Healthy Eating Archives | Allons-y Coaching
Category Archives for "Healthy Eating"

You can’t eat healthy if you don’t do this

If you have just been diagnosed with PreDiabetes, chances are your Doctor told you to "eat healthy" and "be more active". We are just going to focus on the "eat healthy" part in this blog post and we will even assume that you know what "eating healthy" means. Which honestly is not necessarily that case, but we can come back to this topic in another article. Hint: eating healthy doesn't mean the same thing to you, your neighbor, your doctor, or me.

Couple cooking in a kitchen they enjoy

Now let's say you know what eating healthy looks like for you. If you want to stick to your healthy eating plan, the most important thing you have to to is to make sure that your environment is promoting the healthy habits you want to implement. Otherwise, I can promise you, you will fail. 

This is where most of us go wrong when trying to adopt healthy eating habit: we focus on ourselves and we try to change what we do and who we are, instead of focusing on what is around us and changing our environment.

Are you relying on Self-Control to be healthy?

One of the worst mistakes you can make, when trying to lose weight, is to think that you can rely on self-control. Don’t get me wrong. I know you are strong, and I know you are dedicated. That’s not the question. I know that once you set up your mind to do something, you follow through, until… well... until it’s just unbearable and you can’t do it anymore! I know… I am the same. Most of us are!

Self-control is like a muscle.

Self-control can be trained and strengthened, but it also gets tired.

You might have noticed how usually in the morning, we don’t eat crap, we drink our water, we are patient with the kids... And as the day goes by, we start snacking, we get more easily frustrated, and we find excuses for all the things we don't want to do. We become tired, and so does our willpower. As the day goes by, it gets harder and harder to resist temptation. And in case you are wondering, no, that’s not being weak! That’s not giving up! It’s just being human, that’s how it works. If we hike for 5 hours, do we expect to be full of energy at the end of the day? No, we don’t! At least, most of us don’t… So if we consciously make good choices all day long, why would our self-control remain strong and intact? It gets tired, just like our body does.

That’s why we have to rely as little as possible on self-control when trying to lose weight. We have to tweak our environment so that bad choices are not even an option.

Make sure your environment forces you to be healthy

What does that mean? Well, it means that if you are trying to eat healthier, you really have to look at all the opportunities lying around for poor eating. Are there places in your life that promote unhealthy snacking for instance? Thing about your car, your desk, the break-room at work, your game room, your pantry, even the night stand by your bed. What's in your workout bag? What's in your purse?  Look around and question everything. And of course, don't forget your kitchen!

Your kitchen is full of traps

Our kitchen is often the most “dangerous” place when we embark on a weight loss journey. This is where food is stored, this is where food is prepared (or at least reheated). And for many of us, this is where food is eaten.

So if you have decided to eat healthier, either to reverse PreDiabetes, to lose weight, or just because you realize that aging won't be as smooth if you keep eating the way you eat, start by reorganizing you kitchen to make sure it's not constantly tempting you into eating the stuff you know you shouldn't eat too much of. 

Not sure where to start?

If you feel that you need some help to get started, apply for a FREE Healthy Lifestyle Kick-Off Session.  If I feel that I can help you, I’ll be happy to chat with you for 30 minutes and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

Disclaimer

None of my content is intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information provided on this website is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.

Should I eat when I am hungry?

No! Don’t trust your stomach! Yes, you read that right: don’t trust your appetite, it’s not reliable!

We all know that the feelings of “hunger” we have are not always due to our body needing food. Sometimes, we feel hungry because we are bored, stressed, emotional, happy, pissed, or lost… You name it! Sometimes we could devour the entire planet just because it is that time of the month (hey ladies, I am talking to you here!). Not to mention all the occasions when we feel hungry just because there is something to be “hungry for”. You know, you had lunch an hour ago, you are walking down the mall, and all of a sudden, this delicious cinnamon roll smells attacks you; you start feeling your stomach growling, but is that really hunger?

Confused woman: not knowing if she should eat or not

It is hard to know whether we are hungry or just feeling like eating something tasty.

And that’s the tricky part. It is very hard to differentiate between being really hungry and just “wanting to eat”. So my advice to you for the holidays is: don’t even try to tell those two apart. You will end up exhausted because, during the holidays, we get so many more opportunities to wonder “Am I really hungry?”.

Rely on your tested eating habits

The point here is to keep up the wellness efforts that we have all been making for a while already. We are not trying to set up new goals, bump up our ambitions, or even start working on implementing a new lifestyle. We are talking about maintaining our current efforts and not falling off the wagon during the holidays.

