Tag: healthy tips

The Skinny on Fat

The Skinny on Fat

February is Heart month and in light of this important topic I thought it would be a great time to talk about FAT! Over the past years there has been some new findings that have changed the way we look at fat in foods and 

Pancakes for Days

Pancakes for Days

Are pancakes not the ultimate comfort food?! Every Sunday my husband and I take time out to make breakfast (let me pause here to take a moment as writing husband is still exciting to me, only married a week here!). We love experimenting in the 

5 Healthy Tips to Start Your 2017 Off With a Bang!

5 Healthy Tips to Start Your 2017 Off With a Bang!

Wow, 2017 is here already! Where did the last year go?! I think a lot of people are happy to see 2016 in the rear view mirror. So say so long and get on with the plan for this fresh New Year! A lot of people tend to base their resolutions on healthy eating and weight loss. There are so many diets out there that promise massive weight loss and quick results…but are they healthy? Are they effective? Do they last long term? One of the answers to these questions is yes, these diets are effective but long term they aid in creating bad to worse eating habits and the effects are usually short lived. So…let’s set you up for a win, a triple win. You want a plan that is healthy, effective and creates long term habits to maintain your healthy new lifestyle. The most important thing you want to do is find your motivation. Sometimes making changes are hard so you need to remember why you’re doing this. Is it to better your health, help you feel more energetic, improve your self-confidence, maybe it’s to keep up with your kids. It doesn’t matter. Just remember you set out on this path for a reason, so stay focused on the end goal…a long healthy life!

  1. Make a plan: Part of being successful is having a plan. It’s hard to stay focused when you aren’t organized with all of the right tools for success. Set aside an hour each week…for most people it’s a Saturday or Sunday afternoon but it could be a Tuesday night, whenever is convenient for you! Make a meal plan for the week and then write up your grocery list to go along with that plan. That way you have all the necessary ingredients for all the food you need and you’re not scrambling during the week to come up with ideas only to realize you don’t have all the ingredients and you end up making 2-3 extra trips to the store. Moral of the story…less time thinking and running around means more time preparing and less chances that you will end up eating take out or something less healthy (not that take out is bad but it should only be a once a week kind of option). Involve the family in the planning too! If everyone gets a say in which meals are prepared than you double your chances of success!
  2. Clean out your cupboards: Do a little spring cleaning early! Clear out all the chocolate, candies, chips and cookies from Christmas (wow…apparently all the delicious treat foods start with ‘C’!) and make a space for all of your healthy ingredients. Keep your absolute favorites and tuck them away. Make sure you clear out a space for healthy go to snacks which I will get to later. Maybe a shelf in your cupboard or a crisper in your fridge.
  3. Start small. Making too many big changes at once can be intimidating. When making your plan, keep some of your regular dishes the same, make sure you include your favorite foods! Maybe your plan includes trying 1 new recipe a week. Maybe it includes trying 1 new fruit or veggie a week. Remember every change no matter how small or large makes an impact and sets you in the right direction.
  4. Create your own healthy snacks on the run. Wash, cut and organize fresh fruits and veggies so they are readily available for snacking. Get out a ¼ cup measure and measure out any kind of nuts you like (unsalted) or make your own granola bars (http://www.newfoundbalance.com/recipes/healthy-snacks/chocolate-peanut-butter-granola-bites/). Make sure you have zip lock baggies or lots of tuperware containers handy. Again, it’s all about setting yourself up for a win. If you set aside an hour for prep every week then when you are pressed for time you will have healthy food to grab on the run!
  5. Don’t skip breakfast! Feeling tired around 11 or 2 is about more than lack of caffeine or sleep. Food is fuel and after all night fasting your body needs energy first thing in the morning. Try a high fibre option like oatmeal because it will keep you full longer and spreads out your energy. Fibre also aides in weight loss and can keep blood sugar and cholesterol stable. Try this delicious recipe here.

Hopefully these 5 tips will start you on your way! AND, remember when I mentioned keeping your favorite treats? Enjoy those too, set aside a day of the week where you sit down and enjoy your treats with the family. You can’t maintain your new healthy life without being able to enjoy your favorite snacks! Good luck with your New Year’s resolutions. Reading this article is definitely the first step!

Signing off,

Adrianna Smallwood, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert

Fruits and Vegetables: Getting to the root of the problem!

Fruits and Vegetables: Getting to the root of the problem!

