How to make nutrient rich choices everyday!

I want to reward myself with something to eat or drink. I know I told you not to reward yourself with food but it still tempting, isn’t it?

It’s a hot summer day and I’m hot and tired from my day of running errands. I want a rich cold sweet coffee drink from Starbucks!

I stand in line for a few minutes trying to make up my mind. I decide on an Iced White Chocolate Mocha, my mouth starts to water just thinking about it.

The line is really long so I have some time to think. I notice the price…3.75!!! Just for a drink!

 

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I leave the line. I’m not sure I want to spend that much money on a drink.

Maybe I should buy a snack instead. I like to chew my calories not drink them.

Then some words come to mind…”Today’s little step is to always make fruit part of your snack.” Hmm seems like good advice!

I notice a chopped fruit salad. It looks so colorful, sweet and juicy.

It’s also about the same price as the drink.

 

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I pay for the fruit salad and walk by the Starbucks line up.

This time I reward myself with nutrient rich food!

But I must confess that I don’t always make the best choice!

The Iced White Chocolate Mocha would have been empty calories. That drink contains little or no essential vitamins or minerals. It provides very little value to my body. The only nutrient worth noting is the 2 % milk; it’s 25 % of the daily amount of calcium.

It has 330 calories and 15 grams of fat!

Yikes!

Those extra calories would have gone straight into extra fat on my body!

 

The fruit salad on the other hand is nutrient rich. The fruit salad is high in nutrients but relatively low in calories.

Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates.

The fruit salad has only 109 calories and 0 grams of fat!

There is 5.2 grams of fibre so that will help me feel full longer and it also means a lot of chewing too!

The fruit salad has lots of Vitamin A and C .

Let’s do a quick review….

Nutrient rich foods provide more nutrients than calories.

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Fat-free milk

  • Whole-grain products

Empty calorie foods contain more calories than nutrients.

  • Chips

  • Cookies

  • Pastries

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

    Not sure about you, but when I read that list of empty calorie foods…they all sound yummy.  Those are my temptations.

Make nutrient rich choices most of the time and your body will benefit!

Let’s make sure we have nutrient foods readily available in our homes.

When we buy a snack let’s make it a good one!

littlestepstohealth.com

Remember our core verse, “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up”. Galatians 6:9 New Living Translation

TODAY’S little STEP: Choose nutrient rich foods most often and limit empty calories.

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Empower success with these 3 little words!

Want to feel empowered not deprived; change 3 little words and affirm your will power.

Switch from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I don’t’.

Sounds too simple to make much of a difference, but there is research to back it up!

According to James Clear words can make us feel like a victim or empower us.

He states the phrase, ‘I can’t’ indicates, “you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do”.

It also sounds like the power is some one else’s

and that we have no control.

The diet mentality says, “I can’t have that.  It’s not on my diet plan.”

‘I don’t’ puts the power and control in our hands. It’s a decision that we have already made before the temptation comes.

 

A recent study concluded that when participants used the words ‘I don’t’ they made better choices and were able to keep up the healthy lifestyle.

 

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Let’s try it out in a few tempting scenarios.

GROCERY STORE

‘I don’t’ buy potato chips. I don’t have them in my house to tempt me’.

RESTAURANT

‘I don’t’ order French fries; they aren’t worth all those calories. I don’t order dessert unless I share it with a friend’.

FRIEND’S HOME FOR DINNER

‘I don’t’ overeat; I try a small bit of everything. I hate that over full feeling’.

BIRTHDAY PARTY

‘I don’t’ eat big pieces of cake. I’m satisfied with a small piece’.

YOUR OWN KITCHEN

‘I don’t’ eat as I cook. I don’t eat late at night’.

EXERCISE TIME

‘I don’t’ miss my daily walk. I always find a way to fit it in’.

QUIET TIME

‘I don’t’ miss my Bible reading and prayer time, that time is always worth it.

TODAY’S little STEP: Substitute ‘I don’t’ for ‘I can’t’! Be empowered before the temptation hits!

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10 tips to sneak exercise into everyday!

Exercise seems hard to add to our already crazy lives.  But when we add incidental exercise into our day it makes a difference.

Incidental exercise is the exercise we get during daily activities. Activities like taking the stairs, walking the dog and doing housework.

Every little change we make to be more active helps us be healthier.

If you move during every commercial break while watching 2 hours of TV you can burn 270 calories a day. That’s one sneaky way to add incidental exercise into our lives.

On those crazy busy days you can still add in little steps!

