Do You Want To Change Old Habits?

Creative composition with the message "Time For Change"

Research says it takes twenty-one days to implement a new habit. And yet, when you start to consider all of the bad habits you may have developed, you may not know where to start!

Sometime over the next day or so, take twenty minutes to create a list of habits you want to add in or take out of your life. Prioritize them. Work on one habit at a time.

My job as a Nutritionist is to help my clients form healthier eating habits that will enable them to make better food choices. Below is a list of five questions that I ask my clients to help them improve their eating habits.

1. When did you last eat? If it’s been longer then 2–4 hours, it’s time to eat! When you wait too long between meals,  you’re more likely to overeat.

This is key for me. I need to eat every 3 hours otherwise my blood sugar drops and the irritability kicks in. If I leave it too long, I make bad choices and my son’s treat bag or that loaf of bread starts to look really tempting. If I don’t have much time, I will always make a smoothie to eat then, or save in the fridge for when I need it. This is great for a mid-afternoon or mid-morning slump!

2. Where is the complete protein?

Does your meal or snack include protein? If not, find a healthy source, such as lean meat or fish, eggs, cottage cheese, edamame, a serving of protein powder, or even a few tablespoons of hemp seeds– which contain approximately 10 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. See my recipe below for Vegetable Frittatas, these are great for lunch or dinner!

3. Where are the veggies (preferably green ones)?

Does your meal or snack include at least a cup of raw or a half a cup of cooked vegetables? Have them raw, steamed, baked, grilled or stir fried, but make sure you have at least five servings per day. An easy way to bump up your green veggie intake is to add a cup of romaine, spinach or kale to your smoothies. Raw veggies & hummus makes a great snack or prepare a yummy salad for lunch.

4. Where are the carbs?

If you have fat to lose, make sure that the carbs you are choosing are high-fibre, low-sugar carbs. Choose beans or lentils instead of bread, rice, pasta, or potatoes. If you do choose bread, make sure it is 100% whole grain and has between 3-5g of fibre per serving.

5. Where are your fats coming from?

Get your healthy fats from sources, such as olive oil, olives, avocado, and even chia or flaxseeds. You need to have a modest amount of fat throughout your day. Healthy fats are essential for your health and also help to keep you feeling satisfied.

Hopefully you are all feeling motivated to start changing those old habits! But remember, don’t try too much at once. Start with baby steps. Make a list of three new food or lifestyle goals you will implement over the course of the next six weeks. Focus each goal on one behavior you need to either extinguish or add into your life. Post a comment with the habits you want to change, I would love to hear from you.

Good luck!

Vegetable Frittata Cups

Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced

½ cup pepper, cut into short thin strips

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ cup frozen baby peas

10 pieces semi-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

7 eggs

½ cup unsweetened soy milk

salt and black pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Heat oil in a large, non stick frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, pepper, baby peas, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the peas and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little.
  • Stir in the semi-dried tomatoes.
  • Using an oil mister, spray a large 6 cup muffin pan with oil.
  • Whisk together the eggs and milk, and season.
  • Divide the vegetables among the 4 muffin pan cups. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the vegetables.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until frittatas are set and lightly golden.
  • Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out.

 

Melanie Grime is a holistic nutritionist serving the Orangeville, Dufferin, Wellington, and Caledon areas. Melanie treats everyone as an individual with their own specific needs and helps clients suffering from health issues by looking for the root cause of symptoms and working with them to reach their health, nutrition & weight loss goals

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Eat Breakfast Like A King!

Scrambled Eggs In A Cast Iron Skillet

Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a pauper’

Studies show making breakfast a daily habit can help you lose weight – and keep it off. If you think that you are saving precious time and cutting calories by skipping breakfast, think again. When you fail to consume the most important meal of your day, you tend to be starving by mid-morning, unable to think clearly or concentrate, and generally replace those missed calories (and then some) later on in the day.

Eating early in the day keeps you from “starvation eating” later on. But it also jump-starts your metabolism and helps keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the rest of the day. When you skip breakfast, you’re actually fasting for approximately fifteen to twenty hours, so you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight.

It’s important to break-the-fast with low-energy-density foods. Energy density is the number of calories in a specific amount of food. Some foods, such as fats, are very energy dense, meaning they contain a lot of calories per portion size, so you can only have a small amount of them. Foods that contain a lot of water and fibre have low energy density, meaning fewer calories per portion size. Water has an energy density of zero.

What does this mean?

If you eat foods with high energy density, such as bagels with full-fat cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches with sausage, cheese, etc., you rack up calories quickly. If you eat high-fibre, low-energy-density foods such as steel-cut oats, blackberries, walnuts, Greek yogurt or a smoothie, you get to eat more with fewer calories.

