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  • Limit (don't eliminate) Carbs

    Carbohydrates! They so easy to love. Fries, bakery treats, sandwiches, pizza, crisps not to mention candy, ice cream, cookies and fruit. My life to date has been a love-hate relationship with my bathroom scales. I’ve seesawed up and down, with every successful effort involving cutting back on carbs in some way. Over the past few years, I experimented with Keto a few times following the amazing success of an overseas friend. The short version is that Keto is not for me but the experiment has revealed a number of lessons that I have incorporated into my “Everyday Dieters” approach. Being an “Everyday Dieter” is my personal recognition that I have always had to watch my weight – and I will likely always have to. Success will only come from progressively changing my habits – I’m part way through that – combined with a daily focus on healthy choices. The Keto Diet virtually Eliminates Carbohydrates Many people think that eliminating carbohydrates from their diet is a rapid fix for weight loss. And it is true some may have achieved spectacular results through this approach (eg Keto dieting) it is often not sustainable in the long run for most people. A few facts about Keto first – then I’ll touch on the lessons I’ve learned that I’ve incorporated into my life. A few Keto Facts: Keto involves having only minimal net carbohydrates in your diet – about 50g a day or 5–10% of your total energy. The focus is on fat being the source of around 70–75% of your energy. Keto has worked for a significant number of very large people. A period in a local Keto Facebook Group gave plenty of impressive visual evidence. It works because it is a long-term lifestyle change and requires commitment. It’s not a quick fix “lose 40lb in 30 minutes” type of thing. It does however require totally giving up: most fruits, carrots, starchy vegetables, rice, pasta, cereals, bread, crackers and baked goods. This represents a significant dietary shift and challenges you everyday. Issues with Keto Personally — restricting my fruit intake to rhubarb and berries was a step too far. When an apple is considered a villain — my life just doesn’t feel right. It’s also important to consider the impact of completely cutting out carbs on your gut. Some of the regular foods you’re removing may be your primary sources of fibre and certain vitamins, which are important for our overall health. Whether it’s the reduced fibre, or the sudden and drastic increase in the amount of fat – a keto diet can upset your gut — it certainly did for me. Whether you end up suffering from constipation or diarrhea, this can cause a major upheaval. It’s also important to remember that starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, rice and bread are not inherently bad for you. In fact, they can are a valuable source of energy for populations around the world. By demonizing starchy carbs, we do them a disservice. As with most things in life – the answer is moderation. Moderation with respect to carbohydrates in a super-sized, fast-food world has gone out the window though. Even restaurant meals have major portion distortion. It is true that carbohydrate portion control is the biggest component of weight issues, obesity and diabetes. A Balanced Diet Approach Instead of completely eliminating starchy carbs, a more balanced approach involves reducing portion sizes, choosing whole grain options, minimising added sugar and incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods into our meals. This way, we can still enjoy the foods we love while supporting our weight loss goals over the long term. Portion control is a vital ingredient in managing our weight. By being mindful of portion sizes, we can avoid overeating. Wholegrain foods have more fibre, vitamins/minerals and make you feel more full. Minimising added sugar lets you still enjoy natural sweetness in your foods and diets. Remember, sustainable weight loss is about making long-term lifestyle changes that we can maintain over time. 15 Lessons from Keto that Help Reduce Carbs It’s a Lifestyle change — embrace it. The people who make Keto work are all-in! If you cheat on Keto your body won’t reach