Intermittent Fasting 101

Intermittent fasting has become a hugely popular way of eating and living for health, fat burn, longevity, and even brain clarity. It’s not so much considered a “diet” as it is a lifestyle and eating pattern. In recent months, it’s become a huge topic in many of my circles and groups, and it’s often one of the first topics my perspective clients want to discuss when we begin our health relationship. So, this week, while searching for the perfect topic for a blog post, IF-intermittent fasting just seemed like the perfect choice!

This way of eating doesn’t so much involve “what you eat”, but “when you eat”, so the restrictions as to food choices are not as critical as most eating plans. Pairing intermittent fasting with a healthy balanced diet can result in not only weight loss, but many other really incredible health benefits as well.

There have proven to be many benefits to living the IF lifestyle. When it comes to weight loss or maintaining weight, IF works! Eating within specific time frames leads to lower calorie intake without the dreaded focus on food choices or food restrictions. During periods of fasting, human growth hormones increase quickly, leading to stored fat loss and muscle retention, and insulin levels appear to drop quickly, which makes fat loss easier. And, incredibly enough, “autophagy” occurs after a short period of fasting-this is when our cells begin to digest and get rid of old and dysfunctional cells, replacing them with new cells. There are also changes to hormone levels and genes during this process that affect longevity, aging, and help protect against disease.

While people using IF usually find that making the adjustment to this lifestyle a little challenging, they soon come to realize that it becomes a rather easy lifestyle change, and are pleased to see rapid, visible results that keep them motivated to continue on. They find that weight loss is quicker, easier, and more convenient, report a decrease in inflammation in the body, find better brain clarity and mood balance, and find that their metabolism increases, and their sleep is better. Many people even report that they feel as though they have cleansed or detoxed their entire body systems!

The WHAT and the HOW

There are several ways of doing IF, and it can easily be structured to fit your particular lifestyle and habits.

16/8 is the most popular method of this lifestyle, in which you fast for 16 hours, and eat within an 8 hour period 7 days a week. For many, this may mean stopping food intake at 8pm, and not eating another meal until noon the next day.

2/24 in another way of doing IF. With this method, fasting is done for a full 24 hours twice a week, and a regular schedule of eating exists for the remaining 5 days. Low calorie beverages are allowed during this type of fasting, and some people even incorporate drinking bone broth into their fasting phases for added gut health benefits.

5:2 is yet another way of doing IF, and this method has one eating less than 500 calories 2 days a week, and eating regularly on the remaining days. This method does have the added responsibility of counting and monitoring calories and/or marcos on the two days of restricted eating, so keep that in mind when making your plans. This form of IF only works if you are NOT using the other 5 days to eat very large amounts of food.

*All of these methods work with reducing caloric intake when a healthy, somewhat moderated approach is taken during “eating times”. Some healthy regard for fueling your body and monitoring your intake is necessary as with any healthy lifestyle choice.

In my own personal experience with intermittent fasting, I have found that it works wonderfully. I have done IF in many ways over the last several months, generally using a 17/7 schedule as a regular routine. On occasion, I fast for 2-4 days every few months to balance my gut and detox my body and soul. You can read about my longer fasts here if you are interested. My routine 17/7 eating pattern has proven to improve my sleep, and given me more mental clarity and focus. It has also helped remove my nightly cravings for carbs, which is a huge win! I have also noticed that when my fasting period is up, I am NOT as likely to want to eat large meals-my stomach seems to feel full much quicker, and I stay full for longer periods of time.

Many people doing IF use apps to track their fasts and inspire or challenge them. I have found that using an app to track my fasts does two things-inspires and motivates me to complete my fast, and, there’s something about hitting the “start fast” button each night that adds some form of “closure” to my day. It’s kind of like telling my brain and stomach “We are DONE!” It’s all about MINDSET!

Fast Habit is the first app I used, and it was a free version. It simply alerted me to start fasting each night at the time I had set, and alerted me the next day when my fast was over. Simple, basic, free. Highly recommended for the beginner.

Fastic is the app I currently use. I have the paid version for the bells and whistles. This app also sends me alerts-including one an hour before my fasting time starts in case I need to take advantage of getting in my last meal. The paid version also offers daily lessons on nutrition, mindset, diet biology, motivation, and other interesting facts. I’ve learned a lot using this app, and it’s also highly recommended. Apps, of course, are not needed, you can simply add your start and finish times to a reminder on your phone calendar.

The “WHO” in Intermittent Fasting

While many studies show that Intermittent Fasting is a safe form of eating for most adults, there are some people that should not follow this lifestyle. If you are underweight, pregnant, trying to conceive, breastfeeding, or suffer from any eating disorder, this lifestyle is not recommended.

One should seek guidance from a medical professional before attempting Intermittent Fasting if they have diabetes, low blood sugar, are on medications, have low blood pressure, or have a serious illness.

Side Effects Possibly Experienced During IF

For most healthy individuals, side effects are very mild and, as the body adjusts and adapts, temporary. Hunger pains, food cravings, low energy, disrupted sleep, irritability, bad breath, and dehydration can occur in the early stages of IF.

Many of these side effects can be due to dehydration; people tend to drink less fluids when not eating meals and snacks throughout the course of a day. To alleviate this issue, be sure to consume fluids regularly throughout the day. 64oz of water should be the goal, and tea and coffee are allowed. (keeping in mind that caffeine will dehydrate you, make sure the bulk of fluids is water!)

I hope that you’ve learned a few things about this “all the rage” healthy lifestyle choice and perhaps have decided to try this out for yourself. If you’d like to learn more about intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, or are looking to make other healthy lifestyle changes to improve your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a free and fun conversation about finding the steps, information, and motivation to live your absolute BEST life!

Please visit my professional site BeeWell.com for more info, freebies and tips!

