Low Calorie Alternatives Count

Food Choices
Food Choices

We’ve learned the importance of lean bellies, and one of the keys to successful weight loss – portion control. But there is something else we can do to expedite the weight loss process. Replacing high calorie foods with low calorie alternatives will reduce the time it takes to reach our weight loss goals. This article will provide some of those alternatives and the calories you save.Pike Place Market (6)

REPLACE: 1/2 cup green bean-mushroom casserole WITH: 1/2 cup cooked green beans CALORIES SAVED: 50.
REPLACE: 1/2 cup home-fried potatoes WITH: 1 medium baked potato CALORIES SAVED:65.
REPLACE: 1/2 cup potato salad WITH: 1/2 cup raw vegetable salad CALORIES SAVED: 140.


REPLACE: 1/2 batter-fried chicken breast WITH: 1/2 broiled chicken breast (with lemon) CALORIES SAVED: 175.
REPLACE: 3 oz prime rib (well-marbled) WITH: 3 oz lean meat (eye of round) CALORIES SAVED: 140.
REPLACE: 1/2 cup beef stroganoff WITH: 3 oz lean roast beef (or try a reduced fat recipe) CALORIES SAVED: 210.
REPLACE: 2 tbsp French dressing (bottled) WITH: 2 tbsp low-calorie French dressing CALORIES SAVED: 150.
REPLACE: 1-oz bag potato chips WITH: 1 cup plain popcorn CALORIES SAVED: 120.


REPLACE: 1 cup whole milk 1 cup WITH: 1% low-fat milk CALORIES SAVED: 45.
REPLACE: 1 cup sugar-coated corn flakes WITH: 1 cup plain corn flakes CALORIES SAVED: 60.
REPLACE: 1/8 9-inch apple pie WITH: 1 baked apple, unsweetened CALORIES SAVED: 308.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

REPLACE: 1/12 8-inch while layer cake with chocolate icing WITH: 1/12 angel food cake, 10-inch tube CALORIES SAVED: 185.
REPLACE: 3 oatmeal-raisin cookies WITH: 1 oatmeal-raisin cookie CALORIES SAVED: 125.
REPLACE: 1/2 cup ice cream WITH: 1/2 cup ice milk CALORIES SAVED: 45.
REPLACE: 1 danish pastry WITH:  1/2 English muffin  CALORIES SAVED: 150.
REPLACE: 12 fluid ounce cola WITH: 12 fluid ounce diet cola CALORIES SAVED: 150.


The choices we make in the foods we buy, how they are prepared, and what we consume can make a big difference to our bottom line — not only reaching our weight loss goals, but developing a healthier lifestyle. What alternative low calorie choices do you recommend?

TIP #9: THINK SMALLER. Use smaller utensils and dishes to help with portion control. Putting your serving size on a smaller plate makes it look like you are eating more food than you actually are.

TIP #10: AFTER EXERCISING EAT PROTEIN. In the last blog, Lean Bellies and Body Type, we learned that your body uses more energy in the digestion of protein. Studies show that consuming protein after exercise increases your bodies metabolism. Make sure the protein you choose is lean. I exercise every morning and eat 2 egg whites after to increase my metabolism. Egg whites have only 20 calories per egg. What would you choose as a high protein food after exercise?

(c) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

Lean Bellies and Body Type

There are 2 main body types: the apple shaped or pear. Which are you? Research shows that the apple is the more dangerous of the two because the fat is centered on your middle, where your heart, lungs, and various other organs are situated. Now we can’t control our body type — we’re born with it, but we can control how lean our bellies are.
There are a myriad of studies (check out the CDC) which show the dangers of excess fat around our middle. Here is the bottom line:

Women  with lean bellies are:
Women: Lean Bellies
Women: Lean Bellies
  • 57% less likely to die of heart disease
  • 69% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
  • 40% less likely to develop arthritis of the hips or knees
  • 12% less likely to have a stroke
  • 40% less likely to die of cancer
  • 21% less likely to experience arousal dysfunction
Men with lean bellies are:
Lean Bellies: Father (82) & Son (52)
Lean Bellies: Father (82) & Son (52)
  • 32% less likely to die of heart disease
  • 83% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
  • 63% less likely to develop arthritis
  • 32% less likely to develop sleep apnea
  • 45% less likely to develop cancer
  • 61% less likely to have erectile dysfunction

Measure your waistline. A woman’s waist circumference should be no greater than 35 inches (88 centimeters). Men should have a waist circumference no more than 40 inches (102 centimeters). In the United States, approximately $90 billion dollars annually is attributable to weight-related disease. Tax payers pay half of this cost through Medicaid and Medicare. Don’t be one of the statistics!

(Check out the previous tips: Tip #1 & Tip #2 in week one, Tip #3 & Tip #4 in week 2, and Tip #5 & Tip #6 in week 3).

