Lunch n' Learns are my favorite kind of talks. One hour of learning and the participants don't have to be hungry as I talk about food.
Yesterday I gave a local Lunch n' Learn to a wonderful group of individuals from Northwestern Mutual. I spent much of my talk discussing 3 common myths (gluten free diet, fruits and veggies to improve mood and fat burning exercise) but the underlying message was discussing lifestyle modifications and a different approach to thinking about life rather than spending so much energy on diet, the body and exercise. Certainly, diet and exercise make for a quality life but we all have our own personal goals and we can't wrap up all our energy trying to be like others, looking like others or achieving the goals of others.
At the end of the talk, a male asked me about quick meals. He said that he doesn't have time to cook because he comes home starving and he also doesn't want to make extravagant meals.
An easy answer would be to suggest foods that are "healthy" and "quick" for I think that was why he asked the question. "Can you tell me what to eat......"
But I knew that wasn't the right answer - just to tell him what to do and ignore the underlying issue. It wasn't that he needed something quick but rather than he needed to make more time for the nutrients that will fuel his lifestyle. Skipping over the underlying issue of his time management and addressing his thoughts of the all or nothing approach to "healthy" eating (ex. "I don't have time to make extravagant meals") would not solve his problem...which actually had little to do with his diet in order to be healthy but rather his lifestyle that was preventing time to be given toward improving overall health.
In my Fall 2012/Winter 2013 issue of The Wellness Advisor there were so many great articles, I stayed up extra late last night (9:30pm) in order to read the entire magazine. My stack of journals, magazines and research grows weekly so I try to read a little every night before I go to bed.
On Pg. 4-5 there was a great article on "Confessions of Successful Dieters."
Here are a few of the strategies (from the National Weight Control Registry) and characteristics of people who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. Because I don't believe in diets or meal plans, I hope these suggestions are helpful to allow you to think differently about food and your body. Keep in mind that out of all the thousands of tips out there, the most important thing you can change is your lifestyle. It's not about one food group, how much/little you exercise or what you weigh. These tips are only suggestions for modifying the lifestyle is the best way for you to see progress and to have fun along the way.
1) They have changed the types of foods they eat, decreasing their intake of foods associated with weight gain (eating fewer foods that are high in fat and sugar).
2) They have learned to eat smaller portions (fill up instead on calorie-dense fruits and veggies).
3) They eat a low calorie/low fat diet (about 24% calories come from fat).
4) They count calories (not daily but if you start to see your weight go up a few lbs, it's time to assess your calorie intake. Use a food diary or other method to see where calories are coming from).
5) They self-monitor (they weigh themselves regularly. They've learned the scale is their friend because more than your favorite jeans (which can stretch), it can alert them quickly if they start to gain weight. That means they can take corrective action sooner).
6) They aren't afraid to ask for help (45% of registry members achieved and maintained weight loss on their own, the majority 55% sought some sort of support, such as weight loss programs or with a RD.
7) 78% eat breakfast.
8) They prepare most of their meals at home (they only eat out about 3 times a week and less than one meal per week is at fast food/quick serve restaurant. They've learned how to make healthier menu choices.
9) They watch very little TV (less than 10 hours of TV/week vs the average American spending about 28 hrs in front of the TV. These are people who believe in physical activity and realize they need to be up and moving).
10) They engage in regular physical activity (77% walk almost an hour each day).
When it comes to meal planning - consider the value of the foods you are putting into your body. Dedicate time to preparing and enjoying meals that will help fuel your workouts and your lifestyle. Don't put pressure on yourself to be perfect. Think about a creation as a meal - a simple mixture of foods that will make an extravagant dish.
Quinoa, black beans and pineapple stir fry w/ almonds
Pineapple (canned in juice, rinsed)
Black beans (canned, rinsed under cold water for 1 minute)
Leeks (or onions - sliced/chopped)
1. In large bowl, combine equal servings of pineapple and beans (ex. 1 cup of each).
3) Add slivered almonds (~1/8-1/4 cup)
4) Add leeks and onions (to taste, around 1/3-1/2 cup)
5) Toss in 1/2 - 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (to taste, add a little as you stir and taste)
6) Season w/ spices/herbs to your liking.
7) In your shallow bowl, mix together 1/2 - 1 cup cooked quinoa w/ the above mixture. Recommend top quinoa mix on bed of greens as a meal or serve as a side/snack.
(I don't measure - feel free to adjust as needed to your liking to make your own creation)