5 tips to get back on track after a week-long sugar binge

Today is the last day of birthday season. Between May 31st and June 10th there are three birthdays in my house. Three birthdays in just ten days.

get back on track

That means three birthday dinners (with wine pairings), three birthday cakes (with ice cream) and a variety of chocolatey gifts (from personal training clients!), loot bag treats (gummy worms and wine gums) and less-than-healthy nutritional choices. (And of course, three readings of Dr. Seuss’ Birthday book; our favourite family tradition!)

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that sugar is my trigger food. Once I start down ‘sugar mountain way’, my ability to resist it gradually weakens until ice cream for breakfast no longer sounds like a horrifying idea. (I haven’t gone there yet, but only because we’re out of ice cream; thank goodness).

Given that (a) the weather is finally warm enough to wear summer clothes, (b) I’m tired of the sugar-induced lethargy and (c) I’ll be seeing 300 fitness friends at a fitness bloggers conference in just over two weeks, it’s time to get back on track.

Want to know my 5 tips to get back on track after a week-long sugar binge?

  1. Eliminate all added sugar immediately. For me, cold turkey is the only way to kick the sugar habit. Sugar is a drug. It stimulates the pleasure centres in your brain. Your brain likes to be happy and does whatever it can to get more sugar.
  2. Drink like a fish. Water that is. Water not only helps to flush your system of toxins, it also keeps your mouth busy and your belly from feeling hungry. My 12 ounce sippy cup is my new BFF.
  3. Eat vegetables for breakfast. Re-training my palate not to expect sweet foods at each meal is critical to overcoming sugar cravings. Thankfully, our kitchen vegetable garden is overflowing with kale, chard, spinach and arugula, making it easy to green up my scrambled eggs and protein smoothies.
  4. Move a little bit more each day. In addition to my regular strength and cardio workouts, I’ll be aiming for 30 minutes of walking each and every day. The extra 2500-3000 steps are not only good for my overall health, it will help me burn an extra 200 to 300 calories per day.
  5. Get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. When I’m well-rested, my body rarely craves sweet and starchy foods. Sleep is also key to reducing the fat-stimulating effects of cortisol (given that I have three school-age children about to be released for ten weeks of summer vacation, my ‘stress’ hormone level is high enough).

Thanks so much for all of your birthday wishes!

Now I need some good ‘get back on track’ juju. Help a girl out? I’d love it if you’d Tweet me and use the hashtag #nosugar! The more often I’m reminded, the easier it will be!

Do you have any special tricks for getting back to healthy eating after a week or two of indulgences?

Share your best ‘get back on track’ tip below!

Ten things I’ve learned about fitness and nutrition at Cub camp

My daughter is a Cub Scout.

fitness and nutrition at Cup camp

In addition to weekly meetings, monthly hikes and quarterly bottle drives, Cub Scouts also go camping. A lot. And because Cubs are typically between the ages of 8 and 11, the parents of Cub Scouts regularly accompany them to camp.

As both the ‘accompanying parent’ and the volunteer food coordinator for three of this year’s camps, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned about fitness and nutrition at Cub camp.

