Healthy Snacks to Fuel You All Week

There comes a point when you feel tired of eating the same snacks over and over again.

Prepping them each week can become mundane, and that trip to the vending machine to make a snap decision seems exciting, easy, and spontaneous. Undoubtedly, the snack you’d get from the vending machine may momentarily taste good, but your returning hunger and sugar crash an hour later will remind you why you need to pack a healthy snack.

As long as you keep a variation, you can rotate these snacks to keep things interesting.

The ones I am going to share are super easy to put together, easy to take with you, and they don’t need to be kept cold, so if you’re on the go, you won’t have any excuses to run to the break room for free donuts.

1. Apple Sandwich
Take an apple, cut out the core, and slice it horizontally so you can layer it with almond butter (or any other nut or seed butter,) bits of dried fruit, and chia or hemp seeds, and it’s a gourmet treat for the taste buds. Plus, with all that nutrition, you’ll feel full and completely satiated.

2. Trail Mix
I love the variety with trail mix, there are so many different types you can create. Switch it up each week to keep things interesting. You can either buy the trail mix Prana and Central Roast are my favourite clean brands (Prana is available at Costco for a great $) or you can mix up a great big batch at home on the weekend and portion it out into ¼-cup servings.

Bag those up and have them ready to go. Stash them in your purse or gym bag, and you’ll never have a reason to eat unhealthy snacks again. Choose your own nuts, dried fruits, and other tidbits, plus you can add seasonings to make it even more exciting so you’ll never grow bored. Savory or sweet, what will it be?

3. Roasted Chickpeas
Add spice to make them extra tasty, or even try them with a mild, ranch flavor. However you roast them, you’ll forget all about chips. You can snack on these guilt-free and get all the fantastic antioxidant benefits to boot. You can find these in most grocery stores now and even in Winners/Homesense.

4. Hummus Pockets
Grab a whole grain pita (I like the Ozery Bakery brand available at most grocery stores & Costco) and stuff it with hummus. Add cucumber slices, carrot shreds, and anything else you like. You can prep your veggies at the beginning of the week so it can be a quick grab-and-stuff snack to run out the door with. For a grain-free option, use large lettuce leaves instead.

5. Baked Sweet Potato Chips
All you need is a good-sized sweet potato, a little olive oil, and sea salt, or a little curry powder if you’re adventurous. Slice thin and bake for 40 minutes at 275F. Flip them over, and bake 40 more minutes and you’ll have heavenly preservative-free and healthy chips to snack on for the week.

6. Scaled-Down Deli Snack Box
If you tend to flock to certain chains for coffee and café eats, try making your own protein-filled box to go. Make it full-size to serve as lunch, or create a smaller version for a snack. Take it to Pinterest to find some perfect box combinations for your preferred way of eating — there are lots to choose from or check out my recipe for your very own Deli Snack Box.

With snacks like these, you’ll never want to stray from your healthy path.
What are your go-to snacks currently? Mine are Prana Kilamanjaro trail mix, fruit and a hot cocoa elixir with collagen & nut butter.

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Foods That Cause Bloating & What You Can Eat Instead

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With so many different and contradictory claims when it comes to eating healthy, it can be hard to know what to eat and what to avoid.  This confusion leads so many to throw their hands up altogether and feel those feelings of “why even try?!”

The thing is we are all different, or I like to say unique. What is one persons health food can be another’s poison.

Even foods touted as healthy can still cause you discomfort.  Bloating is our bodies attempt to let us know it disagrees with something we gave it and can be a big clue to the types of foods you should cut down on or avoid. Remember symptoms are our body’s language, it’s way of communicating with us.

Here are a few of the main culprits when it comes to foods that can cause bloating…

  1. Beans

Beans are great for protein and good carbs, but many of them contain a type of sugar in the FODMAP group (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols). If you have digestive issues, beans can cause gas as they digest which gives you that unpleasant, bloated belly. Soaking the beans can usually help, but if you’re in a hurry, choose pinto or black beans — they’re easier to digest.

  1. Lentils

Another high protein legume with loads of fiber, lentils can also bring on the bloat. Choosing the light-colored lentils is a better option for keeping that bloating under control.

  1. Wheat

Whole wheat has always touted as a healthier alternative, but it doesn’t sit well with a lot of people due to the gluten it contains. If you have a sensitivity to gluten, your gut will show it by bloating after consuming wheat products. Wheat also has FODMAPs, as we discussed above, so if you’ve shown a tendency to bloat after eating wheat products, you should look for gluten-free options like quinoa, buckwheat, pure oats, or things made with almond or coconut flour.

