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Tuesday Tip of the Week – Healthy Superbowl Tips

For many of my clients, the Superbowl is the first big test of their dietary resolve.

Chili, chips, dips, alcohol, and sweet treats can all add up and ruin all of the hard health and wellness work you’ve put in this year.

Fortunately, you can still enjoy the big game and stick to your diet goals, just follow a few simple tips:

  1. Make smart choices about what you eat.
    • Sure, potato chips and pepperoni pizza are delicious, but they can wreck your diet goals.  Look for tasty ways to satisfy your hunger while still staying healthy.  For example, substitute roasted vegetables for pepperoni on your pizza or choose whole grain crackers over potato chips.
    • Load up on fresh raw vegetables rather than pretzels or popcorn.
    • Replace fat laden dips with hummus, salsa, or use greek yogurt in place of sour cream in dip recipes.
    • Guacamole is another great dip option, but use it sparingly.  Remember even though it contains “healthy”  Omega-3 fatty acids it is still high in fat calories.
    • Skip extras like shredded cheese, sour cream, or barbeque sauces on you chili, nachos, or burger.
    • Try a grilled chicken breast in place of a hot dog or burger and skip the bun.
  2. Limit or avoid alcohol.
    • Alcohol not only adds nonessential calories, it can also lower your inhibitions and make you to eat more.
    • Replace alcohol with sparkling water flavored with lime or orange slices, iced tea, kombucha or a tasty mocktail.
    • If you absolutely must drink, limit your intake to no more than 1-2 drinks.
  3. Practice portion control.
    • It is okay to nibble on a few of your party favorites, but limit yourself to 2-3 special treats and if possible limit yourself to a single serving of each.  Check packaging for a serving size or use the chart below.
    • Another good trick is to eat 50% of what you normally would.  For example, if you would normally eat 4 slices of pizza, stop yourself a 2 slices or if you eat a large bowl of chili with corn bread, serve yourself a smaller bowl and cut the corn bread in half.

Following these tips may not save you total calories, but at least the calories you ingest will be healthier and serve your body better than traditional, less healthy options loaded with refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and alcohol.

Check back on Thursday for some delicious Superbowl recipes to help you stay on track to a healthier lifestyle!

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Basic Hummus

Hummus is quick and easy to prepare and makes a delicious nutritious snack.

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Combine garbanzo beans, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, water, and garlic in a food processor.  Process all ingredients until smooth.
  • Garnish with paprika and parsley.
  • Serve with whole grain crackers, raw vegetables, or chicken.

 

*If you’re looking for a little variety, try replacing the tahini with 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, pureed pumpkin, or chopped jalapenos.

 


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Tuesday Tip of the Week – Some Exercise is Better than No Exercise

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We all experience days when we are short on time, but that is no excuse to skip a workout.

Even if you do not have time for a full workout, aim to get at least 15 minutes of exercise in per day.  Try taking a brisk walk, doing bodyweight exercises (squats, lunges, and pushups anyone?) while watching TV, or do a quick yoga class on youtube.

 


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How to Choose a Workout Buddy

A few days ago I recommended finding a buddy to workout with (Find a Buddy) to help keep you motivated, accountable, and give you support.

Who you choose as a workout buddy depends upon what type of partner you want.

Do you want someone to serve as a role-model or mentor for your fitness endeavors?      Then you may want to pick someone with a  more experience and expertise then you have.

Are you looking for someone to help push you to the next level in your fitness journey by serving as a spotter and maintaining your form?  If so, you choose a buddy with similar strength and skills as you.  Your workout buddy will expect you to be able to return the favor by spotting them and ensuring they perform exercises safely.

Perhaps you simply need someone to help keep you motivated and offer encouragement as you travel down your path to fitness.  In that case, a close friend, family member, or life coach may be all you need to reach your goals.

If you want a buddy to workout with look for someone who has similar goals and schedule.  If you want to get leaner and stronger and your partner wants to run a marathon, it is unlikely either of you will reach your goal.  It’s also essential that your workout buddy is as committed to the goal as you are.  Also, if you and your partner aren’t available at the same time then your workouts won’t workout.

Regardless of which type of workout buddy you choose make sure your partner has a positive supportive attitude.

Finding a workout buddy can keep you focused on your goals and help ensure your success.


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Tuesday Tip of the Week – Find a Buddy

Whether your goal is to lose weight, run a marathon, or just start eating healthier, having a health and wellness buddy can help you stay on track.  Sharing your wellness journey with a friend or family member gives you someone to be accountable to and keeps you motivated.  Studies show that having a support system increases your chances for success.

While it is best to find a buddy that shares your goal, anyone who can offer support and guidance can be your ally.


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How to Succeed with Your Diet Goals

Typically, when thinking of the word diet, we think temporary.  Spring breaks, weddings and even weekend beach trips will motivate us to lose weight.  Unfortunately, these short-term diets don’t work.  They are unhealthy and once you stop them, the weight may come back. Studies show you’ll be heavier than when you started.

