Something to Chew On

A Guide to Eating Right and Living Well

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Figge’s Favorite Things (Part Two)

Happy Holidays and welcome to the second part of  Figge’s Favorite Things. Here is the second half of my personal list of favorite things to keep you happy and healthy this season.

7. Amy Dixon-home fitness workouts Amy Dixon has always been one of my favorite fitness experts. I have had the pleasure of meeting her at several fitness conferences and learn more from her with each new session that I go to. Whether you’re an avid athlete or beginner to exercise, Amy and her team demonstrates a variety of levels and modifications to guarantee you will have a safe and effective workout. You can find her DVDs on her website  or at select Costco stores.crockpot

8. Crockpot I never thought I needed a crockpot until we received one as a wedding gift. This kitchen must-have saves valuable time for making healthy and delicious meals.

9. This is a great website for your outdoor adventure needs. Don’t wait too long on the deals, because they are only available for a limited amount of time.

10. DIY projects Last year I made my very first appearance in the DIY world. My first project I selected was from Michaels and was a Family Name banner.To my surprise, it was quite rewarding and made awesome gifts. DIY projects can save you a lot of money in gift-giving and provides opportunities to test your creative 3

11. CrossFit Instinct. My crossfit journey began a little over four months ago. A co-worker had asked me if I would join her in one of the free Saturday morning classes they offer and I have been hooked ever since. Excellence shines in the coaching staff and programming at Crossfit Instinct. In just a few short months, I have accomplished fitness goals that I never thought imaginable such as unassisted pull-ups and dead-lifting over 150 lbs. Check out a free on-ramp class for yourself and see what your body is capable of doing!65

12. Mindless Eating by Dr. Brian Wansink. In this book, Dr. Brian Wansink addresses the environmental cues that cause us to overeat or have bad mindless eating habits. By making readers more aware of their surroundings, we can turn our bad mindless habits into good, healthy ones.

13.Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm: The winter months  are always difficult on my lips. Between walking the dog, snowboarding and other fun outdoor activities, my lips are always chapped, cracked and can even bleed sometimes. Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm lip ointment has been a lifesaver. Typically lip balms make my lips peel even more, but this special formula leaves them soft, smooth and protects against the harsh weather.

14. Puppies- Because who doesn’t love puppies?photo 1

          In case you missed it -Figge’s Favorite Things (Part One) .


The See-Food Trap

One joke that I’ve heard over and over is, “I’m on the see-food diet; if I see-food, I eat it.” Unfortunately, this is the case for many of us, even myself.

One morning as I dropped off my lunch in the fridge, I noticed that there were a couple dozen donuts in the break room. I’ll admit, they looked very enticing, but I had already had breakfast that morning and knew better than to eat something when I wasn’t hungry. As the morning went on, I began to feel hungry again and thought, “Gee, one of those donuts sounds really good right now.” I even found myself trying to bargain with the idea, with thoughts like, “I deserve it. It’s been so long since I’ve had a donut. I worked out every day this week. It’s almost the weekend.” However, planning ahead helped save me. I pulled my bag of almonds out of my purse and satisfied my mid-morning snack craving.

Eat Healthier, Resist Temptations.

Eat Healthier, Resist Temptations.

Every time I passed the breakroom that day, the thought of donuts crossed my mind. Fortunately, my co-workers rescued me and consumed all the donuts by the end of the day. The unique thing about this story is that I hardly ever have a craving for donuts. The mere sight of the donuts caused my thoughts to be plagued by these sugary-sweet, empty calorie desserts all day long!

In his book, Mindless Eating, Dr. Brian Wansink does a wonderful job illustrating this concept. He found that when 30 Hershey Kisses were placed on the desk of secretaries, the candies placed in a clear jar were consumed 46% quicker than those placed in opaque jars. It has also been found that increased effort decreases consumption. In another study involving candy dishes and secretaries, results showed the closer in proximity the candy was to the secretary, the more they consumed. More candy was eaten if the bowl was sitting directly on the secretary’s desk or within arm’s distance than if the candy dish was placed further away, or even out of sight in the filing cabinet. Other studies in support of the theory that increased effort decreases consumption includes a cafeteria experiment that showed more ice cream was consumed when the ice cream cooler lid was left open versus when it was shut. In summary, the easier it is to obtain food, the more likely we are to consume it. Check out more detailed reports of these studies and other intriguing food psychology research.

