If I can give you any nutrition words of advice, it would definitely be to keep a dietary log, remember moderation and not to give up! If you have some setbacks, start fresh the next day and try not fall all the way back into old habits. Create balance in your life and take time to enjoy healthy choices so they become part of your daily routine!
*CLICK HERE for a printable Daily Food Log you can use to record your meals and dietary habits.
Check out these 18 Nutrition Tips – each week, pick a few things to implement into your daily routine and progress will follow! Remember – consistency is the key!
*Nutritional Tip: Drink Water!
Common sense right? Unfortunately, many times we forget to keep hydrated! As a basic guideline, most doctors will recommend 8-9 cups of water daily for someone in a mild climate. Remember, you lose water through your not just perspiration but through excretion and also breathing. You need to replenish your body’s water supply so that it can function properly. Inadequate water intake can result in dehydration (when your body doesn’t have enough water to carry out regular functions – like metabolism or how fast you burn calories). Even mild dehydration can result in low-energy and fatigue. An easy rule-of-thumb for hydration is: if you feel thirsty, you are already at a water deficit.
*Nutritional Tip: Smaller Portion Sizes
Do you know that the amount of food that you eat is most likely a distorted portion? Start paying attention to the serving sizes of what you make and are served and weight loss is sure to follow! Check out this illustration below of the differences in portion size and calorie count:
*Nutritional Tip: Plan ahead!
If you plan your meals ahead of time – you will resist the urge to grab whatever is convenient at the time. Try making a bunch of small, healthy on-the-go snacks like having portable veggies and fruit prepared to take with you. For dinner time, write out the week in advance using a printable menu planner that also includes a list for shopping so you avoid the excuse of missing ingredients. If you are not at home for lunch, organize your weekly lunches ahead of time with balanced and low-calorie options – again you will avoid last minute decisions which are always difficult on an empty stomach!
Make Sunday night your time to plan the week ahead – you will be surprised at how many empty calories you avoid by using just a little forward-thinking!
*Nutritional Tip: Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar has a high calorie-content and little health benefit. Work on reducing your sugar consumption will definitely accelerate your weight loss efforts and also help keep your energy levels more balanced! Check out these 8 quick tips for reducing your daily sugar intake:
- Cut down on processed and packaged foods – natural and fresh is the way to go!
- Avoid the candy jar – keep your own healthy “treats” on hand
- Be informed when reading labels – sugar can be disguised as just their scientific names…fructose, glucose, lactose, maltodextrin and dextrose
- Eliminate ‘liquid sugar’ and stop drinking sodas
- Be careful at breakfast! Grabbing pastries or even syrup-filled beverages will boost your sugar intake through the roof before the day even begins
- Try natural sugars as an alternative such as fruits, honey, etc.
- Drink coffee? Try to take it black without sugar and milk
- Need a little sweet indulgence at the end of every meal? Try using sugar-free gum to “trick” your mind into thinking it has had something sweet – there are lots of new ‘dessert-inspired’ gums on the market these days so maybe it works!
It’s important to start out your day with a healthy meal that gets you fueled and ready to face the challenges that lie ahead! Skipping breakfast will begin your day already at a low energy-level and will lead to more likely binge-eating sessions later on in the day.
Preparing and thinking ahead of time will help you to avoid grabbing unhealthy breakfast items – especially important when in line at Starbucks and the pastry case is staring right back at you!
Try having some oatmeal with a little bit of brown sugar and small amounts of dried fruit and nuts. This whole grain and nutritious breakfast option will give you a great energy boost to make it through to lunch. If you have time, try a small egg white omelet cooked without butter and cheese – instead use a lot of veggies.
CLICK HERE for some other great fast and healthy breakfast options.
Lastly, watch out for liquid calories at breakfast – even the skinniest of sugar-free vanilla lattes may add up to major calorie consumption over time! At 130 calories a drink, if you had one 7 days a week for a month that equates to 3,640 calories/month. If you substitute a grande coffee (black) at 5 calories a drink, you come out 3,500 calories ahead – which equals 1 pound of fat!
