Tag Archives: nutrition strategies

Nutrition Plan Hacks to Control Your Calories

Nutrition Plan Hacks to Control Your Calories

Posted on 18. Apr, 2010 by .

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Lately, I have been thinking about how I can save even more calories but still enjoy my favorite foods. This idea came to me when I still wanted to eat something sweet while watching “Gran Torino” which is a great movie, by the way. This lead me to think about my top 3 nutrition hacks so I can still eat without sending my calorie intake through the roof.

Reducing Calorie Content But Not the Volume

I learned this strategy from following the Precision Nutrition (PN) plan when I’m not fasting. Basically, you can eat the same food and reduce the amount of calories in it without reducing the volume. For example, if you already eat plain yogurt with your fruits, you can switch to fat-free, plain yogurt instead. One cup of regular plain yogurt has about 120 calories while the same amount of fat-free yogurt is about 90 calories. You can also apply this idea to foods like whole milk vs. fat-free milk, white rice vs. brown rice, cottage cheese, etc. This is also a great trick for your eyes and your tummy because it usually can’t tell the difference in volume but you’re still saving calories.

Heather's Farro Recipe from 101cookbooks.com

Heather's Farro Recipe from 101cookbooks.com

Eat High Protein Grains

Eating high protein grains is one nutrition strategy is especially helpful for vegetarians or for people who are looking to add more protein into their nutrition plans but still want to enjoy their carbohydrates. Here is a list of grains that have more protein compared to rice at a serving of 1/4 cup:

  • Farro – this a whole grain much like barley and wheatberries but it has 6 g of protein per 1/4 cup compared to brown rice which has 1 g of protein for the same amount. Check out this great Farro recipe from www.101cookbooks.com
  • Quinoa – we are all familiar with Quinoa by now. This grain has 7 g of protein.
  • Grain Amaranth – another grain that originated from Asia and South Americas. This grain has 7 g of protein.
  • Hemp Bread – this is a lot like Sprouted Grain Breads but is a nice change if you’ve been eating those for awhile. You can find these at the bread aisle of your local grocery store. Each slice of bread has 100 calories and 6.5 g of protein. If you want to see if your local grocery store carries them, go to www.frenchmeadow.com and click on store locator.

When you eat high protein grains, you are also eating less carbs. That was obvious but I thought I’d still mention it.

Keeping it sweet but Reducing Sugar Content

So, I ended up getting a medium cup of French Vanilla cappuccino from 7-eleven to enjoy with Gran Torino. But, when I started giving up a lot of my sweets addiction, this cappuccino just tasted too sweet for me. So, to lessen the sweetness, I’d only pour the French Vanilla about a third of a cup and then fill up the rest with regular or decaffeinated coffee. This is a happy medium for me because I so love the flavor of French Vanilla but didn’t want all the added sugar. I haven’t actually applied this strategy to other foods since I try to avoid sugary stuff most of the time but if you want to sweeten things up without jacking up the calories, adding stevia is always a good option.

There you go, nutrition hacks that you can apply right away while still enjoying your favorite foods and not feeling like you’re depriving yourself. Thanks for reading my post and I look forward to your comments.

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5 Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips

5 Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips

Posted on 12. Apr, 2010 by .

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As I went to a new grocery store the other day, I noticed how easily I can get distracted with all the baked goods and junk foods (and possibly buy) if I’m not paying attention to what I’m putting in my shopping cart. I also went shopping after I my workout – big mistake! I was hungry and all the food temptations looked good to me…LOL. So, I decided to create a list of healthy grocery shopping tips that you can use so you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Make sure to watch the short video that outlines my strategies (above).

In summary, here are the tips:

  1. Plan your meals for the week including healthy snacks.
  2. Make a your list out of your meal plan and stick to it. Don’t buy anything that’s not on your list.
  3. Eat a meal or a snack before you go to the grocery store. Don’t go grocery shopping while you’re hungry.
  4. Stick to the outside aisles whenever you can. All the junk food and packaged goods are usually in the middle aisles.
  5. Read the ingredients list if you need to buy a packaged or boxed food. Watch out for sugar and saturated fat and long lists of ingredients. Too much of these ingredients and too many of them is never a good thing.

