3 Pieces of Nutrition Advice You Should IGNORE

When we were growing up, our wholesome, granola baking, cook-it-from-scratch mom taught us many healthy habits that we still practice today, including-

1) Satisfying our sweet tooth with her healthy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (we now make them in 5 minutes in the microwave!) & strengthening our arms by scrubbing the dishes clean using what she would call “elbow grease”.

2) Creating nourishing meals from protein, a fiber-filled carb & veggies. Open Faced Mediterranean Veggie & Tuna Sandwich, anyone?

3) Never skipping breakfast (or any meal for that matter!)- This was even a key piece in one of our weight loss books.

BUT times have changed—check out the video below to find out why we no longer recommend breakfast for everyone.  And you’ll see 3 Pieces of Nutrition Advice You Should Ignore!

Flat Belly Tips for Your Vacation & How to Arrive Bloat-Free & Confident (&Stay That Way!)

As registered dietitians and personal trainers we find that we get a lot of questions about tips for getting a flat belly when people are heading off for vacation.  We completely get it –and relate to not wanting to look bloated when arriving at your destination–whether you’re stepping into a bathing suit, a dress, or any outfit, you want to look and feel your best!  So if anything related to your tummy causes you angst before your vacay, believe us, you’re not alone–and we can help!

We think you’ll appreciate our client “Suzi’s” struggle:

Suzi came through our door right before spring break, panicking and telling us, “I bloat on the plane—my entire body swells up– and I’m so constipated when I arrive at my destination that I look six months pregnant! And it puts so much pressure on me because I’m heading off to my vacation when I’ve only partially met my weight loss goals and I know that on top of it all I’ll be fighting this extra bloat! I’m petrified to  arrive feeling so lousy and out of shape and like all the hard work I did to prepare for this trip was in vain. What can I do to look and feel better? Help!”

 

Oh, hang in there Suzy! We can help!

 

Can you relate to Suzi? We certainly can! Years ago, before getting our nutrition education and before working with so many great clients, we ended up looking and feeling like a mess when we arrived at our beach destination vacation in Florida! What a disaster!

 

Since so many of you have written to us and asked for help with this, we thought the best way to help you would be to share some of the tips we shared with Suzi and with many of our clients.  You may have heard some of this before, but now you’ll know why they are “must-do’s!”  So here you go!

 

Headed on a plane or road trip? Do This (days leading up to the trip and during your travel):

  1.  Water, water and more water. Water not only will keep you hydrated, stave off dehydration headaches, moisturize sullen and dry looking skin and eyes, prevent mistaking hunger for thirst, but it also will help to flush sodium and other bloating culprits out of your body so you can arrive feeling bloat free. It also helps push waste out of your colon for an even flatter belly. Sip water before you leave for your travels and continuously during your travels. Skip sodium packed tomato juice and bloating soda and seltzer (the carbonation puts excess gas and bubbles in your stomach– -and no one wants that!  And before you leave, we highly recommend sipping one of these “flushing” drinks between meals (or with them too) to keep your mind and body on the healthy track:

Cool Citrus Cucumber Detox

Apple Cider Vinegar & Lime “Detox” Drink

Cucumber Blueberry Water Flush

Lemon Ginger Detox drink

Mixed Citrus Ginger Flush

Spicy_Metabolism_drink_booster1

 

2. Go to town on veggies— fill half your plate with them for the days leading up to when you leave so that you’ll have less room for the heavier stuff (carbs and protein)– this will help you to shed some belly fat.  When you travel, do whatever it takes to stock your carry-on with vegetables so you can munch on them on the plane. If you’re unable to stop before the airport to get veggies at a local grocery, deli or bodega (or even drugstore, as many now have veggies!), then load up on salads and veggie crudité at the airport deli or restaurant. Vegetables are packed with water, so they’ll help you to stay hydrated, plus they’re packed with fiber to get your digestive tract moving, pushing out wastes, salt and toxins from your colon along with unsightly belly bulges from all-to-familiar travel constipation. Plus, you’ll automatically feel healthier and immediately get your mind and body back on the healthy track knowing that you’re loading up on antioxidant-rich, super low calorie fare instead of typical fatty fare that is associated with travel.

