Tag Archives: healthy eating

Avoid Fad Diets, Here’s Why

Fad diets make great promises.  Give up carbs, eat for your blood type, try South Beach and you’re sure to shed all those unwanted pounds in a few short weeks.  Not so fast.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Here are four reasons to steer clear of fad diets and stick to a solid plan of eating whole grains, fruits and veggies while getting a proper amount of exercise to achieve your weight loss goals.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Fad diets make weight loss easy.  The truth is weight loss isn’t easy.  Most of what you’re losing when you join a one of these quick fixes is water weight or due to a very restricted diet.  When you stop the diet and return to your normal eating habits, odds are you’ll gain back the weight you lost and even a little bit more.

Messes with your metabolism.  Your body has lots of practice telling you when you should and shouldn’t eat.  Fad diets that restructure when you’re allowed or supposed to eat can make long lasting changes to the way you process food.fad diets

Miss out on nutrition.  Cutting our certain types of foods, like carbs, can lead you to feel tired or low energy as your body doesn’t get the fuel it needs.  Dropping red meat means you’re missing out on an essential amino acid only it can provide.  Skipping starchy vegetables or dairy can have similar effects.  A healthy, well-rounded diet filled with fresh fruits and veggies that are accompanied by whole grains will keep your nutrition on track.

You don’t actually learn anything.  Unnaturally restricting your food while on a fad diet won’t help you learn portion control.  Taking things away doesn’t teach you to make better choices when everything is available.  Figuring out how to incorporate smaller more frequent meals, more leafy vegetables and fewer saturated fats are some of the keys to long term, successful weight loss you can maintain.

Coach Meredith

Healthy Holidays: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time to get together with family, see old friends and eat lots of delicious food.  It’s also an easy opportunity to eat too much, eat the wrong things and end up feeling way off track with your meal plan.  Prevent each of those dining issues, stick with your meal plan, stay on track and get through this food filled holiday with these thanksgiving buffettips.

Get active.  Check out a local Turkey Trot.  You’ll have some fun and burn calories while making room for dinner.  Not in the mood for a jog?  Challenge your family to a backyard football game, play tag with the kids or take the dogs for a nice long walk.  Any activity that gets your blood pumping earns you an extra slice of turkey.

Eat before you eat.  Thanksgiving buffets can be delightfully tasty, especially when you’re very hungry.  Packing your plate with too much food is one major source of holiday season weight gain but it’s easy to prevent.  Eating something light and healthy before you head out will help stop you from over serving and over eating.

Scan before serving.  Look at all of your Thanksgiving options before piling anything on your plate.  Not only will this mean fewer trips to the buffet, it will help you make better for you choices.  Pick out dishes that are filled with vegetables and lean meats but light on greasy butter.  Limit desserts and alcoholic beverages to a minimum so make sure you get the one you like on the first try.

Make your own.  Just because it’s not a pot luck meal doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to pitch in.  Ask your host what you can bring to help out.  If you make it yourself, you know what’s in it and how much you can have without feeling guilty afterwards.

Take these Healthy Holidays tips with you to your Thanksgiving destination for a happy, good for day of feasting that won’t leave you feeling off track.

Coach Meredith

Healthy Holidays – Labor Day

Healthy holidays are hard work.  Parties, treats and travel making eating right and exercising an added challenge bu Labor Day is swiftly approaching and with it come back to school, football, cross-country and a brand new series of PR opportunities.  One of the best ways you can get ready for a great fall season is to stick with your healthy holidays plan over one of the biggest party weekends of the year.

Here are a few ideas to help you have healthy holidays from one Labor Day to the next!

Plan to exercise.  Healthy holidays are easy when you find a way to fit a long walk on the beach into your day or play a few games of backyard football with family.  If you’re traveling, check out a new gym or use MapMyRun to discover an awesome new running trail.healthy holidays

Make good choices.  Survey buffets, know what your choices are then step back and make good ones.  Choose fresh veggies over baked beans from a can or an extra slice of sweet watermelon over a chocolate chip cookie.

Bring your own!  Bring your own dish to the barbecue.  Healthy holidays don’t require much thinking if you’ve prepared it yourself.  You know what’s in the dish, how much you can safely eat and it’s a great way to learn and share recipes with friends.

