Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winter Comfort Eating Recipes (Part 3)

Ready for a few more recipes to add to the list?    I could go crazy and probably make numerous blogs about healthy snacks!  Here are a couple more...

Spicy Nuts/Nibble Mix or Cornnuts?

This recipe uses chick peas in place of nuts and calorie laden cornnuts.  The chick peas taste quite nutty and are far more nutritious and lower in fat than most snack foods.
Try this instead:  Spiced Garbanzo Beans - Drain 2 x 16oz cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas) or your own homemade ones and put them in a large bowl.  Add 2 tbsp cumin, 1tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper and toss well to coat.  Spray a baking pan with oil or non-stick spray and spread chick peas out in a layer and bake for about 20- 40 min at 350F, stirring halfway through.  Serve warm or save them in a jar in the fridge when cooled (if they last that long!)  Good on top of salads as well.

Rice Pudding

Comfort food at its best!  How many remember Grandma's warm and slightly sweet Rice Pudding.  This version has all that - minus the skin (yecch!!)
Try this instead:  1 cup cooked rice (cook a bit extra next time you make rice!) mixed into 1 pk fat free vanilla pudding and 2 cups skim milk.  Add nutmeg (if you like it) and 1/2 raisins, if desired.  Chill in fridge until set.

I hope these posts have given you a few more ideas of how to eat healthy with diet-friendly comfort foods!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Winter Comfort Eating Recipes (Part 2)

More winter comfort eating recipes coming up...but first...have you made any yet???  Women are great ones for collecting good-sounding recipes and throwing them in a box and forgetting about them (yes...I do it too!  Usually mine are ones I look at and say "hmmm...how can I make this recipe a healthier one?" and it goes in THAT box!)  Anyway, here are a couple more snack and comfort foods...

2-Bite Brownies

Find it hard to walk past the bakery section of the supermarket without eyeballing these? This nutrtious wheat-free version will save you a calorie or two!
Try this instead:  Beat 2 egg whites until stiff.  Add 1 tbsp cocoa, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup of ground rolled oats (put oats in blender and grind until fine).  Drop into mini-muffin cups and bake at 350F for about 10 min.  Makes 6.

Berry Pops

I like popsicles but I know those sugar-laden ones you buy are just a waist (very punny??) of calories.  You need to prepare these in advance for those "moments"!
Try this instead:  Puree 2 cups of strawberries or other berries (can be fresh or frozen) with 2 tbsp of honey.  Pour into 12 paper cups or popsicle molds. Freeze  about 30 min, or until firm.  Meanwhile, puree 6 kiwifruit (or another fruit) and another 2 tbsp honey. Lastly, puree 2 cups sliced peaches (can use frozen or canned in own juice and drained) and 2 tbsp honey.   When berry layer is firm, add the kiwi layer and insert sitck.  Freeze until firm and then add the peach layer and freeze until firm.  Or, whichever order you want to do them in!

Tomorrow...another couple low calorie winter comfort foods!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Winter Comfort Eating Recipes (Part 1)

Comfort Eating?  We all do it and all know, especially if we are trying to lose weight or reduce body fat, that it isn't really a good idea!  However, there comes a time...well, when you just gotta! 

I won't go into the psychology of comfort eating (we can save that for another blog) but today I am going to give you a couple of less-damaging comfort foods that are quick and easy to prepare - absolutely vital when it comes to comfort eating!  My clients are always asking me what they should do when the time arises.  Basically, make it, eat it and get over it!   If you deny the urge for too long...it becomes so insistent that instead of just a little...you eat WAAAYYY too much - leading to feelings of guilt, hopelessness and total disappointment.

The next few blogs, I will take some traditional comfort foods and show you how to make them healthy snacks, rather than dietary disasters!

Warm Apple Pie and Ice Cream

Is just reading that making your saliva run? 
Try this instead: Core half an unpeeled apple (use any variety that remains firm when cooked, such as Northern Spy, Rome Beauty or Granny Smith) and fill with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon (can also be chopped into pieces for faster cooking). Place in a microwave-safe bowl and cover.  Microwave for 2 1/2 min, remove from oven and top with 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt. (Can also be done in the oven, wrapped in tin foil) The unpeeled apple gives you added fibre with the yogurt adding protein and calcium.  And best of all, there is no tempting rest-of-the-pie to worry about - as well as saving yourself several hundred calories!  This recipe gives you the same warmth and satisfaction with about 1/4 of the calories of regular pie and ice cream.

Banana Split

If the thought of dipping your spoon into that cold creamy dessert with a hint of chocolate has you doing cartwheels, then try this healthy and low calories alternative!
Try this instead:  It helps if you are prepared in advance for this, but unforzen bananas will also work.  When your bananas are getting too ripe, peel them and chop them into 1 inch segments, sprinkle some lemon juice over top and throw in an airtight container or bag in the freezer.  When the "time" comes, put them in a bowl, drizzle with low calorie or even regular chocolate syrup.  Throw on a dollop of Fat-free Cool Whip (or vanilla yogurt) and sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Potassium, fibre and some healthy fats!


