Posts Tagged ‘cravings’

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

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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.

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Check, check….Time for a reality check

December 30th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

As the year comes to a close it’s only natural to ponder what was, what is and what could be for 2016. It helps to clear your head of all of the ‘would have’, ‘could have’, ‘should have’s’. We’re ready for a clean slate as the New Year rolls in, right? Instead of setting an array of unrealistic expectations and goals work on one thing – keeping it real.

A perfect place to start is readying yourself for the usual barrage of unsubstantiated health and nutrition information that bombards us. Like Tim Caulfield suggests, steer clear of bunk!

As I write this I reside in the ultra-contrived city of Las Vegas, adults’ very own Disney Land. My first impression is, “I’m not in Kansas anymore, Auntie M!” like Dorothy proclaimed in the Wizard of Oz. One of the many billboards I passed during my time here read “Make Better Choices.” I thought, hmmmm, I don’t think their definition of “better choices” is the same as mine….

“Keeping it real” is far from this place’s motto, from fake eyelashes, to volcano eruptions at the Mirage, to silicone implants and more. Every hour is happy hour it would seem. People here put photographs on their business cards. All of them seem to be missing one important element… that would be business attire….They even have a “Menage a Trois” wine. I expect the flavour floods your senses with hints of exotic spices with a strong oaky finish…. twice…. Ahhh I digress.

Yes, I have written many times that “awareness is bliss” and keeping it real is the name of the game. When you know better, you do better. Keep this in mind for the dawning of 2016 as you do your own reality check:

  • May the advice you find and follow be steeped in scientific evidence
  • If something seems too good to be true, realize it probably is, then forget about it, and
  • Work Mother Nature into your life regularly – on your plate, with your outdoor activities and with your de-stress strategies

Peace out.

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Holiday Noshing 2.0

December 9th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Whether you’re dining with family, partying with coworkers or enjoying another restaurant meal with friends there are some habits you can program into your robotic repertoire to help you through with minimal drift to your mid section… Review these pointers, reflect on how you did and reframe for the next time. Most of all, enjoy!

Eat Smart – Scale back your daytime meals a smidgen to allow a bit extra for the special meal. Don’t cut back too much or you’ll end up feeling so ravenous that you’re hungry like a bull when you arrive. Being too hungry will propel you to eat like a buzz saw.

Wee Nibble – Have a wee snack before you go to take the edge off your appetite. It’s easier to make wiser choices when you’re feeling in control.

Be Like a Girl Guide – Plan ahead and be prepared, find out what’s being served and decide what tickles your fancy.

You Look Maaaarvelous! – Dress for eating success by wearing an outfit that is cinched around your waist and makes you feel divine. You are more likely to eat like a moo moo when you wear a mu- mu! Elastic waistbands are out. Sport a belt or something that fits like a glove.

Think About Your Drink! – Offer to be the designated driver and save a load of calories on bevvies. Otherwise, decide on your upper alcohol limit. You don’t want to be the talk of the party afterwards now, do you?

Say Bottoms UP – Make the first few drinks something bubbly… mineral water that is. Enjoy your wine when you begin eating.

Decisions, Decisions – Forgo wasting calories on everyday fare like bread and butter, olive oil or regular side dishes. Try trading off.

Zone In – Think about how full you’re starting to feel during your meal and slow down if you’re shovelling the food down your gullet. If that zipper on your dress had a voice, what would it be saying right now? “Let me out!” Join in the conversation and put your fork down now and then.

Mind Games – If your hostess is Foodzilla, a food-pushing saboteur, move the food around your plate. When she tries to dish you more, blurt out “Yes I took seconds and they’re divine, mmm…”

Bond Time – Focus on connecting with others, how great you feel, the enjoyment and laughter. Food ought not be your only focus. Branch out a little. There’s more to life than stuffing your face.

10 More – Up the ante on your exercise routine the following day to work off any excess and cut back a bit in the coming days if you overdid it. No big deal, you’ll nip that nosh-fest in the bud, yet will savour the fond memories.

A little planning and juggling make a world of difference. You can still party hearty and keep your weight in check – double the fun. Ho ho ho-ld the excuses once you prepared!

For more tips to handle life’s multitude of eating temptations check out Chapter 9 of my e-book Skinny on Slim, the Little Black Dress of Diet Books and enjoy!

