How the heck do I get dinner on the table?

Roslyn GordonI remember asking myself this when I first started motherhood.  I wanted to be the best mom, wife and budding entrepreneur yet still make sure I made nutritious home cooked meals for my family.  As a Nutritionist I felt this was very important, but I had no idea the work and planning involved when I first started out.  Without asking for help or guidance I would scramble around for dinner ideas at the last minute.  Between nap time and working on my business, pick ups and drop offs from school, laundry, cleaning, connecting with friends, making beds and having a shower (thank goodness for dry shampoo) and of course bonding and spending time with my children; I would try to muster whatever energy I had left and head to the grocery store to pick up what I needed to start preparing dinner.

I would struggle with what to make, what it might cost and how much time it would take.  By the time I finished prepping the meal, I always had accumulated so much mess just to get the meal in the oven and even more mess when the meal was done.  I would often stare at the mess on my table, counters and in my kitchen sink and of course on my kitchen floor and think, “there must be an easier way”.  Just to do it all over again the next day.

So I channeled my skills and expertise as a Nutritionist into designing ways to improve the process and deliver healthy meals to my family in less time while spending less money.  Then, I built my business around sharing my experiences and guidance to thousands of men and women; helping them to improve their nutrition and make healthier choices for themselves and their families .

I would like you to consider how you can do this.  It takes about 6 weeks to master, but once you do, your grocery bill will be approx $200 – $400 less a month for a family of four and you could be eating more nutritious meals while increasing the amount of time you spend with your family.  And of course, with NO stress.

H2H-cloudsMy name is Roslyn Gordon and I have a degree in Applied Human Nutrition, a designation as a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner and own a wellness studio called Highway to Health in Burlington Ontario.   I am a busy mother to two young daughters and two stepsons.  We often have a very busy household with many mouths to feed.

Here are some tips I use to make the transition from grocery store to meal on the table less painful and more enjoyable.

  1.  Cook 2 large meals a week  When I cook these large meals, I double the recipe.  I make 14 hamburgers instead of 7 and I make 2 lbs of spaghetti sauce to get 2 or 3 more meals.   I roast 2 whole chickens at a time and either freeze the leftover chicken whole, or cut it up and make a stir-fry, chicken sandwiches a casserole or soup.   So I end up cooking less and having more frozen options to choose from on the other days where time is tight.  This takes a few weeks to develop a stash of items to choose from, but once you do, you cook WAY less and ultimately lower anxiety around meal preparations.   So please note when I say I cook twice a week, I COOK TWICE A WEEK…Some moms make the mistake of doing a half day grocery shop on a Saturday and taking an entire Sunday away from their family to prep a bunch of meals.  For me this causes more stress and anxiety and defeats the purpose of developing an easy flowing meal program for you and your family.   Start by doubling up 2 meals a week and then go from there.   Don’t worry about how it may look;  just DO IT and watch how easy it becomes.
  2. Make a list of easy fill in meals as you are building up your freezer:  Mine are baked beans and veggies, eggs, taco salad, fish on the barbecue/oven, steak and salad, cooked chicken from the grocery store with salad and rice from the freezer, grilled cheese, make your own pizzas (I freeze my pitas and pizza sauce so I always have on hand), sandwiches, cold plates (veggies and hummus, rice crackers and sliced avocados/boiled eggs) etc…
  3. Cut once not twice  When I cut a cucumber, I cut the whole thing.  When I wash broccoli I wash and prep the whole floret.   I cut my whole pepper and my whole stalk of celery.  Cutting once and not twice saves clean up and gets you eating more fresh vegetables because they are ready to go and easy to use.
  4. See your food  Store all your leftover food and prepped food in clear ziplock bags or clear containers.  Being able to see your food is essential for knowing what you have on hand in the fridge.  You can then take a quick glance when determining your grocery list or dinner meal.
  5. Never throw leftovers away  I keep leftover rice and freeze it, ripe bananas I slice and freeze.  Canned black olives I freeze and leftover tomatoes.  I freeze anything and everything that I won’t eat right away.
  6. Freeze leftover cooked vegetables  When I have a few cooked vegetables leftover I throw them into my “soup bag”.  This is a ziplock bag I have in the freezer where cooked or raw leftover veggies can go.  I use this bag when preparing soups.   Sliced tomatoes, onions and squash can also go in here.
  7. Shop in less time Instead of doing a HUGE grocery shop weekly where food often gets thrown out by the end of the week.  I shop everyday to every other day, running in quickly for a couple items I need to complete my day and prepare dinner.   I am able to bring my kids without cause into the grocery store and use the fast check out lane.  We are in and out for less than $20.   A big grocery shop used to cost me way over $200; and I always ended up throwing half of it away.
  8. Learn a new recipe each week  Every week try one new recipe that you can learn and memorize.  I have many recipes now that I used to struggle to prepare, reading the processes and the ingredient measurements.  Now it is quick and easy, all off the top of my head.  I double up the recipe and store for later.
  9. Eggs for dinner  When in a pinch, eggs are fantastic for dinner.  Crack a bunch and whisk into a crustless quiche in the oven or throw into buttered muffin cups with leftover veggies, and spices.  Cheap and super easy.  Bake at 350 until set.
  10. Get help  children can help out too!  My 5 year old is cleaning out the dishwasher everyday.   It is a great time to bond and chat with her while I am preparing dinner.   I have my 9 year old taking out kitchen garbage and recycle to the garage and setting the table.

