Unchain the Nutrition Facts, Chain Restaurants!

April 15th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I woke up this morning reading about “….why health advocates want calorie counts on your menu and in your face” on the CBC website. Ahhh yes, my favourite subject “menu labelling” on a sunny Friday. Who needs an espresso to wake up with when there’s a headline like that – thank you world!

Fact: Ontario chain restaurants must post calorie counts on menus by 2017. In my opinion this move is ‘good from far, but FAR from good’. Hear me out will you??

Food Package Labelling – Canadians and Americans have been exposed to and are used to having the accessible array of nutritional information on food package labels for over a decade. Industry’s argument that giving more information than only calories will cause confusion is a foot dragging tactic that makes no sense whatsoever. This information is NOT new. As a consumer and health expert, I’m left scratching my head wondering why the food package sector needs to disclose all of this information and the fast food sector does not. There are people who want this information, need it and use it.

Why is the Fast Food Sector exempt? Because of this lack of convenient disclosure of nutritional information, the fast food sector is like the wild west. If you have read any of my posts on this topic one thing will jump out at you in spades: the numbers are absurdly astronomical. Check these posts out: Mulling Over Menus; Blizzard to Cool You; Summertime ScoopAwareness is Bliss. When this array of information is eventually disclosed in an open and user-friendly fashion, this sector will be motivated to reformulate their offerings. So mandating disclosure of this information is good for consumers who seek it and good for everyone else because in time I’d wager many of the offerings’ nutritional info will improve and be easier to swallow…. on many levels.

Multiple Health Epidemics – You have been living under a rock if you didn’t know our world is facing multiple health epidemics. Knowing how many calories is in your food is a start, but we need full disclosure of chain restaurant offerings, the same as what’s on the food labels – why should we expect any less as consumers? The industry will argue about how difficult it is to make this info available. Please! Yes it’s true a menu cannot post nutrition facts tables with their menu board. Given human ingenuity however, I’d wager we can come up with a solution that is doable.

Consumers’ Changing Habits – Convenience and Fast Food – We know that consumers’ habits have changed dramatically being time starved and seeking convenience. We also know that people are eating out more and more where it has become routine and not just a treat. Because of this people really need to know what’s in their food if they want it. As I have often said – awareness is bliss. Anyone who has driven by a fast food restaurant at dawn or dusk has seen the drive thru line snake out of the parking lot. I don’t think the cars are empty, do you?

So folks, we need to keep banging the gong on this one. We deserve to know what’s in our food, the same information that is available on food package labels. Don’t settle for anything less.

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Does the Food Guide make my butt get fat?

April 8th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I have heard the debate about Canada’s Food Guide and whether it’s causing obesity. My initial thought about this (or any guide for that matter) is to remind myself that this tool is a guide. It is not a diet plan. It is not a prescription. It is not a meal plan. It’s a guide. A guide needs to be used like a guide, you know for guidance. The Apple dictionary’s definition of “guide” is “a thing that helps someone to form an opinion or make a decision or calculation”. If you want it customized for you, then make an appointment with a dietitian to make sense of it.

If you have ever created a nutrition-related handout for a subset of the population, it inevitably morphs into a more daunting task with the many permutations and combinations of considerations even if it’s intended for the most homogenous group of people. I like to remind myself that Canada’s Food Guide was created for over 30 million Canadians from the age of 2 years old and up, while the Food Pyramid in the US was created for over 300 million Americans. How different is its application in one household, let alone on one city block, yet this guide was designed for most of us from coast to coast to coast.

Put that nutritional nugget in your noodle folks. One food guide created for different ages and stages: growing children from toddlers to teens, adults aging, an array of cultures with varying beliefs and practices, likes and dislikes, living in urban or rural areas with different food availability, activity levels and more. I sometimes wonder why governments even go to such great lengths to create such guides. They are perfect fodder for the media, that I’m sure we can all agree on because inevitably there’ll be a nuance (or 10) someone doesn’t agree with….

