Hello & Happy New Year!!!
Yes, I know we’re just hours away from February, but sadly I was late coming into this world from the day of my birth and pretty much have been late ever since!!! I’m a work in progress when it comes to timeliness, but I’m hoping to make up for it with some in depth information in the next few entries.
Feeding off of the last entry posted in 2008….
I thought I’d start out with a list of New Year’s Resolutions as well as practical applications to make them successful.
1) Eat Real Food
While I know at times it may feel like this rule is really hard to abide by (especially in the US), here are a few guidelines pulled from Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food” (Penguin Press 2008) to help keep you on track:
- Don’t consume anything that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
- Try to avoid food products containing ingredients more than five in number, unfamiliar, unpronounceable, or that include high-fructose corn syrup. They are likely to be highly processed.
- Try to avoid foods bearing a health claim. For a food product to be able to make claims on its package it must first have a package, so it’s more likely to be a processed food than a whole food. *As a general rule of thumb this is great, although I do feel there are a FEW beneficial products on the market that undergo some level of processing such as some protein powders or fortified milks where the nutritive benefits still make it worth consuming but my advice would be to READ labels carefully and be EXTREMELY selective.
- Do NOT get your body’s fuel from the same place your car does. Gas stations and convenience stores are notorious for selling highly processed snack foods and extravagantly sweetened soft drinks.
Another rule of thumb is to shop primarily around the perimeter of the grocery store since that is where you will find majority of the fresh and least processed food.
2) Eat Less Sodium
While not ALWAYS possible, a general guideline is to make sure that the sodium content (in mg) does not exceed the calorie content of a given product and/or meal.
3) Eat More Protein
While it’s not exactly rocket science, here are a few simple ways to
get some extra protein into your diet:
Low-fat or No-fat milk instead of cream in your coffee (or soup recipes).
Try the “fiesta” version of store brand frozen mixed vegetables (they have kidney beans)
Hummus instead of vegetable dip (If not homemade, keep resolutions 1&2 in mind in order to make optimal selections)
hard boil eggs are a perfect handy snack especially when on the go
unsalted nuts instead of pretzels
Add vanilla protein powder to plain yogurt instead of vanilla or fruit flavored yogurts
Sprinkle nuts, flax and cheese or add meat or eggs to salads
Natural Peanut butter instead of butter or margarine as a spread
Quinoa is the whole-grain that provides the most protein per serving
Yogurt instead of ice cream
Soy crisps instead of potato chips or rice cakes
***Sugar-snap peas (or Edamame -soy beans) are great protein & fiber combo snacks (not to mention unprocessed, low calorie & sodium free) when you’re craving something crunchy too. They’re one of my favorite snacks
Finally veggie burgers, cottage cheese and certain types of soups are also other solid protein sources (Once again though, always keep resolutions 1&2 in mind when selecting varieties of these products off of the shelves. It’s a jungle out there as different brands vary greatly in their sodium content as well as the number of and content of ingredients)
4) Stay properly hydrated
This can be REALLY tough during the winter since we tend to crave WARM beverages. Herbal teas offer the perfect solution to this problem. They are flavorful and yet calorie free. Several flavors often offer an antioxidant boost as well.
5) Eat until you’re not hungry instead of until you are full
Once again, not rocket science, but we often tend to overdo it at mealtimes. Some ways to avoid this include eating smaller mini-meals throughout the day as opposed to 2 or 3 large ones. Eating slower and taking breaks in between every bite also helps to decrease the likelihood of overeating in a single sitting.
So tomorrow of course is SUPERBOWL Sunday.
The biggest snack food day of the year!!!
For those of you looking to make it through the game without a belly bust,
hopefully some of the protein suggestions above have given you some ideas for guilt-free snacks such as unsalted nuts or raw vegetables with guacamole or hummus. While avocado would be considered a fat rather than a protein, homemade guacamole provides a source of healthy fats and several more nutrients than your “run of the mill” processed veggie dip.
If you’re looking for a salad, one of my latest concoctions is a quick & easy power packed combo of protein & fiber:
Meg’s “2-pt conversion” Corn & Bean Salad
1 bag frozen corn defrosted
1 can of black beans
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can of diced tomatoes, fresh salsa or freshly chopped tomatoes
Drain & rinse beans
Combine 4 ingredients
*** While fresh is always the better option than canned and I HIGHLY recommend you go with fresh or frozen for majority of your produce intake, with these particular ingredients, you can get a beneficial amount of nutrients from the canned version
especially if you opt for the low sodium versions (they FINALLY have Low Sodium diced tomatoes on the market) and make sure to rinse the beans thoroughly.
few tsps of chopped garlic, lemon juice, vinegar & seasonings/spices your choice (fresh is always better but Mrs. Dash has some great combo flavored seasonings also) The salad dressing mists or Good Seasons powders are also viable alternatives.
Another salad that I’ve concocted is a warm spinach & tomato salad.
While it might not score a touch-down during your Super Bowl party, it might be a tasty treat for a Valentine’s Day meal in order to allow room for a little dessert. I’ve previously posted it on the boards here somewhere, but here it is again anyway.
1/2 bag of fresh spinach
1 tomato chunked
1/4 c. walnut pieces
2 oz crumbled goat cheese
Balsamic vinagrette or Tuscan dressingmix all ingredients & heat in microwave for about 2min so that salad is warmed but not “cooked”
(I usually add a little ground flax seed as well a little apple cider vinegar)
It’s a great source of vitamins, fiber, healthy fats & protein.
Studies have shown favorable results for goats milk vs. cows milk too.
http://www.crohns.net/Miva/education/ab … milk.shtml
Once again a Belated Happy New Year, Happy Super Bowl and Happy Winter Training.
While Eat, Drink & Row Merry is ALWAYS my stand-by farewell…
especially tomorrow…please make sure to drink and/or drive responsibly too.