August is a big month for summer vacations. And vacations usually involve a lot of restaurant eating. Its hard to lose weight on vacation. After all this is a time to relax and enjoy your time with family and friends. So the best advice for vacation eating is try to maintain your weight. Unless you have access to a kitchen in a rental house or hotel room, you will most likely be having three meals out each day. But don’t get discouraged. Healthy fare can be found in many eating establishments. Here are some good menu choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you don’t see what you want to order on the menu, don’t hesitate to ask. Many restaurants will accommodate you. You can also share if you know the restaurant serves large portions. A great book to bring along is the Calorie King book. This book contains nutritional info from over 200 chain restaurants which can be a huge help if you are traveling domestically.
Breakfast–Oatmeal and fresh fruit is a healthy meal usually available on most menus. Just be aware that the portion of oatmeal in some restaurants is for two or more people. Limit your serving to 1 cup. Vegetable omelettes are another good choice. To cut the calories order it without cheese or very little cheese. Fresh fruit is always a good side dish.
Lunch–A salad with the dressing on the side can be a healthy option. But pay attention to the ingredients. Cheese, nuts and dried fruit can quickly add up the calories. Ask for small amounts of these. Dressing on the side is always a smart option. A sandwich or veggie burger is another healthy choice. Ask for the mayo or dressing on the side. Request a side salad in place of the fries and you can save around 500 calories. Replacing the white bun with two slices of whole wheat toast will add nutrients and fiber while omitting approx. 150 calories.
Dinner–Grilled fish or chicken and salad is a healthy option. To minimize the calories, order sauces and salad dressing on the side Because restaurant portions have increased significantly ordering a dinner salad and an appetizer can be a satisfying meal. If you want to indulge in dessert, order one for the table and share. Bon voyage!!
Many conversations I have with clients involve fiber. I keep hearing how they are making an effort to get more in their daily diet. But when questioned about how much they are consuming daily, I usually get an “I don’t know”. Of course fiber is good for you. Every gram counts! But to really get the benefits it’s good to have a handle on how much you need and the best sources to obtain it from. According to the recent report from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the daily fiber requirements are 14 grams per 1000 calories. Thus a 2000 calorie diet should include 28 grams of fiber. To make sure you meet your daily quota a good rule of thumb is approx. 8 to 10 grams of fiber per meal. Here is a good fiber list so you can check how much you typically eat daily. Just remember to increase your fiber slowly as well as drink more fluid. Your body requires more fluid to push the fiber along the intestinal tract. Fiber is found only in plant foods which include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds. In addition to promoting intestinal regularity, fiber can also decrease cholesterol levels, improve blood glucose and enhance weight loss by causing early satiety. Gradually increase your fiber until you are consuming at least 20 to 30 grams per day. Read my 10 tips to see how you can get enough fiber in your daily diet:
1. Have a serving of fresh fruit with each meal.
2. Choose a whole grain cereal at breakfast that has at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. good choices = Kashi Heart to Heart, Raisin Bran, Barbara’s Cinnamon Puffins and Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls.
3. Add chickpeas to your salads. 1/2 cup of canned beans = 8 grams of fiber.
4. Make a delicious sandwich with hummus, sliced cucumber and tomato on whole grain bread.
5. Use whole grains in place of refined. Try whole grain pasta, brown rice, whole wheat couscous, barley and quinoa.
6. For a late afternoon snack enjoy
one tablespoon of almond butter spread on apple slices.
7. Make a veggie platter to have with your dinner. Try raw broccoli, fennel, cauliflower, carrots and grape tomatoes. Have a low fat dip or hummus.
8. Add fresh berries and nuts to your salads. Sliced strawberries, raspberries or blueberries along with sliced almonds or chopped pistachios add color, taste and fiber!
9. Make grilled veggie burritos with whole grain tortillas, grilled veggies, black beans and sliced avacado.
10. Center your meals around whole grains, beans, fresh fruit and vegetables. Use lean protein in small amounts, not as the main part of the meal.
Many of my clients tell me at the first visit that they have cut their calories dramatically but still can’t lose weight. After weeks of trying to get rid of unwanted pounds they meet with me to see if there is something they are doing wrong. What I tend to see across the board is that many of my clients either skip meals completely or have skimpy meals at breakfast and/or lunch. Around 5 pm they feel extremely hungry because they are experiencing low blood sugar. So then they proceed to eat a lot. And the end result is that they don’t lose weight. Implementing a routine of three regularly scheduled meals, aka breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a specific amount of food or calories at each of these meals will promote a more stable blood sugar and reduce feelings of hunger. Try to have a meal every four to five hours.If you have a snack late-afternoon, you can usually hold off on dinner a little longer. To keep track of calories get a small notebook and keep a daily food journal. A great resource for calorie and nutrition information is the Calorie King book. It’s available at all major book stores as well as www.amazon.com. There are also an array of web sites where you can keep track of your daily calories. These include fitday.com, livestrong.com, sparkpeople.com and calorieking.com. A terrific free app is for calorie counting on the go is”LoseIt.” Sometimes it can take a while for people to get adjusted to eating on a schedule. If you find that it is difficult just do it in little steps. If you were a “breakfast skipper,” simply try to have a decent breakfast each morning. Then proceed to establishing a more substantial lunch. If you feel hungry around 3 or 4 pm, go for that healthy snack, such as a Kashi granola bar or a small handful (approx. 10 to 15) nuts and a piece of fresh fruit. You should find that at dinner time you won’t be ravenous and can eat less and feel satisfied. I would love to hear your comments and/or success stories.
