I’m thinking everyone knows I’m (once again) on a quest to ‘lighten up’ and start treating my body with a bit more respect. While I do feel emotional eating is the biggest part of why many (most) struggle with weight, particularly the very overweight & obese, I still feel these ideas to help lighten up are great for anyone, whether you are on a quest to lose weight, or just want to reduce the empty/worthless calories you consume.
One Small Change: Healthy Swaps for Three Common Cravings
by Jason Machowsky in Healthy Tips, July 15, 2013
What makes junk food so appealing? Emotional eating aside, it often comes down to two things: taste (sweet, salty) and texture (creamy, fizzy, crunchy). In my humble opinion, if we can mimic those qualities in healthier options, then upgrading eating habits becomes an easier task. So let’s tackle three commonly craved foods: soda, chips, and mayonnaise.
Soda. A “refreshing” couple hundred of calories will spike your blood sugar and provide no nutrients. So what keeps us drawn to soda? It’s usually the fizz factor and the sweet taste. Consider which aspects of soda attract you to it, and then find the right substitute.
The Healthy Swaps:
Seltzer or Sparkling Water If you like the fizz, carbonated beverages can serve as a great substitute. Naturally flavored versions are available if you want a taste of orange, berry, lemon-lime and more. Flavored Water If you prefer getting some taste with your fluids but don’t want the fizz, you can easily add some flavor to your water. You can use lemon or lime (fresh or from the squeeze bottle), or a splash of your favorite juice for a little sweetness. You can even use a splash of juice with seltzer too.
Chips. Crunchiness and saltiness are the key components of chips. Unfortunately, chips can also pack lots of extra calories from added oils and frying. Plus, the low water and fiber content of chips can lead us to consume multiple servings without realizing (to give you an idea, one serving of chips is only a palmful).
The Healthy Swaps:
Baked beet, sweet potato or kale chips Variety is the spice of life, so give these chip alternatives a shot. Baking can help reduce the amount of oil used, and spices can give them a flavorful kick – thyme, rosemary, garlic or just good old pepper. Popped popcorn will allow you to eat more for the same amount of calories: 2 to 3 cups of popcorn is equal to about one ounce of chips. Popcorn also comes with a lot of fiber. Rather than using Crunchy veggies Carrots, celery and water chestnuts are just a few of many veggies that deliver lots of crunch without lots of calories. Try them with your sandwich.
Mayonnaise. Most people like mayo for the creamy texture and its ability to carry flavors (fat carries flavor, and mayo has lots of fat!). When we make a swap, we need to maintain a creamy texture and keep the fat content relatively high, with a focus on healthy, plant-based fats.
The Healthy Swaps:
Hummus. Typically made from chickpeas, sesame seeds and olive oil, hummus has about half the calories of mayo. Plus it has some protein and fiber! Hummus usually comes in a range of flavors, so you can customize the spread to your sandwich or dish. Avocado With a slightly nutty flavor, avocado can boost the taste of any sandwich or salad, with fewer calories than mayonnaise. To take it a step further, make some guacamole with garlic, onion, tomato, lime juice and cilantro and use as a spread or as a dip for fresh veggies.
Tell Us: What are some of your favorite healthy swaps?
Through his book and blog, Death of the Diet, Jason Machowsky, MS, RD, CSCS, empowers people to live the life they want by integrating healthy eating and physical activity habits into their daily routines.
You can follow him on Twitter @JMachowskyRDFit.
I admit struggling with what to write about for this week’s blog; with a big birthday coming up (yikes) I have suddenly become more mindful of not only what I eat, but how much I move. I will be the first to admit this is not a glamorous topic to write about. Sadly, I no longer have the metabolism of a teenage girl (nor the fashion choices) and I have to make extra effort every day to eat less & move more.
To assist in my pursuit for daily healthfulness, I recently purchased a Fitbit, which tracks the amount of steps I take each day. This device has been a great reminder to move more after my daily exercise is done. It is easy to achieve your 10,000 steps when you go out for a run, but don’t forget what you do the rest of the day matters almost as much. Research has shown that we are healthier when we move throughout the day, not just during our daily exercise routine. Additionally, other habits such as alcohol consumption, sleep & screen time make a big difference in our quest for weight management. I am aware that extended couch spent watching DVR Downton Abbey reruns won’t do much for my derriere. So for now I will relish the end of my 30’s, move more and only watch one Downton Abbey episode at a time.
Check out this great link from Appetite for Health 3 Diet Rules to Live By
- Limit alcohol
- Get enough sleep
- Limit screen time
- Chicken: baked, grilled or broiled & a great source of protein. Fish, lean meat, tofu are terrific as well.
- Fruits & Veggies: High in fiber & water, they fill you up without blowing your calorie budget. Aim for 5-9 servings every day. Snack on them, add to recipes or make them the start of a meal.
