Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

10 Back-to-School Grab & Go Healthy Breakfast Tips

You know the summer is over when your alarm shrieks two hours earlier than it did last week and you’re standing by the coffee-maker nodding off while it brews, seemingly at a snail’s pace. Once the coffee is eagerly ingested, you start the perilous process of waking your kids for their first day back at school. The relaxed summer mornings are replaced with waking the dead, followed by chaotic bursts of panic, bickering, wishing you could get everyone fed and a final rush out the front door in order to avoid hearing the school bell ring. Leisurely fixing a healthy breakfast is unceremoniously canned.

When back to school sneaks up on you, breakfast is the first healthy habit to go. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s crucial for those little minds focusing on both good behavior and learning throughout the day. Kids who skip breakfast have trouble concentrating, under-perform in memory tests and have low energy. In contrast, kids who eat breakfast tend to keep their weight under control, have lower blood cholesterol levels and fewer absences from school, as well as make fewer trips to the school nurse with stomach complaints related to hunger.

At Hilton Head Health,we capitalize on nutrition as an essential component for wellness and weight loss for our adult Guests. However, health and wellness are just as important for our kids! Here are 10 tips for fitting in a healthy breakfast among the back-to-school bedlam:

1. Trail Blazers: Make your own healthy breakfast trail mix and portion in baggies. Slip the baggies in your kid’s backpack, keep a few in your car’s glove box and throw one in your purse. Voila! Hidden trail mix, ready to eat, everywhere! Let your kids help pick out the nuts, raisins and dried fruits so they’re invested in the choice. (P.S. You can also do this with granola.)
2. Nice Catch Kid!: Cut up mixed fruit and portion in baggies then sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to keep it from browning. Keep the bag in the fridge overnight for a great kids breakfast when you’re in a rush.
3. Smooth Move: Remember the fruit from tip #2? Use one of these bags for a smoothie. Throw the fruit from one baggie in the blender with some ice and Greek yogurt or a bit of peanut butter for some added flavor and protein. No child is going to refuse a smoothie! Nope, not gonna’ happen. Keep some disposable cups on hand so that you don’t have to buy a new set of glasses every month. If you want to take this one step further, you can actually put all the ingredients for your smoothie in the blender pitcher the night before and keep it in the fridge. Pull it out in the morning and blend it while you hover over the coffee-maker as it’s brewing.
4. Sandwiched for Time?: Purchase a loaf of zucchini or banana bread from your local healthy grocery store. Slice it thinly and make sandwiches using cream cheese or peanut butter. Portion into baggies and keep in the fridge. A yummy grab and go kid’s breakfast that they’ll love!
5. Unleash the Quiche!: Make muffin-tin frittatas or quiches early in the week and store in the fridge or freezer. Wrap one in a paper towel, warm it in the microwave, and stick it in your kid’s hands — as you’re signing that last minute permission slip. Garnish with a kiss on the cheek. (P.S. Leftovers are great for making frittatas). Here’s a video from Mom.me to get you started:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Speaking of leftovers: There’s nothing wrong with a non-traditional breakfast. Don’t be shy about microwaving some leftovers, especially if it’s a family favorite.
7. The Incredible, Edible Egg: The boiled egg is the original fast food. Always keep a few in the fridge for a shot of morning protein.
8. A Good-Day Parfait. Assemble a few yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits in disposable cups and store in the fridge. It looks, tastes and feels like a decadent morning treat that will send any kid off to school with a smile.
9. Stowaway Fruit. Stick an extra piece of fruit in your child’s lunchbox so they can eat it on the way to school. In the unlikely event that they actually ate breakfast before leaving the house, the fruit will make a great snack for later in the day.
10. Mamma Mia, Breakfast Pizza: Using a pre-made crust, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese (you are welcome to add marinara sauce as well as veggies), make a breakfast pizza and portion slices into baggies. Heat a slice in the microwave, give it to junior and then ask for a tip.

Wishing you all a wonderful school year with healthy and happy kids! What’s your favorite healthy breakfast recipe?

 

Prediabetes Affects 1 out of every 3 Americans

At Hilton Head Health, we want our Guests to stay educated with the most up-to-date information regarding nutrition, health and wellness. The proper knowledge is a key tool to help Guests with not only weight loss management but healthy living and disease prevention.

