Dear Mom RD,
I am still trying to lose the last few pounds that I gained from my pregnancy. The problem is that I find myself eating my husband’s stash of cookies or ice cream when I get hungry at night after the baby is in for the night. What can I do to make this habit history?
-Late Night Snacker
Dear Late Night Snacker,
Your issue is quite common, especially in families where their nutrition priorities are not in sync. In an ideal world I would tell you to remove all trigger foods (meaning food that tempt you and likely go against your weight loss goals due to their high calorie content) from your kitchen. But alas, in the real world we live with other people (husbands, children, etc) who may demand these foods. Although it is an excellent idea to get your husband and entire family on board with your healthy eating kick, it is reasonable for others to want to have special treats available to them. If your husband wants to continue to have his treats in the kitchen-that is OK. You need to be prepared and make sure you have healthy alternatives that you can reach for when the cravings strike. For example, stock your freezer with low calorie frozen treats. I like Weight Watchers’ Giant Fudge Bars which tastes rich and creamy for a mere 110 calories. Sugar free pudding cups are another great option as well as sugar free hot chocolate. Try slicing an apple and sprinkling cinnamon on it and microwave for 3-4 minutes. This simple apple treats tastes like the inside of an apples pie and will make your kitchen smell delicious too! The bottom line is always make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy snack alternatives just for you.
Dear Mom RD,
I keep hearing how important it is to eat breakfast, but I am having a hard time deciding what to have so I grab a bagel and run. Any easy breakfast ideas for this working mom?
You heard right! Breakfast is perhaps the most important meal of the day as it gives your body the fuel it needs to run well. Studies show that meal skippers often wind up eating more calories than non-skippers. Skippers find themselves so hungry by the time they are confronted with food they overeat. The fact that you already eating breakfast is a great start. The problem with a large bagel is that it is lacking protein and fiber which should be in every meal. The bagel gets broken down fairly quickly in to sugar so you will most likely get a bolt of energy only to crash shortly after breakfast. It also contains quite a bit of calories without much nutritional value. Your ideal breakfast should contain a protein (in the form of dairy for example), whole grains and fruit and a bit of healthy fat.
Great energy boosting breakfast examples are:
Breakfast Sandwich: Whole grain English muffin with egg whites or eggbeaters and an orange.
Healthy Breakfast parfait: Combine 1 cup whole grain cereal (try Kashi brand or Fiber One) mixed into one cup on low fat yogurt (try Dannon Lite and Fit or Fage Greek style yogurt)
Waffles and Berries: Toast 2 whole grain frozen waffles and serve with 1 cup of berries. May serve with 2 tablespoons light syrup and 1 cup berries.
Peanut butter sandwich: 2 slices whole grain bread spread with 1-2 tablespoons of naural peanut butter.
Dear Mom RD:
My 7 year old is such a picky eater. After cooking what I think is a fabulous meal he refuses to eat it and demands noodles and butter. Help!!!
Dear Stressed Out,
First of all, please know this is a common problem that almost all families deal with at one point! Your child is starting to develop his own food preferences not to mention testing your control over his eating options. The best thing to do for any child who is a picky eater is to sit down with him at relaxed time during the week and ask him to come up with a grocery shopping list with you. Tell him that you want his help in choosing what meals you will prepare and serve as well as what snack items to have on hand. Try to build recipes around his preferences (within reason). Of course it may help to give him to have options like chicken, fish, turkey or tofu to help narrow down his choices or else you may end up with a meal consisting of chocolate cake and ice cream! Ask him to come food shopping with you too. By including him in the decision making process, you may take the pressure off of you and let him feel like he is playing an important part in the family dinner. He will be more likely to try the meal knowing he had a hand in creating it. While you are at the supermarket or preparing dinner with him try to talk about the importance of trying new foods and how essential it is to eat healthy to help him grow strong. If you still feel that your son is not broadening his food horizons make sure he is taking a daily multivitamin as prescribed by his pediatrician. The fact that he sees his family eat a healthy well balanced diet is going to help also as parents are their natural role models.
