Posts Tagged ‘food’
A special guest post from Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RD, LD
Recently, I read a story by Gregg about his struggle to tame his desire for one of my favorite foods, peanut butter. As is his style, he shared with great honesty the challenge it was for him to control his eating of the sticky delicious spread. It made me want to share some ideas for controlling portions and tips on how reframing how we think about a food can change how we treat it. I hope these tips will provide you with some tools for your toolbox in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy life.
It’s just food. Remember, food isn’t “good” or “bad.” You may feel like they are out to get you, but the truth is that feelings aren’t facts. You are in charge and have the ability to control what you put in your body. Yet, there’s no need to carry around shame about what you’ve already eaten. Take each eating opportunity as a fresh start to do it right-er.
Know how to spot a single-serve portion. If you buy tempting foods in larger containers, separate them into smaller ones. Measure or weigh out the portions, since sometimes what we think is a serving, really isn’t. Alternatively, buy single-serve or pre-packaged foods that can help make it easier to control the amount you eat. For instance, peanut butter can be purchased in single-serve to-go style squeeze packets – perfect for tossing in your bag with some rice cakes for an afternoon snack, squeezing right onto an apple, or making that perfectly portioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Save that food for eating out or special occasions and get the smallest size offered. My treat food is fried potatoes. Seriously. I love really good French fries, crispy hashbrowns and potato chips. I almost never have these at home, where I eat >70% of my meals. Instead, these are a treat food that I have occasionally when I eat out with friends or for date night. By enjoying this food outside the house, I’m not tempted to eat it more often than I should.
Do distraction. When you’re feeling the tug, it’s time to do something else. Try drinking a glass of water, taking a walk, or calling a friend. Taking your mind off of the food and nourishing some other part of you – thirst, physical activity, or connection – may be just enough space to reduce the temptation or eliminate it completely.
Pay attention. When you do eat the foods you love, be present. Usually, the first few bites are the best. Take time to savor them and enjoy them. Don’t eat (at all if possible, but especially special foods) when you’re doing something else, such as typing at your desk, driving your car, or anything else that requires most of your attention. When you are more mindful of the food you eat, you eat much less.
Now, as far as the peanut butter goes, I can’t leave you without some thoughts on that one. Peanut butter is a wonderfully versatile and flavorful food. It’s also nutritious! Unlike my fried potatoes, which have far less to offer in that area, peanut butter provides protein, fiber, mostly good fats, and 30 vitamins and nutrients. It can be used in everything from my favorite PB&B (banana) sandwich to homemade breakfast peanut crunch bars, or a spicy peanut dipping sauce for lean grilled chicken skewers. Peanuts have more protein than any nut and are a deliciously satisfying food to enjoy. Check out our website at www.nationalpeanutboard.org for more ideas.
About the Author: Sherry Coleman Collins is a registered and licensed dietitian practicing in the Atlanta, GA area. Her love of food and nutrition has allowed her to work with individuals and groups, children and adults of all ages, and in a variety of settings from clinical to foodservice to communications. She currently serves as senior manager, marketing and communications for the National Peanut Board. Connect with America’s peanut farmers via Facebook and Twitter. Follow Sherry on Twitter at @PeanutRD.
This is one of my favorite ways to help the homeless or others in need during the holiday season — especially because you know that your gift or contribution will be used for food and drink. After all, it can be weird to hand over cash to a total stranger. No matter how ‘in need’ they seem, you’re never quite sure how they might use the money. So instead, why not try something I’ve been doing for years: pick up a couple of $5.00 Gift Cards from local coffee or snack shops (like Starbucks, etc.) and keep them handy for when someone on the street asks you for a handout.
By giving them the gift card, you’re giving them a gift of a warm drink or even a small meal or snack. This way you know your gift is truly being used to make someone in needs’ season a little more comfortable. And even though Starbucks gift cards are pictured here, I’m not saying it has to be Starbucks. (In other words, this is not a paid endorsement — LOL!) However, I do usually buy Starbucks gift cards for this purpose of holiday giving to the less fortunate, because there are lots of Starbucks around and, therefore, it’s easy for people to use the gift cards there without much travel.
If you have similar or different giving ideas for those in need, share them here. Together we can spread more JOY to the world! (Fa la la la la!)
Can you tell me what you ate last Tuesday night for dinner? Or what you had for Sunday Brunch this past weekend? Or even what you ate for breakfast this morning? Chances are, if you’re not keeping a food diary, you’re not as aware of what you’re eating (not to mention as aware of the types of portions, calories and nutrients) as you might think.
But hey, don’t take my word for it.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that keeping a food diary may be a key component of losing extra weight. The study found that food diaries incorporate accountability and awareness, which can help immensely with successful weight reduction.
This particular study includes findings from 1,685 overweight or obese adults, ages 25 years and older. The participants were encouraged to keep and use food diaries for a period of six months (while making healthy food choices and making an effort to be physically active). These participants also met in weekly groups to share their food diaries and to learn more about proper food portions.
According to Victor Stevens, PhD, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, the most important predictor over the course of the study in regard to how successful participants would be corresponded directly to how many days a week they kept a detailed food diary.
Participants who recorded all meals and snacks at least six days a week (including beverages) lost almost twice as much as those who made food diary entries one day a week or less, Stevens reported to WebMD.
Said Stevens, “I think the most powerful part is accountability and the next most powerful part is increasing awareness of where those extra calories are coming from.”
Further findings showed that sharing food diaries with someone else brought about even more success. This is because sharing food diaries creates accountability not only to yourself, but also to someone who cares about you and your health. Food diaries can also identify areas for improvement. For example, you might notice you’re eating too many late night snacks or adding too many calories to a certain meal.
