Don't Let Your Vacation Spoil Good Habits
Summer’s coming, and along with it, vacations. And coming back from vacation, you may notice you left more than your toothpaste or pantyhose out of the suitcase: your healthy eating habits may have been forgotten as well. Well, as Mick Jagger once said, “It’s okay to let yourself go as long as you can get yourself back.” Below are some tips on how to “get yourself back” (not from Mick, but from Health.msn.com):
Breakfast. You remember…that little meal you’re supposed to eat when you awake? During vacation, you may have slept in and thought “I’ll just wait until lunch.” Bad idea. Get back to eating your breakfast to give your metabolism a jumpstart and burn more calories until lunchtime.
Cook. This means no more takeout or go out. Cooking at home gives you more control over the calorie/fat/nutrient-of-your-choice content than eating out.
Fat. No longer the big no-no, nutritionists now tell us that monosaturated fats from such foods as olives, nuts and avocados are essential to good health. So cut down instead on the saturated fats from dairy products, chocolate and red meats as well as the trans fats from margarine, vegetable oil and shortening.
Oil. And in that same vein, you’ve got your omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is a great source, but nobody wants (or can afford) to eat it every day. So Organic Style Magazine recommends plant-based oils, such as canola, walnut and flaxseed as excellent alternatives.
Labels. Get to know and love your label lingo. The FDA now regulates the use of phrases and terms in food packaging: no-fat and fat-free mean less than ½ gram of fat per serving. Low sodium means less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. Beware of products with tags like “lite” or reduced, which typically are as compared to the full-calorie version of the same product.
Water. Not what you think. You thought we were going to say drink eight 8-ounce glasses of it per day, didn’t you? No—this is the version of water that is detrimental to your healthy eating habits. Did you know that if you use too much to cook vegetables, you can sap the nutrients right out of them? A study in Spain showed that microwaving broccoli (5 ounces in 2/3 cup of water) killed off 97 percent of its antioxdants. Boiling reduced antioxidants 66 percent. So stick to steaming, whether in the microwave or on the stove.
Recipes. No wonder you’re sick of dieting—you make those same five dishes over and over again. Don’t you? Squash that rut by collecting new healthy recipes. An excellent source for delicious, nutritious recipes is Cooking Light Magazine. Get a subscription and either clip out the recipes that you want to try and put them on recipe cards or in a looseleaf binder. There is even software out there for organizing your recipes that will automatically perform nutrition analysis or each dish.
Soybeans. Edamame in Japanese, you can buy these tasty beans frozen and ready to eat in 5-8 minutes of boiling. They really are good. Really. And they’re full of goodies like protein, fiber, essential amino acids, calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, lecithin, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids.
Canned. Whether we like it or not, it turns out that canned vegetables and fruits retain the most nutrients, since they’re usually canned within hours of picking—this according to the American Dietetic Association. So quit turning your nose up at the quaint ‘50s packaging and belly up to the can already.
Organic. You don’t have to be a tree-huggin’, Birkenstock-wearin’ millionaire hipster to go organic. Organic Style magazine says that more mainstream grocery stores are carrying organic produce, driving the prices down and making them more accessible to everyone.
Fiber. It’s nature’s broom. You know you need it. The fiber and bulk in whole grains, fruits and vegetables help you shed pounds, keep you regular and sans hemorrhoids, as well as a host of other health benefits.