New Year’s Resolutions – Healthy Eating for 2017

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Eating and Exercising for Health in the New Year

Welcome to 2017. If you’re like a lot of people, you may have brought an extra couple of pounds with you into the new year. No need to beat yourself up over it. You aren’t alone. Lots of people are on the same boat, in fact. According to statisticbrain.com, 32.4 percent of U.S. resolutions are weight related. Whether or not you have recently put on weight, you may feel the need for a healthier lifestyle as you enter the new year. Feel free to add weight management and better health to your resolutions list.  I sure am – and I’m happy to share a few of my tips with you.

Exercise

Cardiovascular

Exercise is going to boost your metabolism. Whether you have a gym membership, take a spin class, or simply get on a walking/light exercise schedule, most experts agree that morning exercise is the best for boosting your metabolism. Even walking 20 minutes a day will help increase your metabolism as well as improve your heart function. Short on time? Incorporate a walk into your lunch break at work, or buy a small-profile stepper if your workplace has room to store it. There are a couple of gym memberships that are really affordable you can check out as well. Punching out for a quick workout is a good way to break up the day and increase your concentration during the afternoon hours, where it may start to wane after long hours of sitting.

Weight Training

Even moderate weight training several times a week replaces fat with lean muscle and helps increase your resting metabolism, which is highly desirable for weight loss. Whether you do it with a trainer, videos, or YouTube tutorials, weight training is a major component in regulating blood sugar, increasing metabolic processes and building strength in your muscles. Both cardio and weights are recommended for all around conditioning and also for managing glucose. Of course, if you have health problems, you should seek the advice of a professional but a good diet consists of two components – exercise and dieting – for optimal results.

Food Preparation

It’s a lot easier to manage your weight if you make your own food. It’s a fact. Fast-food and restaurants are generally super-caloric, high in fat and simply not geared towards health. And it’s difficult to control portions when the gigantic pile of American-sized food is plopped in front of your watering pie hole. The anecdote? Just make it yourself – and you’ll be glad you did.

Freezing food in measured portions is one idea, or simply preparing your meals for the week in standardized containers. If you take that whole dish of casserole to work, it’s just too tempting to have one more bite.

Portion Control

collapsible measuring cups


Regardless of the diet you use, portion control is cited as one of the most important aspects of dieting. Measuring and dividing your servings as you prepare your meals will help you resist the temptation to overeat. Collapsible measuring cups are a space-saving way to pre-pack your lunches and high-quality food storage containers like these ensure you limit the quantity of your lunches.

food storage containers


This mega-set has airtight, latched-lid containers in a variety of sizes to carry soups, stews, sandwiches and more, and they are freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. This would be perfect for a weekend cooking mission, in which you could prepare your food a week or two in advance and refrigerate or freeze it for future use.

kitchen scale


Scales are also great for controlling portions, especially if you are doing a strict diet. I use one to weigh fish portions for the week when I’m being extra strict. This Polder digital scale weighs up to 11 pounds of food and has a slim design for super-efficient storage.

Metabolism Boosting Foods

fish steamer


Omega-3 Fatty Foods – including fish, flax seed and reduce inflammation and boost resistance to leptin hormones, which are a factor in fat burning. You can also get these from supplements. Recommended dosages range from 1000 to 2000 mg. per day. Fish is one of the few “meats” you can easily cook in the microwave (which you could even do at work). This fish steamer is inexpensive, at only 8.99, and you can throw in some asparagus or other vegetables for a quick healthy meal.

Tree nuts, lean proteins like cottage cheese, natural Greek yogurt, and spinach are other foods that help keep you in burn mode. Also, most bodybuilding sources recommend eating smaller meals throughout the day, which keeps your system burning (digestion, by itself burns calories). Follow up an intense workout with some healthy protein to add muscle while you’re still in burning mode.

Reduce Trans Fats

Probably one thing all the experts can agree on is that trans fats are bad. Trans fats cause inflammation and slow down the bodies’ ability to burn fat. Avoid the office donuts, fried foods, most fast foods, margarines, and well, um, you probably should start checking your food labels if you haven’t already. You’ll be surprised at what’s in a lot of the food you buy.