  1. Cruciferous veggies

While cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are super healthy, they can lead to stomach inflation. Cooking them makes them much easier to digest, but if that still doesn’t seem to help, focus more on spinach, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes.

  1. Garlic and onions

These two are great for flavoring just about anything you can cook up in your kitchen. If eating either of them raw sets you off, you should make sure they’re cooked first.  If that still doesn’t do the trick, you should try swapping them out for fresh herbs like thyme, basil, chives, or parsley to keep your dishes flavorful.

  1. Dairy Products

If you’ve noticed bloating coming on after eating yogurt, cheese, butter, or drinking milk, switch to lactose-free dairy products to get all the flavor without the agony.  Many people cannot process dairy well, in fact, it has been estimated that seven million Canadians suffer from lactose intolerance.1, so give dairy-free a shot and see how much better you feel. Milk, in particular, has many other alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or cashew milk. Check out my recipe for Homemade Cashew Milk that can be made in under 10 minutes!

Just because certain foods are healthy doesn’t mean they are helping you out. If you frequently bloat after eating, keep a journal of what you eat (like we talked about in last weeks blog) and write down when you get bloated. You’ll be able to identify the offender, learn more about your body and the best foods to feed it.

Do certain things tend to bloat you more than others? Hit reply and let me know what your problem foods are.  I may have some useful tricks up my sleeve for you!

 

Reference:

1. Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. http://www.cdhf.ca/en/disorders/details/id/13

These Easy Tips Can Help You Quit Overeating

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Whether it be emotionally charged, out of boredom, or pure mindlessness while at the table — overeating is something we’ve all done at some point.

Our culture tends to overeat in general with larger portions than ever, but you’d be surprised how much smaller of a portion you can eat and feel satisfied.  Somewhere along the way, we’ve been programmed to eat until we are full, instead of eating enough to satisfy our hunger and return to neutral.

My Grandma was of the World War II generation and so she had brought up my Mum never to waste food and that included eating everything that was on your plate and that habit was passed down to me. It didn’t matter whether I was full or not, my goal was to always clear my plate and that was one of the biggest struggles for me to overcome with my eating.

Whatever reason it may be to you, there are some simple tricks you can use on a daily basis to make sure you’re more mindful of your consumption and keep things at a healthy level.

Some of my favorite tricks are…

  1. Drink more water

This may sound like a no-brainer, but the majority of people just do not drink adequate amounts of water.

Dehydration accounts for countless ailments and symptoms we encounter on a regular basis, and you may not even be thinking your water intake is related. For example, hunger and cravings are often overcome by drinking a big glass of water. So whether it be getting a smart water bottle that’ll remind you to drink enough water, using a water intake app, or keeping your bottle by your side throughout the day — do whatever is necessary to stay properly hydrated. You’ll find your cravings disappearing, and you’ll be less likely to overeat.

  1. Don’t eat while distracted

Whether it’s in front of the TV or while playing with your phone on your lunch break, distracted eating can cause you to eat more than you were planning to eat. Even if you only have a limited portion in front of you, you won’t feel satisfied when you’re done, making you more likely to grab something unhealthy to “fill” you up the rest of the way.

How many times have you sat down in front of the TV, your phone or laptop eating something only to realise only a short while later that it’s all gone. Did you even taste or smell the food? Be mindful when you eat, and you’ll find that satisfaction.

  1. Write it down

Sometimes, we’re unaware that we’re overeating, which can be even worse. Keep a food journal with you and write down every little thing you eat, even if it seems minuscule or unimportant. It also helps to note how you’re feeling so you can correct behaviors once you spot a pattern. There are lots of online apps you can use but i’m old school and like the paper and pen variety – here’s a great food journal you can find on amazon.

  1. Focus on your portions

Instead of putting all the food on the table for the whole family to grab, portion it out, at least for yourself. You should have a well-rounded meal with half your plate veggies, followed by a lean protein, and then a healthy carb such as whole grains or starchy veggies.

Choose a smaller plate too so you’ll trick yourself into thinking you’re eating a more significant portion. Our side plates were dinner sized plates a few decades ago, so go back to using a side plate if you need to.

