KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FATS:
There are two main categories that fat fall into; Saturated Fats (Bad Fats) and Unsaturated Fats (Good fats). Saturated fats (and Trans-saturated fats) are both associated with raising cholesterol. Saturated fats are found in many animal products including whole milk, cheese and ice cream. Trans-saturated fats are commonly found in shortening, cookies, fried foods and foods made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Unsaturated Fats (Poly and Mono-unsaturated) can help to lower your cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are found in fish and many plant based foods like vegetables, nuts, whole grains and vegetable oils. Look at your nutrition labels and choose foods that have less or no saturated fats when possible.
HOW BIG IS A PORTION?
In a world of supersizing and larger portions most people don’t even know what a typical portion looks like. The table below showcases a few common portion sizes:
|This portion size||is as big as|
|1 ounce of poultry or meat||A matchbox|
|3 ounces of poultry or meat (the recommended size for a meal)||A deck of cards|
|3 ounces of fish||A checkbook|
|1 ounce of cheese||Four dice|
|A medium potato||A computer mouse|
|2 tablespoons of peanut butter||A ping pong ball|
|1 cup of pasta||A tennis ball|
|A bagel||A hockey puck|
STRESS EATING AND HOW TO AVOID IT:
If you eat when you’re stressed try these stress reducing foods!
Sushi: Seaweed has anxiety-fighting properties. It also has Magnesium, which reduces stress, and the benefits of fish are outstanding.
Cantaloupe: Vitamin C is crucial for fighting stress and cantaloupe is filled with it.
Blueberries: They’re packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which promote low stress.
Almonds: High in Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. Almonds are great stress relievers but are high in fat, so only a handful.
Broccoli: Filled with B vitamins known to relieve stress, as well as folic acid that can reduce stress, anxiety, panic, and depression.
Chocolate: High concentrations of flavanoids and antioxidants are linked to lower high blood pressure.
FINDING YOUR JUNK FOOD ALTERNATIVES:
Processed foods: Skip the white bread and look for whole wheat. Try fresh, bright and colorful fruits vegetables and meats and fish.
Alcohol: Substitute one glass of great wine for hard liquor.
Sugary breakfast cereals: Oatmeal or fresh fruit with yogurt.
Candy: Fresh or dried fruit, honey or whole wheat toast, grapes or blueberries.
Coffee: More specifically cut out the specialty coffees, choose herbal or green teas.
Rice or pasta: Brown rice and long or wild grain rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa and couscous.
High fat snacks (Chips, pastries, salty treats): Almonds, fresh fruit, carrot sticks, dill pickles, whole cherries. Try cutting up whole grain pitas, drizzling with olive oil and baking them. It’s a great and tasty alternative to chips.
Margarine and processed oils: Coconut oil and cold pressed olive oil, delicious and naturally sourced. You can also use butter (high in fat but natural and less harsh on your system).
Mayonnaise: Try hummus, ricotta, pesto, mustard, black olive paste on your sandwich, it adds more flavour!
Salt: Add flavour to your meals by trying tangy, exotic and spicy flavors. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime. Fresh cracked pepper or chili flakes. Try cooking with ginger, garlic and fresh herbs. All are incredibly healthy and taste great.
Soft Drinks: WATER is the best way to keep hydrated or try mineral water with fruit juice or carbonated fruit juices to replace that bubbly feeling.
DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY YOUR FOOD!
If you are feeling deprived you will probably end up feeling irritable and less likely to stick to a healthy eating plan. Mac ‘n Cheese, chocolate, potato chips are called comfort food for a reason. They make you feel comfortable and chances are you have happy memories associated with eating them. The trick is to eat these foods in a mindful way so that you get maximum enjoyment from a smaller amount. Try buying the really expensive fancy chocolates. They have more fat, but you only need one or two bites to get the same value and richness as an entire bag of cheap chocolates! Ice cream can start out as a spoonful and end up as an empty carton. Eat from small fancy bowls to limit how much you take!
MAKING FAST FOOD, GOOD FOOD
It is inevitable that you will find yourself in line at a fast food chain pondering what to eat. Making careful menu selections can help you limit the damage:
Pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labelled deep-fried, pan-fried, batter dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy are usually high in calories and unhealthy fats or sodium. Try to order items with more vegetables and leaner meats.
Drink water with your meals. Your typical large soft drink can be up to 30 ounces and pack a whopping 425 calories. That’s almost ¼ of your typical 2,000 calorie daily intake. If you can’t stand plain old water try adding a squeeze of lemon for a flavour boost without the excess calories.
Undress your food. Be aware that most dressings and spreads are packed with calories and fats. Try asking for no mayo on that sandwich or ask for the sauces on the side so you can control how much you are consuming.
Eat mindfully and pay attention to your food. Chewing food more thoroughly and savouring each bite. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest your food more completely making you feel better and more satisfied. Taking your time and not eating on the run will also let you realize that you are full so you don’t eat as much
Avoid making these decisions the next time you decide to eat out:
Supersizing – An average fast food meal can run upwards of 1000 calories, so choose smaller portion sizes, order a side salad instead of fries and NEVER supersize.
Bacon – It’s always tempting to add bacon extra flavour but it isn’t worth the calories, fats and sodium. Extra pickles, tomatoes, onions or mustard punch up the flavour without the calories.
Buffets – even the “healthy” salad bars – You will most likely over eat to get your money’s worth (remember your portion sizes!) If you must go to the buffet opt for the broiled and steamed options as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Resist the temptation to go for seconds or at least wait 20 minutes to make sure you are actually hungry before going for seconds.
“Americanized” food – Watch out for seemingly good food gone bad:
Asian cultures tend to eat very healthy with an emphasis on vegetables. Deep fried instead of stir fried, sugary sauces instead of spicy broths can increase the fat and calories very quickly.
Italian food is one of the easiest foods to make healthy but be careful of cheese, cream and butter sauces and anything baked with cheese on top. Thin crust pizza instead of deep dish will also cut the calories.
Mexican foods are wonderfully bright and spicy foods filled with healthy ingredients like avocados, beans, and chili peppers. Avoid the sour cream, extra cheese, and deep fried tortilla chips.
Much like Mexican food, Indian food is packed full of healthy ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, curry spices and turmeric. Typically Indian food is vegetarian, “Americanized” versions include cream to cut down the spicy flavors or substitute meat in place of chickpeas and lentils.
Even super healthy foods like sushi has become cream cheese filled, deep fried and over-sauced when compared to their traditional recipe (rice, seaweed, and fish).
The key to healthy eating is to know what your food is made from and how it is prepared so that you can make healthy and informed decisions.