complex platform off the plates of HR Directors and Benefits Managers is crucial.
  2. Nutrition-focused. Most ‘wellness’ solutions that come across your desk don’t address the core problem—better employee health begins with better food choices each day. Exercise is a key piece of the puzzle, but we are what we eat, and good health and weight ultimately begins and ends with what’s on our plates.
  3. Fun, engaging, and judgement-free. Discussing diet with employees is often considered to be taboo, so how can a company broach the topic of healthy eating successfully? Involving everyone in a unified goal and taking the focus away from weight loss creates a positive, universal and level playing field upon which the entire team can actively engage in developing healthy eating habits to improve their health—regardless of one’s starting point.

A unique solution has been developed using these very principles alongside the latest in behavioral medicine and nutrition—Foodstand’s Team Challenges empower people to make healthy habits an everyday behavior, and build the ‘rules for good eating’ joyfully into daily life. The healthy eating behavior-change platform is mobile-first and allows entire teams to work together to pursue progress over perfection using easy tracking. With an up to 95% completion rate, Foodstand’s bite-sized Challenges are sustainable long term to enable lasting change, helping to keep your company healthy 365 days per year.

Foodstand’s detailed weekly reports reveal trends, behaviors, outcomes, retention and more—saving you time and headache, while providing your company with full transparency. Nutrition education, guidance and inspiration for your staff allows them to focus on the eating habits that will improve key metrics—generating measurable health improvement and cutting your costs. Workshops, intra-office competition and personalized reporting foster team building, mutual support and interaction—the social accountability a program needs for sustained engagement and company morale.

Pave a new path in comprehensive employee wellness by enabling a healthy, achievable, sustainable lifestyle for your employees that’s no-hassle for you. This ‘save now, save later’ endeavor is helping to develop and revolutionize an industry, and keep money in your own pocket. The health of your employees and your business are worth the investment.

Click here to learn more about bringing Foodstand’s Team Challenges to your business.

 

Features

Five Healthy Eating Tips for Workplace Productivity

June 6, 2018

A company’s most valuable asset is its employees, and employee health is the top indicator of employee productivity. Yet more than a third of adults are obese, putting them at a higher risk for heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, and significantly compromising their output. Full-time workers who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health problems cost employers more than $153 billion in lost productivity each year, and without the benefit of scale, small businesses are especially affected by unhealthy employees.

Thankfully, good health is 80% what we put on our plates and into our bodies, and improving employee health through healthy eating habits can noticeably improve workplace productivity and maximum output. Here are five rules to help you get started!

  1. Hydrate better
    Keep a water bottle handy at all times. Buy reusable ones, slap on your company stickers—whatever it takes to make it your third arm. Often a well-loved bottle is all it takes to stay hydrated, but if some extra inspiration is required, try tossing in chopped fruit or herbs. Some tasty combinations are: watermelon and mint (or cucumber), lemon and basil, orange and mango, and lime and ginger. Why choose tap or sparkling water over soda or energy drinks? Water doesn’t contain any added sugar which can kill productivity when the dreaded “sugar crash” strikes. The crash in-turn triggers cravings for more sweet stuff, cascading into a death spiral of lost productivity. Soda has double the amount of sugar that one should consume in an entire day, quickly converts into fat, can lead to feeling sluggish, cause cavities (who can afford to lose [wo]man power to a day at the dentist?!), and can increase one’s risk of chronic disease—all costly to a business.
  2. Embrace afternoon tea
    Coffee is delicious, but too much is dehydrating and causes the jitters, which impacts productivity (and with back-to-back coffee meetings throughout the day, the cups add up!). Swap coffee for green tea after 12pm—it has much less caffeine, which means an energy boost without the shakes. Green tea also has L-theanine, which is beneficial for improving performance on cognitively demanding tasks—clearly a boon for business!
  3. Fiber, protein, and healthy fat at each meal
    It’s easy to grab a muffin in the morning or scrounge together a couple of granola bars or fast food for lunch. But well-balanced meals that include fiber, protein and healthy fats will not only boost energy, they’ll also curb those pesky afternoon cravings that lead to one unintentionally eating an entire bag of Fun Size Twix at one’s desk. Opt for a breakfast that doesn’t contain added sugar, such as plain yogurt with berries and a tablespoon of nut butter. And choose a nutritious lunch (or pack a lunch to save some time) such as an avocado, egg and tomato sandwich on whole grain bread; or a grain bowl with brown rice, roasted veggies, and a small piece of chicken or fish. Whatever one is craving, including at least one fruit and/or vegetable in every meal is crucial to maintaining energy and staying satisfied. These meals may take a few extra minutes to prepare before coming to work, but that time will be recuperated in added productivity.
  4. Eat tech-free
    Sometimes it’s impossible to peel oneself away from the phone or computer. But eating tech-free will provide the mental break needed to stay fresh throughout the day. It will also improve digestion, and enjoyment of one’s meal, leading to fewer cravings during that afternoon slump. Put the phone (and smartwatch) in a drawer, catch up on some reading, or eat with another human being! Taking a few minutes to oneself while eating can work wonders for efficiency throughout the day.
  5. Choose whole-food snacks
    Snacking is inevitable, but most office snacks (cue the never ending candy jar) do more harm than good. They are often packed with sugar and calories, and seriously lack nutrients, driving employees to eat more and feel unsatisfied. Swap out chips, sugary cereal, and candy for whole food snacks like fresh fruit, dried (unsweetened) fruit such as mango or pear, raw nuts, raw veggies with hummus, and plain yogurt. Keep the crunch or sweetness, but with the whole-food benefits of fiber and nutrients needed to keep everyone satiated and energized.

