The Most Important Step for a Healthier Life

Have you tried my tips to eat more veggies? Are you struggling to still get them into your diet? Do you want to be healthier but keep going back to old habits?

If this is you then don’t worry because so many other people are like that as well. In fact, it is so easy to forget to eat your veggies because when you were busy, you go back to old habits and even though you know what you need to do, when you are hungry, you are going to grab at the closet food thing in sight!

So, in order to build new habits we need to plan a little bit. That is where meal planning comes in!

So what is meal planning you ask? Well it’s basically a breakdown of what you’re going to eat over a day, and/or a week! Now don’t worry we’re just gonna look at meal planning for a day and then you will get the idea for doing it for up to a week.

 

Step One: Figure Out WHEN You Eat?

There is no point planning for just breakfast, lunch and dinner if you get hungry at 10am and need a snack as well!

Think about when you eat and when you get hungry? What habits do you have?

For example: I start work at 6am but don’t get hungry to about 6:30am, so I bring breakfast to work with me. Then, around 10am, I get peckish and this is when I can engulf one of the croissants at work so I eat a small snack like a banana or one of my Basic Bliss Balls. If I’m on the opening shift, I finish work around 1pm so I go home to eat lunch but if I am doing the closing shift, I need to take food with me. Dinner is usually around 6pm because that is when I start snacking again.

As you can see from my example, I know when I am going to start making crappy food choices so I plan my food so that I can make better food choices when at a moment of weakness.

 

Step Two: WHAT Are You Going To Eat?

This is the fun part! I love eating and think a lot about what I am going to eat so I love this step!

Think about when you eat and what fits your schedule. Do you get hungry at work so need something easy to make? Do you have more time at home so can spend more time on food preparation? Are you a parent and need things that are “grab and go”?

 

For me, I can easily eat the same thing for the first part of my day, everyday! Because I know that it works for me but no everyone can or wants to do that. This is what my basic meal plan looks like:

 

5:40am – WAKE UP!

6:30am – Breakfast: Quick Oats with Soy Milk and Decaf Latte (12oz)

10am – Snack: Banana or Bliss Ball with Decaf Latte (120z)

1pm – Lunch: Veggie Soup or A Hearty Salad like this one or this one or Roasted Veggies

6pm – Dinner: A Hot Meal with a side salad, lately I’ve been making my Black Bean and Quinoa Chili

8pm – Tea: A cup of chamomile tea

9:30 – 10pm: BED TIME

 

Step 3: Make a List and Buy The Food 

This step sounds too simple but how many times have you gone to the grocery store with the intent of buying one or two things and buying ten other things instead, but still not the thing you originally wanted to get?

From your meal plan, figure out what food items you need, write them on a piece of paper or your phone and buy them so that you are not stuck later on with nothing to eat.

Another plus of making a list is that you are going to save money because you are only buying what is on the list, but also because you won’t be as tempted to eat out when hungry. Win-win!

 

When I first started this blog, it was with the idea of providing meal plans for everyone so if want some ideas for dinners, here are some great resources. 

 

Once you have finished reading this post today, make sure you sit down and look at your own eating habits. Do you want to eat healthier, then these tips will certainly help!

And if you feel they will help someone else, be sure to share this post with your friends. Just use the buttons on the left <<<<

 

If you sit down and are completely stumped then contact me and book a free 20 minute session! We can talk about meal planning and quickly make an awesome plan specifically for your needs.

 

Have a great week,

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

Kids and Vegetables, they just don’t go together that well but luckily, I have the wonderful Tegan Bissell from @Cooklikeadietitian to give us some tips for how to get the kiddies to eat their greens.

I am so excited about this collaboration! I found Tegan on Instagram and wanted to work with her straight away. Luckily for me, she accepted 🙂 If you don’t follow her on Instagram, I highly recommend it. Her photos are beautiful, she has informative but very funny posts and you can learn a lot from her little suggestions.

So I will pass this post over to Tegan….

Kids and veggies.  Two things you don’t usually find together, just at least not without some form of bribery or death threats!

 

Photo credit: cnn.com
Photo credit: cnn.com

 

I can remember an intense dislike of peas as a child, I had a trick where I would pretend to eat the peas to ap”peas”e my mother.  When my mom went to clear the table she would discover a cascade of peas rolling off the table and onto the floor and me escaping into my room!  Eventually, I realized peas weren’t all that bad, and neither were the majority of other vegetables.

 

As a Registered Dietitian, I now can’t get enough of the nourishment and unique array of flavors that vegetables provide to us, and laugh about the days when I would do anything to avoid eating them!

How to get your kids to eat more vegetables you ask?

Get them involved!