I was surprised by the seemingly collective buy-in of Brazil’s Food Guide. For simplicity sake “The Brazilian” is broken down into 10 steps, as follows:

  1. Prepare meals using fresh and staple foods
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat food and drink products
  4. Eat at regular mealtimes and pay attention to your food instead of multitasking
  5. Eat with others whenever possible
  6. Buy food in shops and markets that offer a variety of fresh foods
  7. Develop, practise, share and enjoy your skills in food prep and cooking
  8. Decide as a family to share cooking responsibilities and dedicate enough time for healthy meals
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes. Avoid fast food chains.
  10. Be critical of food-industry advertising.

Headlines touted its simplicity with marvel and applause. It felt like a good start to me but I experienced that “good from far, but far from good” feeling, niggling in my gut. In fact, I had one of those “Emperors New Clothes” moments. Over the years I have helped people make sense of many kinds of diets and guidelines. I feel that if I was counseling someone using The Brazilian guide I’d face some push back because inevitably the overwhelmed client will look me straight in the eye and say “That’s all well and good, but what am I supposed to eat?” Consumers, especially the shoppers in the family, demand details!

I have written about and strongly believe that we should do all that the Brazilian guide outlines. I have articulated many times that HOW you eat is as important as WHAT you eat. But at some point a Food Guide needs to map out what and how much food to eat so the user isn’t groping in the dark. One of the things this guide is lacking is well, guidance on that. It reads more like a proclamation than a guide and could be considered the “Brazilian Food Commandments” of sorts! Consumers need specifics about food choice and serving sizes to ensure nutritional balance is achieved. If it doesn’t I’ll wager there’ll be another food-related epidemic looming right around the corner.

Perhaps we need to step back and figure out who is actually using this tool and how they interpret it. We certainly do live in different times. Alas, undertaking the redevelopment of this may be passé given current issues that have leached through our culture.

Back to the original question: does the food guide make my butt get fat? I have heard Dr. Diane Finegood make this exclamation many times about obesity “It isn’t rocket science. It’s more complex!” There are plenty of potential causative factors, such as:

• highly processed, cheap food being available everywhere you look
• the emergence of mindless eating
• eating patterns that have morphed with the insurgence of snacking
• eating out and using convenience foods have become routine
• serving sizes, food packages and dinner ware have burgeoned
• the proliferation of calorie laden beverages lining miles of aisles at the grocery store
• product reformulation to tantalize consumers bliss point making some highly processed, low nutrient dense food addictive
• cooking skills have done a disappearing act in people’s repertoire while traditional family recipe use is fading
• the rise of celebrity endorsed unscientific diets, products, fads, cleanses and supplements have infiltrated people’s lives like a bad boyfriend you can’t dump
• consumers adopting freakish foodie foible eccentricities and proclaiming them like a cult
• the built environment with the expansion of suburbia
• insidious marketing strategies that have permeated our lives
• featuring the “food demon du jour” by media adding to consumer fear and confusion
• society’s inception of the “busy contest” often resulting in a heightened degree of stress with negative metabolic consequences for some
• the multitude of everyday energy saving conveniences
• then there’s that other global epidemic, sitting disease.

Big sigh. Somehow it would seem the movie Wal-ii is coming true in technicolour…. good grief.

After considering this laundry of issues, somehow the aged and rusty Food Guide seems like it’s the least of consumers’ worries in the obesity department. Perhaps future iterations need to come with a consultation with an RD Life Coach and a side order of The Brazilian. Food for thought…

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Say You Want an Evolution…. Not a Revolution!

April 1st, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Did you take part in a 100 meal journey in March by making a small nourishing change? You probably heard that we eat about 100 meals in a month, so making one small lasting change that you stick with is a bigger deal than you think. It is certainly a fabulous start to a healthier you! It wasn’t painful whatsoever choosing one small change to stick with, was it? I chose trying a new recipe each week, how about you?

