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“Don’t try to drive on an empty tank of gas.” This essential advice is something I remind my FFC members of all the time. When I teach Motiv8 at 6 AM, I’m pushing you to dig deep and give 100% in your workout. In order to get stronger, you have to train hard. You have to push your body through discomfort. How can you expect to do that on an empty stomach? Whether you’re training first thing in the morning, or right after work, it’s crucial to fuel up pre-workout. Running on an empty tank of gas will leave you tired and can increase your likelihood for injury. What you fuel up with is just as important to give you sustained energy. Check out this insanely easy recipe for peanut butter and jelly oat bites – one of my favorite go-to pre-workout snacks.

The classic combination of PB & J takes us all back to the memories of childhood (but dried currants and all-natural ingredients keep the recipe mature enough for adults). I throw just a few ingredients into my food processor and roll up a batch. Not only are these great pre-workout snacks that are gluten-free, vegan options, they’re also 100% plant-based and have tons of nutritional benefits!

Some of these benefits include:

  • Whole grain oats are naturally gluten-free, providing vegan protein and fiber for long-term energy.
  • Natural roasted peanut butter adds some fat to give you long-lasting satiety.
  • Dried currants provide natural sweetness for an energy boost that won’t leave you dragging in an hour.
  • A dash of cinnamon does double-duty, providing interesting flavor and acts as an anti-inflammatory food (read more about controlling inflammatory foods here!)

One of the best parts? I’ll make a batch of these and keep them in the freezer – and any time I might need a quick energy bite, (or some pre-workout snacks) I throw a few in my bag! They work in the morning before I teach class, in the afternoon when I am craving something sweet, and even on long trips when I’m stuck in an airport. I even make them as a personal chef for my clients who pack them in their kids’ lunch boxes!

Related: want to set up a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with one of our on-site registered dietitians? Click here!

Try This Recipe: PB & J Oat Bite Pre-Workout Snacks

  • Level: easy
  • Servings 10 – yields 20 “bites”
  • Ready in: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats (use gluten-free oats for 100% gluten-free treats)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (preferably with no added sugars or oils)
  • 1 1/4 cup dried Zante currants
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or adjust, depending on salt in peanut butter)
  • 2 – 4 tbsp warm water

Related: speaking of energy – check out this easy peasy 5 minute Asian noodle bowl for the next time you’re craving take-out!

Pre-workout snacks - try these easy PB & J Oat Bites!

Directions

Gather ingredients. Place the oats in your food processor. Puree oats until well-chopped, resembling shredded coconut. Remove from food processor and pour into a medium bowl.

Add the peanut butter, currants, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt to the food processor. Puree peanut butter mixture until currants are chopped and everything is well-combined.

Add shredded oats back to the food processor. Puree. Add 2-4 tablespoons warm water, until mixture binds together. Continue to puree until mixture naturally clumps into a large ball. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until this consistency is reached.

Remove mixture from the food processor into a medium bowl. Roll about 1 tablespoon of batter into a two-bite ball. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week or freeze for longer.

Chef’s Tip: for a peanut-free alternative, try it with almond butter or sunflower seed butter. These are perfect fuel for traveling through airports or training for marathons! Want to see a step-by-step? Check out the full preparation video here!

Nutrition Info

Serving size: 1/10 of a recipe (about 2 bites).

Amount Per Serving

  • Calories 219.71
  • Calories From Fat (31%) 68.31

% Daily Value

  • Total Fat 8.17g 13%
  • Saturated Fat 1.65g 8%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 177.46mg 7%
  • Potassium 346.45mg 10%
  • Total Carbohydrates 31.63g 11%
  • Fiber 4.62g 18%
  • Sugar 13.36g
  • Protein 7.93g 16%
  • Calcium 0.86mg <1%
  • Iron 36.39mg 202%
  • Vitamin A 13.91IU <1%
  • Vitamin C 0.04mg <1%

Post written by FFC Boystown group fitness instructor Katie Simmons.

