Tasty Tips

A preview for non-subscribers: 15 of our 49 best-ever ways to make healthier eating choices

Posted: 30 January 2004
by Joe Kita

You don’t need a magic potion if you want to shift some weight, fight colds, boost your endurance, defend yourself against major illnesses or run faster and better. All you need is food. Over the years, we’ve brought you some great nuggets of nutritional know-how - some weird, some wonderful - that’ll help make you healthier, fitter and even happier. And now is the perfect time to put those new eating plans into practice. We’ve pulled out 49 of our best food fixes to help you eat smarter and run better. If you're a Runner's World UK magazine subscriber, you can see all 49 here. Otherwise, enjoy these 15 as a preview - and if you want to subscribe, you can save 30% right here.

Feel The Burn
Eating spicy foods will make you eat more slowly, fill you up more quickly and slightly increase your metabolism so you burn more calories – three strong reasons to sprinkle some cayenne on your chicken.

Don’t Get Stoned On Beer
Drinking one beer a day has been associated with a 40 per cent lower risk of developing kidney stones. One explanation is that the hops in beer help to keep calcium from leaching out of bones and taking up residence in your kidneys.

Love The Egg McMuffin
Hard to believe, but you can eat two McDonald’s Egg McMuffins and swallow fewer calories than you would from a bagel with two tablespoons of cream cheese. The McMuffins have 580 calories, 24g fat and 34g protein. The bagel delivers 643kcal, 28g fat and 20g protein.

Drink Ginger Ale Instead Of Cola
Besides packing too many empty calories, colas (including the diet kind) are high in phosphorous, a mineral that can prevent the absorption of calcium. Ginger ale is a better carbonated sugar. It has no phosphorous and as many as 30 fewer calories per glass.

Blot Your Pizza
By blotting the grease on top of a pizza with a kitchen towel you’ll eliminate at least a teaspoon (4.5g) of fat per slice.

Sterilise Your Oysters
The next time you order oysters it may help to add a dash of Tabasco sauce before you gulp them down. Researchers found that spicy sauce kills dangerous bacteria found in raw oysters. Infection is rare but it can be fatal, especially in people with impaired immunity. Tabasco killed the bacteria in less than five minutes.

Drink Cow Juice After Eating Cow
Make that occasional juicy steak even better by washing it down with a glass of skimmed milk. According to research, calcium may help reduce the amount of saturated fat your body absorbs. Like fibre, calcium binds with fat molecules and helps flush them out through the intestines.

Instead Of Seconds, Chew
When sanity dictates that you stop shoving food into your face at the buffet or dinner table, pop mint-flavoured gum into your mouth. It changes the flavour of everything, and it makes that third helping of lasagne almost impossible to swallow.

Press Your Luck
The fact that your beef is brown doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to eat. Meat that’s old or has been exposed to too much air can brown prematurely, making it appear properly cooked. Press down on your burger and note what colour liquid emerges. If the juice is nearly yellow, with no trace of red, it’s safe. If not, send it back.

Freeze Some Melon Balls
Substitute frozen melon balls for ice cubes in fruit drinks; 110g of honeydew melon has 230mg of potassium and 20g of vitamin C.

Sweet Nurtured
If you love jelly babies, here’s the news you’ve been waiting for: they’re one of the best secret weapons a runner can pack. A handful of low-fat sweets will help keep your blood glucose stable during long runs and races. (Low blood glucose causes the dips we get in performance as the body switches from carb to fat burning.)

Make A Better Fish Finger
Fish fingers are the seafood version of hotdogs – delicious, easy, but not too healthy. Here’s a healthier DIY version: cut a salmon or tuna steak into finger-size portions. Dip the sticks into an egg-white batter and roll them in a bowl of breadcrumbs. Stick a few in the freezer, and when you’re feeling peckish simply bake in the oven.

Use Healthy Garnishes
One secret of weight-loss is making bland foods taste great. Smear the right mustard on a low-fat turkey sandwich and it becomes delicious. Use Worcestershire sauce to spruce up steamed broccoli and other healthy foods. Lightly brush barbecue sauce on grilled vegetables, and you’ll find yourself craving that aubergine.

Halve Your Beef And Eat It
Here’s a way to make meaty chilli, pasta sauce or meatballs with a good deal less fat: start with extra-lean minced beef. Crumble your meat and brown it in a frying pan. Watch it sizzle. Next, dump the browned beef onto a dish covered with a double thickness of kitchen paper. Place another paper towel over the meat and blot up the grease. Presto! Fat goes into the towel. Then, to remove even more fat, toss the cooked beef into a strainer and rinse it with hot water. Then squeeze out the water and add the meat to your bolognese. Blotting and rinsing can knock about 50 per cent of the fat from your beef. And you won’t taste the difference.

Fork Out On Chinese
Eating Chinese takeaway with chopsticks isn’t just a way of showing off – it’s much healthier than shovelling your chow mein down with a spoon. Scoop your takeaway out of the carton or bowl with chopsticks – or a fork – and you’ll be more likely to leave behind the fatty, artery-clogging sauce.

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Discuss this article

In the morning I eat prunes, grapefruit segments, mandarin segments and yogurt first and then either cereal or beans on toast etc. after.
Is this correct, or should I eat the fruit after the cereal etc. for optimum digestion?
Posted: 11/09/2005 at 21:50

It probably doesn't make a great deal of difference. It all gets well and truly mixed together where it's gone down the wee red brae ;o)

I'd do it your way, though - fruit first, then cereal.

Posted: 11/09/2005 at 21:55

What we read tells us that fruit, and particularly apples shouldn't be eaten after a meal. On an empty stomach it gets digested very quickly. After other food which digests more slowly, the fruit gets stuck in the gut and starts to rot, leading to bloatedness and weight problems.

So I guess you're right.
Posted: 11/09/2005 at 22:02

Thanks to Velociraptor and Running commentary for their response.
Posted: 12/09/2005 at 21:32

Sounds like you are a healthy guy.

The sugars in the fruit are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, so these will help you on longish runs especially.

Importantly, so I read, this will aid your recover after your run. So I guess you wont feel as drained.

I cant run on a full stomach, and run so early that I dont want to get up and eat a lot so early anyway.

If I am running for less than an hour I will just have a drink of orange cordial. For more than an hour I will add sugars (glucose, maltodextrin) to my cordial, I will also carry a water bottle with the same in, and I may even eat a banana or a cereal bar.

Sounds to me like you've got it sorted already....
Posted: 13/09/2005 at 09:17

If I am going for a run I will have a small breakfast ,fruit and cereal say, wiat for twenty minutes then do a warm up then do the run. After the run I will have a protein based shake to aid my muscle recovery.
Posted: 13/09/2005 at 21:54

It's difficult to digest food and run properly at the same time. Both processes require large quantities of oxygen. Eat 2 - 4 hours before you run so it's properly digested.

I ran 20 miles this morning (out at 6:00) on a mug of tea before the run and one litre of sports drink during it.
Posted: 13/09/2005 at 21:59

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