For those of you who love nothing better than some hot and savoury pizza... 
Try this instead:  Take a whole wheat English muffin and split it in half (you can also use a brown rice cake).  Spread with canned tomatoe sauce, sprinkle on some herbs and some parmesan cheese.  If you like olives, pineapple etc, put on a few small pieces.  Top with a tablespoon of  skim milk mozarella cheese.  Place in the oven or toaster oven and cook until the cheese melts.  You have to keep your eyes on them though as they cook very quickly!  The taste and texture of pizza with added fibre and a whole lot less calories!
Tomorrow we will look at a few more low calorie comfort foods to help beat those winter comfort cravings!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Exercise to Prevent SAD and Get a Smaller Butt!

As promised....I call it the “get your butt off the couch workout”!

1. Pick 3 or 4 exercises, say, a push-up, a squat, an abdominal curl and a lunge (though it could be any others too). If you have any exercise equipment that has been lying under a bed collecting dust, (who me???) you can incorporate that as well.
2. Every time an advertisement comes on TV, get your butt off of your couch, do 10 of each and then sit back down.

Workout over! Don't tell me you can't do that?!

Think about it...an advertisement comes on every 10-20 minutes so you'll have done 30-60 reps over the course of an hour. That's probably a lot more than most people are doing at the moment, doesn't cost a penny, takes no time out of your day whatsoever...AND...You can still watch your favourite TV show!

If you're a little fitter and you're worried that this won't provide enough of a challenge then try this instead:

1. Pick the same 3-4 exercises (or others, as it suits).

2. Whenever an advertisement comes on, get your butt off the couch, perform 10 of one, move to the next and the next, and the next and continue the circuit until the adverts are finished (on average 3 minutes).  YOu can add some Dumbbells for more of a challenge.

I guaranteed you that you'll get an amazing workout if you do this just once. Do it throughout the evening and you'll be stunned at how much work you've done.

Here's a bonus tip for you....try hiding the remote control...retro TV!   You actually have to get up off the couch to change the channel...think of all those serendiptity squats! (she says, with a wicked smile!)

So, there you go, the ultimate indoor cabin fever busting workout!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Beat the Winter Blues!

Get Light and Lively to Beat Those Winter Blues!

Picture this: you’re sitting in your house, contemplating how high your gas bill is and how much it will cost to pay someone to shovel the mountains of snow that covers your once green lawn, or, if you don't have snow, then watching the rain pour down. Added to this, there is the stress of being in the middle of a pounding economic downturn with job losses and belt tightening all around. Besides having lots of things to worry about, there’s not a lot to do when it’s ten to twenty below outside – it can be downright lonely and depressing. It’s a one-two punch that nobody wants!

According to the Cleveland Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, “Seasonal depression, which affects between 4 and 6% of the population, often called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a depression that occurs each year at the same time, usually starting in fall or winter and ending in spring or early summer. 10 to 25% may suffer a more mild form of “winter blues” or ‘cabin fever.’”
One recommended and proven method you can use to help prevent the onset of SAD or lessen its symptoms is…yes, the dreaded E-wordexercise! It's an important part of beating winter stress and, whilst I'd love to tell you otherwise, by including a little of it every day, you will find tremendous improvement in your attitude and demeanor. When you engage in a good aerobic workout, you get your heart pumping which releases endorphins into your system. Endorphins are the natural feel-good hormones, which not only make you feel happier and less stressed, but give the body more energy.

It doesn't have to be a lot, it doesn't have to take all the time in the world, it just requires that you do it consistently and with the right intensity to get results. You don't need a lot of equipment, you don't need to join a gym and you don't even need to hire an expensive trainer. You just have to get off your butt and do something.
That's how simple it can be! In fact, you don't even need to leave your living room or miss a single minute of TV.

Tomorrow...the “get your butt off the couch workout”!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

50 Tips to Not Gain Weight In Winter (Part 5)

Ok...you ready for the final 10??

41. Substitute nonfat or low-fat dairy products such as milk and cheese for whole-milk dairy products.  If you are not used to non-fat products, make the transition by starting with the reduced fat products first.

42. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? For moistness with less fat, substitute equal amounts of applesauce for oil.

43. Satisfy your sweet cravings with low fat goodies such as angel food cake, frozen juice bars, diet jellies and puddings, fresh fruit, biscotti.  Make them yourself or read the labels to ensure they are high sugar products instead!

44. Choose only the leanest cuts of meat and trim all visible fat before cooking.

45. Remove the skin from chicken before baking or broiling, if you are the kind who enjoys it…once it is cooked and all crispy, it gets more difficult to throw it away!