If you sailed through your 100 meal journey, consider making another new small change for April. Get inspired by another idea from my past 5 blog posts. Spring has sprung! Many of us wake up post winter hibernation and feel the need to start a diet revolution to right all of the couch-potato wrongs from last season. Nay nay I say, look forward, don’t look back!

Instead of starting a revolution, continue your 100 meal journey which is a lifestyle evolution. Make a small change and work on making it stick each month. If you continue this non-painstaking journey for an entire year you will have made 12 changes that contribute to your health and wellbeing. That’s pretty significant stuff when you stack them all up! If you want to take on a bit more than 1 change a month consider trying my 3 x 3 and you will take it a manageable notch up to keep the momentum going. Making any more changes at the same time than that can be overwhelming and difficult to stick with over time.

Don’t be like Che Guavera and start a revolution! Make it an evolution! Send in the reinforcements and read Skinny on Slim.

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Week 5: Make Small Changes Stick this #NutritionMonth!

March 25th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Lack of time, eating out, holidays, stress? We all have challenges that can sidetrack our healthy eating plans. Here are some strategies to help your small changes stick.

Planning how you’ll manage healthy-eating roadblocks before they happen is key to success.
Setbacks on a journey to healthier habits are a normal part of making changes. Knowing what some of your challenges are can help you be ready to deal with them. Get ready with a plan to manage detours:
• Think about what might get in your way of healthy eating.
• Brainstorm solutions to get around roadblocks.
• Put supportive strategies in place. Recruit family and friends to help on your path to a healthy you.
A slip in healthy eating habits is a learning opportunity. When it happens, review your plan, adjust as needed and get back on track.
For help staying motivated, get eaTracker at: www.eatracker.ca

Short on time? Be prepared with nourishing grab ‘n’ go foods, like yogurt, nuts and fruit.
Eating well doesn’t need to take a lot of time. A little planning helps you eat healthy, even on the run:
• Stock your kitchen with good-for-you snacks, like veggies, fruit, yogurt, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, seeds and whole grain crackers.
• Cook big batches of soup, stew or chili on weekends, then take a welcome cooking break on busy weekdays.
• Cook once. Eat twice. Make more food than you need for one meal and reinvent it for another.
• Shop for healthier convenience foods, such as frozen or pre-cut vegetables, plain frozen fish fillets, shredded cheese and canned lentils.

Stressed? Bored? Sad? Eating for reasons other than hunger can lead to mindless munching.
Do you ever find yourself eating, even when you’re not hungry? Do you eat when you are bored or distracted, like when watching TV? Do you eat to deal with stress or emotions? If so, you may be eating more than you think.
If you’re a mindless muncher, try putting these savvy strategies in place:
• Reduce boredom, sadness or stress by taking a brisk walk instead of nibbling.
• Eat mindfully. Don’t eat distracted. Make mealtimes screen-free, eat away from your desk and don’t snack while watching TV.

Menu minefield! Check restaurant nutrition info online to make better choices.
Eating out healthy can be challenging when faced with big portions, too few vegetables, indulgent desserts and too much fat, sugar and salt. Make better choices with these tips:
• Choose small or half-portions or save part of a big entrée for another meal.
• Ask for extra veggies on your wrap, pizza or burger. Replace white rice or pasta side dishes with steamed veggies.
• Ask for dressings and sauces on the side and add just enough for flavour.
• Love dessert? Go mini or get one dessert and several forks so you can share the great taste.

A dietitian can help you to get back on healthy-eating track! To find a dietitian in your area, visit www.dietitian.ca/find.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Week 4: Try Something New this #NutritionMonth!

March 18th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , ,

Think healthy eating is bland? No way! Healthy eating tastes great! Keep it interesting: get creative with cooking strategies, experiment with new foods and flavours and refresh your recipes.

Perk up your menu with tantalizing recipes from Cookspiration!