ketosis and you won’t lose weight. The same goes for any weight management approach so choose changes you can stick with. Keto wasn’t it for me but there are other habits I’m changing. Educate yourself. Learn about the carb content of different foods to make informed choices. There are many “hidden” carbs in foods — so while on keto I was a diligent label reader. I still check food labels for hidden sugars, fibre and portion sizes. Track what you eat. Many keto followers keep a food diary (especially initially) to know exactly how many carbs they’ve had in a day. Similarly, I find success using the MyFitnessPal app to track everything I eat – it’s an information source and honesty system that helps reduce mindless eating and grazing – cos if I eat it, I have to log it. Stop totally vilifying fats. We do need some good fats in our diet — I’ve started embracing healthier options like olive oil, seeds, nuts and avocado — in moderation, of course. Berries & carrots as Sweeteners. Use the natural sweetness of berries instead of sugar to reduce the tartness of other fruits. And I treat myself to a punnet of berries instead of candy. More savoury dishes that ask for sugar – I can sometimes omit and balance the flavor with some grated carrot which it quite sweet. Artificial Sweeteners. Explore the range of nature-based artificial sweeteners. Have you tried the latest stevia or monk fruit options? Don’t like them? Well, I think any artificial sweetener is better than sugar so find one you like. Focus on Whole Foods . Prioritize whole, unprocessed foods to naturally reduce carb intake — some of the carbs in whole foods are fibre which Keto ignores. Reduce or eliminate refined carbohydrates like white bread, pastries, and sugary snacks with minimal nutritional value. Opt for Low-Carb Vegetables . More frequently opt for vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini over starchy options. The calorie level of these is low and can fill you up leaving more calories for other meals and snacks. Discover Cauliflower. Use cauliflower instead of pasta or rice. They don’t really have taste in their own right – they’re just a taste carrier. For me this was an easy switch – I can happily have cauliflower under my curry or bolognese, have cauliflower cheese instead of macaroni cheese and spiced roasted cauliflower. Keto Recipe Inspriration. Without having to do Keto — check out some of the keto recipe books. There may be some low-carb meals you’ll really enjoy even if you add a half potato on the side. They’ve done the hard work in terms of avoiding excessive carbs. Stay Hydrated . Drink plenty of water to help manage hunger and support overall health. Avoid sugary beverages and opt for water, herbal teas, or coffee. I find that an afternoon craving can be satisfied with a cup of tea or even a low-calorie instant soup. Plan Your Meals . On keto, I couldn’t run the day spontaneously eating whatever I wanted as I would end up eating too many hidden carbs or overdoing my protein intake. I used MyFitnessPal – not to retrospectively log my food – but to plan my daily menu. In this way, I could make sure I could keep my meal calories in check ensuring I also had snacks planned for through the day. With a meal plan — I found I thought about food less because I knew what my next meal/snack was to be. Zoodles . Use low-carb alternatives like zucchini noodles under pasta sauces or in soups. I’ve also used daikon (Chinese radish) noodles in a pad thai successfully. What makes the difference is having a good spiralizer to make zoodles easily – my fabulous one is an electric George Foreman Spiraliser. Be Mindful of Fruit Intake . Fruit still has a lot of sugar/carbohydrates so it is not an all-you-can-eat food. Prepare Healthy Snacks . Keto followers make sure they have appropriate keto snacks to hand, often purging their pantry of carb-heavy temptations. I try to maintain a well-stocked fruit bowl and vege bin and put healthy snacks at the front of my pantry. So you can see that many of the Keto approaches can have application to a well-balanced diet. So if you think you don’t have the commitment to stick to a diet like Keto – look to embracing some of their lessons to help you on your way to a healthier life.