The possibilities of easy meal preparation are endless.   I love to teach and explore new, flavourful foods which are easy to prepare.   The tips I have developed are from all of my experiences and struggles of finding the perfect solution to less mess, less stress and more time for myself and my family.  I have developed many programs to support this.

Check out my programs at for my upcoming classes.

Garden Tomato SauceUse up your Garden Tomatoes

Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce:


  • 6 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp red wine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • dash of salt and pepper

Mix ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.   Store in your fridge for up to 3-5 days or store in freezer for up to 6 months.This sauce is excellent on fresh pizzas, in soups or stews or on top of turkey meatballs.



The BEST weight loss Program is here and has now come to Life With Kids!


H2H-Shadow-LogoWhether you would like to lose weight or just become healthier, this program is for you!
Highway to Health’s 6-week “Down-to-the-Basics” Weight Loss Series is a REAL program that focuses on REAL food. Designed and supported by Registered Nutritionist, Roslyn Gordon, our clients learn how to lose 15-25 pounds across the six week series and leave feeling confident and better than ever.
The one and only – our original program that made us famous, developed and supported by our Registered Nutritionist, Roslyn Gordon

  • This 6 week program increases your metabolism to allow you to continue to lose weight after the 6 weeks has been completed.
  • Each participant will receive their own individualized food plan. All health concerns and diet restrictions welcome.
  • You will be presented with a gradual approach of adding foods in slowly each week, so you will never feel overwhelmed or never ever feel hungry.
  • We focus on your own individual metabolism and body
  • Constant contact with Weight Loss Facilitator and our Registered Nutritionist throughout the entire program to answer any questions you may have.
  • A new topic discussed each week that will add more pieces to your plan.
  • Fits into everyone’s schedule and lifestyle. We cater to you and make it work for YOU!
  • All food bought at your own local grocery store.
  • Food packaging samples and grocery store lists are provided to make your program a smooth and easy transition.

If you are not keen on classes and would like to do your own individual program, please register for one of the dates indicated above and put in the special instructions that you would like to do the program from home. We will guide you daily with the same approach and guidance to achieve results. OR Our NEW! “Start-Now” Package features everything from our standard package above Plus you get a number of exclusive, self-start tools to get you up and running in advance of your chosen program’s start date. If you’re super-motivated to get at it now, this option is for you.


Improve Your Memory in 7 Days

Life & Beauty Weekly: Health

By Elizabeth Hurchalla for Life & Beauty Weekly

You keep a calendar to remember appointments and you jot down grocery items to jog your memory at the supermarket. But when it comes to remembering things like the name of a business associate or where you put your cell phone, unfortunately you’re on your own. And if you’re like most busy moms, your memory probably fails you more than you’d like to admit.

There are, however, a number of simple things that can help you get better at remembering. Check out the brain-exercising tricks, memory-boosting strategies and healthy-lifestyle changes below. Do a different one every day this week to start enhancing your ability to remember just about everything. 

After the first week, try incorporating these strategies into your everyday life and you may find that your memory is as sharp as a, a — what is that thing called again? Oh yeah — a tack. 

Day 1: Take a walk
“Exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain,” says Bob Gray, CSP, a Hall of Fame keynote speaker and workshop presenter on human memory development at Just three months of low-aerobic exercise can increase blood flow to the memory-related areas of the brain and improve performance on memory-related tests.

Even if your schedule is packed, take a brisk walk with a friend instead of chatting on the phone. Or, walk to the store instead of driving, or go on a bike ride or play tag with your kids. 

Day 2: Break routine
Try what memory experts call “neurobic activities:” doing everyday tasks a little differently than normal.

“Conquering these challenges gives us the confidence and the tools to tackle new problems as they present themselves,” says Dr. Susan Vandermorris, a psychologist in the Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health Program at Baycrest and a postdoctoral fellow at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute in Toronto.“By trying new activities, or doing what we usually do in different ways, we can build the persistence and mental flexibility that are critical to success in many facets of life.” Fortunately, following this advice is as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or driving an alternate route to work.

Day 3: Establish forget-me-not spots
Are you constantly losing your keys, cell phone, sunglasses and other small items? Because you put down and pick up these types of things so often, you likely don’t always pay attention to — and so easily forget — where they end up.

The solution: Establish a firm habit of putting your important items in consistent locations, says Vandermorris. “This reduces the chance that you’ll misplace these items to virtually zero, and frees you up to spend your time thinking about more important things, like what’s for dinner tonight.”

Day 4: Repeat and connect names
“A lot of the time, the ‘forgetting’ that happens when we meet a new person isn’t really forgetting at all,” says Vandermorris. We often don’t give our memory systems the chance to do their job because we don’t adequately pay attention to the new name in the first place.” What’s more, we’re often so preoccupied with our own thoughts — smile, make eye contact — we often don’t pay enough attention to the new name, says Vandermorris.

To remember names, Gray suggests spelling the name in your head, which forces you to hear it. You can also comment on the name if it’s unusual, use it once or twice in your conversation, and use the name when leaving to ensure it stays in your memory.

Day 5: Eat right
In order for our brain to function correctly, it has to absorb nutrition from the foods we eat,” says Gray. “The brain uses approximately 20 percent of our daily caloric intake, so healthy foods are essential for a sharp memory.” Another reason to eat well: A study released from the American Academy of Neurology that showed that being overweight increases the chances of developing certain forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

For the ultimate brain food, eat plenty of dark leafy greens, blueberries, pomegranate and grapes. All are high in antioxidants, which protect brain cells. Also eat cold-water fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel twice a week. They deliver omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, which experts think facilitates communication between brain cells.

Day 6: Rest up
Try to hit the sack an hour earlier than usual or set your alarm a little later if you can. Without enough rest, it’s impossible to maintain attention and focus, which impacts your ability to learn and, in turn, remember.

“Sleep is very important for memory,” says Vandermorris. “REM sleep (the type of sleep that is associated with dreaming) is important for memory consolidation, the neurological processes associated with laying down long-term memories.”

Day 7: Believe you’ll remember
“A positive attitude can significantly improve your ability to learn and remember,” says Vandermorris. “Studies have shown that intervention programs that focus exclusively on fostering healthy attitudes about memory, including highlighting the significant degree to which you are in control of your memory, are as effective in improving memory function as interventions which directly teach strategies for learning and remembering.”