If you want to STAY healthy and happy during the holiday season and avoid some stress and extra pounds, don’t let your stomach rule the game. Instead, rely on the eating routines that you depend on the rest of the year. When you think about the busy days to come, look at where your meals usually fit into your schedule and make sure you organize your day with those meal times in mind. Plan to bring healthy snacks with you, or even full meals such as a thermos of soup, a good homemade sandwich, whatever makes you happy and satisfied.

Don’t try to skip meals thinking that it’s going to save you some calories for later. This strategy always ends up backfiring. Just stick to what you have been doing so far when it comes to your meals. If you are used to having 2 or 3 meals a day, keep doing just that. If you are used to having 2 snacks per day, keep your 2 snacks. Maybe they will be more festive and rich: a cupcake instead of an apple, or a Christmas feast instead of a Caesar salad. Yet by sticking to your routines, you will greatly limit the amount of unwanted food you ingest. Plus, you will reduce all the debating, the “should I/shouldn’t I” that not only is draining emotionally, but also keeps you from fully enjoying the food you are eating.

Are you an intuitive eater?

Oh, wait, someone tells me “I trust my stomach all year long, that’s my routine, that’s what keeps me healthy”. Maybe you are super good at it. Then you probably don’t even have an issue with indulgences and cravings over the holidays. Lucky you! But maybe you have been working hard on intuitive eating and are worried that you won’t keep it up over the holidays. If that’s the case, take a few days before the holidays to record your food intake and look at the pattern that comes from this. It will give you a good idea of when you are really hungry. Once the holiday season kicks in and temptations are coming at you like bullets, you will have something to refer to when differentiating between real hunger and temptation.

Prepare now for healthy holidays!

Sit back for a minute, and try to get a good picture of what your eating routines are right now. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your purse. Keep those routines in mind. And if you think you are hungry 15 times a day visiting booths at the Christmas Market, remember: most of us cannot trust our appetite, especially at a time of high stress and temptations like the holiday season.

If you want more tips like this before the holidays, you should like my Facebook Page. You can also follow me on Instagram. And if you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, share with them! Because together, we are healthier 🙂

As always, if you feel that you need a bit of extra help figuring out what to do and how to do it, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Start your day healthy

Staying healthy over the holidays, keeping up good eating habits, not falling off the wagon when it comes to exercise… To be able to stay on track, we have to BELIEVE we can do it. Let’s be honest, if we are not even sure it’s possible, what are the odds we will try, right?

Do you know what’s the best way to remind ourselves every single day that YES, we can stay healthy, and YES, we are that healthy person? It is to take one small action every single morning and use it as a proof. Yes! Healthy morning routines are the key to a healthy day and healthy holidays.

Cat stretching outdoor as example of a healthy morning routine

Stretching, walking, drinking water… Morning routines put you in a healthy mindset. Choose yours!

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Morning routines make the difference!

Start your day doing something (anything!) that will put you in the shoes of a healthy person for the rest of your day.

It can be as simple as drinking a large glass of water as soon as you set foot on the ground. It might be hard at first, but you will soon get to appreciate the feeling of awakening and purity that comes from drinking water first thing in the morning. And you will be less likely to eat unhealthy, greasy, or sweet processed food for breakfast, because you will want to prolong the beautiful feeling of clean insides.

You can take a 20-minute walk (before breakfast if possible!), or stretch for 15 minutes, or do a solo workout in your bedroom for 10 minutes, or go up and down your condo stairs for 5 minutes. All those actions won’t take much time and will put you in the mindset of a healthy person. If not for the rest of the day, at least for the next hour or so, which will help you make more healthy decisions, one thing leading to another. Yes, there is a snowball effect to this!

If time is a real struggle for you, skip the extra physical activity, but make sure your breakfast is as healthy as can be. Not only will it give you energy for hours, but it will also remind you very early on that you ARE a healthy person, and can be the entire day.

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Keep your morning routine simple

Your “healthy morning action” should be easy and enjoyable enough that you don’t dread it. You might not look forward to it (at least not at first!), but it should not require much willpower. Because you want to do this EVERY SINGLE DAY. So make it short, easy, and sustainable.

Yet, not too easy!

It should still be some kind of effort though! Not a tough battle like showing up at boot camp class or spending an hour cooking a 5-star vegan breakfast. But you want to make sure that the achievement feels just good enough that you don’t want to ruin it within the next hour. That’s the secret to success! If you have to push yourself a bit to do some yoga for 15 minutes, will you want to gobble up 4 waffles covered in syrup right after? Most likely not. Otherwise, you would have done yoga pretty much for nothing.

What’s your healthy morning plan?

