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12 Healthy Foods That Fill You Up Best

We all know the feeling of eating too much food, of being not just full but stuffed, and yet not feeling satisfied.

When we eat, sensors in our mouth, stomach and intestines assess the volume and chemical composition of what we’ve taken in, says Stephan J. Guyenet, PhD, author of “The Hungry Brain; Outsmarting the Instincts that Make Us Overeat.” Those sensors send that information to our brain stem, which then sets our level of fullness, or satiety. Once this feeling builds, our brain decides we’ve had enough food.

The question is, which foods flip that switch?

In 1995, a University of Sydney study found that high-fiber, high-water and high-protein foods were the most filling. It’s all the stuff we know is good for us: fresh fruits and vegetables; chicken and seafood; whole grains, beans and lentils; eggs and yogurt.

“Simple, whole foods similar to what our ancestors would have eaten provide a higher level of satiety per calorie, and may encourage a slimmer body with less effort,” Guyenet says.

Dr. Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program and medical editor-in-chief of “The Mayo Clinic Diet,” agrees. “Numerous studies have demonstrated that when people eat foods high in water and fiber and low in fat and processed carbohydrates, they can achieve satiety at a lower calorie intake (but the same weight of food consumed) and, therefore, better manage weight.”

“The most filling foods contain protein, which is slowly digested, so it sticks to your ribs; and fiber, which expands like a sponge in the gut to keep you full,” explains Karen Ansel, MS, RDN, and author of “Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging: Stay Younger, Live Longer.” “While most fiber-containing foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, are naturally low in calories, protein is a different story. Be sure to stick with the leanest sources.”

Seek out these 12 nourishing basics to get your healthy fill:

1. Beans

Rich in protein and fiber, beans fill you up and are easy on the wallet. Add them to salads, use them to displace some of the noodles in a pasta dish or plop them into soup to add staying power.

RECIPE > WHITE BEAN TURKEY CHILI

2. Broccoli & Other Cruciferous Vegetables

“I love broccoli because it contains the highest amount of glucoraphanin, which supports your body’s own detoxification system, and has very few calories,” says Ashley Koff, RD, founder of Ashley Koff Approved and The Better Nutrition Membership. “I feel the same way about cauliflower. Try frozen cauliflower to thicken smoothies.”

RECIPE > GARLICKY BROCCOLI “ZOODLES” WITH BACON

3. Canned Tuna

“Canned tuna is one of the most underrated foods out there,” says Ansel. “A five-ounce can gives you 28 grams of protein, for only 122 calories. Plus, it’s a good source of omega-3 fats, which are key for heart and brain health.”

RECIPE > TUNA AVOCADO EGG SALAD

4. Chia Seeds

“Chia seeds are rich in slowly digested protein and fiber, nutrients that work together to keep you full for hours,” says Ansel. She recommends swirling one tablespoon of the seeds into iced tea or juice to transform them into filling snacks.

5. Chicken

“Lean proteins, like chicken, aid in satiety by affecting the hormones that control hunger and how quickly food empties from our stomachs,” says Keri Glassman, MS, RD. “Chicken also has the highest thermal effect of food, meaning it burns the most calories during digestion, versus carbs and fat.”

WATCH > IN A SNAP: 20-MINUTE MANGO CHICKEN BOWLS

6. Eggs

“Eggs are a quick, easy source of protein, and they’re a lot lower in fat than you might think,” says Ansel. “One large egg gives you six grams of protein, with less than five grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat.”

7. Greek Yogurt or Skyr (Icelandic Yogurt)

Packed with protein and calcium (Ansel says calcium is believed to help with fat burning), yogurt goes with everything from oatmeal (see below) and fresh berries to natural nut butters. Greek and Icelandic-style yogurt has even more protein than the regular kind.

8. Oatmeal

“Oatmeal contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan,” says Glassman. “This slow-digesting fiber will keep you fuller for longer, preventing overeating, while it also may improve blood cholesterol and overall heart health.” If you’re burned out on your usual morning oats, try these 15 new ways to make oatmeal.

9. Nuts & Nut Butters

“Nuts and nut butters are satiating due to their protein and fiber,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN, author of “The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook.” “Plus, they can provide satisfying crunch, creamy texture, and rich flavor!” Glassman suggests adding a small amount of natural peanut butter to oatmeal to deliver healthy fats and “give your sweet tooth a fix.”

10. Potatoes

Topping the charts for satiety in the 1995 study by a wide margin was… the humble spud. “Keep in mind that [study participants] ate it plain, without burying it in butter, cheese and bacon bits,” says Guyenet.