Go easy on the sugar.  With parties all over the place, healthy holidays can easily get derailed by too much alcohol.  Full of sugar, booze can take a weekend full of good food choices right off track.  Two sugary glasses of wine, a few empty carb filled beers or even indulging in a mixed drink full of soda can quickly add many unwanted calories to your day.

Take these tips to your next Labor Day bash and you’ll be guaranteed to have healthy holidays for years to come.

Coach Meredith

4 Corners of a Healthy Diet

We all know maintaining a healthy diet can be hard.  Fad diets might look great but they’re almost always a bad idea.  More important than jumping on the latest bandwagon are getting plenty of the right ingredients, enough sleep and lots of exercise.  Luckily, there are four simple changes you can make to your meal plan to help you perform better, feel better and recover faster.

Cut calories by up to 40%.  A healthy diet isn’t one that stuffs you at every meal.  Eating until you’re full and saving the rest for later might mean eating a little more slowly so you can feel when you’re full before over indulging.  Decreasing caloric intake has benefits such as extending life, delaying onset of numerous diseases, enhancing performance and allowing your body to reach its optimal weight.  Read your food healthy dietlabels, stick with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, dine on lean cuts of meat and get plenty of fiber to help you fill up without racking up the calories.

Get lots of antioxidants.  Antioxidants are the human body’s cleaning lady.  Free radicals create all kinds of mayhem by attacking healthy cells in your body and can cause premature aging, diabetes, and cancer.  Antioxidants work to counteract and neutralize these free radicals, so having plenty of them in your body helps keep you looking young and disease free.  Even better news is that all of these antioxidants come from the brightly colored vegetables that are a big part of your healthy diet.  Five servings a day of foods like almonds, broccoli, tomatoes, pinto beans, berries, carrots and pineapple will keep your snacking, and free radical fighting antioxidant, supply fresh.

Eat foods that have a low glycemic response.  The glycemic index (GI) measures how the carbohydrates in a given food change blood sugar levels.  High GI foods are quickly digested and cause spikes in blood sugar levels while low GI foods digest slowly.  Slowly digested carbohydrates help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and aid in weight loss by controlling hunger.  A healthy diet leaves out high GI foods like white bread, white rice, and sugary drinks, includes a few medium GI foodshealthy diet include whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes and corn tortillas and loads up on low GI fruits, vegetables, intact nuts and legumes.

Eat healthy fats.  A healthy diet is home to good-for-you fats and kicks the bad, saturated and trans-fats to the curb.  Eating lots of bad fats, which are usually solid at room temperature, has been proven to increase levels of bad cholesterol and your risk of disease.  Healthy omega-3 fatty acids and mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature and protect the heart while benefiting overall health.  Bad fats are found in butter, cheese, fatty cuts of meat, commercially packaged cakes and pizza doughs, candy bars and margarine.  Healthy fats are in olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, peanut oil, and avocados.  Omega-3s are a special type of fat best gotten from fish that have been proven to benefit heart and brain health, reduce symptoms of depression, support healthy pregnancies, ease joint pain, decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer and protect against memory loss.

Take these tips to the grocery store on your next trip and start working on a healthy diet today.  Your body will thank you by being healthier, happier and performing both mentally and physically at a higher level.

Coach Meredith

Six Tips to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there are plenty more holidays right on the heels of that.  Maintaining your fitness routine and healthy eating habits can certainly be challenging at this time of year with parties, treats and wine at every turn.  No matter what your plans are before you ring in the new year, here are six tips from Team FitNice to help you stay healthy over the holidays.

1.  Carry and use disinfecting wipes or a hand sanitizer if you’re going to be touching things like railings, restroom doors, airplane tray tables, elevator buttons and shopping carts.  Germs can spread easily during the holidays and keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to avoid healthy over the holidayscatching a cold.

2.  Pack healthy snacks and bring a healthy dish.  Having a granola bar handy and bringing a crudities tray rather than a cookie platter will help not only you but the party’s other guests maintain a healthy diet during these challenging months.

3.  Make a plan.  Schedule time to work out, especially if you have family in town or are going to see some.  A flag football game is a great way to get everyone moving and a brisk morning walk is the perfect time for a warm mug of coffee and some quality time with loved ones.  If you’re lucky, you might even be able to find a nearby 5k or ugly sweater run for a little friendly family competition.