 

Low-Energy-Density Breakfast Calories High-Energy-Density Breakfast Calories
½ cup steel cut oats cooked, made with ¼ cup 2% milk + ½ cup blueberries + ½ oz. of raw walnuts with 1 tsp. raw honey to flavour. 317 Tim Horton’s multi-grain bagel with light cream cheese and a medium coffee, with 1 cream and 1 sugar. 575

 

Tips for Eating a Balanced Breakfast

  1. Wake up fifteen minutes earlier
  2. Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up.
  3. Make a shake or smoothie if pressed for time. I will often make a smoothie the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning.
  4. Prepare your breakfast ahead of time if possible. I have included a recipe below that is a favourite of mine, a great one to make the night before.

I have taken this recipe from the recipe book ‘Joyous Health’ by Joy McCarthy. I enjoy it with some plain Greek yoghurt and fruit.

Banana Protein Bake

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup coconut milk

3 large organic eggs, whisked or 3 egg substitutes*

¼ cup protein powder (I used Vega Vanilla Protein)

¼ cup ground almonds (sometimes called ‘almond flour’)

3 tbsp real maple syrup

2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

½ tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

3 bananas sliced

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Use a form to mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl excluding the banana slices.
  • Pour mixture into large greased baking dish and place banana slices on top.
  • Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes.
  • If you are using an egg substitute, bake 10-15 minutes longer.
  • Makes 8 serving

*Egg substitute: 1 egg = 3 tbsp chia seeds + ½ cup water, mix and let sit for 3-4 minutes

Top 10 Ways to Curb Overeating

Woman Eating Sandwich

The key to successful weight control is learning to listen to your body’s cues. You want to eat when you feel hungry, but not starving. Feeling overly hungry can trigger overeating. The following tips can help you get in touch with the signs of hunger and satiety to prevent overeating:

  1. Stick to a schedule – Plan to eat every three to four hours, stopping 2 hours before bed.
  2. Include lean protein – Protein-rich foods such as lean meat, fish, poultry, egg whites, non-GMO tofu and legumes help you feel full longer because they require more time to digest and absorb than other nutrients. Divide your protein intake among three meals and two snacks. Protein-rich snack choices include nuts, soy beans (edamame), edamame, hard-boiled eggs, part-skim cheese, yogurt and/or a protein bar or shake.
  3. Don’t skip protein at breakfast – Research suggests that eating lean protein in the morning keeps you satisfied longer than if eaten at other times of the day.
  4. Choose low-glycemic foods – Avoid refined (white) and sugary foods. These are high-glycemic foods that cause blood glucose and insulin levels to spike after eating. In response to excess insulin, blood glucose levels drop more quickly over the next few hours, which can trigger hunger and overeating. Low-glycemic foods are more slowly digested and help keep hunger at bay. They include beans, lentils, nuts, pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, steel-cut or large-flake oatmeal, oat bran, 100% bran cereals, yogurt, milk, unsweetened almond milk, apples, oranges, peaches, pears and berries.
  5. Add grapefruit – People who eat grapefruit have significantly lower levels of insulin after eating which was thought to control hunger.
  6. Spice up meals – Capsaicin, the component that gives red chili peppers their heat, can reduce hunger and increase calorie burning. Adding cayenne pepper to meals was effective at reducing appetite for fatty, salty and sweet foods, especially among people who did not consume it regularly.
  7. Chew sugarless gum – A recent study found that chewing gum for one hour in the morning helped participants eat fewer calories at lunch. Chewing stimulates nerves in the jaw connected to the brain region that regulates satiety. Stay away from the gums sweetened with artificial sweeteners. My favourite gum is Pur, it’s gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and naturally sweetened with xylitol.
  8. Slow down – It takes roughly 20 minutes for appetite-related hormones to kick in and tell your brain you’ve had enough food. After every bite, put down your knife and fork, chew thoroughly and sip water. Do not start picking up your food again until your mouth is empty.
  9. Savour your food and ban distractions – Eating in front of the television, while reading, or while driving leads to mindless eating. Reserve the kitchen or dining-room table for meals and pay attention to the delicious flavors and aromas in your meal.
  10. Rate your hunger – Determine how hungry – or satisfied – you feel before you eat, halfway through a meal, and after you finish. Stop eating when you feel about 70% full.

This time of year there are treats everywhere so I wanted to share a healthy treat with you. They are super easy to make you just throw everything into your food processor or high-powered blender, they are raw so they can be made in super quick time – now that is the type of healthy food I love!

 

Raw Carrot Cake Balls

¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

6 Medjool dates, pitted

¾ cup walnuts

½ cup grated carrots

¼ cup hemp seeds

¼ cup honey

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

  •  Reserve ¼ cup shredded coconut in a shallow dish for rolling. Place remaining ingredients in a high-powdered food processor and process until fully combined.
  • Form mixture into 1-inch balls and roll in reserved shredded coconut, coating balls completely.
  • Transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  • Keep chilled or freeze in an airtight container for a few months.
  • Enjoy 1 or 2 as a snack or dessert.

