Monday 26 September 2016

Wanting to Snack - And Want To Know What's Tasty And Healthy?

Snacking Healthily

Being on a life journey, discovering ways to change your eating habits to create healthy, tasty, sustainable habits, that create a healthier you, can sometimes feel like an uphill battle! BUT, there is help, check out these wonderful ideas on healthy snacking, originally from IsagenixHealth.

However, we understand that you may also want to branch out and start creating other healthy snacks in the kitchen to keep yourself fueled between meals on Shake Days. This leads to one important question: How should you build your own Shake Day snacks at home?

All you need are these four tips to set yourself up for snacking success.

1)      Fill up with fiber.
The foundation of your snack should be a food that provides a good source of dietary fiber. Choosing fiber-rich foods helps you to feel more satisfied with fewer calories. Snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables between meals makes sense because these foods are generally low in calories and are a good source of fiber and other nutrients. A few other great options include whole-grain pita wedges or crackers.

2)      Add protein, good fats, or both.
Combining a source of fiber with protein and a little bit of good fat is the best recipe for snacking satisfaction. Protein and fiber are the two factors that help you feel most satisfied after a meal or snack, and adding a small amount of fat helps to slow digestion and provide a more gradual, steady source of energy. Some good picks for protein foods might be a hard-boiled egg, a quarter cup of cottage cheese, or a handful of almonds. Foods made with beans or peas like hummus offer both protein and fiber together in one package.

3)      Choose a right-sized snack.
One of the most important factors in building a better Shake Day snack is planning a portion size that will keep you within your target calorie range. For some people, a 100-calorie snack is a perfect fit. A 200-calorie snack might be a better choice for people who are more active, or on days when you have a more intense workout planned.

4)      Plan ahead.
One key to healthy snacking is to plan ahead. The best time to prepare snacks is when you are not feeling hungry. This way, you will be able to choose your snacks without a rumbling stomach overwhelming your better judgment. For example, you might want to prep your snacks in the evening to get ready for the next day, or it may work better for you to plan ahead for an entire week.

Putting it together
If you’re looking to put these Shake Day snack tips into practice, here are a few ideas to help inspire you. This list of 100- and 200-calorie snacks blend fruit, vegetables, or whole-grain foods with a source of protein and a little fat for a snack that satisfies.

100-Calorie Snacks
  • One cup fresh, crunchy vegetables, plus two tablespoons of hummus
  • Ten roasted asparagus spears with a squeeze of lemon, plus one hard-boiled egg
  • Two stalks of celery, plus one tablespoon peanut butter
  • Two whole-wheat crackers, plus two teaspoons herbed cheese spread and six cherry tomatoes
  • Fifteen raspberries, plus a half cup low-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • One cup of strawberries, plus seven whole cashews
  • One cup of cubed cantaloupe, plus two slices of ham
200-Calorie Snacks
  • One large apple, plus one package of string cheese
  • Six dried apricots, plus two tablespoons of shelled sunflower seeds
  • One medium banana, plus one tablespoon of almond butter
  • Half of a whole-wheat pita, plus one cup of sliced cucumber and two tablespoons crumbled feta
  • Ten grapes, plus ten pecan halves
  • Two cups air-popped popcorn sprinkled with chili powder, plus three tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • A quarter cup dried fruit, plus 10 almonds
Snacking on Shake Days can help you to manage your appetite and keep cravings under control—but only if you choose wisely. When hunger hits between meals, being prepared with the right kind of snack can mean the difference between letting excessive hunger lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices and staying on track with your health and weight-loss goals.

I have found some of the following easy and filling snacks (okay, I'm very lucky, hubby does make up the homemade hummus for me!):

  • hummus and carrot sticks
  • Greek yoghurt and a small handful of berries, often I'll also add a couple of almonds
  • Apple

Monday 19 September 2016

Raising Healthy Kids In The Kitchen

Weight Loss Begins In The Kitchen

How many times do you include the kids in the food preparation for dinner, or for their specific meals?  By including the kids, you ensure they respect where the food comes from, how it's cooked, how you cook it, and it sets them up for a healthy future in that they understand how to feed themselves quickly and easily, without resorting to quick unhealthy takeaways.

Obesity in our kids is on the rise, you can see it in so many places, and we need to find ways to combat this.  Often there is discussion around the food convenience in this regard, it is too easy to say you're tired, can't be bothered preparing a meal, or that it's too late to make something nutritious. Is this really true?  When you look at the quality of the takeaway meals, I believe it's quicker, easier and more nutritious to quickly prepare a stirfry in your own kitchen.

Imagine involving your kids as well, that way, it's not all about you preparing and cooking the meal (obviously, it does depend on the age of your children).

Here's a great article from Isagenix Health giving some great easy and implementable tips to get your kids involved in the kitchen - if they help prepare it, I've found they also make sure they eat it!

I also love the link to Eat Right, giving tips on what is age appropriate tasks in the kitchen for your kids.