Sometimes your menu just needs a little inspiration. With recipes this good, you’ll want to get cooking right now!

• Go Fish! For a quick dinner, make Fast Fish and Fresh Herb Packets.
• Bite into this super salad: Barley and Lentil Salad with Kale, Apples, Almonds and Feta.
• You’ll love the leftovers from Cabbage and Peanut Butter Chicken Stir-Fry.
• They’ll be asking for more! Double up on Vegetable Souvlaki with Feta Tzatziki.
• Dish up a divine dessert with Blueberry and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding.
• Soups on! Serve up some Sweet Potato Soup with Lime.

Find these recipes and more at Cookspiration: www.cookspiration.com

Hello tastebuds! Get ready to tingle! It’s time to try something new.

Want to try new foods but not sure where to start? These tasty ideas are sure to tempt you:

• Toss slivers of raw purple beets, green pears, feta and flax in a lemony vinaigrette for a salad that’s bursting with colour and crunch.
• Squeeze lime juice onto grilled pineapple for a naturally sweet dessert.
• Make mushroom risotto with toasted barley and low-sodium broth, and then sprinkle with Parmesan for a flavour-filled side dish.
• Sauté apples in a little butter, dust with cinnamon and top with toasted oats, crumbled walnuts and creamy yogurt for a superb Sunday breakfast.

Instead of take out tonight, make your own quick and tasty meals.
Relying on take out? Does your mealtime routine need reviving? Skip take out and bring back kitchen fun by switching up how you cook and serve supper.
• Cook create-it-yourself meals with your kids. Try a family taco, fajita, salad bar. With everyone helping, meal prep is easy.
• Make your own pizzas in minutes. Top whole grain flat breads with tomato sauce, flavourful cheese and leftover roasted veggies. Yum!
• Sandwiches for supper? Sure! Use whole grain buns, hummus or leftover roasted chicken or beef and a slice of cheese and then pile on the veggies.

Spice is nice! New flavour combos can kick up the taste in your usual fare.
Give new life to a favourite food! Experiment with these mouth- watering flavour boosters:
Red pepper flakes deliver delicious heat to lightly sautéed fresh or frozen greens.
• Grainy mustard and lemon adds tangy freshness to fish, like cod.
• A dash of nutmeg is neat on carrots, butternut squash and parsnips.
• Curry livens up lentil soup and makes a tofu-and-veggie stir-fry sizzle.
• Cinnamon pairs sweetly with apples, pears and sweet potatoes.

Switch up that snack for tasty satisfaction!
A piece of fruit, handful of nuts, veggies with dip. These snacks are definitely in the good-for-you category. But if you’re seeking new ideas, reach for one of these nourishing snacks that are anything but basic:
• ½ whole grain bagel with ricotta, sliced strawberries (fresh or defrosted frozen) and a drizzle of honey.
• Spicy lentil hummus on celery sticks with a sprinkle of black olive slivers.
• A small sliced apple topped with peanut butter, toasted coconut and raisins.
• Avocado half filled with creamy cottage cheese, chunky salsa and a squeeze of juicy lime.

Enjoy the video clip and for starters squish some fruits together :-)

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Week 3: Prioritize Portion Size this #NutritionMonth!

March 11th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

When it comes to healthy eating, how much you eat can be just as important as what you eat. Eating portions that are too big can lead to overeating and weight gain. Follow these tips to manage the munchies while enjoying realistic portions.

Give yourself a hand! Size up your portions with handy estimates.

Wondering if you’re eating too much or too little? Use your hand and try these estimates on for size:

• 1 cup of leafy green veggies or 1 whole piece of fruit = 1 fist
• Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables = ½ fist
• 1 slice of bread or ½ bagel = 1 hand
• 1 cup of milk or ¾ cup of yogurt = 1 fist
• 50 grams of cheese = 2 thumbs
• Serving of chicken = palm of hand
• ¾ cup of pulses (e.g. lentils, black beans, chick peas) = 1 fist

For more handy serving sizes, visit: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/handyguide/

Size counts! Package, plate and portion sizes can influence how much you eat.

