Surviving the Summer Picnic Season – healthier choices

10 tips to survive the Summer Picnic season and NOT wreck your new healthier patterns and habits.

So, here was the question posted: 

“Okay, I will need help getting through the summer! Cookouts (burgers, brats, hot dogs [yucky]), birthday parties, ice cream, chips, potato/pasta salads (mayo)…oh my! What are your best healthy, alternative food choices while dealing with summer events? Especially those you are invited to and cannot control what you are served?”

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Bring your own salad to add to the spread.  This gives you some control of what is offered and a healthy alternative no matter what is offered. Many times the host is happy to have another salad to add or some fresh fruit.
    Pico de Gallo
  2. Pack a cooler full of water. We always pack a cooler with bottles filled with filtered water, so I know I have something to drink that isn’t “pop”!  Its really easy to drop in some lemon or strawberry slices to dress it up for the occasion.  Take your own glass or use what they provide and just keep filling it with your own beverage.
    Get_Clean_Water  Fruit_infused_water
  3. Eat healthy before leaving or bring what you need to eat.
    This is becoming more common place. With all the food allergies and special diets, it only makes sense to bring what you need.  Amusement parks allow us to bring in everything we need for the day (corn allergy).  We have found that host/hostesses are relieved to find we have brought what our darling daughter needs to eat. No need for him/her to fuss about her special needs (or yours) be proactive.
    Cooler_bag
  4. Skip the more refined foods. Skip the mac n cheese, the salads LOADED IN MAYO, and the white buns.  Choose a vinegar slaw over loaded baked potato salad, or limit yourself to just a taste.
  5. Know your Condiments. Mustard has hardly any calories and kicks it up a notch, pepper and other herbs and spices.  Read labels on the bottles, if they are on the table, or choose to forgo them as a whole.. and LOAD UP ON THE VEGGIES TO STACK. We also frequently take our own HFCS free catsup since Lil bit is allergic.
    ketchup
  6. Garnish the heck out of it. A lot of times garnish is made up of beautiful veggies, leafy greens, & fruit.  Don’t be afraid to load your plate up with the healthy garnish, especially if others aren’t eating it – why let it go to waste. Choose extra lettuce and tomatoes or pickles.
    veggies
  7. Choose your words wisely.  If friends (or strangers) ask you why you aren’t eating something, remember that it isn’t that you “CAN’T” eat something, it is that you “DON’T” or you “CHOOSE NOT TO” eat something.  If you really want a taste, then take a taste – you don’t have to eat the whole birthday cake or pie. I frequently find I prefer just a nibble and I am satisfied or reminded why I don’t eat “that”. 
  8. Avoid dips. Not the guys with the stupid jokes, the creamy, calorie laden dips.  Opt for a pico de gallo on a SPOON. Perhaps this is the dish you prefer to bring… Or maybe a bean salad of some sort. 
  9. Wrap that meat up in some lettuce or eat it with a fork, like I do. Avoid the buns, they aren’t good for you and really aren’t needed.  Grab a big piece of lettuce, a fork or a skewer and pretend you’ve just gotten a meat on a stick at the fair. Also, choose grilled over fried!
    Lettuce_wrapped_burger
  10. It isn’t what we do once in a while that causes our problems, it’s those things we do on a daily basis that create who we are, how we feel, and in the end – how we look.  Don’t beat yourself up  if you choose unhealthy choices at one event in a month. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP PERIOD! Remember, the shortest distance is a straight line, if we stray, just gently redirect yourself back to that line.

These are the ways I have found to personally survive when we are surrounded with foods and options that don’t meet my desired path.  I almost always have a snack bar in my purse or truck to grab in dire need and I always have healthy alternatives on me for my daughter as well.  (Ask her- she has to have a protein before a carb… she’ll tell you that.)

Happy, healthy picnicking!

For more information on making healthy choices, feel free to contact me!

Good Nutrition? Where do I begin?

Something I typically take for granted was brought to my attention today.  What is good nutrition? Where do I begin?

Beforechoosing_foodsTess_after

I really take healthy choices for granted. I didn’t always. It wasn’t until after I had my daughter and decided I wanted to have the energy and the ability to play with her and participate in her life that I became conscious of what choices could improve my health. (Being an “older” mom can do that to ya.)

Today, I had a new dad ask me this question.  He wants to be healthier for many reasons, but one that stuck out in my mind and I could really relate to was – to be around for my child.

A good place to begin is by journaling, knocking out sweetened drinks, and avoiding refined carbohydrates. (sugar, white flour, breads, cookies, that sort of thing)

Eliminate Sweetened drinks and Artificial Sweeteners, a common source of the Average American’s 300 calories of overconsumption.

Drink Water! – Plenty of it.

Be sensible, walk a little, dance a little, HAVE FUN! I don’t believe you have to join a gym and “do the circuits” twice a day to improve your health. I lost all my weight & gained my better health and have maintained it for 6 years now, by walking and choosing healthier options to eat.

Find Support!  Find a friend, a family member, a support group, or a coach to work with to support you and help keep you on track.  Its always more fun when you aren’t doing it alone!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING all at once to gain health. Steady, gradual movements toward a healthier lifestyle, healthier, more beneficial choices can have TREMENDOUS benefits.

I love what I do, how I feel and the energy to support others. I am driven to help others find this same love! Contact me for more information.

Making Eating healthier Easier NOT more Difficult.

Bonita Springs-20111124-00427

 

I came across this article today, 10 Secrets to Cooking Healthier .  I thought it was a really good piece and wanted to elaborate on it a bit more.

  1. Use smart fats – We hear it everywhere – EVOO is your best option
  2. Go unrefined (whole grain vs processed) – This is actually one of our biggest sources of “sugars” in our diets.  We need the FIBER not the sugars.
  3. Eat more fruits and veggies – Find ways to sneak these in.  Prepare enough that you can snack for a couple of days on them. Buy them from local growers and they will stay fresh longer and maintain more of the nutrients than those purchased in the supermarket or super store.
  4. Its not all about meat – we’ve begun eating more legumes for our proteins.  The majority of our “meat” is chicken or turkey & fish with an occasional steak night for my “mainstream hubby”.
  5. Choose low-fat dairy – We choose Soy milk or Almond milk over cow’s and limit our dairy intake due to the hormones fed to the grocery store source herds.
  6. Keep portions reasonable – This one is really easy. When we eat a steak, my hubby & 6 year old split the big ole monster rather than eating one each.  when eating out, ask for your to go boxes up front, put half or more of your meal in the container and take your time enjoying the tasty food  you’ve just ordered. Most places now offer steamed veggies like brocolocoloccoli or carrots or green beans.
  7. Use sweeteners judiciously – steer clear of artificial sweeteners, they have side effects, move toward the more natural options and use them much less. (See #9)
  8. Keep an eye on sodium – When you begin making your own foods from whole sources, this becomes much easier since most things we buy in the store ready made are LOADED with the stuff!
  9. Go for flavor – We like adding sliced strawberries & lemon to our water for a tasty treat.  Fruit infused water is one of the special things our 6 year old likes since she can’t have other flavored drinks. (I’ll be adding an article soon on bold flavors with metabolism boosting properties.)
  10. Be Mindful and Enjoy  (healthy can be convenient when we think ahead) When we take the time to really enjoy what we have to eat instead of inhaling it like a vacuum cleaner many positive things happen in our bodies. A favorite book of mine on this topic is Eating with Fierce Kindness.

 

For more information, please feel free to contact me, or stop by our Facebook pages, The Healthy Grease Monkey or Feel Good Fast.