With 29 million Americans with diabetes, according to Edward Gregg, chief of the Epidemiology and Statistics Branch of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the CDC, “We already have a diabetes epidemic on our hands.”  Unfortunately things will likely get worse before they get better. Eighty-six million (1 out of every 3) people in the U.S. have pre-diabetes and 90% of them are unaware of that fact. Pre-diabetes means that blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Within 5 years, 15 – 30% of those with pre-diabetes will develop diabetes. Leigh Perreault, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado predicts that up to 70% will develop diabetes in their lifetime. The good news is that a study called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)  proved that with moderate lifestyle changes, those with pre-diabetes can dramatically lower their risk of progressing to full-fledged diabetes.

prediabetes8 19 272x1024 Prediabetes Affects 1 out of every 3 Americans

Though the numbers may seem daunting, and changes can often be difficult, pre-diabetes doesn’t have to lead to full-fledged diabetes. Healthy lifestyle changes can include something as simple as switching from drinking soda’s to water, cutting out sugar in your morning coffee, or walking an extra 30 minutes a day. What healthy lifestyle changes do you practice to help keep your health in check?

 

Diet Drinks: Yes or No?

Here at Hilton Head Health, we love to educate our Guests on the best options for their dietary needs to help them navigate their own weight loss paths and wellness journeys and form a healthy diet plan.

This video may be a little on the crazy/goofy side. That is just my personality coming through.  On a different note, I would like to share some information in regards to diet drinks including diet sodas, non-caloric sweetened beverages and those carbonated drinks that always sound “oh-so refreshing.” Are diet drinks and diet soda healthy?  I think most people have a few concerns or questions regarding diet drinks and if they are indeed a healthy choice or not:

  1.  Will diet drinks cause me to gain weight?
  2.  Will diet drinks assist me in my weight loss journey?
  3.  If I drink non-caloric sweetened beverages, will I start to crave certain foods?
  4.  How much is too much?

Various studies have researched the influence diet sodas have among those who regularly consume them.  Instead of giving you lengthy descriptions of these particular studies, I will do my best to sum things up:

  • Those that regularly consume sugar sweetened soda and/or diet sodas on a regular basis are at greater risk for weight gain.  There is not a direct cause and effect.
  • Diet drinks typically provide 10 calories or less per serving.  If you consume 2-3 regular sodas per day then it may be beneficial to switch to diet if you know it could help you shed a few pounds.  However, the long term effects on food choices is something to consider—are diet sodas the best option?  Not for some.
  • Look at the big picture.  If you rarely consume regular or diet sodas/beverages then maybe there are other things in your diet that could use some tweaking.
  • Treat diet sodas like a nicotine patch (especially if you are used to regular sodas or sugar-rich foods). Non-caloric sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar. Your taste buds love this. Based on professional experience, those that limit and/or eliminate artificial sweeteners or diet beverages don’t regret the commitment.  In fact, most say they feel cravings for sweets have decreased and they are making better food decisions throughout the day.

At the end of the day, avoid being the food police.  It can be very easy to view certain foods or items as “good” or “bad”—if we continue to have this mentality then what happens when we choose something “bad”?  Have you blown the rest of the day?  NO! Are diet drinks the best, healthy choice?  Probably not and for multiple reasons.  However, evaluate your meal plan as a whole and decide where you can make the most realistic and sustainable modifications.

What do you like to drink instead of diet soda? Water? Tea?

 

Nutrition: The Dangers of Caffeine Powder

Here at Hilton Head Health weight loss camp and health spa, we know there are dozens of  fad dietary products out there being advertised to the general public daily. With the promise of quick weight loss, it’s easy to be persuaded to use these ineffective or even unsafe products. However, we advocate food and nutritional education for all our Guests while they are reaching their personalized weight loss and wellness goals at our weight loss camp and health spa. With the proper education and gained confidence, our Guests can make the best decisions to maintain their newly founded or improved fitness level, healthy lifestyle and maintained weight loss.

Though we focus heavily on weight loss and wellness achieved through healthy habits rather than quick fixes, not all weight loss advocates can say that they do the same. Legend has it that tea was discovered by Chinese Emperor Shennong  in 3000 B.C. when tea leaves accidentally fell into some boiling water, and so began our love affair with caffeine. According to Wikipedia, 90% of North Americans consume caffeine daily. In small amounts caffeine is not toxic and can even be beneficial. At the very least, for many, caffeine can increase alertness and provide an energy boost. Mounting evidence suggests that small amounts of caffeine (not more than 400 mg, the amount in 4-8 oz cups of regular coffee or 8 cups of tea) might even lower the risk of some chronic diseases.  Unfortunately, we were recently reminded that if a little of something is good,  more is not necessarily better.

