Success Without Sacrifice During Thanksgiving!!
November 21, 2018
Thanksgiving is a magical time of family, friends, and lots and lots of FOOD. To better help you reach your goals, below are my 5 tips for a successful Thanksgiving weekend.
1) ENJOY YOURSELF-Holidays are meant to be enjoyed and this includes enjoying the decadent menu that’s being served. I’ll encourage you to practice mindful eating to the best of your abilities, however, if you find yourself eating that second piece of pumpkin pie, please remember that it’s going to be okay.
2) NO SHAME OR GUILT ALLOWED-I want you to wake up the day after Thanksgiving saying ” What a great day! I had so much fun catching up with my loved ones and I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life”. Believe it or not, you cannot shame or guilt your way into better health habits. If you happen to overeat on Thanksgiving, remember that you’re not a failure, you’re not weak, and you’re not unsuccessful. You’re simply only human and that’s a wonderful and complicated thing.
3) DON'T FORGET YOUR GOALS-Being successful at reaching health goals requires one important concept….not forgetting about the goal. It’s easy to get sidetracked during the holidays as there are a lot of temptations to overeat and be sedentary. However, allowing yourself to enjoy special occasions while not letting your goals escape your memory is a surefire way to guarantee success.
4) THANKSGIVING IS ONLY ONE DAY, NOT FOUR-If you celebrate Thanksgiving over multiple days, maybe you only eat one plate of appetizers or one serving of dressing to balance out your calorie intake. One day of indulgence=no worries. However, 4 days of indulging=an unpleasant and miserable weighted down Monday.
5) BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR BODY. NOW USE IT! Move! Move! Move!. I can’t stress enough how exercising helps tremendously with managing weight and blood sugar control during the holidays. Go for a walk after big meals, organize a family football game, or attend a morning exercise class to help you burn extra calories and feel better after eating rich, decadent food.
Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!
Tips an Tricks for Helping with Halloween Indulgences
October 30, 2018
Halloween has arrived! The Jack Lanterns are lit, the kids are trick-or-treating, the witches are flying, and the ghosts and goblins are screaming “BOO” to anyone and everyone they meet. Yes, Halloween is a day filled with fun, games, costumes, frightened faces, and….lots and lots of CANDY! Forget about the ghosts and goblins scaring you, or that haunted house that left you trembling in fear. The real undeniable fear is the huge amount of sugar, fat, and calories buried deep inside your child’s Halloween bag, or in that candy bowl sitting next to you as you graze while waiting for the next adorable child to ring the bell saying “trick-or-treat”. When you stop and think about the implications and ramifications of all the candy, it’s not just scary, it’s downright terrifying!!
Now, I will be the first to admit, that as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I love candy. I have a deep deep love for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and I wish I could eat them whenever I wanted. During my college years, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were my go-to when studying for hard tests such as organic chemistry or microbiology. They also were a big reason why I struggled more with weight during those years than I do today. It’s not because I no longer enjoy eating Reese’s, far from it. It’s just that I’ve since learned about the power of food and the power of calories in weight management, and nowadays I think before indulging in empty calorie foods. And yes, Reese’s and any/all Halloween candy are empty calories.
The fact is, food is simply not just for fuel. In the logical sense, yes, food really is only needed for fuel. But on days like today, Halloween candy is eaten (in excessive amounts) because it’s what we do here in America. And as a nutritionist, I think that behavior is just fine….for TODAY and TODAY only. But what’s the plan for tomorrow and the next few months? How are you going to avoid eating candy daily with so many yummy Reese’s, Snickers, KitKats, Butterfingers, and M&M’s staring you in the face? On average, every Halloween sized candy contains in the order of 2 teaspoons of sugar and the calories of 2 Oreo cookies. And I bet on Halloween, most kids (and adults) are consuming 10 or more Halloween treats, which is 20 or more teaspoons of sugar. That’s the equivalent of calories and sugar in more than half an entire package of Oreos (there are 36 cookies in a package of Oreos).