  • Steaming Fruit with no Added Sugar

    Who grew up with stewed fruit for dessert? Fresh fruit is delightful but sadly seasonal. Historically, fruit was preserved in a sugar-heavy syrup or stewed and frozen for enjoyment out of season. A healthier option is to steam them and omit the sugar – most fruit is naturally sweet enough. Steamed sugar-free fruit is a fantastic guilt-free evening dessert served hot or cold. It provides a delightful burst of natural flavors without the added sugar, making it a wonderful treat. Additionally, it's also a perfect accompaniment to your morning, enhancing the taste of your cereal with its natural sweetness. If the unsweetened fruit is too tart for your liking, you can experiment with different combinations to enhance the flavor profile. Consider sweetening it with the addition of apple or frozen raspberries, which add sweetness and a new taste dimension to the dish. The versatility of fruit combinations allows for endless possibilities to suit your preferences and cravings. My favorite combinations: Apricots & apple Apple & raspberries (only a small portion of raspberries needed) Feijoa & Apple Pear and raspberries Rhubarb and raspberries Method Add chopped fruit to a saucepan with just a little water (about 2 tbsp). Heat gently, allowing the initial steam to release the natural juices from the fruit. Simmer the fruit until it is heated through and reaches the desired texture, ensuring that the flavors are well-developed and satisfying. Serving Options Enhance your dish by adding a dollop of Greek yogurt when serving it cold, creating a creamy and refreshing contrast to the warm fruit. For a cozy indulgence, consider pairing the warm or hot fruit with a scoop of ice cream, adding a delightful touch of sweetness and creaminess to the dessert. Alternatively, transform your dish into a deconstructed fruit crumble by sprinkling some toasted muesli on top, adding a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to elevate the overall experience. So plan ahead for healthy out-of-season sweetness and freeze nature's delights in Summer and Autumn to enjoy all year round.

  • Portion Control, Portion Distortion?

    Tiny Serving Sizes: Accuracy or Marketing Tactic? Often when we're trying to eat healthily, checking the serving sizes on food packaging can be shocking. The listed serving sizes frequently appear unrealistically small, leaving us wondering if anyone eats that little. Are these serving sizes accurate, or are they just a clever marketing tactic to make them seem healthier through lower calorie counts? Understanding Serving Sizes A serving size is a standardized amount of food to provide a consistent basis for nutritional information. These standards reflect typical consumption patterns and help us compare nutritional values across different products. Why Do Serving Sizes Seem So Small? 1. Regulatory Standards: Some serving sizes are based on data about average consumption habits. However, these habits can be quite different from our actual eating habits, leading to serving sizes that seem really small versus what we typically eat. 2. Portion Distortion: Over the years, portion sizes have increased, both at home and in restaurants. This is known as portion distortion and means that what we consider a "normal" portion has grown, making standard serving sizes seem smaller in comparison. 3. Calorie Count Management: Often manufacturers set a smaller serving size. By breaking down the product into smaller serving sizes, they can list lower calories, fat, sugar, and other nutritional elements, creating an illusion of a healthier product. Inattentive shoppers will think they've made a healthier choice, even if they have multiple servings in one sitting. 4. Lack of balance on our plate: We can tend to fill our plates with larger portions of calorie-dense foods like meats and starches, while skimping on vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods. A properly balanced meal should include a variety of food groups in appropriate portions, with a significant portion dedicated to vegetables. Implications for Portion Control 1. Read Food Labels Carefully: We need to check the serving size and the number of servings per package to see if they are realistic. Multiply the nutritional information by the number of servings we actually think you'd eat to get an accurate picture of the calorie load. 2. Be Mindful of Portions: Use measuring cups, spoons, and food scales to understand what a serving size looks like. This practice can help us become more aware of how much we're eating and reduce overeating. 3. Adjust Our Perception: Maybe we need to recalibrate our understanding of what constitutes a healthy portion. Let's familiarize ourselves with standard serving sizes and try to align our portions accordingly. 4. Balance your Plate: Load half your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Filling half our plate with vegetables can make standard serving sizes of other foods seem more satisfying. This approach also helps us get the nutrients we need from lots of vegetables while managing portion sizes of calorie-dense foods. 5. Consider Needs: Remember that serving sizes are guidelines, not strict rules. We should adjust our portions based on our needs, activity levels, and health goals. By becoming more aware of serving sizes and their implications, we can make better-informed choices and manage our diet more effectively. The seemingly small serving sizes on food products are a combination of regulatory standards and marketing strategies. While they aim to provide a consistent basis for nutritional information, they can sometimes mislead us about the actual caloric load.

  • Food Swaps: 5 Butter Alternatives for weight loss

    Butter butters better - or does it? Today there are a range of healthier alternatives to butter that have lower saturated fat and calories while also providing some taste variety. ​We've compared the nutritional analysis of Butter and 5 alternatives for your toast. Background Generic Salted Butter is a natural, traditional food but with high saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium versus other options. It's a high energy/cholesterol option especially if other toppings are being added. About 100 calories per tablespoon. There are more alternatives now that provide taste, variety and less saturated fat to improve your diet. Five Swaps for Butter: Avocado: A fraction of the energy, barely any saturated fat and some fibre. BUT can you limit yourself to a tablespoon? Even using twice the amount of avocado as you would butter you've avoided cholesterol, most of the saturated fat and it's delicious on its own. Peanut butter: Using peanut butter as a spread instead of butter won't reduce your energy consumption but has less than a third of the saturated fat of butter plus gives you a protein boost. As with avocado the challenge is to limit how thickly you spread your peanut butter and to avoid pairing it with other high energy spreads (butter and/or jelly) Low Fat margarine: a generic margarine has equivalent calories to butter but less than a third of the saturated fat and no cholesterol. Seek out the healthier options though with half the calories/fat. Low Fat Labneh: This is a strained low-fat yoghurt which has very low calories and is ideal if other toppings are being added eg tomato, pickles, fruit spread. Fat levels are very low with a little protein thrown in. Low Fat Mayonaise: with low fat this is another healthier option under savoury toppings like salad, tomatoes, pickles and cheese although it's sodium levels can be high. It pays to check the labels for both sodium and sugar content as sometimes these are added to boost the flavor in the absence of fat. Food Swaps: Comparing spreads: Source: MyFitnessPal Food database 1 T Generic Salted Butter 1 T Becel Lite Margarine 1 T Hellman's Lite Mayonnaise 1 T Avocado 1 T Generic Low Fat Labneh 1 T Generic Peanut Butter na: Not Available

  • 13 Reasons I Love Nature Walks

    There are so many different reasons why bush-walking is so good for you. Here's my personal list of the 13 Reasons why I love bush walking to stay in shape and improve my physical and mental health. Fitness - use it or lose it. Keep active and mobile throughout your life. Bush walks have a more varied terrain including some hill climbs to get your heart pumping. Weight loss relies on combining activity with a healthy diet and bush walking is my exercise of choice. Lots of Health Benefits. Research has shown that walking in nature has a range of health benefits including improved blood pressure, and reduced risk of colon cancer, Alzheimers & glaucoma. Because I love my dog. On a bush walk, she can be off-leash and free to run and smell everything. It's such a happy experience for her compared to walking the pavement. No traffic, noise or smog. Escape the city-scape and enjoy the views free of cars, bikes or even the noise of other people. So it's a healthier way to keep your pedometer ticking over. Disconnect. It's harder for the worries of everyday life to stay on your mind in the bush. Your mind is on the track ahead so you can truly disconnect - if only for a little while. Intimately Social - there's nothing better than sharing a bush walk with friends & family. Whether sharing a magical view, gorgeous bird song or gossip and secrets - they're private, intimate experiences together. Healthy enthusiasm. While you're out exercising in the bush and feeling good it's a great time to build on the momentum and think about other healthy options you can adopt. Plan a healthy menu for the next couple of days, make personal commitments about water intake and the amount of sleep you're getting. You tune in to Nature. No one can walk numbly through the bus h. Take the time to truly tune in - let your senses be full of the colors, shapes, sounds and smells of nature. Time for Planning. Sometimes you have to take time to make time. Walking calmly in the bush is a fantastic opportunity. With your mind clear you can plan your schedule and return energized to power through a productive day be it at home or work. It makes you want to Explore. You find all the green spaces and reserves in your local area and then expand and explore further afield. Before you know it you love of bush walks has you planning trips to discover more of the natural world. Dream. Sometimes it's in the quiet moments in nature that we find a new goal, a new item to add to our bucket-list, a new ambition. It's surprising how many new solutions to existing problems come to me while walking in the bush.​ Come up with a new blog topic. Guess where I thought of this one! What's your exercise of choice? Does it give you joy? If not, it's time to find an activity that excites you and makes you look forward to moving your body.

