Taking Time with Meals and Snacks

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With the “spring forward” time change upon us, I thought I’d talk a little about timing. For some folks, timing and length of meals and snacks can make a difference in weight gain or weight loss.

Timing Your Meals

When it comes to the timing of our meals and snacks, avoid going longer than 4 hours without eating anything (ideally you want to try to eat about every 2 ½ to 3 hours). If you’re in a meeting or running errands during a meal time, make sure to at least have a snack (trail mix, peanut butter crackers, pretzels, etc.,)  to tie you over until you can get an actual meal. If you’re going out with the girls for dinner or any other meal, try to avoid being ravenously hungry when you get to the restaurant. To do this, have a snack such as a small peanut butter sandwich or an apple about 30 minutes to an hour before going out to eat. This snack will help curb your appetite so that you’re still hungry enough to enjoy your main entrée but you’re not so hungry that you mindlessly eat copious amounts of chips and salsa, bread and butter, or any other pre-entrée items that are usually served at restaurants.

Taking Time with Your Meals

Are you a quick eater?  Hectic schedules and society in general tend to make us eat quickly out of necessity. Unfortunately though, rapid eating leaves little opportunity for our body to provide us the sensation of fullness. It takes about 15-20 minutes for our brain and stomach to communicate that we’ve eaten something and give that full feeling. Often times, we end up eating so quickly, that within the first 5 minutes of eating, we’ve already eaten the volume of food it takes for our stomach to feel full BUT since the brain and stomach haven’t had time to communicate yet, we keep on eating and eating until about 20 minutes later we feel that “overfull” feeling (I call it gross full or that level of fullness that makes us want to unbutton our jeans or take off our Spanx) since our brain and stomach have finally caught up with us.

Slow down your pace of eating so that it takes you at least 15-20 minutes to eat your meal. One way to accomplish this is making sure to put down the fork in between every bite of food. Sometimes we end up eating so quickly and we end up already having the 4th bite of mashed potatoes ready to go on our fork before we’ve even completely swallowed our first initial bite!  Other ways you can slow your pace of eating include taking a sip of water (or other low calorie beverage) in between bites of food or even having conversation in between bites of food. Slowing down your pace of eating not only helps with getting full off of a smaller portion size but also allows you to take time to really enjoy and savor each bite of food.

And…..March is National Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”  By timing our meals and taking time with our meals, we can really enjoy and savor how delicious and healthy food can be. I’ll be having more upcoming posts about National Nutrition Month, including my upcoming trip for the Alabama Dietetic Association annual meeting so stay tuned!!


I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month


Delicious, Nutritious, {Roasted} BROCCOLI!!

roasted broccoli

Shout out to my broccoli lovers in the house! I consider broccoli to be on my personal list of super foods. Why? Need some fiber? Bam, here’s your broccoli! Need water soluble vitamin C or fat soluble vitamin A? Get some broccoli. Or maybe you need some calcium and folic acid…yep, broccoli is there to the rescue. Maybe you’d just like some nice phytochemicals to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases—bring out the broccoli.

For some people however, broccoli can be a daunting task to eat. I used to relish the opportunity to put raw broccoli florets in my salads at work until I realized how sensitive my tummy was to raw broccoli. If you didn’t know, broccoli is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables (which includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy) which has been known to provide stomach discomforts to some people in its raw form due to the fiber content, providing subsequent bloating from the gases that are formed in the stomach during digestion. Doesn’t sound too fun huh? Though broccoli and other cruciferous veggies have their best health benefits in the raw form, cooking broccoli appropriately (avoiding overcooking) can help diminish these negative tummy effects while also keeping the nutritional integrity of the veggie.

Most people steam their broccoli but yesterday I found a fantastic recipe for oven roasted broccoli at The Gingered Whisk. She has some incredibly delicious recipes! Last night I thought I’d put her recipe to the test right after pinning this bad boy on Pinterest.  This recipe was originally from The Amateur Gourmet who adapted it from the wonderful Ina Garten.

20130604_182133Get out the delicious broccoli…

20130604_182504Chop into florets to arrange on a foil lined baking sheet

20130604_182855Aren’t they so cute and delicious looking?!

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Pull out your seasonings…I didn’t have any kosher salt so ended up using some sea salt; I also pulled out the garlic powder to supplement with the minced garlic I ended up using

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Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425

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Add your lemon juice and Parmesan cheese…I had some leftover Sargento in the fridge

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YUUUUMMMMMM!!!!

Roasted Broccoli Recipe

Ingredients
4-5 pounds of broccoli
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
zest and juice from 1 lemon

Directions
Preheat your oven to 425
Take 2 large bunches of broccoli and cut it into florets.
Wash them and dry them super thoroughly.
Put some tin foil on a lined cookie sheet.
Place your broccoli on the cookie sheet and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, sprinkle with kosher salt and some black pepper to taste.
Slice 4 heads of garlic and place these on the cookie sheet, too.
Now toss it all together.
Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is crisp tender and getting a bit brown on the tips.
Remove the pan from the oven and zest a lemon over the broccoli, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice.
Drizzle a little more olive oil on top, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and toss.
Enjoy!

