The Tricks – Tried and True

imagesCANWR0EASo I don’t call my web site Fit Chick Tricks for nothing. Here is a list of my favorite tricks that I use almost every single day.

 ** Fit girls don’t drink their calories. If you want a sweet beverage, don’t go for a soda, juice, or sports drink. They are loaded with calories, usually 100-200 calories per serving. Water should be your number one choice. If you need something sweet, try a flavored sparkling water, iced tea/green tea with lemon or as a last result even a diet soda if you must.

** Fit girls don’t eat chips with their salsa. Carrots are a great alternative to the tortilla chip. Carrots add the crunch without the calories and fat, and you still get the great taste of the salsa.

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(a) When you know you will be going to a specific restaurant on a specific day, plan ahead. After you have had a meal, and you are feeling full, go online and look up the restaurant’s website and menu. In the privacy of your own home, on your own time, you can really read the food options and decide on the best choices. You can take all the time you need, and since you have a full stomach, you won’t be influenced by hunger. Make your choice for the next time you are dining out… and stick with it. Don’t even open the menu when you are at the restaurant.

(b)If the restaurant doesn’t have a website, or you don’t have time to look it up, when you do have to open the menu, look to see if they have heart healthy options. Most places have a little symbol that they place next to the healthy choices. Only look at those options. Don’t read through all the yummy appetizer descriptions; don’t read through all the yummy pasta dishes, etc. Choose only from the heart healthy menu items.

** Fit girls don’t eat in their car. Stop eating major meals in your car like it’s a restaurant on wheels. Skinny girls will eat things like a health bar or some fruit, but no eating burritos, sandwiches, and pizza. How much can you really enjoy your food and pay attention to your portions if you are driving around and paying attention to 10 other things. Also, because skinny girls don’t eat meals in the car, there is no need to go through any kind of drive through which typically belongs to fast food joints.

** Fit girls stop eating before they are full. This is a big one. By taking a few minutes before you feel full, you can cut serious calories from your diet without feeling deprived. You must really pay attention to how your stomach is feeling, and stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly. (I started doing this, and it has worked every time. I am always amazed that even though I don’t feel full, if I stop eating, within a few minutes I feel full and sometimes stuffed. ) Eating just enough to satisfy your hunger will help you to feel your best, rather than stuffing yourself into a “food coma”!

** Fit girls eat a meal or snack before going to the grocery store. Grocery shopping can sabotage any healthy diet, as there are yummy temptations at every turn. If you go to the grocery while hungry, it can lead to crazy, unhealthy purchases, and in some cases, binge eating when you get home.

** Fit girls don’t eat salads at fast food restaurants. We all think of salads as being healthy, but his can be very misleading, especially at fast food joints. Most Wendy’s salads have over 600 calories each. A grilled chicken breast sandwich open face (remove one of the buns) or a bowl of chili is a much better option at less than 500 calories each. Salads can be a great choice because they are filled with veggies and fiber, but once you add the restaurant dressing (even the fat free option) it can put your calories way over the top. Don’t mistakenly make salad your “healthy” default menu option, because most times there are healthier, lower calorie, higher protein options. My favorite is a broiled chicken breast sandwich. I take off the side of the bun that has the mayo, and eat it as an open faced sandwich with a knife and fork.  Trust me, as a mom with kids who love fast food, I can tell you that almost every single fast food place has a broiled chicken breast in some form or another.

** Fit girls avoid food products that make healthy claims. Generally speaking, a health claim on a food product is a strong indication that it is not really a food but a food-like substance that has been scientifically engineered. You can find any type of junk food that will have a healthy claim tied to it, but just because a bag of potato chips has “no trans fats” doesn’t mean that it is healthy or low in calories.

Easy Ways to Reduce FAT-SALT-SUGAR from Your Diet

Lowering the saturated fat from your diet and reducing added salt or sugars is an easy place to start on your way to a healthier way of eating. If you have been in the habit of eating packaged foods, your pallet has been trained to crave all the “wrong” things. So it is important to find a way to make healthy foods taste great, so they become your “go-to” foods. Make them delicious without all those addictive additives that often resemble a science experiment gone awry. Here are some great tips from Dr. Seymour Weaver.

