Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Surviving Grocery Shopping with Kids (and Instill Healthy Habits)

ThinkstockPhotos-57568291.jpgGrocery shopping takes time, preparation, patience, and organization. But throw kids in the buggy (or cart) with you, and usually you end up with a big old, stressful mess. Take it from a mom with three kids under the age of 5; I know firsthand that it can be done happily and without tantrums (well, for the most part). But it’s taken some practice.

Three Essential Grocery Shopping Rules

Our family’s weekly shopping trip is usually done all together on Sunday mornings, straight from church to the store. So as we stroll down the aisles with our two separate carts (because how else will we fit the kids and the food?), my husband and I are ready to take on the dreaded shopping trip by following these three essential rules for surviving grocery shopping with kids.

  1. Never shop hungry. If I even think about letting my kids go into that store on an empty stomach, I might as well throw up my white flag right then and there. It’s not a good idea! In fact, it’s not good for adults to go food shopping hungry, either! Research (and, well, common sense) shows you will end up with way more food than you intended, just because your judgment is impaired by hunger pangs.
  2. Be prepared. The night before or morning of, I make my meal plan for the week ahead. I decide what we are eating for every meal, taking into consideration items I have in my fridge, freezer, or pantry that need to be used up. Once the meal planning is done, my list is constructed from there. I separate my list in order of how I go through the store (my game plan, so to speak): first the produce, then the bakery, then to the deli and meats, and so on. This is obviously individual to you and your store, but if you frequent the same place each week, you catch my drift. That way each section has the items listed there I need. And it prevents me from getting to the opposite side of the store and running around like a madwoman looking for that dang ketchup I forgot!
  3. Decide how your kids can help. If you have them with you, they need to feel included (suggested mostly for ages 5 and up). This is scientifically proven to prevent the dreaded boredom that can happen halfway through your trip. Think: how can they be involved? Maybe they can count the bananas. Maybe they can find the cheapest cereal. Maybe they can find the bread with the highest fiber. Of course, this kind of thing will require some patience from you, my dear, so be patient and let them have fun with this! Maybe your child could even have a shopping list, too, that is picture based. (You surely can find this on Pinterest!)

Grocery Shopping with Children Leads to Healthy Eating and Better Nutrition

Instead of hiring your standby babysitter for the weekly food trip, I say get your whole family involved in your shopping and meal preparation. If children learn from you how to shop, prepare, and enjoy healthy foods at a young age, you are instilling healthy habits that will hopefully last their lifetime. Happy shopping!

Looking to better track your dietary habits?  Check out NIFS Dietitian, Angie Mitchell's top 4 apps for better eating!  Download by clicking below! 

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Topics: nutrition healthy habits kids healthy eating meal planning grocery shopping

SMART and Healthy Eating During the Holidays

ThinkstockPhotos-125557141.jpgThe holidays are right around the corner, and the first thing that comes to mind is all that food! You don’t want to look like a Santa at the start of the New Year! Well, don’t feel guilty about consuming the goodies; just get smart! If you have an understanding of what it takes to properly fuel your body, specifically as you age, the healthy eating process doesn’t seem so daunting. Older adults have different needs, and there are some key nutrients that are really important to maintain.

Let’s get back to the word SMART. Here’s a simple way to eat healthy using this acronym for healthy eating during the holidays.

Servings

When you put food on your plate, divide that plate into four serving sections:

  • The first section is whole grains (wheat bread, brown rice, fortified whole-grain cereals).
  • The second section is protein (lean meats, eggs, fish, beans, cheese, tofu, peanut butter).
  • The third section is vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried, low-sugar canned).
  • The fourth section is fruits (fresh, frozen, dried, low-sugar canned).

This is true for every plate at every meal. Eliminate processed foods as much as possible. If you must open a package or can, be sure to check the ingredients. Examples of things to look for are words such as “whole” for grains and “low sugar” for canned fruits. Remember to also control salt intake and instead flavor your food with herbs and spices. Think of the holiday lights and create a colorful plate! The more color found in veggies and fruits, the more nutrients to fuel the body!