More about Katie: Katie is a group fitness instructor at FFC Boystown and is also a personal chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. You can see more at www.plants-rule.com.

 

I’m sure you’ve seen it all over the web: “unbalanced cortisol levels lead to weight gain.” This can be incredibly frustrating if you are in a deficit-related program trying to lose weight for a healthier lifestyle, or even if you have another goal (like an upcoming weight lifting competition). What is a deficit? A caloric deficit is burning more calories than your body requires. Knowing how to manage, maintain and avoid your triggers will go a long way in helping you achieve your goals through nutrition and hormone maintenance. And prevent a cortisol crash.

So How Does Cortisol Tie Into All Of This?

Simply put, cortisol is a hormone released in the body via the adrenal gland. The adrenal glands are small glands located on the top of each kidney. They produce hormones that we cannot live without – one being cortisol.

Cortisol helps you respond to stress and has many other important functions. Your body’s cortisol levels increase when adrenocorticotropic hormones are released from your pituitary gland. Without getting into a lot of science, essentially, when a person is put under excess amounts of stress (whether it be physical or mental), the body produces more cortisol, attempting to calm you down.

How does this relate to nutrition? Another key purpose of cortisol is to help the body metabolize and use sugar and fat for energy. Having an excess amount of cortisol in the bloodstream and body can lead to weight gain, immune system issues, blood sugar imbalance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, low testosterone in men and fertility problems.

Related: want to set up a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians? Click here!

How to Balance Your Cortisol Levels

It’s safe to say that we want to keep this hormone as level as possible and prevent a cortisol crash! If you believe that you have chronically elevated cortisol levels, there are a few tips and tricks you can implement to help overcome this unwanted hormone excess. Lowering your cortisol can be accomplished relatively quickly.

Here are 4 tips that you can implement today to prevent cortisol crashing quickly and easily:

Up your magnesium intake.

Whether you get this through food or an Epsom salt bath, upping your magnesium intake will go a long way to improve your cortisol levels.

Get more sleep.

The obvious one – getting enough sleep helps your body restore and ensure you’re ready for another day of hard work.

Related: food can help you regulate your mood! Avoid mood swings with these nutrition tips.

Limit your blue light exposure.

Try to avoid blue light 1-2 hours before bed. Blue light comes from cell phones and televisions. Being exposed to blue light inhibits your body from creating melatonin, a naturally produced sleep aid, and can lead to getting less sleep, which is important for balancing your cortisol levels.

Eat regularly.

Eating frequent meals will help to keep your blood sugar level even throughout the day. Make sure to grab a bite/healthy snack every 2 – 4 hours.

Post written by FFC Lincoln Park registered dietitian Sarah Sobotka.

About Sarah

Sarah is a registered dietitian at FFC Lincoln Park. She is a credentialed professional who is inspired by the science of nutrition, passionate about advancing her knowledge in the field, and committed to promoting the RDN credentials.

She believes in the power of food, fitness, and having a good lifestyle balance. She aspires to serve as a guide to her clients & make positive differences in their lives. She loves to work out and be active, whether playing sports, rollerblading in the sun, or riding her bike to enjoy new delicious restaurants around the neighborhood.

 

So you’ve made the decision to track your nutrition. Congratulations! Meal tracking can improve one’s diet, promote more mindful eating behaviors, provide lots of new information for your benefit as well as for your doctor or dietitian and ultimately, lose more weight! MyFitnessPal (a popular app available for both iPhone and Android) is an easy and effective way to track what you eat.

Getting Started

After downloading the app and signing up using your email or Facebook, you are encouraged to provide basic information such as your age, weight and activity level.

This will help you establish a goal (such as losing, maintaining, or gaining weight) as well as the rate at which the weight change will occur. These factors will determine the app’s recommendation for your daily caloric intake.

 

Related: want some other apps or resources for tracking nutrition? Check out this post!

Track Your Diet

Now you can start tracking! Using the diary page, you can input new information by pressing the blue + button on the bottom of the screen or the “add food” button under specific meals. The + button allows for you to input food as well as other information like status with progress photos, water, exercise, and weight.