I also should’ve mentioned in the video to have someone check your receipt when you get home. Ask a friend or your personal trainer, if you have one (a personal trainer, I mean as I’m sure you have friends…lol), to keep you accountable of only buying foods that are on your list and nothing else. I hope these healthy grocery shopping tips will help you at your next trip to the supermarket!

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3 Powerful Strategies to Resist Cravings

Posted on 03. Apr, 2009 by .

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One morning as I woke up to get ready for work, I realized that I forgot to prepare my breakfast which is usually my Wake Me Up Pancakes that I wrote on this post. Another breakfast favorite is Ezekiel bread and one, whole Omega-3 egg but I would eat these whenever I only have one pancake left and I’m not used to eating them without one. So, I had a dilemma about whether to eat my husband’s cereal or not to eat breakfast at all. As I stated in the post for my TT transformation results, I kicked the cereal habit for about 6 months now and, quite frankly, I don’t want to go back to eating it again — I don’t even crave it one bit.

#1 Keeping a Safe Home Base

So, I decided to cook some Oatmeal instead (not the quick cooking ones but the regular kind that you can find in the bulk bins at health food stores) and I ate it with a piece of Ezekiel bread slathered with some Peanut Butter (Yum!). I always keep Oatmeal and other healthy stuff at home for times like these. You’ll just never know when hunger or cravings will strike and I like to be prepared when they happen. The strategy is basically to keep a safe home/kitchen base that is free from processed foods, baked goods, or anything that might impede your fat loss goals and your healthy eating habits. While I try not to label some foods as “evil,” I’d rather not have them in my kitchen so that it won’t be easy for me to grab them when I want to eat them.

I originally got this idea of having a safe home base from Precision Nutrition. If you think about it, it really seems intuitive but, some people, like me, would probably think that they can resist the temptation when it comes so it’s ok for them to keep “unhealthy” foods in the kitchen cupboards. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. Your will power can only go so far. When hunger pangs start, guess what, your stomach probably doesn’t send signals of eating fruits and vegetables in your brain. I find that when I’m hungry or having a strong craving, it’s really difficult to resist eating that chocolate bar or that sugary cereal that seems to be calling my name and waiting to sabotage my healthy eating efforts.

#2 Develop the Habits

Writing about cravings just now reminded me about the Kashi commercial that I saw on T.V. the other day. The girl in the commercial said that her mission is to turn healthy eating from “have to” to “want to” (or something along those lines). I believe that this can happen because I’ve actually been experiencing some healthy cravings lately. I never would have thought that this was possible but it is. The healthier I eat, the more I don’t want sweets anymore. I actually surprised myself one day when I walked into the grocery store during winter and I was so excited to have found peaches from Chile. I mean who gets excited about fruit? I do!

I also realized that since I’ve been eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, it has become a habit that I don’t even think about it anymore. This is a very powerful strategy! You know how they say that habits are hard to break? Well, why not develop a healthy habit so you don’t have to worry about breaking it? Again, this is one of those things that would seem very apparent to some people and yet we’d rather eat fast food or have dessert after dinner etc. Sure, it was difficult for me to develop these habits at first but, the more I practiced it, the easier it went. So, if this something you want to experiment with, try adding just one healthy habit and keep doing it for 3 weeks straight, you’ll find that you’ll have a different take on things compared to when you first started.

#3 Keep them Out of Sight

“Out of sight, out of mind.”

For some people, completely getting rid of junk food may be difficult especially if you live with a big family who doesn’t want to join you in the healthy band wagon. If you’re forgetful like me, you’ll find that the simple act of keeping foods out of sight can be really powerful. Even if you’re not forgetful, you’re less likely to snack on these foods if it’s not lying around on the kitchen counter or the coffee table. On the other hand, if your kitchen is cluttered with visual cues of brownies, potato chips, cookies, etc. then you may just find yourself mindlessly snacking on those foods even though you’re not hungry. Of course, keeping a safe home base would be the ideal strategy but if this situation applies to you, you’re better off not getting those visual cues to keep yourself out of the danger zone.

I find that there’s always a time and place for indulgences especially when it comes to food. Finding the right balance in living a healthier lifestyle can mean the difference between obsessing about macronutrient ratios (which might lead to eating disorders) and just simply being satisfied with the fact that you’re nourishing your body each time you eat a healthy meal.

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