Even More Ways To Slash Holiday Calories In Half

So, last week I wrote out a list of popular high-calorie holiday foods and easy ways to cut down on some of those calories while still getting to indulge in them. I’m a big believer in not depriving yourself, because when you ignore what you really want it doesn’t go away, you just end up eating too much of everything else, and then that nagging craving just comes back stronger.

I said this about Thanksgiving and I’ll say it about Christmas too, give yourself permission to eat that day and not worry too much. I know, not the advice that magazines and most nutritionists would give you. But take it from me, someone who has tried all sorts of diets – if you’re just honest with yourself about eating more than normal, you won’t have the guilt later when you eat too much, and honestly, it’s just one day, not 30. You can start fresh tomorrow. Set yourself up for success, not failure. It’s when we make promises to ourselves that we can’t keep that we overindulge and then beat ourselves up about it.

That being said, I’m going to finish off that list of foods that I started last week, so that you can still indulge in the things you love, and still save a few hundred calories, without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.

Green Bean Casserole – I was never such a fan of this one, but I know a lot of people are. A 1 cup serving can pack 110 calories. Not too bad compared other holiday side dishes, but you can still cut down on the amount of calories, so that you can enjoy more of some of the other things on the table. Top the green beans off with lower-fat mushroom soup, and caramelize your own onions instead of using store-bought fried onions.

Bread Stuffing – A 1/2 cup serving has at least 180 calories, and lets face it, the stuffing is one of the best parts, so you know you’re going back for seconds. Skip the butter and use chicken broth to moisten the bread. Use whole-wheat bread instead of white, and cook the stuffing separate from the bird, so that it doesn’t accumulate all the fatty drippings.

Pumpkin Pie – Mmmm! We all know that the only reason we eat dinner is to get to the dessert. An average slice of pumpkin pie will cost you about 320 calories. Instead of using heavy cream use reduced-fat evaporated milk and save about 87 calories.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with an awesome appetizer that looks beautiful, is healthy, and tastes awesome too.

Tuna Tartar Wrapped In Cucumber (adapted from Recipe Rehab With Tanya Zuckerbrot)
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha (Asian chili sauce)
- 8 ounces fresh, sushi-grade tuna, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 avocado, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives, plus 1-inch pieces for garnish
- 2 seedless cucumbers, peeled

1. Using a knife or a mandolin, slice the cucumbers lengthwise as thinly as possible.
2. Mix mayonnaise, soy sauce and sriracha together in a small bowl.
3. Add tuna, avocado and chives, and gently combine with a fork.
4. Spoon 1 tablespoon tuna tartar on the end of the cucumber slice. Roll up and place a toothpick through the middle to secure the filling. Garnish with chives and serve.

This recipe serves 12, and per serving there’s only 56 calories, 2.5 g carbohydrate, 1.25 g fiber, 5 g protein, and 3 g total fat.

Survival Guide: Airline Snacking

I just came across this awesome website from the Food Detective that offers food stats on all the major airlines and the amount of walking you’d need to do to burn it all off. Since I know that many of you will be traveling this holiday season I thought I’d help you all out by sharing it.

Here’s the basic rundown in case you don’t want to read the entire thing:

- Aside from Jet Blue being an awesome airline to travel, they were also really helpful on providing info on their snack items, which shows that they think about these things. American Airlines, Continental, and United Airlines were also pretty helpful. But, it was United Airlines that came in as the number one choice for healthy food options.

- Virgin America, Delta, and U.S. Airways were ranked as the worst. They were very reluctant to give out information, which implies your health isn’t all that important to them.

- Your best choices when flying these airlines:
* United Airlines – If you need just a snack, go for the Tapas snack box or the Lite snack box. If you’re flying longer than 3 hours and need a meal, go for the Turkey Sandwich (but skip the chips), the Fruit and Cheese Tray, or the Chicken Caesar Salad. For breakfast, stick with the smoothie or yogurt parfait. And as for the A La Carte snacks (Pringles, bread, or chocolate bar) definitely skip those!

* Jet Blue – If you’re flying less than 3 hours choose the nuts. They’re good for you and the healthy fats and protein will help keep you satisfied for a while. If you’re flying longer than 3 hours choose the Shape Up meal for sure!

* American Airlines – While AA doesn’t have great choices, stick with the Cheese & Cracker Snack Tray. Just be sure to skip the crackers, because with raisins will give you enough carbs, but with better nutrition. If you’re flying longer than 3 hours, choose the Boston Market Chicken Caesar Salad, but be sure to use only half of the dressing.

* Delta – Their individual snacks aren’t all that great, but if you’re flying less than 3 hours and don’t have a meal option go for the pretzels or the peanuts. The nuts are higher in calories, but may be more filling. If you’re flying longer than 3 hours, stick with the Breakfast Snack. If that’s not available though, choose the Fruit and Cheese Plate, but skip the crackers. And, obviously the Veggies and Ranch is low in calories, but it might not tide you over.

* Continental – None of their choices are all the great, but if you’re flying longer than 3 hours go for the Parfait or the Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad (use half the dressing though).

* Southwest – The nuts are the only way to go.

* Virgin America – For a small snack, stick with the PopChips or yumBar, and for larger snack, go for the Veggies & Hummus box. If it’s a meal you need though, choose the Protein Meal or the Homestyle Chicken Sandwich.

* U.S. Airways – Go for the CafePlus, but don’t eat the cookies (save them for later when you’re sweet tooth attacks).

Have What You Want To Have

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and instead of giving you “5 Tips For Making It Through The Holidays” I’m going to give you my one piece of advice that I know will make all the difference.

Most dieters and nutritionists come up with lists to guide you through the holidays, such as choosing the most important things you want to eat and only eating that, making lower calorie versions of popular Thanksgiving foods, or tips on serving sizes. But for me, that’s all a bunch of rules and restrictions and I’ve found that being rigid on the holidays is a surefire way to failure, so I have only 1 tip for you. Ready? Here it is… Thanksgiving is one day a year and one day of eating won’t break the bank or all the hard work you’ve invested in trying to live a healthier lifestyle, so enjoy yourself and don’t obsess too much about how many calories are in your aunts sweet potato casserole or debate whether you should have that dessert.

Holidays don’t happen all that often and it’s a way for family and friends to come together and enjoy themselves. You should enjoy these times rather than be stressed out and focused over what 3oz. of turkey looks like. Is it a deck of cards, a fist, or a tennis ball? Who knows what those really look like on a plate anyway…

Obviously you shouldn’t gorge yourself either, but you definitely shouldn’t deprive yourself. Give yourself permission on this day so that you feel in control of your choices and don’t end up feeling guilty on Friday. Guilt leads to self-sabotaging behaviors (“I guess I really messed up yesterday, so I might as well eat some more pie and start fresh on Monday”), which is a recipe for disaster. Give yourself that day and agree that on Friday you’ll go back to your normal routine. Remember, Thanksgiving is one day a year, not the entire 38 days between Thanksgiving and New years, so relax and enjoy yourself this Thursday and be thankful for the food you have, your health, and your family and friends (not the number on the scale).

And before I leave you, I absolutely must give a shout out to my client Valerie for a stellar performance. In only 10 sessions with me she’s managed to go from not working out at all to working out 2-3 days a week. This past week she went on vacation to Spain and really proved herself by managing to work out in the hotel gym twice and walking everywhere instead of taking cabs. And she even managed to fit in 20 minutes of cardio yesterday morning before meeting me for our session. She then gave me a rock star workout and committed to add another day to her workout routine every week. Valerie is going to succeed, you know why? Because she is not relying on me to do the work for her and doesn’t make any excuses. She does her homework and sticks with what she says she’s going to do, because she knows that her success is up to her. I’m only there to guide and motivate. I have no words left to say how amazing you are, Valerie, but just know that you are going to be a MASSIVE success!

Emotional Eating Survival Strategies

Emotional eating isn’t something that only overweight people do. People of all shapes and sizes use food to comfort themselves, because they’re bored, sad, lonely, or angry. At first you think that you’re hungry, so you go for a pint of ice cream in the freezer, but then before you know it, you’ve eaten almost the entire pint and you’ve gone from hungry to disgusted in a matter of minutes. Where those minutes have gone you have no idea, because it seems like you were almost in a trance through the whole thing. Even if you did notice what you were doing you probably rationalized all the thoughts that were telling you to stop, because “you deserve it”, or “you’ve been really good lately”, or “it’s only today, I won’t do it tomorrow, so let me just enjoy it.” But, what ends up happening is that today becomes tomorrow and then tomorrow becomes the next day and the next, and before long you’ve created a habit of comforting your anxiety with food, thinking that it’s going to help. All it does though is make your problems worse, because now on top of your boredom, loneliness, sadness, or anger is guilt. And what you’re left with is a vicious cycle that won’t end unless you make a conscious decision and effort to end it yourself.

Here are a 10 tips to use the next time you feel like masking your feelings with food:

1. Dig deep – The first thing you absolutely must do is figure out why and when you eat. What feelings are you trying to avoid dealing with? Did something happen at work, do you feel sad or angry? Figure out your patterns, so you can watch out for them next time.

2. Make a List - Make a list of things you can do instead of eating the next time you feel the urge to raid your refrigerator. You can include all the tips listed here plus some others that you think might help you specifically, such as calling a friend for help or occupying yourself with something else.

3. Wait 10 Minutes – If you feel the need to eat make sure to wait 10 minutes before indulging. Most of the time you’ll be able to talk yourself out of it and see that you don’t really want to eat.

4. Ask Yourself This Question – “What purpose is this serving me?” If the purpose of eating is to console yourself maybe you need to find another strategy. Think back to all the other times you ate out of discomfort and think about how you felt. Probably the only purpose it served was to make you feel good in the moment, but pretty badly for hours after and maybe even into the next day. You don’t need to feel that way. You’ll feel much better if you fight the urge.

5. Brush Your Teeth – – Ever have orange juice after brushing your teeth? Not so good, huh! Walk away from the temptations and instead go for your toothbrush. You’ll be less likely to eat after you brushed your teeth.

6. Use a Reminder Designate an object as your reminder and put it in a place where you can see it, such as the kitchen, so that the next time you go towards food for comfort you’ll see it and be reminded that you don’t really want to eat right now.

7. Repeat – Tell yourself, “this is my pattern, this is what I do.” When you understand what’s really going on with yourself and you recognize it as a series of habits and behaviors it’s easier to get a handle on things and steer it in a different direction. Keep telling yourself this mantra when you feel like eating, so that you drive home the point that this is just your pattern. You can change that pattern!

8. Journal – Writing down what you’re thinking and feeling can really help you work things out. The process of writing can help you get to the bottom of your thoughts and can help make sense of things. Remember that no one is reading it, so let it all out there and don’t worry about judgements.

9. Have a Support System – Choose someone you trust who you know will support you in your fight against this. Call them when you need to (kind of like a sponsor at an AA meeting).

10. Don’t Beat Yourself Up - If you do have an emotional eating episode do not be mad at yourself. What’s done is done, so feeling guilty is pointless. It will only feed into the cycle and force you to continue this pattern. All you can do is learn from the experience and strategize on how you’re going to deal with it next time. Instead, give yourself some major praise for actually thinking about these things and trying to do something about it. You can’t be perfect, you can only try your best.

Ughhhh, I Can't Believe I Ate The Whole Thing! – Weekend Survival Guide

If you have it too much or too often it's not a treat anymore.

Ever have that feeling? Did you have it this weekend? I’m sure many of you went to at least one party and had your fill of burgers and booze only to wake up the next morning thinking, “why did I eat all that”?. And if it wasn’t this weekend (good for you, by the way!) then it was for sure some other time. Either when you came home from work feeling like you could eat your dog if it came down to it, but instead polished off 5 cookies, or when you went to dinner on Saturday night way too hungry for your own good and ended up eating the entire bread basket, 3 glasses of wine, your entire plate of pasta and a few bites of your friend’s, plus dessert. We’ve all had that feeling of wanting to just undo the entire thing and make like it never happened.

Well, I can’t do that for you, but what I can do is help you avoid it the next time. You can be a bit more relaxed on the weekends, but don’t let all the good habits you’ve been working on fly out the window. Here are 5 tips to help you the next time you’re looking at your dog and licking your lips.

1. Always stay one step ahead – Start your Saturday and Sunday mornings off with a workout (if weekends are your weakness then try to schedule your rest days during the week). This will help set you off on the right track and will be a little reminder to stay balanced.

2. There’s a little something called the Interweb, or Web Machine, or something like it – If you like to go out to eat on the weekends, but lose control when you get to the restaurant, take some time to plan ahead. Decide on where you’re going to eat beforehand and then look up their menu for the best options. This way, when you get to the restaurant you won’t even have to open the menu and be tempted to order something you’ll regret later. Plus, if they have a dessert you really like you can plan to make up for it either by your workout in the morning or by going a little lighter at breakfast and lunch.

3. Dear Diary – If food journaling helps you, make sure that you’re tracking everything you eat – even on the weekends and if you go overboard. Many people have the tendency to leave out foods that they’ve overeaten, because they don’t want to look at it again and be reminded of it, or they figure, “what’s the point of tracking it, I know I went over.” It’s important to write everything down, so that you can really see what you’re taking in and keep things in perspective. Maybe you can have that extra slice of pizza if you see that you haven’t actually eaten all that much. And on the other hand, maybe you’ll think twice about having it if you see that you’ve had more than enough that day too.

4. Stop loitering – Going to a party? Fill your plate up and then leave the food table. You don’t need to mingle around it with your friends like a swarm of flies. If you really want seconds then you can go for it, but first walk away. Make sure that you’re filling up on healthy foods first and then if you want the other yummies decide on how much you’re going to have and stick to it. It’s ok to have a little of the things that are really tempting you, but remember that you don’t want to fill up and then have the thought, “why did I just do that”?.

5. Don’t shop til you drop – Shopping can actually be a pretty good workout. You’re walking around, trying on clothes (working your way out of something that’s too small without ripping it, or even just getting it over your boobs can be a major arm and back workout!), carrying bags, and walking some more. Make sure that you carry a healthy snack, like a Kashi Crunchy bar or an apple and some nuts, so that you can nibble when you feel hungry and don’t end up sluggish and ravenous. You don’t want to be so hungry that you end up eating the first thing you see.

So, there you have it, my 5 tips for weekend survival. Good luck and remember that there’s a reason things are called “treats”. If you have them all the time they’re not treats anymore. You’ve worked hard on replacing your bad habits with healthy ones, so don’t let your weekends get out of hand and have them go to waste.

Ughhhh, I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing! – Weekend Survival Guide

If you have it too much or too often it's not a treat anymore.

Ever have that feeling? Did you have it this weekend? I’m sure many of you went to at least one party and had your fill of burgers and booze only to wake up the next morning thinking, “why did I eat all that”?. And if it wasn’t this weekend (good for you, by the way!) then it was for sure some other time. Either when you came home from work feeling like you could eat your dog if it came down to it, but instead polished off 5 cookies, or when you went to dinner on Saturday night way too hungry for your own good and ended up eating the entire bread basket, 3 glasses of wine, your entire plate of pasta and a few bites of your friend’s, plus dessert. We’ve all had that feeling of wanting to just undo the entire thing and make like it never happened.

Well, I can’t do that for you, but what I can do is help you avoid it the next time. You can be a bit more relaxed on the weekends, but don’t let all the good habits you’ve been working on fly out the window. Here are 5 tips to help you the next time you’re looking at your dog and licking your lips.

1. Always stay one step ahead – Start your Saturday and Sunday mornings off with a workout (if weekends are your weakness then try to schedule your rest days during the week). This will help set you off on the right track and will be a little reminder to stay balanced.

2. There’s a little something called the Interweb, or Web Machine, or something like it – If you like to go out to eat on the weekends, but lose control when you get to the restaurant, take some time to plan ahead. Decide on where you’re going to eat beforehand and then look up their menu for the best options. This way, when you get to the restaurant you won’t even have to open the menu and be tempted to order something you’ll regret later. Plus, if they have a dessert you really like you can plan to make up for it either by your workout in the morning or by going a little lighter at breakfast and lunch.

3. Dear Diary – If food journaling helps you, make sure that you’re tracking everything you eat – even on the weekends and if you go overboard. Many people have the tendency to leave out foods that they’ve overeaten, because they don’t want to look at it again and be reminded of it, or they figure, “what’s the point of tracking it, I know I went over.” It’s important to write everything down, so that you can really see what you’re taking in and keep things in perspective. Maybe you can have that extra slice of pizza if you see that you haven’t actually eaten all that much. And on the other hand, maybe you’ll think twice about having it if you see that you’ve had more than enough that day too.

4. Stop loitering – Going to a party? Fill your plate up and then leave the food table. You don’t need to mingle around it with your friends like a swarm of flies. If you really want seconds then you can go for it, but first walk away. Make sure that you’re filling up on healthy foods first and then if you want the other yummies decide on how much you’re going to have and stick to it. It’s ok to have a little of the things that are really tempting you, but remember that you don’t want to fill up and then have the thought, “why did I just do that”?.

5. Don’t shop til you drop – Shopping can actually be a pretty good workout. You’re walking around, trying on clothes (working your way out of something that’s too small without ripping it, or even just getting it over your boobs can be a major arm and back workout!), carrying bags, and walking some more. Make sure that you carry a healthy snack, like a Kashi Crunchy bar or an apple and some nuts, so that you can nibble when you feel hungry and don’t end up sluggish and ravenous. You don’t want to be so hungry that you end up eating the first thing you see.

So, there you have it, my 5 tips for weekend survival. Good luck and remember that there’s a reason things are called “treats”. If you have them all the time they’re not treats anymore. You’ve worked hard on replacing your bad habits with healthy ones, so don’t let your weekends get out of hand and have them go to waste.

Memorial Day Survival Guide

Yay, it’s Memorial Day weekend, which means summer is almost here! It also means lots of BBQs and parties this weekend, so don’t let one weekend blow months of hard work away. You still want to have a fabulous time though and not be the boring girl eating one lettuce leaf, so read on to find out how to navigate through all the fried chicken and burger-y goodness and still have fun.

1. Instead of heading straight for the burgers go towards the cut up veggies and salad first. Filling up on water packed foods will make you less likely to overeat the fat packed foods.

2. Speaking of burgers, if you’re making your own BBQ or you can bring something to someone else’s try my Turkey Burger recipe. It is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S and I promise you won’t miss the beefy kind! Also make sure to go easy on the mayo if it’s not low-fat. Better yet, stay away from it and try some avocado instead. Keep in mind that a full fat burger with all the fixings is 511 calories! That’s 58 minutes of stair climbing**!

3. If you’re going to drink and you’re a beer kind of girl stick to a light beer. If you like something a bit harder stay away from the sugary cocktails which are usually loaded with extra calories. Drinking your calories isn’t very satisfying and a margarita has 200 of those suckers, which means you’ll have to wash the dishes from your little party for 92 minutes! Instead swap the sugar for diet soda. My favorite mix is Stoli vanilla vodka and Coke Zero. Another good one is something we’ve named The Chilly Willie, which is mandarin vodka and diet root beer (I promise, it’s delicious!).

4. Who doesn’t love some good potato salad? I know! But, 1 cup will set you back 358 calories and 20g of fat! And you guessed it, I’m going to tell you what kind of agony you need to put yourself through to burn it off… That’s 81 minutes of mopping up after the guests leave! If that’s your kind of fun then go for the potato salad. If it’s not, then try grilling up some corn on the cob. I know it’s not potato salad, but I promise you’re going to want seconds! And good thing is that you can have seconds!

5. You scream, I scream, we all love ICE CREAM! I love ice cream as much as the next girl, but I have to keep my cravings in check, because I can easily devour an entire container all by myself in one sitting. Take this: a 1/2 cup serving of vanilla Ben & Jerry’s equals 240 calories and 16g fat. You’d have to do 30 minutes of push-ups to take that off! Have a Skinny Cow Truffle Bar for just 100 calories instead. They are YUMMY!

So, those are my tips. If you do give into temptation though don’t worry too much about it. It’s only one weekend and it’s hard to keep on track all the time. Just make sure that when you wake up the next morning you rededicate yourself to eating right and getting into gear. Don’t let one day turn into 1 week, and then a month, and then a year.

** All calorie counts are based on a 130lb. person

Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours! If yours is chosen you’ll receive a FREE Fit Deck!