Source: The Real Skinny
Food Rules: Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food
- Meat is a nourishing food in small amounts
- Near vegetarians “flexitarians” can be just as healthy as vegetarians
- Portion power: 4 oz meat & 8 oz veggies (average
American eats over ½ lb meat per day!)
Source: Michael Pollen Food Rules
- Broth based soups: add a feeling of fullness & keep you from overindulging in the main course; try miso, vegetable soup, gazpacho.
- Beans & legumes: tasty, versatile & nutritious; combine with low calorie vegetables.
- Nuts: high in protein & slow to digest, but watch portions.
Source: The Real Skinny
4 ea ripe plums, peaches &/or nectarines
8 slices watermelon, 1″ thick
Sea salt (optional)
Local honey, goat cheese or fresh peach ice cream
1. Brush fruit with olive oil
2. Place on preheated grill, medium high heat
3. Cook 3 minutes each side, until grill marks appear
4. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt
Serve with local honey, goat cheese & grilled bread as appetizer or fresh peach ice cream as dessert
It’s back to school time and you know what that means, early wakeup, homework and of course school lunches. This is the first year one of my little people requires a daily lunch and one would think a dietitian who enjoys cooking would have this one in the bag (literally at least). Unfortunately packing lunches has become a dreaded task since most of my ideas are met with disdain by my six year old. My challenges have nothing to do with lack of ideas, knowledge or even creativity. Oliver wants the same foods every day and quite simply does not enjoy eating lunch. This is a question I get from countless parents, what to do when my child does not want to eat. We all know about the importance of good nutrition for school performance but what happens when our child won’t eat what we provide? For more on this topic, check out this link: Lunch
My simple (semi) solutions:
1. Make his lunch appealing. A friend of mine turned me onto these containers for the lunch box. Foods I know Oliver will accept like carrots with ranch dip and peanut butter sandwiches look more appealing in colorful containers.
2. Temperature control: my son’s biggest complaint is his sandwich gets warm so I added these freezer packs to keep the temperature under control.
3. Bargain. I know some might disagree but Oliver gets a dark chocolate kiss in his lunch along with his carrots
There is still hope, right?! I have mentally packed away my creative lunch box ideas until Oliver miraculously decides he loves lunch (or until the next Meyer child heads to school).
Food Rules: Eat mostly plants, especially leaves
- A diet rich in fruit & vegetables reduces the risk of dying
from Western disease (think cancer, heart disease, etc).
- A plant rich diet is typically lower in calories & less
“energy dense” (more food, less calories)
- Vegetarians are healthier & live longer than carnivores
(i.e. meat eaters)
Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules
Marcus Samuelsson lends his name to a wonderful food blog. I encourage you to check it out: Marcus Samuelsson food blog. The most recent post is titled “The Best Seasonal Recipes for August” by Christopher Stewart, Aug 8, 2013. (check out that salad above…how delicious does that look?!?) Some of the recipes from his blog may be a bit out there for most accounts, but the list of seasonal items that we should be offering & eating now is spot on! Here are a few of my suggestions for recipes we can use in just about any account!
Blackberries – Blackberry Spinach Salad Also, Check out the Cheftec recipe for Berry Cobbler…it’s super easy & delicious!
Celery – ok…not so many great recipes out there featuring Celery, but it’s certainly a star as a back up performer! Chicken Salad, Chicken Noodle Soup, Potato Salad, Jambalaya, etc just wouldn’t be the same with out!
Cantaloupe – Spinach Cantaloupe Salad with Mint
In Cheftec – Rebecca’s Chilled Cantaloupe Coconut Lime Soup Yummmmmmm
Garlic – …see celery above….
Plums – Chicken Breasts with Plum Salsa Try some of the many ‘old fashioned’ style desserts too…Plum Buckle, Plum Crisp, Plum Clafouti. They’re all similar, kind of different variations on the cobbler, and all delicious!
Potatoes – There are just WAAAY too many to choose from! One of my faves, that uses many of these seasonal ingredients, is a Nicoise salad. Use any type of seafood…tho it’s traditionally made with tuna (albacore canned or try the Ahi Tuna Pieces from PFG!) It’s got tomatoes, potatoes, green beans & garlic! Works really well as an action station!
Tomatillos -Ok, this one was tough for me because I’m not very fond of tomatillos. However, lots of folks are, so try these recipes: White Bean Chicken Chili (use FRESH tomatillos in it!) Add Roasted Tomatillo & Garlic Salsa to your next Mexican food bar!
- Use mint as a fly repellent. Small sachets of crushed mint can be placed around the home to discourage flies.
- Bay leaves, cloves and eucalyptus wrapped in small cheesecloth squares can be hung by open windows or doors.
- Place a small, open container of sweet basil and clover near pet food or any open food in the house.
- A few drops of eucalyptus oil on a scrap of absorbent cloth will deter flies. Leave in areas where flies are a problem.