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The 12 Days of Christmas Remix

December 2nd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Ok my cherished T & T followers. Another year has come and gone. Let’s all sing along together from the same proverbial song-sheet now that the Christmas season is in full swing, shall we? Hem hem hem….

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

1 Daily Breakfast – Successful losers say and research shows it’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t miss it!

2 Little Snacks – Keeping your hunger at bay will really help you from feeling ravenous and overeating.

3 Square Meals – Having a regular eating routine with balanced meals helps your metabolism fire on all cylinders while kicking hunger to the curb. A true gift to yourself.

4 Food Groups – Enjoying food choices in a balanced fashion from all of the food groups will optimally nourish you as you take on all that the holidays have in store, fa la la la la, la la la la!

5 Quiet Moments – Let stress flow away when you find daily quiet time to ponder life and all it’s wonders…. Ummmmmm.

6 Times a Movin’ – Keeping regularly active (at least six, five minute intervals of moving daily) and even taking it up a notch this time of year to offset any extra nibbling will help you burn-baby-burn extra calories, keep on track, feel fit and even ease stress.

7 Beauty Sleeps - Getting enough zzzzz’s helps with appetite regulation and allows you to be more productive. Nite nite.

8 Mugs a Chuggin’ – Keep your water goblet by your side and sip, sip, sip to my Lou throughout the day to stay well hydrated. Infuse your water with fresh mint, zesty citrus or frozen berries. Bottoms UP!

9 Suares to Go To – Put on your party pants and get down on the dance floor doing the hokey pokey at these shin digs will help you burn 276 calories an hour, by rockin’ round the clock! Bye bye trifle calories…..

10 Fruit & Veg – Eating your quota of these puppies everyday helps fill you up while easing those extras out because you’re simply feeling full. Like magic.

11 Saboteurs to Deal With – Prepare yourself with how you’re going to deal with food pushing saboteurs. Take the high road with a polite “no thank you” and avoid the battle ground. Refer back to #5 as needed as you say “fa la la la la…”

12 Times of Standin’ – Get up and move a little throughout the day, everyday. Do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about! Down with sitting’itis!

Ok folks, if you follow this beat for the coming weeks you’ll be in good shape and feeling extra cheer by New Year. Equip yourself with my e-book to get up to speed on some healthy and stealthy habits for 2016. God bless us every one!

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Mother Nature 3 Ways

November 19th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m back. Back from Middle Earth, a driving tour that led me around New Zealand’s south island, ahhhh. I love getting away and being able to ponder life’s wonders.

During that time my soul was doused with a triple dose of Mother Nature. Being able to witness the splendour of Mount Cook with a back splash of cirrus clouds, to crystal blue glacier lakes, fjords of Milford Sound on a mysteriously rainy day, an end-to-end rainbow with 2 pots of gold, the glory of spring flowers, to Fangorn’s Forest all connected by rolling hills and flatlands of farmland with flocks of sheep dotting the countryside from coast to coast to coast. Nothing could be finer, truly. Middle Earth? It felt like living a fairy tale. There and back again with Bilbo Baggins of sorts…

As I reflect about what was most captivating aside from “nature in your face” was the (almost) absence of big corporate anything, met with warm and genuine hospitality of unpretentious New Zealanders. Rarely a logo, a billboard, a golden arch, a fancy handbag was sported with a casual, comfort and acceptance of being as you were whether at a gas station filling up or a dining room of a remote lodge. How refreshing.

I relished listening to the silent whispers of nature whether a waterfall, sweet bird songs, the bark of a seal or wind rustled leaves. I collected souvenirs of rocks from the blue pools, some feathers of a red hawk and twigs of a grand Cypress tree found on the grounds of Larnarch’s Castle. How odd for me being a self proclaimed Material Girl, nothing seemed finer than those treasures I stashed in my suitcase….

There aren’t words to fully express the magnificence of it all as I mull over the jarring sumptuousness of my experience.

Speaking of jarring. The reentry to reality after an overnight flight being coddled to a final dose of New Zealand congeniality to San Francisco had life’s BS meter off the charts experiencing a double whammy of Friday the 13th day of November, literally. Paris splattered the headlines, to the Ho Ho Ho of Christmas harriedness, to my twitter feed spewing with breaking news. What gives?

It has been a few days since arriving home, still feeling a sense of calm from Mother Nature’s sweet caress despite our world going postal yet again in spades, sadly. As I took my daily walk I pondered my feelings more deeply, hmmmm. A lightbulb went off, AHA!

