January is all about resolutions and “turning over a new leaf”. So all this month, we’re talking about the big nutritional benefits you can get from making just a few small changes. Now let’s take a look at ways you can start to eat less without leaving your tummy grumbling.
We started with little adjustments you can make when you’re buying food, and in the last post I suggested some ways in which you could make changes in the way you prepare your foods to shave calories and make them healthier. You might already be reaping some benefits if you’ve been trying to make these changes – and you may even be thinking that there isn’t a whole lot more tweaking you can do. Maybe you haven’t given it much thought, but a little fine-tuning in the way your foods are served can also affect your food intake, too.
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Small changes to your recipes can lead to big calorie cuts. A few ingredient swaps can make home-cooked dishes so much healthier.
Now that the holidays are solidly behind us, the reality of those New Year’s promises we made to ourselves are starting to settle in. Many of us start out the New Year with big plans for big changes…which is why all this month we’re focusing on the ‘little things’. That’s because small steps – taken together – can add up to big results, and are often easier to handle than huge sweeping changes that can be unsettling. In the last post, I made some suggestions for small changes you can make at the grocery store – that is, after all, where the path to healthy eating begins. But now that you’ve brought your healthy ingredients into the house, you want to make sure to keep them that way when it’s time to cook. And with just a few small changes, you can make every dish you prepare at home a little bit better for you.
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Eating before bed isn’t always a no-no. There are times when a nighttime snack makes sense.
Let’s say you’re my client. It’s the first time we meet, and we’re talking about your eating habits. As you’re telling me what you usually eat and when, you mention that there’s something you do that you probably shouldn’t… you always eat a snack right before you go to bed. You expect me to tell you that it’s a habit you should break, but before I weigh in on the subject, I’ll want to know more. What do you eat? How much? Are you eating because you’re hungry? Or is it just a habit? And, if you don’t eat before you go to sleep, what happens? Once I’ve got a better picture of your nighttime noshing, I’m in a better position to say if it’s right or wrong.
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A “meal deal” is no bargain if you’re just buying extra fat, sugar and calories.
There’s an old joke that goes something like this: two women are having lunch in a restaurant they haven’t been to before. As they’re finishing up their meal, one says to the other, “You know, the food here is really terrible!” To which her companion snaps back, “I’ll say! And such small portions, too!” It’s so true, isn’t it? No matter what we’re buying, we’re always looking for a good value – even if it’s food that isn’t very good…or very good for you.
Getting more for your money is generally a good thing, and we’ve been conditioned to look for the best value in everything we buy – from laptops to laundry soap. But if getting more for your money means getting more fat, more sugar and more calories, that can spell trouble for your waistline.
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Eating more slowly and mindfully can help you control how much you eat. Here are my favorite five tips for fast eaters to help you slow down and regain control.
A friend and I were swapping stories about last week’s Thanksgiving feast, and she mentioned to me that her uncle was the fastest eater she’d ever seen. When she was a little girl, she used to think her uncle was a magician – it seemed to her as if one minute he had food on his plate, and the next minute… zap!… his food had simply vanished. One Thanksgiving, her aunt set a mirror infront of his dinner plate, thinking that he might just slow down if he watched himself shoveling it in. Instead, he simply sat down – and complimented his wife on the creative table decor.
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You only need small amounts of fat to be healthy.
Years ago, I had a client who was truly ‘fat phobic’. If she could detect any trace of fat in her food, she’d reject it. She’d dissect a piece of roast chicken into tiny pieces, teasing out any specks of fat she could find between the muscle fibers, and she dressed her salads with straight lemon juice – never a drop of oil. She did this primarily as a weight control strategy – she was a tiny woman and intended to stay that way – but she’d also heard that people need to eat fat. So she was worried. Was being this finicky about fat bad for her health? And – more importantly – did she really need fat in her diet at all?
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3 meals a day or 6 meals a day – does it matter?