If you still feel hungry after eating your whole plate, start with another serving on veggies, that will fill you up.

If you are a snacker, make sure your snacks contain fat, fiber and protein to help keep you satisfied and those cravings at bay. Try out these Double Chocolate Mint Energy Balls, just one or two of these will hit the spot!

  1. Take it home

And finally, I can’t forget a tip about restaurants.  Even with healthy lifestyles, there will be times you go out to eat with friends or family, we tend to eat or order on average once a week. This was another habit that was hard from me because growing up I always associated eating out with a treat and therefore used to always overindulge whether it was in the amount I ate or the choices I made.

Don’t get me wrong, even I, a Nutritionist doesn’t want a plain old boring salad, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be bland or boring. There are some awesome hearty salads and buddha bowls now available in most restaurants and you can always make changes to your option as in hold off the carbs and have extra veggies or have a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.

Make a healthy choice and ask your server to box up half the order from the start or see if someone is willing to split the portion with you. If not, you’ll have another perfect portion for tomorrow, which will make you look forward to lunch! Ordering a healthy appetizer and pairing it with a side salad is another great way not to overeat, but still, leave satisfied.

These little things make a big difference in keeping you from overeating, and they’re so simple to do, they’re effortless.

What’s your trigger for overeating — boredom? Stress? Zoned out in front of the TV?  Hit reply and let me know.

How to Keep Up Motivation for Your Healthy Lifestyle When You Want to Give Up Instead

New you, old you.

Has the excitement of your New Year’s Resolutions begun to fizzle out? We start off January so passionate about our new plans and brand new habits, and the novelty seems to wear off quickly. Suddenly, February is approaching, and we’re left wondering why we even bothered with resolutions again this year.

The cycle continues.

It’s not easy to keep up motivation, even when you’re on the right track, I totally feel that one. For example, when you’re eating healthier, temptations may make you want to go
back to your old ways. If you have a terrible day and reach for a pint of ice cream, that guilt can send you reeling and doubting your ability to make your goals.

But keep up, you must. If you’re not sure how to keep going without calling the whole thing off, let me bring you newfound inspiration.

Here are some of my tried-and-true ways to keep up my motivation when it gets tough…

1. Remember your WHY!
Why did you start your healthy lifestyle? Was it because your doctor warned you about your health? Was it because you were tired of being tired? Wanting to have the energy to keep up with your kids? Whatever the reason, get back to the “why” that motivated you in the first place, visualize how you want to feel and keep that vision firmly in your head.

2. Diffuse negativity
If you’re feeling unmotivated because you gobbled down a bag of chocolates after a crappy day at work or at home with the kids, find some shred of positivity in your life and go for it. This does not make you a bad person, slip-ups are all part of the growing process Put it behind you and look to the future with kindness toward yourself.

3. See it as a challenge
I can tell tell you, as can other Moms that you can get any kid to devour their dinner (yes even that broccoli) with a little challenge. Try the same trick with yourself. When you see it as something to conquer and win, it triggers the need to come out on top. Make
a game out of it and go for the gold.

4. Make a timeline
When you are working toward your goals, aiming to lose 50 pounds can feel impossible, especially when the scale is slow to budge in your favor. Instead of focusing on that end goal, make a timeline of mini-goals to achieve. Be reasonable about them and make them tangible. As you complete each one, you’ll feel closer to the end result, and you’ll be really proud of yourself for going for it. I didn’t get to where i am today overnight, I have been on this journey for 11 years girl!

5. Get support
Sometimes, we feel a lack of motivation because we feel like an island on our pursuit of wellness. If you look around that island though, you’re going to find many other people doing the same things. There are always groups you can join to help stay motivated. Whether you need a workout buddy or someone that loves to share healthy recipes, joining a group with the same types of goals as you can be excellent motivation to keep going. You can use me, follow me on Facebook and Instagram and shoot me a message or comment on my posts if you need a lift. I will be there for you!

I will tell you a secret. Yoga is my thing, it’s like an anti-depressant for me yet I fell off the yoga wagon seriously at the end of last year, and had it not been for one amazing lady in my yoga group supporting me, pushing me on I probably would have walked away. Now I am back to my regular practice and feeling stronger and happier than ever. One person can make all the difference.

Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” Quitting would be the easy thing to do. Take the challenge, and when you look back, you’re going to see you’ve come so much further than you ever imagined.