So how are you and/or kids going to moderate your candy intake? Can you moderate it, or do you need to completely avoid it after Halloween’s over? I challenge each and every one of you to seriously think about what approach works best for you so you can better manage your weight and overall health. However, to help you with this process, I provided some strategies for a successful Halloween day- after-effect. Some of these strategies include:
1) Eat as much candy as you want on Halloween, and get rid of it the next day. Donate it, ship it to the soldiers overseas, bring it to the office, or throw it away, if necessary. Do what you need to do to be healthy!
2) Pick out your favorite pieces and put 2 pieces in a Zip lock snack bag. Each day tell yourself “Today, I’m only allowed to eat what’s in this bag”. This will help tremendously with portion control and it will be a huge calorie savings.
3) Put the candy in a place that’s difficult to reach or annoying to obtain. The very back of the closet, an outside shed or garage, behind a large heavy object that would need to be moved in order to grab a piece. Make the candy annoying and uncomfortable to obtain, and I promise you, you will eat less.
4) The average fun size piece of candy is roughly 80-120 calories. The average 150lb person burns roughly 100 calories for every mile of exercise. If you want a piece of candy, commit to doing at least 15-20 minutes of moderate cardio in order to eat a piece. This won’t burn off every calorie, but it will help out A LOT.
5) Avoid candy all together on Halloween and the proceeding days. Now, this is the most extreme option, and many will think I’m crazy for even suggesting such a thing. However, some people really do better with avoidance vs. moderation on trigger foods such as candy and sweets. Also, if you’re focused on losing weight and you don’t want anything inferring with your goals, you may decide to forgo eating any Halloween candy this year. Whatever you choose, that’s okay. Own your decision!
I admit I’m a stickler about too much exposure to indulgent foods such as candy and sweets. It’s not because I’m a boring or a “square” person. But rather a concerned nutritionist who wants to see people enjoy the holidays, but to also have a plan for how they’re going to continue moving forward with achieving and maintaining health. Halloween is the kick start of the holiday season, and if one doesn’t pay attention and monitor the “extras” such as candy, desserts, and sweets, it could lead to a significant impact on one’s health come January. So go ahead, eat all the Halloween candy you want, TODAY,….but don’t forget about a plan for tomorrow and the next few months. You and your health deserve this!!!
Happy Halloween Everyone!!!
Go Further With Food with Meal Planning!
March 11, 2018
Cooking is fun! Eating is enjoyable! Meal planning is hard! I, a registered dietitian nutritionist, have struggled with meal planning. I would get this great meal idea in my head, buy the ingredients, and then change my mind or forget what it was I was going to cook. However, after years of trial and error, dedication, and practice, I'm now starting to get the hang of it. Below are some tips I want you to know regarding meal planning that will help make the whole process a little bit easier.
1. There isn’t a perfect meal planning system. I know this may shock you, but it’s true. There are so many different ways to plan meals and no one way is superior over the other. It comes down to practice, patience, and personal preference. My advice:
• Whether it be digital, a home delivery service, or old-fashioned paper and pen, pick one system and try it out for at least a month before quitting.
• Proper meal planning takes time. It’s about developing new habits that will last
• Give the system time to work; you can always tweak it later.
2. It’s not just about what you want to eat, it’s about what ingredients you have available. Food is expensive and I don’t want to see anyone waste it. Meal planning is about making use of what food you already have at your disposal and not always relying on recipes that require you to buy more food. It’s about knowing what to do with the leftover chicken from last night’s dinner. Remembering that you have frozen broccoli and asparagus in the freezer. Thawing a package of ground beef so you are prepared to cook a meal in the coming days. The great challenge of meal planning comes from being able to utilize your resources.
3. Meal preparation doesn’t have to start at night. Nights are busy. There is homework to get done, school events and basketball games to attend, and TV shows to watch. You don’t have time to wait until the last minute to start meal prep. Think about what you can accomplish on weekends or in the morning to reduce the time spent preparing meals. Maybe it’s grilling some chicken breast for lunches during the week, washing a head of lettuce for salads, or setting out all the spices and herbs you need to make that new recipe. Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish during 5-10 minutes of meal prep. Your goal should be whenever you start making dinner, you’re already halfway done.
