Many people set the goal to exercise more regularly, especially at this time of year with New Year’s resolutions. We all know that exercise is good for us. It can help us manage our weight, prevent disease, sleep better, and feel less stressed.
When you are setting goals for exercise, start small and be realistic. Here are some tips for success:
- Plan time for exercise into your schedule.
- At first, your goal might be to take a brisk walk for 15 minutes, 3 days a week.
- After a month, increase your workouts by 5 minutes.
- Work gradually toward the goal of 30-60 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, with strength training twice a week.
- Mix things up. Try an aerobic dance class, join a group workout at a nearby park, or look for workout videos online.
Don’t have time to exercise? You can still benefit from incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle. Do this by finding ways to increase your physical activity throughout the day:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park at the far end of the parking lot.
- Pace around while you’re on the phone.
- Walk laps around the field or court while you watch your child’s game.
Get creative! Look for ways to be active throughout your day. You will find that ten minutes of activity here and there throughout the day quickly add up to 30 minutes or more.
Need help finding motivation? Ask a friend to be your workout partner, go for a family hike or bike ride on weekends, or hire a personal trainer to guide your workouts. Have fun with it!
For more information on aerobic and muscle strengthening exercise, and more ideas for adding physical activity to your lifestyle, follow the link below:
Now, get moving! Afterward, enjoy this post-workout smoothie packed with muscle-repairing protein and replenishing potassium.
Post-Workout PB Banana Smoothie
- 1 scoop protein powder, flavor of your choice
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- ½ banana, frozen
- 1 large handful of spinach, or mixed greens
- 1 cup unsweetened almondmilk, or cold water
Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth, and enjoy!
Tips: For a thinner consistency, add more liquid. To make it colder, add a few ice cubes at a time.
255 Calories 19g Protein 11.5g Fat 22g Carbs 3g Fiber
One week eggs are bad, the next week eggs are good. Coffee is good! No, it’s bad! There is a lot of contradiction out there when it comes to nutrition advice, often resulting in confusion and mistrust. I will attempt to explain why there is so much mixed-messages and how we can sift through it all to find the truth.
Most of us get our information from one or more media sources. Whether you watch the news or Dr. Oz or read articles posted on Facebook, remember, their goal is to get more views and clicks. Sensationalizing the headlines sells, but is not always accurate. The media will take one small study and hype it up as if it is absolute fact. It is best to find the research article and read it yourself, the authors are usually more reserved in their analysis than the media.
Nutrition research is actually fairly new, it started at the end of the 19th century. Many foods, such as trans fats and artificial sweeteners, have only been studied for a few decades. Good evidenced-based advice takes time and numerous studies. No one study is the end-all, be-all, so be wary of “new evidence”.
Here are some red flags to look for with health claims in the media or even on products: “fast” results, eliminating whole food groups, or claims one nutrient is the answer to your health problems. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Americans spend billions on health and diet products every year. We are attracted to the promise of big results with little effort. Often we are tricked by marketing and half-truth statements.
Recognize that nutritional science is constantly evolving. Evidence over time will sometimes mean information will need to be clarified, modified or changed. However, this will not happen over night, and certainly not from one study.
Although the media makes it seem like there is a huge debate among experts there is significant agreement on diet and health. There are tried and true nutritional advice that has been unchanged for decades, the basic principles of healthful eating – eat lots of fruits and vegetables, limit sugar as much as possible, prioritize whole foods over packaged and processed foods, and cook your own food.
It is our responsibility to be informed consumers. Here is a summary of tips on how to make healthy food and nutrition choices:
- Remain curious and open-minded to new ideas, but use common sense and read the study when possible.
- Realize there is no “quick fix” to health – this is just a marketing ploy to sell you something.
- Focus on whole foods rather than individual nutrients.
- Don’t rely on supplements to “save you” from a bad diet.
- Every body is different, our needs vary, so what might be good or “work” for one person, does not necessarily mean it is for everyone.
As we approach the new year and start thinking about what changes or improvements we want to make, try to keep it simple – simple diet with simple ingredients – don’t overthink it – it’s just food!
Here’s a simple and healthy recipe that shouldn’t create any controversy:
Vegetable Quinoa Soup
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced carrot
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1/4 cup diced red potato
- 1/4 cup diced peeled sweet potato
- 1/2 cup diced zucchini
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced cabbage
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
- Spread quinoa in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until browned, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover and stir in garlic, rosemary and cumin, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in stock, potatoes and toasted quinoa. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium; cook 12 minutes. Stir in zucchini and cabbage; cook until vegetables and quinoa are tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and salt. Serve warm. Enjoy!
