Did you know Dietitian on a Diet puts out a weekly e-mail newsletter with healthy eating tips, recipes, and more? Check out this newsletter from last week. Sign up using the form at the top of the page to get weekly newsletters in your inbox and enjoy these tips on packing a healthful lunch this school year.
Do you have a favorite family recipe that you’d like to improve on? Are you interested in learning how to be a more mindful and health-conscious cook? Use this list of cooking substitutions to improve the nutritional quality of your favorite recipe!
Some tips to keep in mind:
Think of substitutions in cooking as “trial and error.” Sometimes they’ll work out great and other times they might flop, but it’s all part of the process. Every recipe is different – you’ll never know unless you try!
If you’re tweaking an old favorite recipe, try changing just 1-2 ingredients at a time. Then, if it doesn’t turn out, you’ll know which change didn’t work.
Happy cooking (and eating)!
If your recipe calls for…
Try this instead…
For this nutritional benefit…
Condensed milk or evaporated milk
Evaporated skim milk
Less saturated fat
Nonfat plain Greek yogurt or (depending on the texture desired) nonfat cottage cheese
Less saturated fat (compared to whole sour cream)
Neufchâtel cheese (find it right next to the cream cheese in most grocery stores)
Less saturated fat
Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, or lean prosciutto
Less saturated fat
Steamed, pureéd cauliflower
More vitamins and minerals
White rice or pasta
Whole grain pasta, brown rice, bulgur, couscous, barley
More vitamins and minerals
More stable blood sugar response
Add any vegetables you have around!
More vitamins and minerals
Improved satisfaction after the meal with fewer calories eaten (veggies take up a lot of space!)
Canola oil or avocado oil
More omega-3s and healthful monounsaturated fats
Less saturated fat
Herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme, sage, basil, chives, garlic), spices (turmeric, cumin, curry, lemon pepper, black pepper), lemon juice, or use half the salt
The Parsons family got back a few days ago from a road trip that sort of resembled those you see on family comedies – you know, the ones where nothing goes exactly as planned? We had a great time though and thankfully everyone kept positive attitudes and was patient. The fiascos only led to fun stories and memories.
Since returning from vacation I have had a really hard time getting back into my routine and back to blogging, posting, and well…working. One of the major benefits/challenges of working for yourself I suppose. Anyway, I thought I’d ease myself back into it with a fun, goofy post.
Recently, a friend of mine found this nutrition guide from the 1950s at an antique store and picked it up for me (thanks, Sandy!). I have had a blast poking through it and finding some doozies, as well as some common sense that still presides over balanced eating today. Today I’m going through the top 3 best (and silliest) pieces of nutrition advice from this little gem.
3 Best Pieces of 1950s Nutrition Advice
“Do not skip meals.” This can help your body regulate its own blood sugar and prevent overeating later in the day. Often nighttime snacking binges are the result of an inadequate or absent breakfast.
“Eat many kinds and all you can of low calorie vegetables.” I can not emphasize enough the importance of the inclusion of these super-healthy foods. Most of our bodies are dying for some natural vitamins and minerals! For most of my clients, if they changed nothing other than meeting their daily allotment of fruits and vegetables, they noticed a significant improvement in energy levels and any symptoms they had.
3. “Your diet should be based on a personal understanding of the difference between hunger and appetite.” The book elaborates by describing hunger as a need for fuel, while appetite is a desire for something tasty. This is vital, especially today. We have so many tasty foods easily available to us that we have trained ourselves to feed both our appetites and our hunger. Noticing the difference, prioritizing and feeding hunger, and practicing other methods of addressing appetite can be a long-term game-changer for many in their quest to improve their health. Often, this requires help from a knowledgeable counselor (since “appetite” in the sense described here is very often fueled by negative emotions or depression) and Registered Dietitian.
3 Silliest Pieces of 1950s Nutrition Advice
For women to know their height and weight, they must weigh while ordinarily dressed with 2″ high-heeled shoes. 😂 Men should weigh while ordinarily dressed but without their topcoat or hat.
2. “Do not drink large amounts of water at mealtime…nor one hour before or up to one hour afterward.” Why? Most of us are underhydrated and often mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking water at mealtimes can help digestion and prevent overeating. Drink up!
3. In order to “reduce,” you must alternate your intakes between about 700 and 1200 calories per day, depending on your weight. Yikes! Under absolutely no normal circumstances would I recommend an adult eating less than 1200 calories per day (unless you are less than 5 feet tall). Studies show that drastic reductions in intakes and weight have long-term negative consequences on metabolism. Plus, you feel awful!
Hope you enjoyed this fun dive into the past as much as I did! Have a good laugh and a healthful day!
Since my husband and I have met our wellness goals, we are not ready to watch our bodies creep back to where they were, but rather to maintain the progress we’ve made and go even further. How do we avoid becoming another statistic for weight regain or resume our couch-potatoing, Christmas cookie-eating ways? The vital keys to long-term success lie before and after the hard work of reaching your goals.
Key #1: Before you change anything
Decide carefully how you will achieve your goals. For many years, scientists have been studying methods for weight loss to find the “best” way to get pounds off. The surprising result of a lot of this research is that so many methods work. A lot of nutritionists have taken to saying, “diets don’t work.” It might be semantics but in general, if the goal is to lose weight – most fad diets do work. Whether it’s low carb, low fat, low calorie, or portion control – weight typically comes off.1-5 If they didn’t work at all for losing weight, word would get around pretty quickly and they would never become popular.
Here’s the kicker (besides that many fad diets aren’t safe): the statistics for maintaining weight loss after a diet are horrendous. Long-term studies show that five years after short-term diets the result is an average regain to anywhere from a net loss of only 6 lbs to a gain of 10-21% of pre-diet weight.2,6 Yikes!
Many fad diets can be extreme, overly restrictive, or just plain miserable (or option d, all of the above). Most people beginning a diet program are willing to commit to short-term pain for long-term gain. Unfortunately, the reality is that long-term dieting is generally not sustainable, and weight loss from short-term dieting is temporary.
But fear not – all hope is not lost! The National Weight Control Registry is comprised of people who have successfully lost at least 30 lbs and kept it off for at least a year, though most participants have lost an average of 72.6 lbs and kept it off for more than 5 years.7 Their participants report that ongoing, long-term participation in sustainablehabit changes has been key to their success, as opposed to radical, short-term dieting. You can read more about their habit changes at the National Weight Control Registry website.
All these studies show that a pivotal ingredient for long-term success with wellness, weight loss, muscle gain, or any habit change is sustainability. One of my favorite quotes sums up the wisdom behind this:
“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.”
-Charles H. Spurgeon
Some may wonder what the last phrase has to do with wellness, and personally I believe it is vitally important (and apparently so did Spurgeon since he tacked it on there), so I included it. Regardless of how you feel about God, however, the sentiment is to not even begin a habit change that you can’t commit to long-term. Find changes that work with your lifestyle, not against it.
Recognize that temporary habit changes create temporary results. You can tweak them, change them, or adjust to the fluidity of life as needed, but if your habit changes disappear completely, so will the fruits of your labors.
Key #2: After you’ve met your goals
You’ve done it, congratulations! You’ve met your goal! You’ve placed a new brick in the healthy foundation upon which you can continue building the life you want. Guess what? You’re not done! If you want to continue to enjoy the benefits of your progress, you must grab hold of the second key to long-term success:
Always have a goal and a sustainable plan to achieve it.
Achieving a goal merits celebration, and also the exciting task of deciding what your next goal will be. It doesn’t have to be intense – your goal could be maintenance and your plan might be walking – but you need to have both or you’ll watch all your hard work and health benefits slip away. Living a healthy life is swimming upstream in our culture – you can not coast into good health.
So what’s next for Charlie and me?
My new goal: Maintain cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Gain strength and muscular endurance (I want to be able to do 10 pull-ups or rock climb for an hour without getting pooped).