  • A muffin by any other name ...

    What did you have for breakfast?  Coffee and a muffin.  That sounds so much healthier than Coffee & Cake but there's not much of a difference. A comparison of a blueberry muffin to a slice of blueberry & walnut cake from a leading supplier showed the two had equivalent calories. ​The base of both a cake and a muffin is usually butter (or oil) and sugar with an egg some flour, raising agents and a selection of flavoring ingredients ranging from dried fruit, seeds, cocoa, chocolate etc.​ So apart from being individual - the core ingredients are the same.  It could even be argued that the size of a muffin may be bigger than the size of a cake serving in some situations. 7 Tips when choosing Muffins Mentally and verbally call a muffin what it is ... cake! Choose wholemeal/wholegrain options. Choose a muffin/cake variety without icing. Avoid any with chocolate, caramel or cream cheese. Consider savory options - they'll have less sugar but watch out for high fat ingredients like bacon and excess cheese. Consider the size - opt for smaller sizes or share with someone else or save half for later. Check the calorie count on a food tracker like My Fitness Pal.

  • Welcome to Everyday Dieters: A Path to Sustainable Weight Loss and Healthy Living

    We're the Everyday Dieters. For many of us, the struggle with the scales has been a lifelong battle. Formal diets often fall short because they don't address the everyday decisions we make about food. What we need is a practical, everyday approach to managing our weight - building a healthier lifestyle for sustainable weight loss. I am one of you - and this blog aims to support both you and I in our efforts to make positive food choices and be healthier. To be clear I am not a Registered Dietian! I have worked in the food industry though and know my way around a food label. For all that, I've struggled with my weight all my life see-sawing up and down yet am now embracing lifestyle changes that are working and are habits I can sustain. Embracing Everyday Decisions At Everyday Dieters, we believe that the key to winning the weight battle lies in the choices we make each day. It's these daily decisions about what we eat, how we move, and how we take care of ourselves that make all the difference in sustainable weight management. We focus on: Healthy Eating Habits: Learn how to incorporate nutritious foods into your daily diet without feeling deprived. From food swaps to healthy snack ideas, we provide tips that are easy to follow and maintain. Practical Exercise Routines: Whether you're just starting out or looking to enhance your fitness routine, we offer exercise tips that fit into your busy schedule and help you stay active. Mindful Living: Understand the importance of mindfulness in eating and how to listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues. A Supportive Community for Sustainable Weight Loss Let's create a community that supports each other in developing a healthy relationship with food. Share your victories, learn from others, and find the motivation you need to keep going. Our platform encourages you to: Embrace Change: It's unhealthy habits and unhealthy foods that cause us to gain weight - so it's time to turn the tables. Celebrate Successes: Every small victory counts. Celebrate each step forward, no matter how minor it may seem. Start Fresh Every Day: Each new day is an opportunity to make choices that positively impact your weight and overall health. Embrace the chance to make better decisions daily. Join a new Battle Join me in this ongoing battle for a healthier, happier life. Follow Every Day Dieters on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube so that together, we can build a community of Everyday Dieters who support and inspire each other. Thank you for being here. Let's make each day an opportunity to move closer to our goals. Together, we can win this battle and achieve lasting health and well-being.

  • Vegetables: Chase the Rainbow for Weight Loss

    Embarking on a weight loss journey can be challenging, but finding motivation along the way is crucial for success. One powerful source of motivation can be found in the vibrant and colorful world of fresh fruits and vegetables. These natural wonders not only provide essential nutrients but also serve as a reminder of the healthy choices we can make to achieve our weight loss goals. When you look at the image of the beautifully arranged fruits and vegetables, what thoughts come to mind? Perhaps you envision yourself enjoying a refreshing berry smoothie in the morning or savoring a crisp salad for lunch. These visual cues can inspire you to make healthier food choices and stay committed to your weight loss journey. Here are some tips to help you find motivation through fresh produce: Embrace the Rainbow: The images show a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, each with its unique set of nutrients. Aim to incorporate a wide range of colors into your meals to ensure you're getting a diverse array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Experiment with different recipes and combinations to keep your meals exciting and visually appealing. Swap Unhealthy Snacks for Fresh Options: Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or a candy bar, opt for a handful of juicy berries or crunchy carrot sticks. Fresh fruits and vegetables not only provide essential nutrients but also satisfy your cravings for something sweet or savory. Keep a bowl of colorful fruits on your kitchen counter or pack pre-cut vegetables for convenient snacking on the go. Get Creative in the Kitchen: Use the image as inspiration to try new recipes that incorporate fresh produce. From colorful salads to vibrant smoothie bowls, there are endless possibilities to explore. Experiment with different flavors, textures, and cooking methods to keep your meals interesting and enjoyable. Set Realistic Goals: Remember that weight loss is a journey, and it's essential to set realistic goals along the way. Instead of focusing solely on the number on the scale, celebrate small victories like incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your meals or increasing your daily physical activity. These small wins will keep you motivated and inspired to continue making progress. Find Support: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are also on a weight loss journey. Join online communities, forums, or local support groups where you can share your experiences, challenges, and successes. Having a support system can provide accountability, encouragement, and motivation when you need it most. Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet not only nourishes your body but also fuels your motivation on your weight loss journey. Let the vibrant colors and freshness of produce inspire you to make healthier choices, try new recipes, and celebrate your progress along the way. Remember, every small step counts, and with determination and motivation, you can achieve your weight loss goals.

  • Food Swaps: Non-salt Flavour Enhancers

    Reducing your salt intake and using flavour enhancers instead is a great way to improve the taste of your food and protect your health. Salt is an essential mineral that our bodies need to function properly. However, too much salt can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults consume no more than 5 grams of salt per day. However, most people consume much more than this, often without even realizing it. Benefits of Reducing Salt There are a number of benefits to reducing your salt intake, including: Lower blood pressure: Salt is a major contributor to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Reducing your salt intake can help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of these chronic diseases. Improved heart health: Salt can also damage your heart and arteries. Reducing your salt intake can help to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease. Reduced risk of stroke: Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Salt can increase your risk of stroke by increasing your blood pressure and damaging your arteries. Reducing your salt intake can help to reduce your risk of stroke. Better weight management: Salt can cause your body to retain water, which can lead to weight gain. Reducing your salt intake can help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Flavour enhancers are substances that can be used to add flavour to food without adding salt. There are a number of different flavour enhancers available, both natural and synthetic. 11 flavour enhancers that you can use instead of salt: Herbs and spices: Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavour to food without adding salt. Some popular herbs and spices include black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, and thyme. Citrus juices: Citrus juices, such as lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice, can be used to add a tangy flavour to food. Vinegar: Vinegar, such as balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar, can add a sharp flavour to food. Mustard: Mustard can add a tangy and spicy flavour to food. Horseradish: Horseradish is a spicy condiment that can be used to add flavour to food. Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that has a cheesy and nutty flavour. It can be used to add flavour to soups, stews, and sauces. Smoked paprika: Smoked paprika has a smoky and sweet flavour. It can be used to add flavour to meat, vegetables, and eggs. Sun-dried tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes have a concentrated tomato flavour. They can be used to add flavour to pasta dishes, salads, and soups. Miso: Miso is a fermented soybean paste that has a salty and umami flavour. It can be used to add flavour to soups, stews, and marinades. Fish sauce: Fish sauce is a fermented fish sauce that has a salty and umami flavour. It can be used to add flavour to stir-fries, soups, and sauces. Coconut aminos: Coconut aminos is a coconut-based sauce that has a salty and umami flavour. It is a good alternative to soy sauce for people who are gluten-free or soy-free. When using flavour enhancers, it is important to start with a small amount and taste the food as you go. You don't want to add too much flavour enhancer, or it will overpower the other flavours in the food.

