Is Your Protein or Granola Bar the Best Choice?

larabarWe’re all busy and those protein, cereal and granola bars seem like such a helpful way to have a healthy snack or a quick mini meal on the go. I am asked pretty frequently about what I think of certain brands and I always ask what the ingredients are. Sometimes the person recognizes right away that the ingredients are not the best but when they don’t get it I ask if they ever cook with something like soy protein isolate.

I have never had someone tell me yes. Usually it’s a puzzled look and the admission of not knowing what it even is. If you don’t cook with it or have it in your pantry why would you eat it? I much rather see people eat bars made from real foods.

I’m all for convenience and I do keep a bar in my bag for emergencies.They’re perfect when I don’t have time for a meal and need something to tide me over. I’d rather have a good quality bar in my bag than grab a bag of pretzels or other snack.

How to tell if your bar is a healthy choice or not:

Do you recognize the ingredients? Would you use them if you were cooking?

Is it free from high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils?

Is it something your great-grandmother would recognize as food?

Is the sugar level reasonable? 4g of sugar equals a teaspoon, 28g of sugar is more than some candy bars.

Is the calorie level reasonable? A 300 calorie bar is a meal replacement, not a snack.

I like bars to have at least 3g of fiber and at least 5g of protein. The combo of protein and fiber helps keep you full for a longer amount of time.

There are some tasty bars that fit into this category. I am partial to Larabar Uber and some of the Kind bars. Read your labels and find flavors that work for you to help you out with the mid-day munchies.

Need help when it comes to choosing which foods you should be eating? Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to set up a free 30 minute power session.

 

 

I Said No, I Don’t Want the Cake or How to Handle a Food Pusher

chocolatecakeWe all know food pushers, the person who wants you to eat whatever she made whether you want it or not. My grandma used to get upset if I didn’t want whipped topping on my ice cream. Now, I loved grandma but I didn’t really like whipped cream and I despised whipped topping. She’d kind of glare a bit, tighten her mouth and shake her head. I’d feel guilty but I still wouldn’t eat it.

As an adult my one of my biggest food pushers has been my father-in-law. He knows my likes and dislikes so that can be a bit tricky. It’s also a bit maddening and can feel like deliberate sabotage of my eating plan. Which leads to defensiveness, annoyance and some snotty comments from both parties. (I don’t claim to be perfect).

What I figured out later on is that neither of these reactions were about me at all. My grandmother was worried that I would follow in my anorexic mother’s footsteps and start dieting constantly. How she got that when I was eating ice-cream, I’m not really sure but there you have it.

As for my father-in-law, I am guessing he took it as a poke at the foods we would enjoy together, rather than something I was doing for my own health. We enjoy many of the same dishes and I am an adventurous eater, something the rest of the family really aren’t. I had been an ally and now I seem like I’m not.

So what do you do when someone is pushing that food that you don’t want? Smile, say no thank you. You have enough on your plate at the moment or you’re full from the meal, whatever feels appropriate. Knowing that their issue isn’t really about you at all makes it a little easier to take.When all else fails, go sit near someone else who has other things to think about than what you’re eating.

Having a hard time deciding which foods work best for you? Do you want to make better choices but aren’t sure what they should be? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a 30 minute power session where we explore your top three concerns and come up with a solution that works for you.

 

How to Enjoy Vacation without Sabotaging your Healthy Diet

manateemailboxI’ve been on vacation and it’s was a great week. It’s fun to get out of my regular routine and have a relaxing week at the beach. Yes, I still ran and worked out but I got to swim and sight see too. Running was a bit more fresh because it was flat and I got to see different things than usual. My favorite? This manatee mailbox that is all ready to party.

I’ve been eating some things out of the usual as well. We visited the Holiday Snack Bar for some homemade cake and pie. The pecan pie was crazy good, not too sweet with lots toasted pecans.

It’s vacation and I’m not overly strict about what I eat. If I want a treat I will have it. To me it’s not vacation if no pancakes are involved. Happily there are places that offer gluten-free items here so I can indulge without issue. I want to feel good and I want to enjoy my treats, not end up regretting what I had.

I think there’s a balance of enjoying, feeling good and having fun. I exercised because I enjoy it, not to punish myself for what I’ve eaten. I believe that when we feel our best we make better choices and we enjoy those indulgences. My goal is to feel great and enjoy the experiences around me.

Tonight will be roasted clams on the barbecue. I have the perfect white wine to go along with them and I’m go to savor both of them!

Do you need some help with making better choices? Do you wish you could lose weight and not feel punished? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to set up a 20 minute complimentary laser focused consultation. Together we can come up with plan tailor-made for you.

Why You are Exercising and Still Not Able to Lose the Belly

e_may_photo_1Are you in the same boat as one of my clients? She tells me, “all I really need to do is lose this little bit of weight from my stomach. I went to the gym but the trainer wasn’t able to help me.” I blame her trainer for saying that she could spot reduce belly fat.

That would be the most amazing thing ever. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. You can tone muscles and strength training does boost your metabolism but you cannot exercise fat away from a particular spot. In order to see the stomach muscles you need to reduce overall.

Weight loss is 70 – 80 % food related, that is where your eating plan comes into play. Take a look at what you are eating. One of my favorite tools is a food and mood diary. You write down what you are eating, what your mood is, what your hunger level is and where you are when you eat.

I’m sure a lot of you are cringing right now because you don’t want to write your food down. It smacks of diet and tediousness. The thing is if you don’t write it down you tend to forget and have what I call food amnesia. The 3 pm snack and the foods we pick on while making dinner go into the abyss of our memories.

What I like about the food/mood diary is that you see what your eating patterns are. Does what you’re eating change when you’re in a good or bad mood? What foods helped you have an amazing run or a great workout? If you didn’t sleep well maybe it was something you had before bedtime. (Red wine close to bedtime gives me some freaky dreams).

Knowing a pattern can help you break bad ones or make good patterns habits. I know when I’m stressed I will reach for chocolate. Knowing this lets me take a breath and figure out if what I really need is a good workout or some deep breathing to make me feel better. When one of my other clients is stressed she reaches for crunchy/salty. She either takes a time out or grabs carrots and hummus to snack on. It’s still crunchy and a bit salty but way better for her.

Need help figuring out what foods work best for you? I have five spots open this month for a 30 minute consultation. To arrange a complimentary consultation send me an email at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.