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Healthy Snacks for Traveling

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For many people, summer is a time for fun in the sun, relaxation, and vacation. As great as it is to travel, it can also be a challenge in terms of sticking to your nutrition goals. Long trips in the car can lead frequent stops at rest areas where the choice of food and snacks can be limiting and often times, really unhealthy. The key is to plan ahead. Before hitting the road, visit your local supermarket and stock up on healthy snacks. Pack them in a portable cooler to help you save time and money when traveling, and to keep you on track with healthy eating. You’ll be glad you did!

Here is a list of items I recommend. They pack well, taste great, and will keep you fuller longer. Strive for lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats, and high fiber complex carbs. Eat your proteins and carbs at the same time to maintain proper blood sugar balance. This will help you stay energized and focused and avoid needing large amounts of caffeine.

Make sure to pack your cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs to keep your items cold and to avoid spoilage. Also be sure to include plenty of bottled water to help you stay hydrated and avoid high calorie juices, sports drinks, and sodas that are loaded with sugar, colors, and other artificial ingredients.

Fruits and Veggies:

  • Baby carrots
  • Bell pepper slices
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cucumber slices
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Peaches

Protein:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Vermont Beef/Turkey/Pork sticks
  • Protein Bars (RX, Lara, Zing, Kind)
  • Siggi’s yogurt
  • Lifeway Kefir
  • Babybel Cheese

Healthy Fats:

  • Hummus cups
  • Guacamole cups
  • Justin’s peanut butter packets
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds

Complex Carbs:

  • Brown rice cakes
  • Pecan Thins
  • Almond Thins

Hydration:

  • Bottled Water
  • LaCroix sparkling water
  • Hint Flavored Water

Healthy Eating For the Holidays: 8 Tips on How To Avoid Those Extra Pounds

jenlar27 No Comments

It’s that time of year again… the holidays!

This is by far one of the most challenging periods for many people in terms of staying on track with their nutrition and exercise goals.

While the coming weeks are meant for celebration and spending time with family and friends, the holidays tend to bring with them unwanted weight gain. Most often this is a result of parties and events that include an abundance of high calorie appetizers, dense meals, sugary baked goods, and extra alcohol.

If that’s not hard enough, studies show that individuals tend to be more stressed and/or depressed during this time of year, which can lead to binge eating, less motivation to exercise, and poor sleep – all of which can lead to extra pounds.

So how can you stay on track with your goals yet still take part in the festivities?

Here are 8 tips that I recommend:


1. Don’t skip meals – If you have a party or event to attend, I always recommend sticking to a regular eating schedule versus “saving” all of your calories for that one big meal. Chances are, you’ll arrive at the party starving and you’ll eat way more then you intended. Skipping meals leads to an uneven distribution of calories and macronutrients, blood sugar imbalance, and cravings. Instead, have balanced meals and snacks throughout the day that include protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and fiber. You’ll arrive steady and clear focused, with the ability to stick to proper portion sizes.

2. Bring a “safe” dish – Think of this as an insurance policy that at there will be at least one healthy dish available, and that is because you will be the one bringing it. Offer to bring a green salad, a veggie tray, or maybe a low carb appetizer like deviled eggs with avocado. Whatever it is that you bring, fill up on it if there are no other healthy choices available.

3. Step away from the table – A common mistake that we are all guilty of is standing next to or near the buffet table as we talk and socialize. This can lead to mindless eating as we continue to reach down and load our plate over and over and over. Instead, fill your plate and walk to another area of the room to socialize. That way, if you want to go back for seconds you will have to excuse yourself from the conversation and consciously walk back to the table for more. This will make you much more aware of your overall intake. 

4. Exercise before you go – Getting some physical activity prior to a big meal can be a great way to stay motivated and acquire some discretionary calories. Hit the gym, go for a run, take a brisk walk, whatever you can do to get a workout in. You’ll feel so much better that you did.