  1. You don’t need to go to the gym to get a great workout in. Hauling tents and sleeping bags and bin after bin of food is equivalent to a rigorous strength training workout. Hiking uphill in heavy, wet snow burns more calories than an hour of step class; especially if you have to drag a tired, resistant child much of the way. fitness and nutrition at Cub camp
  2. When cooking for a large group in a foreign kitchen, simple foods are best. Providing the un-assembled ingredients for morning oats, lunchtime wraps or dinner pizzas allows everyone to enjoy a healthy, nutritious meal without the cook having to cater to specific dietary needs (or diners to go without because they weren’t sure what type of sauce was used on the chicken or because they simply have a ‘non-adventurous palate’)
  3. Resist the ‘weekends are for splurging’ mindset. Dessert doesn’t need to be served with every meal. Excess sugar and empty calories ultimately put a damper on weekend fun by making us too tired and cranky to enjoy our time with family and friends.
  4. Graze on healthy snacks when meal times are spaced irregularly. At Cub Camps, we set up a ‘grazing table’, laden with fruit, nuts, cheese and cereal bars and have found this practice to greatly reduce pre-dinner melt downs (by children and parents, alike 😉 ).
  5. Choose a room (or set up your tent) as far from the centre of activity as possible. You’ll not only sleep better, but you’ll also have to walk more throughout the day. Note, however, that snorers also tend to frequent the periphery so remember to pack ear plugs.
  6. When food is served buffet style and you didn’t have a hand in it’s preparation, choose raw over cooked. Fill your plate up with salad (go easy on the toppings and dressing if you’re watching your calories or fat intake) and raw vegetables, rather than the cheaper, and nutritionally impoverished white rice, pasta, mashed potatoes and french fries that typically accompany meals prepared for large groups. Your digestion will thank you in the days ahead (if you do indulge, see point #8 below).
  7. Plan an activity that requires big muscle movement between dinner and bedtime. At camp, dinner tends to be the largest meal of the day. Thankfully, a rousing campfire, replete with action songs, skits and cheers is a tradition with Cubs and Scouts. Don’t be that parent who sits in their chair watching the activity. My kids love it when I’m stomping and clapping and dancing with them!
  8. Learn how to operate the coffee machine. Institutional coffee is often weak and watery. On a weekend when your fibre intake is lower than usual, a good strong cup of joe can help kick-start a sluggish bowel and return you to regularity.
  9. Get back to your regular routine ASAP. Because food and fellowship often go hand in hand, it’s unlikely that you’ll make it home without having sampled something sugary, salty, fried or processed (s’mores and brownies are my achilles heel). Ditch the guilt and get back to your routine. Immediately.
  10. Processed food is for the birds. Even seemingly healthy processed snacks can be laden with sugar, fat and salt, not to mention unpronounceable chemicals and preservatives. Take a page from the Cub’s handbook and feed them to the birds!

fitness and nutrition at Cub camp

Do you have a favourite indulgent camp food?

How do you ‘get back on track’ after a weekend of missed workouts and nutritional missteps?

Are you an urban gardener? 8 reasons to grow your own greens

Of all the delights that spring brings with it (goodbye snow shovels, winter boots, hats and mitts; hello tank tops, sunglasses and flip flops!), my favourite is being able to return to urban gardening.

grow your own greens

Although coastal British Columbia’s growing season is not long or hot enough for tomatoes (or cucumbers or peppers or melons) :(, there’s plenty of time to grow your own greens.

Every spring, once the danger of frost has passed, my family and I make the trip to our favourite garden centre in the valley to purchase the seedlings that will keep us in salads until mid-October. Kale, swiss chard, spinach, arugula, romaine. Multiple varieties of each along with parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme and basil; herbs for dressing our greens and marinading the fish fillets and steaks we’ll soon be grilling on the barbecue. Yum!

(Of course, I don’t need to remind you that salad greens are chock full of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and fibre and they’ll help you meet your daily quote of 7-8 servings of fruits and veggies…)

Don’t think you have enough space to grow your own greens? Think again! We grow our vegetables in 4 x 8 wooden boxes and large ceramic pots, filled with organic soil and set upon cement blocks to allow for proper drainage. A sunny, sheltered spot works best.

grow your own greens

Not convinced yet? Here are 8 reasons to grow your own greens

  1. They’re fresher (5 minutes from garden to table) and tastier than store bought greens.
  2. Because you’ve grown them yourself (either from seeds or pesticide-free seedlings) you can be confident that they won’t be covered with pesticide residue
  3. You can easily source non-GMO seeds and seedling varieties
  4. They are far cheaper than store bought greens (last week I paid $7 for a large package of organic spinach; a packet of seeds can be purchased for $1 and will last you all season)
  5. Home grown greens don’t need to be driven to market and easily fall within the guidelines of the ‘100-mile diet’
  6. There’s no packaging to throw out or recycle
  7. Tending to plants is a relaxing, almost meditative activity
  8. Your children can help. Think of it as ‘cultivating’ the next generation of urban gardeners! (I’ve also found that my children are much more willing to eat vegetables that they’ve helped to grow)

grow your own greens

Are you an urban gardener?

