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Don’t let holiday weight gain creep up on you! 12 tips to curb overeating


Holiday weight gain doesn’t have to happen.  Here’s how to avoid overeating during the holiday season. 

Gaining weight over the holidays is what you might call a “no-brainer.”  When you’re facing a month-long holiday season of non-stop parties, family get-togethers and once-a-year holiday foods, it’s easy to think, “who wouldn’t gain a few extra pounds?” Holiday weight gain doesn’t have to happen, but a lot of people just assume that it will.  And that kind of thinking could get you into a lot of trouble.  If you’re convinced that holiday weight gain is inevitable, you’re probably not going to do much to prevent it.

Why It’s So Easy to Gain Weight Over the Holidays

That’s not to say that maintaining your weight over the holidays is easy – it’s a hugechallenge to keep your eating under control during the holiday season. When you’re facing so many situations (and for so long) that entice you to eat more than you should, your willpower is being tested nearly nonstop.

Look at it this way: in your daily life, you can probably name a situation or two that you know will trigger you to overeat.  Maybe you eat too much when you’re stressed, or you overdo it on the weekends.  And when  you’ve only got one or two triggers to manage, you can probably do that pretty well most of the year.

But when the holidays come around, it’s not just one or two things that can trigger you to overeat.  In fact, if I were to list (as I’m about to do) some of the most common overeating triggers, it’s as if every single one of them is coming at you from all sides during the holidays. And, it goes on for weeks.   When you look at it that way, it’s amazing we don’t gainmore weight than we do over the holidays.


Posted in Nutrition By Guy Alony

Packing a healthy lunch takes a little planning, but good nutrition is a big reward. If you struggle for lunch ideas, this simple guide on how to pack a healthy lunch is just what you need. Read on for thirteeen lunch ideas that will keep you feeling full all afternoon, and my at-a-glance guide to pairing delicious and healthy food types.

If you’re like most busy people, packing a healthy lunch for yourself probably seems like a chore. When you’re busy running out the door in the morning, packing a lunch for yourself is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But when lunch time rolls around – and you haven’t planned ahead – you’re likely to grab whatever is quick and easy… which may not always be the best choice. Getting into the habit of packing a healthy lunch for yourself might take a little time and effort on your part, but it’s a habit worth trying to establish. Not only will it save you some money, you’ll have much more control over what you eat, and how much.

What is a healthy lunch?

What you eat for lunch can make a big difference in how you perform for the rest of the day. If you don’t provide your body with the fuel it needs at lunch, you might find yourself tired or fuzzy-headed in the afternoon – which might leave you searching for a sugary, calorie-laden “pick-me-up”. Ideally, your lunch meal will keep you satisfied for several hours, so you’ll have the mental and physical energy to get through the rest of your busy day.

Even though many people rely on typical “lunch food” – like a sandwich, or soup and a salad – there are many different foods that can provide you with the energy and good nutrition that you need. Protein is important, since it helps to keep your hunger in check, vegetables help to fill you up and contribute plenty of vitamins and minerals, and high-fiber whole grains take time to digest and give your meal more staying power. To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can finish off your meal with some healthy carbs – in the form of a piece of fresh fruit.

If you’re not in the habit of packing a healthy lunch for yourself, start planning the night before. One of the easiest things to pack for lunch is leftovers from your evening meal – so get in the habit of cooking extra food. As long as you’re going to all the trouble to prepare and cook, you may as well get a few meals from your efforts. And, if you portion out your lunch at the same time you portion out your dinner – and then stash it in the refrigerator for the next day – there won’t be temptation to eat a second helping at night.

Once you get in the habit of putting aside leftovers for yourself, the next step is to start setting aside different components of your meals – the chopped raw vegetables, or the cooked meats, grains or poultry. Over the course of a few days, you’ll build up a stash of healthy ingredients to put together a variety of quick, healthy lunches.

Packing a healthy lunch: get ready

It’s hard to pack a healthy lunch if you don’t have the right ingredients on hand. And I’ll be the first to admit that this does take a little time and planning, but I really believe that the extra bit of time spent to make sure that your refrigerator, freezer and pantry are stocked make all the difference. When you don’t have what you need, it’s too easy to pick up something at the store or vending machine that might not be as healthy as something you’d pack yourself. I spend a little extra time a few nights a week to chop extra vegetables or wash extra salad greens for my lunches, which makes choosing what to pack for a healthy lunch a whole lot easier.

Try to get into the habit of “cooking once, eating twice (or more)”. Cook extra proteins and whole grains, and if you’re washing vegetables for salads or chopping veggies for cooking, always wash and dice extra so you’ll have them on hand.

Foods to keep on hand

  -   Whole grain options: brown rice, quinoa, millet, cracked wheat, whole wheat pasta or soba noodles, barley
  -   Protein options: chicken or turkey breast, roasted tofu, cooked lentils, cooked veggie burgers
  -   Vegetable options: mixed salad greens (wash, dry thoroughly, wrap in a large kitchen towel and store in crisper drawer in the refrigerator); leftover cooked vegetables; diced firm vegetables (they’ll keep for a few days) – like carrots, celery, red onion, peppers

-  In the pantry: canned beans, canned tuna, canned salmon, canned tomatoes, nut butters, whole grain bread/pita bread, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortillas

  -  In the refrigerator: lowfat milk, soy milk, plain Greek-style yogurt, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, hummus, salsa; whole fruits, low fat salad dressings; marinated artichoke hearts, roasted peppers

  -  In the freezer: Whole frozen fruits for smoothies, veggie burgers, frozen chicken breasts ready to cook in a batch.

Packing a healthy lunch: get set

Here’s a simple system to help you pack a healthy lunch. Simply pick a protein, add some vegetables and choose a whole grain. Then, add a bit of healthy fat for flavor if you like, and then let your imagination run free. This isn’t meant to be a complete list, but these are some of the most common ingredients you’re likely to use to put together a healthy lunch for yourself. Add some fruit with your meal or for dessert and you’re all set!

Protein Vegetables Starch/Grain Healthy Fat
Protein Powder Leafy salad greens Cooked Brown Rice Hummus
Milk Carrots Cooked Whole wheat pasta Avocado
Soy Milk Peppers Cooked Soba Noodles Nut Butter
Greek-Style Yogurt Onions 100% Whole Grain Bread Nuts
Cottage Cheese Celery Cooked Quinoa Olive Oil
Roasted Chicken Breast Tomatoes Cooked Millet Seeds
Roasted Turkey Breast Cucumber Cooked Cracked Wheat Sesame Oil
Canned tuna Squash Cooked Barley  
Canned salmon Green beans 100% Whole Grain Crackers  
Cooked beans or lentils Broccoli Whole Grain Tortillas  
Eggs Asparagus Cooked Sweet Potato  
Lean meat Salsa    
Veggie burger      

How to pack a healthy lunch: go!

Once you pick items from each column, it’s easy to come up with lots of great-tasting, healthy lunches you can pack yourself! Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.   Carrot-pineapple smoothie: Blend protein powder with milk or soy milk, cooked carrots and canned pineapple.
2.  Mix plain Greek-style yogurt with a little honey and almond butter and top with fresh berries; plain baby carrots on the side.
3.   Mash canned salmon with avocado on whole grain crackers; have a side of fresh cherry tomatoes.
4.   Mix cooked quinoa with diced roasted chicken breast, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, vinaigrette dressing.
5.   Spread a whole grain tortilla with mustard; layer with roasted turkey breast, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, shredded carrots; roll up and slice.
6.   Mix cooked black beans with diced cucumber, tomato, celery, avocado, cilantro; toss with salsa.
7.   Toss cooked soba noodles with grilled tofu and leftover steamed broccoli. Top with chopped spring onions a dash each of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil.
8.  Top low fat cottage cheese with chopped cucumber, celery, carrots, peppers; season with salt and black pepper; enjoy with a few whole grain crackers.
9.  Mix cooked whole grain pasta with canned white beans, canned tomatoes seasoned with basil.
10.  Mix together cooked lentils with finely chopped kale, sliced orange, red onion; dress with plain Greek-style yogurt seasoned with salt, pepper, curry powder.
11.  Salad of mixed greens and veggies topped with crumbled veggie burger; dress with olive oil vinaigrette.
12.  Whole grain pita bread spread with hummus; stuffed with chopped vegetables and sliced hard-boiled eggs..
13.  Mix cooked brown rice and canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Add a few dried cranberries or raisins, chopped parsley, low fat feta cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

What do you like to eat at lunchtime? Share your ideas on how to pack a healthy lunch!