Until the recent overdose death of an Ohio teenager, I had never heard of powdered caffeine. Legally and easily available, powdered caffeine is so potent that as little as a teaspoon can be fatal. Logan Stiner, a healthy 18-year-old athlete and prom king died on May 27, 2014. The official cause of death was listed as seizures and cardiac arrhythmia brought on by caffeine overdose. The medical examiner determined that Logan had taken more than a teaspoon of the powder. The recommended dose is 1/16 of a teaspoon. A 23-year-old British man also died of caffeine overdose in 2010 after ingesting 2 spoonfuls of the  powder.

Caffeine powder has caught to attention of the FDA and it released this statement on July 18, 2014 regarding the matter.

The FDA advises consumers to avoid pure, powdered caffeine.  Powdered caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose – just one teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee. Because it is very difficult to accurately measure powdered pure caffeine with common kitchen  measuring tools one be easily consume a lethal amount. Symptoms of caffeine toxicity or overdose can include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea, stupor and disorientation, seizures and death.

It is marketed as a performance enhancer for weight loss and muscle development. The FDA recommends that parents of teenagers be on the lookout as they are most likely to be drawn to these products because of their perceived benefits.

If you are wondering why the FDA would allow such a potentially dangerous substance to be available, the fact is that they have no control over what dietary supplements are brought to the market. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) states that the manufacturer of a dietary supplement or dietary ingredient is responsible for evaluating the safety of the product before it is marketed. (sounds like the fox guarding the hen house) The FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. According to  Daniel Fabricant  of the FDA, “with dietary supplements, there is no pre-market approval, once a product is on the market, the burden is on the FDA to prove the a product is unsafe”. That proof comes a little late for the family of Logan Stiner.

The video below, provided by ABC News, gives more information about caffeine powder, the FDA and safety measures.


ABC News | More ABC News Videos

We hope that you continue to avoid quick, unhealthy fixes like caffeine powder, and continue to lose weight and achieve wellness the healthy way as taught at our weight loss camp and health spa. Why do you think it’s important to avoid quick fixes?

 

Nutrition: Top 10 Reasons To Follow the Mediterranean Diet

MediterraneanDiet7 81 300x209 Nutrition: Top 10 Reasons To Follow the Mediterranean DietA healthy, balanced diet is vital to achieving longterm weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle. Though there are a lot of moving parts and factors to finding the perfect healthy diet for you, following the basics of the Mediterranean diet is a great place to start. The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy diet plan that focuses on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes. It also advocates replacing fats such as butter with olive oil, using herbs and spices to flavor food in lieu of salt, limiting red meat, and enjoying wine in moderation. This diet is enjoyed by those in the Mediterranean region such as Italy, and Greece and is often associated with a longer life, and a healthier heart. Here are the top 10 reasons to follow the Mediterranean diet:

10.  You have fun during your meals.  The Mediterranean diet is not a diet—it is a lifestyle.  Eat your meals at a table, spend time finishing your meal, and eat among others.  I promise you end up having a more enjoyable dining experience.

9.  Your cardiovascular risk decreases.  This diet is the perfect formula for helping your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers improve significantly.

8.  You wake up feeling 10 years younger.  A diet rich in plant foods (vegetables, fruit, herbs, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds) can decrease inflammation as well providing constant energy.

7.   Your loved ones are impressed by your cooking skills.  Following the Mediterranean diet results in spending more time in the kitchen preparing composed meals.  You’ll have the ability to create some awesome dishes—including intimidating recipes you’ve always kept off your meal plan.  Use www.h3daily.com and skills that you may have learned as a guest in the H3 Healthy Kitchen as a valuable resource.

6.  You suddenly feel like an athlete every time you work out or train.  A diet focused on plants, lean proteins, fatty fish, healthy oils (olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, nut oils), low fat dairy, beans, legumes, wine in moderation, herbs, spices and a lot of water will fuel your muscles and body necessary for prime performance.

5.  Fad diets are no longer an option.  No major food group is discounted.  You are focused on getting a variety of foods, going local, choosing seasonal produce and the diet monkey chatter can slowly dissipate.

4.  Healthy food tastes awesome!  Using herbs, spices, vinegars, oils, nuts, seeds and more adds amazing texture as well as giving you a huge flavor boost without excessive sodium or added sugars.

3.  Your friends come to you for nutrition advice.  Your lifestyle is now admirable among your peers and they are asking what you’ve been doing with your diet and exercise.  Here is the great thing—it is easy to encourage those around you because you truly believe in the lifestyle you are living.