One of the most useful aspects of MyFitnessPal is their enormous database containing most food items that can be bought from stores. Your phone’s camera can also scan the barcode of almost any packaged food item and the database will usually have it stored! However, be careful to specify the number of servings you eat, as many packaged food items contain multiple servings.

As you track your meal through the day, the equation on your diary page will update to keep you informed on your progress. The more exercise you get in a given day, the more you will have to eat to compensate for those burned calories. Exercise can be factored into the equation automatically using your phone’s ability to count steps or compatible devices such as Apple Watch or Fitbit.

To see your breakdown of caloric intake per meal, nutrients and macros (carbs, fat, protein) click “Nutrition” while in the diary tab. Track your weight over time to further motivate yourself! You can also input other information like BMI and body fat %.

Related: want to supplement your meal tracking with a plan? Click here to register for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with an FFC on-site registered dietitian!

5 Tips for Maximum Results

Use the “recent” food tab.

When inputting food in your MyFitnessPal diary, use the “recent” tab for foods you eat regularly. You can also group ingredients as a custom meal to use in the future. Over time, time spent tracking your meals should decrease significantly!

Say no to diets, just eat mindfully.

Studies show that people who subscribe to “fad diets” often do not succeed with their weight loss goals. At the end of the day, companies care most about making money by selling you products. Doing your research, tracking your diet, and eating more mindfully can be done without paying anyone (and is much cheaper, especially given that MyFitnessPal is free!)

Remember that everyone’s macros will be different.

Keep in mind that everyone is different –  different people will function best with different ratios of carbs and protein. Carefully monitor the way you feel and function after different meals – these experiences and results are uniquely yours!

Use the barcode scanner.

The barcode scanner is your friend! When I began to track my meals I was excited about the bar code scanner and the potential to track exactly what I ate. So for one day, I only ate food that came in packages I could scan. I cooked once that day but was sure to scan every ingredient using exact measurements. These rules dictated that I could not mindlessly eat a handful of chips or chug orange juice from the carton because everything had to be measured out precisely. I immediately learned about how to eat more mindfully.

Share the data!

The nutrition data you collect over time should be immensely helpful for your doctor, registered dietitian (did you know we have a full staff of RDs at FFC?), or other healthcare professional. Nutrition is one of the biggest indicators of overall health and it is currently very rare that patients have complete logs of their diets. If you are experiencing health problems potentially related to nutrition and your current health care professional is not knowledgeable about nutrition and primary prevention, find another who is.

The more you track, the more motivated you will be!

Post written by FFC contributor Andy Devries.

 

Winter weather gets a bad rap for also wreaking havoc on your health. Common questions we hear all the time include those such as “what’s the best way to boost your immune system before cold season?”, “what should you take to help prevent getting that icky bug that’s been hitting everyone?”, “what’s the best germ fighter around?” and “how do you fight colds faster?”

The answer is easy, simple, and my personal favorite: a healthy diet!

A healthy diet chock-full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber is your best dietary weapon against the common cold. How to fight colds faster? Never get one in the first place!

How to Fight Colds Faster

Giving your immune system everything it needs to operate at full capacity on a daily basis is far more effective at preventing illness than nursing reactionary fizzy vitamin C drinks or popping zinc lozenges during cold and flu season.

Far more goes into making a healthy, fully-functional immune system than just vitamin C and zinc (which are two of the most commonly supplemented over-the-counter cold home remedies for immediate or after-the-fact treatment.)

Related: don’t forget to hydrate! Here are some tips on how to stay hydrated.

We need a whole host of vitamins and minerals just to have functional enzymes in our immune system, let alone all the other dietary components that go into making all facets of the immune system. So, the first and most important thing is to maintain a healthy and very well-balanced diet.