Lean Bellies
Lean Bellies

TIP #7: CHEW. Take smaller bites and chew your food longer. According to a study published in the scientific journal Physiology and Behavior, it may help you eat less at meals. If you slow down and enjoy your food, your brain has more time to register the eating process. In short: Don’t take the term “slider” literally.TIP #8: EAT PROTEIN. This nutrient has the ability to raise the level of peptides in your stomach. These little peptides relay messages telling your brain that your stomach is full. Your body also expends more energy trying to digest it.

Do you have a tip to share?

(c) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

Italian Orzo Soup

Italian Orzo Soup is one of my favorite low-calorie meals. It is very healthy with a taste that cannot be denied — simply delicious. Even my nieces love it (and they don’t like soup)! An added bonus is the prep time involved – truly minimal.


Fresh Oregano
Fresh Oregano
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Lean ground chicken or turkey (at least 93% lean) – 12 ounces
  • Chopped oregano (1 tablespoon fresh chopped or 1/2 tablespoon dried)
  • Mushrooms (cremini or what is available) – 4 ounces
  • Garlic – 5 cloves, chopped

    Garlic & Tomatoes
    Garlic & Tomatoes
  • Unsalted chicken broth – 3 cups
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Petite diced tomatoes – 1 (15 ounce) can
  • Whole wheat orzo pasta – 3/4 cup uncooked
  • Spinach – 3 cups fresh
  • Lemon rind – 1/2 teaspoon grated

  • Red pepper (if you like it spicy) – 1/2 teaspoon


Heat a large Dutch oven if you have it (or a pot if you don’t) over a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. When the oil gets hot, add the lean ground chicken or turkey and then cook until browned. Make sure you stir to make sure the meat is crumbled. Add the sliced mushrooms, oregano and chopped garlic; sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock, water, red pepper (if you like it spicy), and diced tomatoes. Keep scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits and the bring the mixture to a boil. Add the orzo pasta and cook for about 7 minutes. Stir in the ground lemon rind and fresh spinach and then cook for another 5 minutes.

Italian Orzo Soup
Italian Orzo Soup

This recipe serves 4 (I usually double it) and each serving size (2 cups) is approximately 322 calories. Enjoy!

The Key to Successful Weight Loss

With at least 68.5% of Americans overweight, it’s no wonder that the weight loss industry is in the billions of dollars with more diets available than you can count.

Weight Loss - Big Business
Weight Loss – Big Business

You’ve worked all day, you are exhausted and have a family to feed. In a culture of 2 income families, it’s not uncommon to grab a quick bite from a fast food restaurant. Fast food tends to be very high in calories, but you think, I’m only getting one portion for myself and one portion for each of my family members. Surely, that’s okay. This article will take a look at one of the key strategies for successful weight loss and the ability to meet your weight management goals — portion control.

Portion vs. Serving Size

Jerusalem Shuk - Break
Jerusalem Shuk – Break

The terms “serving size” and “portion” are common terms we are all familiar with. But, is there a difference? What you eat is a portion. What you should eat is a serving size. The vast majority of adult Americans consume up to one third more food than they should eat. Understanding and effectively measuring serving size is part of the solution to the portion problem.

Portion Control: Can you guess the right portion?

Let’s take a fun quiz (cover the answers below before you begin).

Portions - Baseball, Hockey Puck, Light Bulb
Portions – Baseball, Hockey Puck, Light Bulb

1. Your bagel, hamburger bun, and cooked brown rice should be the same portion size. Should each be the size of a baseball, light bulb, or hockey puck?

2. How about corn on the cob? Would you choose a light bulb, computer mouse, or tennis can?
3. Baked potatoes come in all sizes. Which is the right size — light bulb, computer mouse, or tennis ball?

Portions: Tennis Ball, Computer Mouse, Soda Can
Portions: Tennis Ball, Computer Mouse, Soda Can

4. How can a serving of ground beef be measured? Would you choose a deck of cards, 3/4 the size of a soda can, or base ball?

5. What about popcorn? Would you choose a soda can, tennis canister, or light bulb?

Portions: Dice, Pocker Chip, CD
Portions: Dice, Pocker Chip, CD

6. Now for your serving of salad greens, cooked vegetables or fruit. Would you choose a deck of cards, hockey puck or baseball?

7. I confess to loving cheese. What is the serving size? Choose either a CD, 3 stacked dice, or 5 stacked dice?

8. Peanut butter is a favorite of many. Would you select a deck of cards, 3 stacked dice or a golf ball for a serving?

Portions: Deck of Cards, Golf Ball, Small Post-It Notes
Portions: Deck of Cards, Golf Ball, Small Post-It Notes

9. What would we do without butter or spread? Would you choose 1 dice, 1 poker chip, or a golf ball for a serving?

10. Now about that treat. How large should our brownie be? Would you choose a golf ball, small post-it notes, or a deck of cards?




