Mini Challenges

Challenge Your Food Knowledge

Do you know how many calories, fat, fiber, or nutrients are in the foods you eat? If not, how do you know you’re making the right food choices, and are eating nutritiously? Lighten Up Onslow has put together some mini food challenges so that you can test your knowledge, and hopefully learn how and why certain foods are better for you than others

Eat Lean Protein.

Eat some form of protein with every meal. Eat Lean Protein - Experts recommend that maintain a healthy diet, you must include a source of lean protein with every meal. Protein helps preserve muscle and encourages fat burning, while helping you to feel full longer. But don’t forget to pay attention to portion sizes. The correct amount of lean protein portion is about the size of the palm of your hand. Here’s a link to some lean protein recipes. Enjoy!

Eat less red meat.

Why? It’s healthier to eat less red meat. Studies have shown that red meat is linked with high cholesterol and increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition, red meat increases your chance of developing colon cancer.  Plus, red meat costs significantly more than healthy fruits and vegetables. Check out our recommended vegetarian meals.

Drinking regular soda drinks are bad for your health.

They contain excess calories, all from added sugar, and research shows that they may be bad for your bones. And whether you're an occasional soft-drink sipper or an all-day soda drinker, cutting back can likely have benefits for your weight and your overall health.

Sugar-free sodas may not have any calories, but that doesn't mean that they are good for you or will help you lose weight. Several studies have shown that diet soda drinkers are more likely to be overweight or obese than regular soda drinkers. Drinking water is the best alternative to sodas.


MAINTAIN, DON’T GAIN THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS challenge continues! Tip: Continue to exercise, it’s one of the key elements to maintaining your weight, especially during the holidays. Make exercise a priority. Sign up to walk or run a Holiday 5K and schedule exercise into your day at least three to five times a week.



Challenge yourself to MAINTAIN, DON’T GAIN THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS! Here comes the holidays! It's time to make a plan to survive them without gaining five - ten pounds. Focus on eating wisely, and adding in lots of time for healthy activities. Example: Go for a walk with your family instead of parking it on the couch all day. Visit the CDC's Physical Activity website for more ideas.


Eat Healthier!

“Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.”  CDC
Click here for some great veggie recipes!


Good Greek yogurt is low in sugar, high in protein and delicious, making this weight loss staple a perfect breakfast-on-the-go or snack to quell that angry 3 pm hunger. But navigating the dairy aisle is no easy task; with tons of brands offering “authentic” Greek yogurt lined up on your grocery store shelves, you may need a little help weeding out the good from the bad. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best (and worst) Greek ‘gurts: so you don’t have to stress or even read nutrition labels on your next grocery trip.

Most brands of yogurt contain good-for-you bacteria. The words "live and active cultures" on the container mean that your yogurt has probiotics, beneficial bugs that live in your digestive tract and help crowd out harmful microorganisms that can cause intestinal infections. (Only a very small number of companies put yogurt through a post-pasteurization process that kills off all bacteria.)


Challenge yourself to eat whole-grain pasta versus white flour pasta. Why? Whole-grain pasta contains significantly higher fiber and nutrients than regular pasta. It also contains fewer calories and supplies about three times as much fiber, more protein, as well more B vitamins and minerals than traditional pasta.  So challenge yourself to add more whole grain pasta to your healthier diet.


It’s BBQ and grilling time again. Do you know how many calories you normally consume from typical BBQ food? For example, one serving of Cooking Light's Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce (5oz) contains 206 calories and 5.9 grams of fat. On the other hand, a typical Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork (5oz) equals 336 calories and 20 grams of fat! Try the Cooking Light recipe below. You'll never miss the extra fat and calories. Fire Up Those BBQ Pits, and Let the Grilling Begin!
Cooking Light's Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce


Better fast food choices? Lighten Up Onslow is continuing on our quest to provide you with better choices when you’re eating out. We realize that in a perfect world you would cook healthier meals at home, but we also know that most people don’t have time or maybe the desire to cook. Keeping in mind that you don’t want your entire diet to be based on fast food, there are better choices that you can choose when you eat out.
Example: Arby's® Beef ‘n Cheddar Classic: 440 calories – 18 grams of fat versus Chick-fil-A® Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich: 290 calories – 4 grams of fat. That’s a savings of 150 calories, and 14 grams of fat!


Meeting friends for dinner is certainly something we all look forward to, but when you are counting calories, and trying to eat healthy, ordering healthier choices can be a bit confusing.
To highlight better menu choices, we picked Olive Garden® Restaurant because it is a popular place and one that many people seem to enjoy.
If you choose to order Olive Garden’s Garlic-Herb Chicken, you’ll be ordering 960 calories! But, if you choose their Venetian Apricot Chicken, you’re only getting 360 calories, and a lot less fat. To help you be prepared, it is a good idea to go online and check out the menu before you go out to dinner.
Click here for Olive Garden®’s menu.  Take a look at their “Lighter Italian Fare” section.

M&M's®vs grapes

One day, while at the grocery store checkout counter, you see a large bag of m&m’s®, and it’s on sale! Well, before you grab that bag and go for it, you might want to stop a moment and think about the calories and fat that a bag of m&m’s® candies really represents. Let’s compare ¾ cup of m&m’s® candies and ¾ cup of green grapes. The m&m’s® = 767calories versus the grapes 58 calories. The fat content is even more telling: 33 grams of fat for m&m’s® candies and 0 grams of fat for green grapes. Instead of m&m’s® head for the produce aisle, and pick up some green grapes!

A bowl of Minestrone soup (2 cups) vs pizza

You might be craving a slice or two of pizza, but for 1/16 a slice of pepperoni pizza, you can enjoy a bowl of minestrone soup. Both servings equal 300 calories, but you’ll fill up and enjoy having a whole bowl of soup, versus a skinny sliver of pizza. The more you know, the more you’re in control.

Grapes versus Chocolate

Yes, dark chocolate in moderation is good for you, but did you that grapes are equally as good for you and 3.5 oz of grapes serves up 67 calories and .16 grams of fat. But 3.5 oz of milk chocolate equals 535 calories and a whopping 29.66 grams of fat. Once in a while, a small amount of chocolate is okay, but on a day-to-day basis, grapes or other fruits are a much better choice. Your waistline will thank you!


Healthy Foods Versus Fast Foods

How many French fries would equal the same amount of calories as 1 cup of grape tomatoes?
1 cup of grape = 25 Calories and for 25 calories you can eat 2 French Fries! Which food choice would fill you up more, and would be healthier for you? If you’re counting calories, and eating healthier, the choice is obvious.

Fried Chicken versus Grilled Chicken

How many fat and calories are you saving by choosing baked chicken versus fried chicken. If you ordered 3.5 oz of Hardees fried chicken you would be eating 370 calories and 15 grams of fat. 3.5 oz of grilled chicken equals 190 calories and 7.4 grams of fat. You can see that choosing grilled chicken can save you fat and calories, and over time, help you lose weight, and may even lower your cholesterol.

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