You have to find the right activity and the right level of difficulty. Why not start today and experiment with different things? I suggest that you think about what you are going to do tomorrow morning! Write it down and start experimenting. Try it until the end of the week and see how it works. Check off on your calendar every day you successfully complete your activity. If you are not happy with an action or can’t do it every day, find something else. Keep experimenting until you find the short activity that will make you FEEL healthy.

This little tweak in your day will make a big difference in your holidays, and it won’t stop there, believe me!

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That’s it!

If you want more tips like this before the holidays, you should like my Facebook Page. You can also follow me on Instagram. And if you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, please share! Together, we are healthier 🙂

As always, if you feel that you need a bit of extra help figuring out what to do and how to do it, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be happy to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

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PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Lower your cholesterol naturally

Not happy with your latest cholesterol count? There are lots of steps you can take to lower your cholesterol naturally. Sometimes, medicine is inevitable, but not always. Lifestyle changes can, for many of us, do the trick in the long run.

And even if you need medicine, changing your eating habits and increasing your activity level should remain TOP priorities too. If you think of it, taking meds without lifestyle changes is a bit like driving your car into poles and walls all day long and stopping by the auto-body mechanics on your way home each night. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

So while you might want to check with your Doctor whether or not you need cholesterol-lowering medicine, it’s important that you start taking lifestyle measures right now to keep your pipes clean on a daily basis.

Clean pipe to illustrate arteries free of cholesterol

10 ways to improve your cholesterol numbers naturally.

The first and often easiest thing to do is to increase your fiber intake.

1/ Eat a lot of veggies

Make sure half of your plate is covered with veggies at each meal. When I say veggies, I don’t mean starchy veggies, so, potatoes don’t belong here. But all other veggies work: zucchini, eggplants, cucumber, carrots, string beans, celery, you name it. If you are still hungry, have second servings of veggies, rather than extra starch or meat. And if you really want more protein or more grain, have another half plate of veggies with them. You can’t go wrong with veggies; knock yourself out!

2/ Eat fruit

You know, most French people eat one piece of fruit at each meal. We consider fruit our dessert. Why don’t you try that? Eat fruit instead of a treat, you will get a nice sweet taste with tons of vitamins and good fiber. Bring an apple or banana with you for snack rather than energy bars or crackers. Fruit is super convenient, you just have to get into the habit of eating more fruit, all kinds of fruit.

3/ Eat beans and legumes

Lentils, split peas, chickpeas, white beans, etc. Whether you buy them dry and cook them or buy them canned and rinse them, they are a great way to add fiber to your diet and can easily replace meat in some of your meals. Think hummus or bean dip – with veggie sticks of course, not with chips! – Lentil soup, roasted chickpeas, edamame. There are so many ways to add them to your diet, start with once a week and increase the frequency little by little. Plus, they are cheap, so you really have nothing to lose (except maybe a few pounds!).

4/ Eat non-processed whole grain

We are not talking whole wheat bread and pasta here, but more like real whole grains such as brown rice, wheat berries, barley, quinoa. Buy whole grains in bulk, they are cheap and extremely filling. Just like beans, they are a great way to eat a super healthy diet without blowing your budget. If you don’t know how to prepare them, think salads: any pasta salad can be turned into a whole grain salad pretty easily. Use your imagination or web browser, inspiration will come!

Oatmeal to help lower cholesterol naturally5/ Eat oatmeal for breakfast

Plain old fashion oatmeal or instant oatmeal, whatever you prefer. Just not the flavored oatmeal with sugar and all kinds of added crap. Oatmeal, cooked a few minutes in water, cow milk, or vegetable milk. Here is a super simple overnight oatmeal recipe if you need help with this.

The second very important thing to do is to decrease your animal fat intake.

6/ Eat less meat

Start replacing meat with fish, beans, tofu, or eggs here and there. Little by little, you will end up eating meat maybe no more often than you end up eating one of the above. Go gradually and make sure you still eat the meat you love the most once in a while, without second thoughts. If you love meat, consider it a treat. If you don’t like meat that much, then don’t eat any?!

7/ Eat less cheese

Avoid the cheese that you don’t truly enjoy. Melted cheese is usually the one to skip first because it does not provide as much satisfaction for the same amount. Just like meat, if you love cheese, then consider cheese as a treat, not as a habit. Eat the best ones in the best company. Remember that fermented dairy is not as bad for cholesterol as other dairies. So cheese and yogurt are better than cream and butter!