11. Quinoa

“Quinoa supplies both protein and fiber,” says Ansel. “And, unlike most other grains, it delivers complete protein.” Use in place of rice or pasta for better filling power.

RECIPE > QUINOA CHICKEN SALAD

12. Ricotta or Cottage Cheese

“A quarter cup of either provides a whopping 7 grams of protein,” Ansel says. “Try instead of cream cheese on a whole-wheat English muffin or bagel.”


READ MORE

> 9 Unexpected Ways to Use Greek Yogurt
> Recipe: Easy Cheesy Crustless Quiche
> Recipe: Tart Cherry Chia Pudding


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Health Benefits of Avocado

Food trends are constantly changing, but thanks to the health benefits of avocado, the fruit has been in the spotlight for quite some time now. Its fame is partially due to its deliciously creamy, nutty taste—and, of course, how photogenic it is when spread atop toast. But we also need to give credit where credit is due: There are tons of nutrients packed into each and every avocado.

Avocados are one of the only fruits that contain healthy, monounsaturated fats, Lori Zanini, R.D., a California-based dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF. “Including healthy fats in our meals during our day is important in order to keep us full and satisfied after meals, since fats take longer to digest than carbohydrates or proteins,” Zanini says. The majority of the fats in avocado are monounsaturated, which are lauded for having anti-inflammatory benefits and for helping to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Some research also shows that healthy fat can positively impact insulin levels and blood sugar and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. “Additionally, avocados are naturally sodium and cholesterol free,” Zanini adds.

Smash it on toast, spread it on a sandwich, or slice it on top of eggs or salad. The possibilities really are endless. Just be sure not to go overboard (we know, hard to do)—because of their fat content, avocados are pretty high in calories, so too much of a good thing can backfire here. Zanini recommends sticking to 1-ounce servings, “which is about 2 to 3 slices or about 1/4 of a small avocado.”

Avocados are also full of vitamins and nutrients our bodies need to function properly. Here’s what’s packed under that hard green skin and some of the ways each one benefits your health:

Vitamin K

Promotes normal blood clotting and prevents and treats weak bones.

Vitamin C

Contributes to cell growth and repair—from your skin to your nerves. It’s also an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage by harmful intruders (called free radicals) that cause health issues like heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin B6

Promotes healthy immune function, nerve function, and formation of red blood cells.

Vitamin E

Helps the body make red blood cells and boost immune function. It’s also an antioxidant, and essential for hair and skin health.

Folate

Promotes healthy cell and tissue development. It’s also essential for proper brain and spine growth in a developing fetus, so is especially important for pregnant women (it’s actually recommended that all women of reproductive age take a folate supplement). Zanini says it’s also important for preventing one type of anemia.

Magnesium

Important for muscle and nerve function, and also supports immune health and bone strength, regulates blood sugar, and helps with energy production. For those who suffer from migraines, getting more magnesium can be an effective way to prevent them (doctors will probably suggest a supplement rather than food sources, but getting more in your diet is good, too).

Potassium

An electrolyte that helps maintain a normal fluid balance in our bodies, aids nerve and muscle function, protein synthesis (building muscle), and keeps the heart beating normally. Bonus: It’s also great for reducing bloat.

Fiber

It keeps you regular, promotes colon health, lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar (which helps control appetite and keep you fuller for longer), and is helpful in maintaining a healthy body weight. Like many fruits, avocadoes have both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Lutein

This carotenoid—the name for a variety of plant pigments that give produce red, orange, and yellow coloring—is great for eye health. Research shows it may help protect against eye disease, partly because it absorbs damaging blue light. Lutein is also an antioxidant.

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This Intense 25-Minute Workout is About to Get Harder

The creator of the Lagree Fitness Method and the Megaformer machines, Sebastien Lagree, does not want you to work out all the time. He recalls training as a bodybuilder for as many as 40 hours a week in his youth. “I hurt myself doing that,” he says. “I think in your 20s — and it was back in the ’90s — you thought, ‘well, if I train a little bit, I have a lot of results; if I train more, I’ll get more results; and if I train the most, I get the most results. The more I train, the more in shape I’m going to be!’ And that is absolutely not true.”

One of the selling points of the Lagree Fitness Method is that it’s really efficient. He has tailored the classes and equipment to offer a super-intense workout in as little as 25–45 minutes. The classes may be short, but they leave you sore for days. The patented 25-minute workouts are offered exclusively at their L.A. studio, but other classes are available at Lagree studios in cities all over the world — and Megaformer machines are found in studios that are not necessarily affiliated with Lagree.