Super Fresh and Healthy Summer Eating: Starring Kale!

It’s summer time for many of us, and it’s a fantastic time to add some fresh, light, and healthy veggies to our diet! If you’re looking for a power packed but super low calorie vegetable to add to your summer meals, leafy greens like kale, is a great choice. Kale grows well year round and is easy to find at any grocery store. It is a superfood filled with health benefits like helping to reduce various types of cancer and type 2 diabetes, boosting digestive health, and helping to manage blood pressure. Kale has antioxidants to help remove toxins from the body, as well as fiber, and a huge range of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K, and A, as well as calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Kale is a perfect staple for many diets, from clean eating to Paleo or Keto. At 33 nutrient packed calories a cup, kale is considered one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!

To get you started on your quest to add this amazing green to your diet, here is a personal summer favorite recipe of mine-chicken kale soup, as well as four different types of kale salads to try out this summer!

Chicken Kale Summer Soup

1 sweet Onion chopped

1 bunch scallions chopped

2 tbsp minced garlic

3 carrots sliced

1 tbsp butter

½ bunch kale, washed and torn into small pieces

1 15oz can diced tomatoes rinsed

2-3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped

6-8 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the butter, onions, scallions, garlic and carrots until soft, add chicken broth and heat to a beginning boil. Add chicken and tomatoes, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add kale pieces, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on very low heat an additional 10 minutes.

This is a super tasty, very light summer soup that is less than 90 calories a serving.

Citrus Kale Salad with Dressing

2 ruby red grapefruit

2 oranges

6-8 oz kale washed and torn into smallish pieces

3 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp honey

pepper to taste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

small red onion sliced

4 oz feta or goat cheese

Peel and section oranges and grapefruits, removing pits. Cut into bite sized pieces.

Mix together orange juice, white wine vinegar, Dijon, sugar, salt, and olive oil-whisk until blended well. 

Toss kale, onion, and ½ of dressing together, add salt and pepper to taste. Top with citrus pieces, onion, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with remaining dressing.

And, a few other super easy ideas for superfood kale salads:

Chopped Kale Superfoods Salad

This salad is great when you want a chopped salad and have some berries and quinoa you want to use as well. Adding quinoa, makes it a heartier salad that really fills you up. It’s an ideal meal if you follow a clean eating diet.

 Use chopped kale for this chopped salad, then add rinsed uncooked or cooked (cooled) quinoa for a nice crunch. You can add a variety of superfood toppings to this for a powerful summer meal.  Berries, like cranberries and pomegranate seeds work well with this. For more crunch and added healthy fats and proteins, add some crushed walnuts as well.

Kale and Veggies Salad

Another great option for kale salad is one that uses even more veggies. You can also add berries to this salad if you wish as well. Simply replace your lettuce with kale!This can be a good main course, but it works well as a light lunch or a side dish as well. This salad uses fresh kale, along with some brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, all of which are available throughout the summer season. If you want to add a little fat to the salad, you can add some bacon bits as well. Nuts taste great on the top. Leave it as-is or make a simple dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, and some lemon juice.

Kale and Apple Salad

Kale happens to taste great when combined with sweet fruits. This kale and apple salad is perfect when you want to combine fresh flavors for a brand new taste. Use your chopped kale, along with some sliced sweet apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or even sliced and pitted cherries, and add some chopped walnuts or almonds. To add more protein to this salad, add sprinkles of goat or feta cheese. Add a splash of lemon juice for a tasty light dressing.

The Absolute Beginners Guide to Eating Healthy

If you’re currently not eating a healthy diet, it can be difficult to start such a plan. However, healthy eating, along with some enjoyable form of exercise is very important for maintaining good bodily function and goes a long way towards living a disease-free life. If you struggle with healthy eating, then you know that breaking unhealthy habits can be the most difficult part of the process. Therefore, if you truly want to live the best lifestyle possible, it is important to follow tips in order to start eating a more healthy diet.

A great first step when you want to start eating your way to a healthy lifestyle is to rid your home of all temptations that will distract you from following better eating habits. Ideally it would be a smart choice to keep junk foods and beverages out of your house so you will not be tempted to snack during those times of day when you find yourself eating out of boredom or stress. If you’re worried about being hungry, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, yogurt, fresh fruit, or whole-wheat crackers on hand. If you find that you just cannot bear to toss out the sweets, try keeping small portions of those foods for special occasions only. Eating a few, (emphasis on few) of these won’t ruin your diet but also will give you that little sugary fix you crave.

Another great step to healthy eating, when you’re first starting the process, is to take a few moments to learn what foods are the healthiest for you and how they work within the body. To start eating healthy, we must begin by thinking healthy. Most people understand that fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meats and dairy products are good for them, but few people understand why. The key is learning about the nutrients the body needs to be at it’s optimal health. When you understand how specific nutrients work and why you need them, it becomes easier for you to make healthier choices for your body. Knowledge, especially in this case, really is power! You body, after all, is a machine and machines run best when powered by the right fuel!

Preparation is a major key in starting a new healthy diet. You must take into consideration your schedule for meals. If you often eat in a rushed hurry at odd times of day, you are probably more inclined to grab a rushed meal-that will probably do more harm than good. So plan ahead! Instead of grabbing a fast food lunch on the go, take a bagged lunch to work, complete with a healthy wrap or some lean meat, and some fresh fruit and vegetables. Try a little meal planning for your evening meals-having a planned, prepped and ready meal waiting for when you arrive home would be ideal, but in our fast paced lifestyle, sometimes this just can’t be done. One way to solve this problem is to plan out your evening meals for the week before you do your weekly shopping. Focus your meal prep around 2 main foods each week. For example, in week 1, plan 3 meals using chicken breasts, and 3 meals using lean beef. Cooking those foods at the same time, then adding other ingredients to make several prepped meals will ensure that you have healthy, tasty foods available when you are too tired to plan or cook. Think: chicken breasts with a hearty salad one night, chicken and bean chili another night, and even a hearty chicken soup for another meal. Doubling up on these foods can also provide easy healthy lunches.

