Memorial Day weekend is typically a festive holiday, as it kicks off the summer and gives us a chance to celebrate and spend time with our friends and loved ones. While this may mean parties with lots of opportunity to eat and imbibe, it doesn’t mean you have to toss your healthy lifestyle to the wind this weekend. All you need is a plan to stay on track with diets and weight management programs without depriving yourself.
Here are a few strategies that members of our nutrition counseling center shared with us for getting through Memorial Day festivities without packing on the pounds.
BYOD—as in Bring Your Own Dish. Bring a healthy yet tasty dish to the party. This ensures that there is a healthy choice at the party, while providing a little help to the host. Even something as simple as a healthy salad loaded with leafy greens and seasonal produce or a fresh fruit bowl will be a hit. Eat your own healthy dish and then just sample the other offerings. You’ll enjoy yourself and not feel deprived, without “cheating” on your healthy for life diet.
Go for the smaller plate. Nearly every nutrition counseling center recommends practicing portion control in order to lose weight or to maintain a diet that’s healthy for life. Keep this in mind, even at parties and barbecues. An easy way to do this is to opt for a smaller plate at the buffet table. This automatically reduces your consumption, and if you eat slowly, you’ll most likely be full after just one plate.
Limit the liquids. Beverages such as alcohol, sugary sodas and juices can quickly blow up our calorie counts for the day, which ultimately leads to weight gain and a bloated feeling. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and choose the most low calorie drinks that you can find. If you choose to imbibe an alcoholic drink, avoid fattening mixers and opt to mix with seltzer or soda water instead.
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image: taste of home
Incorporating lean protein sources into your diet provides a wide variety of health benefits, and helps you stay on track with weight loss management. When you’re striving to attain better health through nutrition, incorporating good sources of lean protein will help you lose weight, boost your energy levels and promote heart health. It’s an essential part of a healthy diet.
Basically, lean protein helps you avoid the high content of saturated fats that are found in many types of meat, and which raise LDL aka “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. Some examples of choices that contain higher levels of saturated fat include fatty cuts of beef, pork and lamb, as well as ground beef, sausages, hot dogs, bacon and many processed luncheon meats. Instead opt for wild-caught fish such as salmon and tuna, skinless poultry, eggs, quinoa, and plant-based protein such as beans. Here are three reasons that these choices will benefit your health and help your with weight loss management.
- Weight Loss. When members come to our nutrition counseling center to lose weight, we recommend lean protein because it helps individuals feel fuller longer, staving off cravings and preventing overeating. In addition, studies show that lean protein may boost metabolism.
- Building muscle. Consuming lean protein helps build more muscle mass, which makes our bodies run more efficiently and burn more calories. A diet rich in lean protein helps us achieve better health through nutrition because all of our body’s building blocks are composed of protein. When we work out, we need protein to rebuild the muscles that we use. Consuming lean protein helps our muscles to recover faster, so we can work out again sooner.
- Heart Health. Much research shows that diets featuring adequate amounts of lean protein provide significant benefits to our cardiovascular health, such as lowering both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Ultimately, this helps prevent heart disease and promote overall health.
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Research shows that the faster you eat, the more opportunity you have to overeat. We actually shouldn’t need studies to tell us this—it should be common sense for most of us. But when you factor in the timing it takes your stomach to signal your brain that it’s full—20 minutes—then it make even more sense. If you seek nutrition counseling at a weight management center, one of the basic tents that your physician or nutritionist will share is to slow down so that you only eat until you’re full.
Here are some tips that should help you slow down your eating habits so that you can stick to a meal plan that’s healthy for life.
Take small bites. When you take large bites of your meal, you’re going to finish your meal faster and most likely still feel hungry. This could lead to you taking a second serving and ultimately overeat. Take your time to cut small bites as you go—don’t cut it all in advance, as it’s much easier that way to down it all faster.
Finish swallowing before you re-load. Take the time to stop yourself from loading your fork with the next bite until you’re finished with the one you’re chewing. Simple, but effective. Take it a step further by doing what our nutrition counseling center recommends: put your utensils or sandwich down in between each bite. This may not feel organic at first, but with time, you will get used to it and will see the difference in the amount you eat.
Sip water while you eat. Take sips of water often throughout your meal. This will slow you down and fill you up. Hydrate before, during and after your meal if you truly want to be healthy for life.
Up your fiber intake. Foods with high fiber content are nutrient-rich, and also take longer to eat and digest. Think about how much longer it takes you to chew crunchy fruits and veggies and you’ll realize how easily you can slow your entire meal.
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Spring is a time of revitalization and rejuvenation—why not take this opportunity to make over your diet? When you’re striving to get healthy for life and lose weight, it makes sense to exercise more and consume less calories. With swimsuit season on the horizon, this seems like the perfect time to get motivated to reduce the number on the scale and work on attaining better health through nutrition. Here are some excellent tips shared by nutrition clients of our weight counseling center.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Physicians recommend that we drink six to eight glasses of water per day; this is even more important when you’re striving to lose weight and especially during hotter weather.