4.  Add fitness to holiday activities.  Do ten squats for every present wrapped, five push-ups when the bow is on and two burpees when it’s all ready to go.  Combining workouts and chores makes both go by a little bit faster without making you feel like you’re losing any time.

5.  Steer clear of lots of alcohol.  Alternate alcoholic beverages with glasses water and take it easy on all of those empty carb calories.  You’ll want to be entertained, not the entertainment.  Plus, a hangover won’t only keep you from feeling good enough to hit the gym the next morning, it’ll make you crave greasy, bad for you foods while dehydration makes you more susceptible to germs.

6.  Don’t stress.  Just because you’ve made a plan, tried to eat the right things and imbibed in moderation doesn’t mean everything goes right.  If you step off track, it’s OK.  Stress leads to poor decision making that can make everything worse and missing one workout isn’t the end of your chance to stay healthy over the holidays.

Use any or all of these tips to stay healthy over the holidays and start your new year off on the right foot.

5 Tips for Cutting Calories

Cutting calories, or decreasing your daily caloric intake, while maintaining or increasing your level of activity is a sure fire way to shed help your body unwanted pounds.  There are lots of ways to cut back on what you eat, from eliminating certain foods to fasting and it’s not always easy.  All methods of cutting calories are not made equal and not all of them can work for everyone but there are some simple things anyone can do to help lower their daily caloric intake.  Here are 5 simple tips to help you stay stress free when you start cutting calories.

Eat thin crust.  Pizza is delicious and everyone has their favorite toppings, but it’s the types of crust you choose that can make a real difference.  When cutting calories consider that an average slice of thin crust pizza has roughly 200 calories while regular crust slices contain about 280 and a piece of deep dish pie comes in at over 350.  To save even more cutting caloriescalories on this tasty treat use whole wheat crust and consider topping like green peppers or pineapple instead of sausage.

Go extra lean.  Extra lean cuts of mean can be found in just about any supermarket and are a good way to save calories in the main part of your meals.  Meats labeled extra lean have fewer than 5 grams of total fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of sodium per serving.  One serving is equivalent to what is consumed in one meal, roughly 3.5 ounces of meat or poultry.  When cutting calories, go extra lean.

Trade your toppings.  mayonnaise is loaded with calories so try trading it for mustard on sandwiches.  Swap marinara sauce for alfredo when you’re in the mood for Italian and save about 100 calories, as a bonus you can even have a bigger serving of the red sauce without putting you back at the beginning.  Having a salad?  Pick croutons or cheese rather than both and save up to 120 calories.

Skip the dressing.  Speaking of salads, leave the dressing off.  Blue cheese, ranch and Italian are packed with calories, undoing most of the benefits of munching on a plate of healthy vegetables and greenery.  Order your next salad with a side of cutting caloriesmustard, pico de gallo or a splash of lemon juice and you’ll be cutting upwards of 100 calories.

Drink more water.  Water fills your tummy, acting as an appetite suppressant and helps you stay hydrated.  Less hunger means less eating, which by default helps you trim your calorie intake.  Water is also the best replacement out there for sugary, calorie loaded sodas.

Use these simple and easy tips for cutting calories to help keep your weight loss plan on track.

Have questions?  Want help with weight loss or a meal plan?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the box below.

Kitchen Shortcuts for a Healthier You

Eating healthy can be hard.  Cooking can take a while and after a hard day at work, making dinner every night can be a drag.  These are five of Team FitNice‘s favorite kitchen shortcuts designed to help you spend less time in the kitchen while making healthy meals that keep your lifestyle on track.

Kitchen Shortcuts #1:  Use simple cooking methods.  Steaming, broiling and roasting are easy ways to prepare vegetables.  Healthier than frying and faster than baking, these methods make flavor filled food fast and are sure to satisfy every palate that takes a seat at your dinner table.kitchen shortcuts

Kitchen Shortcuts #2:  Stock up.  Be sure to always have plenty of brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain pasta, frozen veggies, low fat nuts, low-sodium canned beans, diced tomatoes and chicken and vegetable stocks on hand.  With so many ingredients close at hand, it’s easy to grab a few things out of the pantry and put together a quick, good-for-you dinner.

Kitchen Shortcuts #3:  Cookbooks.  Save the stress of figuring out what you need at the supermarket.  Have a stack of cookbooks that feature simple recipes without lots of fancy ingredients in the kitchen.  Pick a few favorites, plan the week’s menu and take a list when it’s time to go shopping.