Answers: (1) hockey puck (2) light bulb (3) computer mouse (4) deck of cards (5) tennis canister (6) baseball (7) 3 stacked dice (8) golf ball (9) poker chip (10) small post-it notes


TIP #5: ADD WATER. Your stomach is like a balloon. Fill it with anything — burgers, apples, rice and you’ll eventually feel full. A smarter way to fill your belly without stuffing it with calories is to take sips of water between bites of food. This will increase the bulk in your stomach, blowing up the balloon, and help you feel full more quickly without a calorie glut.

TIP #6: FILL WITH FIBER. Fiber passes through your body undigested, slowing the absorption of nutrients and making you feel fuller longer, according to a 2008 review study by University of Minnesota researchers. Try adding high-fiber foods like whole wheat pasta, raspberries, beans, and peas to your meals.

How did you do on your quiz? Rather than carrying a bag containing light bulbs, tennis canisters, a computer mouse, dice, post-it notes, a deck of cards, tennis and base balls, what would remind you of the proper portion size?

(c) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

Sweet and Sour … Gluten Free

Enjoy an easy-to-prepare healthy entree you can customize for your taste/needs. You’ll notice that I do not add salt. Most of our sodium intake is considerably higher than the F.D.A.’s daily recommended intake which contributes to health problems in a significant number of people (more on this later). I also did not add quantities to this particular recipe. That’s because you can make as much or as little as you wish. My preference is to make more than what we’ll need so I can freeze a meal for later use. It helps in a crunch and avoids the easy, high calorie way out of stopping by a fast food restaurant.

Sweet & Sour Ingredients
Sweet & Sour Ingredients
  • Your choice: chicken, pork, beef, or tofu
  • Vegetables: broccoli, corn, snow peas, carrots, onions, mushrooms (and any others you enjoy)
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce (check for any ingredients you may be sensitive to on the label)
  • Hot Sauce if you like it spicy
  • Rice: I prefer an organic wild medley, however, choose your favorite (keep in mind that whole grain is always better than white)
Sweet & Sour in Pot
Sweet & Sour in Pot

Precook your chicken, pork, or beef and set it aside. Chop the vegetables in bite size pieces. In season, I prefer fresh, but fresh vegetables lose their vitamin potency with time, so if it’s off season, use frozen or canned. Sauté the vegetables until tender but firm, not mushy. You may want to start with the carrots since they tend to take a little longer and are the only vegetable where the availability of a vitamin actually improves upon cooking (Vitamin A). Add the rest of the vegetables, pineapple, sweet and sour sauce. Finish by adding the meat/tofu. Dole out a healthy serving size (1 cup of the vegetable/meat mixture and 1/2 cup of cooked rice).

On the Road to Healthy Living: Foolproof Your Plan!

Health and nutrition are foremost in our minds. With the changes in healthcare, most people avoid seeing the doctor – the high deductibles make the cost prohibitive for the average American. It is proven that obesity is a risk factor in a number of life threatening illnesses. Undernutrition is also a serious problem. You may be at your ideal body weight, but perhaps you don’t eat right. We’ve all heard the adage, “You are what you eat.” We only have one life, let’s take care of it with a healthy living plan!

Take Control

Pike Place Market (6)

You’ve made the decision to take control of your life. Congratulations! If you have a family, you not only have a responsibility to yourself, but you have a responsibility to your family as well. Studies show that success doesn’t just happen overnight. You need to set your goals and follow a realistic plan.

Set Your Goals

Be realistic in setting your goals. Make sure it’s one you can achieve within a reasonable time period. Realistic, achievable, reasonable goals are more likely to succeed. Get ready to ask yourself the following questions and make a list.

  1. What outcome would you like to achieve? If you are trying to eat healthier, list your reasons why.
  2. What steps are necessary to achieve your goals? Remember, it’s easier to change a few behaviors at a time rather than get overwhelmed with a long “to do/to change” list. Many helpful tips are forthcoming, so stay tuned!
  3. Be committed. It’s critical to success. I suggest making it official with a contract.    Sign a Contract
  • List objectives & behavioral goals.
  • Measure your progress with milestones.
  • Reward yourself for meeting contract terms.
  • Sign it in front of witnesses who care (family or friends).
  • Initially, you may want to reward positive behaviors, but after you start to progress, focus your reward on positive results.

TIP #3: FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Find a friend or family member who also want to make healthy changes. Share your goals and plans and check in with each other on a regular basis. Hold each other accountable!

TIP #4: CUT OUT DISTRACTIONS. Eating while preoccupied impairs your brain’s ability to watch your food intake, according to a 2009 review of studies. Turn off the TV, close the laptop, and stop playing games with your smartphone. Your stomach will thank you.

(For Tips #1 & #2 see Start Over/Take Charge!)

IMG_4930What do you see as the biggest challenge?

Now that you’ve made the decision to start and take control, next we’ll take a look at an important weight management strategy. It just may be the most effective tip you can use to reach your goals.

(c) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer