SuperBowl Doesn’t Have to Mean Supersized Portions

Game Day Tips To Help You Keep Your Wellness Goals On Track
It’s the first week of February, so it’s around that time when the popular New Year’s Resolutions are dwindling down to the ghost of New Year’s Past. If you’re worried that the big game is going to sabotage your healthy efforts, I’m here to tell you – please don’t create something to stress over! While the jury may still be out regarding whether New Year’s Resolutions are helpful or not, I believe that any day, including January 1st, is a great day to get started with making simple, sustainable changes toward better health (and that can include game day) and every meal does not need to be your idea of perfect. Below are my tips for keeping your health goals while enjoying a day of fun and food (oh, and I guess some football) – so that you can remain in control of your 2018 intentions.
Tip #1: Begin the day with an activity you enjoy
You’re likely going to be planted in front of the TV on Sunday night, so try to get some movement in early on so that you’re not sedentary for the entire day. If you want to hit a gym class or go for a run, great! But if you don’t, there are plenty of other ways you can be active, whether it’s going for a long walk or hike (weather permitting), running around with your dog at the park, doing an at-home yoga podcast or simply doing some activities around the house (squats, jumping jacks, planks and many other exercises don’t require any equipment or extra space, and simple at-home gym equipment like resistance bands and light weights are awesome tools to have on hand). And while you’re sitting and watching the game, don’t forget to get up and stretch every once in awhile. Bottom line? Find something you enjoy and move around a little.
Tip #2: Eat a filling, nutritious breakfast (and lunch)
It’s easy to overdo it on chips and brownies when you haven’t eaten enough to feel full beforehand. Make sure to eat filling meals before the big game so that you’re not as tempted by the less nutritious foods. Don’t feel that you can’t enjoy these foods – but making a meal of chips and baked goods isn’t the best idea. My go-to breakfast ideas are eggs scrambled with veggies with fruit, avocado toast with eggs or seeds, or oatmeal with some nuts/seeds and fruit, and lunch should be some combination of protein plus carbohydrate (whole grains, fruits or starchy vegetables), non starchy vegetables (think: greens, cruciferous veggies, cucumbers, bell peppers, etc.) and some healthy fat (hello, avocado).
dipsTip#3: Serve (or bring) some tasty, nutritious options for the big game
Whether you’re hosting a party at your place or going as a guest to watch the game somewhere else, you can make sure that you have some nutritious options that you’re truly excited about. Whether you want to make a plate of crudités, a large salad, a fruit salad, a main dish like baked buffalo chicken strips or some fun dips, there are so many ways to enjoy your favorite nutritious foods. My favorite party staples are my baked spinach artichoke dip, my buffalo cauliflower dip, and my homemade guacamole! Tip: Baked Beanitos are bean-based baked tortilla style chips, meaning more protein and fiber and less fat than traditional chips – and they’re delicious.
Tip #4: Go easy on the alcohol
Alcohol is a source of calories without much in the way of nutrition, meaning these empty calories can add up quickly. Not to mention, oftentimes drinking leads to lower inhibitions, which means it can be more difficult to be mindful regarding food choices. If you want to enjoy a drink or two, don’t stress – but overdoing it on a Sunday probably isn’t the best idea (work on Monday doesn’t need to be any more difficult, amiright??). And make sure to alternate each drink with water to stay hydrated.
Tip #5: Don’t make every fun occasion something to stress over
When we talk about wellness, oftentimes we stay so focused on healthy eating and exercise and we forget that our mind plays such an important role. Wellness does not mean depriving oneself, or losing sleep over logging a certain amount of miles on the treadmill. Wellness should connect both physical and mental wellbeing, and along with that should come acceptance that not every day is going to be your ideal day – and that’s okay. So this Sunday, move a little, find some nutritious options you love, enjoy some less nutritious foods if you please, and root for your favorite team with some friends.
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Thanks For Giving Me These Holiday Tips!

Thankful for Health

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – being surrounded by family, friends and food and acknowledging the many things for which we are thankful. While it’s okay to indulge (it is a holiday, after all), it’s important to be thankful for our health, our ability to reach this season, and treat our bodies well so that they can continue to care for us. This year, I have a lot to be thankful for! I’m thankful for my fiancé, who keeps me strong, challenges me and loves me unconditionally. I’m also thankful for the fact that I’ll be gaining an additional family in a few short months, and thankful for my own family who has always supported me, through college and grad school, my initial endeavors as a dietitian, and always playing the role of guinea pig when I want to try out a new recipe! I’m thankful for my new home in Florida, all of my new friends, my old friends who continue to stay close regardless of being miles apart, and the ability to do what I love everyday.

I’m also thankful for my attitude toward food, as I’m aware that it does not come easy to many people, and it didn’t always come easy to me, either. Food should be enjoyed, not villainized, and celebrated for all that it can do for us, and we should aim to choose foods that will provide nutrition, as well as joy. In the midst of casseroles, cookies and pies, it can be difficult to navigate the Thanksgiving table with health in mind. Below are some tips so that you can eat your turkey (and pie), and enjoy it too!

  • Start your day with some physical activity. Most of us consume more calories on Thanksgiving than on an average day, so burning some extra calories will help to offset the caloric intake to come. Also, exercise can allow you to burn some additional calories following your workout, although this amount is often small.
  • Focus on veggies. That may seem difficult on Turkey Day, but there are so many seasonal veggies to choose from right now and they’ll help you to fill up with fiber, water and give you a good dose of vitamins and minerals! Some in-season veggies to consider making the star of the show include Brussels sprouts, kale, winter squash, cauliflower and cabbage. My favorite Brussels sprouts recipe is just as tasty as it is pretty!
  • Turkey is a relatively lean protein, especially if you choose the breast meat (white meat). If you’re a turkey lover, feel free to enjoy the festive protein, keeping in mind that one 3 oz serving of poultry is approximately the size of a deck of cards.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking a glass of water and choosing foods that contain large amounts of water (like fruits and vegetables) can help you to feel more full, which means you may indulge less and keep portions reasonable. Also, if you’re drinking alcohol, make sure to alternate each drink with water and skip any high-sugar mixers.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains for side dishes. Try a recipe that features farro or quinoa (okay, so quinoa is technically a seed, but it’s consistency and properties are similar to a whole grain) for increased protein and fiber! Farro is my favorite, with a hearty, chewy texture that stands up to sauces and is also great on it’s own with some oil and veggies.
  • Consider serving a veggie-based soup before the meal, such as my pureed roasted cauliflower soup. This seasonal soup tastes creamy and hearty, but it’s relatively low in calories and will fill you up so you don’t overdo it during the main event.
  • Go for an evening stroll with some guests after dinner, which can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and add to your overall step count that day.
  • Don’t be fooled by desserts with a health halo – an avocado brownie is still a brownie, although it is likely to be a better alternative since it will have increased monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Even if you offer some “healthified” dessert options, keep portions in check. Interested in sampling a few desserts because there are so many great options? Take small portions of a few and choose your favorite to possibly indulge in a larger piece. My favorite fall dessert? Pumpkin pie! Enjoy my favorite recipe here. More into chocolate? My chocolate goji bark is always a crowd pleaser!

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