Serving Size: Makes 18 to 20 balls

‘Joyous Health’ – Joy McCarthy

 

11 Tips to Staying Slim This Holiday Season

Christmas Bauble Tape Measure

This is the time of year when insulin levels can sky rocket, throwing your blood sugar levels all out of whack, causing you to store the food you eat as fat. Your focus should be on eating balanced meals while consuming low glycemic foods if you want to avoid the typical 5-7 pound weight gain that accompanies all of the yuletide cheer.

There is something to celebrate other than the upcoming holidays…there are a number of food tips that will help you to lower the glycemic index of your meals or snacks and help stabilize blood sugar levels as well as simple food swaps that will help you keep your weight in check this holiday season.

  1. Add a high fiber choice to breakfast. Choose steel cut oats instead of quick cooking or instant oats. They are higher in fiber and lower on the glycemic index. Research shows that adding a high fiber choice to breakfast helps to cut hunger and cravings over the rest of the day. Make a batch on the weekend and warm it up in the morning for a quick breakfast choice. A portion size is ½ cup cooked. Check out my recipe below for slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oatmeal – super easy, make a big batch for the week and just reheat daily.
  2. Avoid having a fruit by itself. Pair your serving of fruit with 1 tablespoon of raw nut butter or an ounce of cheese. When you add a protein or a fat with your fruit it helps to keep the glycemic index of the fruit down.
  3. If you drink alcohol then skip the starches. Pass on the rice, potatoes, bread and desserts. The alcohol counts as your carb for that meal since it digests as a carbohydrate.
  4. Choose a sprouted grain bread. My recommendation is the Canadian company Silver Hills Bakery (my personal favourite is Mack’s Flax) or Ezekiel from Food For Life. You will find these breads in the freezer section at your local grocery or health food store. It’s best to avoid white and whole wheat 80% of the time. If you can’t find these 2 brands then Stonemill is also a good choice. You want to look for breads that 15-18 grams of carbohydrates or less per slice.
  5. Steer clear of fruit flavored yoghurts. The yoghurt isle is an overwhelming space. Stick to the basics. Low fat, plain yoghurt or low fat Greek yoghurt which is much higher in protein. If you need it flavored, add your own berries and vanilla extract. Most flavoured yoghurts are sweetened with either fructose or aspartame and both should be avoided.
  6. Be picky with cold cereals. If you must consume a cold cereal for breakfast choose Kashi Go Lean, which is higher in protein, or Fiber One, which has 14 grams of fiber per serving. The secret to avoiding the insulin spike that comes along with most breakfast cereals is to add a hard-boiled egg or some nuts to slow down the carbohydrate metabolism.
  7. Choose raw or lightly steamed vegetables over fully cooked. This tip depends on whether you can tolerate and digest raw vegetables. Raw or lightly steamed maintains the fiber and water content.
  8. Choose raspberries for dessert. Skip the banana or orange. Raspberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup and berries in general are lower on the glycemic index.
  9. Cook pasta and rice al dente. When you overcook your pasta, rice and potatoes it raises the glycemic index. Keep the starches firm to avoid the blood sugar spike.
  10. Add protein to your cake. This tip might sound odd but adding a small amount of protein slows down the carbohydrate metabolism and helps to avoid the blood sugar spike that generally comes along with eating cake.
  11. Keep your daily calories in check. Although these tips help to control blood sugar and insulin spikes, tracker your food choices will ensure that you take in the appropriate amount of calories to avoid packing on the pounds.

Slow Cooker, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Servings: 10 (1/2 cup) servings

2 apples, peeled, cored & cut into ½ inch pieces

1 ½ cups skim, 1 or 2% milk (or unsweetened almond milk – original or vanilla)

1 ½ cups water

1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats

2 tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar

1 ½ tbsp butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp ground flaxseed (or chia seed)

¼ tsp sea salt

Optional toppings: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk

 

Grease the inside of a slow cooker. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls, add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings. Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in a pan on the stove, add 1/3 cup milk or unsweetened almond milk. Cook over low – medium heat until heated through. Stir and enjoy!

If you are unsure whether you are making quality food choices that keep your blood sugar levels in check use this link http://bit.ly/1ym5cA8 to download a 5-day food tracker. Fill it out for 4 days during the week and 1 day on the weekend then call me at 519-415-2266 to schedule a consultation so I can help you achieve your health and weight loss goals this holiday season.

 

How To Stop Stressing & Save Money On Food!