  • Portion Control: Pasta PLUS

    Pasta is a popular food choice for many people. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to cook, and can be customized to fit a variety of dietary needs. However, there are some potential perils associated with overeating pasta. In this article we share some ideas on managing your pasta portion sizes. Pasta is a high-carbohydrate food. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. However, when we eat too many carbohydrates, our bodies can't use them all and they are stored as fat. This can lead to weight gain and obesity. Pasta is a low-fiber food. Fiber is an important nutrient that helps to keep us feeling full and can help to regulate digestion. Pasta is a low-fiber food, so it can be easy to overeat. Pasta is a refined grain. Refined grains have been stripped of their bran and germ, which are two of the most nutrient-rich parts of the grain. This can make pasta a less nutritious choice than whole grains. Pasta Portions are often too big Pasta is a beloved staple in many diets, but portion sizes in meals are often much larger than necessary, leading to excessive carbohydrate intake. Many restaurants and home-cooked meals serve heaping plates of pasta that can easily exceed recommended serving sizes. This results in unnecessary carbohydrate-loading, which can contribute to weight gain and disrupt blood sugar levels. By being mindful of portion sizes and balancing pasta with plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, we can enjoy this delicious food without overindulging and support our overall health and weight management goals. Healthy Pasta Portion Control There are a few things you can do to reduce the perils of overeating pasta: Choose whole-grain pasta. Whole-grain pasta is a more nutritious choice than refined pasta. It is also a good source of fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied. Halve the amount of pasta you eat. This will help you reduce your calorie intake and prevent overeating. Incorporate more vegetables into your pasta dishes. Vegetables are a low-calorie, nutrient-rich food that can fill your plate and your stomach. For example add lots of cauliflower and broccoli to your macaroni cheese Add a protein source to your pasta dishes. Protein can help you feel full and satisfied and can also help to boost your metabolism. The Benefits of More Vegetables in Pasta Dishes In addition to reducing the perils of overeating pasta, incorporating more vegetables into your pasta dishes can also offer a number of health benefits. Vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They can also help to reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Here are some tips for incorporating more vegetables into your pasta dishes: Use a variety of vegetables. This will help you get a variety of nutrients. Cook vegetables quickly. This will help to preserve their nutrients. Add vegetables to your pasta dishes at the end of cooking. This will help to keep them crisp and flavorful. Season your vegetables with herbs and spices. This will help to enhance their flavor. Pasta can be a part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation and when combined with other nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables and protein. By following the tips above, you can reduce the perils of overeating pasta and enjoy all the health benefits that this versatile food has to offer.