Kitchen Shortcuts #4:  Buy quality meats when they’re on sale.  Divide them into the size you typically use for cooking, wrap and freeze.  Not only will you be saving money, you won’t need to butcher or thaw excess meat because your portions are already set up for you.  This works for cooking large volumes of rice, quinoa and legumes, too.

Kitchen Shortcuts #5:  The ultimate weeknight time saver is to do all of your cooking on one day each week.  By preparing freezable meals in advance, getting dinner on the table takes little more than opening the freezer and turning on a burner.  Another bonus to having ready-to-go meals?  Fewer dishes to wash each evening!

Use these Kitchen Shortcuts to make your weeknight dinners a breeze while avoiding fast food and sodium heavy boxed frozen dinners.  Have questions about your meal plan?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.

Breaking Down Superfoods

It’s likely you’ve heard of the class of edible items called ‘superfoods‘.  These are whole, natural foods that are chock full of nutritional goodness and health benefits, and you don’t need to be superman, or woman, to have them.  Each of these so-called superfoods is easily found in your local grocery, ensuring you’ll have access to an adequate supply whenever you need to refill your fridge.  A great way to build a healthy diet, adding superfoods to your meals is a surefire way to make them super good for you.

It can be hard to know what’s what when it comes to these awesome edibles, but each has its own benefits, and munching on the right ones can be a huge help when reaching for nutrition or fitness goals.  Having a good-for-you diet is a major part of being fit and living a healthy lifestyle, and to help, here’s a breakdown of six of Team FitNice‘s favorite superfoods.

Beans provide a protein loaded alternative to meats, especially red meat, which is high in saturated fat.  A tasty source of iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, B vitamins and fiber, these legume superfoods are an important part of a healthy diet and, because they’re easy to add to almost any meal or dish, should be eaten on a regular basis.

Blueberries are not only delicious, they’re loaded with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C.  The darker the berries are the more antioxidants they contain, so try to pick the darkest ones superfoodsyou can find.  Blueberries can also lower the risk of both heart disease and cancer, with frozen just as good as fresh.  Grab a handful, or a 1/2 cup serving, of this superfood and toss it on every salad you have.

Broccoli is loaded in vitamin C and folate, which both help reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.  The fiber found in broccoli aids in digestion, and with only 30 calories in a one cup serving, it makes no difference whether you eat it raw, steam it or boil it before you dine.  To get all the benefits of broccoli, try to stay away from smothering your superfoodssalad in ranch dressing, which adds unnecessary fat content to your meal.

Chia seeds are a proud member of the superfoods family who are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and a great place to get your daily dose of fiber.  A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds contain 500% more calcium than milk.  With an appetite suppressing ability, these petite seeds give a feeling of fullness that can aid with weight-loss.

Salmon, specifically wild caught and not from a farm, tastes good cooked in the oven or on the grill and provides lots of vitamin D, which keeps bones healthy and strong.  In addition to vitamin D, wild salmon is home to tons of omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fat your body needs to function.  Salmon is more than heart healthy, the omega-3s it has can promote joint health, superfoodspossibly prevent certain types of cancer and aid in proper functioning of the nervous system.

Soy is an inexpensive, vitamin and mineral rich protein that contains omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of soluble fiber and phytonutrients that are great for fighting disease.  Black soybeans are home to very few carbohydrates and take a while to digest, which, like chia seeds, leaves you feeling full, making them a great addition to any weight-loss meal plan.  Soy can also help lower bad cholesterol, but make sure it’s complete soy such as edamame or soy milk, not soy powder like is found in soy sauce.  One caution for soy: those with a family history of breast cancer should be careful not consume a lot of extra soy.

Are you hungry?  Good!  Head to the nearest supermarket to stock up on these six superfoods and take your healthy lifestyle to the next level.  Have questions about your diet?  Need a meal plan?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT today or fill out the form below.