Vitamin C & Zinc Can Still Help

That being said, vitamin C and zinc supplementation may yet have their merits. While no definitive research exists to support the use of these supplements to reduce the incidence of the common cold in otherwise healthy individuals (in fact, it’s supposedly just the opposite: a quick perusal of current literature reveals that study after study has found neither vitamin C nor zinc to significantly reduce the number of times a person gets a cold), researchers are now looking into the efficacy of these products once you have already contracted a cold.

The data is mixed, but some studies have found an association between zinc and/or vitamin C supplementation and a reduction in the either the severity of symptoms or the duration of illness. More conclusive research is certainly needed, especially to clarify timing and dosage, which are both still very unclear.

Even though the jury is still out on some facets of cold remedies, one thing is for sure: a healthy diet sure is a tastier and simpler method for staying healthy all year long. Check out some of these delicious recipes for a fast nutrient fix when you’re feeling especially run down and need to fight colds faster or just when you’re in need of a health-kick.

Related: click here to sign up for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation at FFC!

30-Minute Recipe: 3 Quick Cold-Busting Picks

Open-Faced Veggie-ful Breakfast Bagel

½ whole grain bagel topped with 2 tbsp cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, sliced bell peppers, sliced cucumbers, and spinach with several slices of chicken or turkey.

Healthful Lunch Bowl

Top ½ cup black beans + ½ cup corn kernels with 1 serving fajita seasoned chicken, chopped tomatoes and sautéed bell pepper + onions (sliced and sautéed in 1 tsp olive oil). Additional toppings can include 1-2 tbsp light sour cream, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and/or ¼ cup pico de gallo.

Bonus: this meal is easily made ahead of time in batch for a whole week’s worth of lunches that will keep you health and help you fight colds faster!

Lean Mean Mediterranean Dinner Salad

Toss 2-3 cups spinach with ½ cup chickpeas, 4 oz shredded chicken, and as much sliced cucumber, diced tomatoes, and diced red bell pepper as you like then top with 1 oz crumbled feta cheese; make a dressing from ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp olive oil, as much lemon juice and spices (try dill and a little garlic!) as you like.

Post written by FFC contributor Carla Schmitz.

Put most simply, metabolism is the term used to describe the chemical processes responsible for maintaining life.

There is a lot of information surrounding this subject – especially when it comes to exercise and nutrition. With that, of course, comes myths. Below are 5 common myths about metabolism, debunked!

Myth #1: Your metabolism stops working as you get older.

Due to possible loss of lean muscle mass, your metabolism can slow down slightly as you age, but the amount is very little. By building a lean and muscular body through diet and exercise, you can maintain a fast metabolism, even as you age.

Related: do you know your resting metabolic rate? Or why it’s important? Find out here! Plus a resting metabolic rate calculator you can use.

Myth #2: Eating [insert “magic” food here] will boost your metabolic rate.

Unfortunately, no “magic” food will help speed up your metabolic rate. Yes, some studies have shown that green tea and hot chili peppers temporarily boosts them, but the boost is not great enough to show significant results physically.

Myth #3: Eating late at night after 8 PM can cause weight gain and slow your metabolic rate.

Very little evidence supports the fact that eating late at night can slow things down.  However, many of us do not choose the best snack options in the evening. It is the excess calories and poor food choices that can lead to weight gain, not necessarily eating past 8 PM.

Related: want to indulge a little bit? Check out this post on how to practice mindful eating while you do to decrease calorie consumption & later cravings!

Myth #4: You cannot lose weight because of a slow metabolism/ you cannot gain muscle because of a fast metabolism.

Many of us believe we have a slow or fast metabolic rate due to previous success/failure of our goals. The best way to determine how fast or slow your metabolic rate is to complete a Resting Metabolic Rate test. This test will tell you the appropriate number of calories to eat daily. Even with calculators and apps out there to provide this information, many recommendations are inaccurate and only provide an estimate.

Myth #5: Very low calorie diets can jumpstart weight loss.

Eating fewer calories than your body burns each day is essential for weight loss. However, creating too large of a caloric deficit can be very harmful for our bodies.  By severely limiting calories, your body begins to take energy from other sources. This can lead to your body burning more muscle than fat. Over time, it can also lead to a weakening of your bones.