Eat Lots of Greens

Whether you like cooked greens or salads, greens are so low calorie, they’re practically a free food, provided you don’t add lots of fattening dressings and toppings to it. Here’s an idea, make your own low-calorie dressing using healthy ingredients. You can spare yourself the harmful preservatives and make it from your own fresh ingredients, including fresh fruits like orange (don’t go crazy) and healthy oils. Rice vinegar with only small amounts of oil is a great way to enjoy a salad without the fats. Use a sugar substitute to further reduce calories.

salad chopper


This OXO bowl makes quick work of salad making as you can chop the ingredients right in the bowl with the included rolling cutter. It has a 5.5-quart capacity and continuous curves for quick, smooth cutting.

Reduce Carbs like Pasta and Bread

Low-carb diets such as the Paleo are very popular and many people respond well to them.  There are several bread alternatives that I wrote about in an earlier post that give you a “sandwich-like” satisfaction without all the carbs.

spiralizer


Pasta lovers are turning to things like shirataki noodles to satisfy their cravings, but substituting vegetables for pasta is another really delicious alternative. This spiralizer is an easy way to make ribbons from zucchini, beets and other vegetables for use as low-carb pasta substitutes – or even for salads and garnishes. This is a great way to enjoy a pesto or other indulgent dish without the guilt and the calories.

Meal Planning

magnetic meal planner


Planning your meals ahead of time ensures you have what you need on hand for healthful cooking, meaning you’ll be less apt to binge or resort to eating out. Whether you use an app or paper, planning is going to help you monitor what you eat as well as give you a creative space to arrange meals that satisfy your need for variety as well as nutrition. This 55-sheet magnetic Meal Chef notepad gives you 55 weeks’ worth of meal planning, so you can schedule ahead as far as you need to. The magnetic back means you can hang it right on your refrigerator for convenience.

Whether you choose a Paleo or other diet, remember that your metabolism may acclimate to what you’re doing after a time. Also, there is no perfect diet for everyone. Listen to your body. If what you’re doing stops working, it might be time to switch up your diet, change your exercise routine, or do something different. If you have the means, consult a dietitian, an exercise physiologist, or some other health specialist for recommendations on what’s right for you.

Love, Clutter Control Freak


You might also enjoy our “getting organized – 2017 – making and keeping New Year’s resolutions” post on our Organize-It blog.

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Wellness Mats – Be Kind to Your Legs This Holiday Season

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wellness mats
Wellness Mats are just what you need as the holidays approach. Why? Long hours spent standing, chopping, dicing, rolling flower, processing are fatiguing to your body and hard on your legs and back. Wellness mats provide .75 inches of cushion for your feet and legs and help keep your blood circulating properly as you prepare your bountiful meals. They work by displacing and suspending the weight of your body, giving comfort to your joints and assistance in maintaining a good posture.

They come in multiple sizes, color choices and patterns to match your decor. You may be thinking, “but I can get a rubber rug and the dollar store for a few bucks.” Well, yes you can but it won’t have the padding, the quality, or the health value of WellnessMats brand mats.

Furthermore, high-quality Wellness Mats have the following features, not found in cheap hardware store mats:

  • 99.9 percent anti-microbial.
  • Stain and chemical resistant.
  • Flame resistant.
  • Heat and puncture resistant.
  • Non-curling, beveled edges for safety.
  • Patented polyurethane construction for long life.
  • 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Wellness Mats are smartly-designed with the user in mind. Beveled edges provide a smooth transition, so you won’t trip when stepping over them. They’re slip-resistant and sturdy, providing comfort wherever you stand. They’re great for using in front of the sink or stove, or anywhere you are likely to be standing for extended periods of time. Think dishes, rolling dough, slicing vegetables, etc.

In addition to the kitchen, Wellness Mats are also great for using in front of workbenches, your craft station, your potting bench and other workstations. Note that they are designed for at-home and professional use. You have probably seen them in places like salons, in fact.

Anti-fatigue mats reduce stress on your ankles, legs and back and minimize spinal compression while reducing exhaustion. This holiday season, be good to your body and gift yourself with a Wellness Mat. You won’t regret it and neither will your legs. Wellness Mats are on sale this week for 20-percent off at organizeit.com and stacksandstacks.com thru 11/28/2016.

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Bread Substitutes

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bread substitutes - brown - rice-paper-rollups

Bread Substitutes – 3 Low-Carb, Healthy Substitutes for Sandwiches

I love bread. Most people do. Give me some Wonder bread and I’ll roll it up in a ball, pop it in my mouth and embark on a nostalgic trip that includes orange peanuts, memories of Bozo and playing with Slinkies on avocado shag carpeting. I love good bread too, Panera bread, Zingerman’s bread, Crust loaves, homemade sourdough, Texas toast, seven grain bread and every kind of starchy, unhealthy, fattening white bread there is. If you can roll it up and bounce it off the wall, that’s fine by me too. I love all kinds – with practically any and every ingredient. Thing is, my metabolism is misaligned with my desire for starch and chewy, super-satisfying goodness.

Mind you, I’ve tried healthy breads and gluten-free cardboard products and would rather have my sandwich served naked in a bowl with no top or bottom. My quest for a healthy sandwich-like food led me to the following three products, which you might also find useful. Whether you have sugar or gluten issues, or are just looking for healthy low-carb alternatives to eating bread, you might enjoy these bread substitutes in your lunch, for dinner or any time.

Romaine

Romaine lettuce comes in large leafs, making it perfect for building sandwich-like creations out of healthy vegetables. Romaine makes especially nice tuna sandwiches and has practically no calories or carbs. Consider it a free food for making guiltless sandwiches and snacks.

Rice Paper Wraps (brown rice)

If you’ve ever had cold Thai spring rolls, you’ve eaten rice paper. Although hard to find, the brown rice ones are much more healthy and have a different flavor altogether. Brown rice has a low-glycemic load, and while it does have carbs, they are low compared to most breads. They are somewhat rubbery and noodle like and only require soaking in water for a few seconds before rolling your ingredients in them. This is my favorite bread substitute and it also fills a need for something noodle like, as my metabolism doesn’t like pasta either. You can put almost anything in them, including scrambled eggs for a healthy, tasty breakfast roll-up.

Brown rice paper wraps by Star Anise Foods are sugar free, gluten free, fat free and have only 96 calories and 22 carbs per serving (about three sheets).

Kelp Sheets

High in iodine, kelp is a sea-harvested product that adds a hint of Japanese cuisine to your faux-sandwiches. Low in calories, these make a very healthy bread substitute with a distinct flavor all their own. Use them to get creative and feel free to use brown rice, quinoa, or other ingredients for your own sushi-esque non-sandwich creations. To use, simply spread the seaweed flat, add ingredients and roll. Very finely chopped items help sustain the shape of the rolls.

Along with iodine, kelp is a super-food, rich in anti-oxidants and has the highest calcium ratings of any natural food (even higher than milk).

All three of these bread substitutes are great springboards for creative non-sandwich making. Whether you’re pursuing a paleo diet, monitoring glucose, or looking for tasteful gluten-free alternatives to bread, you’re likely to enjoy experimenting with all three of these.

Bonus Recipe – Tuna Fennel Salad Brown Rice Paper Roll-up

    Ingredients:

  • 1 can of drained tuna (or 4 ounces of fresh cooked)
  • 2 tbs. of low fat Miracle Whip
  • 1 tbs. of very finely chopped fresh fennel
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/8 small onion very finely chopped
  • 4 brown rice wraps
  • Fresh parsley or vegetables for garnish (optional)

Mix the tuna, Miracle Whip, fennel and onion in a bowl. Prepare the wraps by soaking in a pie plate or lid with warm water. You don’t need to soak long – maybe five seconds. Carefully shake off some of the excess water and spread on a clean plate individually for building your roll-up.

Sprinkle a small amount of chopped spinach in a straight line across the center of the wrap, leaving plenty of spare space on the ends for folding. Carefully spoon your tuna mixture on top of the spinach. Then add a little more chopped spinach to the top. Be your own gauge for amounts here.

Fold the ends over towards the center, then carefully roll the wrap. Roll it tightly and squeeze it into a neat tube as you go. Set aside and then repeat for the other rolls.

You’ll find that as the roll-ups sit during the process, the water evaporates. Brown rice wraps are a bit sticky and rubbery, very much like rice vermicelli noodles and they have a very distinct flavor from the more common white rice counterparts.

After rolling all of your wraps, garnish if desired with some vegetables or herbs and serve and enjoy. If you’ve never thought to put fennel in tuna salad, you don’t know what you’re missing. Delicious tuna, fresh herbs and brown rice paper wraps (one of the best bread substitutes available) make for a delicious late summer snack.

Love,
Clutter Control Freak

P.S. You might like an OXO salad crisper to clean and store your romaine.

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