  • No Butts: The Importance of Moving Everyday

    Let's be honest: finding excuses not to exercise is way too easy. "It's cold." "It's dark." "I'm tired." "It's raining." "It's late." "I need to watch the kids." "I feel a cold coming on..." I've been there, and I totally get it. But just as our bodies need food every day, they also need movement and activity. Otherwise, our butts will overwhelm our buts. Overcoming these excuses requires a bit of preparation, more exercise options, and creating motivating factors. Here are some friendly tips from someone who understands the struggle. Look for Reasons to Move, Not Excuses to Avoid It The Benefits of Moving Every Day: Weight Loss and Maintenance: Moving helps you burn calories and build muscle, which can help you lose weight and keep it off. Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: Regular activity can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Improved Mental Health: Exercise can boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem. Stronger Bones and Muscles: Physical activity strengthens your bones and muscles, helping you stay active and independent as you age. Better Sleep: Exercise can improve your sleep quality, making it easier to get a good night's rest. Increased Energy Levels: Regular movement can make you feel more energized throughout the day. So, what are you waiting for? Get moving! Even if it's just for a few minutes a day, every little bit counts. Tips for Moving When You Don't Feel Like It: Find an Activity You Enjoy: If you hate running, don't force yourself to do it. There are plenty of other ways to move, like swimming, biking, dancing, or hiking. Set Small Goals: Start with a goal of moving for just 10 minutes a day. Once that becomes a habit, gradually increase the time. Find a Workout Buddy: Working out with a friend can help you stay motivated. Make It Fun: Listen to music, watch a funny video, or read a book while you move. Moving every day doesn't have to be hard. Just find something you enjoy and do it for a few minutes each day. You'll be glad you did. 6 "Cold Outside" Excuse Busters: Gear Up: Make sure you have appropriate cold and wet weather gear that you love and trust to keep you warm and dry. Play with the Kids: Physical games with the kids are a great way to stay active and have fun with or without leaving the house. Work up a sweat and build a fun relationship with your kids. Indoor Equipment: Get a hula hoop, skipping rope, or treadmill for the winter/evenings. These are easy exercises to do whild watching your favorite shows. Online Classes: Follow a YouTube exercise class. There are countless free options available. Active Chores: Do chores vigorously as a multi-tasking workout. MyFitnessPal estimates 45 minutes of general gardening burns over 250 calories and 45 minutes of heavy vigorous cleaning is 193 calories. It's a win:win and gets chores done more quickly. Dance it Out: If it's a mood issue, throw on your favorite music and dance. It’ll give you exercise and improve your state of mind while burning 289 calories over 45 minutes according to MyFitnessPal. Remember, the goal is to find reasons to move, not excuses to stay still. By incorporating these tips and focusing on the benefits, you can make daily movement a natural part of your routine. Let's get moving and enjoy the journey to better health together!

  • 7 Lessons from the Potato Man

    Some years ago an Australian man, Andrew Taylor lost 52 kg by eating only potatoes for one year - see the video below. After watching his video (and without recommending you follow his specific approach), there are some valuable lessons that can be learnt by all of us in our weight management efforts. 7 Lessons about Diets from the Potato Man While I don't agree with Andrew calling his problem a "food addiction" given that food is essential to life - he recognized that he had an unhealthy attitude toward food and relied on it for comfort and enjoyment rather than just nutrition. 2. Take food off your mind. One of the biggest effects of eating only potatoes for a year was that Andrew didn't have to think very much about - what's for lunch, what's for dinner. The answer was always potatoes! Similarly advance menu planning can have a similar effect. Plan healthy meals and snacks for several days or a week and then stop thinking about it. 3. Aim for a permanent change in behavior or attitude. There are lots of short-term fad diets out there that result in yo-yo weight changes. Instead, aiming for permanent behavior change or (as in this case) permanently breaking an unhealthy habit or mindset is best. Weight loss typically doesn't last with short-term adjustments. 4. Research whether it's a healthy change to make. Like Andrew check out the literature on the change you're making and if necessary consult your doctor to make sure there won't be negative health consequences from what you're doing. 5. Commit to making a change. Having identified what needs to change commit to it. Andrew's discipline in sticking to a potato-only diet for a year is admirable. 6. Get support. Get your family and friends involved and on board to actively support your commitment. They don't have to do the same (although it helps) but emotional support makes a huge difference. 7. Plan ahead. We all have special social occasions in our lives, and Andrew planned ahead for his nights out. Try not to let social events derail your commitment - if at all possible plan ahead, take your own food or check out menus in advance to fit your goals.

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