 

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Here are some ideas

  • Use waiting times. While cooking dinner do standing push-ups while you wait for a pot to boil. Stand about an arm’s length from the kitchen counter, and push your arms against the counter. Push in and out to get toned arms and shoulders.

  • Phone calls. When talking on your phone pace around your home or office. Remember just 10 minutes makes a difference.

  • Wear a pedometer everyday. Keep track of a regular day and then make a goal to add 2000-3000 steps a day. check out pedometer resources here.

  • Take the stairs. Whenever possible take the stairs, up or down, instead of the elevator.

  • Park further away. Park at the far end of the parking lot and take your packages to the car yourself.

  • Stand more. Standing burns more calories than sitting! Stand more often than you sit.

  • Walk briskly. Don’t dawdle, walk at a quick pace, like you are late!

  • Get outside. Mow the lawn, garden, sweep the walk or wash the car by hand. These activities engage your core muscles.

  • Go get it yourself. If you need something from the basement or upstairs, get it yourself.

  • Store it downstairs. Purposely put frequently used items in the basement. Then you will have to take the stairs.

  • Walk at children’s sporting events. Pace the sidelines during soccer, climb the stairs during swimming or walk during half time breaks.

Most of these incidental exercise tips are ones I use. They have become part of my healthy lifestyle.

My kids still tease me that I find the farthest corner of the parking lot for my parking spot.

My family has gotten used to me walking on the spot during tv or movie watching, as long as I don’t block their view.

I purposely keep frequently used items in the basement so that I have to take the stairs more often.

I am convinced that these little lifestyle changes have helped me to keep the weight off.

 

Remember our core Bible verse, “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up”. Galatians 6:9 New Living Translation

TODAY’S little STEP: Pick 3 tips to incorporate incidental exercise into your daily life. Every little step does make a difference.

Sites used as research.  Check them out for additional ideas.

easy ways to boost incidental exercise

lazy girl fitness

fitness the easy way

small changes that take off big pounds

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Summer smart eating tips!

Do you find the summer a hard time to stay focused on your healthy eating journey? Here are 20 tried and true tips to use this summer.

Tips that really work!

 

I find summer difficult because there is less routine, more bbqs and summer vacations.

A big part of my summer vacation with my family is….. the food.

When my extended family meets for a week of rustic camping we all bring our favorite treats and snacks.

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I bake some special treats just for that week at the lake. It seems I’m constantly going into the cabin to grab a little something. The evening campfires always involve sharing fun treats.

Here are some of the strategies I use for the summer! These tips and tricks really work!

Give them a try!

 

  1. When eating in a restaurant skip the appetizer, as it is usually high in fat. Have a salad with the dressing on the side. Choose an entrée that has meat, fish or poultry, either potatoes or rice and vegetables. Stay away from sauces and anything deep-fried.

  2.  Treat yourself to a fruit tray and some prewashed vegetables. When the work of preparing has already been done, it makes it easier for you to make good choices.

  3. When you are tempted by those treats and snacks, pop a piece of gum in your mouth. Your mouth will be busy and you are less likely to eat something sweet or salty.

  4. Find ways to exercise everyday. Go for a long walk with a family member. Play games with your children, swim, canoe, and kayak; find fun ways to move your body everyday.

  5. Have some treats with your meal. Have your sandwich and raw veggies for lunch and then have a measured portion of some chips or cheezies. You won’t eat as much of the treat and you won’t feel deprived.

  6. Drink lots of ice-cold water. Use your fun water jug and stay hydrated.

  7. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning. Include some protein and fiber. You’ll feel full longer and you will have given your body some good fuel to start the day.

  8. Don’t eat out of the bag. Always serve yourself a portion of snacks in a bowl. Mindless eating can lead you to eat way more than you need or want.

  9. Read the labels on snack bags. Find out how much the suggested portion is and how many calories it contains. Then measure out that portion.

  10. Educate yourself, find out how many calories are actually in a s’more (it’s 268!). Decide if you really want to eat 3 or if 1 may satisfy your sweet tooth.

  11. Ditch the total deprivation mode. Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite treats. Totally depriving yourself will only make you feel sorry for yourself.

  12. When visiting the ice cream shop choose your favorite flavor and order the smallest cone size. You will be satisfied and eat approximately 260 calories for 1 scoop or a baby cone, of something really yummy. With each scoop the calories add up much too quickly. If you are not careful, what was to be a treat becomes a whole meals’ worth of calories!

  13. When you do overeat, relax and don’t start the negative self-talk. Accept that you overate at that one meal. Forgive yourself and get back on track.

  14. Keep your discipline; enjoy treats and snacks in moderation. Don’t have days when you relax all your healthy eating rules. It’s too easy to slip back into those old comfortable habits. Stay disciplined!