Top 10 Nutrition Tips For Moms
Barrie Wolfe MS RD
1. Never skip a meal. Would you every think of letting your child skip breakfast? Certainly not! Always start your day by eating breakfast. No excuses. It gets your metabolism moving and gives you energy to get your day going. Studies show that meal skippers end up eating more calories than non meal skippers. Your body realizes it is missing calories and you wind up very hungry and eating whatever you want!
2. Divide your dish! If you ever are having a hard time deciding what to eat at lunch or dinner simply fill half of your plate with salad and vegetables. The rest of the plate should be ¼ starch (like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, baked potato) and ¼ protein (like fish, chicken or turkey).
3. Create a safe food environment. Remove “junk food” like chips, chocolate, cookies, soda and the like from the places you hang out like your kitchen, desk, bedroom or car. If the food is staring you in the face, you will likely eat it at a moment of weakness. If your kids or husband demand that you have these foods available just make sure you have your stash of healthy snacks on hand when a weak moment strikes. Remember-all foods can fit into your diet- but if these foods are consumed daily, you will likely not reach your health goals. Keep healthy foods and drinks at arms reach when possible.
4. If you “slip up” get back on track immediately. Most people trying to change their eating habits become so upset with themselves for getting off track at a meal or event they decide to make the remainder of the day or week a food “free for all” and sabotage their good efforts. When you feel you ate a bit more that you planned too, please move on! We are not perfect and that is OK! Get back to your healthy eating plan right away and you will still make the progress you desire.
5. Lose the diet mentality. “Diet” connotes a short term change. You want to make changes that will last a lifetime, not for a few weeks or months. You are creating healthy life style changes that will hopefully improve your overall health, wellness and self esteem. If anyone notices your new eating habits-let them know you are trying to get healthier rather than “you are on a diet.” The last thing you want to instill in your kids is that dieting and food deprivation should be emulated. Never forgot that we are children’s role models. Set a good example by choosing healthy foods not but dieting!
6. Choose your calories wisely. Let’s say you love chocolate cake. You are at a party where your friends are enjoying vanilla cake. Most people would simply eat the cake because it is there! This is a mistake. Try to only indulge in the food you love and don’t waste your time (or calories) on foods that really don’t tempt your palate. By simply giving your self permission to eat the foods you really love when they are around-you won’t be as tempted to eat the foods you don’t even love just because they are there. This mentality will ultimately help you save calories and reach your weight loss and maintenance goals.
7. Drink water. Most adults need 6-8 cups of fluid daily. Water is your best bet for hydration as it provides no calories and is void of artificial sweeteners. It can help with weight loss because it is very filling and it helps to flush away the waste as you lose weight. Water also promotes regularity. Some people even confuse thirst with hunger which is yet another reason to drink up! Please don’t waste your calories on juices which pack in about 120 basically empty calories per cup. Eat fruit instead which provided filling fiber too.
8. Get moving. If your doctor permits, get moving! Exercise burns calories, tones, and improves mood in most people. Aim for 1 hour of exercise a day or most days of the week. Start slow if this is new to you. If 1 hour it too much for your schedule, try 20 minutes intervals throughout the day. Every little bit helps! Look for local Stroller Strides group to find walking budding or join a gym with safe babysitting services if possible.
9. Keep food diary. Journaling what you eat, drink and exercise will keep you on track and accountable for your actions. Life is too busy to remember what you are for dinner last Tuesday! People that have lost weight and kept it off for years report food diaries were an important part of their achievements.
10. Ask for help! Consult with a nutritionist if making healthy food choices is npt coming easy to you. Sometimes it helps to talk to a professional who can help arrange meal ideas, snack suggestions and shopping lists that are created especially for your tastes and needs. To find a registered dietitian in your area check out eatright.org to find a professional in your neighborhood.