46. Try to get at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. They are not only rich sources of vital nutrients; they are also rich in fibre. So when you fill up on low-cal fruits and veggies, you’ll have less room for fatty foods.

47. Do give into cravings occasionally. Struggling against urges is a sure-fire path to a binge. Try managing your craving with a small serving.

48. Snack regularly; just do so intelligently with low-calorie and/or high fibre foods, instead of cookies and cake.

49. Become a fat sleuth. Read food labels faithfully and select those that contain no more than 3 grams of fat for every 100 calories.

Lastly....and definitely not the LEAST....

50. Above all else, maintain a positive attitude. If you believe in yourself and your ability to get into shape, you’re half way there!!!

So, there you have it!!  50 Tips to help prevent winter weight gain....I hope you have discovered at least one tip that will assist you with your weight loss or weight maintenance goals!

Friday, January 15, 2010

50 Tips to Not Gain Weight In Winter (Part 4)

Ready for another 10 tps to help you keep slim this winter???

31. Treat yourself to a gift every time you lose 4 or 5 pounds to make you feel special. Just be sure it’s not food!

32. Never shop on an empty stomach. All those fattening goodies will be especially irresistible when you’re starving.

33. When alcohol is served at a party or restaurant, opt for a white wine spritzer, as it cuts the calories and alcohol in half.

34. Invest in a food scale. That way, when a meal calls for a certain amount of meat, chicken etc., you’ll be right on the mark!  No more portion distortion.

35. Aim for a small but steady weight loss-you’ll be more likely to succeed and maintain your goal.

36. Weigh yourself in the morning is best, or at the same time each day.

37. Don’t forget to exercise. Regular workouts burn lots of calories and rev up your metabolism so you’ll lose weight more easily; they also help to firm up flabby areas and contribute to overall fitness. So don’t rely on dieting alone to get slim!

38. Cut down on fast foods. Most give you more fat and calories than you’d imagine. Even salad bars can be loaded with hidden calories.

39. Find a diet buddy, or join a diet club. You’ll get support and encouragement just when you need it most.

40. Sauté meat and vegetables in chicken broth or wine (most of which burns off during cooking) rather than oil.

Despite the fact that many of these seem "obvious", it is surprising how many we DON'T do on a daily basis!

See you tomorrow for the last 10 tips to avoid winter weight gain...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

50 Tips to Not Gain Weight In Winter (Part 3)

I hope you are finding some of these tips to avoid winter weight gain are like light bulbs / "aha!" moments! 

Often times we think we are "really trying" and don't realize that it is the small things that we do on a daily basis that really count.  In other words, we all focus on the big night out and blame it for weight gain, but it is the everyday bad or unconscious habits (i.e. eating the food off the kids' plates  :( ) which are really the bad guys, in terms of accumulated fat storage.  With that being said, here are another 10 tips:

21. Dining out? Order a la carte or an appetizer size. A full meal is often far more than you need, especially if you have nibbled on bread, had some wine etc. If it is set in front of you, more than likely you will eat it all! 

22. Cultivate thinner friends! If you have friends who are on “see food” diets, it is more difficult than with those who don’t focus on food.  Be mindful of friends or relations who sabotage your weight loss efforts. Often times, those who are unable to commit to a program themselves will put obstacles in your way to prevent you from achieving your goals. Sad…but true.

23. Avoid using heavy sauces, stuffing or topping when dining out; order them on the side or leave them off.  How many times have you ordered a healthy salad to find it dripping with salad dressing…undoes all the good of eating a salad, doesn’t it?

24. Be forgiving of dieting slipups. Simply resolve to do better next time, but don’t give up altogether.

25. Always leave something on your plate. This fosters a sense of self-control. 

26. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit; not cookies, cake or candies.

27. Be wary of packaged “diet” foods. Many have more calories and sodium than “ordinary” foods. Check labels before you buy.  That “fat-free” yogurt, for example, is often loaded with sugar to compensate for the lack of fat.

28. Skip the seconds - once is definitely enough when you are trying to watch your weight!

29. Put your fork down between each bite. This habit will help you eat more slowly and, ultimately, less.

30. Eat on smaller plates. What looks like a skimpy serving on regular dinner plates will seem like a feast on a smaller one. 

See you again tomorrow for Part 4 of the "no winter weight gain" strategies!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

50 Tips to Not Gain Weight In Winter (Part 2)

Ok...ready for another 10 tips to prevent winter weight gain and spring regret?? 

     11. Popcorn makes a filling, healthy snack. But be sure you eat it plain-that means no salt or butter, or if   you must, a little of either.

     12. The taste of something sour, like a pickle (just watch the sodium levels) or unsweetened grapefruit juice, can put an end to hunger pangs, especially when you’re craving something sweet.