144 Calories 7g Protein 5g Fat
19g Carbohydrates 3g Fiber
For more great health tips, visit our website at https://figureweightloss.com/category/weight-loss
I often get asked if it is healthier to have a vegetarian diet. My answer is, “not necessarily.” I have met a few vegetarians that don’t like most vegetables, so if your idea of vegetarian is eating potato chips all day, then, no, it is not healthier to be vegetarian. It really depends on foods choices, whether you choose to be an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, any one of them can be a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle.
The key to a healthy eating pattern is variety of foods and eating the right amounts of different foods. Here are some tips to eating healthy as a vegetarian.
- Think About Protein. Protein helps you stay full longer, stabilize blood sugar and maintain muscle mass. There are many plan options of protein, such as beans, peas, nuts, eggs, dairy and soy products. Make sure to have some protein with each meal.
- Eat the Rainbow. Vary the color of vegetables you eat. Each color represents different nutrients that your body needs.
- Get Your Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is naturally found only in animal products. Vegans and vegetarians should have fortified foods, add nutritional yeast to foods or take a Vitamin B12 supplement if not eating any animal products.
- Don’t Forget About Calcium and Vitamin D. If you don’t consume dairy products, add fortified milk alternatives, dark green leafy vegetables for calcium and supplements for Vitamin D
- Focus on Omega-3’s. High sources of Omega-3’s are found in fatty fish, like Salmon. The best vegetarian sources are found in ground flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil and soy.
- Choose Whole Grains. Refined grains are low in fiber, iron and B Vitamins. Whole grains will help you meet your nutritional needs, and fiber will help you stay full longer.
- Read Labels and Ingredients. Just because it’s vegetarian, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Know what you are eating!
Here is a great recipe that is vegetarian and full of protein, fiber and vegetables.
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
Makes 5 servings
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, washed and sliced
- 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
- 1 packet chili seasoning
- Cook onion, in olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes, carrots and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients, turn heat to medium-low and stir to combine well. Simmer, partially covered for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft.
- Serve warm. Garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, chopped green onion, and shredded cheese, if desired.
427 Calories 72g Carbohydrates
21g Protein 17g Fiber
289% Vitamin A 65% Vitamin C 15% Calcium 31% Iron
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Most of us eat out, at least a little. Some eat out most of the time. Whether we run through a drive-thru between kid activities or have work lunches daily, eating out is part of life for most of us.
Cooking and eating from home is the healthiest choice because we are in control of what goes in the food we cook. It should be a goal to eat from home most of the time. But the reality is, that probably won’t happen every day. Then, when we do eat out we often we feel we are sabotaging our diet, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With a little thought and planning, eating out a couple times a week can be part of a healthy diet. Here are some tips to help you eat healthy while eating out.
- Order smaller portions. Sometimes ordering a la carte is a good choice.
- Make half your plate vegetables and fruit. They are lower in calories and have filling fiber to help you stay full longer.
- Choose healthier cooking options – ask for grilled, baked, broiled, or steamed.
- Don’t starve yourself before going to dinner. You can’t save calories, because you will overeat and make unhealthy choices when you are very hungry.
- Watch the calories in your drinks. Whether it’s soda, sweet tea, juice or alcoholic beverages – the calories can add up quickly. Stick to water most of the time.
- Plan ahead and check the menu online. Most restaurants (especially fast food) have the nutrition information on their website. Check for healthy food options.
- Take home leftovers. You do not have to be part of the “clean plate club”.
Remember, if you are going out for a special occasion, like a birthday, it is ok to overlook the tips. Enjoy yourself on that ONE day. Then get back to healthy eating!
We all have a favorite comfort food – whether it be macaroni and cheese or chocolate, that we crave, either because it reminds us of our childhood or because we had a bad day. Indulging in these high calorie foods once in a while is fine, but if overeating becomes a daily event because of stress or sadness, it could contribute to weight gain or be a sign of an eating disorder.
Emotional eating is not a type of eating disorder, but is a common trait of those who have eating disorders – especially those who have binge eating disorder or night eating syndrome.
If you do eat for comfort, there are lots of things you can do to break the habit. One of the most important steps is being aware you are doing this. Here are four goals to help you break the habit:
- Track your feelings and what you do during stressful times – being aware is key to change.
- Know your triggers that lead to overeating or making poor foodchoices.
- Find ways to cope without food – go for a walk or call a friend, etc.
