I receive a lot of emails regarding diets. I'm not talking about the Low carb diet, South beach diet or Paleo diet but rather diets within a household.
For example, "Marni, my husband is a meat and potato eater and exercises 15 hrs a week and I'm trying to lose 10 lbs and I can only squeeze in 5 hrs of exercise a week...how do I cook for him and eat to lose weight?" Another comment I receive a lot is "I'm a parent and I find it so hard to resist all the sweets and snacks that my kids are eating. How can I stop snacking on their food all the time?"
If you are embarking on a new lifestyle of increased activity and healthy eating, I strongly recommend to encourage others to "try" or "appreciate" your new or improved eating habits. Regardless if your friends are or aren't on board, it's important that you have support from your family members/relatives. Considering that most of us either care for someone blood-related younger than use or older than us, it's important that we take care of our body to help provide, take care and be there for others. If you are trying to figure out what works best for you at this point in your life, let others know that you are trying to make new changes that will allow you to live a long and healthy life.
When was the last time you made cookies or brownies for someone but refused to eat any? When was the last time you bought something for your kids or husband/wife/gf/bf but felt restricted to eat it yourself?
In an effort to build a healthy relationship with food, try to avoid cooking/providing your friends and family with food which you are avoiding. Rather than thinking that you can't buy bread for your family because you are avoiding "carbs" take some time to ask yourself whether or not is is "healthy" to avoid bread that is rich in whole grains? On the same note, if you are buying Cheetos, frozen cheese sticks and candy because your children ask for it, ask yourself if you are providing others with heart-unhealthy food that you know is not necessary in the daily diet? By evaluating the foods in your diet and the diet of others you can begin to think more clearly about what it means to have a healthy and balanced diet.
If there is something that others are eating and you know you “shouldn’t” eat, ask yourself what nutrients your body will receive from eating that food. Sometimes we have to change our thinking of "good and bad" food and embrace the idea of "emphasize and de-emphasize". Certainly whole grain bread is not a bad food but if you are about to have a healthy bowl of whole grain pasta and veggies, perhaps you may want to pass on the bread basket.
In my opinion, we all have our own "diet plan" that provides our body with the right amount of nutrients to support our lifestyle and activity routine. Although many people have trouble finding the ideal diet, I believe that we should all have a balanced diet rich in complex carbs, healthy fats, lean/low fat protein and lots of veggies and fruit. Depending on your lifestyle and activity routine, the proportion of carbs, fat and protein in your diet may be different than your friends. However, just because we eat different portions or distribute our macronutrients differently, we should all include similar foods in our diet. I don't believe that the person who exercises 15 hrs a week "deserves" to eat fatty foods and sugary treats whereas the person who works out 5 hrs a week should avoid carbs and fats.
There are an abundance of vitamins and minerals that are required to life a long and active life and I believe that everyone should have a variety of wholesome foods in the diet in order to meet daily recommendations.
When you experience a craving, especially when eating around others, ask yourself; are those foods high in sugar, do they have a lot of fat, are they processed, do they include good sources of whole grains, does this food have a long ingredient list, are they rich in vitamins and minerals...and most importantly, how will this food help or hurt my performance as an athlete AND my quest to living a long an active life? After you honestly answer these questions, consider choosing a healthy alternative (remember, replace don't eliminate) and invite your family and friends to enjoy (or try) that food with you.
Eating healthy is a group effort, involving friends, family and training partners.
Even though I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian and Karel eats meat (although his diet is about 70-80% vegetarian) I always prepare a vegetarian meal for us to both enjoy. A few days out of the week I will provide Karel with a non-vegetarian protein (ex. fish, chicken or tuna) but I don't believe that just because Karel is not a vegetarian that he shouldn't eat the same foods that I consume. There's only 2 things that differ between Karel's diet and my own - meat and fish. :)
Oatmeal Chicken Parmesan(for the meat-eaters)
1 serving chicken breast per person (about 3 oz. per person)
1 tsp flax seed
1 tsp wheat germ
1/2 cup instant oats
1 egg white + 1 tbsp water
Pepper, basil, cayenne
Garlic clove (chopped)
1/4 cup Onion (sliced/chopped)
Olive oil (1-2 tsp)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a shallow bowl, lightly whisk egg white and water.
3. In another shallow bowl, combine oats, seasonings, flax and wheat germ.
4. In a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil, heat to medium heat.
5. Dip chicken in egg white and then cover in oat mixture (both sides).
6. Place chicken in skillet and cook for 3-4 min. on both sides (or until oats begin to brown).
7. While chicken is cooking, spoon a few spoonfuls marinara in a shallow casserole dish until the bottom is covered. Place onions and garlic on marinara and sprinkle with Parmesan.
8. When chicken is slightly done, remove from skillet and place on marinara. Sprinkle with cheese.
9. Place casserole dish in oven and bake for 15-20 min. or until chicken is completely done.
Veggie Omelet (for the vegetarians)
2 eggs (1 whole egg, 1 egg white)
1 tbsp greek yogurt (or 2 tbsp skim milk for a less fluffy egg)
2 tbsp fresh mozzarella cheese
Veggies: broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic
1-2 tsp olive oil
1. Preheat skillet to medium heat and add olive oil.
2. Cook veggies for a 4-5 min. Remove from skillet.
3. After scrambling eggs w/ yogurt (or milk) pour into skillet (may need to add a little cooking spray or olive oil). Give a quick scramble with your spatula and then spread out eggs to create an even mixture on pan.
4. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip.
5. Add 1/2 of veggies (be sure to prepare lots of veggies, some for you and some for your non-vegetarian dish if necessary) to the omelet and top w/ a little cheese.
6. Close omelet and remove from skillet.