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to eat broccoli any other way. The lemon juice and zest really enhance the flavor of this dish. My husband and I paired the broccoli with some roasted chicken. If you try this recipe, please tell what you think! 🙂

P.S. Next up this week will be my tasting of some bacon and cheese flavored crickets I picked up at the market in Charleston. Video will be included so you don’t want to miss 🙂


Hungry? Is it Physical Hunger or Emotional Hunger?

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It’s 8:30 p.m. and you’re up watching your favorite t.v. show. During the commercial break, you decide to flip it to Food Network and see Guy Fieri trying a delicious malted milkshake on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Hungry yet? Or maybe you keep the commercials on and see that DQ Grill and Chill has a promotion for buy one blizzard, get one free; magically, you are on the move to find something sweet in your fridge or pantry….or maybe even looking for your car keys to make a run through the drive through for a dipped cone. Does any of this sound familiar?  Or maybe you’re just really hungry for something sweet and savory after a rough day at work or an argument with a friend over the phone. Can you relate to any of these scenarios? I most definitely can and can also admit that I’ve given in to a lot of them as well. With a lot of the clientele I see, an important topic of discussion is helping people figure out when they’re truly hungry and using intuitive eating as a way to eat sensibly throughout the day.

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Sometimes we may eat out of boredom and maybe just because someone suggested to go eat because it was something to do. I’ve worked with people in the past that use food for comfort— especially knowing that they can count on that pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to taste exactly like it did the last time they bought it without the emotional baggage of the boyfriend that made them mad a few hours before 🙂 If you’ve ever wondered if you’re walking the line between physical hunger and emotional hunger, I’ve posted a graphic below to help you decipher between “symptoms”:

8 Traits of Emotional HungerThe information above can be really helpful in trying to decipher between physical and emotional hunger. Sometimes people tell me they never really feel hungry at all, or at least not until the end of the day. Did you know that eating more frequently throughout the day can actually help that sensation of hungry come back? Trust me, this is a good thing. If we’re the type of person on the go and rarely set aside time for meals or snacks, our body will start to think, “well buddy, if you’re not even going to do something about this hunger then I’m not even going to give you that hunger feeling anymore”. Now don’t get me wrong, just because that hunger feeling has gone away does NOT mean your body isn’t in need of those calories. But, if we start to change our habits and eat sensible meals and snacks every 3-4 hours, our metabolism starts to “wake up” and provide us those natural feelings of hunger that can help us achieve intuitive eating.

To complement some of the things I shared in finding an appropriate vending machine snack to address your hunger needs in a bind, I’ve listed some key things below to help with the hungry (or perhaps hangry) battle:

1. Take Time with Your Meals – Be sure to take at least 15-20 minutes when you eat if you’ve got the time. It takes about this length of time for your brain and stomach to communicate chemically and actually give you that sensation of fullness. Often times though, we end up eating so quickly that within the first five minutes of eating we’ve already eaten the volume of food it would take for our stomach to be full. But since it’s only been five minutes and there’s still more food left to be had on your plate or at the table, you may keep eating until you reach that level of “over full” about 30 minutes later. Think of that overly full feeling that makes you want (or need) to unbutton your blue jeans and put on some sweat pants, or in my case, take off my spanx 🙂 Ways you can extend your meal time include putting the fork down in between every bite of food (i.e. don’t have bite #4 of mashed potatoes hovering by your mouth ready to go before you even completely swallowed bite #1), or taking sips of water or other low calorie beverage in between bites of food as well.

2. Make Sure You’re Staying Well Hydrated- Feeling hungry pretty soon after already having your meal or snack? That rumble in your tummy might actually be your body telling you that you’re thirsty. Before getting to the point of dehydration and having a parched mouth or dry throat, your body may give the sensation of hunger to prompt you to drink more water. Take home point: if you feel “hungry” pretty soon after already eating your meal or snack not too long ago, have a glass of water and then reassess the hunger that you’re feeling. If you’re still hungry after rehydrating, you may have truly not eaten enough at your previous meal or snack.

3. Avoid Going Long Periods of Time Between Meals and Snacks- Just like a burning fireplace, our metabolism likes to be fed every few hours to continue to burn. This also includes breakfast which could be considered the “lighter fluid” that jump starts your fire /metabolism for the day. Having breakfast within 30 mins-1 hr after rising can help literally ‘break the fast’ that your body was experiencing while sleeping. Only eating 1 or 2 times a day puts our body in survival mode, training it to hold on to any calorie we give it for dear life. Also, if you’re eating small mini meals/snacks throughout the day, this keeps you from being overly hungry at your next meal. One other helpful tip, especially if you’re going out to eat: have a snack 30 mins-1hr prior to going out to eat if you know you’ll be ravenously hungry by the time you go out to eat. Having a small snack such as an apple or peanut butter crackers can help curb your appetite enough to prevent you from gorging on a whole basket of chips and salsa (or bread and butter) before your entree gets in front of you.

As a last thought, I do want to acknowledge that there are foods out there that have been created just for pure pleasure….which is great! We most definitely eat to nourish our bodies but we also eat for pleasure too. Finding a balance between addressing your body’s nutritional needs and incorporating your favorite “pleasure” foods is all part of eating a balanced healthy diet. Using intuitive eating and listening to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues can help decipher between physical hunger and emotional hunger 🙂