Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Enjoy yourself tonight while ringing in the new year...drink and be merry...
Just remember, sweat it out tomorrow!

Smart Snacker wishes you a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reward Yourself!

Give yourself a reason to succeed! Reward yourself for your accomplishments; we just talked about goals yesterday...now set some for yourself and let's make things happen! Go buy yourself something new; an outfit, a book, spa treatment, new workout clothes...

Personally, my newest workout obsession is spin; I am learning how to become a stronger cyclist. My goal? become stronger by the end of January. My reward? a new pair of spin shoes!

What about you?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let's work towards something...

I feel like I keep working out and making great progress in my day-to-day regimen but I am not seeing the results...one thing I have started doing is writing down personal goals; fitness and diet related. This way I work towards my goal and feel that much more accomplished. It also leaves room for opportunities to push myself; lift a higher weight increment, run a little bit longer or skip my favorite dessert.

An important thing about goal setting is to use the S.M.A.R.T method. Using this method goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

An example of a S.M.A.R.T goal: By February 1, 2010 I will be able to run 2 miles in 16 minutes. What makes this a S.M.A.R.T goal? it's specific, it's attainable and realistic [for someone to be able to run 2 miles in that amount of time].

Try setting your S.M.A.R.T goal today!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Out of Sight, Out of Mind!

Want to know the best way to avoid eating junk food and high calorie snacks late at night? Don't buy them! Unless you have super self control sometimes it's easier to just leave the junk at the store. You will be less tempted if it's not starring you in the face saying "eat me". Instead, have more nutritious snacks around the house...believe me if you are really hungry you will eat the healthy stuff!

Here's a few healthy snack ideas to replace the junk or to avoid eating more than you need:
1 small Apple with 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
Sip on some hot tea
10 Whole wheat crackers with 1 wedge of low fat laughing cow cheese
Orange segments dipped in 4 ounces of low fat vanilla yogurt or soy yogurt
6 ounces low fat yogurt with 1/4 cup granola
3/4 cup of whole grain cereal with skim milk or soy milk

Those are just a few off the top of my head. The best advice would be to avoid prepackaged foods as much as possible and stick with a more natural choice!

Now, I know those sales are tempting especially when doritos and oreos are "buy one get one free." Just remember: they will cost you a lot more in the long run!

TGIF! Make this a healthy weekend!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Avoiding Portion Distortion

Eating the correct portion size is a difficult task...I have trouble with this too! It's tough when you have gone hours without eating (because your simply too busy?) and once you finally get to eat you just want to PIG OUT! Unfortunately, this is a big reason we pack on the lbs.

How do I overcome my personal struggles with portion distortion? I like to pack a lot of snacks; right now clementines are GREAT, their small and fit in just about any bag you've got! I also keep my water bottle close so if I start getting hungry I sip some water (sometimes signs of thirst can feel like hunger) and when it comes to dinner time, I split my dinner in half. Eat half and doggy bag the rest for lunch the next day!

What do you do to overcome portion problems?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Consider This NUTRIENT Tip!

Have you ever picked up a container or read a food label that said “Enriched” or “Fortified”? Perhaps you’ve seen it on the box of your favorite cereal or your milk carton? Both words sound good but do you really know what they mean?

Both terms mean that nutrients, usually vitamins and minerals, have been added to the food to make it more nutritious. So what’s the difference?

“Enriched” means that nutrients were lost during processing and these nutrients were later added back, “enriching” the food product. A good example is found in B Vitamins. These energy boosting vitamins are typically lost when wheat is refined so they are often added back to white flour after processing. Eggs can also be enriched with omega-3s (remember those? I mentioned them before) by modifying the diet of the chicken or hen. This type of enrichment has a wide reach since more people eat eggs than eat fish, a natural source for omega-3s.

“Fortified” means adding nutrients that are not naturally found in the food. Milk is usually fortified with vitamin D to help your body absorb milk’s calcium and phosphorus. In addition, most enriched grain products are now fortified with folic acid (also a form of Vitamin B) to reduce the risk of certain birth defects.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

ADA Tip of the day

Above I have provided the most credible nutrition source, The American Dietetic Association. They have a daily "Tip of the day," I thought I'd share todays:

Food Allergies Are On the Rise
Food allergies affect 4 to 8 percent of children and 2 percent of adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the US, food allergy incidence increased by 18 percent from 1997 to 2007. Reasons for this increase range from misdiagnosis to potential increases due to extreme approaches to cleanliness.

Food allergy testing is very clearly defined, but many people are relying more on self-diagnosis based on how they respond to particular foods. While your response to a food is part of the diagnostic process, you should not rely on this alone, just as antigen testing cannot be used alone. Given that a food allergy diagnosis can mean elimination of foods, the potential impact on your nutrition is a concern.

Provided by: http://eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=11354

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What does that mean?

Reading food labels, magazines or just hear a new "food word" on TV and your not sure what it is? How about this one..."Omega-3s!"

I'm here to help...

Omega-3s are an essential fatty acid component that
your body cannot produce. They play a vital role in disease
prevention by encouraging the production of body
chemicals that help control inflammation. The
recommendation for getting your omega-3s is two
servings (3 - 4 ounces per serving) of fish a week (~ 1.5
ounces of fish contains 1 gram of omega-3s). Alternatively,
~1 ounce (or one handful) of walnuts has about 2.5 grams
of omega-3s; that’s the equivalent of ~3.5 ounces of
salmon.

Have any more brain busters?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Today’s Rage: School Lunch and it's MEAT

Yesterday in USA Today and on CNN they had a segment regarding school lunches...it was focusing on the meat grading system. They proceeded to explain that school meal programs are using one of the lowest grades of meat; that it was so poorly graded that "they wouldn't even feed it to animals" and that it was “lower grade than that of a fast food joint!”

Currently, I am working with a Child Nutrition Program in NC and I can reassure you that the children are not eating low grade meats! Sometimes I just don’t know where this information is coming from…do they even have a credible source?

Now that's food for thought!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If you fail to plan, then plan to fail!

What happens when you get home from work and there is "nothing" in the house to eat? Well, if you are like me it's off to a restaurant to satisfy the hunger! My guess is that most of us have done this at least once in the past 2 weeks. Well, planning ahead may help both your wallet and your waist line.
The most important thing to lose or maintain a healthy weight is to plan! Planning both meals for the week and times to exercise will help you to stay committed! One of the best ways to plan meals for the week is to sit down with your family once a week (usually Saturday or Sunday works best) and write down a few meals you would like to have the next week. If a particular food that you believe to be is unhealthy like pizza or burgers then look up lower fat alternatives (thin crust veggie pizza or hamburgers made with extra lean beef and low fat cheese). From the menu ideas make your grocery list...then it's off to the store! Most of your food should be fresh (fresh veggies, fruits, and meats). The canned and frozen alternatives do not offer our body as many vitamins and are usually loaded with salt and preservatives.
By planning ahead this will allow you to know exactly what to cook when you get home. Cooking your own food also allows you to know exactly what is in it whereas restaurants add a lot of fat and salt for flavor! An added bonus: much money can be saved by cooking food yourself instead of going out to eat.
Planning exercise times at the beginning of the week can also be beneficial. This will help you plan other activities around your exercise time. This allows you to prioritize exercise, instead of trying to sneak it in at inconvenient times which is a more difficult task!
Hopefully planning ahead will help keep you on track with your wellness goal. Keep up the good work!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"I can eat whatever I want"

Myth: You can eat whatever you want as long as you work out

False: Just because you have burned some calories doesn’t mean you can eat more. Research shows that often times we will workout for 30 minutes and burn only 200 calories (depending on intensity, of course), as a result people think it's okay to have more food; like adding a dessert after dinner. Unfortunately, that dessert is probably 4 times that in calories of what you had burned.

Truth of the matter: If you’re not eating healthy while working out, you won’t reap the benefits and lose the weight.

It’s simple science. To lose weight you must be expending more calories than you are taking in!




Picture provided by http://www.precisionnutrition.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/energy-balance-continuum.jpg

Friday, December 4, 2009

Out to Dinner

Before I head to a restaurant I like to go online and check out the menu. This way I can go ahead and find the healthiest choice and check out the nutritionals (if their available). This helps when your table side in the midst of everyone ordering (even though you weren't ready) and will keep you from making a last minute decision on a meal that probably was fat-filled, calorie laden and would have cancelled out the calories you burned on your 30 minute run!

Remember healthier cuisine is found labeled as grilled, roasted, braised, broiled or baked meat, vegetables steamed, dressings on the side (non-creamy that is) and possibly start with a tomato or non-creamy soup (this may help fill you up). When you get your meal split it in half, eat half and take the rest home!

You don’t have to sabotage your routine just because you go out to a restaurant. You can make it ALMOST as healthy as eating at home under your own watchful eye. Don’t be scared to say no butter, ask for things on the side or ask how things are cooked!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Helpful yet, Healthful Holiday Gifts!

Healthy holiday's don't have to be about food. Some helpful gift ideas if your stumped and have a calorie conscious, exercise guru in the family...or if your trying to sway someone that way?

-Gym membership
-Yoga gear and mat
-Workout videos or workout equipment for the house/office (I actually just bought my first set of dumbbells)!
-Workout clothes (You might as well look good doing your workout, right?)
-Sign someone up for cooking classes
-Pedometer
-Health and Fitness magazine subscriptions

Let's go shopping!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I am my worst enemy

A perfect way to sabotage your weight loss goals is by focusing too much on your number [on the scale]. Yeah it’s a big deal to you…but no one else really knows what it is and frankly, as long as your feeling good….what’s it matter? If you keep worrying about your numbers you’ll become stressed about your weight…(is it too late?).

Research shows that stress releases a hormone called cortisol which is secreted by your adrenal glands and involved in several functions. This “stress hormone,” triggers your body to eat in a ‘fight or flight’ activation caused by higher or prolonged levels of cortisol in your bloodstream. It is associated with higher blood pressure and increased abdominal fat (to mention a few).

Don’t cause another dietary disaster because you’re stressed out, try laughing once in a while! Stop wasting your energy on stress and put it into a good workout!