 

How to Eat More and Weigh Less

Want to eat more and shed body fat?  Yes, it is possible to eat more food while simultaneously shedding pounds, and you can do it.  eat moreWeight loss boils down to taking in fewer calories than you burn, creating a calorie deficiency, but it doesn’t always mean tofu and hunger.  Changing the foods you eat can dramatically shape weight loss patterns and doing so is probably easier than you think.  The word diet is often associated with fads, such as Atkins or South Beach, and that’s unfortunate.  Including proper foods, meal planning and good choices are important elements of a good, healthy, lifelong diet, and there’s nothing faddish about that.  If you pick the right foods, you can easily eat more while you begin to weigh less.

Picking the right foods can be challenging, and choosing foods that are filling, without being high in calories is even harder.  Here are a few tips to help you leave the supermarket with a cart full of delicious, filling foods.  Select foods that are rich in fiber.  Dietary fiber will help you feel full, and keep everything in your gut moving.  Fruits and veggies are rich in fiber, but also high in water content, which can aid with hydration, digestion and satiety.  It’s easy to eat more fruits and vegetables by adding them to almost any meal, especially salads and eat moresandwiches.  Cut up carrots, apples or celery to dip in low-fat dressings or peanut butter and keep them in ready-to-go containers in the fridge for healthy, easy to eat snacks.

In addition to adding fruits and vegetables to your snack routine, try to replace corn chips or salty, fatty potato chips with air popped popcorn that’s just as tasty and will be more satisfying.  Switch out the rice in recipes for quinoa and trade iceberg lettuce for kale to increase fiber and eat more good for you foods that make you feel full.  The benefit of swapping out unhealthy, non-filling foods with those that make you feel stuffed is that sticking with a weight loss plan is much easier to do when you enjoy the things you eat, and even more so if they’re delicious and filling.

The extra bonus of switching to filling, good-for-you food while working to shed fat is that you’ll learn to like these foods best, and any worries about regaining the weight will slip away.

Are you looking for guidance on your weight loss journey?  We’re here to help!  Learn more by checking out our Nutrition page, send us an email at Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.

A Balanced Diet Part VI: Milk, Yogurt and Cheese

We all love ice cream, milkshakes, and cheese trays, but making the right dairy choices in the dairy group, as well as all other food groups, is the key to maintaining a healthy diet.  The dairy group includes cheese, milk, yogurt, soymilk, and all the products made from them.  Lots of important nutrients come from dairy products, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to things like cheese and ice cream.  Getting the proper amount of dairy products may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and has been shown to improve bone health.  Calcium is especially important during childhood, as bones are growing and mass is accruing.  Good dairy intake is also a source of reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, as well as having been shown to lower blood pressure in adults.

Milk, yogurt and cheese all contain calcium, protein, potassium, and vitamin D.  Calcium serves as the building blocks for bones and teeth by helping them grow and maintain their mass.  Vitamin D works with the body to help it absorb calcium, reduce inflammation and boost immune function.  Dairy protein, just like the protein found in the Meat Group, helps build muscle and provide energy, while potassium can help maintain healthy blood pressure.

Choosing low-fat or fat-free dairy products is best because they contain little to no solid, or saturated, fat.  Saturated fats contain high levels of LDL (low-density lipids), bad cholesterol, and a diet high in LDL can increase risk for coronary heart disease.  Whole milk and many cheeses are high in saturated fats, so limiting dairy choices to low- and non-fat options is important when trying to control your intake or empty calories.

Even when consuming low- and non-fat dairy products, following the suggested guidelines for daily servings, and adjusting based on increased activity, is part of maintaining a balanced diet.  For the Dairy Group, three servings are recommended each day, though dairy products should not exceed 30% of caloric intake per day.  One serving is considered one cup of milk [fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1% or 2%)], one eight ounce container of yogurt, 1½ ounces of hard cheese, one third cup of shredded cheese (cheddar), two ounces of processed cheese (American), one cup of pudding made with milk, one cup of frozen yogurt, 1½ cups ice cream or one cup of calcium-fortified soymilk.

It can be hard to make good choices, but here are some ways to make it simple.  Order lattes and cappuccinos with fat-free milk, add fat-free or low-fat milk to oatmeal instead of water, use yogurt as a dip for fruits and vegetables, and use low-fat cheese to top casseroles and soups.  Be sure to avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk, chill perishable foods promptly and keep separate raw and cooked foods.  Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to make good Dairy Group choices to help you maintain your balanced and healthy diet.

To learn more about the Dairy Group, visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html.  Then make sure to come back for next week’s Food Group: Fats, Oils and Sweets.