It’s Time for a Snack Down

Office kitchens often provide the obstacles that knock a person off the “straight and narrow” of healthy snacking. Between company-provided snacks and the box of doughnuts your coworker was kind enough to bring in, these treats can make it tough to stick to your weight goals.

There are ways to stay on the right path, however! Here are some pointers to consider when trying to block the pesky office snack cycle:

Don’t eat the same lunches constantly.

  • If you have the same sandwich or salad daily, it might be playing a role in your snack bar addiction. Switch it up and you might find that you are more satisfied!

Distract yourself.

  • If you’re craving a snack, but aren’t actually hungry, try waiting it out. It can typically take 20-30 minutes for the desire to pass, so try to do something productive that will make passing the time easier.

Bring your own snacks.

  • If you can’t stop the snacking, you will be able to control what you will be snacking on. This could help you stay away from the cheese puffs and closer to the carrots.

Get to the root of the issue.

  • It is likely that your snacking problem has less to do with an addiction to food and more to do with your job. It could be boredom, stress, lack of stimulation or fatigue. Whatever the issue is, tackling it may help lead to a reduction in your snack attacks.

Allow balance.

  • It is okay to occasionally eat a cookie or two from the snack bar. Don’t beat yourself up about it, even if you did happen to skip the celery and peanut butter. This isn’t a war against snacks, so don’t act like a failed general when you give into their allure.

Diet Right

If you’re still hanging on and sticking with your New Year’s diet – first off, well done! You’ve made it farther than most. Secondly, there are a few pointers to help you ensure you’re going about dieting in the right way:

1.       Most individuals attempting to change their diets avoid snacking throughout the day. By the time dinner comes around, they are starving and more likely to indulge. Make sure you’re eating balanced meals throughout the day so you aren’t more tempted to quit your mission to a healthier lifestyle.

2.      “Don’t eat before bed or you’ll gain weight,” is a common myth. Eating before sleeping will not make you more likely to gain weight than any other time. The slowed digestion will not increase the likelihood of your body storing your meal as fat. It will likely lead to you not getting a comfortable night’s rest, though. If you can, make sure you eat a few hours before bed – you’ll likely feel better in the morning.

3.       It’s also important that if you’re eating late, you’re still eating smart. Eat foods that help make up for the vitamins, minerals and proteins used throughout the day.

4.      Going out to dinner while attempting to change your diet can be very difficult, especially if you’re trying to cut back on fats and oils. If you’re out to eat, try to ask for no sauce or dressing. They can easily turn your healthy meal into a “cheat-day” meal.

The fact that you’re making improvements to better yourself is important. If you fall off the wagon, it’s fine, as long as you are committed to getting back on. Try to keep these tips in mind as sticking to your diet starts to become more demanding!

Not Your Mother’s Dietary Guidelines

Every five years, the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments update the federal dietary guidelines. Recently announced, the newest dietary guidelines contain several changes as well as a few surprises.

  1. Limit Your Sugar Intake. Not surprisingly, the guidelines recommend Americans cut back on sugar intake. The new rules suggest limiting added sugars to a mere 10 percent of daily calories.
  2. Eat Less…Protein? A major surprise in the updated guidelines is the finding that many teenage boys and men, in particular, are eating too much protein. While lean meat consumption is still part of a balanced diet, the guide recommends men substitute some consumption of protein for vegetables.
  3. Eat More…Cholesterol?  The dietary guideline previously limited the intake of cholesterol to 300 milligrams daily. The new guidelines no longer contain a limit to dietary cholesterol. This means cholesterol-rich foods are no longer considered a health concern. Egg and seafood-lovers rejoice!
  4. Focus on Patterns. While many of the updated guidelines focus on individual nutrients, the guidelines advise individuals to focus primarily on overall patterns of healthy eating. Note that this is the first time the guidelines recommend a focus on overall habits instead of specific nutrients.

The guidelines suggest three diets, including vegetarian and Mediterranean diets. Before adapting any new plan, speak with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to ensure you’re utilizing the best plan for your individual needs. However, these updated guidelines are a great starting point for a balanced, healthy diet.

How to Eat Well While Traveling

Boing 747 London - Bangkok

Holding to a diet while traveling can be difficult, especially if you’re flying.

Southwest Airlines has those ever-popular dry roasted peanuts, followed by the mini pretzels which help your ears to pop. Delta has to-die-for Biscoff cookies and American Airlines has snack packs, filled with cookies, snack cakes and chips.

And while everyone deserves a cheat every now and then, these cheat snacks can go a long way.

Recently, I found an article which has helped me to reduce my cravings and expand my options while I’m traveling to and from La Guardia.

Even if you are headed to a different time zone, it’s best to keep your usual meal schedule for the day based on your point of origin. So if you leave at 9 a.m. on a two-hour flight, and the time zone you enter is an hour ahead of where you were, keep in the back of your mind to eat like it’s still 11:00 a.m. and try not to eat like it’s noon. Grab a bottle of water, perhaps, and wait until the designated meal time you usually set aside at home.

If your trip is overnight, you can eat according to the time zone change the next day. This will keep your internal clock in sync, instead of throwing everything out of whack. When you wake up, continue to eat on a schedule according to the time zone you’re in.

It’s true that alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate the body, but not many know that flying has the same effect. Grab a bottle or two before boarding the plane and take frequent sips through the flight. In addition, hydrating foods, such as fruits and vegetables, combined with fiber and protein are perfect sources of nutrition.