Instead of a diet, think about making a lifestyle change.  This doesn’t mean you have to give up pizza, burgers, or even cookies.  Eating is a big part of our lives and should be enjoyed.  An important concept to understand is moderation.  If you can’t live without pizza, eat it, just not everyday.  Plus if you have it less, you’ll enjoy it more.

Going from your favorite unhealthy foods to healthier alternatives can be huge jump.  Next time you are flipping through channels, try to find a makeover show.  Many of these shows try and get people to completely change their eating habits in less than a week.  While this may seem healthy, it probably won’t lead to any long-term changes.  Put yourself in their shoes.  What food do you eat that you know is unhealthy and really love?  How would you feel if someone said you can’t ever have that food again?

An easier way to do it is gradually.  Take a food you love and try to make it healthier (remember be better, not perfect).  If you love pizza, instead of buying it ready-made, make it at home.  There are easy to use crusts available at your grocery store.  Add your own toppings, focusing on healthy options like veggies and cut back on the amount of cheese you use.  If you love burgers, try using leaner beef such as 93% lean.  Don’t go out, make it yourself.  Homemade meals are almost always healthier than ones you get at a restaurant (fast food or not).  If you do eat out, make healthier choices by skipping the bun and mayo.  Substitute a salad for french fries (at least most of the time).

Another popular way to get healthier are fat-free or low-fat versions of food.  Cheese, peanut butter and milk all have low fat or fat-free substitutes.  Sometimes companies do a good job with taste and sometimes they don’t.  In some cases it might not even be possible to get the same taste with all the fat taken out.  This is why it is important to go down in steps.  If your goal is to drink fat free milk but you’re using whole milk, don’t do it overnight.  Take it in steps over the course of a few weeks.  You won’t notice the difference in taste as much.  The same goes for other dairy products.  Also, if you just can’t stomach the fat free version, try the low fat version.

Most importantly, don’t ever deprive yourself of something you love.  Sometimes we over indulge in what we enjoy.  Instead of eating a large number of cookies, look at the nutrition label.  Eat a serving and put the pack down.

Making gradual lifestyle changes can help ensure you reach and maintain your diet and weight loss goals.


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Tuesday Tip of the Week – Skip Perfect, Just Get Better

When it comes to achieving goals, many of us get frustrated or discouraged if we don’t stick to our plan perfectly.

But in reality, life can often throw a wrench in our best laid plans.   Work, school, family obligations can all get in the way of our best efforts and missteps can occur.  But rather than losing focus or even giving up when life gets in the way, look for ways to make better choices than you normally would.

Rather than grabbing a candy bar or chips from a vending machine, look for a low carb protein bar, or pretzels.  Better yet pack healthy snacks to carry with you.  Protein bars, tuna packets, or nuts make excellent packable snacks for when you’re on the run.

When it comes to your workouts it is best to stay on track, but if you cannot make it to the gym have a plan to ensure you get some physical activity in for the day.  Take a walk on your lunch break or do a few exercises while watching TV.

Remember, 10 baby steps are just as effective as 1 giant leap when working toward any goal.

 


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10 Small Steps To Improve Your Health in 2018

Every new year, many of us make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, stop smoking or run a marathon. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.

“Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”

Here are 10 to try:

1. Make time everyday for physical activity.  Going to the gym is great, but using the stairs at the office, walking the dog, playing tag with your kids, or doing bodyweight exercise while watching TV are fabulous ways to be active without becoming a gymrat.  Shoot for at least 20-30 minutes of physical activities each day.

2. Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.

3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall.   Try   egg white and veggie cups or a cottage cheese danish.

4. Switch three grain servings each day to whole grain. If you’re like the average American, you eat less than one whole grain serving a day.  Quinoa, slow-cooking oats, and whole grain bread are great options.

5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.

6. Trim the fat. Fat has a lot of calories, and calories count. Purchase lean meats, eat poultry without the skin, switch to lower-fat cheeses, use a nonstick pan with only a dab of oil or butter.

7. Consider calcium by including two or three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Dairy calcium is good for bones and may also help you lose weight.

8. Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat.

9. Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge-lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.

10. Keep track of your eating. Write down everything you eat and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less.  MyFitnessPal and MyPlate both have terrific FREE food journal apps.

 

 


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Roasted Vegetable Recipe

Roasted vegetables make a delicious and versatile option for adding more vegetables to your diet.  This recipe makes a large batch which can be frozen and used in future meals.

Feel free to use any seasonally available vegetables or pick your favorites.

Ingredients:

2 cups zucchini, chopped
2 cups yellow squash, chopped
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
2 cups asparagus, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons rice bran oil**

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix vegetables, garlic, and oil** in a large bowl until all vegetables are lightly oiled.
  3. Transfer vegetables to 2 baking sheets.
  4. Roast vegetables in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until soft, stirring halfway through.
  5. Remove from oven and let the vegetables cool.
  6. Portion cooled vegetables into 1 cup containers.
  7. Store in freezer until ready to use.

Use roasted vegetables as a side dish, in a salad, as a topping for pizza, or in pasta sauce.

**Most recipes call for the use of oil to help roast the vegetables and keep them from sticking.  I have found that the vegetables roast nicely without the oil.  I do lightly grease the baking sheets to prevent sticking.