Be a savvy snacker. Snack time is the perfect opportunity to tap into the delicious array of seasonal fruits and veggies available this time of year. Don’t restrict yourself to the basics, such as carrot and celery sticks. There are many options that will help you attain better health through nutrition and taste amazing—try fiber-rich berries, apples, bananas, pears, peaches, plums and grapes.
Up your salad ante. Obviously, salads are healthy for life. Again, here’s your chance to take advantage of the season—hit up your local farmers’ market for fresh green vegetables to add to salads and soups. Green vegetables are packed with antioxidants, specifically chlorophyll, which is excellent for boosting your immune system and aiding digestion.
Boycott the process. One tip that we recommend for all nutrition clients of our weight counseling center is to avoid refined and processed food as much as possible, especially those containing white sugar or white flour, as well as other high-glycemic foods that lead to spikes in blood sugar, and ultimately, weight gain.
Mix up your workouts. Research shows that the most effective way to boost weight loss through exercise is to employ a combination of workouts in your routine. For example, perhaps do yoga or Pilates classes one day, then cardio the next, and strength training the following. Or go for a hike one day, jog the next and try a Zumba class on another day. Switching up your workouts will stimulate change by confusing your muscles and lead to greater caloric burn.
When you work with a nutrition counseling center, you learn about fueling your body properly while achieving your weight loss goals. As a result, you’ll learn how essential it is to find nutrient-rich foods that taste good and satiate your appetite. So if you’re looking to fill your plate with delicious fare that will help you stay on track with programs for weight loss and management, below are some excellent choices that are healthy for life and will supercharge you for your day.
Artichokes. These spiky-leafed vegetables boost your energy and help you get your magnesium fix. Magnesium is a mineral that’s vital for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body, and will keep your energy levels elevated. This is crucial simply for getting through your day, but especially for those who work out regularly.
Asparagus. This green veggie is one of the best veggie sources of folate, which is key to the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine—they’ll help boost your mood and stave off depression.
Walnuts. Walnuts are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, which elevate your mood, and tryptophan, an amino acid that’s responsible for the production of serotonin. They’re digested slowly, so will help keep you feel full longer, and are a rich source of many phytochemicals that may reduce the effects of aging and help prevent inflammation, neurological diseases and cancer—they’re definitely healthy for life.
Eggs. Many members of our nutrition counseling center swear by eggs, an excellent source of lean protein, which your body needs to build muscle mass and burn more calories. In addition, they are rich in choline, an important nutrient for boosting memory recall.
Spinach. This green leafy veggie is an excellent source of iron, which boosts the red blood cells that fuel our muscles with oxygen. They’re also packed with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants, making them an ideal food for those following programs for weight loss and management.
Since April 24 is National Pigs in a Blanket day, we thought we should offer an alternative that’s delicious and kid-friendly, but won’t put a damper on your healthy lifestyle. If you’ve visited our center for nutrition counseling, you’ve probably learned by now that weight loss isn’t about deprivation—it’s about creating habits that you can sustain during your busy life and making proper nutrition a focus. So skip the guilt associated with the traditional recipe that includes hot dogs and carb laden biscuits, and try a low-fat, fiber-rich alternative that eliminates the pudge.
A great alternate to the fattening sausage or hot dogs that are usually used in Pigs in a Blanket are turkey dogs! They’re a great source of lean protein, which is essential to those following programs for weight loss and management. Lean protein helps us boost our lean muscle mass, which burns more fat and takes longer to digest—it’s a fundamental component of a healthy diet that you should incorporate into your life on a regular basis. If turkey dogs are not an option, then try fat-free or reduced fat hot dogs. For the blankets, use reduced-fat crescent dough, or preferably, make your own! The staff at your center for nutrition counseling will most likely approve…
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup melted butter
1 cup plain yogurt
Mix the flour, sea salt, butter and yogurt together. Knead ingredients on a floured countertop until the mixture is ready to be rolled out. Using a flour-covered rolling pen, roll the dough to a 1/8 inch thickness and then cut into small rectangles.
8 turkey dogs, or fat free or reduced fat hot dogs
If not making dough from scratch, 1 can Pilsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls refrigerated dough
2 slices reduced fat American cheese (optional)
Cut the turkey dogs in half. Place one piece of cheese (if desired) and one turkey dog half on each rectangle.
Roll them up and place them in a baking dish that’s lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Serve with mustard and catsup for dipping.
This recipe is great substitute for everyone—including those following programs for weight loss and management.
Spring is here—and the urge to lose weight and get in shape is in the air. It’s the time of year when people flock to the gym, start diets and may even seek nutrition counseling. Instead of going for the quick fix with a crash diet that will ultimately leave you feeling deprived, why not create a new healthy habit by incorporating some of the delicious fruits in season into your diet?
Rhubarb. One of the first fruits of spring, rhubarb is a low-glycemic fruit that is nutrient-dense yet low in calories. It’s an excellent source of fiber, which helps to regulate our blood sugar and prevent spikes in our glucose levels, ultimately boosting our metabolism and promoting weight loss. This sweet fruit is also loaded with vitamin C and potassium.