4. Mondays are for easy meals. If you’re like me, then you hate Mondays. On Mondays stick to basic meals you’ve made a million times. If you dare try a new recipe on Monday make sure it has 5 or less simple ingredients. This is not the time to try that new multi-step, multi-ingredient recipe. Give yourself every chance to succeed and this means taking it easy at the beginning of the week.
5. Establish meal themes/templates. When following a theme or meal template most of the work is done for you. Assign a food theme to each/or few days of the week to help narrow down ideas. Common themes used are taco night, pizza night, rice night, Asian night, egg night, etc. You can also get more creative by doing crockpot night, soup night, meatless night, etc. There are so many themes/templates to choose from that you shouldn’t be bored with your meals.
Vegan Vegetable Soup
January 6, 2018
This delicious vegan vegetable soup is a excellent way to add volume and bulk to meals, without consuming a bunch of extra calories. Plus…it’s versatile and highly nutritious. Enjoy!
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 32oz. carton of vegetable broth. Buy an extra carton of broth in case you need extra.
• 1/2 of a red onion, diced
• 3 celery stalks, diced
• 3 medium carrots, diced
• 1 small head of broccoli, broken into florets
• 1 cup chopped tomatoes
• 2 cups spinach, de-stemmed and torn in pieces
• 6 stalks of asparagus
• 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
• a handful of pea pods, any type, halved if large
• several mushrooms, sliced
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
• fine-grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Heat olive oil in pan. Gently sauté the shallot and garlic for a few minutes until softened.
2. Add the broth to the pan, along with the onion, celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus. Sauté for several minutes until vegetables are soft. Add the pea pods, purple cabbage, and mushrooms. Sauté a few minutes longer.
3. Add turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
4. Add any extra water or broth if too much evaporates.
5. Pour into bowls and serve.
Recipe produces 6-8 servings
Are You A Mindful Eater?
June 24, 2017
When you first taste food, do you try and give it your full attention? Do you think about all the nourishment and joy food provides your body than simply eating because you’re hungry? Is food an emotional crutch, or the substance you need to live a happy, healthy, and productive life?
To me, eating mindfully is directing my attention to the aroma, flavor, and enjoyment I get from food while slowing down and savoring every bite, and stopping when I feel full and satisfied. Mindful eating can be an effective weight loss tool when followed consistently. Sometimes mindful eating can be described as intuitive eating where an individual follows their body’s natural hunger signals instead of tracking calories and macronutrients for weight loss. Below are some helpful ways for you to follow mindful eating in your life:
1). Slow down your eating pace. Allow your body and your brain to connect. When you eat fast, your brain isn’t able to catch up and recognize that your body’s is full and doesn’t need more food. Some studies have cited that it can take up to 20 minutes to establish a brain-body connection while eating.
2). Know the difference between hunger and emotional eating. Do you eat because your bored, tired, stressed, happy, etc.? Or do you eat because your stomach growls, you have a headache, your experiencing low blood sugar, or because your unable to focus, etc.? It’s important that you know your body signals so you can avoid consuming excess calories that negatively impact health.
3). Develop healthy eating environments. Avoid eating alone if possible. Many studies have cited that eating with others promotes a positive and healthy eating environment where people often consume less calories than eating alone.
4) Choose food for health, not emotion. Choose foods that boost your health, not cater to your emotions. Emotional eating is a powerful force that often causes people to choose unhealthy high fat, high sugar foods that promote weight gain, which further exacerbates negative emotions. Find other activities to soothe your emotions such as reading, taking a walk, meditation, calling a friend etc. Food is not the answer to emotional health!
For more tips and information on mindful eating, you can access the Center for Mindful Eating website at www.thecenterformindfuleating.org. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any additional information or to schedule an individual appointment.
“A healthy lifestyle takes confidence, knowledge, and persistence to achieve, but never disappoints when it finally arrives”.