What are your favourite crops to grow?

Kale salad starter | food prep makes healthy eating easier

Last Sunday we were invited to two Easter celebrations; brunch at my sister’s and dinner at the home of one my husband’s colleagues. Both hostesses asked if I would bring a green salad. No problem; salads are my thing :).

kale salad

Since I knew I’d be short of time on Sunday morning (only 15 minutes between teaching group step and having to leave the house for brunch), I decided to prep both dishes the night before and, to make it even easier on myself, make the same recipe to take both places (eat once, dine twice (or even thrice) is my kitchen mantra).

Given that I didn’t want to show up with a soggy salad, my green of choice was kale.

kale salad

Kale is unique among salad greens in it’s ability to happily sit in a bath of lemon juice and olive oil for days at a time without wilting and loosing it’s structural integrity. Can’t say that about spinach or romaine…

As I washed and chopped and massaged a rather large mound of kale leaves, I was reminded of the sourdough bread ‘starter’ my mom used to keep in the fridge (did your mom have one too?). Rather than starting each batch of bread from scratch, she’d remove a portion of the batter to bake with, returning the unused batter (after ‘freshening it up’ with extra flour and milk) to the fridge for another day.

Why not a kale salad starter? Prep your kale on Sunday and enjoy a variety of fresh kale salads all week long! Not sure what to add to your starter? Check out my kale salad Pinterest board. Just a few of the recipes that have made my mouth water recently!

kale salad

Steps for making your own kale salad starter

  1. Wash and ‘de-spine’ 3 or 4 bunches of kale. Don’t be afraid to combine varieties! Curly green and large leaf purple are my favourites!
  2. Remove excess water and chop leaves into bite size pieces.
  3. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and crushed garlic together in a large glass or stainless steel bowl (my preferred ratio of olive oil to lemon juice is 3:1; feel free to alter these amounts and add as much, or as little garlic as you can stand)
  4. Add kale leaves to bowl.
  5. Using hands, ‘massage’ marinade into leaves, squeezing and crushing kale for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to soften and darken slightly, in colour. (This is my favourite part; it reminds me of making mud cakes in my sandbox as a child…)
  6. Cover greens with a tea towel and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Use kale salad starter in your favourite kale salad recipe!

My over-zealous Sunday kale prep kept us in kale salad for five days! Good to the last bite!

Have you ever made a kale salad?

What are your favourite kale salad toppings?

Healthy living motivation and inspiration | I’ll take mine without the judgement please

A couple of weeks ago I ran into a friend and fellow fitness professional at the grocery store. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes about teaching schedules and the gym and our children. Just as I was about to end the conversation and continue with my shop it happened.

Her eyes briefly left mine to skim over the contents of my grocery cart. When her gaze returned upward I knew immediately that I’d been JUDGED; judged and found lacking by the food that I’d chosen to feed my family.

motivation and inspiration

My gut reaction was to defend myself.

We’re having company over for brunch. I don’t usually buy bakery cinnamon buns. That whipping cream was for a special dessert. Those are turkey hot dogs, made without nitrites and preservatives. Why don’t I have more produce in my cart? I never buy produce at this store; it’s fresher and less expensive at the green grocer’s down the street. This isn’t what a ‘normal’ shop looks like.

But I held back, not wanting to acknowledge and validate my friend’s judgemental behaviour or create a scene by telling her what I really think of fitness professionals who look down their nose at people whose choices aren’t one hundred percent perfect, one hundred percent of the time.