My new plan: Mindful, intuitive eating along with 30-40 minutes of cardio twice weekly, strength training 4 times weekly, and 10-20 minutes of yoga 5 days per week.
Charlie’s new goal: Maintain cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Gain strength (he wants to be able to save people from burning buildings and stuff).
Charlie’s new plan: My Fitness Pal (with his calorie and macronutrient needs adjusted since he’s building muscle now), 30-40 minutes of cardio twice weekly, strength training 4 days per week, and 10-15 minutes of yoga before each workout as well as a longer practice twice weekly.
Have a goal of your own but need help finding a sustainable plan that fits your lifestyle? Contact me or schedule an appointment to start building a healthy foundation for the life you want!
Our three months on the Goal-Getter Package is complete! The Goal-Getter package is a package I provide that is designed to help my clients meet 3-month health and wellness goals. Since my husband and I both had goals for the New Year, we each started our own Goal-Getter package and we’ve been sharing the journey with you. Click here to read about it from the beginning. The common cold ran rampant through our house during the time we were supposed to complete our post-program assessment, so we’re a tad late, but here it is!
Did we achieve our goals? How far did we come? The Goal-Getter package includes pre- and post-measurements of body composition and cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and flexibility. Read on to see how ours changed in the last 3 months!
+7 lbs from my usual
+0-3 from my usual (fluctuates)
Body Mass Index
Body fat %
Muscular endurance (push-up)
Muscular endurance (curl-up)
Goal #1: Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight • Use my daily food group checklist to stay within recommendations and get enough food from each food group each day.
How I did: For the first two months, the food group checklists worked well and I (mostly) stuck to using them. I lost 5 of the 7 lbs in the first month and then stalled out for month 2. To make sure I wasn’t inadvertently missing my nutritional goals with the food group checklists (which, by nature, are not as detailed as complete tracking), I started using My Fitness Pal to track my intakes for the last month. I also conceded that it’s possible my body just wasn’t going to lost the last two pounds – it has been about a year or two since I’ve weighed that much. As it turns out, I lost somewhere from 4-7 lbs total, as I’m noticing my weight tends to fluctuate about that much. I’m calling it a win!
Goals #2-3: Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges and increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good” • Complete 40-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (heart rate 115-155 bpm) 5 days per week
How I did: I’m most happy about achieving my goals with these numbers since they are important risk factors for cardiovascular disease! Doing the exercise was easier than I expected when I found the types of cardio I most enjoy. On rainy winter days, I have loved following cardio dance videos from Youtube…they are free and perfect for fitting your schedule in the comfort of your home. My standby favorite is The Fitness Marshall, but there are dozens of choices out there to spice it up with variety. As the weather improves, I’ll spend more time outside playing basketball, hiking, swimming, and kayaking. I definitely want to make sure to keep up these improvements!
Goal #4: Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles • Complete tailored yoga practice 5 days per week and strength training program 2 days per week
How I did: I was so impressed with the improvements in my posture! Yoga has been rocking my posture world. My chest, back, and hips feel so fluid and you can see the difference throughout the three months in my progress photo. Check out this video for a couple of easy exercises you can do to work on your posture. My flexibility assessment also improved! It is amazing how much movement we lock up when we sit too much and don’t move. I definitely have work to do still in my chest and shoulders, which are stubbornly remaining tight, so that’s next on my list!
+15 lbs from his usual
+0 lbs from his usual
Body Mass Index
Overweight(remember how BMI doesn’t account for muscle mass?)
Body fat %
Excellent/Superior (right on the line)
Muscular endurance (push-up)
Muscular endurance (curl-up)
Goal #1: Lose 20 lbs/Button wedding pants without “sucking it in” • Track intakes with My Fitness Pal, aiming for goal of 2000 kcal per day.
How he did: He lost 15 lbs, so he didn’t quite hit the 20 lb goal but he did return to his previous normal body weight. His clothes fit, he has more energy, and he didn’t have to buy new pants! My Fitness Pal worked great for him, and he continues to use it to keep himself on track.
