Learn How to Train Yourself to Eat Only 2-3 Bites of Anything!


By: Nikki Nies

15423331902_abee553f8b_o
Original Image by houseofthailand.com via Flickr

I’ve touched on the topic of mindful eating before, but it’s such an easy tactic that it’s overlooked, it’s worth mentioning again! As a gal that can never say no to cookies and/or ice cream, I’m one of those people that needs tangible accountability practicals. Especially when it comes to ice cream cake!  I’m all about understanding the system and thought process of food and finding small ways you can have your cake and eat it too!

A 2013 Cornell study finds eating smaller portions of your favorite foods, such as chocolate and chips can provide the same satisfaction as a larger portion would.  Logically, it makes sense portion size has a direct impact on caloric consumption, but not on level of satisfaction. Your body and hunger cravings need less than you think! If you’re wanting to control your weight and cravings, take a small bite and wait 15 minutes and see if your stomach and head ‘need’ more.

This research supports the notion that eating for pleasure – hedonic hunger – is driven more by the availability of foods instead of the food already eaten,” said Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and a co-author of the study.

If cutting soda or sweets out of your daily life cold turkey isn’t realistic, which is understandable, combine your sugar craving with a healthy option. For example, dipping bananas in chocolate sauce or with peanut butter can be a great way to satiate cravings, while obtaining desired nutrients. Each individual’s food journey is unique and dietary changes need to be specific to overall feasibility. Removing sugar cold turkey may be necessary at the beginning, but once you’ve recognized how to gain more control over food choices, you can reintroduce it a little at a time. Maybe after a month of no ice cream, you allow yourself 1/2 cup twice a week.

Also, let’s talk quality! If you’re going to splurge on calories, pick high quality products that you can savor every bite.  Every once in a while, choose the perfect dark chocolate truffle that may set you back a few pennies instead of the ubiquitous Baby Ruth. So, what treats are you going to allot for the week? Think about what you can gain and lose–weight wise by using the above tactics!

Sources: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/savor-every-bite-with-mindful-eating/

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/patients-families/health-matters/december-2014/sweet-tooth-conquering-your-cravings.aspx?feed=blogs

http://sandradodd.com/eating/sweets

http://www.daveywaveyfitness.com/nutrition/5-tips-to-eat-dessert-daily-and-never-get-fat

How to savor every bite – Mindful eating 101

http://fooddaily.com.au/articles/47/savour-every-bite-mastering-the-art-of-mindful-eating

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/13-ways-to-fight-sugar-cravings#1

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2013/01/study-just-bite-satisfies-cravings-snacks

Challenge Yourself To Own Version of Elon Musk Challenge


By: Nikki Nies

This last year has a been a lot of self reflection and realization. I’m embracing more of who I am and am proud of the ideals I have formed. While we’re all works in progress, I’m grateful for the life experiences I’ve had and how I’ve learned how little I need to survive. I’m sure I’ve shared, but my time in grad school and my dietetic internship while grueling, was a turning point in my life. Not only did I become more comfortable in the kitchen due to the inability to eat out as much, but I became more eager and willing to have people over, fine tuning my hospitality skills and learning how to cater to food preferences and restrictions.

3023225390_2379e19c5b_o
Original Image by Ashley via Flickr

Since I was restricted to eating at home and being creative to a small budget, that was my version of Elon Musk challenge. If you haven’t heard of this challenge, I hope you take a few minutes to learn how this 17 year old man lived off $1/day for a month to see if he had what it takes to become an entrepreneur. It’s certainly not the most exciting challenge to take on, but it’s an eye opener and helps you realize how little you really need in life and how much excess we have. Yes, I don’t know your social status or income level, but it’s a humbling experience to see how well you really are and how when funds are tight, you can make it stretch and work.

Now working at Christian Care Center, I’m grateful to not have to be so cognizant of every penny, but I didn’t want to lose that sense of minimalism or gratitude that was ingrained in me during school. I often times partake in the Pantry Challeng, testing how I can repurpose different foods, stocking up on ugly fruits and vegetables and how I can take advantage of Aldi’s remarkable deals.

If you’re up for the challenge, the Elon Musk challenge will require some planning, but I hope you try it, even for a week! Yes, Elon’s challenge stemmed from his curiousity if he could financially make it as an entrepreneur, but no matter what your reasoning is, it’s a great challenge to better understand your mindset and where your values and priorities are. Perhaps, you’ll realize how much you eat out and want to revert back to more homemade meals or recognizing how much food and money you truly throw out!

Please share with us how you plan to incorporate any or all of this challenge into your life @WeDishNutrition! I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from all of you!

Sources: http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-challenge-food-budget-2016-2

http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-2-dollars-day-food-challenge-2016-1

http://www.therichdaily.com/4-challenges-fuelled-elon-musks-success/

How Billionaire Elon Musk Once Lived on $1 a Day

Thank You MyFitnessPal For Helping Me Get Back on Track


By: Nikki Nies

Previously, in my post Where I’ve Been and Where I Want To Be, I had touched on my praises for MyFitnessPal, but since I continue to proudly use it and it has made me more aware of my ever present need to input my food intake, I believe it deserves a bit more attention than a sentence. In the last couple months of using it, I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a meal–inputting all of my intake, while not always the best meal choices, but it truly has become a part of  my daily routine and habit.

133966973_d7098d4573_o
Original Image by slj tribe via Flickr

Sometimes it can seem hard to gauge servings, but I’ve recently purchased a food scale and I keep my measuring cups within reach. I haven’t found using measuring cups as a limiting part of eating, but it helps me be more aware of what a true serving is and just how much I can eat! If I’m going to input my daily meals, might as well do it accurately right?

Another facet of MyFitnessPal I applaud is the ability to input recipes that I’ve followed whether I’ve retrieved from a blog or the ability to input homemade recipes. Prior to uploading recipe to MyFitnessPal it’ll give a breakdown of the ingredients and confirm the use of the said ingredients. I recently made a tzatziki salad, with the original recipe calling for generic Greek yogurt, but with the abundance of available ingredients, I was able to input the Aldi Friendly Farms Greek yogurt I use and it provided a more accurate picture of what I’m using and slashed the calories! I love that you can scan the bar code of products too if you’re not wanting to manually input too.

I do have to admit, there have been times where I’ve checked out the calories, fat, protein and sugar content of foods and opted not to eat it after seeing the astronomical numbers. Yes, I don’t want to be limiting myself when it comes to food, but MyFitnessPal is doing it’s job in making me more aware of what I should and shouldn’t eat. Again, while a lot of people focus on meeting their caloric needs, since using the app, I’ve become more aware of meeting and staying within my fat recommendations. I love nuts and can quickly overeat them if I’m not careful, but since using the app, I’ve been able to cut down while not feeling deprived.

While I’m sure MyFitnessPal step counter isn’t as accurate as a Fitbit, as it counts steps with any ‘motion’ and I don’t always have my phone with me, it’s been a great test run to see how much I actually move. With my desk job, I’ve made more of an effort to get moving, including starting to walk on my lunch with my coworkers versus eating at my desk! I

How My Budget Turned Me Into a Semi-Vegetarian


By: Nikki Nies

4808620165_62d1bb4d78_o
Original Image by Meal Makeover Moms via Flickr

People are always surprised to learn I’ve only been cooking for the last couple years since it’s become a huge part of my life–when I’m not cooking, I’m meal planning, when I’m not meal planning I’m grocery shopping and when I’m not grocery shopping I’m looking up at the latest food trends. It wasn’t until I hit grad school, where money was extremely limited that I was forced to cook for myself, learn how to be a hostess, cater to dietary restrictions (e.g. gluten free) and how to meal plan and prep. While some may look at those times as a struggle, I found cooking to be a source of entertainment and as we all know it’s a great way to bring people together.

Due to my competitive nature and eagerness to have fun in all I do, I made it a game to see how little I could spend on groceries while still eating ‘well.’ This is where more plant based foods came into the picture, with me realizing I could get more bang for my buck while eating adequate sources of protein, I quickly switched over to more plant based proteins. For example, at H Mart, I just bought 12 slices of tofu for $4.99, you can’t beat that price! That tofu will last me a good couple weeks and will allow me to make a variety of dishes I’ve been wanting, such as Tofu and Mushroom Miso Soup.

Not all my meals have been plant based. I vividly remember when skinless boneless chicken breasts were well over $2/lb. Therefore, I opted for buying 4 whole chickens, teaching myself how to cut, debone and trim the fat off chickens. That was a sight to see!

 

I’m never been one for eating tons of pasta or bread, but I’ve always made sure my plates were filled with large chunks of meat and protein. Adopting a more plant based diet took some time to adapt, but my taste buds adjusted well and I feel a lot healthier.

It’s been almost two years since graduating, but I’m proud to say I’ve maintained a lot of the same culinary practices. I only buy meat if there’s discount sale at Kroger and always stock up on dry legumes–such as lentils and black beans. Whenever I am dining out, I’m not afraid to try the steak or the seafood option as I know it’d be harder for me to prepare at home. I’m grateful my budget constraints made me think out of the box and I feel more liberated than ever to be able to make different types of food. What culinary changes have you made over the years? Perhaps it was due to food restrictions or budget like me, but I look forward to hearing about it!

Sources: http://www.peta.org/living/food/making-transition-vegetarian/ideas-vegetarian-living/vegetarian-eating-budget/

Grocery Hacks: 6 Money-Saving Tricks for the Vegetarian Athlete on a Budget

https://www.buzzfeed.com/chelseamarshall/fancy-vegan-budget-vegan?utm_term=.mmwY4xzq2#.pjdZj2rn8

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/slideshows/reasons-to-choose-a-plant-based-diet

Take Action on Big Soda!


4813604236_aff513053c_o
Original Image by Alexis Nyal via Flickr

Think the beverage industry randomly decides what drinks to offer and have your best interest in sight? Think again! The beverage industry spends over $12 billion a YEAR marketing its products to youth and families. In other words, that’s 1 million every hour per day! Even though soda only adds and exacerbates one’s risk for diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, cancer, obesity, sexual dysfunction and/or premature death, by using the 3Ms, marketing, money and misinformation, unfortunately consumers are bombarded with pleas to buy soda.

Breakdown of the 3Ms:

  • Marketing: African American and Latino youth are targeted, with teens seeing 80-90% more TV ads for sugar sweetened beverages than Caucasian peers. More than $28 million is spent per year targeting this population, with the help of celebrity endorsements. Additionally, cartoon characters are often times used to lure kids in, with Coca Cola placing more than 38 million ads on children’s websites in 2013. Coca Cola has announced Vision 2020, its plan to double its business by that year. This aggressive plan will be targeting mostly Latino and African American communities in the U.S. and abroad.

In the words of Coca Cola’s Chief Marketing Officer Bea Perez: “We know that 86 percent of the growth through 2020 for Coca-Cola’s youth target market will come from multicultural consumers, especially Hispanic, and focusing on this segment is critical to the company’s future growth.” 

  • Money: Beverage companies fund studies finding ‘…no conclusive link between obesity and sugary drinks.’ Coincidence? I think not! Furthermore,from 2007-2013 lobbysites from Pepsico, American Beverage Association and Coca Cola gave $100 million+ to directly linfluence policy makers and local government and through philanthropy ‘selfish giving’ gives beverage companies an ‘in’ to non profit companies (e.g. Pepsi and Dr. Pepper gave $200,000 to Feeding America), making consumers link these brands to health and wellness, instead of illness and obesity. Over time, this gains public trust and goodwill, which in turn increases their sales and profits.
  • Misinformation: While a balanced diet is recommended for all, soda executives want us to think they care about conusmers’ health, making ‘healthier’ drinks and advertising with false health claims.