When planning your grocery shopping, always have a plan and a list ready. To eat as clean as possible, and to avoid the temptations of high calorie, nutrient low, packaged foods, focus your shopping trip on the perimeters of the store: produce, meats, dairy. Fill your cart with seasonal fruits and veggies for side dishes and snacks. Look for lean cuts of meat, and lower fat versions of your favorite daily products. Never shop when you are hungry! Have a small healthy meal or snack before leaving for your shopping trip so that you are not tempted into buying things just to satisfy your need to eat.

Start with baby steps. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are really improving your calorie intake. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, try replacing that half of the time with better quality foods. When you start by taking small steps you aren’t cutting out all of the foods you love all at once. By taking your time to learn about your eating habits and slowly replacing them with better meals, by taking the time to learn and understand why you should be doing that and making the necessary changes in an orderly fashion, you will feel much better within yourself physically, mentally and emotionally and well on the road to becoming as healthy as you can be.

If you are ready to take the next step but looking for guidance, knowledge, and motivation, consider setting up a time to discuss and set your goals, gain the nutritional knowledge that you need, learn meal planning and prep, stress relief, and more, and get started on a fantastic journey to finding yourself in the best health possible. Today can easily be a changing day in your life. Contact me now for a free 30 minute call.

www.beewell.com

Gaining the Mindset for Weightloss

Weight loss is one of the most challenging things you can do, but also one of the most rewarding. It not only changes your body composition and improves your physical health, but it can also improve your mental health at the same time. The problem is often not with your physical body, but how your mind reacts to changing certain lifestyles that will help you lose weight and keep it off.

Often, when we make the decision to create healthy changes in our lifestyle, it’s based on something negative that has happened; a doctor has said something to worry us, we don’t like the way we feel, our clothes don’t fit the way we want them to, or we don’t like what we see in the mirror. Those negative prompts get us thinking about making changes, and often times, the changes that need to be made are not exactly the things we want to do, and this just sets us up for a negative, and seemingly impossible, task that is just not sustainable in the long run. The answer to this endless cycle is mindset!

What is MINDSET?

Mindset, in the general sense, is the set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself. Mindset influences your thought patterns, your feelings towards things, and how you will react to situations around you. There are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.

Fixed mindset is the belief that things are simply the “way they are”, and that those things cannot be changed.

Growth mindset is the belief that you have the power and ability to make the changes you need to reach the goals that you desire.

To achieve the needed mindset for weight loss-or any health changes you wish to make in your life-the mindset needed is, of course, GROWTH! You need to believe that you CAN! And, believe me-you CAN. To get you started on your journey to a healthier you, here’s a few things to think about. I encourage you to think about these carefully, reflect on them, and even journal or make a list to help you find the clarity you need to get started on the right track.

Find a Positive “WHY”

It’s important to put a positive spin on your “why”. Instead of thinking about losing weight to avoid needing a medication or lowing your blood pressure, try to find a positive reason, like feeling younger, or being able to play more with your grandchildren. Instead of thinking about losing weight because you clothes don’t fit the way you want them too, try switching your thoughts to how awesome you will feel when you simply don’t have to feel self conscious in anything you wear. Instead of thinking about what you “can’t eat, wear, do” in your life, think about the things you CAN or WILL do. Think about them often. Write them down. Talk about them. Plan for them. Replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts, and you will find that the entire process becomes less daunting; less restrictive, and less like a chore.

Why Are You Overweight, or Why Do You Struggle With Your Desired Weight?

In order to have a healthier mindset to help you lose weight, you first need to figure out what the main purpose for your weight gain is. This can be something from your childhood, unhealthy habits, food addiction or disordered eating, and medical conditions. Sometimes, your weight is determined by genetics or a medication you are taking, so weight loss and your mindset is going to be much different than if it is from your mental health or simple unhealthy choices you have been making. Knowing the clear reason behind any excess weight will help you get a plan in action to get it off.

Keep Weight Loss Simple

Once you have figured out your WHY, and pinpointed why you have gained weight, you are on the right path to developing a healthier mindset for weight loss. It is important to start by making it very SIMPLE. Don’t try to do a complicated, fad diet, a crash diet, or anything that might be hard on both your body and your mind. Don’t try to lose 10 pounds in a week or start your diet at the same time as a rigorous fitness routine. Start slow, keep it simple, and give yourself enough time to really understand the process. Remember, small steps add up to big changes, but big changes all at once are exhausting and often left far behind in our thoughts. One or two small changes in a week’s time are more than enough. Build on changes as you go, adding as you feel more empowered. It’s better to make four small changes consistently over 4 weeks, then it is to make 4 changes in one week that only make your life seem restrictive and difficult.

Choose Your Own Goals and Path

Your journey has to be your own! What works for your co-workers or best friend is likely not the best choice for you! If everyone is eating keto, but you don’t like the menu choices-it’s NOT going to work for you. If your best friend is dropping weight by running several miles a day, and you hate outdoor exercise-it’s NOT going to work for you. You absolutely NEED to find changes in your lifestyle that work for YOUR life. You need a movement program that you enjoy, not one that you dread. You need foods that you love to eat, not foods that make you feel restricted. Your plan needs to be focused on you. (If you need help with this-this is my specialty! Let’s chat!) You should find some excitement in the changes you are making, because in the end, those changes will be easy to sustain.

Get Educated

One of the best ways to stick to health lifestyle changes is to become educated! Spend a little time researching the foods you eat, read the ingredients on your packaged and processed foods, learn how foods work in your body, and how exercise affects your overall wellbeing. Working with a health coach or a nutritionist is a great place to start in understanding how the foods you eat work with your body, and how overall wellness-stress, sleep, exercise, mindset-affects how you feel and how you live.