When you’re home try these veggie recipes

Colorful Detox Salad

Roasted Detoxifying Veggies

Caramelized Cauliflower with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

Roasted_cauliflower-colander

 

3. Zip up Your Abs– We rely on this and it truly makes a huge flat-belly difference!  For the days leading up to your trip before you leave and when you’re sitting on the plane, activate your abs by squeezing them in tight and pulling them back against your spine as you exhale. Think of zipping your abs together by using your muscles to contract your abs by pulling in from the center—think about pulling everything in from a vertical line from your belly button and up to between your breastbone and pulling everything in and back towards your spine. Think zipping together. Hold for a count of 10 as you continue to exhale. Slowly release and repeat for 10 reps at least three times throughout your flight, but ideally as much as possible. Not only will this create good posture, it will also wake up the ab muscles and make it easier to keep your abs in, preventing them from looking bloated. Also, breathing out and pushing air out of the stomach while pulling the muscles in tight helps to flatten your stomach, so you’ll be a step ahead of the game.” Bonus: Your abs will be warmed up for when you’re at your destination and need to keep your abs tight! 😉  You can see the video for an example here in this post.
4.  As you’re sitting on the plane do toe taps. It’s easy and painless—you don’t even have to stand up—but it gets the blood circulating in your legs and wakes up your whole body. And it helps to prevent swollen legs and ankles. It interestingly can also prevent blood clots, which surprisingly can happen at any age after sitting too long. Better yet, walk to the back of the plane and do calf raises—this works even better for pumping the blood through the legs and also strengthens the calves. The shapelier the calves are, the better the rest of the legs look! 🙂

 

Once you arrive at your destination, Do This:

 

 

An Easy At-Your-Desk Exercise for a Flat Belly

Train your belly to be flat & fight constipation with this move you can do at your desk.
If you sit for a long period of time, you may notice your digestion is not as good as when you’re active.
Try this helpful digestion aid:
1. Suck in your stomach as far as you can, then stick it out as far as you can–
2. When you breathe out, push the air out of your stomach, so it makes it flat and deflate like a balloon.
3. When you breathe in, allow your stomach to expand like a balloon being blown up.
4. Repeat 20-30 times.
This small exercise helps digestion, gets your blood flowing, and exercises your abdominal muscles.  You’ll prevent muffin-top bloat from constipation and you’ll activate your abs, training them to stay contracted and tight, rather than loosey goosey!
Looking for other Flat-Belly Moves?
Try these!
The Reverse Plank (with optional kick)
The Plank: Be sure to read directions so that you ensure you do the exercise correctly to ensure a flat tummy!

5 Steps to A Bulletproof Immune System

A cold?  The flu?!  No way–not us– and not you! 🙂

As registered dietitians and certified personal trainers, we’re fortunate in that we know what it takes to bolster our immune systems– and those things are part of our daily routines.  However, we’ll admit, we struggle with number 5 as getting our zzz’s is the toughest for us. And if we ever start to feel a bit run down, the first thing we say to one another is, “Ah! I just need a good night’s sleep and I’ll be back to normal!”  😉

Here are our top five steps for a Bulletproof Immune System:

Do these to prevent that achoooo! from coming from you! 😉

1. Follow our Red, Orange & Green Rule include one red, green or orange vegetable or fruit in every meal. If you’ve read our articles or our book The Veggie Cure, you know how we feel about veggies–eating more of them is single-handedly the best thing you can do for your health.  When you concentrate on getting one of these colors at each meal, you won’t forget them. Vegetables and fruits are packed with disease-fighting nutrients (antioxidants, phytonutrients and anti-inflammatories) that bolster your body’s immunity, fend off inflammation and protect the body against disease.   Getting them regularly (at every  meal) means you’re constantly flooding your body with the protection it needs to fight illness and to stay strong.

  • And fruits and veggies keep the body healthy, are helpful in achieving a healthy weight, fend off damage from toxins and help to prevent premature aging— so it’s no wonder why we’re constantly getting requests for delicious veggie recipes without high-calorie dressings (that’s why we created our Colorful Detox Salad, our Roasted Detoxifying Veggies, and our Kale Recharge Smoothie)!