Larger portions, huge packages and bigger plates and bowls can all cause overeating. Set your table for portion-size success with these tips:

• Use smaller, lunch-sized plates and bowls for meals. You’ll eat less but still feel satisfied.
• Serve food, or have family members serve themselves, from the counter or the stove.
• Keep serving dishes of vegetables on the table. If you’re still hungry, eat second portions of veggies.
• Put large glasses of water on the table. You might even drink more water.

Manage munchies! Keep treat-type snack foods out of sight so you’ll be less likely to nibble.
Studies show, you are more likely to choose available, easily reached foods. Try these tips to make healthy choices easier:
• Keep nourishing snacks (e.g. hardboiled eggs, cut up veggies, yogurt, nuts, whole grain crackers) on an eye-level shelf in the fridge or cupboards so something healthy is the first thing you see.
• Put high-fat, high-sugar treats, such as cookies, into non-transparent containers at the back of the fridge or cupboard so they’re out of sight.
• Clear kitchen counters of all food except for a bowl of fresh fruit for crunchy snacking.

Fuel up! For long-lasting satisfaction, eat fibre- and protein-rich foods.
Finding yourself hungry too soon after eating meals or snacks? You might need to add more fibre- and protein-rich foods to your meals. Fibre helps fill you up and protein helps your energy last longer. Together, they deliver meal and snack satisfaction.

• Fibre up. Choose more vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains (e.g. barley or oatmeal), ground flax, nuts and seeds, and pulses (e.g. lentils, black beans, chickpeas).
• Put protein on your plate. Enjoy small portions of meat, fish, poultry or alternatives (eggs, pulses, tofu) and milk products.
For fantastic fibre-filled or protein-packed recipes, visit: www.cookspiration.com

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Week 2: Power Up Your Plate this #NutritionMonth!

March 4th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

When it comes to food choices, quality counts. Nourishing foods promote health and can help you feel your best. Take small steps to bump up the quality of your meals and snacks: get clever with cooking, swap in nutrient-rich choices and enjoy deliciously healthy foods. Here are some tips to get you started.

Jump-start your day! Power through your morning by eating a good breakfast.
A nourishing breakfast gives you a fuel boost plus protein and fibre to help you stay alert and avoid mid-morning munchies.
In a hurry?
• Blend frozen berries, yogurt and milk for a super smoothie. Make it even better with baby spinach and ground flax.
• Wrap peanut butter, a banana and trail mix in a whole-grain tortilla for a portable, crunchy breakfast.
Got time?
• Make a burrito with scrambled egg, lentils or soft tofu, sautéed red pepper, avocado and salsa wrapped in a warm tortilla.
• Top French toast with yogurt, sunflower seeds and warm sautéed apple slices.

Forget the food court! Pack good food fast with “planned extra” leftovers for lunch.
Packing lunch is a healthy, budget-friendly habit. Keep it simple: reinvent “planned extra” leftovers for a lunch that’s way better than the food court. Try these tasty ideas:
• Cook extra chicken for dinner. For lunch, wrap chicken in soft tacos, with crunchy cabbage and shredded carrots, a sprinkle of feta and big squeeze of juicy lime.
• Roast extra root veggies. Layer them on crusty whole grain bread with hummus and baby spinach for a scrumptious sandwich.
• Toss extra cooked whole-wheat pasta, couscous or barley with pesto, cherry tomatoes, lentils and small cheese chunks for a protein-packed salad.

