Monday, May 31, 2010

The Right Bite or How to Make the Healthiest Choice

Freud almost got it right when he said a constant battle is being waged in our psyche between what our animal instincts would like to do and what are socialized selves know we should do - but the fight most of us face isn't about's about food!

For instance, think about all the negotiating you do with yourself: calculating the treadmill time required to work off a slice of pizza or weighing the evils of trans fats against your overwhelming desire to down a giant piece of cake.  The fact is, no matter how persuasive the diet angel on your shoulder is, too often the devil is busy whispering, "yummm, cookies!" in your other ear wins out.

And sometimes, that's OK.  Eating healthy is not about being perfect 100% of the time; it's about eating your best most of the day.  Little treats have been shown to help keep dieters more focused and less likely to pig out after feeling so deprived. 

Over the next few days, we will look at different "Diet Dilemmas" and give you ideas on how you can keep both the angel and the devil happy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Family Pains

Your diet is coming along fantastically - until a family get-together has you reaching for the cake in despair.  Here's how to deflect the dessert that's shoved under your nose....

Avoid the "D" word - If you don't want people to talk about your weight, you need to avoid the topic too.  When you tell people you're dieting, it's always a cue for them to shove hi-calorie food at you.  When visiting family, keep quiet about your weight-loss efforts and quietly suggest lower fat or calorie options or fill up on healthy snakcs beforehand.  Dessert?  Just say you are full and fill up on fruit. 

Avoid the comments - Got one of those in your family who always says, "You're looking a bit porky, aren't you?"  Instead of letting that comment depress you and send you to straight to the dessert...either try to avoid those people or change the subject and make like you never heard them.

Avoid the alcohol - Besides the fact that alcohol and insensitive family members is not a good isn't much good for the waistline!  Have a glass of wine with your meal but then stick to water or soda or other calorie-free beverages.  Your head will be clearer, your eyes sparkly and your temper intact!

Time out!  You're bored and the food tray looks inviting or your in-laws/sister, nosey great aunt, etc are driving you to distraction...go for a walk.  Offer to take the dog for a walk, play games with the kids...just get yoruself away from the food.  Your waistline and mind will both be happier!

“Some family trees bear an enormous crop of nuts."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eat to Improve Your Mood

Q: Is it true certain foods can actually improve my mood?

A: Happy news: Eating the right stuff at the right time can help you feel good.  To prevetn the dips and spikes in blood sugar levels that may leave you tired, irritable and headachy, try to....
  1. Eat every 4 to 5 hours.  Noshing throughout the day provides your body and brain with constant fuel.
  2. Limit refined carbs.  Your body quickly metabolizes the calories in soda, juice, bagels and crackers, causing blood sugar to rise sharply and eventually plummet.  
  3. Fill up on soluble fibre.  Oats, brown rice and vegetables (to name a few) slow down the body's absorption of sugar, so you feel steadily energized and upbeat for hours.
  4. Add protein to meals and snacks.   It keeps carbs from being digested too quickly.  (Put some cottage cheese on that wholewheat bagel or wholegrain cracker, for example)
  5. Go for foods high in Omega-3 fats and vitamin D. Research indicates they can relieve the blues.   For omega-3's, try ground flaxsees and oily fish like wild salmon; good sources of vitamin D include fortified skim milk and egg yolks.
 Not only will your mood be improved because of the good nutrition, but you will feel better for taking such good care of yourself!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mix Naughty and Nice

If only some nutritious foods weren't so bland (and junk food so delicious), you'd eat more of the good stuff and less of the not-so-good stuff, right???
You can get the best of both with this simple trick: Make a 50-50 blend of your favourite bite and its more virtuous counterpart!  You'll cut calories, fat and sugar without comprising the taste.  How good is that??

If you crave Salty, greasy chips
Mix up 1 oz Fritos (for example) with 1 oz air-popped popcorn
The Plus? You still get the crunch and save 50 calories and 9 grams of fat.  Popcorn is also a good source of fibre and B vitamins.

If you crave a Juicy Burger
Mix up 2 oz ground beef with 2 oz ground turkey
The Plus?  Using all-white turkey meat lets you sink your teeth into a succulent patty that sheds 14grams of  fat.

If you crave Pasta
Mix up 1 oz white pasta with 1 oz whole-wheat or other grain pasta
The Plus? Get nearly double the fibre per serving, filling you up so you'll be less likely to go back for seconds.  The healthier noodles also provide 3 x more folate.

If you crave Fruity Sangria
Mix up 3 oz Sangria with 3 oz flavoured carbonated water or sletzer
The Plus?  Quench your thirst with this fizzy sip and you'll sace about 140 calories and half the sugar.  You'll also stay hydrated while you drink - heading off a nasty hangover.

If you crave Chocolate
Mix up half a 1.7oz pack of M&M's with 23 almonds
The Plus? Slash sugar in half and saturated fat by a third.  Plus, the protein and good fat in the nuts will keep hunger at bay - ideal for satisfying afternoon munchies.  Sweet!

Use your imagination to Go half and half for better health!