- Learn ways to de-stress – exercise, meditate or massage.
Practice these goals and over time you should see a difference. If these tips don’t help, it may be time to seek professional help.
Changing habits are hard! No matter what your New Year’s resolutions may be, statistically speaking, you probably won’t achieve it. I don’t mean to be downer, but only 8% of people are successful with their New Year’s Resolutions. Since losing weight is the top pick every year, let’s figure out a way to beat the odds!
- Break down your goal into simple, monthly steps. Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose weight” as your goal, make your first goal to change something in your diet for the better. Maybe that’s decreasing the amount of soda you drink from 5 a day to 1 a day or if you eat out a lot , your goal is to cook at home 4 days a week.
- Make your goals realistic. You want to make changes you can stick with for a lifetime. Cutting out something that you love, like dessert, probably won’t last forever. Instead of cutting it out completely, just modify it to be healthier, such as only having dessert 1-2 times a week.
- Just start! Often getting started is the hardest part. We can make excuses as to it not being a good time, but life usually doesn’t slow down, so just start. Once you take action toward your goal, the momentum starts and you are more likely to continue toward your goal.
- Accountability. Find someone or something to help keep you accountable. If there is a family member or co-worker that has similar goals, try working together to reach your goals. They could be your work out buddy or lunch buddy, or maybe you just touch base on the phone weekly to see how each other is doing and keep each other motivated. If you don’t have someone, use an app, website or journal that you can input your goals and it will help you see your progress.
The USDA is launching a new program on 12/28/16, called My Plate, My Wins! You can go to their website at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate-mywins for tips and tools to help make small, practical changes for a healthier lifestyle.
Wishing you health and happiness in 2017!
‘Tis the season to overindulge! Let’s break the cycle this year. Enjoying the holidays doesn’t mean all rules go out the window for the month of December. One day of indulgence is fine, just not a whole month. Here are some tips to help you avoid the common holiday weight gain:
- Keep holiday candy and cookies in a cupboard or pantry. Out of site, out of mind (hopefully). Leaving goodies on the counter makes it tempting to eat a little every time you walk by, before you know it the bowl is empty.
- Focus on protein foods. Protein will help you feel full and satisfied longer.
- Don’t save up your calories by skipping meals. This never works. Eat a high protein, lower carb breakfast and lunch before the holiday party. This will help you from overindulging.
- Share. Give away or share holiday treats given to you. Also, give away leftovers to family and friends or freeze them for a later time.
- Bring a high protein, healthy appetizer to the party. This way you know you have at least one healthy alternative to all the high calorie, high carb foods. Here are some appetizer ideas to bring to the party:
- Deviled Eggs
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Mini Meatballs with Marinara
- Hummus with vegetables
- Prosciutto wrapped asparagus or cantaloupe
- Dips made with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise
- Crispy Chickpeas (recipe below)
Rinse and drain 2 cans of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Spread on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Dry well, remove towels and let sit out for about an hour to thoroughly dry. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat evenly with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and seasonings of choice (ex: garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, curry powder, rosemary). Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn oven off and leave chickpeas in oven for an hour to get crispy. Store in airtight container for 3-4 days. 4 servings. 236 calories, 9g protein, 20g carbs, 8g fiber.
Wishing a happy and healthy holiday season to all!
Pumpkin is delicious and healthy. I know the most popular uses for pumpkin is in pumpkin pie or carved into interesting faces, but this delicious and nutritious fall food can be used for so much more.
If you are trying to watch your waistline or just get a little healthier foods in your diet, pumpkin should be at the top of the list. Pumpkin is full of vitamins, like vitamin A, C and E, it is loaded with antioxidants, as well as a good source of fiber. Don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds either! Clean and bake them for a healthy snack that gives you protein, fiber, iron, zinc and mono-unsaturated fats (the healthy fats).
Try this hearty soup recipe adapted from ibreathimhungry.com. It’s low carb, gluten and dairy-free. It’s a healthy-kind of comfort food!
Turkey Sausage, Kale and Pumpkin Soup
- 1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 cups chopped pumpkin or butternut squash (fresh or frozen)
- 4 cups chopped kale (fresh or frozen)
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- Cook sausage in a medium sized saucepan. Add onions and saute until translucent. Pour the broth and water into the saucepan and bring to a boil – reduce heat.
- Add the kale and pumpkin and simmer until the pumpkin is soft, about 20 minutes
- Serve hot, garnished with grated parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes.
Calories: 118 Carbohydrates: 7g Protein: 11g Fiber: 1g Sodium: 558mg