Top 3 Healthy Eating Challenges for Nutrition Month
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Andrea Holwegner @chocoholicRD on CTV Morning Live for #NutritionMonthMarch is nutrition month and this year the theme “Take a 100 Meal Journey” is all about making small changes instead of trying to make grandiose extreme lifestyle makeovers.   Since we eat about 100 meals in a month making small tweaks to the everyday meals you consume can add up to have supersized results.

While there are many changes you could make to your diet here are my top 3 to help you elevate your energy, improve your health and manage a healthy weight.

My Top 3 Healthy Eating Challenges

 1.  Follow the “2 by 2 veggie rule” to be sure you eat enough veggies

  • Since many of our clients fail to consume enough variety as well as volume of veggies throughout the day try following what I have coined as the “2 by 2 veggie rule.” This is defined as choose two different vegetables twice per day.
  • The easiest way to do this for many people (myself included) is to have two different vegetables in your lunch (or as a snack) and two different types of vegetables in your supper.
  • You will likely eat more vegetables if you provide yourself the opportunity to have them multiple times during the day rather than only at supper.
  • Researchers have determined what is known as “sensory-specific satiety” which states that our senses (such as taste, smell and even sight) get numbed and overwhelmed if they continually experience the same stimulus. This is why we eat more when there is variety. Chances are you and your family will eat more overall veggies if you have two different types of veggies at one time rather than only one.
  • Here are a few examples of how to put the 2 by 2 veggie rule into practice:
    • Raw carrots and snap peas as part of your lunch as well as a stir-fry with red peppers and broccoli as part of your dinner.
    • Mixed vegetable soup as part of your lunch as well as a salad with steamed asparagus or green beans as part of your dinner.
    • Grape or cherry tomatoes and cucumber sticks with hummus as a snack as well as coleslaw and mixed roasted veggies as part of your supper.
    • Add two veggies to your morning or post-workout snack smoothie (such as kale, spinach, avocado or cucumber) as well as have frozen peas and carrots as part of your supper.
    • Mixed green salad with grated carrots or beets as part of your lunch as well as grilled portabello mushrooms with zucchini as part of your supper.

2.  Stretch your comfort zone and try one new idea each week

We all get in a rut with our everyday cooking habits, which can lead to boredom. One way to mix up the variety both you and your family are eating is to try one new idea each week.

It doesn’t have to be an entire new recipe. Consider changing only one part of the meal such as a side dish. Try one small tweak, healthy substitution or culinary addition to something you already make. It doesn’t have to be a new food. It could be a different way of preparing a favorite food.

Try a healthy substitution:

  • Try making your shepherds pie recipe with yams or sweet potatoes for more beta-carotene and a great new flavor.
  • Try making your favorite chili recipe with half the meat and double the legumes to add a cost-effective protein and fibre source.

Try a new way to cook a favorite or common food:

  • Instead of steamed or raw cauliflower try roasting it by tossing with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle with tahini once cooked.
  • Instead of making plain regular hummus try stirring in sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers or steamed or roasted beets for added nutrition and flavor.
  • Try cooking barley in low-sodium broth with sautéed onions and mushrooms as an alternative to common grains such as rice.

3.  Manage the environment to manage junk food snack attacks

Food psychology research has found that the more we have the more we eat.

  • If you stock your pantry with a large variety of junk food you can bet you will eat lots of this.
  • If you stock your pantry and fridge with a tremendous variety of attractive healthy foods you will eat more of this.

The key is managing our environment such as our home, car, desk at work and more to make sure we have the right type of fuel available when you are hungry.

We eat packages not portions.

  • Be sure to place hard to manage junk foods in small portions and buy small units rather than shopping in bulk.
  • The trick is not to eliminate them but have an awareness of how you work best.
  • As the chocoholic nutritionist stashing a large selection of chocolate bars in my pantry would not be a good idea since I would eat it far more often and in a larger amount than truly needed. Instead, if I truly want chocolate I go out and buy a chocolate bar. This has eliminated the “nice to have” cravings and allowed the “need to have” cravings to be met.

For more information:

visit Andrea’s website at www.healthstandnutrition.com 

follow Andrea on Twitter: @chocoholicRD

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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