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


Posted in Nutrition Health Articles By Guy Alony

Want to gain weight healthfully?  It takes a combination of healthy, calorie-dense foods and resistance training to build lean body mass.

When it comes to your overall health, you often hear that you should work to “achieve and maintain a healthy body weight”.  And when you hear that, it’s natural to think that it applies only to people who have extra weight to lose.  But there are those who have the opposite weight problem – they struggle with trying to gain healthy body weight.   And while plenty of overweight folks might be happy to trade places with those who struggle to gain, they should know that underweight people often find it just as hard to achieve their weight goals as those who are trying to lose.  And, just as many overweight people do, those who feel skinny or scrawny may have issues with body image, or feel as if all they do is think about food.

Healthy weight gain takes time

Whenever weight change is the goal – whether it’s to lose or to gain- most people want quick results.  But in either case, the process is usually fairly slow and gradual.  In order for an underweight person to gain a pound in a week’s time, they need to eat an extra 500 calories above what they burn every single day – which is often easier said than done.  And sometimes (in an attempt to speed the process along) people turn to unhealthy, high calorie foods – like donuts and French fries – that are loaded with fat and sugar.  Aside from the fact that these foods don’t provide proper nutrition for an active body, they’re also not likely to lead to healthy weight gain.

Healthy foods for healthy weight gain

Gaining weight in a healthy way, then, requires more than simply eating more calories – you want to emphasize healthy foods that are also calorie-dense to ensure that you will ‘bulk up’ rather than simply ‘fatten up’.  But, boosting calories alone – even from very healthy foods – could simply add more fat to your frame if you don’t couple it with resistance exercise.  So gaining healthy lean body mass requires a one-two punch of healthy eating along with strength training.

It also helps to eat on a schedule – and to set aside some extra time to eat more often – in order to work in those extra calories.   It does take some forward planning and a lot of patience, but with practice, you can achieve healthy weight gain.  Here are some tips to help you.

How to gain weight in a healthy way

  • Drink extra calories from fruit juices, low fat milk or soymilk.  If fluids fill you up too much, have them in between meals, rather than with your food.
  • Gradually increase portions.  Whenever you’re able to serve yourself, add an extra spoonful or two of food to your plate to gradually increase the amount you eat.  Most people eat whatever they are served, and this often works better than trying to eat a entire second helping.
  • Add healthy fats to your vegetables.  Use olive-oil vinaigrette on your salad, and add nuts, seeds, avocado or olives to salads and cooked vegetables.
  • Choose calorie-dense whole grains.  Cereal topped with milk or soy milk makes a good snack that isn’t too filling.  The highest calorie cereals are dense and heavy – the box of cereal should feel heavy for its size when you pick it up.  Look for cereals that get their extra calories from nuts, seeds and dried fruits rather than extra fat or sugar.  You can boost the calories in hot cereals by cooking them in milk or soy milk – then stir in nuts or nut butter, dried fruit, seeds or mashed banana. Look for heavy, dense whole grain breads – they tend to have more calories per slice than ‘regular’ bread – and load up on foods like whole grain pasta, brown rice and quinoa.
  • Adequate protein is important, but stick with lean proteins – fish and seafood, poultry, lean cuts of meat and vegetarian proteins such as beans and tofu – and increase calories by boosting your portion size, rather than relying on higher-calorie, fatty meats.
  • Dried fruits have more calories than fresh fruit on a per-serving basisand are good added to cold or hot cereal, trail mix, salads and smoothies – or just by the handful as a snack.
  • Healthy snacking can help healthy weight gain.  Trying to work in an extra 500 calories or more per day is easier if you include regular snacks.  Aim for three meals and three snacks (mid-morning, mid-afternoon, after dinner) and try to space meals and snacks evenly.  That way, there’s less of a risk that your snack will ruin your appetite for your next meal.  A protein shake, a bowl of cereal with milk and fruit, a sandwich on whole grain bread, or a cup of bean soup are just some examples of healthy snack options.

 Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. She is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Posted in Nutrition Health Articles Weight Gain By Guy Alony
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