Ready to incorporate fundamental healthy eating habits like these into your company? Foodstand’s Healthy Eating Challenges for Teams is the custom corporate wellness program that will help you improve employee wellness without putting more on your plate. Foodstand’s platform is fun, easy and achievable—for both employees and HR Directors and Benefits Managers alike—helping your team make healthy habits an everyday behavior, and build the ‘rules for good eating’ joyfully into daily life. Foodstand allows entire teams to work together to pursue progress over perfection using easy tracking, and with an up to 95% completion rate, Foodstand’s bite-sized Challenges are sustainable long term to enable lasting change, helping to keep your company healthy and productive 365 days per year.

Click here to learn more about bringing Foodstand’s Team Challenges to your business.

 

Features

The Science of Building Healthy Habits

May 23, 2018

4 behavior-change strategies to build a healthy team.

A poor diet is the leading contributor to death in the United States—higher than cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol combined. While we know that eating healthfully is important, our system has been built by corporations that profit from selling cheap food that’s packed with junk. Good food isn’t the easier choice because our food environment doesn’t support health.

Without a healthy system in place, many employers are trying to improve employee health through worksite wellness initiatives. However, existing solutions have some critical flaws. First, they tend to overemphasize the role of exercise when it comes to chronic disease, obesity and overall productivity. The studies show that good health is only 20% activity-based—the other 80% is all about healthy eating. Second, the worksite wellness initiatives that do target diet focus on counting calories instead of well-rounded healthy eating habits. Additionally, existing solutions are often hard to implement and time consuming for HR Directors and Benefits Coordinators.

The science behind effective behavior-change strategies are clear, and are crucial when it it comes to building employee health and wellness.

  • Baby steps—the tortoise wins. Setting an enormous goal may be tempting, but it’s the small, achievable steps and victories that actually create habits and lasting change.
  • Perfect is the enemy of good. Habits aren’t made by throwing in the towel and thinking you’ve failed whenever you take a misstep. In fact, knowing that you can indulge from time to time makes a new habit sustainable long term.
  • Social-accountability. Research shows that people are twice as likely to maintain a healthy habit if they do it with someone else. By working as a team, your employees are held accountable for their new habits, resulting in greater success at achieving good health.
  • Positive reinforcement. Punishment breeds guilt, resentment, and has been proven ineffective at changing future behavior. Instead, congratulating employees with small and frequent reinforcements upon making a healthy choice will result in better eating habits over time.

Foodstand is a corporate wellness program designed to help teams build basic healthy eating habits into daily life for lasting change. Its incremental level system with strategic free passes incentivizes your employees with achievable goals, tracking and congratulating their choices to eat the better option, and bringing them together as a team through a unique buddy system. Best yet, Foodstand’s Team Challenges are fun to use, easy to implement at scale, and custom-fit for the unique needs of HR Directors, Benefits Managers, and Wellness Directors—making it more effective.