 

Beverage companies states parents and individuals are responsible for choosing healthy options, however, they’re all about the profit. Learn how you can be part of the change and take action against beverage companies:

  1. Tweet and/or email soda executives, such as @Pepsi and/or @CocaCola and let them know what you think!
  2. Contact pharmacies, such as Walgreens and urge them to keep check out lanes healthier! While pharmacies should be a safe haven, providing tools that actually help us stay our best version of ourselves, by placing soda and candy at checkout leads to unplanned, impulse purchases.
  3. Watch and share videos to witness the youth of The Bigger Picture Project in action. Use YouTube’s < Share feature to email and share!
  4. Learn about public policy and legislation campaigns to better understand the politics and logistics to being part of the wave of change.
  5. Urge FDA to switch from grams to teaspoons when declaring sugar content.By using standard jargon across the board, this will clear up confusion. The World Health Organization recommends the average person should consume no mNew Postore than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.

 

With consumption of sugary drinks doubling in the last 3 decades, health care costs and chronic disease rising, the time is now to take action!

Sources:https://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/facts-on-sugar-drink-marketing.pdf http://www.opentruthnow.org/how-they-target-us/

http://www.kickthecan.info/legislative-campaigns

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/advertising-to-children-and-teens-current-practices

http://crushbigsoda.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-brown/dear-big-soda-its-time-fo_b_10004152.html

More Breaks=More Productivity


By: Nikki Nies

A week ago, if you had asked me how I spend my lunch breaks, I’d be stammering to give you a ‘healthy ‘answer. Like many, I try to cram in as much as I can into the 8.5 hours I’m at work, meaning I often times sacrifice my lunch breaks to get work done while eating at my computer. However, starting tomorrow I will be leaving my office on lunch beyond the occasional run of errands that I can squeeze in. Why is that? My friend has Wednesdays off and wants to spend lunch time with me! How boring would it be to have her stare at my computer as well.

We all know it’s the small steps that make a difference. While there are no plans in the horizon for me to get a standing desk at work, that doesn’t mean I throw my hands up and don’t try to be more active and move every 30 minutes. With the Dallas, TX weather unbearable during the summer, we’ve all remained inside, however, that doesn’t mean I have to stay inside the same place.

5077421071_cc38d57c98_o
Original Image by InterContinental Hong Kong via Flickr

While my friend is only going to be visiting me on Wednesdays, I’m using this small change as a way to catapult me, literally, out of my seat more often. Join me in being more active during your lunch break, such as:

  • Not compromising my break into 60 seconds of chowing down my food while talking with colleague about what assessment needs to be done or replying to emails that have flooded my inbox
  • Venturing to the break room or once it gets cooler out, outside for a meal
  • Take advantage of local fare and treat yourself, even if it’s once every two weeks to the new bistro down the street or stroll through a local farmer’s market on your break for the freshest produce available
  • We all have to eat, so once in a while, grab lunch with a colleague. You never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll learn or how you can help someone
  • While stepping away from computer screen is great first step, stepping away from phone, iPad and/or any other viewing device can be be helpful to giving your eyes a break
  • Volunteer at local soup kitchen and brighten someone’s day can be rejuvenating for yourself–win win!
  • Read a book for pleasure–you can read the self help or improvement books another time!

I’ll never forget the time a colleague was using another person’s computer and commented on how many foods crumbs were on the keyboard and started shaking it off. I vowed right then to NOT be the person in the office with a food festered keyboard. I can’t attest that has remained viable. Sometimes we just need an extra push and encouragement to start new minor healthier habit. I know I for sure do! We all want to be our best version of ourselves, so let’s be more proactive by taking more productive breaks!  Join me in making one small change today and share how it’s working!

