Make Half Your Plate Vegetables…

and you are off to a great start with your meal.  That leaves the other half: 1/4 lean protein and 1/4 whole grains.

You are off and running if you focus on eating lots of nonstarchy vegetables that are going to fill you up and provide minimal calories, not to mention give you lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber and pytochemicals. There are so many great recipes online for simple roasted vegetables.If you feel you need to add some oil while roasting you can use spray oil or brush on a small amount of olive oil (don’t forget to measure it out so you don’t use more than you think!)

  • Veggies can be easy and quick to prepare.
  • You can buy frozen vegetables which will keep longer and possibly cost less. They provide the same, if not more, nutrients.
  • Canned veggies also work, but best to buy those that are labeled “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” 
  • Eat vegetables that are a variety of colors. It adds to taste, presentation and also is a bit of an insurance policy that ensures an assortment of vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient  (think antioxidant!) intake.
  • Leave a container of cut up veggies in the front of your refrigerator for easy access. 
  • If you are not a “vegetable person”, become one!  There are so so many different vegetables. Try a new one each week. You will be pleasantly surprised.

New Years Resolutions: Be SMART!

Every year at this time we all vow to eat healthy and lose weight and make a list of New Years Resolutions that are typically blown by January 2nd. If you make SMART goals that are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Result focused and Time measured, you will be off to a much better start with your resolutions.

Here are some examples:
I am going to lose weight, not a great goal. It doesn’t say how much and in what time frame. I am going to lose 20 lbs over the next six months, SMART.
I am going to change my eating habits and eat healthier, not so great. I am going to plan out my meals every week, make a grocery list, go shopping and prepare dinners to eat at home 4 out of 7 nights a week, SMART.
I am going to stop eating office junk food, nope. I am going to bring healthy snacks such as snow peas, carrots and hummus; hard boiled egg; 1 ounce of cheese and 4 Triscuit crackers with me to work every day, SMART.
I am going to exercise everyday; great idea but as a goal, not so good. I am going to walk for 40 minutes, 3 times during the week in the morning before work, very SMART.

So, now you have some reasonable goals. That is still not good enough. Each goal needs a game plan. For example, on Sunday afternoon I am going to sit down with a recipe book and plan out my meals for the week, make a list and then go to the store to do the shopping. I will plan on cooking and eating those meals, Monday, Tues, Weds and Thursday.

I am going to schedule my exercise in my calendar and set my alarm 1 hour earlier than usual in the morning. I will put out my exercise clothes the night before and I will get to bed by 10pm.

If you spell out your REASONABLE goals in a way you can measure your success, don’t forget to give yourself a reward to reinforce that positive behavior! Exercise, will soon become a regular part of your daily routine. The same goes for healthy eating. It takes hard work, but you need a good plan!

Emotional Eating…’Tis The Season


Emotional eating is the habit of eating, sometimes compulsively–not to satisfy hunger, but to soothe feelings. You may not even be aware of the underlying emotions or circumstances that are causing you to eat. You are feeding your feelings and distracting yourself from the real issues.

The holiday season causes a lot of stress for many people–stresses related to seeing family members whom you may not want to see, going back to a childhood home, feeling insecure about how you look at holiday parties, feeling alone and lonely, and the list goes on. Here are a few quick tips to help you get through the next couple of weeks.

1.       Identify what your triggers are. It is helpful to keep a journal and record your emotions and what you are eating at the time. This helps in two ways: It keeps you mindful of what you are putting in your mouth and will give you insight, helping you to identify a potential problem so in the future you will be able to recognize a situation is brewing.
2.       Distinguish between Physical Hunger and Emotional Hunger. Check yourself to make sure you are, in fact, physically hungry.  Ask yourself, When did I last eat and what did I eat? Rate your hunger on a scale from 1-10: 1 being stuffed and 10 being starving. Where do you fall within that scale? 3? 4? 5? Then put the food away.
3.       Get enough sleep. Being tired is a food cue or trigger for many of us. We reach for food as an automatic response to fatigue. Undoing such ingrained behaviors is not going to happen overnight, but it can be done! Next time you feel exhausted try to give yourself a few minutes: close your eyes, try a breathing technique to relax, or go for a walk outside! Any of these strategies, if done over time, will replace reaching for a snack when you are tired. 
4.       Never put food on a forbidden list. Never say, I will never eat a certain food again. It is great to clear your kitchen and house of tempting foods; but if you eat food from your forbidden list, it will only lead to feelings of guilt that may cause you to spiral downward. Everything in moderation! No forbidden foods. Every food is “plannable” and can be worked in to your diet.
5.      Which leads me to my next tip, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. If you will be traveling, think about what food choices you will have during the trip and bring snacks. Plan your meals based on where you will be. If you know that a situation is going to cause you stress, go over the scenario in your mind, think positively, and put into place a plan of action.
6.       Lastly, in dealing with emotional eating during this time of year, set up some REALISTIC goals. And when you reach any of these goals, it is important to give yourself a reward. Positive reinforcement! A manicure, pedicure, a dollar in your savings jar. This is an important part of the process and shouldn’t be overlooked!