Swap your sip! Sugary and creamy drinks pack a calorie punch.
Your best choice for quenching thirst? Water! Add zing with mint, berries or citrus wedges. Carry a water bottle and keep it fresh all day. Swap your sip with these tips:
• Choose fizzy water with a tangy citrus twist instead of sugary pop.
• Like a latte? Filled with nutrient-rich, hydrating milk, lattes can be a good choice. Go plain, without sugary syrups or whipped cream. Try decaf to cut caffeine.
• Tea lover? Try hot or iced black, green or herbal teas without added white sugar or honey. Enjoy the taste of the tea itself.

Trade your treat! Pack nutrient-rich snacks so you can steer clear of the vending machine.
Nourishing snacks satisfy hunger between meals. To stay energized and satisfied, snack smart with small, portions of nutrient-rich foods. Treat your tastebuds with these good-for-you snacks:
• Fresh veggies + garlicky black bean dip
• A crisp apple + a couple pieces of tangy old cheddar cheese
• Crunchy roasted chickpeas + a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips
• A couple of naturally sweet dates filled with almond butter

Clever cooking! Flavour food with tangy citrus, fresh herbs and fragrant spices.
There are lots of simple ways to cook healthy without sacrificing taste. Try these tips to add flavour to meals:
• Add pizzazz to plain grains and pulses by cooking barley, brown rice or lentils in low-sodium broth.
• Stir ½ to 1 cup of canned pumpkin or mashed sweet potato into muffin batter for a veggie boost.
• Make a luscious mashed potato with roasted garlic, a little olive oil and warm milk.
• Purée vegetable soups, such as potato, sweet potato or broccoli, with low-sodium broth for deliciously creamy texture and taste.

For delicious recipes with a healthy twist, visit: www.cookspiration.com. How’s your 100 meal journey going?

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Week 1: Start a 100 Meal Journey this #NutritionMonth!

February 26th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Eating well can boost your health and help you feel your best. Want to eat better? Instead of trying to change everything at once, take a 100 Meal Journey. We eat about 100 meals in a month, so focus on making a small, lasting change and stick with it… one meal at a time. March is Nutrition Month, so now is a perfect time to join in!

Committing to make a healthy change is a great first step. Take a week to get prepared. Try some tips for choosing change, setting goals and putting strategies in place to support your 100 Meal Journey.

Pledge to make a small, nourishing change and stick with it, one meal at a time.
Too many changes at once can be overwhelming and hard to keep up. It’s better to make one nourishing change that sticks.

First, choose your change. Think about your eating habits. Where can you make a positive, easy change? Here are some ideas that can make a big difference:
• Fill more of your plate with vegetables.
• Choose whole grain instead of white bread.
• Serve smaller portions, start by using a smaller plate.
• Enjoy fruit for snacks instead of sweet or salty treats.
• Drink water in place of sugary beverages, like pop.
Then, set small goals, get ready for action and join other Canadians on a 100 Meal Journey.
Pledge here: www.NutritionMonth2016.ca

Pantry raid! Take stock of your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Add foods to nourish your 100 Meal Journey.
Making nourishing meals and snacks is easier when you have healthy foods on hand. Get your kitchen ready for action with these good-for-you foods:
• Vegetables and fruit: fresh or plain frozen, dried and canned
• Whole grains: oats, barley, quinoa, pasta, cereals, crackers, breads
• Milk products: milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir
• Nuts, seeds and nut butters: pumpkin seeds, flax, natural peanut butter
• Canned and dried pulses: lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans
• Eggs: whole or cartons of eggs or egg whites
• Fish: plain frozen fish fillets, canned tuna or salmon
• Meat and poultry: fresh cuts of red meat, turkey, chicken

Change your eating environment. Add healthy cues, like a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter.
Look around your house, workplace, car or anywhere you might be eating. Are there cues, like candy bowls and cookie jars, that hinder healthy habits? Redesign your environment with healthy cues to prompt good choices. Try these ideas:
• Put a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter. Keep all other food in the fridge or cupboards.
• Keep a reusable water bottle on your desk so it’s ready for sipping instead of sugary drinks.
• Store nourishing snacks, like cut up veggies, handy at eye level in your fridge. Put tempting treats at the back of the cupboard.

