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.
Posts tagged: to eat healthy
One of the more entertaining aspects of my work is that whenever I meet a new weight loss client, I never know where the conversation will lead. Usually, I’ll start by getting some history – I want to know what’s the most and the least they’ve ever weighed, what motivates them to eat better and get into shape, and also what’s worked for them in the past and what hasn’t – that sort of thing. From there, I can start to get a sense for how much effort each particular patient is willing to put forth, and what their expectations are. And then we come up with a plan. But I can’t just tell someone what they need to do – I need to help them figure out how they’re going to do it, too. And we work together to figure out what’s going to work best for them.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”
“Eat breakfast like a king!”
“Eat diamonds for breakfast and shine the whole day!”
It’s shaping up to be another summer of record-breaking high temperatures. And the news media is beginning to sound like a broken record, too – over and over again we’re reminded to keep ourselves well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. But it’s an important message – not just during a heat wave, but also throughout the year because water serves so many critical functions in the body. Read more »
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 »
Seasoned dieters know plenty of the tricks for keeping their eating in check. Beyond the usual strategies - eating right, getting plenty of exercise and maybe keeping a food diary – they might use more subtle tactics for keeping portions down. They’ll use smaller plates or taller glasses, for instance, to give the illusion that they’re getting more food and drink than they really are. They’ll make sure to put tempting foods out of sight – and keep healthy ones in plain view. What they may not realize is that there are other influences in the environment – much less obvious ones – that could still throw their eating off course. Read more »
Kids can be picky eaters, but here’s a short list of some nutrition-packed foods that most kids enjoy.
It’s always funny to me when people ask me how my kids ate when they were little. I’m sure that most of them think that since I do what I do, my kids must have been perfect eaters – or that I had some special tricks up my sleeve that made them beg for broccoli. Truth be told, my kids were no different from most other kids – they had their likes and their dislikes – and they’d go on food jags where they’d want to eat the same thing every single day. Read more »
Did your New Year’s resolutions include a vow to “eat right”? Many of us make that promise to ourselves in January, but by about March we find our old eating habits sneaking back up on us. Maybe you tried to tackle too much – or maybe you hadn’t really thought about what ‘eating right’ really means. Eating right involves more than just making the right food choices – it’s also about eating the right foods at the right time. So here are seven tips to help you to ‘eat right.’ Read more »
Whenever I travel, I do my best to spend a little time checking out the local foods. I’ll poke around on the internet and look at menus – and usually find something intriguing. Not long ago, we were far up the California coast, and I found a menu for a vegetarian restaurant serving a six-course “sea vegetable dinner” featuring sea palm, nori, dulse and wakame – all forms of seaweed. I have to confess that we settled for something a bit less adventurous, but it did get me wondering why we don’t see more sea vegetables on menus – at least here on the coast where it’s ‘ripe for the picking’. Read more »
Most of my clients know the healthy eating drill pretty well – keep your fats down, eat plenty of fruits and veggies, make most of your grains “whole” and focus on low fat protein. But many of them have adopted some eating habits that they truly believe are healthy – and I have to spend some time trying to convince them otherwise. These eating habits sound like they’re healthy – but they really end up being less so when they’re put into practice. Are your eating habits as healthy as you think they are? Read more »
Picky eaters can drive parents crazy – kids who demand the same foods day after day, or turn up their noses at foods they’ve never even tried. But most grow out of it. Every once in a while, though, I’ll run across a grown adult who is as picky as a toddler. Unlike the rest of us – who have a pretty short list of foods we’d rather not eat – these extremely picky adults have a very different short list, one made up of just a few foods they’re actually willing to eat. While it’s tempting to just dismiss this – on the assumption that these folks are just choosing to be stubborn and rigid – research is suggesting that there may be other forces at work.
Typically, the food repertoire of very picky adults is so limited that it can actually interfere with their work or social life. Their food tastes lean towards bland, salty, processed foods – French fries, grilled cheese and vanilla ice cream, for example – and little else. Fruits, vegetables and spices are almost universally shunned, and their entire diet might be limited to only 10 or 20 foods. Many say that the majority of foods they’re exposed to are simply disgusting – an unappetizing appearance, texture, color or odor are all grounds for rejection. Understandably, many extremely fussy eaters try to avoid business functions and social occasions that involve food – which is pretty hard to do -so as to keep their condition under wraps.
A few weeks ago, the US Coast Guard announced a major downsizing. Not in their staff, but in the number of passengers that will be allowed to travel on commercial boats. The reason? The average passenger weight is being bumped up by 25 pounds – which will determine, and now lessen, the number of people a boat can safely hold. It’s yet another nod to the staggering statistic that two-thirds of adults in this country are overweight or obese.
It’s well documented that we’re getting bigger and bigger. And it seems that as we get larger, everything else is getting larger, too – from dinner plates to dashboards. Like the “chicken and egg” question, though, it’s not always clear which came first.
Up until relatively recently, the scientific community scoffed at the idea of food addiction. It’s been thought that the act of overeating doesn’t really qualify as substance abuse. After all, drug addicts need increasing amounts of the stuff to get high, and they’ll show symptoms of withdrawal if they’re denied a fix. People who claim they’re “addicted to pizza”, though, don’t experience pizza withdrawal. And most don’t necessarily need to ingest an increasing number of slices in order to get any enjoyment from it. But a recent study from Yale University* found that in some people, exposure to foods high in fat sugar leads to chemical changes in the brain that make them want to return to those foods again and again.
In some ways, we’re all a bit predisposed to overconsumption – our bodies are programmed to constantly search for food, and are brains are wired so that we’re rewarded when we find it. Humans evolved in a land of scarcity, not plenty, so having these drive and reward systems in place made sense when finding food meant survival.
Let’s face it – losing weight is no simple task. If it were, we’d surely see fewer people struggling to get their weight down and keep it off. Taking in fewer calories than you spend every day sounds like a simple enough formula, but counting calories accurately – both the ones that you eat and the ones that you burn – takes considerable practice.
On top of the calorie counting problem, I’ve found many dieters – with good intentions, mind you – who make critical mistakes when it comes to devising their own health plans. So when patients tell me they can’t lose weight, it’s often because they’re committing a few of these common dieting mistakes.
The quirky eating habits of kids can drive parents to distraction. Their appetites and desires vary from day to day. But many children are also naturally curious about where their food comes from and how it’s prepared. And, when left to their own devices and presented with an array of healthy foods, kids can actually self-select a reasonably healthy diet.
Of course, the food choices kids make are influenced by family, friends and the media. At the same time, their natural instincts can help tilt the nutritional balance in their favor.