What we all need in our lives is more of Mother Nature – that’s the answer! I hiked to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some of her bounty that landed on my dinner plate. I walked with her feeling the brisker breeze blowing through my hair and sauntering by the bare trees reaching up to the sky. I felt her sense of calm to douse the stress of our world’s madness helping to make sense of it all somehow.

As I pondered what I’d write about in the months ahead aiming to synthesize life down to its skivvies, it came to me: let’s get more of Mother Nature in our life through our food, with fun activity and with her sage counsel to manage stress for our soul.

Hmmm, Mother Nature 3-Ways, more on this to come, Through Thick & Thin…

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Bountiful Beet Salad

November 8th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I have been inspired lately by my fellow foodies cooking up a storm this harvest season. I decided to join in and learn to prepare a veggie I have never cooked before, yet love – the bountiful beet. I savour the rich sweet flavour of beets and often order them when I dine out. I brought home a 10 pound sack of them bent and determined to move my cheese and cook something new.

Ingredients
10 scrubbed beets, with greens cut off (golden &/or purple)
Spanish onion, sliced
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
small package goat’s cheese or feta cheese
toasted walnut pieces
fresh ground pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Instructions
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the beets. Line a roasting pan with enough foil to cover them, put beets on the foil and sprinkle with water and cover. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel beets and cut in chunks or slices, whatever your preference. (Can do this step a day in advance.)
2) Add the ingredients to a serving bowl and combine. Serve and enjoy!

Commentary
I have prepared these a few times and roast as many beets as can fit in my pan. I put aside the roasted beets I was planning for a meal accompaniment then froze the rest in small bags, removed the air and labelled each package so that I can enjoy these another day down the road. My friend Dianne protects her hands by peeling the beets wearing rubber gloves… smart cookie!

I must say I felt a bit sheepish for never venturing into “beet prep” prior to this season and am delighted I branched out. What are you trying to prep this harvest season? Give something new a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Thank you my foodie friends for inspiring me this harvest season!

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Hold the trick on treats this Halloween!

October 28th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

The tweet fest has been mounting about whether to give kids healthy treats or toys at Halloween, hmmmm. Is that an oxymoron – “healthy treats”? I call that a “trick” in the “trick or treat” declaration, wouldn’t you?

Look folks, Halloween comes but once a year. It’s fun to celebrate a spirited day, dress up funny and shell out. Why suck the fun out of it? Truth be told, it’s a perfect time of year to put your relationship with food to the test…

Food means so much more than simply the vitamins and minerals it contains, but has a place within our social and psychological fabric. Kids are sharp as tacks being intuitive, sometimes more than we adults ever realize. When we the “gate keepers” take the “treat” out of “trick or treat” kids get the message that you’re telling them that something is bad about that. When you head down that road, it’s a slippery slope in a negative direction. Kids who live in “cleansed” environments without any goodies could go into “food seeking” mode and will gorge on treats when they eventually get them. Some studies have shown this. The unintended consequence could result in psychological eating issues which could shackle them in a vortex of disordered eating for decades. Lighten up!

Ideally we all want kids to establish a positive relationship with food or as I like to say “a love affair” described in my e-book. This involves eating and enjoying food, some treats in moderation, guilt free. This is not a black or white issue, but grey. When we deem foods by our actions as “bad” the unintended consequences could be staggering. That’s not the goal is it: to create a negative situation by being so virtuous?

I usually wait until the day before the big day to pick up my treats. You name it, I get it – potato chips, Cheetos, chocolate bars, candy, the full court press of offerings. It’s Halloween folks, kids don’t want “healthy treats” and neither do I as I sit at the door when the tykes drop by. Save the bridge games for the old folks home! What kind of trick is that? A very bad one! This is one of those occasions to take part in and have fun – nibble, nosh and be merry. When the sugar rush wears off, it’ll be time for school and work so enjoy!
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To Snack or Not to Snack? Managing your Hunger Games

September 18th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I recently received this message from a book reader of mine. She gave me permission to blog about it to help others who might have similar issues managing hunger.

Dear T & T,
I just finished your book, Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books and thought it had a lot of great tips. I have started journalling and have set some 3×3 goals for myself. I have a question about how to strike a balance between only eating when I’m hungry and eating to ensure I won’t be too hungry at a later time (to ensure no pig outs happen when serious hunger hits). For example, I tend to workout after work but before dinner. So I will have a snack around 4pm to give me plenty of energy for a solid workout and I’m not dying for dinner right after. But sometimes I am not really hungry when it’s snack time. One of my goals, is to focus on what actual hunger is, and I worry that snacking like this may impede that. Any thoughts?