Brian Lacoviello, PhD and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says, “Foodstand is a powerful tool for anyone seeking to make some changes to their relationship with food and eating. Capitalizing on the science of learning and behavior change, and setting this within a supportive and engaging community setting, Foodstand maximizes the chances of making healthy changes to eating behavior. Foodstand makes it easier to do the right thing when it comes to eating.”

More than a third of adults are obese, putting them at a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Since an unhealthy workforce is a less productive workforce, diet-related disease is too important for employers for employers to ignore. An unhealthy employee can cost employers twice as much as a healthy employee. Using the proven science of habit building combined with the latest nutrition research, you can enable your employees to make small changes every day and create new healthy eating habits—the solution to good health, according to nearly all Registered Dietitians.

 

Click here to learn more about bringing Foodstand’s Team Challenges to your business.

Features

You can’t outrun a bad diet.

May 9, 2018

There has long been a myth that if you exercise enough, you can eat whatever you want without implication. We’ve probably all heard someone say “I better hit the gym tomorrow after eating this burger and milkshake tonight.” However, exercise alone is not sufficient when it comes to general health, performance or weight loss. And not only does exercise burn off only a small fraction of the calories we consume (less than 10-30 percent), the quality of the calories we consume will impact our quality of exercise. For optimal health, you need to combine exercise with a nutrient-rich eating plan.

Exercise is important, but not a stand-alone solution. Let’s be clear that the role of exercise in a healthy lifestyle should not be underestimated. Not only will exercise help you build and maintain both strong muscles and bones, and help with weight loss, it can also help reduce the risk of chronic disease, and boost one’s mood, among many other benefits. The problem arises when we believe that exercise is the be-all and end-all. If one exercises because they think it will fully compensate for a bad diet, they’re in for a rude awakening. It’s much easier to consume calories than to spend them—it could take you an hour on the exercise bike to “burn off” a brownie you consumed in three minutes. You simply can’t outrun a bad diet.

It’s not as simple as calories in calories out. While 300 calories of dessert and 300 calories of salmon do have the same energy potential, the quality of that energy source and the impact it has on your health and performance vary greatly. And because of these varying biological effects, counting all calories equally is not the optimal metric when it comes to good health or performance. Any athlete will tell you that the quality of their food directly impacts the quality of their workout, recovery, and overall health because we derive energy, satisfaction and nutrients differently from different types of food.

Calculating calorie intake and expenditure is a guessing game. Exercise equipment or your smart watch can only provide a best guess since calorie expenditure calculation requires dozens of inputs, which your treadmill and smartphone simply don’t have. Most people overestimate the number of calories they burn, and underestimate the number of calories they consume. Again, calorie counting apps can only provide a best guess for unpackaged foods. (Plus, it’s incredibly time-consuming to record the exact measurement of everything one consumes.) So if weight loss is your goal, your tools might be misleading you. That’s why paying attention to what we put in our bodies matters.

Quality food provides quality nutrition. Eating excess refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and/or trans fats will still increase your risk of chronic disease and general health, even if you exercise. They may also impede your quest for maximum strength and endurance. A diet rich in fiber, protein and unprocessed carbohydrates derived from fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean animal or plant protein foods, and healthy fats is crucial. Keep in mind that your body likely absorbs nutrients from real food sources better than supplements and protein shakes; your body doesn’t utilize a highly-processed “nutrition” bar the same as it does a wholesome, balanced meal.

All of these elements of the relationship between exercise, nutrition and your body are exactly why it has been clinically shown that a combination of regular exercise and good nutrition is the most effective way to reduce the risk of diet-related disease, optimize strength, and maximize weight loss. If you already workout on a regular basis, you’re nailing one part of the equation, but how do you improve your diet once and for all? Keto, paleo, vegan, gluten-free…there are a lot of buzzwords out there about food—but what’s actually healthy, sustainable long-term, and right for you?