Everybody eats. Which is why people are so willing to throw in their two cents when it comes to any nutrition debate. One thorny issue has to do with meal frequency and weight control. There are those who ‘just say no’ to snacking – the ones who restrict themselves to three meals a day, period. In their view, snacking is simply a bad habit that can pile on the pounds. In the opposite corner are those who say that small, frequent meals will help control hunger, so it’s better to eat five or six times a day. Read more »
It’s amazing how just a handful of small changes to everyday habits can add up to big rewards. I’ve mentioned before that when someone tells me they’re ready for a major diet and lifestyle overhaul, I usually tell them to proceed with caution. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, when you try to make too many changes at once, you run the risk of …if you’ll excuse the pun… biting off more than you can chew. And, I think that once you’re successful at making a change – no matter how small – it gives you the confidence to keep going, and to keep chipping away at new challenges. On top of that, just a handful of small changes to your everyday habits can add up to bigger reward than you might think. Read more »
It’s a leap year – so you have one extra day this year that you can use to focus on your health. What will you do on that extra day to be healthier? Ride a bike? Take a long walk? Eat an extra serving of fruits or vegetables? Share your thoughts!
If you’ve read any reports about how a struggling economy can affect your health, most of them are pretty negative. What’s usually mentioned is that when money is tight, people spend less on pricier foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, they cancel gym memberships, or they may turn to high calorie comfort foods or drink more alcohol. And if they dine out at all, it’s more likely to be less expensive – and usually less healthy – fast food. So it got me to thinking, are there some lessons we can learn about how to save money and still be healthy? Read more »
You can always tell when it’s the start of a New Year. Everywhere you turn – newspapers, magazines, radio, television or the internet – there’s another article about how to shape up.
I’ve already had visits from several patients who are ready to ‘turn over a new leaf’ for the New Year, but what I often find is this – with this flood of diet and fitness information coming at them, many of my patients have more questions than solutions. Should they go vegetarian? Stay away from fruit? Not eat after 5 pm? Throw away the salt shaker? The list goes on and on. So today, I’m turning to you – what nutrition questions are on your mind? Let me know what you’re wondering about …and check back here in the upcoming weeks to find the answers.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted my top 10 resolutions for a healthier 2012. Maybe you’re already doing many of the things on the list – in which case your list of resolutions will look a little different from mine. But as you’re thinking about your own health and fitness goals for the upcoming year, I’d like to add a few words of encouragement – with some thoughts on how you can make promises to yourself that you can actually keep. Read more »
I’ve had patients tell me that when they’re trying to watch what they eat, they sometimes just stop eating in restaurants altogether. Between the tempting menu descriptions, the huge portions and no way of knowing how many calories they’re eating, they often feel like they’re simply better off just staying home.
I understand what they’re saying, but since going out to eat is a pleasure we probably don’t want to give up forever, I think that learning your way around a menu and figuring out how to ‘dine responsibly’ are skills worth mastering.
If you only eat out a few times a year, I’d probably just tell you to go out and enjoy yourself. But we eat, on average, about a third of our meals away from home, so it’s worth paying attention to some of these common restaurant diet traps. Read more »
As professional cyclists are racing down the coast in the Tour of California this week, I wanted to share these ideas from Dr. John Heiss of Herbalife on how to ‘Eat to Compete – 5 Reasons Why Endurance Athletes Need Fuel 24/7.’
1. Athletes need to fuel up in the morning, since their stored fuel reserves will have dropped during an overnight fast. Training and racing take a toll on the body, and starting the day with a healthy meal balanced with carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals provides a solid nutritional foundation for performance.
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Most of the time, I would never argue with someone who wanted to eat as well as possible. After all, part of a dietitian’s job is to encourage people to eat healthy foods and to help them find ways to nudge their current eating habits in the right direction. But sometimes I run across people who carry proper nutrition to the extreme; they have an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food.
Perhaps you know people like this. They pride themselves on their flawless eating habits, and look down upon others who don’t display a similar iron will. They spend most of their time planning, preparing, and eating perfect meals. Every food is chosen solely for its nutritional virtue. And, to many who seek the perfect diet plan, the more virtuous the diet, the more honorable the person who eats it.
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