Maintain Important Nutrition 

Here is a list of the key nutrients (and examples of foods that provide them) an older adult needs:

  • Calcium and Vitamin D (leafy greens, cheese, milk, yogurt, seafood)
  • Vitamin B12 (lean meats, eggs ,fish)
  • Fiber (beans, cereals, fruits and vegetables)
  • Potassium (bananas, prune juice, mangos, pears)

The majority of these nutrients are found in the above foods. Supplements are also important to ensure that we obtain them, but the word is supplement, meaning “in addition to”; therefore, take supplements in addition to getting these nutrients through food.

Allow Some Fun Food

It’s fine to eat a slice of cake or have a cookie, but be mindful of how many. Remember to lower your intake of saturated fat and sugary treats that can lead to heart disease and unwanted pounds (and here are some healthful baking substitution tips). When you think of your plate, consider that 90% is the food that will provide your nutrients and 10% can be that “occasional” brownie or piece of pumpkin pie.

Reach for Water

Drink plenty of fluids! No, the holiday punch doesn’t count, so limit your alcohol intake. Drink water and realize that you can also obtain your fluids from juice, low-fat milk, and even soups.

Take the Time to Exercise

Physical activity is also important in maintaining a good digestive system, and the good fuel from food will be used to restore muscle and burn fat for weight loss.  Get your body moving after those holiday meals.

Be SMART this holiday season! Happy holiday eating!

Need help getting your eating habits on track?  Use NIFS Dietitian, Angie Mitchell to get your habit in line with personal nutrition coaching.  Click below for more information.

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Topics: exercise nutrition weight loss water fiber protein healthy eating holidays

Portion Distortion: Healthy Eating Means Eating Less

ThinkstockPhotos-164458496.jpgWe see it, we eat it. Usually that’s how it goes, right? Of course we eat too much, but is it really our faults? Well, unfortunately for Americans, the portion distortion mania has gotten out of hand—and so has obesity. Over time, we’ve gotten so used to the larger portions being served at restaurants, we’ve come to think this is normal. Then of course that thinking spills over into a food addiction at home, too. More food, more food, more food. The craziness needs to stop now! (Here are some tips for portion control at home.)

Today’s Meal Portions Are Too Big

Just because it is served to you, does not mean you need to eat it all. And once and for all, there is no “clean plate club” (anymore)! We certainly should be able to enjoy our meals without guilt, but my motto is “everything in moderation.” So while I indulge in the never-ending bowl of pasta and bottomless nachos from time to time, I focus on the food and enjoy it, that’s for sure (and here are some other tips for mindful eating). But one thing I’ve mastered over time, and invite you to practice as well, is listening to my body’s cues.

Stop Eating Before You’re Stuffed

When I first do that “sigh,” that’s my sign that it is time to stop. It usually comes when the food is about halfway gone, about 15 minutes into the meal. It’s that “ahh” moment. I sit back, put the fork down, stop, and think to myself, “I’m satisfied; I will stop now.” No, I will not continue until I’m stuffed; I’ll stop when satisfied—move away from the table and move on.

Over time, I’ve learned that our bodies are pretty amazing things. They give you these signs all the time if you take the time to listen and respect it. I love healthy foods, and I love unhealthy foods, too. I eat it all, but with balance. My portions end up smaller than those of the people sitting across from me, but that’s okay. It’s not a race, after all. And I certainly don’t feel like I’m missing out.

Listen to your body! The key to weight control and healthy eating is to eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full, and enjoy all things with balance—which will mean smaller portions every time!  Healthy eating means eating less!

Have you ever wondered how you could benefit from meeting with a nutrition coach?  Click below to check out our quick read to better understand how you can benefit from a one on one session.  

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Topics: weight control obesity portion control healthy eating mindful eating

Healthy Eating on a Budget

ThinkstockPhotos-494543333_1.jpgOne of the biggest reasons people give as to why they aren’t eating healthy is the cost of foods,
specifically fruits and vegetables. However, a study found that adults could eat the recommended servings of produce for $2 per day. Here are some ways that you can save money on your next visit to the grocery store while still getting good nutrition and practicing healthy eating on a budget.

