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Healthy Eating Tips for Workplace Meals

Healthy Eating Tips for Workplace Meals

You can set yourself up to be sick, or you can choose to stay well. – Wayne Dyer

The workplace can be one of the most challenging places to keep on the straight and narrow with your eating habits. Besides being tempted by vending machines that dispense a seemingly unending supply of candy bars and chips, there are the well-intended coworkers that bring in donuts, cookies, cake, and other fattening snacks that take up an extended residence on the office kitchen’s tables. However, if you plan your lunches and snacks in advance with healthy choices, you’ll be less tempted to dive for the quick fixes that are less healthy for you.

Some other workplace healthy eating habits:

Plan breakfast, too! Planning lunch and dinner is smart. But smarter? Plan your breakfast strategy. Don’t just grab a chocolate donut or a muffin from Starbucks. Instead, buy some Greek yogurt and dress it up with fruits, berries or low fat granola. If you absolutely must eat on the go, look for places that will make you a custom omelet. Ask them to fill it with vegetables.

Bring your lunch. Choose delicious, healthy foods that you know you’ll like and look forward to eating. Make a colorful salad the night before. Take along hard boiled eggs or a thermos of vegetable soup. All of these steps can cut down on unnecessary calories, sugar and fat.

Concentrate on your food. Eating at your desk is fine, but don’t work or surf the internet at the same time. Research reveals that people eat 15% more calories if they eat while distracted.

Try to take a lunchtime walk for at least 10-15 minutes each day. You will burn 50-100 calories and did you know that’s enough to prevent the 5-10 lbs the average person puts on each decade and blames on their age?

Taking your time over lunch and chewing everything well will help your weight loss further. If you don’t chew correctly, your brain signals aren’t as strong and you eat more than you need.

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Dairy — More than Just for Healthy Bones

Dairy – More than Just for Healthy Bones

Let’s focus on dairy for just a moment.

Did you know….

Milk is an excellent source of 9 essential nutrients —including calcium, protein, potassium, plus

Vitamins A, B–12 and D. And with nine out of 10 adults missing essential nutrients in their diet, milk is definitely a great choice.
Dairy products are essential to a healthy diet

DAIRY

THE BASICS:

Milk, cheese, yogurts that retain their calcium. Foods with little or no calcium, such as cream cheese and butter, are not. Choose milk items that are fat–free or low–fat.

RECOMMENDED SERVINGS:

Three servings a day.

THE RESEARCH:

The calcium in dairy products are known to keep bones healthy and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Recent studies also show that dairy products reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce blood pressure and even found to help people lose weight.

DAIRY QUICK TIPS:

  • Drink milk with your meals
  • Use milk instead of water when preparing hot cereals like oatmeal
  • Use milk instead of water when preparing canned cream soups
  • Top casseroles, entries or vegetable with shredded low–fat cheese
  • Add a slice of low–fat cheese to sandwiches
  • Top a baked potato with low–fat yogurt
  • Make yogurt–based dips for dipping veggies
  • Snack on low–fat yogurt
  • Use milk or yogurt when making smoothies

ADDING DAIRY TO YOUR MENU:

All you need is three servings a day to reap the benefits. Try:

  • Milk in your breakfast cereal
  • A cup of yogurt or cheese sticks or cheddar cheese with whole wheat crackers for an afternoon snack
  • Milk as a beverage with dinner

So this week, make sure you include a dairy product with every meal.

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Calorie Slashing Tips for Labor Day Festivities

Calorie Slashing Tips for Labor Day Festivities

Some people consider Labor Day the end of summer. Cookouts and holiday fare have us observing the close of a season and wishing we’d used some calorie slashing tips for Labor Day festivities.

Officially or unofficially “The End” is subject to opinion and where you live. For Walkingspree, our headquarters happens to be in San Antonio, Texas where it still feels very much like summer and is set to be in the low 90’s this weekend. But despite our warmer climate, the signs of summer coming to an end are similar to our northern neighbors’ signs that don’t include temperature or weather. Public pools close down until next year.  The kids are back to school. College students have all moved back into dorms. We’re getting our families back in to a routine; waving farewell to the less structured, relaxed schedules of summer.

Summer’s end also means that Labor Day weekend is here, and, like most of the nation, we gather with friends and family. Maybe we’re outside grilling. Perhaps we’re tubing down the Guadalupe or Frio Rivers eating lunch out of a big ice chest which is also floating in a tube alongside us. It could be a delicious family buffet is the place to be.

However, you observe Labor Day, It’s a safe bet the rest of the nation is observing Labor Day in a similar manner. It’s also a safe bet we’ll end up consuming much more in calories and fat than we usually do. If you’re watching your weight and monitoring your nutrition intake, this can be a problem. So, we compiled four of the most powerful calorie slashing tips for Labor Day you’ll find.