2.  You get to buy a new wardrobe.  Due to a significant improvement in your food choices, your weight loss goals will be easy to achieve.  Hello, shopping mall!

1.  You are finally living in diet freedom.  You can finally let go of every fad diet you’ve followed and hold onto something that is realistic, healthy and enjoyable.  Key word—enjoyable.

We certainly hope that you try out the Mediterranean diet and it helps you get closer to reaching your weight loss and wellness goals.

 

Nutrition: Identifying Weight Loss Scams

Here at Hilton Head Health, we take a natural and personalized approach to weight loss and wellness. No short cuts, no diet pills, just hard work and results. However, we understand the that there have always been myths about nutrition and weight loss. The recent concerns about TV host and physician, Dr. Oz promoting “miracle” and “magic” weight loss products that had no scientific proof of actually working begs the question, how do we decipher the true from the false? We’ve created a list of 3 questions to ask yourself before you start a workout or weight loss program that will help you bust the myths and see right through the scams.

1. Does it seem too good to be true? If a pill or program is guaranteeing that you’ll lose weight at an alarming rate without really exerting any effort what-so-ever, beware. This may just not bear any truth or produce any results.

2. Is it natural and healthy? Many diet pills are filled with unnatural chemicals, and unhealthy substances. When on the road to a healthier you, why be counterproductive by consuming an unnatural, unhealthy diet product?

3. Does it require me to eat well and exercise? We believe in taking a natural and healthy approach to weight loss and wellness by teaching our guests proper nutrition and exercising. At the end of the day, healthy eating and exercise is where real and long lasting results lie. Any other short term fix that doesn’t require a healthy diet and moderate exercise is just that… short term.

We hope that you take these questions into consideration, and that they help you get one step closer to achieving your goals!

 

Nutrition: HOW TO KICK START YOUR MEAL PLANNING ROUTINE

MealPlan e1403031988572 225x300 Nutrition: HOW TO KICK START YOUR MEAL PLANNING ROUTINEIt’s no secret that eating healthy can be a challenge. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve failed to plan our meals ahead of time and find ourselves consuming a not so healthy option. However, this doesn’t have to be our reality. We can avoid these situations by practicing meal planning. Meal planning gives you the ability to ensure that all of your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks are healthy by planning and writing them all down ahead of time. I’ve composed eight tips to help you get started and form a routine:

  1. Gain a firm grasp on what a suitable meal looks like. For inspiration, check out the Hilton Head Health Wellness and Weight loss Menu. We’ve included both recipes and sample menu’s that will help you lose weight, get more energy, maintain a health lifestyle and achieve your goals.
  2. Use a template. This will help keep you organized. You can either find a template online, or create your own. I suggesting saving a blank copy so you can reuse this for multiple weeks.
  3. Write down when you plan on eating your meals.  Too many people back-load their calories/energy intake.  This is eating most of our food late afternoon and throughout the evening.  Avoid going more than five hours without eating something—your food choices may not be as healthy if you are extremely hungry.
  4. Prioritize breakfast.  Plan on eating breakfast as soon after you wake up.  We need energy to wake our bodies up versus waiting until 10:00 am to eat something. I suggest a source of protein (e.g., eggs, Greek yogurt, yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, nuts/seeds, etc.), fruit and/or vegetable and a healthy source of carbohydrates coming from either a whole grain (e.g., oats), fruit or starchy vegetable (e.g., breakfast sweet potatoes).
  5. Devote a day to prep.  This step is crucial.  I find preparing a few things on a Sunday helps takes some pressure off for the rest of the week.  For example, I make a vegetable based soup, roasted vegetables, a quinoa pilaf, and grilled chicken. These four basic components can be used through out the week, and can either be kept in the fridge or frozen if necessary.
  6. Cross-utilize ingredients. If salmon is the dinner protein of choice, prepare an extra filet for lunch the next day—throw it on top of a nice spinach strawberry salad.  Use spinach in another way. Make a spinach, onion and cheese scramble the next day for breakfast.
  7. When going out to eat, write in your intended meal and stick to it.  Most people are going out to eat at least two or three times per week.  Check the restaurant menu before hand, and write the healthiest choice on your meal plan.  Commit to this, and don’t look back.
  8. Trial and learn. Always keep an open mind and continue to make changes. Take the time to document any meals that didn’t satisfy you and make changes accordingly. Once you get more comfortable with meal planning, the more diversified your diet becomes and you will continue to enjoy new recipes, new foods and gain a new outlook on healthy eating.