Even keeping track of an accidental binge or overeating on one day of the week can help. When you weigh yourself, you will be reminded of where you might have gone off course. Although initially a bummer, this will show you why the scale didn’t necessarily go in the direction you wanted and can help you realign your efforts for more success the next time you weigh yourself.
Keeping a food diary is easy – and something we all should do. And there aren’t any rules about what the actual diary has to look like. You can choose from a number of published food diaries that are for sale or even just pick up a journal that inspires you and use a page a day to log what you eat and drink. You can also find a PDF of the food diary offered in my book by clicking here. (Feel free to download and print – and to share!) Another free food diary can be found by clicking here. For another variety of free, downloadable food diaries (including specific diaries that help track emotional eating or salt, sugar and fat intake), click here.
Do you already keep a food diary? Do you find it helpful? Or a chore? Or a little of both? Do tell via the comments section below. And, if you’d like, share what you had for breakfast today – assuming those of you who don’t keep a food diary have had enough time to remember.
As promised, I am sharing the recipe for the salad pictured with the Steak a la Gregg recipe I posted last week. For that steak recipe, click here.
This side salad is tasty, hearty and a real crowd pleaser. What’s more, it’s so healthy that you don’t have to avoid it when on a diet or another type of healthy eating program. But at the same time, because it tastes so good, you don’t have to “Doctor it up” for guests who might not be on a diet.
Imagine: You and your guests eating and enjoying the same food. What a concept!
4 Cobs of Corn
1 Avocado (Large, ripe, but firm – not mushy)
2 Pints Grape Tomatoes
Fresh Ground Pepper to Taste
• Remove corn kernels from cob with sharp knife, and then place freshly cut kernels in bowl.
• Rinse grape tomatoes, cut into halves, add all to bowl with the corn kernels.
• Peel avocado, cut into small chunks, add to bowl with corn and tomatoes.
• Add 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, 2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar. Pepper to taste. Toss together and serve immediately.
Serves: Approximately 6
This also makes a great dish to bring to any party. I promise, it will be a big hit. Double the recipe and make it shortly before you leave. Do not add olive oil, Balsamic vinegar or Pepper until just before serving.
Looking for the steak recipe? click here.
Does anyone know if there’s a 12-step program for breakfast cereal addicts? If so, I’ll have to consider attending a meeting. Although I’m not sure I’d ever achieve even a 1-day chip. Because when it comes to breakfast cereal, I’ve got a problem.
Back in the day, when I was tipping the scales at 450+-pounds, I would go through a box of cereal in 2-3 days. My “trick” for accomplishing such a feat was to nibble as much cereal as I was pouring into the bowl. Had I bothered to check the suggested serving size, I would have seen that I was eating for 4. Of course, my 60-inch waist sort of made that clear already. Needless to say, I wasn’t paying attention.
To this day, I crave and love breakfast cereal. To the point of obsession. Because of this, there have been times that I’ve considered cutting it out of my diet altogether. But with a bunch of healthy cereal options available today along with the fact that cereal is a fast, convenient and delicious way to have breakfast (one of the most important meals of the day – whether on or off a diet), cereal is something I wanted to learn to live with.
But even when preparing cereal today (at 175-pounds), I still feel the urge to pour cereal into the bowl while also having a ‘cereal appetizer’ while standing at the counter. If I didn’t regulate myself, I could easily go through a third of a box of cereal or more. That’s why I never trust myself to pour cereal freely. Instead, I pour it into a measuring cup before I pour it into my breakfast bowl and add my sliced banana. And for what it’s worth, I measure the 2% milk I use, as well.
This might come as a surprise to some of you reading this. Most people assume that because I’ve kept my 250 pounds of excess weight off for over a decade, that I’ve got this weight thing beat. That’s true in some respects. But part of what keeps the excess weight off is knowing that I’ll never really have it beat and that I can never let my guard down. My daily food intake is something I’m always thinking about, planning for and paying attention to. Not in a mentally unhealthy way, but in a efficient way. Or weigh, as the case may be.
Whenever I reveal to fellow dieters that I must still pay attention to and even sometimes measure my food portions, they often register disappointment – as if they thought that once you take the weight off, you magically never have to think about dieting again. But in truth, this ‘food and health consciousness’ must become a part of ourselves that we never leave behind (even during those times when we decide it’s okay to have ice cream – or whatever – as a treat).
This need to ‘stay on top of what and how much I eat’ is reiterated almost daily for me – usually when I’m preparing breakfast and pouring breakfast cereal. I know that I can’t be trusted. So even though I’ve been “thin” for years and happily fit into my skinny jeans, I still get the measuring cup out and measure the exact amount of cereal necessary for a healthy and low calorie breakfast. It could be argued that, by now, I should know what a ‘cup’ holds. But when it comes to cereal and other ‘tempting foods,’ I know that my mind’s version of a cup full and real life’s version of a cup full are two very different things.
In other words: When it comes to cereal, the measuring cup is my friend.
But none of this has to be bad news. No matter what your most tempting foods are, you can still have them – in moderation and in healthy portions. And with tools like measuring cups, we can ‘eat like a thin person’ and not overdo it to the point of triggering a binge, stuffing ourselves to the point of discomfort or making our skinny clothes feel too tight.
What are your tempting foods? Do you still allow yourself to have them even if on some sort of weight loss program? Or do you try and avoid the foods for the time being? I’d love to hear from you on this topic. We can even discuss over a bowl of cereal. Assuming you’ve got a measuring cup I can borrow.