Oh, and check this out…
Helloooooooo, wedding pants! And lookin’ handsome…might be time for a date night!
Goal #2: Increase cardiovascular fitness from “Excellent” to “Superior” • Follow the P90X workout program to do 60 minutes of exercise daily.
How he did: Charlie did great – and he bumped his cardiovascular endurance from “Excellent” to between “Excellent” and “Superior.” He’ll take it! Charlie nearly completed the P90X workout program, but reached a point where he was satisfied with his cardio and his weight, and opted to shift to a plan that involved more weight lifting about halfway through the last month. Charlie loves having more endurance and he feels great!
Goal #3: Improve flexibility from “Good” to “Excellent” • Do some yoga each day.
How he did: Charlie ended up compromising on this goal to do yoga only 2-3 times per week since P90X incorporates stretching into every workout. Sometimes he did yoga more often, sometimes less, but he smashed his goal and can reach farther on the sit-and-reach box than I can now!
Overall, we had fun and are so excited about meeting our goals. If you’d like to meet some goals of your own, give me a call at 360.358.3179 or schedule an appointment on my website! I would love to help you build the healthy foundation for the life you want!
Since I was a little stuck with progress on returning to my previously normal weight last month, I decided to start using a food tracker for the month of March just to make sure I wasn’t missing my nutrition goals accidentally. Food trackers can range anywhere from a pen and notebook to wearable devices that connect to apps and websites with huge searchable food databases. Tracking the food you eat has some major pros and major cons…and it’s important to understand both before deciding if (and what kind of) food tracking is right for you.
Accountability – The primary function of tracking is accountability for what you eat. By tracking, you can see what you have eaten compared to your recommendations, and keep yourself in check throughout the day. If you have a day that is “off the rails” you can easily see it, notice it, and adjust or monitor a little closer in the coming days (by the way, you don’t have to feel guilty – that’s not the point!).
Awareness – Tracking causes you to pay more attention to the actual contents of what you eat. Websites, apps, and food labels all provide information on calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sodium, and protein – all of which may be useful depending on your health goals. Most of my clients find some surprises when they start tracking (I never knew that had so many calories and so much saturated fat! I thought that food was healthy!). Tracking offers a learning opportunity that will help support you in lifelong wellness as you learn which foods fit best in your plan.
Convenience – One study found that those who used a smart phone tracking app that assisted with goal setting and behavior change were more likely to meet their goals and, in this case, lost more weight than those using paper and pen or a website to track.1
Tedium/Obsessiveness – Particularly for those who are not so detail-oriented (or those with a history of eating disorders), food trackers can be more of a hindrance than a help. Tracking every detail can become overwhelming and exhausting, and people who are overwhelmed and exhausted are less likely to make good health choices or reap the benefits of tracking. If you fit in these categories, you’ll likely find more benefit using strategies other than food tracking.
Inaccuracy – Food trackers are only as good as their accuracy and the honesty of the person using them. If you’re going to track at all, commit to being thorough and including everything you eat or drink – don’t forget condiments, cooking oils, seasonings, and beverages! Studies have found paper-based and online food tracking to be equally accurate.2
Lack of Evidence-Based Support and Resources – Two studies of food tracking apps discovered that most apps do not assist with evidence-based skills that promote success like problem-solving, stress reduction, and improving motivation.3, 4 If you’re using a tracker, be sure to seek out other support for these important areas.
Many people I work with find using a food tracker beneficial, but also grow weary of the “cons” listed above. I encourage them to consider being flexible in their use of food trackers. Often, one can glean the benefits of awareness and accountability by tracking a few days per week or one week per month, and those benefits will often carry over for the remainder of the time. If you decide to do this, set a concrete goal of what days or how many you will track (example: I will track Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays or I will track the first week of every month).
If you’re looking for ideas for food trackers to try, consider My Fitness Pal, Lose It, or Google “food journal” if you prefer pen and paper.