The menu looked great at the new Indian restaurant that recently opened in our Long Island town. So after walking down several blocks bustling with couples and teens with surging hormones my husband and I settled down at an outside table and eagerly ordered dal and curried vegetables. As the mint tea was served (no liquor license yet!), I overheard the mother at the table behind ours talk to her toddler son. “You can have ice cream only if you eat some more,” said the mother. “But I want ice cream now,” said the precocious boy. “Just two more bites of chicken and I’ll get you the ice cream,” said the tired mother. The boy relentlessly took the chicken offered to him and chewed. “Now just a couple spoons of rice and you can have the ice cream,” his mother said now sounding quite exasperated. A few minutes later and again the same words repeated, “Just two more bite of chicken and we will get the ice cream..” Alas I had to bite my tongue and not speak up. This mother obviously was unaware that she was setting her child up for a potential weight problem. With a childhood obesity epidemic today in America unlike any other parents need to be made aware of how to feed their children. The roots of obesity start in childhood. From continuous snacks of Cheerios and Goldfish crackers while sitting in the stroller to bottles full of juice and sweetened milk to suck on throughout the day we are leading our children on to the path of obesity as well as diabetes (which is another related health crisis I will discuss in a later blog.) Here are five things parents can put into practice today to help their child avoid a weight problem in the future:
1. From two years old and on, water, low fat milk or soy milk are the best beverages to offer your child. Juice and soda should be avoided.
2. If a child states that he/she is finished eating that should be the end of the meal. Never force or entice your child to eat more. They know when they are full.
3. Don’t use dessert as a reward to get your child to eat more at dinner. Dessert is not a reward. Dessert is something to enjoy occasionally as a sweet ending after a meal.
4. Provide your child with fresh fruits and cut up vegetables for snacks. Chips,pretzels, cookies and crackers have poor nutritional value and usually lack in fiber. They provide mainly calories.
5. Enjoy meals together as a family. Be a good role model and provide fruits and/or vegetables at each meal.
Two weeks ago a woman called me to make an appointment for her 50 year-old son. He has high cholesterol and wanted some guidance with improving his diet. Being too busy to call on his own, he had his mother do his dirty work. Alas, he never showed for his appointment last week. After calling his mother she stated that she would get in touch with him and see why he failed to show. Later I got a call from her saying that he was too busy at work to keep the scheduled appointment. The mother called me today and said her son really needs to see me. His cardiologist is on his case. I took a few deep breaths and told her nicely that if her son wants to me he needs to call himself. He has already wasted an hour of my time. If he can’t take the time now to take care of his own health, what will happen when he has a heart attack? Mama can’t help him then. And work can wait. Too often people put work first ahead of their health. If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. When you must leave your job due to poor health or death, your name on the door is quickly replaced. No one is immortal. Take the time now to improve your health. Life is good. Enjoy it!
Summer is the time to enjoy the beautiful warm weather with family and friends. And also time to wear less clothes and maybe even a bathing suit! If you have been wanting to drop ten pounds before the heat of the summer here are some tips to get you on your way. For good health you should not lose more than two pounds per week so ideally you could lose up to sixteen pounds over the next two months. By limiting your weight loss to one to two pounds per week you should learn to implement new habits to help you make this weight loss sustainable. Losing weight can help you look and feel great, but the key to long-term health is maintaining your achieved weight loss. Here are my five tips:
1. Keep a daily food journal. This will help you see where you may be overeatimg.
2. Weigh each morning before breakfast. Seeing your progress will keep you motivated. If you gain weight you may pay more attention to portion sizes and mindless eating.
3. Exercise at least 4 hours per week.
4. Snack on nuts. Limit nuts to 10-20 per snack. The fat and protein in nuts will keep you satisfied till your next meal.
5. Fill up on vegetables and/or salad at dinner. Avoid seconds of protein and starches.
Cancer is the disease that people fear most. But did you know that the number one killer of both men and women in the United States is heart disease? In 2006 454, 613 women and 398,563 men died of heart disease. This is 30% more than all cancer deaths combined. Now that is frightening! Although there is a genetic link for heart disease, having a healthy lifestyle can have a pronounced impact on reducing your risk for this disease that claims lives in staggering numbers. Here are five things you can implement now to start improving your heart health:
1. If you smoke, quit.
2. Exercise at least 4 hours per week. You don’t have to join an expensive gym. Walk outside for an hour at a moderate pace (4 miles/hour). Or find a dance class that you love. Even purchasing a pedometer and aiming for 10,000 steps from the time you get up until bedtime will do wonders for your heart. But most importantly enjoy whatever exercise you choose to do.
3. Avoid trans fat. These fats are also known as hydrogenated fats. They are found in fried foods, stick margarine, vegetable shortening and baked goods. Read all Nutrition Fact labels for trans fats. Even a small amount is bad for you.If a product contains equal or less than .5 gram of trans fat, the food manufacturer can claim 0 grams on the label. So it you eat a variety of products during the day that contain some trans fat but not enough per serving to list, they can add up and increase your cardiac risk. My advice: avoid products that contain them.
4. Limit saturated fats. Saturated fats are found in meat, poultry skin, butter, whole milk and 2% milk, half and half, egg yolk, ice cream and coconut. Choose more vegetarian proteins which are lower in saturated fat such as tofu, beans, hummus and nut butters. And use olive or canola oil in place of butter.
5. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. These foods have so many health benefits and lower your risk for so many health problems. These nutritional powerhouses are packed with antioxidants and fiber and they are cholesterol-free. Eat to your heart’s content! Just make sure to have some of these foods at each meal and snack!!