The EatSmart Blog

Providing Tools and Tips to Live Healthier, Happier Lives

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Maintaining Your Diet During the Holidays

Guest Post by Miriam Shatzkes, MS, RD from Dietnomics.

The Holidays bring excitement and many social gatherings. Along with all the hoopla, the Holiday season brings many ups and downs with our diets. Many of us are thrown off of our normal diets and we quickly go from maintaining our normal weight to seeing a weight gain.

It is important to make sure we balance our weight with the desire to want to celebrate in all of the festivities that the Holidays bring. This includes being conscious of the way we cook our meals to the way we eat through the Holiday season.

When cooking your meals for the Holidays there are many substitutions that can be used to decrease the amount of unwanted calories, and reduce the fat and salt content in your meals. This includes:

  1. Going easy on the gravy and opting for canned cranberry sauce on your turkey for a nutritious and fat-free option.
  2. Try baking quick breads with applesauce instead of butter or margarine.
  3. Using cooking techniques such as baking and steaming versus frying, will help lower the fat content in your meals.
  4. Replace some of the bread in your holiday stuffing with canned chestnuts, a nutritious and different alternative. And to lighten your stuffing and add valuable nutrients, mix in canned, chopped vegetables, too.
  5. Substitute canned evaporated milk in recipes that call for cream. An easy way to make your holiday baking a little bit healthier, lower in calories and more nourishing.

No one said you can’t have a wonderful Holiday meal, but there are ways to modify the meal to make it healthier without losing the grandeur of the holiday spirit.

Holiday meals are a joyous occasion and while we tend to sit around enjoying the company of our family and friends, many of us tend to continue eating when we aren’t hungry anymore. It is important to recognize when you are satiated and refrain from overeating. When you overeat your body retains many calories that you do not need and I am sure that you do not want. Be aware, and do not pick at food when you are sitting around talking at the dinner table. Knowing when you are full could be the biggest gift you can give to yourself over the holidays!

Above all, enjoy this Holiday season but please remember that it takes a lot more time to get rid of the calories you consume. A great way to measure your progress is to weigh yourself up to twice a week throughout the Holiday season to watch for any weight gain. Be sure to watch what you eat and stay active throughout the holiday season!

How are you maintaining your diet this Holiday Season?

About the Author: Miriam is a Registered Dietitian who resides in NYC. Her focus is in weight loss, weight management and diet control. 

Ways to Encourage Your Children to Cook!

Guest Post by Mary B.(@Nuts4Stuff) from Nuts 4 Stuff

Helping your children take an interest in cooking and baking is a good thing.  Not only will they learn an important lifelong lesson of being self-reliant when it comes to meal preparation, but you can help teach them some other valuable lessons as well.

Cooking and baking require measuring.  Sometimes, you need to adjust recipes and work with fractions, which is a great way to sharpen their mathematic skills.

Learning to cook and bake can build confidence when your child masters, perhaps, a favorite recipe.  Praise that acquired new skill and watch that child exceeding beyond your expectations as he or she wants to make something more complicated or learn more.  You might even have a budding chef in your midst.

Do not criticize only suggest when a mistake is made, otherwise, you will discourage them from wanting to continue.  Everyone makes mistakes so just be patient with the extra dishes, tasting spoons, or the coating of flour now on your floor or any accidental spills!  This is a valuable lesson for you in gaining patience just as much as it is for your child.

Teaching your child to cook and bake can be a fun activity for both mother and child, especially if you start out making the child’s favorite recipe together, side by side as a team.  Read the recipe together and walk your child through each step of the process.  Don’t assume that just because you understand how to read a recipe that a non-cook does.  Ask your child if he or she understands and has any questions about the instructions.

For example, your child may ask how long does it take to cook potatoes before you can mash them.  You may reply twenty minutes is about right.  However, you may fail to provide that little detail about stabbing them first to test if they are soft enough because it comes naturally to you. Trust me, but mashing semi-cooked potatoes is like serving up a plate of glue that even dogs will refuse to eat.  I know because I forgot this little detail once.

Another important lesson is helping them appreciate the loving efforts that go into cooking and baking for your family.  A person only understands another person’s situation is if they personally experience it.   Cooking and baking will develop their compassion and understanding for you and later a spouse.