FIVE Tips for Reducing Fat in Your Diet Without Compromising Taste:

1.Use water, wine or low fat, sodium free stock in place of oil or butter when sautéing. You will not miss the flavor since the oil or butter is usually only used to keep whatever you are cooking from sticking to the pan. If the liquid evaporates just keep adding a little more until the food is cooked.

2.Instead of putting butter or margarine on your potatoes, top them with a dollop of fat free sour cream instead. Sprinkle with a little chives or your favorite herbs or spice blend and you will never miss the butter.

3.Skip the butter when making sandwiches and go with fat free condiments like your favorite mustard or fat free mayo instead. Most of the time we reach for the butter by habit rather than necessity and you will never miss it.

4.Replace cream or whole milk with skim milk in all of your favorite recipes. If the recipe calls for butter, substitute it with a healthier alternative such as olive oil.

5.Buy only the leanest cuts of meat and trim away any fat and skin from chicken. Marinade the meat to tenderize it and replace the flavor of the fat. Whenever possible, bake instead of frying and if you do have to pan fry something, use non-stick cooking spray or brush the meat with lightly with olive oil rather than adding oil to the pan. Making sure you pre-heat the pan will keep the food from sticking.

FIVE Tips for Reducing Sodium in Your Diet Without Losing Flavor:

1.Replace the salt shaker on your table with a sodium free spice blend. Most of the time we reach for the salt shaker out of habit rather than because our food needs it. A spice shaker on the table will satisfy that “shake” habit and add flavor to the food. There are tons of ready-made spice blends available or you can create your own custom blend using your favorites.

2.Trick your pallet. Sour and salt are recognized by the same group of taste buds. Instead of adding salt to your foods while they are cooking, try adding a splash of lemon or lime juice or flavored vinegars instead. Balsamic vinegar is particularly good to cook with as it adds a ton of flavor.

3.Read the labels. If you must purchase any packaged or canned goods, get in the habit of comparing labels for sodium levels. Chances are pretty good that a different brand may be a healthier alternative to the brand you are used to buying.

4.Add aromatics such as finely diced raw onion, scallions or shallots, roasted or raw garlic, fresh ginger or fresh herbs to foods as a hit of flavor instead of salt. Not only do these add flavor, they also bump up the nutritional value of your foods.

5.Make your own salad dressings. These are super easy to make and they taste much better than store-bought dressings. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian spices and minced garlic are a sodium free dressing that is packed with flavor. Experiment and find combinations you and your family will love

Food Labels – How To Keep Your Facts Straight

Get the Facts on Food Labels

There is a lot of press right now about food labeling and advertising. It can be overwhelming and confusing, to say the least. But, if you want to eat healthier it is critical to become a smart shopper by reading food labels to find out more about the foods you eat. The Nutrition Facts panel found on most food labels will help you:

1. Start with the Serving Size

• Look  for both the serving size (the amount for one serving), and the number of servings in the package.

• Remember to check your portion size to the serving size listed on the label. If the label serving size is one cup, and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

2. Check Out the Total Calories and Fat

Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat. It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight!

3. Let the Percent Daily Values Be Your Guide

Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help you evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan:

• Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5% DV means 5% of the amount of fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day would eat.

• Remember: percent DV are for the entire day — not just for one meal or snack.

• You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100% DV.

4. The High and Low of Daily Values

• 5 percent or less is low — try to aim low in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium

• 20 percent or more is high — try to aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber

5. Check the Ingredient List and then check it again

Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. Effective January 2006,manufacturers are required to clearly state if food products contain any ingredients that contain protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods. These foods are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

6. What Health Claims on Food Labels Really Mean

FDA has strict guidelines on how certain food label terms can be used. Some of the most common claims seen on food packages:

• Low calorie — Less than 40 calories per serving.

• Low cholesterol — Less than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 gm or less of saturated fat per serving.

• Reduced — 25% less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product.

• Good source of — Provides at least 10% of the DV of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.

• Calorie free — Less than 5 calories per serving.

• Fat free / sugar free — Less than 1/2 gram of fat or sugar per serving.

• Low sodium — Less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.

• High in — Provides 20% or more of the Daily Value of a specified nutrient per serving.

• High fiber — 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.

New food labels may be arriving soon. Here are two links that describe the new and improved labels.

http://berkeley.news21.com/foodlabel/

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/designing-a-better-food-label/

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