5. Portion your indulgences – Allow yourself to indulge in moderation, but don’t lose site of portions. Being mindful of portion sizes can go a long way in terms of keeping off those unwanted pounds. At main meals, balance your plate with two servings of vegetables, 4-5 oz of lean protein, about ½ cup of complex carbs, plus 1-2 servings of healthy fats for an optimal combination. For simple carbs like bread, alcohol or dessert, decide which ones you will include versus which ones you will forgo, and portion them appropriately. For example, 1 serving of wine is only 5oz.

6. Be mindful when you eat – This means slowing down, avoiding distractions, limiting stressful circumstances, sitting at the table, chewing thoroughly, and savoring your food using all of your senses. You will get the most out of your meals, and will likely feel more satiated causing you to eat less. 

7. Breathe – When stress gets the best of you, don’t forget to stop and breathe. Deep belly breathing can be a great way to reduce oxidative stress, calm anxiety, and help you focus. The best thing of all is that this can be done anywhere. Allow yourself at least 5 minutes each day to breathe deeply. This can be especially helpful if you find that stress is dictating your food choices.

8. Don’t skimp on sleep – Studies show that individuals who get less then 7 hours of sleep tend to have a harder time losing weight and are at a higher risk of insulin resistance. Prioritize your sleep by setting a bedtime each night and sticking to it. Proper sleep will help to ward off cravings, and will provide you with the energy needed to stick to your workouts.

Try these tips to help you successfully navigate through the holiday season and stay in balance.

For more information on nutrition counseling services, contact me here.

 

Exercise: How Much Should I Be Getting to Lose Weight?

jenlar27 No Comments

It’s no secret that exercise, along with a healthy diet will help us to lose weight. So why is it so hard for individuals to get motivated to exercise?

One thing I have seen in practice is that many people envision exercise as hours at the gym, running on the treadmill or sweating it out in spin class. This can seem intimidating to most folks, especially if they are pressed for time each week. My clients often tell me that their schedule is their greatest deterrent to meeting their exercise goals. I can totally relate to this. As a working mom, I have definitely found it challenging to meet my goal of exercising 4x per week. What has helped me is to understand that I don’t need to be spending hours at the gym to get the job done. Daily exercise is achievable in all sorts of ways. Read below to find out how you can incorporate more into your routine.

Let’s start with the basics and understanding how much time should we be striving to exercise each week.

The current guidelines for exercise are:

At least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise = 30 minutes per day, 5x per week. This includes activities such as walking, casual bike riding, or gardening

OR

At least 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise = 25 minutes per day 3x per week. This includes things such as running, biking, swimming, or aerobics.

OR

A combination of the two

AND

At least 2 days per week of strength training

These guidelines are recommended for overall heart health and for healthy weight maintenance.

So when it comes down to it, a simple 30 minutes per day will lower our risk of heart disease and help us to better maintain a healthy weight.

Don’t have a full 30 minutes per day to devote to exercise? One technique that has worked for my clients is to space apart or distribute exercise throughout the day, just like we do with meals. Try walking for 15 minutes at lunch, then 15 minutes in the evening. You’ve got yourself a full 30 minutes by day’s end. Strive to do this 5x per week to meet the minimum guidelines for moderate exercise. But you can also count activities such as walking the dog, playing ball with your kids, or parking further away. The point is to just be as active as you can whenever the opportunity arises in order to meet your goals.

Another recommendation is to try High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. This is a type of exercise that involves quick and intense bursts of exercise with interval rest periods. HIIT would count as vigorous exercise. Studies show that HIIT is extremely effective at burning calories. The best part is, you can produce a large calorie burn in a small amount of time. So for all those folks out there who enjoy the gym but are pressed for time, HIIT training may a great form of exercise to add in.