By practicing these eight easy steps, you’ll be that much closer to achieving your goals! What are some of you favorite meal planning tips and tricks?

 

Nutrition: Men, Pay Attention to Live Longer

ManUp 300x300 Nutrition: Men, Pay Attention to Live Longer

This week is National Men’s Health Week. The purpose of the week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.

And boy do we need the help.

Women outlive men and have done so for many years. In 1920, women outlived guys by an average of 1 year; now it’s 5 years. Why? According the Men’s Health Network – www.menshealthnetwork.org, men die younger from: heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Probably because we are less likely to practice good health behaviors than women, more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors than women and are less likely to seek medical attention when we need to. In fact, men are 24% less likely to have visited a doctor in the last year; half as likely to make an appointment with a physician for preventative purposes and less likely to follow medical advice after a diagnosis.

The good news is that progress is being made, it wasn’t too long ago that women were outliving men by 7 years. But more can be done to narrow the gap even further. It starts, obviously, with practicing the fundamentals of good health – the things that have been the cornerstone of H3 since its inception:

  • eating well,
  • exercising regularly,
  • sleeping well,
  • managing stress,
  • avoiding tobacco
  • and drinking alcohol in moderation (for more specific guidelines, click HERE.)

But as men we have to do a better job of taking advantage of the health care system by following the recommended preventive and diagnostic screenings. Clearly, the sooner a condition can be identified, the greater the opportunity to manage it. For an updated list of screening tests and when men should have them, go to the Men’s Health Network.

While this article is about men’s health, it affects women as well.  To quote Congressman Bill Richardson,

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”  

Because men are less likely to take care of their health on their own, we need the help of the women in our lives. Theresa Morrow, from the support group, Women Against Prostate Cancer, put it this way,

“The role of women in keeping the men in their life healthy is invaluable. While it may pain you to nag your husband (or other men you care about) about one more thing, do it anyway. If you recognize unusual symptoms in your loved one, do whatever it takes to get him the help he needs; it may save his life.”

 

Coaching Corner: 10 “OLD-FASHIONED” Eating Habits to Bring Back

OldFashioned5 29 300x200 Coaching Corner: 10 “OLD FASHIONED” Eating Habits to Bring Back

If you haven’t heard of Michael Pollan, I would highly recommend purchasing one of his books or watching his videos on Youtube.  He has a passion for food and comes up with helpful rules or suggestions when it comes to a healthy eating lifestyle.  One in particular, “don’t eat what your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”, makes a lot of sense—the following habits elaborate on this Pollan suggestion:

  1. Eat your meals at a table.  We are more mindful with our eating if we have the table set, napkins on our lap and are engaged in what we are putting in our mouth.
  2. Eat as a family.  I know it is 2014 and everyone has a busy life, however, communicate with your loved ones about the importance of having a set time for dinner.  Studies show families that dine together consume more vegetables and have a healthier diet.
  3. Cook the majority of your meals.  The more control you have in your kitchen, the more confident you feel about what you are putting in your body.  I’m pretty sure my great-great grandmother never knew about free refills, happy hour and buying 3 courses for $20.00.
  4. Calorie counting?  What’s that?  Not until recently did we know what calories meant in regards to being the energy in our food.  At H3, we stick to a very structured caloric plan yet I still find it very helpful for certain individuals to avoid diligent calorie counting and just focus on portions, whole foods, dive into the H3 recipes and trust it’s keeping them on track.
  5. Farm to table.   Eating from your garden, purchasing foods from a local farmer’s market, connecting with the community and eating as seasonable as possible can keep your meal plan interesting while adding a huge flavor boost to every fruit and vegetable you buy.
  6. Smaller plates.  The average plate is anywhere from 12-14 inches in diameter.  We recommend using a 10-inch plate at home.  Those that use smaller plates typically serve themselves 22% less food on a smaller plate.  Portion control at its finest.
  7. Taking lunch breaks.  I remember having conversations with my grandpa about his life working at the family farm.  They would take two 15-minute drink breaks as well as a full hour for lunch.  I guarantee those that take a lunch break, instead of skipping, are much more efficient compared to those that work through their lunch.
  8. Slow food.  What do I mean by this?  Check out this awesome organization:  SLOW FOOD MOVEMENT
  9. Eating with the seasons.  It is easy to buy strawberries in the middle of winter and spinach whenever we want.  It’s great we can rely on these being in our stores; but the more seasonal approach we take with our meals the better for our bodies, the more variety we consume and we tend to make more local purchases.
  10. Real food.  This is probably one of the most important things to bring back. I get overwhelmed walking down the cereal and dairy aisle, I know you must too.