Interested in setting up a consultation with Chelsea? Email her at crice@ffc.com!

Post written by FFC registered dietitian Chelsea Rice.

Meal planning. The concept seems so simple, yet can be very daunting when you’re up to your ears in Tupperware and can’t possibly seem to find the time to make a grocery store run.

It may appear easier to revert back to the old ways of winging it during the week, but trust us when we say meal planning will make eating healthy much easier and save your sanity down the road. Here are 5 tips to implement to actually make planning and meal prep a staple of your weekly routine.

Step 1 – Dedicate the time.

Dedicate a specific time each week (preferably a consistent time) for meal planning, grocery shopping, and prepping (at least a little bit) in advance. This will save you time and money during the week.

Step 2 –  Create and save meal ideas.

Look through your cabinets to see what ingredients you already have and check what’s on sale at your grocery store to get the wheels turning on what to cook for the week. Also, use Pinterest, cookbooks, and other websites to bookmark your favorite recipes. All these tools can help you come up with ideas for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. If it helps you, write out which days you will eat which meals.

Remember: it’s okay to repeat some meals during the week. Keep it simple by having similar breakfasts during the week, or making extras at dinner for lunch the next day.

Related: set up a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians – click here!

Step 3 – Make a list.

Using your meal ideas as an outline, create a list of the items you still need (remember to check if you have any of the ingredients already before you go!) Make sure you write down amounts from the recipes so you don’t buy too much extra.

Step 4 – Hit the store.

Now that you have your list, make a trip to the store and vow to only buy what’s on your list. (I dare you!) Easier said than done, but if you have it written down already you’ll be more likely to stick to only what you need.

Step 5 – Prep a few items.

Cooking protein ahead of time (don’t forget the spices – here are 6 you definitely need to have on hand), chopping vegetables so they’re ready to be cooked, or putting together lunches in separate containers so they’re all ready to go are all time savers once the week gets under way.

There you have it, 5 easy ways to make sure you’re set up for success! Now it’s your turn – give meal planning a try this week and let us know how it goes by leaving a comment or tagging #FFCChicago!

Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

 

We’ve made it past the holidays, but we’re not out of the woods yet! The time of year that we become inundated with opportunities to overindulge on sweets at work, at office parties, and family gatherings continues into this month – especially with the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day and even Mardi Gras. It’s easy to justify why you can eat and drink whatever and however much you want. You think to yourself that you have committed to eating healthy, you work out hard, and that you deserve a day off— “cheat days”, if you will. Not so fast. Here are a few reasons why cheat days are a bad idea.

What are “cheat days”?

The thought behind a cheat day is that you schedule a specific meal or meals during the week when you basically eat anything you want, mainly foods that have been deemed “off limits” other times. You eat according to certain guidelines or a designated eating plan during the week, but when it comes time for your scheduled “cheat” meal (or day), all of that goes out the window.

Some may argue that giving yourself days of indulgence is giving yourself a needed break from your diet. That these cheat days provide relief from your weekly routine, and help you stick to healthier foods in the long run. It’s a way to reward your constraint and to satisfy your cravings.

Are these “cheat days” actually a good idea, though? Do these designated days of indulgence actually help you reach your health goals, or do they just keep you spinning your wheels?

What’s in a name?

The phrase “cheat day” itself suggests that what you are doing is something that is not allowed. When you designate foods as either “good” or “bad”, you are setting yourself up for feeling guilt and even overindulgence. When a food is deemed off-limits, you may actually think about and crave that particular food even more up until the day you are allowed to eat it. By that point, when that food is front of you, it’s very easy to lose control and overeat.

Categorizing foods as “good” or “healthy” can also have negative consequences. When you think something is healthy, you may not concern yourself with portion control, whether it’s a “normal” day or a “cheat” day. Remember, there actually can be too much of a good thing.

It’s more difficult to bounce back.

