That's a portion?!
I had a funny discussion with someone earlier this week about how skewed our meal portions are now a days. Ok, so some of you are reading this and thinking "boring"...and some of you are nodding your heads in agreement...and some of you are saying "really?". This blogg entry is for anyone saying "really?"
You may have heard of suggestions such as "eat meat servings the size of a deck of cards, or cheese should be the size of two dominos, or rice should be in a serving the size of a baseball. All of these can be helpful, however our perception of things can often get the better of us once the plate is infront of us. Is that about the size of two dominos?
A really simple solution: Use your hands to determine the size of your meals.
This works and here is why...because you always have your hands with you when you eat...perhaps not baseballs or cards.
For one MEAL: use TWO hands as your guide...this is the amount of food you can eat. One hand will represent your vegetable portion, one palm for your protein, three fingers for your grain portion, and two fingers for your fat portion. How simple is that?!
For one SNACK: use ONE hand as your guide...this is the amount of food you can eat. A snack should be around 150 calories. An idea snack would include some protein and vegetables or fruits. Try a few almonds and a few cherry tomatoes. Remember that the entire snack should fit into one hand.
I encourge you all to try this next time you have a meal and snack. It might surprise you at how much or perhaps how little you might be eating.
Have a wonderful Friday!! I'm off to train another client!!
My new favorite power bars
So most of my clients have recieved this recipe in the past week and it is a hit! I thought I would share it with you all too!
Every summer (training season) I am always looking for new energy/power bars that are low in sugar, high in good carbohydrates for fuel, and high in protein for muscle retention. I think I have found the answer! Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think.
Cranberry Quinoa Peanut Butter Power Bars
2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
2 Cups Oats
½ Cup Nut Butter (all natural peanut butter is nice)
½ Cup Almond Milk or Skim Milk
½ Cup Cranberries or Raisins
1/3 Cup Honey
¼ Cup Ground Flaxseed
1 Tsp Cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Mix all the above ingredients together and press into a rectangular pan
Cook for 12 to 15 minutes
Let cool before cutting
Note: ½ Cup Dry Quinoa = 2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
It's more than just What you eat...
We all know that eating a balanced diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, good fats, and little (or better yet) no processed foods, is a huge component to a healthy life.
We have also been told over and over that portion size is a big key for aquiring and maintaining a healthy weight.
But did you know that the TIMING of your meals and the TIMING of certain food components such as Carbs and Protein can take you to the next level?
Just by making a few simple adjustments to your diet can take your body to the next level. So what are a couple of these tricks?
1. Eat your whole grains only in the morning and after a workout...you will burn them off faster at these times. It is never a good idea to cut Carbs completely out of your diet...they are essential for heart health, energy levels, great workouts, etc.
2. Eat protein BEFORE and AFTER a workout (I call this a workout sandwich). By doing this you will help your body develop lean muscle faster. Protein is the building block to develping lean muscle mass (lean muscle is crucial for weight loss, overall strengh, injury prevention, etc.)
If you are starting out on a new weight loss plan it is best to start with small adjustments to your lifestyle first. You won't feel overwhelmed and will be much more likely to stick to a plan long term if you do so. The food timing tricks are great for individuals that have already been eating a healthy diet, exercising, and simply want to take things to that next level.
If you fit into the later category - wanting to take things to the next level, try these few tricks out for about 1 month and see the amazing results you will get. I'd love to hear about it!!
How about a Coffee?
We all know that water is the number one choice when it comes to beverages (water is essential for life). For some, coffee is considered to be just as important for survival, in their minds.
Now I am not going to say that coffee should be completely eliminated from your diet or daily routine, however, what you put in your coffee could be the culprit that is holding you back from your best physique.
Just by adding a little cream and sugar to your coffee could be adding up to nearly 100 calories per day! Over one year if you have one coffee a day, that would equate to about 10 extra pounds!
Here are a few ideas to flavour your coffee without the extra calories:
Add vanilla or maple extract (all natural flavoring)
Add one piece of dark chocolate (>75% cacao) and stir into your cup of joe
It might take some time to switch from your milk and sugar coffee to these options, but give it a shot as the benefits are well worth it! Try switching out one day/week then two, then three, etc. Eventually you will be there and will feel so much better for it!
And remember, one cup of coffee/day is the recommendation. You do not have to cut out everything in your diet...just keep it within reason.
New Ideas for a Healthy Breakfast
Hi everyone! I received this email early this week and thought it might help some of you out too! I get this question quite a bit...eggs are a great breakfast option but not everyone's stomach tollerates them (especially in the morning).
I was wondering if you could help out with a breakfast alternative to eggs. Something that would have just as much protein and keep you full with maybe some carbs to go with it. I love having eggs, but have been getting an upset stomach from them lately, and would love an alternative that would be just as beneficial. Thank you!
Eggs really are a wonderful source of protein in the morning...but if your stomach is saying "no thanks" then it is time to either take a break from the eggs for a while or simply change to some other alternative. Here are a few alternatives:
1. Try Greek Style Yogurt and sweeten it with either stevia or berries. (Greek Style yogurt has 2X the Protein of regular yogurt!...and then you get your carbs from the berries) You could add Bran Buds to the Yogurt instead of berries as another carb alternative...and loads of fiber.
2. Simple Cereal and Milk (but go with a high fiber cereal with less than 4g of sugar/serving...Fiber 1, Bran Buds...all great options. Don't get fooled by the marketing on the front of the box. They might say high fiber, Omega 3, low in fat, Health Check, Heart Smart, etc but if the box has more than 4g of sugar, put it down! And did you know that 1 Cup of milk has the same amount of protein as 2 eggs!
3. Try Protein Powder. There are a number of options out there but I recommend something tastless so that you can put the powder in anything for extra protein and not really notice. Any Whey by Optimum Nutrition was recommended to me and I really like it. A smoothie recipe I enjoy is:
1 scoop of protein powder
1/2 Cup peaches
1/4 Cup Almond Milk
Add water as desired if you do not like a thick smoothie
Note: if you simply do not like protein powders then you could try egg beaters instead (as long as your stomach can tollerate it)
4. Try an english muffin with cream cheese and smoked salmon (again, it provides you witht the protein and the carbs you are looking for...plus some good fat that will keep you feeling full)
5. Meat?! Not everyone likes to have meat in the morning...but a a few slices of turkey bacon or regular bacon (they are often the exact same in terms of calories/fat/sodium)...again marketing at its best, can keep you feeling full until your mid morning snack. One of my favorites is a breakast BLT:
1 Slice of Whole Grain Toast
3 Slices of Turkey Bacon 1/2 Tomato slices
And I will usually add 1 small glass of milk to this option just for a little extra protein. Note: this is portion for someone my size/gender...you may need to alter these protions for your own particular body type/gender/caloric needs.
Whew, ok I hope that this helps out a bit! As you can see there are lots of options out there...it is just a matter of finding one that you enjoy.
Simple Snack Ideas
Here are a few simple snack ideas to either get you through the day or to help any food cravings you might have. These are just a few selections to try.
Top 5 Healthy Snacks (in no particular order):
- Yogurt (regular)
- Unsalted nuts (small handful)
- Any fruit or veggie
- Eggs (hard boiled for convenience)
- Natural Peanut Butter on Celery sticks (one Tbsp)
Top 5 Snacks as treats…that will not ruin your game plan (in no particular order):
- Jell-O Cup
- Any Fruit
- Dried Bing Cherries (1/4 Cup)
- Skim milk latte (small)
Holiday Eating Tips
This time of year can be challenging to eat healthy at every opportunity. There are always an abundance of temptations around the office, or often in the workplace lunch room or even your home. Not to mention, the parties, the late nights, and the lack of time to fit in meal planning and regular exercise. These are some reasons why the average Canadian adds about five to eight pounds on their frame during this time of year.
So what can you do to balance out your healthy lifestyle and the indulgences of the holiday season?
Here are our top ten tips (in no particular order):
- Eat a healthy meal before you go to a cocktail party (you are less likely to overeat on high fat snacks if you have something in your stomach before you go)
- For every glass of wine or alcohol, drink at least 1 glass of water (the water will not only keep you hydrated, but will also fill you up so that you do not drink as much) And please drink responsibly…no drinking and driving!
- If you are attending a holiday dinner fill half your plate with veggies or salad, then one quarter with protein, leave the rest for carbohydrates. This will provide you with a balance meal.
- When picking snacks at a cocktail party try to pick high protein snacks or go for the veggie platter!
- If you have the option, it is best to pick up a napkin or small plate and fill it will all the snacks you would like to eat at the party…this way you know how much you are eating. By grazing you are likely to eat more.
- Try not to sit or stand directly by the food at a party. You will no doubt eat more.
- If you have the opportunity, go for a walk after a holiday meal. This will help in digestion and make you feel less lethargic.
- Wait about 20 minutes after dinner before you indulge in dessert. You will be surprised by how full you feel after this time has passed. You may eat less dessert in this case.
- When at a party try to hold a glass of water or cup of tea or coffee in your hand at all times. When your hands are occupied you will be less likely to lean over a grab another treat when you are not even hungry.
- .Enjoy the holidays. Make reasonable choices when you can, but do not deprive yourself either. You do not have to eat every single cookie or chocolate that presents itself, but you can certainly have one or two when you are out at an event. Just keep yourself in check… ask yourself “do I really want to eat this or am I just putting it in my mouth because it is there?” Indulge in the things you really love, or the things that you can not get all year round.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
If you have any questions about this topic or any other healthy weight loss related topic, please do not hesitate to call Acacia Fitness. We are here to help!
The Importance of Breakfast
There is a reason they call Breakfast the most important meal of the day. By having a healthy, balanced breakfast you start your day off with fuel to keep you going until your mid morning snack or even lunch time. By lunch you will not feel starved due to low blood sugar levels. When this happens, you are much less likely to binge on an unhealthy selection or overeat at your next meal.
In addition, by eating more of your food choices in the earlier part of the day you not only get the benefits of your food energy for your daily activities, you will also tend to eat a lot less snacky foods after dinner and before bed.
Simply by changing this one habit…eating a balanced breakfast everyday, you will have increased energy for work and for recreational activities, eat less before bed, be more alert mentally, and will eventually see fewer snack cravings during your afternoon. This can lead to weight loss and a healthier life overall.
If you have any further questions about this topic or any other healthy weight loss topics, please feel free to contact us at Acacia Fitness at any time. We are here to help!