Colorful_detox_salad

Try these easy ways to get more veggies at your meals:

    • use nori, collards or lettuce for traditional sandwiches or wraps rather than carb-rich bread
    • top baked potatoes with steamed vegetables
    • mix pureed canned pumpkin into oatmeal and add cinnamon
    • make/ order omelets, sandwiches, pizzas, wraps and burritos with veggies added

Make this immune-boosting lunch to take to work

2. Get Probiotics–these are the friendly bacteria that your body needs in order to crowd out the harmful bacteria that naturally exist in your digestive tract.  Our health begins in our gut so whether you take a probiotic supplement, drink kefir or kombucha, eat yogurt, sauerkraut or kimchi, these food are a great way to add to the good bacteria in your gut. (Seventy to eighty- percent of the cells that make up the immune system are located in your gut, which contains both helpful and harmful microorganisms.)

  • When the harmful bacteria outweigh the beneficial ones, your body suffers, causing systemic inflammation, disease, and making you sick (colds, flu, etc.).
  • Bolstering your gut with beneficial microorganisms is key to maintaining gut health, stabilizing immune function, and reducing inflammation.
  • As you likely know if you’ve read our other posts, we’re big yogurt fans.  If you don’t like it straight up…
  • You can get more yogurt in our recipes like our:

nutty_banana_chia_yogurt

3. Hydrate!  Your body needs water to function at it’s best, and your immune system is no exception. Staying adequately hydrated can help your body flush out toxins and wastes, helping your immune system to better fight infection. Dehydration can also affect your energy levels, as well as your ability to sleep, which can make you less likely to exercise, which is another trigger for a weakened immune system.  If you have trouble hydrating, try these easy water infusions that taste great to encourage drinking and that have restorative nutrients:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Mint “Detox” Drink: Among many great ingredients that help to flush bloat, it’s got mint–we like to think of it as a peace maker in the body 😉 It eases indigestion and calms the stomach, likely by improving the flow of bile through the stomach, which helps to speed and ease digestion. Thanks in part to it’s anti-inflammatory antioxidant rosmarinic acid, it “calms your insides” to ease the havoc inside your body!
  • Lemon Mint “Detox” Drink: Lemon, mint and ginger flood your body with nutrients that help your body to fight of damage from foreign invaders and free radicals.
  • Mixed Citrus Ginger Flush: Packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components to neutralize free radicals including chemicals that can travel through the body and cause damage to healthy cells.

Ginger Lemon Detox Water2

4. Don’t skip mealsForcing your body to run on empty will ultimately leave you run down and lower your immunity, leaving you susceptible to illnesses.

  • If you can’t have an actual meal and it’s been hours since you’ve last eaten, simply provide your body with a healthy snack to keep it fueled and not tax your system when it’s already dealing with stress.
    • Try a Greek Yogurt (probiotics–double your immunity boost here–woohoo!) and some berries (our Red, Orange, Green Rule, oh yeah!)
    • On-the-go? A handful of nuts or an apple with a tablespoon of nut butter.

5. Get a good night’s rest.  The body repairs itself when you sleep.  When your body is building its’ strength, it’s bolstering your immune system–you’re ready to fight off colds and flus! Aim for 7-8 hours a night.   Pssst…if you know us, call us in the late evening and make sure we’re getting ready to hit the sack, we need a little help with this one! Thanks! 🙂

5_Steps_Bulletproof_Immune_collage_writing

Do THIS to prevent overeating sweets at the holiday parties

Even as registered dietitians and personal trainers, we’re not immune to the challenges that come with all of the food-related holiday events. But oh how we wish that were the case!  For us, the toughest part is the sweet treats that call our name.  At holiday parties there seem to be so many delicious foods that make overindulging difficult to prevent, so we go to them armed with all of our weapons to prevent the holidays from the getting the best of our waistlines.  We’ve already shared some of our tips to prevent the holidays from causing weight gain but if, like us, sweets are what can get you into trouble, we suggest trying some of the tactics we do.  And we… do A LOT! (otherwise, it would be a free for all! 😉 ) Here’s what we suggest:

  • Keep a small portion of a dessert that you love waiting for you at home–and know that you can come home and have it guilt-free rather than another option you may regret in the morning. It’s much easier to turn down party desserts knowing that you’re heading home to indulge. We personally love frozen fudge popsicles. You can also try a few of the holiday favorites (below).
  • If you want to eat dessert at the event, go with a plan, knowing how much you plan to eat.  This way, you’ll be less likely to have more and more simply because you’ll have set rules and limits.  If there is a large spread, think about it first and commit to eating only your favorite item.  Or if you must, stick to just one small piece of your very favorite two items.  This will help to set a limit.
  • When you are at the event, MOVE away from the food. We know it sounds so trite, but it’s true, out of site, out of mind!  And remind yourself that you’re there to socialize, it’s more about the company than the dessert. It takes practice but keep saying that to yourself, it really helps! 🙂
  • If you have to stand near the dessert, try facing your back to it or even drinking seltzer to take away the sweet from your taste buds.  Or simply try having a sugar-free mint or sugar-free gum to distract your taste buds.  Or, if you can, escape to brush your teeth.  Most people love the fresh minty mouth and don’t want to ruin the feeling!