Dear PO,

You bring up an excellent point about managing hunger with a busy routine. First of all major props to you for working out, keep up the good work on that! Being active is beneficial for you on sooooo many levels. Learning about your own hunger and fullness cues takes time and is a huge balancing act AND certainly worth the effort to work on.

If you’re not hungry at 4pm I suggest you forgo having a snack. It is, however, totally trial and error. Keep yourself equipped with fruit for afterward – a perfect post-workout and pre-dinner snack so you’re not ravenous when you get home. I think marketing ingrains in our heads that we need a pre and/or post workout snack even though we’re not elite athletes. Follow your cues and act accordingly.

Also I find different times of the month like when I’m PMS’ing I feel more hungry. If that’s the case I’ll have a snack. Fruit is my go-to option or a handful of unsalted nuts if I need more staying power. Boredom can do the same thing with playing funny mind tricks disguised as hunger when it isn’t! Reviewing the 3 R’s (review, reflect, reframe) from your journal and observing the patterns will help you figure out true hunger. Plus it will help you with to how better you manage hunger. I find when I’m ravenous it’s too easy to automatically overeat so my personal trick is to avoid getting to that point. Easier said than done, but an ongoing goal. It’s a true balancing act and takes time to figure out and manage.

It’s a worthwhile effort to discern what actual hunger is for you as well. There are times when my tummy plays gypsy music disguised as hunger, esp post vacation and what I actually need to do is to get back on track, ensure I drink my fluids (water at my workstation), eat more fruits and veggies, choose a balanced diet including enough protein at each meal while I retrain those stomach stretch receptors to snap back to normal. As I like to say: Awareness is bliss! Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if you have further questions.

Nutritionally yours,
T & T

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Pasta Salad with a Kick!

September 9th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , ,

I was in a “Tasmanian Devil” mode making a pasta salad for a backyard work bar-be-cue that was a hit. I ad libbed with ingredients I had on hand, so like any good Italian in the kitchen I didn’t measure things out, but added to my serving bowl until it seemed just right. It was so delicious I enjoyed it for dinner, while hubby had it for lunch. Glad there was enough left for the company!

Ingredients
500 gm pasta noodles (try tri-coloured bowties or rotini)
bunch asparagus spears
prepped mini carrots
1 540mL/28oz can chick peas (rinsed)
marinated hot bell peppers (chopped, add to your liking)
200mL/12oz marinated artichokes
200mL/12oz marinated black olives (pitted and sliced)
chopped sun-dried tomatoes
feta cheese (crumbled)
asiago cheese (shredded coarsely)
bunch green onion (chopped)
diced spanish onion
3 crushed garlic cloves
sea salt (to taste)
ground black pepper (to taste)
hot chilli pepper (to taste, optional)
olive oil (add sparingly, to your liking)
balsamic vinegar (add sparingly, to your liking)
lime juice (add sparingly, to your liking)

Instructions
1) Bring water to a boil and add in dry pasta and cook according to the package instructions. When cooked to your liking strain, rinse with cold water and add to your bowl.
2) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash and prepare asparagus and carrots. Place evenly on the pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper. Roast in the oven for ~20 minutes or until tender. When cooked remove from oven, cool then cut in pieces and add to your bowl.
3) Meanwhile in a large bowl add all ingredients except seasonings, oil, vinegar and lime juice which you’ll add once all of the ingredients are in the bowl. Stir to combine ingredients evenly and season to your liking.
4) Cover and refrigerate. Make this a day in advance for the flavours coalesce. Enjoy!

Commentary
This is a perfect pasta salad which can be served with a meal or enjoyed AS a meal. It’s a complete meal, perfect to tote for work or school lunches and tastes even more delectable a day or two after you made it. It’s easy to make half your plate veggies with this recipe!

You can certainly add more or different ingredients to your bowl depending what you have on-hand. I’d add green peas the next time and roast a few red peppers for an even richer flavour. Use any type of cheese you have available. You can add or sub in hard boiled eggs or drained flaked tuna/ salmon or chopped up cooked leftover chicken or beef.

Let your imagination run wild and make it any way you wish as you can do no wrong with this in your repertoire and it doesn’t take a lot time to prepare.

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