Kids have a natural desire to learn and be a part of everything around them.  In the countless cooking classes I have taught, I have watched the most veggie-resistant kid end up devouring their plate once they get a chance to do some of the cooking themselves.  Have them pick out a new veggie at the store.  Show they how to safely chop a vegetable.  Let them help you cook a veggie or mix a salad.  You might be surprised when they give it a try!

Exposure, Exposure, Exposure!!!

Kids have to try a food at least 10 times before their taste buds can determine if they will actually like it or not.  If they’ve tried it once and hated it, that veggie is not necessarily done for.  Continue to serve them a variety of veggies on their plate and encourage them to at least take one bite.  If they do not want to eat it all, that’s their choice.  Even just serving it to them again may increase their comfort with that food.  It takes a little bit of patience, but don’t get discouraged, you may be surprised when one day they actually take a bite, then two, then start asking for asparagus 😉

Variety!

Get creative with cooking vegetables in different ways.  If you tend to always boil or steam, the flavor may get a little bland after a while.  Try roasting, grilling, sautéing them in a stir-fry, or sneaking them into casseroles and mixed dishes.  Kids may find they dislike a veggie raw, but love it roasted!  Pair different colors of veggies together or with the other foods on the plate.  Nothing is more pleasing to the child’s eye than bright colors or shapes!

Take advantage of their caveman instincts.

Kids can usually recognize their hunger signals when their tummies growl, which can be satisfied by almost anything if they are hungry enough.  Keep precut vegetables and fruits available for snacks when they are hungry and save less healthy snacks for when they are full (like after dinner).  They will be more likely to try the vegetable snacks, and they will fill up on healthier foods more often.

If all else fails (but it won’t if you have patience, I promise), continue to model good habits by eating vegetables yourself.

Kids are walking sponges and learn through observation (monkey see, monkey do)!  So if you eat vegetables and demonstrate a positive relationship with those foods, your child will become more comfortable with these foods, and want to eat some too.  Eat dinner together as a family as often as possible; showcase those delicious veggies you prepared, and chow down like they are going out of style and the rest will fall into place!

 

Check out the kid-friendly veggie recipes below and let me know in the comments if there is anything that has worked with your family to help kids eat more vegetables!

 

Roasted Kale Chips

Kale Chips

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/roasted-kale-chips-parmigiano-reggiano

Crispy Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/crispy-chickpeas0.html

 

Tegan Bissell

 

 

Tegan Bissell is a Registered Dietitian practicing outpatient nutrition counseling on the Treasure Coast of Florida. She specializes in diabetes, weight management and pediatric nutrition; cooking skills, advocating food as medicine, food sustainability, and inspiring people to take charge of their own health and wellness. She also enjoys healthy doses of dark chocolate, cheese and sangria. And can be found biking, beaching, visiting her home state of Vermont, cooking and taking pictures of her food for intstagram!

 

 

 

For more recipes and health tips, follow Tegan on Instagram @cooklikeadietitian!

 

Have a great week,

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay up to date by joining my mailing list 🙂

 

 

 

What Happens To Your Body When You Eat More Veggies?

For the past couple of weeks, I have been talking about veggies A LOT!

How to get your 5 servings of vegetables, as well as how to sneak more veg into your everyday diet. But I haven’t told you why you should be doing this!

Therefore, I am dedicating this blog post to the benefits of eating at least 5 servings of veggies a day and how it improves you.

I will be breaking the post into the three sections of: mind, body and Earth; as these are the key areas that I like to focus on when working with nutrition.

 

MIND

  1. Clear mind. When you are eating more veggies, you are eating less crappy food like MacDonald’s takeaway. The immediate benefit of this is that you will have a clearer mind as your body isn’t always dealing with the sugar rollercoaster of highs and lows (think 3pm slump)
  2. Stay Hydrated. Because veggies are mainly water, it is easier to stay hydrated. When hydrated, the brain functions better. This also helps if you often get headaches from not drinking enough water.
  3. You will be more productive! Studies have shown that people who increase their veggie intake experience a raise in productivity. This is because your brain is getting better fuel to run on.
  4. Better Moods. People who eat a diet rich in plants experience better moods. This is the result of veggies keeping blood sugar levels stable. Stable blood sugar = stable mood.
  5. Better sleep! Another positive result of having stable blood sugar levels in you will sleep better. If you include some sweet corn or tomatoes in your dinner, this will boost your melatonin levels (sleep hormone) to give you an even more restful night.

 

BODY

  1. Better skin. This goes hand in hand with point 2 for the mind. More veggies = better hydration and when the body is hydrated, it immediately shows on the skin. This can result in less fine lines, clearer skin and a better complexion.
  2. More energy. There is a lot to be said in keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Not only does it help with your mental state but it physically helps you as well by giving you more energy. When your body isn’t constantly crashing for high sugar meals, it can easily function and give you the energy that you need to do all that you want in a day.
  3. Less hunger. Veggies are full of that magic stuff called fibre that keeps you full for longer. No more feeling hungry after just eating breakfast. This is very handy if you are trying to maintain or lose some weight.
  4. More regular. Thanks again to fibre, when you eat at least 5 servings of veggies a day, you will be increasing your fibre intake which leads to regular bowel movements. When regular, you don’t often experience that gross heavy feeling in your stomach or as much bloating and gas. Side note: Although, when initially increasing the fibre in your diet, there can be an uncomfortable bloating stage while your body is adjusting.
  5. Feeling good. When you are eating lots of veggies, you are going to feel better. This is because you are simply getting more nutrients into your body to help it run better. You are also going to be experiencing the positive side effects from the other points and it won’t take too long before other people are noticing too.

 

EARTH

  1. Better for the planet. Eating more veggies is one of the best ways that you can help the planet because the more you eat, the less factory farmed animals you are going to need to consume. Factory farming is one of the biggest contributors of CO2 into the atmosphere due to the increased amount of animals that we now have on the planet. By voting with your plate, you can decrease the demand for this farming practise.
  2. Use less water. Producing a pound of beef uses a staggering 2500 gallons of water compared to a pound of lettuce (15 gallons). A pound of butter requires 2400 gallons of water, while a pound of bananas uses 120 gallons. By eating more vegetables, you are easily reducing your environmental footprint by the amount of water that you consume.
  3. Use less fossil fuels. According to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, the animal food production system uses The high uses about 50% of the total US land area, 80% of the fresh water, and 17% of the fossil energy used in the country.  This is mainly due to the amount of work that goes into growing the crops, which are then fed to the animals. Another way to reduce your eco footprint is to opt for grass fed animals.
  4. More compassion. 9 billion animals need to be maintained in the US to meet the demand for meat. That is a lot of mouths to feed! If we ate more veg, the demand for these animals would decrease and the food that we fed them, could be used to feed people in poverty and even better, stop the cruel practises that happen to the animals.
  5. Reduce deforestation. Animal agriculture is the number one reason for deforestation, closely followed by wood based industry as stated by WWF and Conserve Energy Future. By eating more veg, we can reduce the demand for land needed to raise more livestock.

 

What do you think about eating more veggies? Now that you know how it improves aspects of the mind, body and Earth, does this make you want to try to eat them more?

 

Let me know below and have a great week,

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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References

http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/from-lettuce-to-beef-whats-the-water-footprint-of-your-food.html 

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/660S.full 

http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-effects-solutions-of-deforestation.php

http://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html

https://www.allianz.com/en/about_us/open-knowledge/topics/environment/articles/150329-the-top-ten-drivers-of-deforestation.html/

 

 

 

 

 

How to Sneak More Veggies into your Life

This week, I figured that I would continue on that theme of veggies and talk about the sneaky little ways that you get add more veg into your life.

set-outline-stroke-vegetable-icon-vector-illustration-40594485

 

Last week, I wrote in the blog about what a serving of veggies is and how to get 5 servings in a day. If you haven’t read it, then it is definitely worth the read as the information will surprise you.

This little tips are perfect for the busy life, and even better if you have some fussy eaters in the house…

I try and use at least one of these methods a day, if not more. The green veggie soup that I made a couple of night ago is a perfect example of ways to sneak in some extra veggies.

 

I definitely have to thank my mum for many of these little life hacks. We lived in rural Australia when I was a little girl and because we were so isolated, the quality of the produce was not that great. Of the fresh veggies that we did get, many of them were either bruised or already showing the signs of being old. A lot of the time, we used frozen veggies and although they are nutritionally sound, they don’t always taste that great to a little kid. So my mum would “hide” the veggies into our food so that my siblings and I wouldn’t realise that we were eating them.

Fast forward 20 years and I am still using some of her methods to include more veggies into my life:

    • Grate carrot and/or zucchini into your pasta sauce. It thickens the mixture and you cannot taste the veggies at all.

 

    • When making a smoothie, add a handful of spinach. If you have plenty of fruit in it already, you won’t be able to taste the greens.

 

    • Grate beets into chocolate cakes/brownies/anything chocolate! Beets and chocolate go great together.

 

    • When making a cake, grate a zucchini into it. It makes it really moist.

 

    • When making an omelette, add some diced veggies like sweet potato, peppers or mushrooms. It adds more veggies and flavour!

 

    • Add diced tomatoes to scrambled eggs.

 

    • After you have pulled your pizza from the oven, put a thin layer of salad greens on top. This gives the pizza a fresher taste.

 

    • Make a cheesy bake with veggies (kind of like this one) to serve with dinner. Cut your vegetables into bite sized pieces and lay in a baking dish, cover with a simple cheese sauce (like this one) and bake in an oven at 180°C/35o°F. This was my favourite meal as a kid!

 

    • Substitute crackers for raw veggies. This is perfect for hummus or seven layer dip.

 

    • In the winter months, always have some vegetable soup on hand. They are an easy way to get your veggie intake and keep you warm.

 

    • One of my favourite things to do at the moment is to cut up cucumber and carrots, and eat them with a honey dijon mustard dressing.  You don’t have to eat veggies with just dip.

 

    • Cut up some parsnips, carrots and/or sweet potatoes, then roast them in the oven. The roasting makes them really sweet and they are a great snack between meals.

 

    • Try making some savoury pancakes instead of the regular sweet ones. My corn pancakes are great with tomato salsa.

 

These are my top 13 ways to sneak more veggies into your life.

 

Do you do any of these tips? Do you have any extra tips that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments section below. And if you like this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends.

Have a great week,

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

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Eat 5 Servings of Veggies (and Save The WORLD!)

You have probably heard that you need to eat five servings of veggies a day.

Image result
Photo Credit: North Shore Pediatric Clinic

 

It is taught everywhere!  Schools, hospitals, workplaces, on TV… but no one tells you what a serving of veggies looks like. For the longest time, I honestly thought that I didn’t eat enough vegetables and I felt so guilty about it because I am a university trained nutritionist! I should know this stuff but it wasn’t taught to me in my schooling. So, being the forever curious person that I am, I decided to look into it.

 

I googled the phrase “what does a serving of veggies look like?” and I’m going to be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed! I kept getting two different answers and I want to keep my street cred so I turned to the World Health Organisation for an answer and after digging pretty deeply into the official documentation, I found this quote:

 

Despite the great variations in national contects, there do seem to be some coomon factors underlaying most defintions. For vegetable portions, a volume of 250mL of raw leafy vegetables or half of this volume (125 mL) of cooked or chopped vegetables accounts for apporximately 80 g. World Health Organisation

 

So what does that mean?

 

A vegetable serving (and fruit too) is 80g. This equates to:

• ½ cup of vegetable juice

• 1 cup of leafy vegetables

• ½ cup of cooked or raw vegetables

And while I am at it, it is recommended to get 2 servings of fruit a day, which looks like this: 

• ½ cup of fruit

• 1 medium piece of fruit

• ¼ cup of dried fruit

• ½ cup (4 ounces) of 100% fruit juice

 

Turns out that is is pretty easy to get 5 servings of vegetables in a day, because one serving of veggies is not as big as I had imagined!

Here I am thinking that I need to eat 5 whole vegetables to get all my recommendations and it turns out that most servings are about ½ cup. That still sounds big but have you looked at ½ cup of carrot? It’s not very big at all. Another way to look at it is that you need to get at least 2½ cups of vegetables a day or 4oog.

So what does 5 servings of veggies in one day look like? Well here is a list of some servings of veggies:

 

Getting your 5 servings of veggies in a day…

Example One:

 

One large salad with 5 cups of salad greens.

Fruit: 1 banana and 1 orange

 

Example Two:

Stir fry with ½ cup of broccoli, 1 cup of cooked asian greens, ½ cup of mushrooms and ½ cup of chopped peppers.

Fruit: 1 cup of blueberries

 

Example Three:

Veggie platter with ½ cup of broccoli, ½ cup of carrots along with a dip of choice.

Plus, a salad with 2 cups of salad greens and what ever else you want.

Fruit: 1 orange and 1 pear.

 

 

So now that I have finished talking about how to get your 5 servings of veggies a day, what was this thing about saving the world? 

Well… when you are eating your recommended servings of veggies each day, you feel better. And when you feel better, you are a better person and when you are a better person, you can do anything! Also, when you are eating more plants, it means that you are eating less toxic processed foods and also less meat, taking the pressure off the planet.

Image result for love the planet
Photo Credit: Pintrest

Just something to think about 🙂 

 

If you liked this post, let me know below in the comments sections. Or even better, share it with your friends!

Have a great day,

IMG_2943

 

 

 

 

 

References

http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/f&v_intake_measurement.pdf?ua=1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/irene-rubaumkeller-/fruit-vegetable-servings_b_926400.html

http://www.thekitchn.com/10-photos-that-show-you-your-daily-recommended-servings-of-fruits-vegetables-207261