Do they really think that judgment serves to motivate and inspire?

As a healthy living blogger and personal trainer I frequently dispense information about fitness, nutrition and making better choices when it comes to eating and exercise.

But what my readers and clients DO with that information is entirely up to them. I’m here to help, not judge.

Remember that the next time you see me in the grocery store and have the urge to run the other way lest I see the Doritos/ice cream/Oreo cookies/Twinkies in your cart. Your body. Your choice. Your health. End of conversation.

While we could all use a little healthy living motivation and inspiration, I’ll take mine without the judgement please!

Have you ever felt that your food choices were being judged by friends or relatives? What did you do?

Fitness professionals, have you ever run into clients at the grocery store and had them ‘rationalize’ the contents of their cart to you?

My paleo diet success story | a guest post from a paleo pal

Way back in September, I followed the paleo diet for a little less than 30 days. Even though I’ve since added some grains and a small about of dairy back into my day, I’m still curious about this approach to nutrition. And I know, from your questions and comments here and in response to anything I post about paleo on Facebook, that many of you are too.

Today, please welcome my friend and fellow healthy lifestyle blogger, Kerri of Fitviews, as she shares her family’s reasons for and experiences with adopting the paleo diet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve been eating Paleo for about a year and a half now. In August of 2011 I did a “Going Paleo” experiment on my fitness blog. Typical to my style I jumped in with both feet and went strict Paleo a la Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution for 30 days. It was tough, but worth it.

paleo diet

Recipe link: http://fitviews.blogspot.ca/2012/05/easy-paleo-trail-mix.html

At the end of that little Paleo experiment I felt AMAZING. So amazing that I was struck by how not-amazing I’d been feeling without realizing there was a problem. Paleo has become a game-changer in my life. In my health, in my fitness, and in my over-all sense of feeling well.

After that experience there was no going back. I’ve been Paleo ever since.

paleo diet

A typical paleo breakfast at Kerri’s house

This wasn’t the first time I’d taken a stab at Paleo however. A year prior I’d tried Paleo and Primal both and failed miserably. I just couldn’t stick to either. What was different this time around? Why was I able to stick with it for 30 days and beyond? My husband.

You see, my husband has narcolepsy. The worst case his sleep specialist doctor had ever seen. As you can imagine it had a huge effect on his life. It was tough on all of us.

A couple of years back I began noticing that he seemed worse after eating certain foods. Through trial and error with his diet we found that Paleo (actually maybe a tad closer to Primal for him, he does some dairy) made all of his symptoms rare if not completely absent. He didn’t start out trying to go Paleo. He was simply removing foods that seemed to be an issue, but where he wound up was very much Paleo.

On Paleo my husband is now taking half the dosage of all his medications (or less) and doing 1,000 times better than we ever dreamed possible. Needless to say this was a big incentive for me. I wanted to be supportive to him, but I also wanted to see what Paleo could do for me.

It’s done a lot. Eating Paleo I feel just all-around well: energetic, clear headed, and ready to take on my days. My urge to binge eat is non-existent and my adult acne is no longer an issue (it seems to be dairy that causes that for me). It also cleared up myriad problems I’d struggled with for years with my periods, PMS, etc. Yes, I’ve lost pounds and inches too, but for me sticking with Paleo has more to do with how I feel.

Needless to say, we’ll be eating Paleo for years to come.

paleo diet

Recipe link: http://fitviews.blogspot.ca/2013/02/easy-paleo-tuna-salad-recipe.html

paleo diet

Recipe link: http://fitviews.blogspot.ca/2011/10/recipe-spaghetti-squash-spaghetti.html

Is Paleo for everyone? I won’t even pretend to know the answer to that one. What I do know is that we should all be searching for what works for us and not just following the crowd. In that quest I firmly believe we need to pay more attention to how food affects us. How it makes us feel. What physical reactions we are having to it. 3o Days of Paleo is an awesome way to do just that. Like I said, it’s tough, but absolutely worth it.