Take your children grocery shopping with you.  Show them the fresh fruit and vegetables and give them lessons in proper selection.  Help them learn to read the ingredients on the back of jars and boxes of what is healthy and what is not is.  This serves as a wonderful introduction into nutrition and healthy eating.

Finally, you can help them understand cost and comparison, which is another vital lesson to be had when you compare one product at the grocery store over another.  This is the perfect way to teach children the value of a dollar.

How do you encourage children to cook?

About the Author: Mary is a blogger who loves cooking and experimenting with healthy recipes and ways to improve health and save money!

EatSmart Interviews Fitness Professional, Abbie Appel

We recently sat down with Fitness Professional, Abbie Appel to dive into some interesting facts about nutrition and the benefits of using an EatSmart Digital Nutrition Scale.  

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Abbie, tell us about yourself.  I’ve been in the fitness industry for many years.  I develop fitness programs and courses for a few different fitness companies and I teach these programs to instructors and trainers at conferences and workshops.  I’m also in the trenches as a trainer and instructor and have the opportunity to counsel my clients with their fitness needs and weight-loss issues.

When did your passion for health and fitness begin? It started in college, when I began to gain weight in my freshman year. I loved the way working out made me feel and look and began teaching classes and training clients as a way to make extra money during summer break.

You’ve been using our EatSmart Digital Nutrition Scale out for over four months now.  What are some of the benefits of using this particular food scale? I love how precise it is.  This scale allows my clients and I to learn exactly what we’re eating.  There is no ambiguity.  I’m back in school getting another degree in dietetics and one of my courses required me to measure exactly what I was eating.  I found out after using the scale that I was eating almost 1000 kcals more than I originally thought.  What’s more, I also found out that I was eating around 35% fat.  I was completely shocked.  So, now I’m able to modify my caloric and fat intake and it’s easier to monitor my weight.

People seem to be interested in knowing the calories, carbohydrates, total fat, protein and sodium in their food, but many ask how necessary is it to know the Fiber, Potassium, Magnesium, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, Calcium, Vitamin K? It’s extremely important.  Many people are measuring kcals, carbs, fat, protein and sodium because they have an illness caused by obesity, such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. However, all the micronutrients as well as Fiber and Saturated Fats have an impact on these diseases.  Potassium is good example. Research has shown Potassium can lower blood pressure.  So people with hypertension might want to eat food with potassium such as potatoes and bananas.  The scale can tell you exactly how much is in each food item and if you’re getting the RDA of it.

Would you consider the EatSmart Digital Nutrition Scale a “must have tool” for a person who is trying to lose weight? Absolutely! Most people who are trying to lose weight are eating more or less than they should to actually lose weight or lose weight safely and keep it off.  This scale and guide provided with the scale, can tell us precisely how much we are should eat based on our current weight, activity level and weight-loss goal.

Who would else benefit from using this scale?  Anyone with any fitness/health goal.  Whether you are measuring calories to lose weight or macronutrients such as carbs, proteins and fats to gain muscle for a sport or improve your ability to play that sport, the scale could help because it tells you exactly what you’re eating and what your needs are.

Is the scale easy to use? Did you find any neat features? Super easy to use.  It gives you hundreds of food items, so there is no problem, finding the food you need to weigh.  If you do have access to a food label the Instruction manual even gives you a place to record it for future use. Another thing I love about the scale is that it’s sleek in design.  Many scales are ugly and I need to hide them in my cabinet.  This one is really attractive; I can leave it on my counter.  This is great, because it’s easily assessable and makes it easy to weigh EVERYTHING!

And last, but not least, Abbie, how do you yourself ‘eat smart’?  My EatSmart Nutrition Scale is an invaluable tool.  I love it for my clients.  It makes it very easy for them to eat healthfully.  In the past, it’s been challenging trying to figure how much you’re eating and then lose weight.  Many of my clients get frustrated when they don’t lose weight after trying so hard to estimate what they’re eating.  Now the guess is over, the food scale tells you exactly what you eating and helps you live a healthier life.

Story by: Karen Welby, Marketing Director of EatSmart Products

For more information on Abbie Appel, please visit her website by clicking here.  

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