If you allow yourself one designated cheat day, it is easy for this to spill over to the next day, especially if it’s on the weekend. For example, let’s say you go out with your friends for lunch on a Saturday and end up eating pizza. You may feel that because of this you have already ruined your diet for that day and decide to indulge in an unhealthy meal for dinner as well. To make matters worse, you may even feel as though you ruined your diet for the whole weekend, so Sunday becomes an unhealthy eating day, thus allowing you to justify that you will just start again on Monday.

You shouldn’t use food as a reward.

Using cheat meals as a reward for sticking to your diet and eating healthy all week can be a slippery slope. Using unhealthy foods as a reward can lead to or perpetuate unhealthy food habits. You shouldn’t only be allowed these foods at certain times. You can still be healthy and eat these types of foods during the week, as long as you’re not having them every single day or bingeing on them.

How then do you stay on track without any cheat days? Here are 3 easy ways to eat healthy anyway:

1) Listen to your body and appetite.

By paying attention to your body’s hunger cues and eating what you want, you will more than likely end up eating a more sensible amount of it. Intuitive eating has shown to have a positive effect on weight and wellbeing.

2) Indulge in treats once in a while.

Including a properly portioned treat into your daily eating routine can break up the monotony, as well as continue to motivate you to stay on course and enjoy your meal time. These small indulgences can help ensure you don’t feel the need to go overboard.

Related: have questions on nutrition or want to set up a free 30-minute consultation? Click here!

3) Savor every bite.

Once you take a bite of any food item, take a moment to actually taste, smell, and experience that food as a whole. When you consciously take the time to be mindful about the food you are eating (more on how to eat mindfully here), it becomes much easier to tap into your satiety cues.

The Bottom Line

There really is no need in designating a cheat day to reward yourself. Denying yourself most of the week and then overindulging on one specific day “off” just promotes feelings of guilt, anxiety and shame around eating, and in turn can sabotage the goals that you are trying to achieve.

Instead, stay in tune with your body and make everyday a great day by listening to your appetite, periodically adding in some of your favorite foods in small portions, and savoring each and every bite of everything you eat. This sustainable approach will help you think of all of your eating as enjoyable, and that’s what will ultimately help you stay on track to reach your goals, as well as live a healthy lifestyle. Do you have tricks to stay on track without cheat days? Let us know in the comments!

Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Mark LeVine. 

 

Inflammation” is the new buzzword, and for an important reason – it’s often a good indicator to us that something is going on we need to attend to. For example, inflammation can happen as a result of injury.

Additionally, if it’s happening on the inside of our bodies, it may feel like bloating – and it can cause heart disease, diabetes and other issues. So how can we prevent or reverse this inflammation? Food is our best bet.

As people who are trying to be healthy, we need to stop thinking of food as the enemy. Food can be our best friend if we choose the right kinds, the right amounts and use it in a way that is nice to our bodies. Here are 3 tips to reduce inflammation in your diet and the diseases it may cause!

  1. Eat a diet chock full of fruits and vegetables.

Aim to fill half your plate at each meal with these nutrient-dense items, about 5-7 servings per day. One serving is 1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked. As I tell my clients, non-starchy vegetables are “free” – eat as many as you’d like! These are great for snacking or for the stress-relieving crunch we all desire. Make sure you eat the rainbow, meaning you chose many different colors each day. The different colors of produce give them different nutrients and antioxidant properties. Also, a variety of foods in our diet can improve the health of our gut, leading to great health overall.

How-To: I turn vegetables into comfort food by spiralizing them into noodles, blending them into smoothies or pancakes, dipping them in a homemade yogurt dip, or making fried rice with cauliflower “rice”. I also enjoy fruit as a dessert by sprinkling cinnamon on it and baking it.

  1. Season your food with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices!

Flavor is key to keeping healthy eating interesting, so why not flavor your foods AND add healthy properties? Use the following herbs and spices to get the best anti-inflammatory benefits: ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. You can also practice mindful eating by focusing on the different flavors while you eat!