Be Mindful

Recognizing emotions and feelings towards food, eating, and how we live our daily lives can really help you understand why and where changes need to be made for the better. For example, eating while stressed is a huge factor in weight gain. Recognizing the pattern can lead you to finding other ways of relieving stress. Rushing through meals, or eating on the go are other factors in our weight. Learning to be mindful of our meals, taking time to enjoy the foods we eat, noticing when we feel satisfied and full, are all important factors in weight loss and weigh control.

Gravitate to Positivity During Your Journey

Find your support! Gain a healthy tribe of like-minded people! Consider a health coach to guide you, motivate you, and keep you focused. Avoid people who are going to bring you down, encourage unhealthy eating habits, or who talk down to you along the way. This journey is life changing, and you will find that it’s a much easier and pleasant path if you surround yourself with people that believe in healthy living, and believe in YOU.

Learn to Focus on the Now

Instead of focusing on the scale, the mirror, or “the number” you wish to see, focus on each moment. Looking into the future at a point in which you will feel you have reached that ultimate goal will only make you exhausted. Focus on hourly and daily goals to keep your motivation positive and constant. Pat yourself on the back for your healthy breakfast, celebrate the fact that you stopped eating after 7pm, congratulate yourself for getting a power walk in! Do this ALL day, EVERY day and remember that it’s these small steps, these small victories that will get you to the BIG goals!

Ask for Guidance, Find a Cheerleader, Make it Happen!

Consider finding a health coach to help you find the right mindset and program that will work for YOU. Unlike other generic “diet” plans, a health coach will work with you personally to design a plan that will be all about YOU. This plan will be about your goals, your choices, and your needs, and fit perfectly into the lifestyle you have and crave. A coach will help you find and set small, but specific, measurable and celebrated, attainable, relevant, time focused goals in each session, and celebrate them with you as well. They will help you change negative thoughts and habits into positive actions, as well as educate and inform you when you may be feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of information that surrounds us daily on the internet and in society. It’s time to find what works for YOU, and make it all about YOU and your goals. If you’re ready to see what that might look like in your life, let’s chat! I’d love to put a plan together and get you where you want to be!

from my business site BeeWell.com

Munch that Stress Away! A Stress Reducing Diet

As I’ve mentioned several times, stress seems to be the number one issue my clients currently deal with. They may contact me about meal planning or diet strategies, but after a few conversations, it becomes clear that the root of their desire for change is based in stress. Stress affects our ability to think clearly, focus on tasks, sleep well, and have energy to do the things we wish to do in our lives. Often, when we feel stressed, we find that we crave easy, fast, comfort foods: big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweets, and alcohol. I think we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, while we may feel better in the moment, this type of eating can lead to more stress, less energy due to lack of solid nutrition, and even putting on unwanted pounds.

If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, (and hey, 2020 still looms in most of our lives) it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress nutritionally is to have a healthy, balanced diet that includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.

Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties that will help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix like most “comfort” foods and drinks do. Be sure to add some of these power foods to your diet as part of your stress reducing plan:

•       Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content that specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.

•       Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.

•       Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

•       Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you’re stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.

•       Beef – Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vit-amins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.

•       Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.

•       Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option that will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.

•       Pistachios – another food that is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!

•       Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants that can help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.

•       Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria that are found in fermented foods like yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.

Let’s Plan Your  Stress Reducing Diet Plan

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.

When you’re feeling stressed, you may be tempted to reach for classic ‘comfort foods’ – usually foods which are laden with sugar, very starchy, or greasy. However, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better, they will actually make you feel worse in the long run.

Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.

A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries

Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts

Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens

Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate

Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables

Before bed: Chamomile tea

Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a great basic outline to follow! Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.

If you’d like to know more about creating a stress reducing lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to me for personal help. Diet, sleep, exercise, and self care are some of the pillars to reducing stress and living your best life! CONTACT ME NOW!

*from my business site BeeWell.com

Clean Eating Tips for the Super Busy Lifestyle

As warmer weather approaches, we seem to get busier and busier! As this time of year approaches, with warmer days and more sun, it’s likely that many of us are spending time thinking about healthy eating, but finding that our busy lives make doing that very difficult.  Although we may have the best intentions for ourselves, we find that our busy schedules have us grabbing quick meals and snacks at the last minute, and not always making the best choices. While you may think you are saving time and being more efficient by grabbing a burger and breezing through your busy, warm, fun filled day, or even filling up on energy drinks or coffee when you start to feel tired, these actions can be very counterproductive to our health goals.

For many, this might seem like the easiest and least stressful way to power through the day, but in reality, a poor diet causes you to feel tired and lose energy during the day, which has a direct impact on the amount of work you get done, and the amount of fun you can have.  This “easy” lifestyle also contributes to a number of more serious health problems such as chronic disease and weight gain.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to turn your diet around and start eating healthy, even when you are super busy.  In this article I share 10 of the top tips for eating healthy when time is extremely limited.

Plan Ahead

The popular saying is; “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and when it comes to healthy eating this is absolutely right.  If you don’t put together some sort of plan to eat healthy then you are going to end up eating those unhealthy junk and fast foods.  The best way to plan ahead is to list down the foods you plan to eat at the end of each day and then prepare what you can the night before, or, take an hour or so once a week to plan out and prepare for an entire week!  You may think that you simply don’t have the time for this kind of planning each week, but my clients that have done this now find that not only are they eating healthier, but also dealing with less stress, AND saving money! A little bit of planning and prep time literally turns healthy eating into a grab and go process!

