How to drink more water

The best ways to drink more water

 

Do you drink enough water? Do you even know how much water is enough? First, take your body weight and divide by two, then that is the amount of ounces you need to be drinking every day.

 

  1. Drink out of a mug – Just try it! There is something very satisfying about drinking out of a mug
  2. Set higher goals – If you need to drink 8 glasses and you set your goal for 8 but only get in 6, then you’re behind. But if you set the goal to 10 glasses and only get 8 then you are right on track
  3. Warm it up – drink it warm and add some lemon and/or cinnamon.
  4. Big bottle – using a really big water bottle will help you drink more to keep emptying the bottle
  5. Use a bottle that has measurements – this will keep you on track because you can do the simple math to get you to your goals.
  6. Keep water where you are – keeping it in your sight or around you then you will be inclined to drink more water. Even on your night table beside the bed!
  7. Use an app – there are plenty of apps that you can download to keep track of your water intake
  8. Add hair elastics to your water bottle – using the hair elastics will keep track of the amount of times you refill your bottle
  9. Time stamp your day – by certain times in the day you have to have drank a certain amount of water.
  10. Drink after every bathroom break – You will be sure to drink lots of water this way
  11. Add flavour to your water – add some frozen fruit or a splash of lemon juice to give it some flavour
  12. Dilute sugary drinks with water and ice – This way you’re still getting the taste you want but you’re increasing your water too
  13. Choose sparkling water over pop – just choose water!

 

Water is so so important so whatever you need to do, just make sure you are drinking your water!!

Recipe: Energy Balls

Okay, this has to be one of my most favourite recipes. Probably because it is super easy, we always have all the ingredients and there is no baking or any fuss involved. Just simply mix and roll into a ball. Oh and this is toddler approved! Beats the chocolate timbits any day!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes.
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter.
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed.
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar.
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Just mix the ingredients together in a bowl, toss in the fridge for about half an hour and then take it out and roll into little balls. BAM!! That is all folks!

Top 3 tips to stay on track to your goals for 2017

Here they are, my top 3 tips to staying on track to your goals for 2017

  1. CLEAN OUT THOSE CUPBOARDS!! Go now! Right now! Get rid of all that crap that is taunting you in your cupboards. Anything that you know you will want to eat in a weak moment. You don’t need that stuff anyways.
  2. MEAL PREP!! Now, this is complicated to some people.  But it doesn’t have to be. Use your crockpot, it’ll take away so much work. Another easy trick is to cook one or two extra portions every time you make a meal then you can freeze it for another day.
  3. DRINK YOUR WATER!! Try drinking it out of a mug. I don’t know why it works but it’s more satisfying to drink out of a mug. Go try it!!

 

Guest Blogger: Nutrition Bites

It is true that it takes up to 30 minutes sometimes for an adult, to feel full after eating.  We have stomach sensors as well as all those brain signals that try sending messages for us to interpret and decide on how to handle each situation – including when to eat and stop eating. This depends on what it is (food, drink, mixed), how much they ate, how quickly they ate it as well as age and personal differences like size of stomach, emotions, pain tolerance and let’s be honest – mindfulness.

Mindfulness.  That buzz word goes around quite often now and it seems like, based on conversations I have had with others plus my experience in it, most do not understand it.  Being mindful is just noticing what is happening.  No judgement.  No emotion.  Just paying attention to cues (from your body in this topic) and then deciding with intent.  It’s no hippy answer or yoga lifestyle you have to have.  It’s just slowing down to pay attention to anything and everything (if you can) at any given time.  In this crazy busy world, it requires practice.  That being said, you need to start small and require constant reminders just like an alarm on your phone or scheduling a meeting.

It seems silly to do these things for eating.  It is supposed to be human nature to just eat.  How did it become so difficult to do what is supposed to be natural?  We live in a Western world where things are constantly done by other people: house builders, plumbers, farmers, dentists, etc.  But this extends to our food and eating behaviours.  For example: growing up in a mixed-ethnic home, I saw fruit farming as well as having my Italian barber-dad who came from Europe when he was 13 years old.  People talk about how Europe has it right with their Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.  What are we missing here that I see still to this day – we don’t even crack our own nuts!

Ready to eat almonds in a bag.
Ready to eat almonds in a bag.

I’m not kidding.  Yes, we have even found someone to crack our own walnuts, pecans, almonds etc.  I grew up with a nutcracker (it is not a ballet at Christmas time people!) and a bowl of varied nuts, but yes, at Christmas many times.  We sat around chatting, and having to “forage” and “process” our own food with friends and family at the table.  Experts say, nuts and seeds pack a great protein and healthy fat nutrition punch (part of the Mediterranean diet), yet we need to limit our servings sizes.  Well, I can tell you how the true Europeans do it: they have to spend time to get their food, and in the meantime, chat with their kids and neighbours – what we now call “building community and social support”.  It’s very difficult to over-consume nuts when you have to constantly be cracking them open to get the goodness (yet high in calories and fat) inside.  (They are healthy but in small quantities.)

I think we should go Back to the Basics (you will constantly hear that from me), and figure out why we eat so much but are so unhealthy and truly “empty” at times in a world that hands us everything on a silver platter, or in a grab-bag to go at a store a 2 minute drive away.

Here are my tips that might help you along – choose one or all of them to try.  It might lighten the load in more ways than one.

Tips to Eat More … Mindfully

  1. Cook foods from scratch. It helps you decide what you want, plan in advance and once you realize what goes into your food – you will actively choose healthier options.  It’s hard to do that with a frozen pizza or instant microwave dinner that doesn’t give you the option of hold the olives, or add the broccoli you do actually love.  And appreciating the end result will allow you to savour it more and longer.
  2. Eat spicy foods – This goes to the principal of classic “waiting to eat” tips ex: put your fork down in between bites, or chewing 25 times each piece of food – but this is definitely something that will remind you to be mindful as the hotter the food, the more likely you are to drink tons of water (added bonus of hydrating and filling your tummy and helping digestion). So kick up the heat, and savour the flavour.  (Ex: cayenne, chili, fajita and Cajun blends, even curry or ginger can work! But hot sauces can do the trick too.)IMG_1574

  3. Size matters! Eat on smaller plates – use lunch or small dessert plates – you can’t eat as much if you have nowhere to put it… but then move on to idea #4.

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    Three different sized plates and two different sizes of spoons and forks. Size matters: choose smaller to eat slower and mindfully.
  4. Go back for seconds! Take half of what you think you want, or if following step #3 – you have to choose to serve yourself more. And better yet, keep seconds on the stove so you have to get up and decide on more food.  Or food safety – package up leftovers and straight to the fridge, so then you have to wait to reheat food to have another serving.
  5. Talk without your mouth full – practice your table etiquette (great for new graduates or families with children) and slow the process so you can listen to your fullness meter. As well, talking helps encourage positive relationships and will actually decrease emotional eating for those more susceptible to eating when lonely or upset.
  6.   Eat your veggies first – the heavy fibre will send quicker signals to your brain to stop eating. They are filled with vitamins and minerals but less calories by weight than say cookies.
  7.  
     And of course, crack your own nuts! Take time to process them yourself.  You will eat less, and appreciate the work that goes into them more.  And to have another serving of a food that you have to cut or chop, or crack, means that you will have to think before you want to do the work for another, however many calories and grams of fat, even good ones.

As a conclusion (geeze that sounds like a grade 3 “hamburger” paragraph – it should be a sandwich maybe instead for healthy marketing purposes), I do not say in this crazy time to not buy a fruit tray already cut up for you.  It’s still healthy, absolutely.  And you might reach for chips instead if you don’t have something healthy and readily available and in your face when you open the fridge.  Definitely buy the fruit and veggie trays if that is the case.  And if you have ready to eat “junk” in the house combined with minimal impulse control, this might not work either if that is your default.

Yet, if you want to get away from the costly pre-prepared and processed foods that help us to eat mindlessly (and way more than we usually need!), try some of the tips above to really choose what you feed your body (and soul).  Now, let’s get nuts and get crackin’!

 

Let’s get nuts and get crackin’: Tips to eat more mindfully but less in “weight”

20 snacks that will help curb your hunger!

So you are SO hungry, you want a snack, but what will you have?? Here are 20 snacks to help curb your hunger!

  1. Yogurt – this is the perfect snack any time of the day
  2. Oranges – perfect on the go snack
  3. Oatmeal – slow burning carb to keep you full longer
  4. Watermelon – Awesome on a hot summer day
  5. Protein bars – easy, quick snack for when you’re in a hurry
  6. Apricots – an apricot only have 17 calories! (whaaaaat??)
  7. Pretzels – they are low in fat
  8. Carrots – well, who doesn’t like carrots?
  9. Almonds – they are a great source of B vitamins
  10. Bananas – easy, no mess snack
  11. Grapes – we all know what grapes make 😉
  12. Edamame – it’s a great source of protein
  13. Hummus – contains about 20 essential amino acids
  14. Cottage cheese – by weight it is 10% protein
  15. Apples – you have so many options with apples!
  16. String cheese – you get about 25% of your daily value of calcium
  17. Kale Chips – come on, it is kale!
  18. Fruit smoothies – you can get 50% your daily vitamins in one of these bad boys!
  19. Popcorn – Great night time snack
  20. Sunflower Seeds – They are 20% protein by weight

5 Common Metabolism Problems & Their Solutions

5 Common Metabolism Problems & Their Solutions

1. You don’t strength train — Even at a normal weight, when you lack muscle, your resting metabolic rate will be lower than you’d like. If you want to burn more calories, even when at rest, you need to keep muscle on your body.

SOLUTION: Start adding strength training to your workout routine!Valuable-Sleep

2. You’re not getting enough sleep — If you are not getting enough rest your resting metabolic rate will actually slow down to conserve energy, therefor burning LESS calories.

SOLUTION: Aim for 7-9 hours a night

3. You’re eating foods that are killing your metabolism — Things like artificial sweeteners, fruit juice and canola oil are classified as toxins by your body. So they slow down your metabolism and can cause other health issues.

SOLUTION: Eat unprocessed, whole foods

Blue Weights, Green Apple, and Tape Measure

4. You’re not working out hard enough — When you work out harder, it takes the body longer to recover, which makes your metabolism work harder.

SOLUTION: Start adding HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts into your routine.Mature older people lifting weights

5. You’re getting older — Your metabolism is naturally going to slow as you age.

SOLUTION: Keep active!!

14 Best Post-Workout Foods!

So now you have completed your workout and you are hungry! Now before you reach for a quick, junky snack, let’s make a good decision. Here is a list of the best post-workout foods.

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  1. Chocolate milk – Oh Ya! I said it. It is packed with protein and carbs and tastes so delicious! 
  2. Egg omelette – Eggs contain the fastest absorbing form of protein. Plus they are quick and easy to make.
  3. Tuna – A quick, budget friendly way to get your protein.
  4. Cottage cheese – Packed with protein and fat, and low in calories.
  5. Greek Yogurt – High in protein and great for on the go.
  6. Hummus and pita – Again, great for on the go, you can do the ahead of time. It slowly releases to provide long term energy.peanut-butter-apples1
  7. Steel cut oats – Perfect for any time of the day *add a scoop of protein powder for extra protein
  8. Protein pancakes – well come on, who doesn’t love pancakes?!
  9. Apples and peanut butter – MMM so good and full of great nutrients for recovery. 
  10. Fruit smoothie – these can be prepared ahead of time too. Plus add some protein powder for extra protein.
  11. Salmon – It is one of the leanest meats.
  12. Dried fruits and nuts – This is something you could leave in your car or purse. Quick, easy on the go option.
  13. Sweet potato -Not only does it taste great, but it is sweet potatoeasy to make, you can cook it in the microwave. 
  14. Good old Whey protein powder – Here is a true quick and easy post workout food. Sometimes when I am feeling like I want a treat I mix it with chocolate milk. mmmm.

10 ways to stop cravings!

Food cravings suck! Plain and simple. Everyone craves something different, but it is usually processed foods that are high in sugar. Cravings are one of the biggest problems when trying to lose weight and keeping it off.

 

Here are ten tips to help stop the cravings:

 

  1. Eat More Protein — Eating more protein can reduce your appetite so keeping you from overeating. Since it keeps you satisfied and fuller longer it helps stop the cravings. Studies have shown that increasing your protein intake by 25% can reduce cravings by 60% and the desire to snack at night was reduced by 50%
  2. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry! — When you go to the grocery store hungry everything looks good, EVERYTHING looks REALLY good! Don’t put yourself in a situation where you can purchase those sugary snacks.
  3. Eat balanced meals — If you aren’t getting proper nutrition this can cause cravings. When you are getting all the nutrients your body needs you feel fuller longer so you won’t get the cravings. If you are still hungry between meals, go for the whole foods – veggies, fruit, nuts or seeds.
  4. SLEEP! — sleep deprivation can mess with your hormones and can lead to poor appetite regulation and strong cravings. Studies have shown that people who suffer from sleep deprivation are 55% more likely to become obese.
  5. Drink more water — Sometimes we think we are hungry, but we are just thirsty. So when you get a craving start by drinking a big glass of water. Also, drink a large glass of water before meals, this will help fill you up so you won’t overeat.
  6. Don’t let stress get you down — stress can definitely lead to food cravings – especially for women. When we are stressed, we look for comfort and most people go to the sweets for comfort. Stress also raises the hormone cortisol, this hormone makes you gain weight, especially in the belly area.
  7. Practice mindful eating — this just means to pay attention to your emotions, hunger, eating habits and physical sensations. Mindful eating is telling the difference between actual hunger and cravings. It is also about thinking while you eat, actually chewing and slowing down to enjoy the food. This can also help reduce binge eating.
  8. Plan your meals — If you can make a menu for the week it takes out the question of “what’s for lunch?”. By planning your meals you can make sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs and it takes out the uncertainty which can lead to cravings and poor food choices.
  9. Don’t let yourself get really hungry — hunger is one of the biggest reasons for cravings. If you let yourself get extremely hungry you tend to make poor choices because you are looking for something quick and easy. Your body is also asking for energy, and the quickest form of energy would be the sugary snacks.
  10. Distract yourself — a lot of your cravings are because you are bored. Stay busy, go for a walk or my personal favourite, chew some gum.

Make ahead baked oatmeal

Your mom always told you “never skip breakfast, it is the most important meal of the day” well… she is right. This is what sets you up for the day. I know you are busy, you have to get everybody else ready. But you need to eat too! It doesn’t have to be time consuming or tricky. Try these amazingly delicious baked oatmeal cups!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • optional — your favourite toppings ( chocolate chips, fruit, nuts, etc.)

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Let’s do this! Preheat your oven to 350

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Line the muffin tin with muffin liners — great job for the kids!

 

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Start by mixing the eggs, oil, and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the applesauce, milk, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Mix until blended well. Stir in the oats and baking powder.

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Fill the muffin tin with 1/4 cup of the mixture in each muffin cup. Add your favourite toppings — we went with chocolate chips 🙂

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Bake for 30 minutes. Let them cool for 5 minutes before eating.

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Enjoy fresh or freeze and just reheat!

Make ahead muffin tin eggs

Super easy breakfast idea!

 

These awesome little muffin tin eggs are so easy to make, freeze, reheat and eat on the go you will want to make a big batch so you will be prepared on busy mornings.

 

Let’s do this … Preheat your oven to 350

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So start with your basics, eggs, milk and cheese… you can do this!

Then, spray your muffin tin VERY WELL! Toss in your goodies, I like to do a variety so I can switch it up a little each morning.

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Then pour in your egg and cheese mixture. Fill about ¾ of the muffin hole.

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Add a little extra cheese on top. Mmmmmmm! Then pop them in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes (or until the centers are baked through).

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Voila!! A super healthy, yet quick breakfast. Now eat them fresh or throw some in the freezer and just reheat them on your busy mornings.