What do we do with this information? Simple. Use it to your advantage.

Do not let easy choices influence you to make the wrong choice.

Do not let easy choices influence you to make the wrong choice.

If you keep unhealthy food in the house, you are going to be more likely to consume it, especially if it is left out in the open. Even if you have a good stock of healthy items to choose from, you still are left with the big decision of choosing this or that. Let’s be honest; most of the time, we do not opt for the healthier item. This is also true for our kids. Yes, our kids may like healthy fruits, vegetables and yogurt, but, when I was kid, I would always choose Dunkaroos, Gushers or Doritos any day over a banana or apple to snack on.

The reason why? It was easily accessible. Keeping healthy food easily available and in sight can help lead to increased consumption of these items. Often, our fruit and vegetables go bad in our fridge because we forget to eat them. One of the reasons why this occurs is because they are hidden in the fruit/vegetable drawers out of our immediate vision line. Keeping these types of food more visual may help. I use this trick for drinking water. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I used to be a very poor water drinker. Hydrating myself usually only occurred at mealtimes or when I was thirsty, leaving my total consumption way under my need for the day. Now, I keep a colorful water bottle with me wherever I go. It’s visually appealing, so the thought crosses my mind more often, “hey, I should take a sip of water.” Using this “see-food” trick has helped me consume adequate amounts of water each and every day.

Have fun with your food but still make healthy choices.

Have fun with your food but still make healthy choices.

Is your environment sabotaging your healthy eating habits or do you use these tips to work to your advantage? Understanding our environment can help lead us to making healthier eating choices on a more consistent basis.

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Choose Your Snack Wisely

Snacktime isn’t just for kids. Snacking can be a part of a healthy diet for adults, too! Just like mealtimes, good, nutritious snacks take thought, preparation and planning. Poor planning can result in unhealthy, convenient snack choices, such as candy, chips, pastries, crackers and soda.

One snacking mentality that I try to help people break is that “snacks” = “desserts.” Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this snacking-dessert association developed during childhood.  This is why it is so important to teach your kids at an early age to make healthy snack choices.

A healthy snack for most people typically ranges from 100-300 calories, depending on time between meals and how physically active you are. Some people believe that skipping snacks helps you save calories during the day, but healthy snacks may actually help you from overeating at your next meal. Snacks are also a great opportunity to consume nutrients that we need every day.

The perfect snack is hard to come by but here are some options I enjoy!

The perfect snack is hard to come by but here are some options I enjoy!

Try these healthy snack options from EatWell

Try these healthy snack options from EatWell

Remember, the best time to have a snack is when you are physically hungry for one! There are many influences that can make having a snack “sound like a good idea” but the real reason to snack is to satisfy an internal cue of hunger. Good snackers are able to distinguish the difference between physical and emotional hunger cues.

Emotional cues can be triggered by stress, boredom, even your co-workers. Planning ahead by cutting vegetables, buying fresh fruit or throwing some nuts in a Ziploc can help you satisfy those physical hunger cues in a more nutritious way.

Be careful not to overeat when snacking. This often occurs when we are distracted while snacking (on the computer, watching TV, talking/socializing). Distractions can lead to “mindless eating” habits that occur when we lose touch with our internal cues of hunger/satiety because our focus is on something else. A simple way to help prevent overeating is to pre-portion your snack instead of eating directly from the box, bag, container, etc. That way you know exactly how big your serving size is (instead of guessing how many handfuls of pretzels you’ve taken).

Tired of snacking on the same boring apple every day? Here are two handouts that can help spice up your snack options.

Snacking Tips for Adults

Kid Friendly Fruits and Veggies

Eat right, live well, and remember: When hunger attacks, make sure you grab a healthy snack!


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