  • Don’t shop when you are hungry. A study from Cornell University found that shoppers purchased 19% more food and bought 45% more high-calorie snacks than those who had a snack prior to going shopping. This is an easy way to save 19% off your bill: have a handful of almonds, a piece of fresh fruit, or a string cheese before your next trip to the store.
  • Buy in season. Your produce will be cheaper if you are purchasing it during the time of year that it is most plentiful. The Indiana Fruits and Vegetables Harvest Guide shows what produce is most abundant at which time of year in Indiana. Also, take advantage of local farmers’ markets to get the best deals on locally grown produce. The National Farmers Market Directory shows when and where the closest farmer’s market to you is and makes eating local easier. During the winter months, you can purchase frozen fruits and vegetables, and they are just as nutritious and cost less than fresh.
  • Buy in bulk. It makes sense that when you buy more of something, the individual unit price will be less per product; and this is true with food, too. So instead of buying single apples or oranges, purchase bags of them. Or, instead of the single-serving packets of oatmeal, grab a container of oats. Over time the savings will add up. The other option is to join a warehouse club like Sam’s or Costco that offers savings due to buying in bulk.

There are lots of other ways for saving money while eating a healthy and balanced diet—like shopping at discount stores such as Aldi, clipping coupons, and buying plain items and flavoring them yourself. The goal is to try as many of these options as you can so that you see the benefits to your health and your bank account.

If you have any questions about eating healthy on a budget, please contact me at amitchell@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext 239.  Need help with getting started in your healthy eating journey?  Download our quickread for my top four choices for healthy eating apps to get started!

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Topics: nutrition healthy eating saving money eating local

NIFS Health Coach Gets “Shamed” over Her Nutrition Choices

ThinkstockPhotos-147092372.jpgThe other day I went out to dinner at a restaurant to celebrate a friend’s recent work promotion. Being a health-conscious person, I ordered grilled chicken and a salad with a small glass of wine. As I handed my menu to the waiter, my friends commented about how I didn’t “need a salad” and that I should “eat what I want” because I exercise enough.

I laughed off the comments and said I was trying real hard to practice what I preached (they all know I am a health coach, after all). Plus, if I wanted a cheeseburger and fries, I would order them. Everything in moderation, right?

Dessert: A Food-Choice Hot Button

When it came time for dessert, the conversation quickly turned to questions about who was going to order what. Maybe I was feeling a little sensitive because of the comments about my earlier food choices, but it seemed like my friends were looking for validation rather than simply wanting to know what my dessert of choice would be. I ordered a small sundae, not because I wanted something sweet, but because I didn’t want to seem like the odd one out.

Toward the end of the meal, one of them pointed out that I had only a few bites of my sundae and declared I was “making her feel terrible” for eating cheesecake. This seemed to open the floodgates for the rest of my friends, who were apparently thinking along the same lines:

“A piece of cake won’t kill you!” 

“Look at you being all healthy and stuff.”

“Are you trying to show us up?”

“Don’t you want to have a good time with us?”

“You’re making us all look fat!”

“You used to be way more fun!”

The comments persisted. Other dessert plates were pushed toward me. More wine poured in my glass to help me “relax” and “enjoy myself for once.” I stood my ground, saying I felt full; but looking back, it’s hard to tell if I was really full or if the conversation had caused me to lose my appetite.

Health Shaming Is Real…and Impacts Motivation

My clients have told me how difficult it can be to make healthy choices when your family and loved ones don’t have similar nutrition and fitness goals, but I had never experienced that type of peer pressure or “health shaming” until this night.

Skinny shaming…fat shaminghealth shaming…how many of you have experienced something like this? How have you responded? How do you make healthy choices when you’re surrounded by people who don’t share your goals?

Related:

NIFS Registered Dietitian shares the top four app for healthier eating, download the quick read below to help you stay on track with your desired choices.  Be proud of your decision to make healthy choices!

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Topics: nutrition motivation NIFS restaurant healthy eating