Would you ever try 30 days of the Paleo diet?

KerriheadshotKerri Olkjer is a wife and homeschooling mom from rural Colorado. Most days you can find her wrangling kids (the people kind and the goat kind) and chickens, all the while sharing her adventures via instagram and twitter. She blogs about her wanna-be-farmer ways on 4acresfarm.com and fitness, family, and good food on FitViews.com. Join her the first Wednesday of each month for #paleochat on Twitter.

Recipe roundup | March Clean Eating Magazine review

Every single time I post a picture of a recipe I’ve made on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, somebody immediately asks me for the details.

When it’s my own recipe, I’m happy to oblige (and often post those recipes right here on the blog). But when I’ve made it from a magazine that I’ve purchased, I feel like sharing the recipe would akin to buying a DVD and burning a copy for a friend. I’m kind of a straight arrow when it comes to copyright law 🙂

Since 99% of the recipes I make are from Clean Eating Magazine, I thought I’d meet you all half way. Highlight the recipes that I’ve made out of each issue and let you decide whether it’s worth heading to the grocery store and picking up your own copy! 

clean eating magazine review

My March Clean Eating magazine arrived about 10 days ago and I’ve already managed to try 5 new recipes. For each, I’ve included

  • a general description of the dish
  • any substitutions I made (although my kitchen is fairly well-stocked, sometimes I run out of things before grocery day)
  • a photograph of my finished product
  • what my family and I thought of the recipe
  • serving suggestions

March Clean Eating Magazine Review

Cherry Chocolate Brownies (starting with dessert first, so you’ll know what to save room for)

clean eating magazine review

A raw, cocoa, fruit and nut-based brownie with coconut oil, vanilla, dried cherries and crushed almonds. I added 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut and an extra 1/4 cup of dried cherries to correct the consistency.

I LOVED them. My hubby LOVED them (and I HID them so he wouldn’t love them ALL). Kids? Not so much. Oldest son hates chocolate (whose child is he?) and the younger two detected fruit and weren’t convinced that these were worthy of tasting.

The recipe includes a Raw Vanilla Chocolate Sauce which I didn’t bother with, as these were a freezer treat for me.

Turmeric Chickpea Stew

clean eating magazine review

A warm combination of sweet and spicy with chickpeas, turmeric, garlic, onion, ginger, sweet potato, curry paste, pineapple and red pepper.

I served it over a bed of slightly wilted spinach with some roast chicken breast on top (always about the protein, you know…).

Hubby and I enjoyed it three days in a row! Kids wouldn’t touch it (too many different food groups in one dish for their tastes).

Next time I make this, I’ll be doubling the turmeric and curry paste; as written, the recipe wasn’t quite spicy enough for our tastes! I was a bit skeptical about the addition of the pineapple, but it really made the dish.

Oven-Baked Chicken Parmesan

clean eating magazine reviewAn oven-baked, reduced fat and sodium version of the original recipe, subbing out whole wheat panko bread crumbs for regular.

The recipe included instructions for home made tomato sauce, which I followed (resisting the urge to make my own version….).

The boys loved it served over whole wheat linguine; my 13-year old came back for 2nds and 3rds (can you say growth spurt?). Hubby and I chose spaghetti squash as the base and added a salad of mixed greens to round out the meal.

This recipe will definitely be going into bi-weekly rotation. A wonderfully tender way to serve chicken!

Thai-Inspired Tomato Soup

clean eating magazine review

A raw tomato, coconut oil and lemongrass soup, served cold, a la gazpacho. Ingredients included cherry tomatoes, lemon, lime, ginger, garlic and fresh basil leaves.