Everything is fine in moderation, just be mindful of where your calories come from and know your substitution options ahead of time so you can make educated choices.
*Nutritional Tip: Watch Alcohol Intake
Consuming a lot of alcohol is never a healthy behavior however realistically, many of us enjoy a cocktail or two while at a party, out to dinner or otherwise socializing. So what are some healthier choices to make when faced with a barrage of high-calorie drinks? Even an 8oz rum and diet Coke contains 100 calories and a Skinny Girl Margarita is 100 calories per only 4oz. So for more reasons than just calorie count, ‘portion’ control when it comes to alcohol is of the utmost importance!
WebMD has a quick list of 5 strategies to consider when ordering drinks:
1. Alternate alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks to save calories.
2. Choose wine, light beer, or simple cocktails made with low-calorie mixers.
3. Skip the mixer altogether.
4. Dilute your drink.
5. Have a game plan.
To read more of the details for each tip CLICK HERE
*Nutrition Tip: Eat More Fiber!
Dietary fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. When you think of fiber, you probably think of its ability to prevent or relieve constipation, but fiber can provide other health benefits as well. A diet high in fiber can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease and can also aid in weight loss as well as help to control blood sugar levels.
Try these five ‘quick tips’ to adding more fiber into your diet:
- Aim for 5+ servings a day of veggies
- Read nutrition labels & look for the fiber content
- Eat your fruits versus drinking them in a juice
- Keep the skins on fruits and veggies whenever possible
- Eat beans, lentils and slit peas (be sure to rinse them first!)
*Nutrition Tip: Decrease/Eliminate Soda From Your Diet
Here are some GREAT reasons why you should try to get rid of the soda pop in your diet!
- Regular soda is packed with calories
- Pop can be addictive due to the caffeine content
- Caffeine and phosphoric acids in soda can lead to bone weakening
- Dehydration due to the sodium and caffeine found in pop
- Acids found in soda can harm your teeth
- Pop contains artificial sweeteners which may lead to disease
- Sodium in soda can lend to higher blood pressure
- Carbonation in pop may causing excessive bloating
*Nutrition Tip: All Salads Are Not Healthy!
Think if you’re ordering a salad that you are having a healthy meal? Beware of the hidden fat and calories in a lot of popular salad options. Be on the lookout for salads that include heavy cream dressings, fried meats and loads of cheese.
Check out this gallery of 40 Unhealthy Salads…some sample picks to avoid include:
- Applebees Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad at 1,340 calories
- California Pizza Kitchen Waldorf Chicken Salad at 1,485 calories
- Chili’s Asian Salad with Salmon at 1,120 calories
Here a few tips to make your salad healthier:
- Ask for lighter dressing (like a vinaigrette)
- Get your dressing on the side and do not use all of it
- Check to make sure any included meat is grilled
- Get the smaller or lunch portion when ordering
- Be prepared and know the calorie count (whenever possible) before you go to the restaurant
- Ask for no cheese, tortilla strips and other items high in fat and calories
- When making your own salad – get creative and add loads of vibrant veggies
Personally, I highly recommend checking out salads at Panera! The large portion of the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad is only 310 calories if you take out the wonton strips (450 calories with) and the large portion of the Thai Chopped Chicken Salad is only 340 calories if you take out the wonton strips (470 calories with). Plus the Panera menu board contains visible calorie information for all of their selections – making it harder to order that 780 calorie Roasted Turkey Artichoke on Asiago Focaccia!
*Nutrition Tip: Healthy Snacking
When you are on the go and hungry, it is easy to grab just ‘anything’ to satisfy – but with a little forethought, you can snack frequently throughout the day IF you are making healthy decisions.