Don’t Grocery Shop When You Are Hungry

As you work on your healthy eating plan you’ll need to start buying healthy foods when you do your weekly grocery run, and keep your fridge and pantry full.  Avoid grocery shopping when you are hungry! This makes this task a lot more difficult as your hunger will naturally draw you towards convenient junk foods.  Therefore, make sure you have something to eat before you do your weekly grocery shopping. Plan your grocery trips around the perimeter of the store-sticking to produce, proteins, and dairy as much as you can.

Take Full Advantage of Fresh Selections

If your find that you often head over to the vending machine or local convenience store to grab a quick snack, try to focus your selections on healthier options. Many of our corner stores, and even vending machines, now offer apples, grapes, carrot sticks, hummus, and bananas. These options can be just as filling as chocolate bars, or chips, and they provide much more nutritional value and contain a lot less calories, salt, and preservatives. To make things even easier, make sure you pack a few pieces of fruit or veggies into your bag each day and then when hunger calls you have them readily available.

Those Awesome Packets of Nuts

Nuts are another fantastic, healthy, food that you can use as a substitute for vending machine snacks.  They provide your body with a ton of health boosting vitamins and minerals along with good amounts of protein and healthy fats.  To avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks make sure you always carry a bag with you so that you can quickly grab a handful whenever your stomach starts to rumble. Many nut companies sell portable 100 calories packs of almonds, cashews, and walnuts to make this an easy go-to snack.

Incorporate Vegetables into Every Meal

This may sound like too much of an effort when your time is limited.  However, if you choose the right vegetables it hardly takes up any of your time at all.  Salads, soy beans, and sun dried tomatoes can now all be purchased from supermarkets in a ready to eat form. Bag up sliced carrots, celery, and peppers and keep them handy and ready to munch.  Prepping steamed veggies and keeping them in the fridge is also a great idea, simply heat for a few seconds in the microwave and eat.

Look for Lean Fish & Meats

When you are busy and have forgotten to bring your healthy packed lunch, grabbing a quick burger or hot dog might seem like the best option.  However, there are plenty of healthier meat choices out there.  Most hot deli counters allow you to buy roasted chicken which is both tasty and nutritious.  Most supermarkets also sell cooked chicken breast slices.  Lean meats are just as quick to eat as burgers and hot dogs but provide your body with higher quality protein and no nasty added ingredients.

Get A Thermos Cup

One bad habit I have noticed among super busy people is that they regularly buy branded coffees.  This doesn’t seem like such a bad habit on the surface but when you consider that six of the drinks on the current Starbucks menu exceed the 300 calorie mark, it’s a habit that can easily add over 1,000 empty calories to your week-not to mention-they are pricey! Instead of hitting the coffee shops every day, get yourself a thermos or heated coffee cup and fill it with coffee or tea.  Both these options will give you easy access to your favorite hot drink without adding hundreds or thousands of calories to your week.

Use Smoothies

Smoothies are an excellent way to fit multiple fruits and vegetables into one convenient drink and the best part is they take just a few minutes to prepare.  To make a smoothie, just pick the fruits and vegetables you plan to use, chop into chunks, place them in your blender, add a few other optional ingredients if you like (crushed ice, fruit juice, protein powder, milk etc), blend until the mixture becomes smooth. If you are really stuck for ideas, Google will help you find some great smoothie recipes.

Use Your Freezer In The Right Way

Your freezer is a very valuable tool if you want to eat healthy and save time.  If you know you are going to be having a particularly busy week, consider cooking up a large batch of healthy food at the start of the week, divide it into individual servings and freeze these servings.  Then on the days where you don’t have time to cook simply get these frozen servings out of the freezer the night before and warm them up when you are ready to eat.  Doing this will allow you to enjoy healthy, nutritious meals without having to cook every night. It’s all about being prepared!

Choose the Lesser Of Two Evils

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, events will conspire against you and you won’t be able to eat healthy.  You’ll accidentally leave your healthy lunch at home, the local shop near your work will have no fruits or vegetables left and your only choice is to head to a fast food outlet.  In these situations, simply choose the lesser of the two evils.  Take a look at the amount of salt, the calories and the amount of trans fats in each option on the menu and then choose the least damaging.  This isn’t exactly healthy but it’s making the most of a bad situation.

And to Sum it Up

Sticking to a healthy diet is tough at the best of times but when you are busy and stressed it can sometimes seem impossible.  I hope the tips I’ve shared have shown you that eating healthy when you are super busy is not only possible but it’s also very manageable if you approach it with a positive attitude and a sense of planning. As you make small healthy changes to your diet, you will soon realize that you are not only feeling better and having more energy throughout the day, but the planning and prepping actually remove a lot of the stress from our daily lives.

And THIS

If you are looking for a 3 week program that will “reset” your eating habits, help you drop a few pounds, and feel your best for spring, consider my upcoming awesome Fresh and Simple program! This program offers both regular and vegetarian meal plans, with 40 new recipes based on whole, healthy foods, and weekly habit enhancing tips to change your health and life! This program includes two 30 minute virtual meetings with me to set your goals, answer your questions, and keep you inspired-with email support in between. Get ready to feel your best, embrace Spring, and get a little taste of what it’s like to work with a health and wellness coach! This package will be offered for a limited time for only 97$. If you’d like to reserve your space at this price, or have any questions, be sure to email me!

The Sticky on Sugar

One of the biggest questions I hear when it comes to nutrition advice is about sugar. In recent decades, sugar, in some form, has shown up in just about every product, often listed as something other than “sugar”, and that has caused a lot of confusion even for the most trained food label readers. In truth, added sugars account for 17% of the daily calorie intake in the average American adult diet-and almost as much in the average child’s diet (14%).