Calorie Slashing Tips for Labor Day Festivities

1. Case the joint. Be selective. Tactically scan the buffet line first. “Studies show that individuals who are overweight tend to fill their plate as they go through the line,” says shares Marcey Rader, M.Ed, health and wellness expert for Extended Stay America Hotels. “Meanwhile, people at a recommended weight tend to be more strategic and take inventory, decide what they’re going to eat, and then grab a plate.”

In one study, researchers found that with buffet foods, the first foods seen by the diners are the foods most selected. Over 75% of diners selected the first food they saw, and the first three foods a person encountered in the buffet made up 66% of all the foods they put on their plate. And get this: Serving the less healthy foods first led diners to take 31% more total food items than when the less healthy foods weren’t served first.

Strategy: Walk around and decide what you want to eat (and why) before getting in line and reaching for your plate and utensils. Observe what foods are placed at the front as well as the middle and end of the buffet.

2.  Offer to contribute food at a potluck dinner or BBQ. Bring some healthy options so you know for sure you’ll have at least one option for healthier holiday food.

Strategy: Offer to contribute a few burgers or hot dogs and then make sure to choose lean beef burgers, lean all-beef hot dogs or even turkey burgers or turkey hot dogs.

3. Don’t be a creature of habit. Whether you are at a cookout, on the beach eating picnic foods, grilling burgers or hot dogs, stay away from the same old fare you eat at home. Make the day and the meal special. If someone has made their family’s famous recipe for homemade potato salad but there is also a bowl of potato chips sitting out, eat the potato salad. It’s likely to be made with fresh ingredients. It’s unique to the day. The chips are not. Neither are items that are obviously poured from a can or out of a bag from the frozen food aisle.

Strategy: Even if you know you will be selecting food outside your “personal nutrition guidelines,” experts recommend choosing food with fresh, clean ingredients.

4. Slash the calories. BBQ and the food included at BBQ gatherings tends to be higher in calories and fat. You can slash the calories by skipping the hamburger or hotdog bun.

Strategy: If a salad isn’t offered: Put extra lettuce, toppings and veggies on your plate alongside burger patties or hot dogs. Limit your cheeses and remember Tip#3: If it’s not ‘real’ cheese, skip it. You can do without partaking from the can of ‘spray cheese’ or imitation cheese slices.

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Visual ‘Stoppers’ Help Slow Mindless Eating

Visual ‘Stoppers’ Help Slow Mindless Eating

Do you remember the potato chip commercial tag line “betcha can’t eat just one”? Well, researchers from Cornell University may have a clever way to help us with this mindless eating problem.

In a recent research project, Cornell Food and Brand Lab Director Brian Wansink found that visual “stoppers” helped curb overeating.
(Photo by Robin Wishna)

The study involved 98 students who were given a tubes of stacked potato chips to eat while watching videos in class. In the first study, one set of tubes contained red chips that were placed in the stack at the suggested serving size of seven chips. In the second, the red chips were stacked at five chip intervals.

These visual “stoppers” produced some impressive results. Students eating from the red chip tubes ate 50 percent less than the control group.

“People generally eat what is put in front of them if it is palatable,” said Cornell Food and Brand Lab director Brian Wansink in a news release. “An increasing amount of research suggests that some people use visual indications such as a clean plate or bottom of a bowl to tell them when to stop eating.”

Putting a visual “stopper” to remind you when to stop eating could be something you may want to add to your healthy eating arsenal.

For other tips on portion control, check out our post on “Finding food traps“.

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Eat Smart! Finding Hidden Food Traps

Eat Smart! Finding Hidden Food Traps

Unless you take time to measure everything you eat, you may be falling into “hidden food traps”.

People don’t realize how much they are eating, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, whose research has focused on perceived consumption vs. actual consumption.

One study Wansink conducted found that something as simple as the shape of a glass increased the serving size. Even though both glasses had the same volume, people poured about 37 percent more liquid in short, wide glasses than in tall, skinny glasses.

“Most of us have too much chaos going on in our lives to consciously focus on every bite we eat . . . The secret is to change your environment so it works for you rather than against you,” said Wansink during a presentation at the American Psychological Association’s 119th Annual Convention.

So how do you make this work for you? By making these few changes, participants in a Wansink study lost up to two pounds a month.

  • Eat off of salad plates instead of dinner plates
  • Keep healthier food at eye-level in the fridge and cupboards, and keep unhealthy food s out of sight
  • Eat in a dining area and not in front of the TV
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