Ideas to Increase Healthy Eating with the Family
- Make healthy eating an adventure; try new fruits and vegetables. Shop together and let your children choose a new crazy item to try.
- Fix meals together. Eating doesn't have to be the only family time you get in at meals.
- Does your family have picky eaters? Add some hidden extras into the family favorites. Put green peppers on the pizza, chopped up broccoli in the mac and cheese, onions into the scrambled eggs, etc.
- Eat together at the table, not the TV. Not only does this allow for less mindless eating, it gives everyone a great chance to talk.
- Take meals with you to the park, zoo or mall. Pack a healthy picnic for a weekend date or family day. Put apples, oranges, or bananas in your bag for quick snacks.
Be good to your heart!
Be good to your heart! Follow the advice from the American Heart Association.
Lower consumption of the bad fats: saturated and trans fat. Saturated fats are usually found in all fatty animal products including meat and dairy, especially cheese. Trans fats are found in many fried foods and processed foods made with partially hydrogenated fats, like margarine, crackers, cookies, baked goods and frozen entrées and desserts. Many studies have shown that decreasing fat in the diet, while increasing fiber from fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, is the key to long-term weight control and will help control your cholesterol too! See the chart below for some common sources of saturated and trans fat sources:
Controlling Your Sweet Tooth
It is important to have a plan once the “No Sweets” challenge is over. It isn't realistic to think you can restrict sugar and continue following “no sweets” for the rest of your life, especially if you previously ate a lot of sugar. But, you can control the “sweet tooth”! Many who allow themselves an occasional sweet treat have success at making healthier changes. Make sure you schedule in extra exercise to burn those extra calories though!
Tips to control the “sweet tooth”:
Choose your added sugar allowance in nutrient –rich foods, such as sweetened yogurt, flavored low-fat milk, and high-fiber whole grain breakfast cereals. This is much better than having a soda or a candy bar with no nutrients!
Substitute mixed nuts, dried fruit (without added sugar) and low-sugar cereals for candy. A few small pieces of dark chocolate in the mix can satisfy the sweet and/or chocolate craving!
Eat whole-grain graham crackers and fig bars instead of store-bought chocolate chip or cream-filled sandwich cookies.
Use less sugar in recipes to make your own desserts, cookies, and quick breads. Use ¼ to 1/3 less sugar! Experiment with all recipes to use less sugar.
Consider substituting artificial sweeteners for some sugar. Be careful with sugar-free desserts and candy….it’s not calorie free and if not portion controlled (sugar alcohols like xylitol and mannitol) can cause some stomach symptoms (ex. diarrhea, gas etc.).
Have 1 portion of a sweet food you are craving. Some examples:
- 4 Hershey kisses =135 calories and 10 grams of sugar.
- Make your own chocolate covered raisins by melting ¼ of dark chocolate bar in microwave and stir in 40 raisins. Let cool on wax paper. 120 calories and 5 grams added sugar.
- Air popped popcorn-1 ½ cups, drizzle with ½ of a melted dark chocolate bar=150 calories and 10 grams added sugar.
- 5 strawberries dipped in ½ melted dark chocolate bar = 70 calories and 10 grams added sugar
Can you tell I like chocolate for my added sugar allowance?:)
Exercise and Calories
Exercising just 10 minutes a day to start will get you in the habit so that it is easier to add a few more minutes each day until you are exercising 30 -60 minutes most days of the week!
Exercise helps us create a calorie balance to help with weight loss or weight maintenance and assists with controlling and preventing many diseases.
There are many factors that control how many calories we burn during exercise, such as current weight, amount of muscle the body has, the intensity of the exercise and more. I have heard my favorite personal trainer and friend say to many clients: be careful of exercise machines that provide how many calories were burned during the exercise and charts that list how many calories you can burn doing an activity in a certain time frame. It will be different for everyone! Most important is to move every day and gradually increase the time and intensity you move on most days of the week. Do not be fooled by the elliptical machine that you have been on for 30 minutes saying you have burned 200 calories and deciding to have a 200 calorie chocolate bar as your reward! Weight loss will not work with that thinking!
One of my favorite 10 minute exercises is to put on some music at home and dance! If you’re not sure how, learn a line dance on YouTube! The Cha Cha Slide, Cupid’s Shuffle, The Wobble Dance and more are all fun or just dance to the YMCA song! Whatever you choose as your 10 minute exercise, make sure you have fun!
No Sweets Challenge
The average American consumes nearly 400 calories (about 27 teaspoons) from added sugars each day. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends not consuming more than 10% of your total calories in the form of added sugar. For someone on a 2000 calorie diet, that is 200 calories (about 13 teaspoons of sugar) and for a 1500 calorie diet, that is 150 calories (10 teaspoons of sugar-the same amount of sugar in 1 can of soda!). The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends even stricter guidelines: for women, no more than 100 calories and for men, no more than 150 calories from added sugar daily. The AHA states; a high sugar intake has been linked to numerous health concerns, including obesity, high blood pressure, and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
The large intake of calories from sugar seems to be from an increased consumption of soft drinks, fruit drinks and other sweetened beverages, desserts, sugars and jellies, candy and ready-to-eat cereals. By cutting out foods with added sugars you will decrease calorie intake and lower body weight, and possibly improve triglycerides, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels!
Tips to cut out sweets for 10 days:
- Restrict intake of soda and other sweetened beverages (punch, lemonade, sweet tea, etc.). Choose water, and unsweetened coffee and tea instead.
- Choose whole-food snacks, such as fresh fruit, dried fruits, raw veggies, or trail mix with dried fruit and nuts instead of high-sugar snacks and desserts.
- Remember that sugar is sugar, whether it is from honey, agave syrup, beet sugar etc.
- Read labels. If a food contains no milk or fruit, the sugar grams on the label is all added sugar.
- Choose whole grain cereal like oatmeal and shredded wheat instead of sugar loaded ready-to-eat cereals and enhance the sweetness naturally with fruit, a little vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Rosemary in fruit salads and fruit compotes can also enhance the sweet flavor of the fruit.