Raising Healthy Kids Starts In The Kitchen
There’s an art to cooking with youngsters. It’s about sharing favorite recipes. It’s about passing on family traditions. Yet it’s a forgotten art in many households. For busy parents these days, it’s tough to find time to make dinner for a family, much less include kids in the process.
As any busy parent knows, including kids in cooking meals requires time, patience, and some extra cleanup. But experts agree that it’s well worth the added effort to help children gain skills that they can use their entire lives.
Help Prevent Obesity
To help children and adolescents avoid becoming overweight or obese later in life, the American Heart Association recommends that parents engage in the following two practices (1):

  • Minimize the number of meals eaten outside of the home. Through better observance and control of meals in the house, parents are able to more closely monitor the quality of the food, the way that it is prepared, and the portion sizes for their children.
  • Set aside structured family meal times. While it’s not always possible, parents should try setting aside at least one night a week to come together and eat as a family. In addition, have children help prepare food so they will have a more positive attitude about meal time.

4 Tips to Cooking With Your Kids
Enlisting the help of your kids to help in the kitchen can be a little intimidating, and cause for a headache. But with the following four tips, you can take some of the stress out, and focus on the fun!

  • Set your kids up for success. Structure their work areas so that they are less likely to spill or break anything and give them age-appropriate tasks.
  • Set aside a time for cooking when there are no added time constraints. For example, weekends and school holidays can be a great time to do some fun activities in the kitchen with your kids.
  • The easier a meal is to prepare, the more likely kids will be to want to try making them again. Try starting with things like breads, muffins, pasta, smoothies, salads, and sandwiches.
  • Focus on creating balanced meals. Encourage children to serve themselves a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables (even if they won’t eat all of them).

While it’s inevitable that kids will snack on unhealthy foods like potato chips at school or enjoy some ice cream for a friend’s birthday, what’s most important is how they eat most of the time. This is where parents play a huge role. Studies suggest that when children help with meal preparation, they are much more likely to give new foods a try all on their own (2). Children who are involved in preparation also have a more positive attitude toward healthy eating, and tend to enjoy an increased variety of foods, including those dreaded vegetables (2-5).
Outside of the nutritional benefits kids gain, they also gain a sense of accomplishment for having contributed something to the family by helping prepare the meal. Most importantly, it’s a fun opportunity to pull kids away from the television or other electronics, and spend quality time together trying something new as a family.

  1. Gidding S, Dennison B, Birch L, Daniels S, Gilman M, Lichtenstein A, Rattay K, Steinberger J, Stettler N, Van Horn L. Dietary Recommendations for Children and Adolescents. Circulation. September 27, 2005, Volume 112, Issue 13.
  2. Cooke L. The importance of exposure for healthy eating in childhood: a review. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2007 Aug;20(4):294-301.
  3. Cunningham-Sabo L, Lohse B. Impact of a school-based cooking curriculum for fourth-grade students on attitudes and behaviors is influenced by gender and prior cooking experience. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2014 Mar-Apr;46(2):110-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2013.09.007. Epub 2013 Nov 20.
  4. Ritchie B, O’Hara L, Taylor J. ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ impact evaluation: engaging primary school students in preparing fruit and vegetables for their own consumption. Health Promot J Austr. 2015 Aug;26(2):146-9.
  5. Cunningham-Sabo L, Lohse B. Cooking with Kids positively affects fourth graders’ vegetable preferences and attitudes and self-efficacy for food and cooking. Child Obes. 2013 Dec;9(6):549-56. doi: 10.1089/chi.2013.0076.

Chicken with Spinach and Feta

Chicken with Spinach and Feta

I love to share the recipes I use in my daily healthy living.  Especially when they show balance in eating.

Over the weekend, we tried out a Greek recipe. It is Chicken with Spinach and Feta.

What I loved the most about this recipe, apart from the fact that it's Greek and takes me to the Islands in an instant, is that it was simple, easy to follow and produce, and had an impact on the taste buds! Healthy living is about impact

250g English Spinach (though I used local Silverbeet, much the same leafy green vege)
40g feta cheese, crumbled (I did cut it up, it does stick to the fingers!)
2 single chicken breast fillets (approximately 200g each)
1/2 tblsp olive oil
40 ml sour cream
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley

30g butter
1 tblsp flour (plain)
1/2 cup (125 ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine

Step 1: Prepare the spinach and feta filling
Wash the spinach and steam until just wilted, drain well and cool - you will be handling this and adding the cheese, so make sure it is cool when you do the next step

Combine the spinach and the feta into a bowl.  

Cut a pocket into the side of the chicken breasts. Fill with the spinach mixture, may seem like it's overfull, but when you close this pocket up with toothpicks, it works fine.

Close the pocket with toothpicks, it took about four for each chicken breast for me to feel they were secure.