HOW THE MEGAFORMER WORKS

The enticing — and intimidating — thing about this method is that you can’t phone it in. Your legs and arms are strapped in position among various tension-filled cords and cables, making it impossible to cheat. (Believe me, I’ve considered it.) I have a real love-hate relationship with these Megaformer classes — I even find myself getting nervous an hour before. “Will I survive this one?” I often wonder. Sometimes I try to think of excuses not to go — like doing my taxes. But, the next thing you know, I’m strapped to a Megaformer, legs shaking, as I try to push a mobile carriage away from my body, while clownishly attempting to gracefully maintain a lunging position.

For the uninitiated, here’s what you can expect from a megaformer class: “It’s all about that constant tension,” Lagree explains. “We do long sets of very slow, controlled movements.” Get ready for slow, precise movements that’ll work each and every muscle in your body, and a fusion of strength, endurance and cardio training.

READ MORE > PURE BARRE IS PURE AGONY (AND TOTALLY ADDICTIVE)

For me, the biggest challenge of Lagree is actually sticking with it. I can feel that it’s doing my body a world of good, yet it’s always tempting to choose an easier workout. “We have a tendency to rest on our laurels,” says Lagree. “In French, we have a saying that ‘l’appétit vient en mangeant,’ Only the habit of training can motivate you to keep on doing it — and that is why I recommend to sign up with a friend who will help you stay with it at the beginning until you can motivate yourself to keep going.”

Jen McChesney, a Lagree trainer, says mastering this workout takes time. “Just when you think you’ve got it, it gets harder because you start pushing yourself more or modifying to make things more advanced,” she says. She adds that the megaformer works muscles in ways most of us aren’t used to, which leaves many newbies struggling to find their balance in their first class. She suggests setting bite-size goals to stay strong: “The Lagree Method keeps you in a certain movement for a certain amount of time so set a goal each time to be able to go a little longer in a certain movement without having to take a break, or set a goal to try a more advanced version of something — even if only for 10 seconds.”

“It is a humbling experience,” she adds. “We often have athletes come in who are in super shape and leave saying ‘what the heck just happened?’ ”

LEVELING UP: THE SUPRAFORMER

Just when I thought I knew what to expect, I was told that the Lagree classes are about to get even more challenging — which is both exciting and terrifying for anyone familiar with the popular workout. Sebastien patented yet another machine, the Supraformer, which, so far, is only available to students in L.A. What makes this machine unique is that it can incline and tilt, forcing you to fight gravity as you try to get through each movement. He’s also working on evolving the Lagree workout to enable bursts of quick movements to trigger fast-twitch muscles (and, in theory, promote larger muscle growth).

“Women are no longer afraid of putting on a bit of muscle,” he says. “This year, with the advancement of the machine, we’re going to start adding on some explosive training in the implosive method.” Since creating the first workout in 2006, he says he’s made more than 500 alterations to his machine: “It’s a lot of evolution, but that’s in my nature. I think that’s also part of who I am. When you work out, I want it to be a perfect workout.”

Photo Credit: Lagree

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Recipe: Mashed Avocado Egg Salad

Mashed Avocado Egg Salad

24 Carrot Life’s simple mashed avocado egg salad makes an excellent sandwich for two on those days when you’ve got too many plans to really cook. The marriage of creamy avocado and mashed eggs is spiced up with zesty lemon and dijon mustard so chances are you won’t miss the mayonnaise!

Mashed Avocado Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
  • 1/2 avocado (about 100 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 of a small lime or lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Toppings & Garnishes

  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Sprinkle of fresh parsley
  • Za’atar spices
  • Extra sea salt

Directions

Add hard boiled eggs, avocado, dijon mustard, lime/lemon juice, and salt and pepper to a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork until fully combined.

If desired, serve on a slice of toasted bread with tomato, lettuce, a sprinkle of fresh herbs or dried spices, and a pinch of coarse sea salt. Can also be served on a bed of lettuce.

Serve immediately and eat the same day you prepare it.

NOTE: Nutrition information doesn’t include bread and optional toppings and garnishes. Remember to log those separately if you make this dish.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 2 |  Serving Size: 1/2 egg salad

Per serving: Calories: 205; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 370mg; Sodium: 348mg; Carbohydrate: 5g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 13g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 194mg; Iron: 10%; Vitamin A: 12%; Vitamin C: 9%; Calcium: 4% 

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