Here are some ideas for nutritious snacks:
- Veggies – such as carrot packs, celery, edamame
- Fruit – apples, grapes, bananas, berries…some even come in individual servings
- String cheese, yogurt and other low-fat dairy
- Seed and Nuts – such as unsalted almonds, cashews and sesame seeds
- 100 calorie packs – portion-controlled chips, crackers and even cookies
*Nutrition Tip: Selecting a Multivitamin
*Nutrition Tip: 5 Fast Food Meals to Avoid
Don’t be fooled by convenience – when eating at fast food restaurants you need to come informed and with will-power! Here are five meals you would DEFINITELY want to avoid:
Domino’s Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pasta
- 1,480 calories
- 56 g fat (24 g saturated)
- 2,220 mg sodium
McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Large Biscuit, Hotcakes, Margarine, and Syrup
- 1,370 calories
- 64.5 g fat (21.5 g saturated)
- 2,335 mg sodium
- 49 g sugar
KFC Half Spicy Crispy Chicken Meal with Macaroni and Cheese, Potato Wedges, and Biscuit
- 1,610 calories
- 98 g fat (25.5 g saturated)
- 4,340 mg sodium
Burger King Large Triple Whopper with Cheese Value Meal with Fries and Coke
- 2,110 calories
- 104 g fat (35.5 g saturated, 2 g trans)
- 2,270 mg sodium
Quiznos Tuna Melt (Large) with Cheetos
- 1,620 calories
- 111 g fat (25 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
- 2,070 mg sodium
The term empty calories describes foods that are very high in energy (calories) but low in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and essential fatty acids. Typically the extra calories will come from come from fats, sugars and alcohol. Some examples of empty calorie foods include: candy, soft drinks, cookies, fruit ‘juices’, donuts/pastries, bacon, margarine/butter, creams, and fried food selections.
*Nutrition Tip: Eat More Veggies!
We all know how good vegetables are for us – to start, they are loaded with healthy nutrients, low in calories and help keeping our digestive system healthy. However, getting the recommended 3-5 daily servings of vegetables is tough for most people!
One serving of vegetables equates to:
- 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
- 1/2 cup of other vegetables cooked or raw
- 3/4 cup of vegetable juice
- Start each meal with a colorful salad, even a small salad daily will start to add up! Also try to have a large, entree-size salad as your dinner once a week – load it with veggies galore!
- Add vegetables to your pasta, pizza, casseroles and other meals you will be eating already.
- Keep raw vegetables available at every meal and make it the ‘go to’ snack to grab on the go.
- Use leftover veggies at breakfast – perfect in a quick omelet, breakfast burrito or scrambled eggs!
- If you think preparing vegetables is too time-consuming, grab prepared veggies such as pre-made bags of salad, pre-cut peppers and cherry tomatoes (they just need washing!).
*Nutrition Tip: Lean Protein
Protein is an important part of any nutritious meal plan and can help you with your weight-loss efforts…if you make lean choices. A diet which includes lean protein provides you with an abundant of healthy benefits including helping you to feel fuller sooner – so you eat less.
- Nautrally lower in saturated fat
- Some fish, such as salmon, contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which have many health benefits
- White meat turkey and chicken will be lower calorie than dark meat
- Make sure your meat has been removed of skin before consuming
- Prepare your poultry by roasting, baking or grilling.
- Be conscious of the meat cut – look for “round” or “loin” in the name
- Trim any visible fat before you cook it or ask the butcher to do so before wrapping it up.
- When choosing ground beef, look for “lean” or “extra lean” on the label
- Eggs provide around five grams of protein per serving and economically, they are a great choice for those on a tighter budget
- You can incorporate eggs into almost any meal and if you are concerned about cholesterol, use few yolks and stick to the majority being egg whites
- Dairy sources also provide vitamin D and calcium
- Examples include fat-free milk, low-fat cheese and many different types of yogurt
- Beans, peas, and lentils are also good lean protein sources and they also provide plenty of fiber
- Any easy way to incorporate non-meat protein into your diet is to add them to your existing recipes (such as soups, salads and casseroles)
*Nutrition Tip: Lose 1 Pound in One Week
To reduce your calories by 3,500 in one week you need to take out 500 calories per day. The best way to do that is to cut it in half and eliminate 250 calories/day from your diet and burn of an extra 250 calories/day through activity and exercise.