Step 2: Prepare the sauce
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, take off the heat and add the flour. Whisk in until all the lumps are gone, away from the heat. Return to the heat and gently heat until the sauce is bubbling.  Remove from the heat again, and gradually stir in the stock then the wine. Replace onto the heat and stir until the sauce boils and thickens up.  It doesn't thicken to a consistency of custard, but more like a runny gravy, which is just fine.

Step 3: Cook the chicken
If you have a pan that does not require oil, then merely heat the pan, if it does need oil, then add the olive oil and heat.
Add the chicken and cook until it is browned on both sides.  Stir in the sauce, bring it to a simmer, then allow it to cook, covered, for 25 minutes.
Stir in the sour cream and parsley until heated through.

Step 4: Serve and enjoy!

Cooking and preparation took approximately 45 minutes.  
Nutrition per serve:
Calories 535
Kilojoules 2252
Protein 56g
Fats 32g
Carbs 13g

We served this with steamed cauliflower to add more fibre.  It was filling, balanced (fibre, protein, good quality fats and small carbs) and nutritious.

Thursday 15 September 2016

Outsmart Mindless Overeating

Mindless Overeating

Have you ever eaten a meal and then not really remembered doing it? It's a bit like when you have moments when you are driving a car, and you suddenly realise you've turned right and you can't remember doing it!!  Well, that's about not being in the moment, not being present! 

Have you ever considered why you still feel hungry after eating a meal?  This article from Isagenix Health gives you some great tools to utilise to ensure you are not eating mindlessly and that you are focusing on what you are eating, so you can be present and allow your body to fully enjoy the experience!

When you sit down to eat a meal, there’s a lot more affecting your eating choices than just your appetite. Subtle surroundings can actually influence how much you eat.

A recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE suggests that whether you are eating lunch with coworkers or out to dinner with your family, the people you eat with have an effect on how much you eat (1).

Other studies have shown that the amount you eat during a meal can also be influenced by the size of the dishes used to serve your food. Researchers have shown that serving a meal on a large plate can cause you to significantly underestimate your serving size and can result in eating more than you intended (2, 3).

We’re all surrounded by subtle influences that can encourage mindless overeating. Here are four strategies you can use to tune out your environment, become more mindful, and put yourself back in charge of how much you eat at each meal.

1.      Focus on Your Food
Part of eating mindfully is paying more attention to your food at every meal and snack. Take time to really taste and enjoy each bite. Savoring your meal will also help you pace yourself. It takes a while for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full (4). Eating at a slower pace will give your body time to feel satisfied before you begin feeling overly full.

2.      Choose To Be the Tortoise Instead of the Hare
When dining with a group, sit next to the slowest eater. There’s almost always one person in every group who is still working on the main course when everyone else has moved on to the dessert menu. Since we unconsciously mirror the behavior of our dining companions, why not use this tendency to your advantage? Sitting next to the slowest eater in your group can help you moderate your own pace.

3.      Outwit Optical Illusions
Large plates and glasses can lead you to consume larger portions without noticing the increase in serving size. When you’re at home, it’s easy to outsmart this optical illusion by choosing smaller cups, plates, or bowls, but that is not the case when you’re dining out. However, you can outsmart the illusion by asking for half of your food to be put in a to-go box before you start your meal. That way, you can eliminate concern for accidental overeating right from the start.

4.      Know Your Limits
Another way to beat mindless overeating is to set some limits for yourself beforehand. If you’re heading to a restaurant, decide what you’ll order while you’re still at home. Stick to your decision. If you’re at a buffet or a potluck, come up with some limits ahead of time. You might set boundaries such as a number of pizza slices, or a commitment that you’ll only eat what you can fit on your plate without going back for seconds. By setting limits in advance, you can help counter the influences in your environment.

Small Changes, Big Impact
By raising your awareness of these common pitfalls and checking in with yourself during mealtimes, you’ll not only receive more enjoyment from food, but you can also avoid mindless overeating.
The size of your plate and the habits of the people you are eating with are just a few of the subtle influences that encourage mindless overeating. Whether you’re eating out or enjoying a meal at home, the key is to take note of influences that are all around you.

To find out more about how you too can be coached into Mindful Eating, contact me!

  1. Hermans RC, Lichtwarck-Aschoff A, Bevelander KE, Herman CP, Larsen JK, Engels RC. Mimicry of food intake: the dynamic interplay between eating companions. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31027. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031027.
  2. McClain AD, van den Bos W, Matheson D, Desai M, McClure SM, Robinson TN. Visual illusions and plate design: the effects of plate rim widths and rim coloring on perceived food portion size. Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 May;38(5):657-62.
  3. Robinson E, Nolan S, Tudur-Smith C, Boyland EJ, Harrold JA, Hardman CA, Halford JC. Will smaller plates lead to smaller waists? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect that experimental manipulation of dishware size has on energy consumption. Obes Rev. 2014 Oct;15(10):812-21.
  4. Zandian M, Ioakimidis I, Bergh C, Brodin U, Södersten P. Decelerated and linear eaters: effect of eating rate on food intake and satiety. Physiol Behav. 2009 Feb 16;96(2):270-5.