I had no lemongrass on hand (really, who does?), so followed the recipe’s instructions to sub in lemon juice. And fresh basil was far too expensive, so I chose to top my soup with a bit of homemade basil pesto (every summer my hubby makes hundreds of pesto cubes and freezes them to get us through the winter).

Can’t say that I really liked this recipe. It reminded me of a vegetable smoothy and was too acidic for my tastes. Hubby asked if he could warm it up and when told “it’s meant to be eaten cold”, declined altogether. I’m sure you can guess that my kids would have nothing to do with it 🙂

Blueberry Apricot Breakfast Bars

clean eating magazine review

Described as a ‘grab and go’ breakfast bar. I like making batches of recipes like this for freezing and adding to my ‘on the go’ lunches.

Ingredients included raw oats, whole wheat flour, eggs, unsweetened applesauce, raw honey, vanilla, dried apricots, cranberries and blueberries, as well as sliced almonds.

Given that the only dried blueberries my local grocery store carries are coated in sugar, I opted to sub extra apricots and (unsweetened) cranberries for the blue. The recipe made nine generous bars, three of which my oldest son gobbled up before they even had time to cool.

In fact, he has eaten almost the entire batch himself and keeps asking when I’ll be making more (I just picked up more oats at the store today, so it’s on my to-do list). I didn’t love them as much as he did; the flour made them a bit chewier than I like. It may be just that I haven’t been eating much whole wheat flour for the last couple of months and I’ve simply lost the taste for it.

I may try making them again subbing in wheat bran and flax seed for the flour. Wonder if my son will notice?

There are a few other recipes in March’s Clean Eating Magazine that I’d still like to try (Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins, Zucchini Lasagna with Cashew “Cheese” and the Apple Pie Smoothie made with avocado).

The verdict? Definitely worth shelling out $7 for! 

Love magazine reviews? I know I do! Check out my friend and fellow fitness pro BrooklynFitChick‘s blog for weekly reviews of all your favourite fashion, health and lifestyle magazines! (Make sure you watch her vlogs; she’s got great television charisma!).

What’s your favourite place to find new recipes?

If you’ve read this month’s Clean Eating Magazine, which recipes are you just dying to try?

Shall I repeat my March Clean Eating Magazine review in April?

Announcing fitknitchick’s DietBet Round 2 | social weight loss games work!

I just finished hosting (and participating in) my first ever DietBet.

social weight loss

Who knew that a social weight loss game could be so much fun?

  • 208 participants collectively lost in excess of  1 429 pounds (that’s about 7 whole people worth of weight!).
  • More than half of them (114) met their monthly weight loss goal (4% of their body weight at the beginning of the challenge) and were rewarded with their share of the pot. (Sadly, I missed my goal by a mere 7-tenths of a pound, but did manage to tame my sugar addiction and undo most of the holiday damage…)
  • About a third of them actively participated in the forum, sharing their daily workouts, meals, challenges and successes and enthusiastically cheering each other on.

social weight loss

social weight loss

social weight loss

social weight loss

DietBet’s slogan is “Lose weight, have fun and make money”

I would like to add another clause.

Lose weight, have fun, make money, and build community!

At the request of many of last month’s participants, I’ve agreed to host a follow up game. Building on the momentum that we’ve created and inviting new friends to join our supportive and engaged community!

Round 2 starts this Friday (February 8th) and registration is already hopping!

social weight loss

Here’s how it works:

  1. Join Fitknitchick’s DietBet Round 2 <<<<—— by clicking on the link.
  2. Set up your profile and ante up ($25)
  3. Submit your starting weight photo a couple of days before the contest starts (photos and weights remain private; nobody will see it but you; you will receive an email 48 before the game starts with instructions!)
  4. Lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks and claim your share of the pot (combined ante less DietBet’s administrative costs)!

The more participants, the bigger the pot and the larger your potential winnings!

In addition to the monetary prize, I’ll also be rewarding the game’s MVP (the person who brings the most friends to the game; check out the ‘invite friends’ tool once you’ve registered) a special ‘fitknitchick’ prize; 2 packages of my favourite weight loss support cereal, Holy Crap! 