First, take an enlightening deep-dive into all of the questions you may have about eating this or that (good fats, bad fats, superfoods, ketosis, organic, probiotics, etc.) with Mark Bittman and David L. Katz in their aptly-named article, The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need To Have About Eating Right. Then visit Foodstand to put your newfound knowledge into practice with one of our Good Eating Challenges focusing on limiting processed food, eating more plants, eating less animal products, and eating more mindfully—the four, universally agreed upon pillars of a healthy eating plan. Your health and your exercise routine will thank you.

Foodstand:

  •    helps you turn basic principles of good eating into everyday habits
  •    is based on the science of behavior change
  •    has frictionless tracking—no calorie-counting required
  •    provides nutrition education
  •    provides daily support
  •    provides social accountability
  •    is straightforward, judgement-free, easy-to-use, and fun
  •    meets you where you are, and helps you accomplish your personal health goals
  •    has a 95% Team Challenge completion rate

Click here to learn more about bringing Foodstand’s Team Challenges to your business.

Note: For a more in-depth look at a qualitative vs. quantitative evaluation of calories, take a look at “How calorie-focused thinking about obesity and related diseases may mislead and harm public health. An alternative” by Sean C Lucan and James Dinicolantonio in Public Health Nutrition.

Features

Worksite Wellness’ Achilles Heel

March 5, 2018

phone screen shots

How helping employees develop healthy eating habits can help your bottom line

In recent decades America has fallen victim to the ‘save now, pay later’ mentality. Cheap, fast food that wreaks havoc on our bodies and leads to sky-high healthcare costs is a prime example—costs spared on your grocery bill will surely end up on your medical bills. Full-time workers who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health problems cost employers more than $153 billion in lost productivity each year. At the individual level, an unhealthy employee could cost up to twice as much as a healthy employee, and business owners have no choice but to pay attention.

Business owners and CEOs are moving beyond the aforementioned short-sighted mentality and demonstrating their belief in the phrase ‘a business is only as good as its people’ by investing in their employees’ health through workplace wellness initiatives. Some corporate wellness programs see $3-$4 return on every $1 invested. But most businesses don’t have the time, resources, or employee motivation to maximize the benefits of intensive wellness programs.

You know that healthier, happier employees are better for your bottom line, but most ‘wellness’ solutions that come across your desk don’t address the core problem—better employee health begins with better food choices each day. Exercise is a key piece of the puzzle, but we are what we eat, and good health and weight ultimately begins and ends with what’s on our plates. Historically, discussing one’s eating habits with employees would be taboo, so how can a company broach the topic of healthy eating successfully?

Two fundamental principles of discussing healthy eating at the office are: 1. Involve everyone instead of singling out individuals and 2. Don’t make it about weight loss. Involving everyone in a unified conversation prevents team member alienation, and focusing on healthy habits instead of weight prevents any passing of judgement—thereby creating a positive, universal, and level playing field upon which the entire team can actively engage in wellness activities and improve their health.

A unique solution has been developed using these very principles alongside the latest in behavioral medicine and nutrition—Foodstand’s Team Challenges empower people to make healthy habits an everyday behavior, and build the ‘rules for good eating’ joyfully into daily life. The healthy eating behavior-change platform is mobile-first and allows entire teams to work together judgment-free, giving HR Directors and Benefits Managers a turnkey tool to deploy effective and targeted wellness without much effort. The platform comes packed with easy tracking (appropriate for all ages), helping people pursue progress over perfection, and enable lasting change. With an up to 95% completion rate, Foodstand’s bite-sized Challenges are sustainable year-round, preventing the inevitable abandonment of January’s well-intentioned resolutions, and helping keep your company healthy 365 days per year.

Introducing Foostand’s Team Challenges as the nutrition component to your worksite wellness program takes the work of developing and managing a complex platform off of your slate. At an honest price point, Foodstand’s platform pays for itself—engaging the entire staff, generating measurable healthy habits, and eventually cutting costs and saving you time and headache—while providing your employees with the nutrition education, guidance, and inspiration they need to become and stay healthy.

Foodstand’s detailed weekly reports reveal trends, behaviors, outcomes, retention and more, offering your team full transparency. This is not a passive program. The goal is to improve impact by providing your company with a custom-fit program—workshops, intra-office competitions, and personalized reporting—to suit your unique needs.