     13. To avoid eating too fast, eat with chopsticks. After a while, you’ll find yourself eating more slowly, even when you use a fork.

     14. Cut down on sodium. Excess salt makes you retain water and it also promotes high blood pressure.

     15. Know why you’re eating. A bad mood can trigger a binge, but if you’re aware of the tendency you’ll be better able to cope.  Try lying down and doing some Crunches or Push Ups....you'll boost your "feel good" hormones...so that bad mood might just disappear!

     16. Cook enough for just one meal. When you have leftovers in the fridge, it’s hard to resist eating them after dinner or while you are trying to put them in the fridge.  Or make an announcement that leftovers are for the next day's lunch...

     17. Occasional treats help fight feelings of deprivation and possible binges. Allow yourself a thin slice of cake, a couple of cookies or a small amount of candy (or whatever your vice is) once a week.

    18. Develop your interests in things other than food to prevent over-eating from boredom.

    19. Don’t eat while you’re doing something else. If you munch while watching TV or reading, you’re apt to eat too much.  It laso creates a habit and signal.  Your body starts to tell you, "When I watch TV, I eat."

     20. Going to a party? Don’t go on an empty stomach. The festive atmosphere and omnipresent food can lead to dietary disaster.

Tomorrow, another 10 tips!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

50 Tips to Not Gain Weight In Winter (Part 1)

Over the next 5 days, I am going to give you 10 tips to help you not be a "victim" of winter weight gain!

 If every year you put on weight over Christmas and New Year and it keeps snowballing - until you look like a snowball.- then these tips will help get you on track and make inroads into losing some of that weight or, stop the weight gain cycle. 
Here we go....
  1. Realize you are trying to take control of your weight for yourself, not for a boyfriend or a wedding, for example, and you’ll have greater success.
  2. Stay away from crash diets. Diets of at least 1200-1400 calories a day are far healthier and lead to long-term weight loss.
  3. Avoid skipping meals. You’ll find yourself so famished you’ll probably go off the diet in desperation!
  4. Cut down on the amount of fat you use in cooking. Use a non-calorie cooking spray instead of butter for sautéing.
  5. Try flavouring salads and vegetables with fresh lemon juice. It adds zip without fat and calories.
  6. Flavour your meal with herbs. Try scrambled eggs with chives, dill sprinkled on broiled fish, or a dash of cumin to add Mexican flair. The sky’s the limit.
  7. Don’t overdo coffee, tea and caffeinated beverages. They can make your anxiety level skyrocket, and when you’re out of control, you’re apt to overeat.
  8. Drink lots of water. Try to drink at least 8 glasses a day. It’s good for the kidneys and will help you feel full, as well as hydrating that parched skin that has been exposed to forced air and electric heating.
  9. Eat more fibre-rich foods. Wholegrain breads, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables are not only filling, they’re also loaded with nutrients.
  10. Sip some soup. A cup of soup before a meal helps you eat less and warms you up, as you are inclined to eat more when you are cold.
Stay tuned for another 10 tips tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is it Low Fat? Is it Low Cal?

I don't know about you, but I have been fascinated with the information on the Vancouver Sun's Fatabase! 

Actually, the whole Rate Your Plate series is extremely interesting and informative.  If you haven't had a chance to look...go take a look - Vancouver Sun Fatabase.

If you are anything like me, you try to make good food choices and look for all the words that tell you right away that the meal is going to be calorific!  Words like "deep-fried" are pretty obvious, but anything that is in a cream base has several names.  So, go to the site and look up some of your favourite meals that you order out.  Some throw a few curve balls!

 Take Caesar Salad.  It's a salad...right???  Think again!  At some restaurants they take an inherently healthy food and slather it in a high fat dressing as well as throwing in some other high fat additions.   You might want them to hold the dressing and go with a basic vinaigrette to make it the healthy meal that it should be!

Forewarned is forearmed...as some famous person once said!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rate Your Plate!

Ever wondered what the calorie and fat count was in your favourite foods in your favourite restaurants???  I always have clients and people asking me, "How do I know what the best restaurant and fast food choices are?" What is a low fat food?  What is a low calorie food?  What are the best salads to eat?  

Well, the Vancouver Sun has produced a data base of restaurants and their menus so you can look up the nutrition details and bascially decide what you want to eat before you go...no more guesswork!  If it is a scheduled Treat Day or you don't want to blow your Healthy Eating or Weight Loss Plan,  this "Fatabase" will surely help.  Unfortunately this is BC based, but the Chain Restaurants are going to be more or less the same everywhere and let's face it so are a lot of the menus and foods in a lot of other restaurants.

I have had a lot of fun this morning searching for different foods...some literally leave your mouth gaping!  Definitely a few surprises!!!!

This...                                            OR                     This....

Here is the link:   Fatabase

Have a look and tell me what you think!