Stick to the real deal, avoid the processed and always ask yourself if your great-great grandmother would have recognized it as real food.  

 

Nutrition: How Much Is Too Much?

HersheysDrops 300x115 Nutrition: How Much Is Too Much?

We are eating more than ever, studies suggest that we are consuming 200 to 400 calories more than 20 years ago.

The result: we have reached the highest rates of obesity in history.

Managing portions might be the most important thing you can do to more effectively manage your weight. But it’s not quite as simple as saying to yourself, you’re are going to eat less. Motivation and discipline are not enough. We have to understand why we are eating more before we can develop effective strategies to manage our caloric intake. There are many factors but according to Brian Wansink, Ph.D., professor of Psychology at Cornell University and author of the book, Mindless Eating, changes in our “food environment” such as: large portions in restaurants, easy and constant access to food, the increased size of plates/glasses/bowls that we put food on, as well as, bigger bags and boxes we buy food in all have contributed to us losing control over what reasonable portions should look like.

Here are a few strategies that can help you take back control of your food environment resulting in effective portion management.

Orson Wells once said, “My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for 4, … unless there were 3 other people.” Little did he know how relevant his quote would become.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate the average restaurant meal is more than 4 times larger than in the 1950’s.

Not only are they serving us far more food, we are eating far more often than in the past. For some, cutting back on the frequency of eating out might be a good place to start. Restaurant meals tend to have 2 – 3 times the calories of home cooked meals; home cooked meals tend to be more nutritious, as well. For those who must eat out often or choose to,  here are a few tips that might help:

  •      Split entrees and desserts with your partner or friend.
  •      Ask that all sauces and dressing be brought on the side. That puts you in control of the quantity.
  •      Look on the menu for “small” or petite” portions.
  •      Ask for “half to go”. The server brings half of the meal to the table and boxes the other half for you to take home.
  •      Pay attention while eating. Focus on eating slowly and mindfully. Mindful eaters enjoy their food more and are satisfied on smaller portions.
  •      Eat your calories, don’t drink them. Caloric soft drinks and sweet tea add up, especially with “free” refills.
  •      Have a healthy snack – a piece of fruit, small salad, etc. – an hour or so before you go out. It will take the edge off your hunger and make it easier to manage portions.

1. Invest in a new set of dishes. Plate size has increased significantly over the years. Dr Wansink’s research shows that people serve themselves 20 – 30% more food on larger plates than smaller. By having smaller plates (Wansink recommends 10 inch diameter plates,) you will  serve yourself less and not even know it. Bring out the fashionable larger plates if you want to when have guest over but for use your smaller plates for day to day use.

2. If plate size is important, not surprisingly, glass size is as well. We tend to pour more beverages into larger glasses than smaller ones. Use smaller glasses for juice and other caloric drinks. You can always pour a second glass if you really want one.

3. Buy snacks and treats in smaller containers. We tend to eat until the box or bag is empty, regardless of the size of the container. If you are snacking on one of your favorite treats, it’s easier to stop when a 1 ounce bag is empty, than to eat only 1 ounce out of a 6 ounce bag. While it might be a bit more expensive to purchase in smaller quantities, it will be worthwhile if it helps manage your portions more effectively.

3. Remember the phrase “out of sight out of mind”. How many times have you opened the pantry, refrigerator or freezer not thinking about a treat until you see it, then you can’t get off your mind? Keep those treats hidden away until you really want them.

4. When reading labels, pay particular attention to the serving size. If you just look at calories, fat, sugar, sodium and etc., without looking at serving size you can get far more than you bargained for. For example a typical convenience store may have 200 calories per serving but you may not realize that there are 3 servings in the muffin. It ends up being 600 calories not the 200 you assumed it was.

A box of candy at the movies might seem a good choice with only 150 calories per serving but unless you look, you might not notice that that are 6 serving in the box – a total of 900 calories.

5. When considering a treat,  ask yourself the question “Do I really want this?” or “Is it worth it?”.  To help you make an informed choice, keep in mind that we burn about 100 calories for every mile we walk .

That muffin referred to earlier would be the equivalent to 6 miles, the box of candy would be 9.

Recognizing how much effort is involved in expending calories might give you a little added incentive to limit those treats to a minimum.

 

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