You’ve likely heard all about the dangers of refined sugar. It increases the risks of chronic disease, increases the chance of weight gain, and affects insulin levels and hormones. Sugar consumption affects the skin, causing both acne and even a reduction of collagen, which leads to wrinkles and sagging. Sugar intake can increase energy for brief amounts of time, but this only leads to a crash in blood sugar and leads to even more periods of low energy. Sugar creates inflammation in the body that leads to pain and damage to the cells.  In totality, sugar has the ability to badly affect all of the organs of the body, leading to general all over poor health. Sugar also has absolutely no nutritional value, but has 16 calories a teaspoon.

Removing added sugar from our diets is not the easiest thing to do, unless you decide to eat a completely and entirely whole food diet. If that’s not something you wish to take on, but wish to cut as much sugar as possible in your current diet, consider the following suggestions:

*Be a label reader, and know your sugar words. These include words that end with “ose” like, fructose, maltose, lactose, and dextrose. Another huge culprit that has entered our food production is high fructose corn syrup, which is a chemically enhanced version of sugar that has caused quite the negative conversations within the nutrition community because this form may have even worse affects on the body than pure sugar.

 *Try to eat as many whole foods as possible, and limit your packaged and processed foods greatly. To accomplish this, try planning your meals by focusing only by what is on the perimeter of your market-produce, meats, seafood, and dairy. Choose whole grain breads and cereals without added sugar, and if you buy canned foods, check the label for sugars.

*Limit your condiments!! Most of these products are full of sugar!

*Removing sugar from the diet can be a daunting experience, but well worth it. Start small! Set your first goal to something you can easily achieve, like giving up sugary drinks like sodas and sweetened juices. After accomplishing that, try removing sugar from another aspect of your diet, perhaps removing sweets, or using a healthy substitute like Swerve when baking. Make small changes as you progress to easily remove sugar from your diet.

Removing Sugar!

As you remove sugar from your diet, and replace those foods with whole, fresh foods, you will experience many benefits:

*Enhanced Energy Levels

Refined sugar enters your bloodstream almost instantly which causes your energy levels quickly surge and crash. When you start to eat less refined sugar, these fluctuations in energy levels will become a thing of the past and you’ll find that you generally have much more energy throughout the day. Not only does this help you feel great but it also makes you much more productive and allows you to perform all your daily tasks effectively.

*Younger Looking Skin

One of the biggest negatives of consuming refined sugar is that it damages your skin in numerous ways.

First, it causes the collagen and elastin in your skin to become inflamed. These structural proteins help your skin stay firm and youthful looking. When they constantly become inflamed as a result of regularly eating large amounts of refined sugar, they become less effective which causes your skin to sag and wrinkles to form.

Second, the inflammation caused by eating sugar has been shown to aggravate various skin disorders including acne (a disorder characterized by red pimples on the skin) and rosacea (a skin disorder characterized by burning and redness).

When you stop eating refined sugar, you’ll also stop damaging your skin in the ways described above and you’ll find that it looks much smoother, more vibrant and youthful.

*Easier Weight Loss

Sugars passes through the digestive system very quickly and because of this, foods that contain high levels of sugar aren’t as satiating as foods that contain minimal amounts of sugar. This means it’s much easier to overeat and consume large amounts of calories that lead to weight gain when you’re eating lots of refined sugar.

Quitting sugar will mean that you’ll feel much fuller every time you eat and naturally eat less food. Food cravings will come less often and because you’re consuming fewer calories, it will be much easier to lose weight.

*Better Sleep

The energy surges and crashed caused by eating lots of refined sugar are very disruptive to your sleep patterns. They make it difficult to sleep and have a negative impact on your sleep quality when you do manage to fall asleep.

Cutting sugar out of your diet stops it wreaking havoc on your sleep cycles and allows you to enjoy restful, better quality sleep.

*Stronger Immunity

Numerous studies have shown that refined sugar is a huge contributor to chronic disease. It causes inflammation in the body, damages your blood vessels and has a negative impact on your vital organs which leaves you open to a wide range of ailments, illness and diseases.

Reducing your intake of refined sugar stops it damaging your body in this way and allows it to heal. Not only does this make you less susceptible to ailments that are directly caused by refined sugar but it also boosts your overall immunity.

Replacing the Sweet

If you’re looking for ways to keep your sweet tooth, but eliminate sugar, try one of these healthy sugar substitutes! If you’re tracking your calorie intake, be sure to check the calories before using these.

Stevia

Stevia is one of the most popular natural sweeteners. This herb, which comes from South America, is 300 times sweeter than refined sugar. It contains zero calories, so is a great choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Plus, it has no glycemic impact, so it’s a perfect refined sugar alternative if you’re diabetic. Stevia is also very easy to digest which means you won’t suffer from any of the digestive problems that are often associated with sugar substitutes.

*Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is created through the heating the sap from coconut palms. Unlike refined sugar, coconut sugar doesn’t de-stabilize your energy levels, so is ideal if you want to stay productive and focused during the day. Like stevia, it’s also a great choice if you suffer from diabetes because it won’t disrupt your blood sugar levels. Another great thing about coconut sugar is that it supplies your body with nutrients as it sweetens and is a good source of calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. 10 calories a teaspoon.

*Date Sugar

Date sugar is made by grinding down dehydrated dates into sugar sized granules. As you’d expect from the production process, it has the same rich and sweet flavor of fresh dates, and shares all their health benefits. These health benefits include promoting healthy digestion, strengthening your heart and lowering your blood pressure. The main negative of date sugar is that it doesn’t melt or dissolve easily, so it’s not a good choice if you want to sweeten your drinks. 15 calories a teaspoon

*Honey

Honey is sweeter than refined sugar and has a much greater range of health benefits. It contains high levels of vitamins and minerals which support many vital processes within the body. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so is a perfect sweetener for boosting your immunity. Unlike refined sugar, honey is also great for your skin and can help make it brighter, smoother and more radiant. It tastes great in tea and can also be used as a replacement for sugar in many recipes. 21 calories a teaspoon

*Maple Syrup

Maple syrup contains around half the calories of refined sugar and is a much more nutritious choice. It’s loaded with antioxidants which protect your body’s cells from damage and reduce the visible signs of aging. Maple syrup is also a brilliant source of the manganese and zinc which boost your metabolism and your immune system. In addition to this, it’s great for your skin and can protect against skin blemishes, dry skin and redness. Finally, maple syrup has been shown to protect against a range of chronic ailments and diseases including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease. Make sure your maple syrup is pure, with no added sugars! 17 calories a teaspoon

If you have questions about your sugar intake, or how to remove sugar from your diet by setting small attainable goals, feel free to contact me

Let’s Eat for POWER (Super Yummy Recipes with Only 5 Whole Ingredients!)