Here are some ideas from Fitness Magazine – pick a few to try within your own daily routine!
- Replace your morning bagel and cream cheese with an English muffin and cottage cheese.
- Skip the large bakery muffin in favor of 1 slice of whole wheat toast topped with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
- Swap your large bran muffin for 3/4 cup of bran flakes.
- Replace eggs and cheese with scrambled egg whites.
- Replace your 450-calorie lunch with a 200-calorie protein shake.
- Replace large french fries with a yogurt-and-fruit parfait.
- Modify your lunch: Skip the cheese on your salad or sandwich, substitute mustard for mayo, and replace potato chips with soy chips.
- Have half a tuna salad sandwich instead of a whole, plus two cups of raw vegetables.
- Skip the cheese in an omelet and a lunchtime sandwich.
- Switch from cream soup to vegetable-based soup at lunch and dinner.
- Switch from one cup premium to light ice cream.
- Skip your afternoon frozen yogurt with ground nuts.
- Resist the handful of M&M’s at the receptionist’s desk.
- Cut out 1 biscotti and 1 large mocha.
- Switch from a chai tea latte to lemon tea.
- Have 1 ounce of soy nuts instead of 3 ounces of roasted almonds.
- Substitute a serving of beef with shrimp or a white flaky fish like cod at two meals.
- Leave behind one-fourth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Have 1 cup of strawberries instead of a whole banana, and cauliflower instead of a baked potato with sour cream.
- Replace ranch or blue cheese dressing with low-fat vinaigrette at lunch and dinner.
- Have a vodka and soda instead of a margarita at happy hour.
- Jog at a 10-minute-mile pace for 20 minutes.
- Alternate sprinting and walking for 20 minutes.
- Walk briskly for 30 minutes.
- Spin for 30 minutes at a moderate pace.
- Go for a 20-minute trail run.
- Do 1 hour of housework.
- Walk 1 mile in the morning and 1 mile in the evening.
- Do 35 minutes of power yoga.
- Do 35 minutes of Pilates.
- Practice tai chi for 45 minutes.
- Perfect your swing at the driving range for 60 minutes.
- Practice capoeira (a Brazilian mix of martial arts and dance) for 30 minutes.
- Hit a punching bag for 30 minutes.
- Go in-line skating for 15 minutes.
- Shovel snow for 30 minutes.
- Ice-skate vigorously for 30 minutes.
- Run up stairs for 15 minutes.
- Jump rope for 20 minutes.
- Do 25 minutes of circuit training.
- Dance for 40 minutes.
- Play Frisbee for 1 hour.
- Wash windows for 1 hour.
- Use a pedometer and log an extra 3,600 steps.
*Nutrition Tip: 5 Power Snacks
To hold hunger at bay and provide a constant supply of energy, you want a snack that includes some carbohydrate, fiber, protein, and a little fat (preferably “smart fats” like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Look for at least 5 grams of protein and about 5 grams of fiber.
These five simple “power snacks” have all this and more:
- Pear with cheese (1 large pear with 1 1/2 ounces of reduced-fat cheese like light Jarlsberg): 242 calories, 13 g protein, 5 g fiber, 8 g fat
- A handful of almonds (3 tablespoons) and dried fruit (3 tablespoons): 250 calories, 7 g protein, 4 g fiber, 14 g fat (mostly monounsaturated).
- 1 ounce baked tortilla chips with 1/4 cup fat-free refried beans topped with an ounce of reduced-fat cheese and 1/8 cup tomato salsa: 250 calories, 13 g protein, 4.5 g fiber, 9 g fat.
- 6 ounces low-fat or nonfat light yogurt with 1/2 cup fruit, topped with 1/4 cup low-fat granola: 207 calories, 10 g protein, 5 g fiber, 2.5 g fat.
- 1 cup edamame with shells, or 1/2 cup edamame without shells, drizzled with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper: 159 calories, 10 g protein, 5 g fiber, 9 g fat (mostly monounsaturated). (Edamame, boiled green soybeans, are available in the frozen food section of many supermarkets)