So don’t kick yourself when you forget to pay a bill or call your mother. Instead, congratulate yourself on everything you do remember. Also, instead of immediately throwing up your hands when you can’t recall something, stop, think about it and tell yourself: “I know this.” You may just remember. If you don’t, at least you’ll get in the habit of trusting your memory, which may give your memory a boost tomorrow.

Elizabeth Hurchalla
is a Venice, Calif.-based freelance writer who has contributed to
InStyle and many other publications.

Match the Pain Reliever to the Pain

Life & Beauty Weekly: Health

By Stacey Colino for Life & Beauty Weekly

You may be a pro multitasker, but few can juggle work, family and other responsibilities when in physical pain. And with so many people relying on you, you don’t have time to get sidelined by a headache or other aches and pains. You just need relief. 

The trouble is, with all the over-the-counter pain relievers available, deciding which is best can be, well, a major pain. But it doesn’t have to be. Find your ailment below and discover the most effective treatment so you can get a grip on pain and get on with your life. (If you have health problems or a medical condition, consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter drugs.)

1. Headache

Whether you have a tension headache or migraine, look for a pain reliever that combines acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine. “The caffeine improves the analgesic effect of the other ingredients and may help the body absorb them,” says Dr. Batya Grundland, MD, CCFP, family physician at Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital and lecturer at the University of Toronto. The aspirin helps block pain-provoking chemicals in the brain called prostaglandins and improves the pain-relieving effects of acetaminophen.

See a doctor if:
You have frequent headaches. Also, consult a physician if you have liver problems, as you may not be able to take acetaminophen.

2. Heartburn

For occasional heartburn, any chewable or liquid antacid will quickly neutralize stomach acid to provide relief, says Grundland.

If you’re prone to diarrhea, choose an antacid with aluminum hydroxide or calcium rather than magnesium. Vice versa if you tend to get constipated.

For persistent heartburn, prescription treatments such as H2-blockers (e.g., ranitidine) or a proton-pump inhibitors (e.g., Losec and Pantoloc) can help provide relief. “Both of these classes of medications work by reducing gastric acid secretion; that is, reducing the amount of acid secreted by your stomach to help digest your food,” says Grundland.

See a doctor if: You get heartburn more than a few times a week or your symptoms worsen.

3. Back pain or strained muscles
“Ibuprofen and naproxen (aka non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — or NSAIDs) are very helpful medications to help manage back pain and strained muscles,” says Grundland. “They have both analgesic properties (pain relief) as well as anti-inflammatory properties, so they can also target some of the underlying causes for the pain.”

If you have high blood pressure, stomach or kidney problems, however, NSAIDs may not be an option. Acetaminophen is the next best thing. It targets the part of the brain that receives and processes pain messages from the injured area.  

Whichever pill you take, you can also rub on a topical pain-relieving gel containing menthol or salicylate, says Grundland. “The evidence behind the use of menthol or salicylate for successful pain relief is limited, but it is unlikely to cause harm.”

See a doctor if: Your back pain or muscle strain persists or worsens after a few days.

4. Flu aches and fever
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are appropriate medications to help with fever or muscle aches, according to Grundland. “Acetaminophen may be a better choice for those at high risk of NSAID side effects, explains Grundland. “Naproxen would not be the first choice NSAID for fever control, but rather a shorter acting NSAID such as ibuprofen.”

NSAIDs are stronger and work longer, but they can upset your stomach. So if you are nauseated or susceptible to stomach problems, you may be better off with acetaminophen.

Either way, avoid aspirin or medications containing aspirin. Ingesting it when you have the flu can trigger a rare but dangerous condition called Reye’s syndrome.

See a doctor if: You experience chest pain, shortness of breath, a cough with excessive mucus or fever that lasts longer than a week.  

5. Menstrual cramps
Surveys suggest the majority of women experience some degree of menstrual pain. In this case, NSAIDs are usually your best bet. They block the production of prostaglandins that cause muscle cramps and spasms in the uterus.

Take ibuprofen or naproxen around the time you expect your period to start or at the first twinge of pain. “They will work most effectively if taken at the early onset of cramps rather than waiting for the pain to peak,” says Grundland. “I would not recommend using them on a preventative basis but rather once cramping begins.”