Cooking economy represented by a piggy bank with a chef hat

The Food Marketing Institute has recently reported that 71% of us are cooking at home more often these days. That means more people are sitting in rush hour traffic rummaging through their cupboards and fridge in their minds, trying to figure out what’s for dinner. Naturally, home cooking has fewer calories and more nutritional value than restaurant meals but are you maximizing your savings or adding to your stress when you eat at home?

The average household wastes 14% of the food they buy due to poor planning and wastage. If you spend $100 a week on groceries, 14% is the equivalent of three homemade gourmet lunches.

By planning your meals you only shop for the fresh items you need for the week, therefore reducing waste and worry. Any extra portions can be labelled with the date and frozen right after you make them so they avoid becoming funky experiments in the back of the fridge.

When you plan meals, make sure to include enough foods from each food group, with special attention to fresh vegetables and fruits for every meal as well as snacks. Always keep an eye out for sales on grain products like rice, pasta and couscous and oats so you can stock up and have them as staples for every meal. Frozen fish, frozen vegetables and even frozen fruit are also good to keep on hand for quick entrees, side dishes and smoothies when you haven’t had a chance to buy fresh ingredients.

Meat is definitely the most costly mealtime staple but re-thinking how you use it can be better for your wallet and your waistline. With books like In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan, it’s becoming increasingly popular to think of meat as a condiment for vegetables as opposed to the meal’s focal point. Remember half your plate should be vegetables, a quarter protein and the other quarter should be either a grain or starchy vegetables. Diversify your cooking skills and learn techniques to stretch your food dollar. For instance, braising or slow cooking cheaper cuts of meat is an easy way to save on meat. Or, better yet, swap out meat for lentils and other beans once or twice a week for even greater savings – and health benefits – start with Meatless Monday! Soups, casseroles and salads are all great ways to pepper in a little meat instead of serving it in one big chunk.

The benefits of meal planning are numerous and getting started is surprisingly simple. All you need to do is jot down your meals before you go grocery shopping, know what you have on hand, and write out your shopping list so you buy only what you need.

Here a few tips that will allow you to eat healthy while staying in a budget.

  • Buy produce in season when prices are lowest and nutrient value is peaking. If possible, buy locally grown foods. I often buy my eggs, chicken & pork from Landmans Garden & Bakery, my beef from Speers Farm in Amaranth.
  • Invest in glass of BPA free storage containers such as Rubbermaid’s Produce Saver that “keeps produce fresh and crisp longer.” You can find many different options often on sale at Winners and Canadian Tire.
  • Buy generic and store brand items. They are less expensive yet comparable in quality and nutrient content.
  • Buy in bulk when possible and avoid pre-cut fruits and vegetables as these tend to be more expensive. Select family-size packages of meat or poultry and freeze meal-size portions.
  • Shop sales and do your homework with the weekly circular before shopping. Different food stores put high visibility staples on sale, but have higher prices on other items. Once you know what your meal plan involves you can shop according to the deals relevant to those products.
  • Skip exotic fruits and uncommon color varieties of vegetables (orange vs. green bell peppers) as they have the same nutritional content but are often priced higher.
  • Buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables that are more economical and require little preparation. Most retain more nutrients than “fresh” produce, as they are harvested and packaged at peak ripeness, compared to “fresh” produce that must be picked early and therefore have less nutrients.
  • Warehouse chains usually have lower cost on staple items like dairy, meat, and eggs.
  • Use water from the tap or purchase a water filtration system. Purchase a stock of refillable BPA free bottles that can be filled each week and then reused. Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the recycling rate for plastic is only 23%, which means 38 billion water bottles  more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.
  • Create your own single serving snack packages. This will help you maintain proper portion control while avoiding the premium pricing associated with the excess packaging.
  • Buy canned fish including tuna, salmon, and sardines as they are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to provide a wide range of health benefits. They are easily added to pasta dishes, salads and more.
  • Grow your own fresh herbs for seasoning vegetables, meat and pasta dishes. Basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro, thyme, rosemary and sage are all easy to grow in pots or in the ground.

Check out one of my favourite soup recipes that is taken from Tosca Reno`s Eat Clean Diet, cookbook. It is packed full of healthy nutrient rich black beans and veggies and will warm you up as the days get colder. This is a great one to try out for your Meatless Monday meals 🙂

Maui Black Bean Soup

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 ribs celery, trimmed & coarsely chopped

1 fat carrot, peeled & chopped

1 red pepper & 1 green pepper, seeded & de-veined, chopped

2 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press

1 teaspoon dried cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon chilli powder

4 cups low-sodium, gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock

2 x 15 oz cans black beans

1 x 15 oz canned diced tomatoes

Sea salt & fresh ground pepper

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, onion and bell peppers. Sauté until onion becomes translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and spices. Cook another 2 minutes.

Add stock or cooking liquid of your choice, beans and tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Using a hand held blender, puree soup to desired consistency, let simmer for a further 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot!