Snack Your Way To A Healthy Weight And Lifestyle


Snack your way to a healthy weight

Your body needs food to function properly.  If it doesn’t get enough calories, your metabolism can actually slow down.  Most people get hungry between regular meals and need extra food throughout the day.  Including snacks in your daily diet helps to keep your metabolism working properly, avoid binging, and keep your mind alert.  It also gives you the energy you need for lifestyle activities and exercise.

Snacking Wisely

Studies continue to show us that counting calories is not very effective when it comes to weight loss and or weight management.  Not only does counting calories mess with you psychologically, constantly stressing about calories can cause you to focus more on numbers than what your body wants and needs.  Instead of counting calories, I recommend focusing on eating foods that will satisfy you.  Pairing a carbohydrate and a protein at snack time will give your body the short and long term fuel it needs to sustain you until your next meal.  For an extra bonus, I recommend including some fresh veggies at snack time as well.

Ten healthy snacks to help you Feel full

1)  Fruit.  Fruit can be a healthy and long lasting snack when paired with foods like cheese, nuts,  or peanut butter.  It’s always good by itself, however you will stay full longer if the fruit is paired with a protein source.

2)  Tortilla Chips and Salsa. Chips and salsa is one of my most favorite snacks.  For protein, add some yoghurt to your salsa.  Add some avocado for an extra twist.  🙂

3)  Cheese and crackers.  Sounds indulgent?  Not really.  Your body needs fat.  Pre-sliced cheese is a great snack for on the go..  Break it into pieces and eat it with whole grain crackers.  Add some of your favorite cold cuts for a little variety.  Uncured salami is a big hit at our house.  🙂

4)  Yogurt.  Yoghurt with fruit or a small amount of honey makes a great snack that tastes great.

5)  Whole grain toast and peanut butter or a piece of cheese.

6)  Leftovers.  A 1/2 serving of leftovers will tie you over until your next meal.

7)  Frozen Yoghurt.  Add some fruit and you are good to go.

8)  Shakes.  I don’t recommend a diet that includes meal replacement shakes because it  can be less satisfying than solid food and backfire like most diets do.  However, for people on the go, shakes and smoothies can be a great way to drink a well balanced snack.  I recommend testing out different recipes and stick to the ones that keep you feeling energized and full.

9)  Hummus.  Whole grain pita chips and hummus is another one of my go to snacks.  Hummus is great for satisfying hunger, and a good whole grain pita chip will give you the complex carbs you need for energy.  Try adding some slices of cucumber for more variety.

10)  Cottage Cheese.  Pair  1/2 cup cottage cheese with fruit or crackers.

Your body likes to be nourished.  When it’s fed properly, your metabolism can operate at a better pace and settle at it’s natural weight.

Here’s to a happy and healthy week!

Shared with love,



Why And How To Avoid Tempting Fad Diets


How to avoid fad diets

It’s January, it’s a new year, and almost every magazine or health related email you open this month will have advice on what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

It can be really tempting to try the latest fad diet that the fitness and/or diet industry is promoting.  It’s a normal human response to be intrigued by all the marketing that these industries roll out in January… especially if you’ve gained a few pounds over the holidays.

While I completely understand the desire to want to lose weight quickly, research continues to  show us that restrictive dieting is not very effective long term and can potentially do you more harm than good.

Some of the reasons diets fail you are:

  • They slow down your metabolism
  • They cause you to store fat, not burn it
  • They’re unsustainable for most people’s lifestyle
  • They are a means to manipulate bodies to become a size they were never designed to be
  • When you stop starving yourself and go back to normal calorie-consumption, you WILL gain weight
  • Lack of energy due to being hungry
  • Some diets ask you to eliminate entire food groups and key nutrients
  • They can cause binge eating due to a scarcity mentality
  • They can cause stress which is known to cause belly fat due to hormonal changes in the body

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose unwanted weight.  I recently lost a few pounds after recovering from a broken foot.  What’s important to remember is that long term, sustainable, weight loss happens when you focus more on health and less on the size of your jeans.

Healthy weight loss is not about counting calories just to reach a number on a scale.  It’s about feeling good, having plenty of energy, feeding your brain properly, creating balance in your life, being happy,  and allowing your body to settle into it’s own natural and healthy weight.   Things like eating the appropriate amount of food, cutting back on the foods and or liquids that you know are excessive,  avoiding overly processed foods, and meal planning are all considered healthy eating, not starvation diets or skipping meals entirely.


1) Eat enough food.  It absolutely amazes me that there are still diets out on the market today that recommend dangerously low calorie meal plans when the science says otherwise.  Your body will get really good at storing what it doesn’t get enough of.  For example, if you eliminate fat from your diet, your body will not want to burn fat. It will want to store fat.  Sound nutritional research tells us that you need to eat fat in order to burn fat.  I am a firm believer that the low fat and low carb craze has contributed heavily to the weight issues in the United States.

Instead of restricting what you eat, you’ll find more success when you focus on a balanced diet that is centered around whole foods.   A balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins, fruits & vegetables, healthy fats, and water.  Any diet that cuts one of these important nutrients out should be avoided.

2) Exercise.  One of the most effective ways to lose weight for good is a combination of eating well AND regular exercise.  However, there are many other reasons we should all be exercising regularly besides a desire to lose weight.  Research shows that exercise can help with depression, lower the risk for heart disease and cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes, and even grow new brain cells.  Exercise is an excellent anti-aging tool!

3) Eat in.    Cook at home as often as you can and bring your lunch.  When I make our food, I get to choose how much butter, oil, salt, and sugar I add.  Sometimes I add more than the recipe calls for and sometimes I cut it back.  I can also make substitutions that I think are healthier for us like swapping out more refined grains for whole grains, adding more veggies, and choosing oils that I believe are better than others.

4) Cut back on liquid calories. Try substituting alcohol, sodas, and other higher calorie drinks with water. Try adding lemon or cucumber for some variation.

If cutting out liquid calories sounds extreme, take a more moderate approach and cut down to half or even a quarter of what you usually drink. You can always go back to your normal consumption if you want to.  This is about figuring out what works for you personally.

5) Get plenty of rest.  Substantial medical evidence is telling us that a lack of sleep affects hormones which are linked to an increase in appetite. Your body becomes less satisfied and you are tempted to eat more food than you may actually need.  Sleep deprivation can also affect your hormones in such a way that your metabolism will literally slow down.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

6) Tell guilt to take a hike.  First off, guilt should never be associated with food ever.  When I go into a restaurant I order what I want and I do not feel guilty about my choices.  Guilty thoughts that attempt to beat us up usually come from a desire to be perfect.  And, even though most of us know that perfection is impossible, much of the”professional” advertising we see focuses on displaying perfection as a form of happiness or acceptance.  Thank goodness for social media!  Live raw video helps to remind us that nobody is perfect and to give ourselves a break.

7)  Be yourself.  It’s really important that you know what’s most important to you.  Not everyone wants to be or was designed to look like the models on the cover of fitness magazines.  If challenging yourself to reach an elite athlete status is fun for you and you can achieve it in a healthy way, then by all means go for it!  However, if you know in your heart you’d just like to live a long healthy life, fit in your clothes, and have the stamina to do the activities you enjoy without a whole lot of restrictions in your life, then general health and fitness is for you so please don’t beat yourself up because you’re not “doing whatever it takes” to try to look like a fitness model.  Perfection is overrated and impossible to achieve.  Even fitness models don’t look like their photos all of the time.

Instead of dieting, I recommend you pick as many things from above that you can realistically implement without stressing yourself out and then stay consistent.  Diet and exercise are very personal which is why a canned approach rarely works.  We all have different lives, different goals, and different needs. 🙂

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

Shared with love,


Ten Tips To Cooking Easy Healthy Meals


Eating at home is one of the key ingredients to maintaining a healthy diet. When you know what’s in your food, you have more control over the portion sizes and the quality of the food you consume. However, with today’s fast-paced lifestyles, it can be difficult to carve out the time to cook.


These tips come straight to you from my personal kitchen.

As a wife, homemaker, fitness coach, and doggie mom, I have a limited amount of time I can spend in the kitchen. Here are some shortcuts I use to help streamline the meal preparation process.

1) Use cookers that need no supervision.  I use my rice cooker all week long.  I make rice, quinoa and steamed vegetables in it.  While one part of the meal is cooking, you can prepare the rest.  Slow cookers and crock pots are perfect appliances for the  busy person that wants to cook healthy meals.   The food is cooking while you are doing other things like working, running errands, exercising, or spending quality time with friends and family.

2)  Choose recipes that take twenty minutes or less.  I recommend choosing simple recipes for busy weeknights.  Save the longer “project” meals for nights you can take your time.

3) Use pre-made sauces.  I usually make my own pasta sauces and salad dressings but there are times that I will substitute healthy pre-made sauces in recipes instead of making them all from scratch.

For example, I make lamb burgers that call for a “raita” sauce. The recipe isn’t hard. However, Trader Joe’s sells a yogurt cilantro sauce that works well in place of it. If you add up the time and cost of buying the ingredients and making the sauce, it is worth the few dollars I paid for Joe’s version. Just be sure to check labels when buying pre-made sauces. Make sure you recognize each ingredient and avoid things like partially hydrogenated oils, soybean oil, and high fructose corn syrup.

4)  Become a great assembler.  Years ago I complimented one of my friends on what a great entertainer and cook she is.  Her response to me was “I don’t really cook, I just know how to assemble food well.”  That stuck with me.  If cooking seems like too daunting of a task, try grilling a piece of meat or buying a pre-cooked chicken and add some healthy sides like a salad made with pre-washed lettuce, frozen veggie combos,  or precooked organic grains.

5) Speed up the veggies.  Pre-washed and pre-cut organic vegetables are a great way to save time.  Check the frozen section for a great variety as well. Frozen veggies are better than canned because they preserve more of the nutrients without preservatives.

6) Prep well. Do all of your cutting, chopping, and mixing before you start cooking, including a side salad. This will save you time, and your meals will come together seamlessly.

7) Recruit in-house.  My husband and I have a lot of fun cooking together. We open a nice bottle of wine, turn on some music and enjoy quality time. The families I work with turn cooking into family time. The kids look forward to working in the kitchen, and mom and dad get to teach their children while getting a little help.

8) Create a meal plan.  Plan your meals one week in advance with the groceries in the house. If you have to stop at the store multiple times per week, you will lose a lot of time shopping. And this can tempt you to eat out. If you are not sure how to meal plan, check out Meal Planning Helps You Lose Weight for detailed steps.

9) Have a back up.  I always keep a few easy meals in our freezer and pantry just in case the day does not go as planned. Frozen organic pizzas and a fresh salad make a great last minute dinner. By making your own pizza, you have more control over the ingredients than if you went to the local pizzeria. Dry pasta and minced canned clams make an amazing linguini and clams dish. Add a salad on the side and your family will think it’s gourmet all the way!

10) Buy freeze dried herbs.  Freeze dried herbs become “like fresh” when they are moistened. Use these to avoid all of the chopping without sacrificing flavor. They are great in the winter when your herb garden isn’t producing, and it saves having to buy an entire bunch of herbs just for a couple tablespoons.

Please let me know which strategies are the most helpful, or share your own time-saving tip below.  I love to hear from you!

With Love,