My absolute favorite form of exercise, and the one that has worked best for me, is strength training. Strength training has SO many benefits. Strength training decreases body fat, increases lean muscle mass, burns calories, and raises metabolism. Who wouldn’t want that?? But did you know that strength training can also help to develop strong bones and lower the risk for osteoporosis. For women approaching the age of perimenopause or menopause, this is absolutely essential. As if that isn’t enough, strength training can also help to reduce chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, heart disease, and diabetes.

Strength training does not necessarily have to occur in the gym. There are many forms of strength training that utilize your own body weight such as planks, push ups, squats, and leg lunges to name a few. You can do these in your own home, office or when traveling. When my work schedule started to compromise my gym time, it helped to know I could still incorporate strength training into my routine a few times per week. I began with a small goal of training 2 days per week at the gym for 30-60 minutes and 1 day per week at home, and built up from there. I also sought the expertise of a certified personal trainer to make sure I was working out safely and using proper form. Once I had a routine that worked for me and my schedule, I was back on track with my fitness goals.

Adding in strength training to my routine has made a huge difference for me, and my clients who have incorporated at least 2 days of strength training have also seen great results.

If you can’t meet the minimum requirements for cardiovascular exercise or strength training, I still encourage you to set a small, achievable goal.

Two recent studies that compared the lifespan of individuals who exercised in accordance to the current guidelines and beyond showed that even the slightest amount of physical activity was better then none. Individuals who met the guidelines reduced their risk of premature death by 31%. Those who exceeded the guidelines reduced their risk by 39%. Even those who fell slightly short of the guidelines still had a longer life span then individuals who did not exercise at all.

If you want to learn more about how exercise along with a healthy diet can help you achieve your weight loss goals, contact me today to set up an appointment. I would love to work with you!

Strategies to Avoid Stress Eating

jenlar27 No Comments

Picture this… a plate of food, a laptop, and a deadline. You are mindlessly snacking as you try to answer emails, review work documents, write your latest blog post…you get the picture. After a few minutes you look down. The plate of food is empty, and you have no recollection of what you just consumed, nor did you get any satisfaction from eating it. What’s worse? You may still be hungry and continue to eat more.

Eating on the go, eating while we are rushed, eating mindlessly while working on our computers or devices, snacking in front of the TV. Sound familiar? It can happen to any one of us, even a dietitian.

Two strategies that can help you stay on track with your nutrition goals are Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating.

Mindful Eating (which is adopted from the principle of Mindfulness) is all about being present and avoiding distractions at meals, such as eating while on your laptop or cell phone. It is about SLOWING DOWN, taking the time to eat, and using all of your senses to get the most out of your experience. An example might be taking the time to prepare your food by hand. Once on your plate, taking the time to notice the color, smell the aroma, or even hold the food on your tongue for a few minutes to detect the flavors; all before eating it. Mindful eating can allow us to savor our meals and to view food as nourishment and fuel. Being mindful at meals can make food much more satisfying, and studies show that mindful eating can be a powerful tool for maintaining a healthy weight. Check out this guide to learn more about Mindfulness and Mindful eating.

Intuitive Eating is a positive approach to eating. It involves 10 key principles, which you can learn by clicking here.

Two principles that can help avoid stress eating are the ability to recognize and respect your fullness, and to honor your feelings without using food. Respecting your fullness means eating until you are satisfied, not stuffed. As children, we were born with an innate sense of our hunger cues. We ate when we were hungry and we stopped when we were full. As adults, we can easily lose site of these cues and instead eat when we are stressed, anxious, bored, or lonely. Intuitive eating helps you to recognize these emotions and to realize that food won’t fix any of them. Eating intuitively can reacquaint you with your inner hunger cues, and teach you how to respect and honor your food choices because those choices are unique to you. Simply put, it embraces the notion that you are the expert of your own body, and you have the wisdom to build a positive and healthy relationship with food.

Both Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating can help you avoid the pitfalls of stress eating. Taking time each day to slow down, respect your hunger, and respect your fullness can go a long way toward helping you reach your healthy eating goals.

 

 

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