Not only do Foodstand’s Team Challenges enable a healthy, achievable and sustainable lifestyle for your employees, they also foster team building. Employees compete against each other and toward common healthy eating goals in 30 day intervals, promoting mutual support and interaction. Social accountability is key toward achieving and maintaining goals, as well as for good company morale—a win-win for your business.

Pave a new path in comprehensive employee wellness—spanning from exercise to nutrition and everything in between. This ‘save now, save later’ endeavor is helping to develop and revolutionize an industry, and keep money in your own pockets. The health of your employees and your business are worth the investment.

Click here to learn more about bringing Foodstand’s Team Challenges to your business.

Features From the Team

June Healthy Eating Q&A

June 29, 2017

LIVE WITH RACHNA + ANNE

You asked great questions, and we have answers! Rachna and I talk Challenges, cravings, recipes, sugar, and more. If you have a question that you’d like us to answer in our next Q&A, send me (@annefood) a direct message on the Foodstand app, or simply post on app. Happy watching!

Features

The fight for healthy school food can’t afford to take summer vacation.

May 9, 2017

school lunch

Summer break is approaching, but we can’t lose sight of what is happening in our public schools. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently rolled back a handful of crucial school lunch nutrition standards, reminding us that our kids’ health is up for debate over the next four years.

The case for these rollbacks is weak at best, as 99 percent of schools are already compliant with the nutrition standards. Perdue tried to justify the rollbacks by citing complaints about an unpalatable whole grain biscuit, which is like saying we should permit smoking indoors again because some were cold outside. Though the bulk of Obama-era nutrition standards are still in place, this change is an indication of what’s to come.

The rollbacks are particularly perplexing for two reasons. First, research released in March by the American Heart Association highlighted that a deficit of whole grains and an excess of salt are two of the largest contributors to premature cardiovascular death. Yet the rollbacks allow schools to ask for an exemption from the whole grain requirements and delay the sodium mandate. Why would we use tax dollars to fund known cardiovascular disease-promoting foods when this country’s healthcare system is already fraying at the edges?

Second, we know unhealthy diet is a major contributor to the obesity-diabetes epidemic. Physical activity, though important, is significantly outweighed by diet when it comes to fighting obesity. Yet physical activity has been used by big food, big soda, and now Secretary Perdue, as a red herring. His message about exercise promotion mirrors the debunked propaganda big soda promoted in hopes of keeping sugary beverages in the hands of kids.

Perdue positioned the rollbacks as a ‘deregulation’ to offer more freedom and flexibility to schools. However, seeing that most schools don’t have much of a problem with these standards that research continues to validate, it appears Perdue’s actions are merely big food putting its thumb on the scale behind a veil of deregulation—again.

It’s critical we stay vigilant and focus on promoting healthy eating habits, particularly when school meal standards are under attack. Sometimes school lunch is the closest thing to a balanced meal—or any meal for that matter—that some children eat each day. If we want to reverse the ‘diabesity’ epidemic in this country, we need to start with our youngest, and we need to start today. We owe it to them, as the ‘adults in the room,’ to support and promote what we know is best.

Rachna Govani is the CEO of Foodstand, a healthy eating behavior change program. Please reach out to team@thefoodstand.com to bring Foodstand’s Healthy Eating Challenges to your school. Or download the Foodstand mobile app to join a Challenge with friends, family, and colleagues.

Features

World Health Day Challenge: 5K Breakfasts for $5K

April 5, 2017

no sugary breakfast

Join Foodstand and Harney & Sons Fine Teas for the World Health Day Challenge starting Friday April 7th, 2017! Help us reach our goal of avoiding 5,000 sugary breakfasts over the next week, and Harney & Sons will donate $5,000 to Wellness in the Schools.

Simply download the free Foodstand app, follow the on-screen instructions to create a profile, and select the Avoid Sugar at Breakfast Challenge. If you’re already a Foodstander, switch to the No Sugary Breakfast Challenge for a good cause. Tap the Settings icon in the orange My Challenge tab. Select “Change Challenge,” and join the Avoid Sugar at Breakfast Challenge.  Check in daily through Thursday, April 13th and you’ll be entered to win tea prizes from Harney & Sons.

