All Entries For habits of healthy eaters

It Seems Size Really Does Matter


Over the past 50 years the average dinner plate has increased from 9 inches in diameter to between 11 and 12 inches. A two to three inch increase may not seem like a big deal until you understand that increasing the plate size ever so slightly allows for an extra 50% surface area to fill-up. Couple this with the greater convenience of food and it isn't surprising that our waistbands are expending right along with the size of our plates.

Portion distortion is just one of the many factors that may be responsible for the growing obesity epidemic across the globe.  With the increase in portion sizes from restaurants and fast food eateries even to the portions we serve at home, we have become a nation of gluttony.
 
How many of us truly knew how much we were eating prior to joining SparkPeople? It's so easy to fill up our plate and not give too much thought as to the amount of food we planned to consume. If you are like me, I am an honorary member of the Clean Plate Club. In other words I find great comfort in cleaning my plate with every meal. This is a habit I have been trying to break for some time now.
Posted 1/10/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 56 comments   12,700 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Don't Make Extra Food


Next week will be the fourth time that my husband and I host our families at our house for Thanksgiving This year, I'll be cooking for 15 guests—a new record! I like cooking and I tend to make the same Thanksgiving dishes each year: rosemary roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, steamed green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing from whole-wheat bread, honey-glazed tofu, whole-grain couscous with pumpkin seeds, and of course, turkey (courtesy of my mom). We usually have a beautiful seasonal salad, too, and small amounts of fixings like cranberry sauce and gravy. And don't forget the dessert! I make pumpkin pie from scratch every year (starting from an actual pumpkin!), my sister will usually make a baked apple or pear dessert, my sister-in-law will make some gluten-free cookies, and my mother-in-law brings her delicious rice pudding.
 
It can be a challenge to cook so much food for so many people in my tiny kitchen, but I think it's fun. I see it as an opportunity to show my family members that you can eat healthy over the holidays and still eat plenty of delicious food! No one ever complains that the bread we serve is whole-grain or that the bulk of our sides are vegetables.
 
But one holiday tradition I don't believe in is stuffing yourself like a turkey!
 
Just as I work out on Thanksgiving and other holidays, I treat holidays like any other day when it comes to food. That means practicing moderation when it comes to what I put on my plate and how much I eat of it.
 
But whether you make all the traditional Thanksgiving foods or you try healthier versions of the classics like I do, one thing we could all benefit from is making less food. Here's why.
Posted 11/18/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 42 comments   10,919 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Out of Sight, Out of Mouth


A couple of years ago, my grandparents sold their second home, which meant they suddenly had an extra home full of stuff to give away or sell. Among the nifty items that became mine were a German cuckoo clock, a rocking chair, a decade's worth of Bon Appetit magazines--and Tupperware. Lots of Tupperware.

My grandmother stores all her dry goods in clearly labeled opaque Tupperware or ceramic canisters. Not only did it keep her cupboards organized, but it kept little hands from reaching into the cookie jar when the grandkids were little.

After inheriting her extra set, I realized that Gramma was onto something.

Posted 8/17/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 29 comments   10,079 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Don't Let Yourself Get Too Hungry


Readers, I'm embarrassed to admit this. I recently threw a bit of a temper tantrum in public. At age 30. And all because I was hungry.

On Saturday night, all the yoga, deep breathing, and happy thoughts in the world weren't going to save me from the Hunger Monster!

My boyfriend invited me to tag along with three of his friends to a cool new wood-fired pizza restaurant. It was 6 p.m., and I had had a substantial breakfast, a light lunch and a snack. I wasn't at all hungry yet. (Mistake #1. I left home with a cute, small purse that contained zero emergency snacks.)

We arrived and were told it would be a 45-minute wait, so we headed across the street to a bar. The five of us nursed our beers, and we waited an hour. I considered walking the few blocks home for a healthy snack. We walked back across the street, found out our table was nowhere near ready, and headed back to the bar. (Mistake #2. While I can handle one beer on an empty stomach, I rarely to never drink two!) When an IPA was placed in my hand, I thought the calories in it would calm my growling stomach. (Uh, am I new here? Calories in liquid form do not really do much for satiety--I know that!)

Finally, our table was ready. The hostess called us. With an end in sight, my hunger was under control. I was so excited to eat!
Posted 8/10/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 86 comments   16,006 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Pack Snacks When You Travel


By the time you read this, I'll be somewhere between Cincinnati and Istanbul, reuniting with a dear friend and starting an adventure two years in the making.

I love to travel. What I don't love is airplane food. If you're "lucky" enough to be served a meal, it's usually not very healthy or tasty.*

I always travel on a pretty tight budget, so shelling out $10 for a watery salad or fast food in the airport isn't something I like to do. The "snacks" that airlines sell now are not any better: potato chips, candy, and other junk food is the norm. Yuck.