And since a big part of weight loss is getting adequate exercise, I’ll be posting free workouts on my Facebook page every Tuesday and Thursday for the duration of the challenge! Make sure you’ve ‘liked’ my page and have added it to your interests list (details on how to do it can be found here).

Have you ever participated in a social weight loss game before?

Are you still on track with your January health and fitness goals?

Disclaimer: DietBet compensates the hosts of all DietBet competitions. The nutrition tips, workouts and encouragement of participants, however, comes directly from me!

#FatblasterFriday | Reading nutrition labels for fat loss

In a perfect world, reading nutrition labels would be an unnecessary skill. We’d have unlimited time and resources to grow, raise, purchase and prepare whole, unprocessed foods for ourselves and our families. Foods that don’t require nutrition labels or ingredient lists.

reading nutrition labels for fat loss

In reality, time and money are sometimes short and prepackaged products occasionally end up coming home from the grocery store with us.

While processed foods are typically not the best choices for weight or fat loss, you can minimize their damage on your diet by learning a few tips for reading nutrition labels!

Reading nutrition labels for fat loss

1. Don’t just look at calories. Pay attention to serving size as well. Integrating the two will give you a sense of how calorically dense a product is. When the ratio of calories to serving size is large (i.e., a lot of calories for only a bite or two), you may find yourself eating a larger portion, and hence more calories, than you planned on.

reading nutrition labels for fat loss

2. Scan for added sugar. Have a look at the total grams of sugar per serving. Regardless of where it comes from, sugar has an impact on your blood sugar levels and consequently, the hormones that regulate fat storage. Don’t stop at the nutrition label. Check the ingredient list for other forms of sugar and fake sugars, including (but not limited to) glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, cane sugar, beet sugar, sucralose, aspartame, liquid and alcohol sugars, brown sugar and molasses. How many can you find in the ingredient list below? Need some extra tips for reducing your sugar consumption?)

reading nutrition labels for fat loss

3. Feel fuller with fiber. Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fiber. While whole grain products are fiber rich, they’re also quite high in sugar, thereby blunting the insulin response and encouraging fat storage. I aim for a minimum of 30 g of dietary fiber each and every day.

4. Take a pass on the salt.  Sodium causes the body to retain excess water and interrupts nervous system function, thereby reducing the body’s ability to shed fat. It’s also implicated in heart disease and stroke. Look for products that have less than 200 mg per serving. Resist the temptation to add an extra dash or two at dinner.

reading nutrition labels for fat loss

5. Don’t assume that low fat is better. For many years, dietary fat was thought to be the primary contributor to obesity. As a result, many food manufacturers rushed to create ‘low fat’, ‘fat free’ and ‘lite’ versions of their products. However, in order for those products to remain palatable to consumers (fat is what gives much of food it’s taste), extra sugars (real and fake) were added to the formula. Turns out that dietary fat actually aids in weight loss, in particular when the fats consumed are monounsaturated (for example avocado, macadamia and hazelnuts, olive oil). Be wary of trading fat for sugar when selecting lower fat options…

6. Unpronounceable ingredients? Leave it on the shelf! All of my children learned this tip around the time they learned to read. Grocery shopping trips became so much easier when all I had to say when asked the question “Can we buy this?” was “Can you read me the ingredient list?” They knew that if it was unpronounceable them, we’d be leaving it on the shelf! (Of course, now that they’re older and become avid readers, this tip doesn’t work quite as well…)

Do you regularly read nutrition labels?

What are some things you look for when deciding whether to purchase prepackaged foods?

Disclaimer: I am a Certified Personal Trainer not a Registered Dietician or Nutritionist. The tips above are merely suggestions that I use myself and share with interested clients. For an individualized meal plan that addresses YOUR dietary needs and goals, please see a nutrition professional.