Unhealthy diet is the #1 cause of premature death. Most American breakfasts contains more sugar that one should consume in an entire day—6 teaspoons (about 24 grams) for women and children, and 9 teaspoons (about 36 grams) for men. Even breakfast items marketed as health foods such as fruit yogurt, granola, cereal, energy bars and oatmeal packets are loaded with added sugar, and can set one on a disastrous path of cravings and crashes for the day.

“It’s not just important to eat breakfast; it’s key to aim for a nourishing morning meal without added sugar to get the most nutrient-rich kickstart possible for your body and brain,” explains Foodstander and nutrition expert Jackie Newgent, RD. Check out Foodstand’s blog 10 Better Breakfasts for fast, filling and tasty breakfast swaps to help you with your Challenge.

Foodstand is thrilled to partner with Harney & Sons Fine Teas to help make healthy breakfast the default for all of us. Harney & Sons has been working with schools to increase the health and wellness of students since the beginning, and their teas and herbal infusions make for a delicious breakfast beverage without the added sugar. A better breakfast isn’t just for adults, and Foodstand couldn’t be more proud to work with Wellness in the Schools, the national non-profit that inspires healthy eating as well as environmental awareness and fitness in public schools.

Features Recipes Uncategorized

10 Better Breakfasts: Sugar-Saving Swaps

March 27, 2017

A proper breakfast has the power to fuel your morning, boost your metabolism, enhance concentration, and set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Sadly, standard American breakfasts have been shown to do the exact opposite—excess sugars and refined carbohydrates hide in granola bars, cereal, processed bread, and even fruit yogurt, and are a recipe for mid-morning crashes and dreaded weight gain.

Want to know how you can make breakfast work for you, not against you? Here are 10 healthy twists on breakfast favorites that are sure to satisfy your taste buds AND your health:

Photo courtesy of Food By Mars

Photo courtesy of Food by Mars

  1. Swap sugary-granola for Grain-free Cocoa Granola. Serve it with banana slices and plain yogurt or milk for a protein, fiber, and antioxidant-filled breakfast with all the crunch, and none of the added sugar.

    Photo courtesy of Simply Delicious

    Photo courtesy of Simply Delicious

  2. Swap regular pancakes for Banana Oat Pancakes made with oats and sweetened only with banana. Pancakes are typically packed with sugar, butter, and refined carbohydrates. This alternative is a nutrient-rich rendition of the classic. Skip the maple syrup and you’re good to go.

  3. Swap sugary cereal for Shredded Wheat with milk and sliced banana or berries. If cereal is a must-have, stick to plain, unsweetened, whole grain sources. The first few days may be the toughest, but your taste buds will eventually adapt and you’ll be able to kiss sugary cereals goodbye. And we’re sure you’ll grow to appreciate the taste of fresh fruit as a natural sweetener!

    Photo courtesy of Minimalist Baker

    Photo courtesy of Minimalist Baker

  4. Swap sugary French toast for 5 Ingredient Banana French Toast sweetened only with banana. Similarly to pancakes, french toast can contain a plethora of ingredients with little to zero nutritional value. Try this more nutritious alternative, and remember to use whole grain toast as your base!

    Photo courtesy of Harney & Sons Fine Teas

    Photo courtesy of Harney & Sons Fine Teas

  5. Swap sugary coffee drinks for unsweetened tea. Every breakfast needs a better beverage. And let’s face it, a Frappuccino is actually a milkshake masquerading as coffee—you don’t even want to know how much sugar is in one of those bad boys. Ditch the milkshake for Harney & Sons Fine Teas Black Currant. Its fruity, berry flavor will satisfy any desire for sweetness, no added sugar required.

    Photo courtesy of Anne food.

    Photo courtesy of Anne food.

  6. Swap fruit yogurt for plain yogurt with fresh fruit. One 8 ounce serving of Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt has a staggering 30 grams of added sugar—that’s far more added sugar than one should eat in an entire day! Stick with unsweetened plain or Greek yogurt, and add your own berries or banana for fiber and sweetness without the added sugar.