See a doctor if: NSAIDs don’t offer sufficient relief and you can’t function or your cramps are accompanied by unusually heavy bleeding.

Stacey Colino is a writer in Chevy Chase, MD. She has written for many national magazines, including Newsweek, Real Simple, Self, Woman’s Day, Parents, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour. 

Top 5 Foods for Healthy Hair

Life & Beauty Weekly: Health

By Holly Crawford for Life & Beauty Weekly

For most of us, when it comes to taking care of our hair, the usual maintenance routine involves frequent washing, conditioning, styling and going for regular cuts at the hair salon. But how often do you eat certain foods that promote strong, shiny and healthy hair? 

Healthy hair starts with a well-balanced diet, says Samara Felesky-Hunt, a Calgary-based registered dietitian and contributor to Global TV, CTV and Breakfast Television. “By adopting a healthy lifestyle and following a nutrient-rich diet, your hair will be fed the nourishment it needs to be shiny, strong and healthy,” she says.

Check out this guide to hair-healthy foods and start feeding your follicles at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

No. 1: Spinach, chicken and red peppers
Load your plate with spinach and chicken for their health benefits to hair. Both spinach and poultry are great sources of iron, a mineral that helps red blood cells carry oxygen to hair follicles. “This flow of oxygen is necessary to keep hair follicles fuelled for healthy growth and repair,” says Felesky-Hunt. “A healthy oxygen supply also carries an abundance of nutrients to the cells to promote healthy-looking hair.”

Aim to get your iron from both plant and animal sources, advises Rachel Schwartzman, doctor of naturopathic medicine at the Markham Village Naturopathic Clinic in Markham, Ontario. “The heme iron from animal sources are, in fact, the easiest for your body to absorb; however, they are also high in saturated fat and can raise your cholesterol levels,” says Schwartzman. “Try to balance the heme iron with non-heme iron, found in vegetarian sources such as green leafy vegetables, dried beans and tofu.” Because vitamin C increases the amount of iron your body absorbs, try to eat iron-rich foods with a fruit or vegetable, such as oranges or kiwis, she says.   

Serving suggestions: Chicken breast with spinach and red peppers is a perfect example of an iron-packed meal, delivering about one-third of your daily 18 mg requirement. Get the remainder throughout the day from other good sources, including fortified cereal, lean beef, fish, lentils, beans and such vegetables as tomatoes and beets.

No. 2: Oysters
The notorious aphrodisiacs actually deliver much more than an amorous feeling. Oysters are one of your best sources of zinc, a mineral that is vital for many functions in the body, including the cell division necessary for healthy hair growth. “Deficiency in zinc can contribute a lot to hair shedding, because without zinc and other related minerals, your hair shafts get weakened, causing hair breakage and very slow hair regrowth,” says Schwartzman.

Serving suggestions: Oysters pack the most zinc per bite — just one provides your entire day’s zinc requirement. But you’ll also fulfill your zinc needs with three ounces of lean beef or pork. Or just fill your breakfast bowl with fortified cereal.

No. 3: Sweet Potatoes
These and other orange veggies owe their place on the list to a high concentration of beta-carotene. In your body, this carotenoid converts to vitamin A, which helps you maintain normal growth and bone development, protects nerve fibres, and promotes healthy skin, hair and nail growth, says Schwartzman.  Regularly sloughing off old cells and replacing them with new ones contributes to normal hair growth, plus a smooth and healthy scalp.

Beta-carotene is also a powerful antioxidant. It protects skin — including that on your scalp — from damage caused by UV rays.

Serving suggestions: Try a baked sweet potato for a hearty dose of beta-carotene. Carrots, squash, cantaloupe and apricots also supply ample amounts. A good rule of thumb: For your recommended five servings of fruit and veggies a day, choose a variety of colours, including at least one that’s high in beta-carotene.