How-To: I love to add rosemary and thyme to chicken breasts, ginger to my morning tea, and cinnamon to just about everything!

Related: click here to schedule a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians!

  1. Drink water, lots of it.

Water helps flush out your system throughout the day, it helps you stay full, and it has zero calories! Aim to drink half your bodyweight in ounces (i.e. 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces water). For more tips on how to stay hydrated, check out this post!

How-To: I like to add lemon to my water, but you can also choose lime, cucumbers, mint, or even ice. Please don’t add sweeteners – natural or artificial – as these will cause you to crave more sweets later.

Which of these tips have you tried?! Which are your favorite? Let us know in the comments or share on social using the tag #trainingforlife!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

 

In response to our readers’ suggestions, we put together a list of more of our favorite resources – a list of some of our favorite nutrition books written by the nutrition experts themselves. Add these RD-written nutrition books to your must-read list and you won’t be disappointed!

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

As I always tell my clients, if everyone only ate when they were hungry and stopped when they were full, we’d all be at a healthy weight. The truth is, we eat for many reasons and usually aren’t very mindful about it.

Intuitive Eating is a nutrition philosophy that dives deep into the mindfulness of eating and focusing on hunger cues instead of constantly counting calories.

Related: click here to sign up for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with an FFC registered dietitian.

No Whine with Dinner by Liz Weiss, MS, RD and Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD

These dietitians have a blog called Meal Makeover Moms, and have put together many of their favorite kid-friendly recipes for those struggling to put healthy food on the table for the whole family. BONUS: 50 secrets for getting picky eaters to try new foods. Hey, this could work for your spouse, too!

Eat Your Way To Happiness by Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD

They say money can’t buy happiness, but in my opinion, a plate of nutritious food sure can! This book lays out how to make small changes in your everyday eating habits to help you feel happier about your weight, your energy levels, and your mood (and chocolate is on the list!)

There you have it! Looking for more nutrition books and info? Be sure to also check out this post on the best FREE nutrition apps you can use to stay on track. Have you read an inspiring book written by a registered dietitian? Please share below in the comments!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

 

Have you ever sat down in front of the TV screen with a big bag of popcorn and before you know it, you’ve reached into the bag and discovered the entire thing has magically disappeared?

If you are like most people, this is something that happens more often than we like to admit. This is an example of mindless eating – eating without paying attention to what or how much food is being eaten.

Mindful, or intuitive eating, on the other hand, is the practice of paying full attention to the experience of eating/drinking. It is realizing the color, smell, texture, flavor, temperature, and sound (crunch!) of the food we are eating.

Intuitive eating is important because taking the time to fully experience the act of eating not only makes us more aware of what we are putting into our bodies, but can also keep us from overeating, which can eventually result in weight loss (and a much healthier relationship with food). Read on for 4 ways to practice mindful eating.

4 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating

Eat in silence.

This means you are not sitting in front of the TV and eating, driving and eating or on your cell phone or social media while eating. It is eating in an electronic-free zone in order to fully be engaged in the eating experience.

Slow down.

Try taking a bite of food and putting your fork down in between bites. It is harder than you might think. Eating shouldn’t be a race, and it takes your brain 20-30 minutes to register the feeling of fullness.

Related: want to schedule a free nutrition consultation with one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians? Click here!

Pay attention to flavor.

Explore tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami), textures (crunchy, chewy etc.), and smells (sweet apple scent, smell of garlic etc.) of your food.

Try eating just one meal a week mindfully!

Mindful eating should be appreciating, respecting, and enjoying the food you eat everyday. It can be practiced on salad or even cake! It is easy for everyone to try mindful eating with the foods they love.

Related: similarly to scarfing your food down, cheat days aren’t the best idea. Check out this recent post to see why & how you can eat healthy and indulge occasionally anyway.

Do you have any tips for mindful eating or questions about how to eat more mindfully? Let us know in the comments!

This post was written by FFC Registered Dietitian Alicia Huggler.