Flying already leaves me feeling dehydrated and tired, without adding excess sugar and salt to my body.

How do I avoid paying high prices and eat right until I land--and beyond? I pack snacks.

Posted 6/28/2010  2:25:16 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 105 comments   22,154 views
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Extra Helpings: Out of Sight, Out of Mouth


Eating dinner as a family is very important to me. I grew up in a home where we sat down for dinner together for dinner, and I've carried that tradition on to my own family. I also grew up in a house where the food was left on the stove, you served yourself and brought your plate to the table. That's a tradition I've also carried on, although it's been more of a habit than an intentional practice. New research shows that practice could be saving my family from eating more than we really want or need.

Posted 5/14/2010  8:28:24 AM By: Jen Mueller : 102 comments   11,130 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Celebrate Holidays for One Day


In these modern days, with busy lives, blended families, and packed social calendars, the holidays would be better named the holi-weeks.

For me, the holidays started on Monday, with an office party--lunch from Panera and bowling. Then, after a couple of days of last-minute shopping, working frantically to get ready for the shortened week, and a four-hour drive to my mother's house late last night, we had Christmas Eve dinner with my mom's family.

Today, we were up early to open presents, and soon we'll have lunch with my stepdad's extended family. Tomorrow we have a two-hour drive to my dad and stepmom's for Christmas, round two, and then another two-hour drive home to my boyfriend's mom's house for Christmas, round three. Dinner with a friend will follow on Sunday.

Whew.

My tactic to survive this weekend is easy: I'm celebrating the holiday for one day. The rest of the week is business as usual.
Posted 12/25/2009  10:22:50 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 72 comments   11,403 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Quit the Clean Plate Club


Was your household one that enforced the "Clean Plate Club"? Did you know that could be hurting your weight-loss efforts?

Our parents might have had good intentions, but teaching us that we had to eat everything on our plates was not a helpful lesson. When we only stop eating when our plate is empty, our brains never learn to judge when we're actually full.
Posted 2/18/2009  4:01:24 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 144 comments   8,624 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Cook at Home


I didn't take home ec and never took a formal cooking class. I didn't buy a cookbook until I got to college, but I've been cooking for as long as I can remember.

Baking blueberry buckle, picking cherries and making applesauce with my Gramma Willie and watching Papa Jim make ground beef stew, roast beef and macaroni and cheese are among my earliest memories. They, along with my mother, invited me into the kitchen, gave me an apron and put me to work from the time I could walk.

I don't remember going out to eat unless we had gone to the mall (also a rarity for this small-town kid). Instead, I remember home-cooked meals for special occasions, with vegetables from my granddad's garden.

Growing up, my mom cooked dinner from scratch every night (She had a 101 ways to cook chicken cookbook, and I think she tried them all!), and we had family dinner at my grandparents house every weekend (roast beef or ham, mashed potatoes, a salad and a big plate of raw vegetables).

Today, we eat a home-cooked, nutritious meal at least six nights a week. People like me--and maybe you--have become an anomaly.

As obesity rates have risen, Westerners have become kitchen illiterate at alarming rates. Reacquainting ourselves with the kitchen--meaning the stove and oven, not just the microwave and refrigerator--is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Forget becoming the next Top Chef. Can you cook to save your life?

Posted 2/11/2009  4:21:43 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 201 comments   11,109 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Measure Portions


My boyfriend recently started measuring what he eats and tracking it on SparkPeople. As it turns out, the oversized bowls that he uses for pasta hold more than 2 cups of noodles. A serving size is half a cup, so he was often eating four times what he should have been! That's an extra 250 calories.

He also discovered that the "splash" of half-and-half he used in his coffee was more like 3 tablespoons--60 calories and 6 grams of fat. Multiply that times two cups of coffee seven days a week and that's an extra 840 calories and 84 grams of fat.

Measuring portions helps keep you on track, and it keeps you from convincing yourself you only had "a few" chips when you know the bag was full when you opened it. (No one else does that? Just me? OKů) Find out how to recover from portion distortion.

Posted 2/6/2009  2:05:14 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 183 comments   9,477 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Shop the Perimeter


You want to eat better, right? That's why I'm sharing my easy and often budget-friendly tips on how to eat healthfully. This is the first blog post in the series.

Did you know that the path you follow in the grocery store could help you eat right and avoid weight gain?

It's true.

Take a look at your shopping list:

  • Skim milk
  • Orange juice
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Spinach
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Apples
  • Yogurt
  • Potato chips
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breasts
  • Onions
  • Brownie mix
  • Oatmeal
  • Raisins

Now think about where those items are located in your supermarket. Are they along the edges of the store, or are they deep in the labyrinthine aisles?
Posted 1/15/2009  2:10:40 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 143 comments   14,194 views
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