No. 4: Eggs
Eggs deliver multiple nutrients needed to maintain healthy hair. “Eggs are loaded with protein, which keeps hair strong and healthy, especially when it is faced with elements of sun or heat,” says Felesky-Hunt. “Eggs also contain B vitamins, which keep the DNA of your cells in good repair. The healthy fats in eggs, such as omega-3 fatty acids, also add lustre to your hair.”

In addition, because eggs are such great sources of protein, which is essential for metabolism, they aid your body in using the energy from food toward being physically active, adds Schwartzman. They help convert what you eat into the energy your body needs for its various functions, including hair’s growth cycle.

Serving suggestions: Three to five eggs per week. You’ll also get protein and B vitamins from poultry, lean meats, fish and lentils.

No. 5: Salmon
Fish is a favourite among nutritionists, and salmon is a superstar they mention frequently thanks to high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. For hair, these good-for-you fats act like internal conditioners, helping to keep your scalp and hair moisturized, shiny and healthy. Salmon also contains other strand-savers like B vitamins, protein and iron.

Serving suggestions: Experts recommend eating salmon or other fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout and sardines two to three times a week to get your fill of omega-3s. Not a seafood fan? Sprinkle two tablespoons of ground flaxseed into your oatmeal or smoothie.

The nutrients and foods that give hair a beauty boost are some of the same that keep your body healthy. So try increasing your intake, even if it means snacking on carrots or ordering a side of spinach once in a while. You know the saying “When you look good, you feel good”? You’ll see just how true it can be.


Holly Crawford
is a freelance writer and editor who has written for such publications as
Glamour, Elle, InStyle, ShopSmart, Allure, Shape and
Houston Modern Luxury. She was the beauty director at
First and on the editorial staff of
Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and

6 Instant Ways to Stress Less and Smile More

Life & Beauty Weekly: Health

By Carol Ryan for Life & Beauty Weekly

You can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can learn to deal with it in a healthy way. And since stress is associated with all sorts of negative health effects like high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, taking a few minutes a day to fight stress keeps you not only happy and smiling, but healthy too.  

“Daily hassles and annoyances can get to anyone, but small changes make a big difference,” explains Judy Saltzberg, who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania’s Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program. Here’s how to keep smiling:

1. Take it outside.
“The first intervention I advise is physical activity,” says Saltzberg. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, you can still boost your happiness. A study from the University of Essex found that just five minutes of walking, biking or even gardening outdoors can lift your mood and improve self-esteem.

Health bonus: Aside from melting away stress, you’ll melt calories too!

2. Find time for tea.
Sipping a few cups of tea may make you more resilient to stress, according to research from the University College of London. Study participants who drank four cups of black tea a day had less of the stress hormone cortisol in their body after completing a challenging task than did those who didn’t drink tea.

Health bonus: Tea’s antioxidants may ward off some cancers, improve heart health and decrease risk of stroke.

3. Pop a piece of gum.
Under pressure? Chewing gum could help, say experts at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. Researchers found that people who chewed while multitasking reported feeling less anxious and less stressed than their gum-free peers. They also felt more alert and performed twice as well on stressful tasks.

Health bonus: Chewing sugarless gum after meals will not only reduce stress, but it can also help fight bacteria that cause cavities.

4. Indulge in dark chocolate.
Dessert probably puts a smile on your face already, but now there’s proof of chocolate’s joy-boosting benefits. German researchers found that people who ate 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day for two weeks had significantly lower levels of anxiety- and stress-related hormones in their system.

Health bonus: Dark chocolate may also contribute to lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack by 39 percent, suggests a study in the European Heart Journal.

5. Stop and smell the flowers.
Sniff your way to serenity and fight off sickness by keeping a bouquet of roses on your desk, wearing citrus-scented lotion or getting a whiff of cinnamon. Stress can wreak havoc on your immune system, but Japanese scientists found that when people inhaled a scent compound common in flowers, herbs and spices, their systems kept functioning normally in spite of the stress.

Health bonus: Smelling lavender before bed can help you sleep better, according to a study in Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery.