I recently released my free cookbook full of super healthy 5 ingredient recipes on my website, and I wanted to be sure to share them here with you! This cookbook offers 19 recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and even desserts that are full of superfoods and whole ingredients to provide you with powerful nutrients for energy and vitality-and they are super yummy as well!

To give you a sneak peek, I want to share a dessert recipe here for you to try!

Ingredients

2 cups (250g) all-purpose whole wheat flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (180g) coconut sugar
1 egg
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into chucks

½ cup coconut oil, melted (panty ingredient)

Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C). Prepare an 8-inch (20cm) baking tin lined with baking paper.
 
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mix well. Add in the egg and melted coconut oil and stir until combined.
 
Now add in the apples; using your hands incorporate them into the batter.
 
Place the batter into the lined tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Once ready remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store this cake in an airtight container.

Serves: 12
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins

Nutrition per serving:
227 kcal 10g Fats
36g Carbs 2g Protein

This is a “bonus” recipe, not included in the cookbook, just for you!

For more recipes including Protein Pancakes, Stuffed Peppers, Slow Cooked Fajitas, Black bean brownies, and many more, simply go to www.beewell.com/recipes to download your copy now!

get your free copy now!

Dip into a Healthy Game!

It’s Superbowl Weekend, which means it’s time for football friendly snacking!  Even though parties are still on the backburner, I’m offering up a few yummy and super healthy crowd-pleasing dips that are a convenient and delicious way to consume a wide variety of anti-inflammatory vegetables, spices, and healthy fats. While we love the convenience of purchased dips like packaged hummus, many brands contain unnecessary levels of fat and preservatives. Making dips yourself allows you to control the flavor and quality – and it’s easy!

The best dips begin with a creamy base made from foods such as beans, lentils, avocados, edamame, and roasted vegetables [eggplant, carrots, squash, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower] that are blended with oil or another liquid. Add flavor boosters such as tahini, garlic, hot sauce, nut butters, nuts and seeds, lemon or lime juice and zest to add dimension. Finish by seasoning with fresh and dried herbs, spices, salt and pepper and your dip is complete. Here are some of our favorite combinations with healthy “vehicle to your mouth” ideas:

Ingredient and flavor combinations

  • Chickpea hummus [and other beans] – The classic chickpea base is very versatile and can be made with any bean. Add tahini, garlic, lemon, and cumin to chickpeas for a traditional version. Variations include [but are not limited to] roasted red pepper, lemon kale, Moroccan carrot, roasted zucchini, kalamata olive, spicy sriracha, and creamy pesto. Try this crowd-pleasing version for Lemon Dill Hummus!
  • Avocado, AKA guacamole! We love the healthy fats in avocado, but the calories can be intimidating. Cut the amount of avocado in half by adding defrosted edamame beans – you will decrease the calories and increase the protein. Win, win. Add some greens to keep your dip bright and fresh. This Kale and Avocado Guacamole is a team favorite.
  • Roasted vegetables – Baba ganoush is the ultimate example here – a combination of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic. Other roasted vegetables that work well in dips are butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, and peppers. Roasting them allows you to process vegetables until creamy. Start with store-bought for this nutrient-dense and super flavorful Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip.

Vehicles: (GET IN MY MOUTH!)

  • Carrot chips or sticks – You can purchase prepared crinkle cut carrot chips or slice carrots on angle. Baby carrots work too.
  • Cucumber chips – Slice cucumbers on an angle to maximize surface area for scooping.
  • Broccoli or cauliflower – Lightly steam these vegetables to bring out their sweetness – you want them to still have the firmness necessary to dip.
  • Green beans – Remove stems, rinse, and dip. If you prefer, you can lightly steam these as well.
  • Endive – This nutrient dense vegetable is the ultimate chip – perfect shape, size, and sturdiness.
  • Peppers – Red, yellow, and orange peppers provide a variety of phytonutrients and are milder than green peppers.
  • Celery sticks – Firm and crisp, celery is a go to vehicle.
  • Snap peas – These can be consumed raw or lightly steamed.

Cherry tomatoes – We love using grape tomatoes on our crudités platters, but dipping them can be tricky. Using toothpicks can help keep your fingers free of dip.

I hope you get a chance to try them while watching the game. Go Team!!!

Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip

Ingredients

4 roasted red peppers, If jarred peppers, drain and rinse (fresh roasted red peppers work too)

1 Tbs olive oil


3 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp cumin, ground

1 lemon, juiced (for 2 Tbs juice)

1 clove garlic, chopped


1 cup walnuts, raw


1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

salt, to taste

Directions

Prep

Drain and rinse roasted red peppers. If using freshly roasted red peppers, you can leave the skin on. 


Chop garlic. 


Make

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until creamy with a bit of texture. 


Garnish with some additional walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt to taste. 


Serve with fresh vegetables like endive. 