Sources: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/09/16/16-things-you-should-do-on-your-lunch-break-every-day/#28f1b215274a

Lifehack Your Lunch: 8 Scientifically Proven Ways to Maximize Your Mid-Day Break

 

 

Why I Won’t Restrict Myself to Just the Calorie Amount


18501738144_180a91e58f_o
Original Image by Foodfacts pm via Flickr

Just like judging someone’s capabilities based on appearance is limiting, judging the quality and nutrient richness of food based off just calories should be removed from our society. While a movement that removes prejudices and first impressions is slowly, but surely occurring, I’m sure I’ll have better luck explaining why I won’t restrict myself to reading just calories on foods.

Yes, I admit it, I can’t help, but look at the nutrition fact label! I pride myself in inputting my food intake into MyFitnessPal app for the last 55 consecutive days and have learned a lot! When eating fresh, whole foods doesn’t necessarily always come with a nutrition fact label, by inputting my recipes into MyFitnessPal and portioning out my meals, I’m more aware of how much calories, fat, sugar, sodium, carbohydrates and fiber I’m allotted per day.

If we’re being frank here, one of my biggest pet peeves is when restaurants advertise offering 500 calorie or less meal options, but then forget to acknowledge their dishes have more than the recommended daily sodium intake or have an astronomical amount of sugar! Yes, considering the amount of calories in dishes  is important, especially when dining out should be part of the deciding factor, it shouldn’t be the deal breaker.

2103003911_0bce792752_o
Original Image by Anders Sandberg via Flickr

All of us have certain nutrients we’re more mindful of, for me, since tracking my food with MyFitnessPal, I’ve learned I need to be aware of my fat intake, specifically because I love nuts! For example, 1 ounce of nuts has 160 calories and 7 g protein, great right? Based on my height and weight, I should be consuming 43 g of fat per day. With just one ounce of peanuts, I’ve already used up 14 g! I’ve learned the hard way that while nuts are yummy, moderation is extremely necessary for me as I could mindlessly eat any and all kinds. If I want to add some nuts to my homemade parfait, that’s fine, but I can’t be eating more than an ounce a day, as I like variety like any one else.

I don’t want to get too hung up on numbers, but to remind you to look at the full picture. 7 g of protein for one ounce of anything is phenomenal, but what are you trading for that? Like a jigsaw puzzle, trying to find creative ways to enjoy food while staying within recommended limits can be a fun challenge.

Thankfully, the FDA has revamped the nutrition fact label to make it easier to discern the quality of food, specifically:

  • Better highlighting servings and calories in products with an updated design
  • Declaration of percent daily value and grams of ‘added sugars.’ It’s recommended one does not consume more than 10% of daily calories from added sugars, with the new labeling taking the guess work out of how much a product is contributing to daily amount
  • ‘Per serving’ and ‘per package’ provided for foods that can include multiple servings   (e.g. pint of ice cream) in ‘dual column’ format, with consumers better able to understand how many nutrients will be consumed if entire package/unit is eaten at one time
  • Improved abbreviated footnote of %Daily Value
  • For products between 1-2 servings (e.g. 20 oz soda), calories and nutrients will be labeled as one serving as most people consume at one time
  • Updated values (e.g. fiber, vitamin D and sodium) to be consistent with Institute of Medicine recommendations and 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines
  • Inclusion of iron, calcium, vitamin D and potassium in g and %DV form, with vitamin A and C no longer required to be included as deficiencies are rare.
  • ‘Calories from Fat’ will be removed, yet type of fat (e.g. saturated fat, trans fat) will be provided and is more important for consumers to understand the breakdown

When should you be expecting these changes you ask? Most manufacturers will be required to comply by July 26, 2018. What are you most looking forward to with the new nutrition fact labels? When choosing foods what is the deciding factor if it’s a no or go? Sodium? Sugar? Fat?

Sources: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm502182.htm