6. Flip your perspective.
Focusing on the positive in a stressful situation can help keep you smiling, says Saltzberg. Instead of stewing on a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam, for example, think of it as an opportunity to call an old friend. “Tuning into your thinking and challenging doomsday thoughts can put a situation in perspective,” says Saltzberg. And that defuses the tension.

Health bonus: A glass-half-full approach has been linked to faster recovery from injury and illness, according to research in the Journal of Personality.

After a few weeks of practicing these techniques, you’ll not only feel happier, but you can rest easy knowing you’re healthier too — which is one less thing for you to stress about!

How to Kick the Sugar Habit

Life & Beauty Weekly: Health

By Lynn Langway for Life & Beauty Weekly

Trying to cut down on sugar? Maybe you’ve heard all the health warnings from doctors and government officials, or maybe you’re trying to look better in your swimsuit.

Whatever the reason, you’re on the right track — Americans are still eating and drinking two or three times the amount of sugar recommended for optimal health. Scientific studies have linked sugar overloads to obesity and health concerns including diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, stroke, pancreatic cancer and cognitive decline.

Sugar, which can fuel the brain and temporarily boost energy, occurs naturally in many nutritious fruits, vegetables and dairy products. But it also gets added to a number of foods we may eat every day. The American Heart Association advises women consume no more than 100 calories’ worth of added sugars per day, which comes out to about six teaspoons. But we often get more of the sweet stuff than we realize; manufacturers inject different forms of sweeteners to heighten taste and improve texture in a surprising variety of products.

To gain more control over your own sugar cravings — and your family’s — try these health tips from registered dietician Elisa Zied, mother of two and author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips.

Learn Label Language 

Sugar takes many forms, but all of them work in the same way on your body. And even if you skip dessert and take your coffee black, you may still be eating extra sugar in items like pasta sauce, ketchup, salad dressings and frozen dinners without realizing it.

When you shop, check labels closely for things like corn syrup, honey, molasses and nectar, as well as words in the “ose” family:  sucrose, fructose, dextrose, lactose, maltose and glucose. The higher up these words appear on the ingredient list, the higher the sugar content. (Check what’s in your family’s favorite foods at the USDA Database.)

Be Skeptical of “Health” Foods

Don’t assume that products touted as “low-calorie” or “fat-free” are good for you: To make them more palatable, many manufacturers compensate by boosting their sugar content. For instance, one particular brand of “light” whole-wheat bread boasts that it has just 45 calories a slice, but if you look at the ingredient list, you’ll see it contains not only high fructose corn syrup, but also honey, molasses, brown sugar and sucralose — hardly a dietary bargain! Watch the labels and choose fresh foods as often as possible.

Do Sugar Swaps

When sugar cravings hit, satisfy your sweet tooth with healthier substitutes. For instance, top oatmeal with half a baked apple instead of brown sugar, and freeze banana slices or grapes for a sweet snack.

If you’re baking cookies or cakes for the family, use unsweetened applesauce to replace some of the sugar in the recipe. And when you serve ice cream, spoon a small portion into the bowls and then top them with lots of fresh berries.

Serve Better Beverages

Sweetened beverages — including fruit drinks — are the No. 1 source of added sugar in our diets. Just a 12-ounce can of regular soda packs 8 teaspoons of sugar, or 130 calories, while adding no nutrients. Stock your fridge with healthier options, such as water or seltzer with a squeeze of lime, or a blueberry-banana smoothie straight from your blender.

Leave Yourself Some Wiggle Room

It’s okay to indulge in an occasional sweet treat

as long as you’re watching your total calories and filling up with lots of

fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat proteins. “Sometimes it’s okay

to have something simply because you want it and it tastes good,” says Zied — whether

that means a glass of low-fat chocolate milk for your kids or an ice pop on a

hot day.


Lynn Langway is a former editor at Newsweek and Ladies’ Home Journal who writes about health and teaches journalism at NYU. Follow her on Twitter: @travelcentricny. She is a frequent contributor to Life & Beauty Weekly.