Mull all of this over and choose 1 easy thing to change, make a commitment by taking the pledge and stick with it throughout March. I pledged to try a new recipe each week throughout March. What will you pledge?

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Lunch Improv 2 Ways

February 10th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s My Lunch Improv to Try!
There has been much debate about which meal of the day is most important. Breakfast usually hogs the spotlight given it provides get up and go to start the day. While dinner is our meal to help us ease into the evening. Lunch often gets glossed over, yet it is no less important than any other. In fact, lunch can help revive that get up and go that got up and went boosting your afternoon productivity!

I wrote in my ebook Skinny On Slim how I shifted my noon-time nosh-fest some years back. The short story is that I now choose a 3-salad combo with one side of plain Greek-style yoghurt another side of low fat cottage cheese. One of the salad choices always contains pulses (chick peas, beans or lentils) to further pump up the protein and one always has some nuts or seeds. This routinely satisfies my hunger, fills me up, tastes great, yet doesn’t leave me needing to nod off like Dilbert as the clock ticks by late afternoon.

I used to buy the ready-made salads. But soon after this New Year I didn’t like the limited selection and mayo-laden choices, so I decided to move my cheese and try my hand at making a few simple ones. These combinations are a snap to prepare:

C’est Chick
Combine the following:
1 can chick peas, drained & rinsed (can sub in white beans or lentils)
chopped onion slice
chopped celery, radish &/or red pepper
dash of olive oil, season to your liking

Sunshine Carrot
Combine the following:
1 can crushed pineapple, drained well
3 carrots, peeled and grated
chopped onion slice
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries or dried or frozen cherries or raisins
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Peck O Peppers
Combine the following:
2-3 red, orange or yellow peppers, washed, cored cut lengthwise
chopped onion slice
diced defrosted frozen mango or peach
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Here are a few more lunch salads that I love:

These combos are fast and easy to make and keep well in air tight containers in your refrigerator. I make them on the weekend leaving the guess work about “what’s for lunch?” off the table entirely. Choose a different combination each week. They’re great for the whole family to enjoy.

Try your own lunchtime improv! Join me in making a few cinchy options.

Bookmark and Share
 
 

Press the re-Start Button…

February 4th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

It seems as if I blinked and February rolled in. How are your New Year’s resolutions progressing? Have they morphed from intention to action? Sometimes life’s commitments get in the way of progress, but today is as good as any day to press the re-start button. Reframe your thinking by considering these ideas:

Just for Today – Shift your focus and work on your goal “just for today”. Eat just a little better and find opportunities to stand and move a little more, more often. Sometimes we psych ourselves out wanting a mountain of change by next month, next season, next birthday and more. By keeping your head in today, those goals will come to fruition down the road.

The Weigh In – Early in January, Dr. Brian Wansink reported on the importance of weighing in throughout the weeks post holiday noshing. Like I always say “awareness is bliss” and the scale never lies. I have taken heed of this advise and weigh ins have served as a reminder to nip the nosh-fest in the bud.

Work in Intervals - Time can be on your side when you find 5 minutes here, or 15 minutes there to move more. Forget about finding a full hour or more if you have been out of any activity routine. You can more easily add up these intervals to 30 – 60 minutes by sneaking your moves in. You may eventually feel so good you may schedule in more activity to move, to destress and energize yourself!

Plan a Small Change – Next month (March) is Nutrition Month. The theme is “Take a 100 meal journey. Make a small change one meal at a time.” While you’re working on doing just a little bit better, join in starting February 23, 2016 and Take the Pledge. While you’re at it find ideas, follow the weekly topics throughout March from “Get Ready!” “Quality Counts!” “Prioritize Portion Size!” “Try Something New!” to “Make it Stick!”

Instead of life getting in the way of your goals, let your goals get integrated in your life little by little by taking the first step.

Bookmark and Share