  15. Plan your menu when camping to include lots of summer produce. We have an abundance of amazing fruits and vegetables available from local farmer’s markets and in our grocery stores now.

  16. When eating at a backyard bbq choose smaller portions of pasta salads as they usually have higher fat content. Instead choose the green salad and serve the dressing on the side. Have a hamburger and don’t eat the top bun. Choose fruit for dessert. When finished eating, leave the food area and visit with friends.

  17. Before you go on vacation increase your activity level and cut back on your calories. You will have built in a little cushion for the upcoming vacation and you won’t come home with extra pounds.

  18. Eat sweet treats with a meal. You will likely eat less than if it were a snack. Your blood sugar levels will be much more even.

  19. Put the snacks and treats in the cupboard. If it’s out of sight it’s out of mind. No mindless eating, be intentional!

  20. Relax and enjoy your vacation! Enjoy your time away from your usual routine. Enjoy your family and the opportunity to make memories.

I shared these tips last summer and decided they were worth reposting.

Remember our core Bible verse, “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up”. Galatians 6:9 New Living Translation

TODAY’S little STEP: Enjoy the summer with your family and friends. Pick a few of these tips and put them to use this summer.

If you like what you have read, please take the time to sign up to receive new posts as a weekly email. The subscription button is located at the top of the page, to your right.

If you have found this helpful I would love it if you would share it with your friends on Facebook or Pinterest.

 

Rest much, talk often, and laugh regularly. Summer is too short!

 

15 TIPS AND TRICKS FOR WATER HATERS

We all know we need to drink more water.

But what if you hate it?

What’s a girl to do?

But I hate water! Tips and tricks to drink more!

Keep reading for some tips and tricks.

 We know that we need 8 to 10 cups of fluid, each day. But it all doesn’t have to be water! We also learned that if we drink water before our meals it may help us lose weight.

I’ve made water my BFF and it is my beverage of choice. But I know some people who really hate to drink water. They would never choose water. Here are some tips and tricks I use and some I found on the internet.

  1. Whenever you brush your teeth drink a small glass of water.

  2. Buy yourself a really pretty water bottle. Take it with you.

  3. Experiment with temperature. Maybe you’ll like ice-cold water or room temperature. Pick one!

  4. Buy a fruit infusion water pitcher. Place frozen or fresh fruit in the insert and add water. The water is lightly flavored and colored.

  5. Buy some sparkling water. It has some sodium added but no extra calories. It is a good substitute for soda, or pop as we call it in Canada.

  6. Add lemon or lime slices to your water. Or try cucumber. This adds flavor and nutrients.

  7. Drink herbal teas. Just limit the sugar you add.

  8. Eat more fruits and vegetables that have a high water content. Watermelon, cucumber, celery and tomatoes are all good choices.

  9. Try drinking with a straw. It is easier to sip and you will be surprised how quickly the glass empties.

  10. You can get techy and try an app to track your consumption. cool app

  11. Try diluting a strong flavored juice like grape or cranberry with water.

  12. Filter your water to enhance the flavor. Purchase a filter pitcher like Brita.

  13. Buy bottled water. It’s worth every penny if it helps you drink more.

  14. Make it a habit. Associate drinking water with something you enjoy. When you watch TV, sip from a pretty water bottle. When you first get home have a glass of water. After your morning shower have a glass of water. You get the idea.

  15. Reward yourself for drinking more water.

Resources used:

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drink-water

Remember our core Bible verse, “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up”. Galatians 6:9 New Living Translation

This was a previous post that is worth reposting, and I’m on summer vacation and  taking a much needed break.

TODAY’S little STEP: If you are a water hater, choose 4 of these tips to try this week. Remember this little change will make a difference!

Every mountain is climbed one little step at a time!

If you like what you have read, please take the time to sign up to receive new posts as a weekly email. The subscription button is located at the top of the page, to your right.

If you have found this helpful I would love it if you would share it with your friends on Facebook or Pinterest.

Why we need to drink water!

 Will drinking more water really help you be healthier?

Let me share what I found. Oh, but first go get a glass of water and drink it while you’re reading this.

1.Why should you drink water?

  • It improves your mood! Mild dehydration can negatively affect your mood and your ability to think.

    When you’re feeling cranky, have a glass of water!

  • It relieves fatigue! Wow! That’s reason enough for you to drink more water. When your body is dehydrated, feeling tired is one of the first signs.

  • It helps headaches! At the first sign of a headache drink some water. It won’t take away the stress in your life but it may ward off a headache. Headaches are often caused by dehydration.