    Photo courtesy of Paleohacks

    Photo courtesy of Paleohacks

  7. Swap regular waffles for Banana Coconut Flour Waffles. Believe it or not, these waffles are made mostly from eggs and bananas, making them high in protein, fiber, and micronutrients. Top with whole fresh fruit such as strawberries or banana slices and you’ve got yourself a power breakfast.

  8. Swap maple syrup for unsweetened applesauce and plain yogurt on pancakes, french toast and waffles. One tablespoon of maple syrup contains a whopping 12 grams of sugar, and that’s only a fraction of what people consume in one sitting. Although maple syrup is minimally processed, sugar is sugar is sugar, so make the switch to unsweetened applesauce and plain yogurt for a naturally sweet, creamy alternative.

    Photo courtesy of Realfoodology

    Photo courtesy of Realfoodology

  9. Swap brown sugar oatmeal for Banana-Sweetened Oatmeal. Brown sugar may be a classic, but it is time oatmeal shines without the added sugar. Slicing bananas into the pot with your oats and milk leads to an equally sweet treat, no brown sugar needed. Add a spoonful of nut butter or top with toasted almonds or pecans for added protein.

    Photo courtesy of Anne food.

    Photo courtesy of Anne food.

  10. Swap jam on toast for nut butter on toast with a side of fruit. Jams and jellies contain fruit, but they also contain a ton of sugar. Stick with a protein-rich spread such as nut butter that will fuel you throughout the day, and fiber-rich whole fruit. And don’t forget to choose a whole grain bread without any added sugar!

Once you start making simple swaps like these, your taste buds will adapt and your metabolism will follow suit. Remember—stick to whole fruit for sweetness, and choose fiber-rich, whole-grain sources of carbohydrates. And in general, it’s best if you make it yourself. To learn more about building a better breakfast, download Foodstand’s free app, and join the Avoid Sugar at Breakfast Challenge. Then invite a buddy to do the Challenge with you—to hold you accountable, and congratulate you for sticking with it.

Features

Heart-Healthy, One Bite At A Time

March 9, 2017

heart-healthy

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology recently published a review of trending foods and diets recommended for cardiovascular health. Don’t worry, we know that getting dinner on the table is hard enough without having to wade through dietary statistics to figure out what to cook, so here’s the digest.

  • A predominantly plant-based diet filled with fruits and leafy green vegetables is best for cardiovascular health. They have been proven to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, and are the best source of antioxidants (supplements have not consistently demonstrated benefits).
  • The current recommendation is to eat your produce in whole form and avoid juicing, unless you are otherwise unable to consume sufficient fruits and vegetables.
  • Nuts may help control cardiovascular disease risk, but because they are high in calories, they should be eaten in moderation as a substitute for empty calories.
  • For those with a gluten related disorder, a gluten-free diet well-balanced in vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, nuts and other healthy fats may be beneficial. However, for those who do not suffer a gluten related disorder, a gluten-free diet has not been proven to have any benefit.
  • When it comes to fats, liquid vegetable oils decrease cardiovascular disease risk (particularly olive oil), increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol. In contrast, solid fats (such as coconut and palm oil) increase risk factors and should be avoided.
  • Unsaturated fats are associated with a lower risk in mortality, and trans and saturated fats are associated with an increased risk of mortality.
  • Animal proteins (in contrast to vegetable proteins) are shown to increase mortality—particularly processed red meat which is associated with cardiovascular deaths.
  • Despite the latest popular belief, one should limit dietary cholesterol such as eggs.
  • In general, a diet high in added fat, fried food, processed meat, eggs, and sugar-sweetened beverages is the most detrimental to one’s health—associated with a 56% increase in coronary heart disease, a higher mean BMI, higher rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Want to put these heart-healthy findings into practice? There’s an app for that! Foodstand helps you build healthy eating habits into your daily life through guided micro-challenges — with friends. If you want to incorporate more servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet, join the Eat 5 Servings of Fruits & Vegetables A Day Challenge. Looking to eat less meat, animal fats and eggs? Join the Eat Less Animal Products Challenge. If sugar-sweetened beverages are your achilles heel, go for the Avoid Sweetened Beverages Challenge. Or if you want to ditch fried and processed foods, challenge yourself with Eat Real Food. And don’t forget to invite your friends—building heart-healthy habits is better together.