 

Or bring this Pumpkin Spice Roll for dessert, so you can enjoy a dessert, guilt free!

Try these guilt-free treats:

Carob Peppermint Smoothie 125 Calories

Skinny Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Frosting 82 Calories
Skinny ginger cookies  40 calories/ cookie

Skinny Speedy Banana Walnut Cookies 55 Calories

No Bake White Chocolate Granola Balls  74 Calories
Speedy Spiced Oatmeal Cookies  45 Calories

5-Minute Pumpkin Spice Cookie  38 Calories
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream  139 Calories
Chocolate Drizzled Granola Balls  59 Calories
Avocado Chocolate Mousse  85 Calories

And one last word of advice for during holiday time: Plan to maintain your weight. It’s usually not realistic to plan to lose weight during the holidays. So, instead, plan to maintain your current weight and then continue your weight loss plans come January 1st. If you plan to lose weight and don’t, it can be discouraging.

Do you have any other helpful tips you use to prevent overeating and weight gain during the holidays?

5 Tricks to Curb Candy Binges

Halloween candy is all fun and games for trick-or-treaters, but for the grownups left to deal with the aftermath of All Hallows’ Eve, those tiny treats are serious business. Leftover goodies hanging around your house and workplace can derail your healthy diet quicker than you can unwrap a fun-size Snickers bar and can lead to a binge eating episode that’ll leave you feeling tired, bloated, and ultimately discouraged.

But fear not! These “tricks” can stop sinister sweets from showing up on the bathroom scale, from November and beyond:
candybinges(1)

Trick 1: Keep your taste buds busy
The candy dish that has secured a permanent spot on your coworker’s desk is a lot less tempting when you’re already enjoying the flavor of sugar-free gum. Stock up on your favorite flavors and keep it with you at all times, and before heading into any tempting situation, take a moment to remind yourself that you’re going to chew the gum and not the sugary sweets. And for extra protection against a sugar binge, don’t hesitate to politely ask your candy-carrying colleagues to store the goodies in a drawer. Out of sight, out of mouth!

 

Trick 2: Sneak in smart snacks

Toting satisfying snacks with you wherever you go can stop candy cravings before they start. Focus on fiber and protein options to help you stay energized and satisfied between meals. Our pick for a quick bite: pistachios. They’re perfect for tossing into purses and gym bags, and of all the nuts in the tree, they’re one of the highest in protein and fiber, and among the lowest in fat and calories. We like Wonderful Pistachios, which makes pre-portioned 100-calorie packs, perfect for on-the-go noshing.757916a1_CS4

 

Trick 3: Rework your leftovers
If you weren’t able to dole out all of your Halloween candy, try making your own 100-calorie packs with the remains. Pre-portioned treats will keep you satisfied and prevent overboard eating.  A smart move: commit to having just one bag on days when a candy craving hits. You can make 100-calorie packs from 4 Hershey Kisses, 2 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups miniatures, 2 mini Nestle Crunch bars, 4 Tootsie Roll midges, 4 rolls of Smarties, 3 Laffy Taffy candies, 2 fun-size Milk Duds, 2 mini York Peppermint Patties, or 4 Jolly Rancher hard candies.

Trick 4: Don’t toss your trash
Save your wrappers and keep them with you. They’re a visual reminder of exactly how much you’ve eaten. There’s no forgetting that you scarfed an entire bag of Snickers minis last night if you’re faced with the proof.

Trick 5: Do your research
Learn how many runs and reps you’ll have to do in order to burn off your indulgence. Knowing you have to jog for an hour just to burn off a few measly candy bars may be enough motivation to keep your hand out of the bag.

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse “Lyssie” Lakatos—otherwise known as the Nutrition Twins—are registered dietitians, certified personal trainers, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure: Expert Advice and Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty

 

For more nutrition guidance and a ‘get healthy’ plan, please check out the “The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

 

The Nutrition Twins work with Wonderful pistachios to help people make healthier snack choices.