Servings 4

Calories  242

Fat 22.6g    Saturated Fat 2.3g

Carbohydrates 8g   Dietary Fiber 2g     Sugars  4g

Protein 5g

Kale and Edamame Guacamole

Ingredients

4 avocados


4 cup shelled edamame, defrosted (peas work well too)


2 cup kale, spines removed and chopped


1/2 cup lime juice


2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped


1/4 cup red onion, chopped


2 Cloves garlic, pressed or minced


2 tsp ground cumin 


1 tsp salt


hot sauce, as desired

Directions

Prep

Remove spines and chop kale. 


Juice lime. 


Chop cherry tomatoes. 


Press or mince garlic cloves. 


Make

Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into food processor. Add beans, kale, and lime juice and pulse until creamy. Add some water if you need some more creaminess or more lime juice to increase tartness. 


Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin to processor and pulse until just combined 


Stir in hot sauce and salt to taste. 


Serve with baked chips and raw vegetables. 


Servings 12

Calories  196

Fat  13g   Saturated Fats 2.3

Carbohydrates    15g     Dietary Fiber  9g     Sugars   5g

Protein  9g

Lemon Dill Hummus

Ingredients

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs tahini paste


1 lemon, zested and juiced


1 Clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil


2 Tbs dill, fresh, chopped

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

salt, to taste


pepper, to taste

Directions

Prep

Drain and rinse chickpeas. 


Zest and juice lemon. 


Chop dill, scallions, garlic. 


Make

Add chickpeas, tahini, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, juice of lemon [about 3 tablespoons], and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until combined. 


Run processor while adding olive oil and continue running until hummus is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if desired. 


Add dill and scallions and pulse to combine. Do not run too long or the dip will turn green. 


Serve with your favorite vegetables. 


Servings 8

Calories 117

Total Fat 8.5g   Saturated Fat 1g

Carbohydrates 9g   Dietary Fiber  2g   Sugars 1g

Protein  3g

PLAY BALL Win the Game with Food Focus

It’s been a long year of lockdowns and quarantine, and many of our favorite activities have been postponed or cancelled. BUT, sports are back, and if you are like me, that’s something to celebrate and enjoy. In my family, there’s almost always a sports program on the tv, and when the big games are on, it becomes a real party. Pizza shows up at the door, bags of snacks get piled onto the counters, and depending on the game, there’s usually some wine or beer. Some of our favorite family memories start out this way!

Watching televised sports has become one of our biggest pastimes, as well as a huge social event for many. Friends and families gather and build traditions around watching their favorite sports teams and EATING. This can lead to some huge challenges for those of us that aspire to live and eat healthy. The typical foods found at most sports parties, and even most stadium venues, are mostly high in fat and calories, and low in actual nutrients. The most popular “sports” foods, according to a quick Google search, are pizza, wings, nachos, chips, dessert foods, and of course, beer and soda. After taking into consideration that the average male needs about 2000 calories a day, and the average female needs about 1600, let’s take a look at what the “average” person might find themselves munching on as they cheer on their favorite teams for several hours each week:

  • 2 slices of pepperoni pizza
  • 6 wings
  • Nachos with cheese and toppings
  • Endless amounts various chips (but let’s say 2 servings)
  • 4 cookies
  • 2 beers (only 2!)
  • 2 sodas

Does that sound about right? Have you found yourself eating this way? I know this happens in my house!

This, my friend, is 2800 calories worth of food-with a whopping 100 grams of FAT. Add a loss by your favorite team, and you might find you had a really bad day!!

Fortunately, there are lots of easy and fun ways to combat this sort of pattern of “sports” eating. Offering healthier options, making it a point to get up and move during the game, and drinking more water can all help curb this crazy intake of calories and fat, and even add some fun to the day.

Sports can get pretty emotional, (I threw a vacuum cleaner down the steps after a bad playoff game once-and my dad broke the bathroom door off the hinges after a bad play when I was a kid…) Sports can also be mind numbingly tedious when nothing really happens inning and inning, quarter after quarter. The emotions, the boredom, the excitement, all lead to mindless eating. Have you ever finished off an entire bag or chips or cookies while engrossed in a tv show? All the sudden, the bag is empty, and you have little memory of even tasting it! This is a huge issue when watching sports. Recognize that, acknowledge it, and make that thought part of your watching plan. 

Some tips for making better choices during your sports and party viewing:

always have healthy options available. Veggie and fruit trays with hummus or lower fat dip are a great start.

choose mustard over mayo on your sandwich or hotdog, and consider skipping the cheese.

cheese or veggie pizza instead of pepperoni or fatty meats, and stick to one slice for a very healthy change.

use a smaller plate for your choices, eat slowly, and don’t eat out of giant bowls or packages.

make the decision to only eat at a certain point of the day perhaps at halftime, or during the 7 inning stretch.

instead of pizza, hotdogs or hamburgers, try some grilled kebabs with lean meats, veggies and fruits. 

if you choose to drink, set a limit to 2 drinks, and have a full glass of water before drinking each one. Alcohol and water intake should always be equal!

do a search for some healthy game day snack recipes (there are TONS) and try a new one out each week.

Now, to add some fun to your day! Let’s get up and move, and get everyone involved with fun and exercise!

make some bets with your family and friends, with crazy exercise as the consequence. Your team scores-they have to do pushups, their team scores-you have to do jumping jacks. This can be done with all aspect of the game, even down to ref calls and uniform choices!

get up and move during commercial breaks, long replay decisions, halftime and the 7th inning stretch. March around the house, step outside for some fresh air and take a quick walk around the yard, or even put on some music and dance for a few minutes.

have a themed “party game” available during game breaks-shoot hoops into a wastepaper basket, throw the ball around in the front yard, be creative and have some fun with it!

Above all, remember that this time is for having fun, relaxing with family and friends, and socializing. The food and drinks are just an added attraction to the day, and partaking in a huge feast of food is not a requirement or expectation. Focus on your family and friends, and your team, and have a great and healthy time!

From my website BeeWell.com