Shoot me a reply and let me know what your “why” is — I’d love to hear what is the motivating factor behind your quest for wellness and also what your biggest obstacles are.

If this post has motivated you, and you’re up for a challenge and being part of a great group of supporters, check out my FREE 7 Day Healthy Habits Challenge that starts 11th February. Click here for more details. I even throw in a meal plan with 18 delicious, family friendly recipes!

My 5 Pillars of Health

It’s January and everyone is making New Years Resolutions and often they are related to improving their health or weight.

Losing weight and getting healthy are great goals but is going on a strict, super low calorie, low carb, magic pill, 6 week diet the way to improve your health? No!

As a Holistic Nutritionist I deal with clients for many different reasons – weight loss, hormone issues, digestive issues but regardless of what that client has come to see me about, I always first look at their foundation of health. If this isn’t strong then anything else you try will only work short term, if it works at all!

There are 5 pillars that are your foundation of health, take a look at them below and see if you have a healthy foundation.

  1. Food & Diet

My #1 rule is to Eat Real Food. This means eating food as close to nature as possible. Real whole foods are foods that are unprocessed, unrefined and are free from additives or other artificial substances.

Food is delicious but it’s about more than pleasure – its essential fuel for our cells that helps us thrive. Every single function in our body is able to occur because of amino acids, essential fatty acids, glucose, vitamins, and minerals. And where do we get all those things from? Why, from food of course!

We are very lucky in that we are able to choose what we want to eat. Every time we put food or drink in our mouths we are making a choice. This choice, however, has led many of us down a long and winding road in the wrong direction.  Take a look at your diet, if 80% or more of the food you eat comes from real food – great. If not, this is where you need to start. Check out my lightened up Caesar Salad recipe to help you along!

  1. Hydration

Our bodies are made up of more than 70% water. We can only go a few days without water for survival but most of us don’t drink enough fresh water on a daily basis. We’re basically going about our days dehydrated to some degree.

You should be drinking 50% of your body weight in ounces every day, are you? If not, get that reusable water bottle out and start drinking!

  1. Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important health habits, yet one of the most overlooked.

Are you waking up feeling refreshed or do you struggle to pull yourself out of bed and can’t function without your morning coffee?

Are you depending on coffee to get you through the day?

Are you getting 7-9 hours of good quality sleep every night?

If not, maybe you should be switching off the TV or putting down your phone and going to bed earlier!

  1. Movement/Exercise

Movement is fundamental for our bodies, minds, and spirit, and yet we often avoid it and put it off. We don’t have enough time, it’s too tiring, boring, or hard. Exercise shouldn’t be any of these things and if it is, you may be doing it wrong.

Moderate exercise should be something enjoyable, an activity you look forward to. This may mean going to yoga (my favourite), riding a bike, hiking/walking, or taking a dance class.

Plan for exercise, just like you would plan for anything else. It must become a habit. If you enjoy doing something, you are more likely to stick with it, which is most important.

Our bodies were meant to move, let’s get moving!

  1. Stress/Mental Health

The word ‘stress’ gets thrown around a lot in our culture. But how many of us actually know what stress really does to our bodies?

Stress affects more than just your emotional state. It has wide reaching effects on digestion, cardiovascular function, muscles, metabolism and more. Unfortunately, the physical effects of stress can last long after you’ve met that work deadline or resolved that conflict with your partner.

Working on stress reduction is critical on the path to optimal health, do you have any stress management techniques in place?

If after reading these over, you feel overwhelmed but are ready to commit to improving your health then click this link to find out more about my 6 week and 3 month coaching programs.

My coaching programs are designed to provide a personalized approach to each and every client and their goals whether you are starting from the ground up or just need a kick-start.

 

My Handy Tip to Balance Hormones & Reduce Cravings

I’m going to share ONE tip with you that will help keep your hormones balanced and reduce cravings in just 48 – 72 hours.

This ONE tip was a game changer for me in the early days and still keeps me on the straight and narrow. Here it is…

Eat breakfast!

If you can handle a huge protein packed breakfast at that time then awesome go for it but if you struggle to get anything down you at that time of day then try starting with a power packed drink such as an elixir. Elixirs have become a staple in my life, they allow me to fuel myself to get through the crazy mornings of kids & backpacks and school drop offs.