Kiwi. Fiber-rich kiwis are the perfect example of a food that’s healthy for life. They’re packed with antioxidant phytonutrients that repair DNA and help prevent a wide array of chronic illnesses and diseases, including some forms of cancers. Kiwis also have a high content of vitamin C, which boosts immunity and increase iron absorption, and vitamin E, which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus, one kiwi provides 10% of the RDA for folic acid, and contains calcium, copper, chromium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
Blueberries. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit, containing intense levels of vitamins A, C, E and B complex, as well as anthocyanin, lutein, copper, iron and zinc. In addition to boosting immunity and staving off chronic diseases, much research shows that eating blueberries can help diminish belly fat and the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.
Strawberries. Strawberries are low calorie yet naturally sweet, making an ideal snack or substitute for dessert. Their high vitamin C levels boost immunity, may increase your fat burn, help prevent wrinkles and boost eye health. They’re packed with other antioxidants such as lutein and zeathancins, and a phytochemical called ellagic acid that has been shown to help with cancer prevention.
Kumquats. These babies are another excellent spring fruit that’s extremely healthy for life. They’re fiber-rich and loaded with antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. In addition, kumquats are a great source of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as lutein, carotenes, zea-xanthin and tannins. Kumquats can be eaten with the peel, which is also antioxidant-rich and contains many essential oils and fiber.
Click here to learn more about nutrition counseling and get recommendations for super foods to incorporate into your diet.
We’re almost a month into spring, which means that bikini season is right around the corner. No more hiding out in big sweaters and hoodies! It’s an ideal time to transform your diet into one that’s healthy for life—the motivation is there, so now you just need the tools. A visit to our nutrition counseling center is a great way to assess your current eating and workout habits and make them over so you can look good and feel great just in time for summer. Here are some quick tips for getting started right away on getting out of hibernation and developing a new, healthier lifestyle.
Load up on produce. Spring produce is juicy, delicious and colorful, but more importantly, it’s packed with fiber, which is critical for weight loss. The volume that fruits and veggies provide will satiate your hunger for the least amount of calories, while providing essential nutrients and antioxidants that are extremely healthy for life. Spring produce is some of the best you can find all year long, so now is the time to get yourself in the habit of replacing meals made up of unhealthy, empty calories with delicious low-calories salads, vegetables sides and fresh, whole fruit. Plus, the volume will fill you up so you don’t overeat.
Have a hot breakfast. Switch up that bowl of dry cereal or waffles with some fiber-rich steel cut oatmeal or scrambled eggs with grilled veggies. Research shows that hot meals are more filling and keep your hunger satiated for longer periods of time. The fiber in steel cut oatmeal will keep your digestive system busy for hours, and if you opt for a breakfast with eggs, the lean protein will do the same. Bonus: eating a breakfast that’s packed with fiber can help prevent chronic illnesses and diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and certain forms of cancer.
Have lots of tea time. Our nutrition counseling center recommends swapping out sodas and sugar-laden juices for antioxidant-rich green and white tea. One can of soda has approximately140 calories and a lot of sugar, while both green and white tea have neither. Plus, research shows that the catechins found in green tea may boost our metabolism and burn more body fat. In addition, catechins are loaded with antioxidants bearing anti-inflammatory properties. Steer clear of the pre-sweetened kinds if you can; instead opt for hot and iced versions in different natural flavors.
If you’ve ever visited a weight management center, then you probably know about food journals or have one already. Physicians and nutritionists often recommend keeping a log of what you eat before you start a diet so you can assess your eating habits and determine the causes behind your weight gain. Keeping a log of your meals is also beneficial once you’ve already started your new program.
Research shows that monitoring intake and physical activity can be an essential element of weight loss. Keeping track of what and how much you eat helps you identify and stave off unhealthy behaviors, while inspiring you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve your health through better nutrition.
When you analyze your behavior and are able to identify patterns, it helps you determine which habits you need target and how to combat triggers that lead to overeating. For example, logging your meals gives you an opportunity to assess whether you eat because your body truly needs fuel or because you’re bored or stressed out. Learning to identify emotional eating or mindless snacking is the first step towards changing your habits and starting to improve your health through better nutrition.
It doesn’t matter whether you use advanced technology or a pen and paper to keep your food diary. However, it’s very important to be 100% honest—that means tracking both good and bad days. Reward yourself when you stay on track, but don’t be hard on yourself on the days that you don’t. Some people do theirs at the end of the day, while others log their meals as they go—doing it beforehand can often make you think twice about straying from your healthy meal plan and help you make better choices.
We also remind members of our weight management center to make sure to include all the condiments and extras consumed, from salad dressing and the cream in your coffee, to mayonnaise, catsup, barbecue sauce, butter, sugar and whatever else you sprinkle or pour on your food. All those extras add up and can make a significant difference in your daily caloric intake.