Fruits and vegetables are full of tons of nutrients! Here in Newfoundland we have some of the lowest rates of fruit and vegetable intake and for sure a lot of different options aren’t readily available on this wonderful island we call a rock…BUT there are 

Eating on a Budget

Eating on a Budget

Yikes!!! Did anyone see the new Newfoundland budget?! Probably a rhetorical question right? Here we are in Newfoundland trying to make the best of it. We’re already paying twice as much for food as most provinces and now we might have to pay more?! And 

For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

I began reading this book lately, it’s called “Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family. How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook.” I’ve heard so many great things about the author Ellyn Satter and this particular book has been on my reading list for quite some time…so back to the title of this book! I’m sure some of you may have rolled your eyes at the title? Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family…maybe you know how to cook, maybe you know how to eat. You’re alive right? So you’ve obviously been doing your job right. Wrong. Well maybe not everyone is wrong, BUT, as a society I think that we have lost the ideal of the happy, sit at the table, savor the food and enjoy the taste meal.

Ellyn says in her book:

Today’s eating habits are negative: Eating isn’t important. Time spent eating is wasted time. You should eat and do something else at the same time. Skipping meals is good. Not eating is a sign of superiority. Being offhand about eating is trendy. Being finicky is sophisticated. Then there are the negative attitudes about nutrition: I shouldn’t eat that. If it tastes good it can’t be good for me. Eating right takes all the fun out of food.

Ellyn is so right! As a test I opened up my Pinterest and typed in the word ‘diet’. Now, I consider diet to be what a person eats in total. The average daily intake of food. But what does Pinterest think diet means? Here are the first 6 things on the list:

  • Find the best diet plan for your wedding
  • February is national snack month
  • The Yes/No Foods list (my personal favorite)
  • 3 ingredient pancakes
  • 20 snacks that burn fat
  • 24 essential recipes for anyone on a low-carb diet

Now I’m sure if I opened Google or any other search engine or social media the top 6 things to pop up would essentially be the same.

As a Registered Dietitian I often get frustrated clients in my office. They have tried Weight Watchers, Herbal Magic, Detoxes, Various fat burning pills, diets of shakes and coffee, you name it, I’ve heard of someone trying it. Most people seem to be focused on one thing. The scale. Whether it’s weighing themselves or their food. I have had clients come into my office and display their phones with every piece of food that goes in their mouth accounted for, displaying their various electronics that track the calories that they’re burning and their weights meticulously written down 3 times a day. I understand it! People are frustrated. They want to be healthy and there are so many people out there promising quick fixes. Lose 20 pounds in ONE WEEK! Detoxify your liver and the weight will fall off! Weight loss is promised to be the miracle that will help you look better, feel better and cure all of your health problems. Do you know what the silent killer is? Stress!

Stress involves a whole body reaction or a physiological response and is caused by anything in our life that makes us feel threatened. This is sometimes called the fight or flight response because it gives us an adrenaline boost that can help you fight for your life or run like heck. Our body cannot tell the difference though and all kinds of situations put stress on your body. When you don’t eat enough to keep up with the energy demands your body has just for everyday functioning, when you exercise for long hours every day and don’t replenish your energy stores, when you sit down after not eating chocolate for a whole month and you eat 3 chocolate bars at once and feel incredibly guilty. All of these things cause you stress because your body is an intricate system that works together. Why do you feel hungry? Because you need food. Why does chocolate smell so good if you’re not supposed to eat it? Because you should treat yourself!

So why am I focusing on stress? Because the hormone that your body releases during stress is called cortisol and this hormone functions to store fat. Now the pathway for this process is very complicated and I’ve oversimplified it here but the research shows that people who perceive themselves to have a lot of stress have higher weights and a higher waist circumference. (For example read here, here, and here)

I will give you an example. Most people restrict their intake of food in an effort to loose weight. They skip meals, eat smaller portions, stop eating when they are still hungry or they ignore hunger signals all together. What happens internally however is that your body stops trusting you and gets stressed because it thinks it’s never going to get food again. So what happens when you finally give in to that hunger craving? Your body stores every last bit of energy as fat in fear that you won’t give it anything again.

If I bring this all together, the most important thing you want is for your body to trust you. Listening to your body and feeding it when it’s hungry is important. Ignoring your hunger cravings doesn’t make you strong and giving in to your hunger cravings doesn’t make you weak. You want your body to trust you. Eat when you’re hungry, enjoy some chocolate or candy or whatever your “guilty pleasure” is. Ellyn says “If the joy goes out of eating, nutrition suffers”. At the end of a session with a client who is seeing me to loose weight I often make 2 goals (along with any healthy eating suggestions). The first is, until you see me again, please stop keeping track of the food you are eating every second. Eat your main meals and if you are hungry have a snack but don’t record it and secondly, do not weigh yourself until you see me again. Stop focusing on the scale at home and focus on how you feel. Is your goal to weigh less or is it to feel better? Because if your goal is to weigh less and you never get there and deprive yourself of every delicious thing in the meantime…what is the quality of your life really like? So, please, for the love of food, enjoy all food in moderation whether it’s apples and carrots or candy and chocolate. Having a healthy relationship with food means enjoying all foods.