Here’s what a typical elixir looks like for me:

1 cup each of water & unsweetened coconut milk (heated)
1 tsp Matcha Green tea powder
1 tsp coconut manna (aka coconut butter or you can use coconut oil)
1 tsp almond butter (or any other nut butter)
2 Tbsp Organika Enhanced Collagen
1 tsp raw honey
Dash of cinnamon & pure vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend on low for 45 – 60 seconds. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

Check out these recipes from fellow nutritionist Meghan Telpner for other delicious elixir recipes.

I often get asked about my daily eating routine so this is what a typical day looks like for me:

  • 6am get up & ready, head downstairs and drink 500ml of lemon water
  • 7am drink elixir
  • 9.30-10 drink smoothie
  • 1pm lunch
  • 5.30 dinner

Having breakfast is a simple tip is something we can all easily do. Eating a breakfast packed with proteins and/or healthy fats or drinking an elixir is like an insurance policy against raging blood sugar levels and surging amounts of insulin (fat storage hormone).

Eating a protein & healthy fat filled breakfast has been proven to:

  • Help balanced leptin levels (hormones that shut off hunger)
  • Keep blood sugar levels stable
  • Dramatically reduce cravings throughout the rest of the day
  • Reduce feelings of hunger causing you to consume less calories
  • And help to speed up metabolism through its thermogenic effects

Try incorporating the above tip and let me know if you notice a difference, I would love to hear from you.

If you are ready to learn more, there’s still time to sign up for my Healthier You 10 week program but registration CLOSES IN 5 DAYS!

Mel

4 Dieting Mistakes That Stop Fat Loss

I have been fortunate enough to coach many women through their weight loss journey and through working with my clients I’ve been able to pinpoint 4 mistakes that 90% of dieters make. I believe that these mistakes are mostly to blame for your inability to lose the weight or keep it off long-term.

It’s not your fault that the diet books, cookie cutter programs or even doctor supervised programs don’t provide nutrition education. How are you supposed to know which bread you should be buying, how to choose a yogurt or how to modify your meal at your favorite restaurant so you can continue to eat the foods you love?

Here are the 4 mistakes i see my clients making all the time that hinders their health and weight loss goals.

  1. Not enough fiber

So many people are busy avoiding carbs and going gluten-free that they forget the most important component: FIBER. Most gluten-free products are very low in fiber and when you cut carbs out of your diet you are getting rid of the food group that provides fiber.

Success long-term greatly depends on your digestive system health, ability to have daily bowel movements and stable blood sugar levels. Without low glycemic load carbohydrates it’s likely you will feel hungry, have cravings and binge. Fiber is also essential to transport toxic estrogen out of the body and a key component in keeping cholesterol levels low.

Check out this high fiber make ahead Chopped Rainbow Salad recipe which is ideal for lunches on those busy days. This is just one of 46 delicious recipes available in my Healthier You program.

  1. Lack of adequate water intake

Water is the liquid gold that keeps the body running smoothly. Adequate water will help to keep you regular, nourish your cells, avoid cravings (thirst shows up as hunger) and make you feel leaner.

The more water you consume the less you retain. Aim to drink 50 to 60% of your total body weight in ounces daily.

  1. Too much dairy

This one is really too bad because who doesn’t love cheese! There are some exceptions to this rule like raw cheese, plain Greek yogurt, kefir and of course the array of milk alternatives.

Most trendy yogurts and over the counter dairy sources, have hidden milk sugars, artificial sugars, artificial binders, preservatives and unhealthy fats. Don’t be fooled because most dairy isn’t a good source of protein.

Yes, you can still have a couple of servings of dairy daily (if you can tolerate them) but stick to plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or unsweetened dairy alternatives.

  1. Not eating enough

It’s typical of most diets to cut calories to dangerously low levels. Eating less does not produce faster fat loss results. Studies have shown that it only takes 7 to 10 days of reducing calories to throw your body into ‘starvation mode’ where your metabolic processes slow to a screeching halt.

I understand that it’s psychologically challenging to consume more food since the commonly held belief is that more food will contribute to weight gain. Take a look around you… its’ not about less food, more food or even organic food.

It’s about eating the strategic foods that are right for your body to promote fat loss and improve your health. Most traditional diets have these typical flaws that can potentially damage your metabolism, lower your thyroid and intensify cravings causing you to binge.

This is the type of information you will learn throughout my Healthier You program and remember the saying “knowledge is power’ that is what I am going to give you, the power to take back control of your life.

Are you with me? Registration closes in 10 days! Click here to learn more. 

Mel