  • It helps in digestion and boosts your metabolism!  Drinking sufficient water boosts your metabolism and helps the body properly break down food. That means water helps your body burn calories! It also aids with digestion so your system works well. I won’t go into details – you can read between the lines.

  • It aids weight loss! When you substitute water for other high calorie beverages you are reducing your calories. Even healthy orange juice has 112 calories. Eat an orange for 45 calories instead.  When you drink water, it fills your stomach and reduces the tendency to eat more.

  • It flushes out toxins! Drinking water helps your body to get rid of waste primarily through sweat and urine.  It also promotes kidney function and reduces kidney stone formation. Prevention of kidney stones and the pain associated with them is another really good reason to drink more water.

  •  10-health-benefits-of-drinking-water.html

2.How much water should you drink?

Fluid is lost in sweat, urine, digestive processes, breathing, and through the skin. This fluid needs to be replaced every day.

There is no perfect formula for how many cups of water each person should drink. Research suggests the amount of fluid you need is based on your weight, your activity level and the climate you live in. Generally 8 to 10 cups of fluid each day is recommended.

That sounds like a huge amount of water to drink. But about 20% of it comes from the food we eat. Many fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water by weight.  The other 80% comes from the beverages we drink.  Milk and juice, and tea and coffee can contribute to the 80%, as they are composed of mostly water.

Water is still your best bet because it’s calorie-free, caffeine free, inexpensive and readily available. nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

3.When should you drink it?

When you are feeling thirsty your body is sending a message that it needs fluid. Don’t ignore your thirst. Rehydrate with water.

The timing of when you drink water can contribute to weight loss. One study found that drinking water half an hour before meals is effective. It can make you feel more full, so that you eat fewer calories (28, 29).  In another study, people who drank 2 cups of water before meals lost 44% more weight, than the control group that didn’t drink water before the meal. (30).

It appears that drinking water before your meal will help to fill up your stomach. You will eat less food. It takes less food for you to feel full. This will eventually lead to weight loss.

Drink water it's your body's BFF!

TODAY’S little STEP: Gradually increase your water consumption. With the goal of 1 glass before each meal and with each snack. Substitute water for higher calorie beverages whenever you can.

If you have found this helpful please share it with your friends.

 

Strategies for summer struggles!

 I want you to know that I struggle too. I have reached some of my health goals but I have to continue to take these little steps to health.

I am still climbing the Mountain of Health and Well-being.

Writing this blog helps me stay accountable.  I find the summer especially hard because there is less routine and summer equals fun food!

Here’s how I stay on track and some strategies that work for me.

Veggies and hummus are a part of most of my lunches. I fill half my plate with the veggies first.

Then my plate looks really full when I add anything else.

Here’s a picture of what I might have for lunch.  I would add some crackers and cheese.

 

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When we have hamburgers I use a smaller bun or I cut the burger in half.

I spread salad dressing on the wrap before I assemble it so there is taste in each bite and I use much less. I fill my wrap with mostly vegetables and added white chicken meat.

If we have potato chips I include them as part of dinner. I don’t buy salt and vinegar ones, as those are my favorite and too hard to resist. A small portion of potato chips, a nice sandwich and fresh raw veggies is a fun supper on a super hot day.

We have cubed watermelon available or popsicles for dessert.

A small hand dipped ice cream cone is a treat we enjoy, just not every day. When we have them at home I can control the portion. Licking an ice cream cone slows down the eating process and every lick tastes so good!

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One of my best strategies is to not have foods that tempt me in my home. Then I won’t hear them calling: “Oh Dixie….this is the big container of delicious mixed nuts and candy calling you. Stop by for a yummy treat. You deserve it.” Can you relate?

My husband Don deserves a shout out because he is very supportive. He doesn’t like rich desserts and I’m so glad, because I would make them all the time.

He appreciates that we eat healthy.

When I do occasionally overeat at a meal – yes, I still overeat – my temptation is desserts.

I make sure the next meal is healthy and a little lower in calories.

I also try to make sure I get some exercise that day.

Every little step does make a difference!

Let’s claim our verse again! “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up”. Galatians 6:9 New Living Translation.

TODAY’S little STEP: Keep taking little steps to be healthy. Use some of these strategies.  They work.  Every little step makes a difference.

If you like what you have read, please take the time to sign up to receive new posts as a weekly email. The subscription button is located at the top of the page, to your right.

If you have found this helpful I would love it if you would share it with your friends on Facebook or Pinterest.

Rest much, talk often, and laugh regularly. Summer is too short!