***if you have a specific health condition or food allergy or intolerence that keeps you from eating a specific food or type of food that is a different issue and you should speak with a Registered Dietitian to insure you are not missing out on any key nutrients and continue to avoid eating the offending food or type of food. 

New Year, New Goals!

New Year, New Goals!

It’s 2016 and I’m sure as soon as the clock struck midnight everyone was thinking about those little resolutions they were making the last few weeks of December. The new year always brings a fresh slate for me and I love thinking of all the 

Increasing Fibre Intake-The Whole Grain Truth

Increasing Fibre Intake-The Whole Grain Truth

I often tell people that of all the things they can do, increasing their daily fibre intake is probably one of the most important (and magical). A diet low in fibre can result in loose stool and diarrhea, slow digestion and constipation. Fibre is responsible 

Sugar Coating The Truth

Sugar Coating The Truth

I wrote this article for a local magazine in Kincardine Ontario but I figured it would be a fun and super useful first blog post…please read and I hope you enjoy….

Ready-to-go snack foods are a staple in our busy society.

School lunches, sports practice, busy work days and other on-the-run activities make it easy for the snack industry to promote their products. But have you stopped to read food labels and consider what additives or nutrients are in these foods?

Sugar, structurally, is a carbohydrate, which adds a deliciously sweet flavor to our foods, but it also provides energy to the body in the form of calories without providing other nutritional benefits. Dietitians like to call these foods ‘energy dense but nutrient poor.’ Let’s stop for a moment though, before we frantically start reading every label for the sugar or carbohydrate content, because sugar is found naturally in products which are healthy and full of nutrients like protein, vitamins and fibre. Dietitians like to call these foods ‘nutrient dense’.

Added sugars are the sugars we need to be aware of and try to limit in our everyday diet as much as possible.

Sources of Added Sugars

These hide in ingredient labels under names such as glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, fruit puree, fruit juice and so fourth.

Added sugar are basically sugars found where they would not normally be. Sugar is added to these products for flavor , particularly in foods labelled ‘low fat’ and for preservation purposes in boxes or canned foods.

Decreasing Sugar Intake

Going forward, it is important to know how we can reduce these food sources in our diet. Decreasing sugar intake in both children and adults has been linked with lower rates of dental issues (cavities/tooth decay), overweight and obesity, insulin resistance and hyperactivity to name a few.

Enjoying a variety of foods in their natural form-fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, yogurt and milk-is a good way to start. Become familiar with labels and be aware of the following nutrition claims:

No added sugar- What this means is the product contains no added sugar such as glucose, fructose, honey or molasses. However, it may contain naturally occurring sugars such as those from fruit or dairy products.

Reduced or lower in sugar- This means the food contains at least 25% and 5 grams less sugar than the food to which it is compared, but how much sugar is in the original product? This does not mean that it is low in sugar, it is just lower compared to the original product, so keep that in mind.

Unsweetened- This means the food contains no added sugars or sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose.

Sugar-free or sugarless- This means each standard serving contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar and less than 5 calories.

Recommended Sugar Intake

The World Health Organization posted new guidelines in 2015 for sugar intake. These guidelines suggest, “…Intake of free sugars (should be reduced) to less than 10 percent of total energy intake.” In practice, this number for the average 2,000 calorie diet looks like 50 grams or 12 teaspoons daily.

Key Tips For Healthy Snacking

So now we know what sugar is, where it can be found and how to avoid it. What are the key tips for healthy snacking?

-Limit sweets and sugar such as candy, jam, honey and syrup

-Choose fruit packaged in water or its own juice rather than syrup

-Limit chips, chocolate, cakes, donuts, and other sugary treats

-Remember that some drinks contain sugar. Juice and pop have 25-28 grams of sugar per cup. This is equal to about 6 teaspoons of sugar

-Choose water, milk, or sugar-free drinks when you are thirsty rather than juice or pop

-Choose high fibre foods most often. Examples are vegetables, fruit and whole grains like oatmeal, whole wheat bread and rye crackers

-Choose nutrient-dense snacks such as homemade trail mix

-Do not eat too much. Do not snack directly out of a bulk-sized box or bag. Instead, take one portion and eat it from a plate or a bowl

-Be prepared. Pack some healthy snacks in your lunchbox, at your desk, in your bag or in the car. You will be less likely to choose unhealthy snacks when you need one