8/ Avoid butter and cream

Instead of butter on your toast, have nut butter. Instead of butter for cooking, use olive oil, or avocado oil. At home, we use a butter that is a combination of butter and olive oil. We like the taste, plus it never gets hard which is great for sleepy kids in the morning. Instead of cream, you can sometimes use plain whole yogurt or cottage cheese. When preparing a recipe that has cream in it, look for substitution suggestions. You have to be intentional at first, but then it becomes a habit and gets much easier.

What else can you do?

 

9/ Keep alcohol in check

Alcohol itself, especially red wine, does not necessarily have a bad reputation when it comes to cholesterol. But you definitely want to avoid the extra calories – and thus extra pounds! Not to mention the dehydrating effect of alcohol, which might lead you to skip a workout, or not feeling up to increasing your physical activity as much as you would otherwise. So keep your alcohol consumption to only what you truly enjoy. Be mindful, as with any other treat.

Person hiking on the beach to lower cholesterol naturally10/ Increase physical activity

If your cholesterol is high with the level of activity you have right now, try to increase it (physical activity, not cholesterol!). As usual, one step at a time. Add a few minutes to your workout sessions and keep adding and adding. Squeeze in an extra session each week, and then 2 or 3. Increase the intensity a bit if you can. You know yourself, you know your body, your constraints, your schedule. Just remember that what you are doing now might not be enough to help you lower your cholesterol, so work on it. If you need motivation, think about joining a group, or finding a partner, or signing up for a program or buying a pass. Anything that will push you a bit further, while keeping you happy and balanced.

Pick one strategy and start today.

Don’t push it to the weekend, don’t wait until next Monday. Start right now with one of those strategies to lower your cholesterol, and once you start doing it without having to think too hard about it, add another one.
Make your way slowly but steadily through the entire list, experiment. Give yourself time but work on this and see what your next blood test will tell you. Talk to your Doctor of course. Your cholesterol levels might require more than just lifestyle changes. But remember, whatever your numbers, living a healthier life will always help you move in the right direction. You can do this, let’s go!

Not sure where to start?

If you want more ideas or if you need help establishing a healthier lifestyle, let me know. I am here to support you! Contact me via email at stella@allonsycoaching.com or book a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat and see where you could start. The first step is often a very hard one to take. Go for it!

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

What to eat for breakfast?

Are you trying to start your day with a healthy breakfast but are struggling with lack of time, lack of inspiration, and lack of motivation? If you don’t know what to eat when you get up in the morning, here are 12 quick & healthy breakfast ideas that will take less than 5 minutes to prepare and will keep your energy level high and steady for the whole morning.

healthy breakfast ideas: toast with fruits and berries

Many of us skip breakfast altogether, for many different reasons. We would rather sleep 30 minutes longer, or we are SO NOT hungry in the morning, even slightly nauseous. For people who are trying to lose weight, there is another reason. We think that the longer we wait before we start eating, the fewer calories we will end up swallowing during the day. This is what we call “calorie hoarding”. I have done it for years and years! Unfortunately, this strategy does not work for weight loss, and is not good at all for our health and energy level. What we skip for breakfast, we usually end up eating later in the day, and because we are often responding to cravings or energy slump, we end up making poor food choices and go for snack foods, sugary foods, fatty foods. Not the best way to lose weight, would you agree?

Healthy breakfast for sustained energy

If you want to nourish your body, feel energized, and not crash at 11 am or right after lunch, eating breakfast is one of the best things you can start doing today. OK, for this one, you can start tomorrow actually!

Ideally, just like any other meal, your breakfast would include a nice variety of foods, covering all the macro-nutrients. That is: carbohydrates, proteins, and a little bit of fat. Yet, if you have just been skipping breakfast for as long as you can remember, start slow. Have at least proteins + carbs, and you will already feel a difference!

12 easy breakfast ideas:

  • Instant Oatmeal Bowl (click to download the recipe)
  • Quinoa/Brown Rice Porridge Parfait (click to download the recipe)
  • Cottage or ricotta cheese with fruit/berries/seeds/nuts
  • Banana or apple with almond or peanut butter
  • ½ avocado with healthy seasoning (1tsp balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, or just black pepper)
  • Toast with cream cheese & jam, or with butter & honey + glass of milk
  • Toast with ricotta cheese and fruits (such as cantaloupe, mango, or strawberries)
  • Plain yogurt with muesli (no sugar added) and fruit/berries
  • Plain yogurt with crunchy soy protein/raisins/berries/nuts & seeds
  • ½ English muffin with peanut butter and berries
  • Scrambled eggs, plain or with leftover veggies
  • Egg cracked in a bowl and cooked in the microwave (30 seconds increments until it’s cooked to your liking).

Those are just ideas to get you started with breakfast. You can enjoy them on their own and it will already be a good start, or you can mix and match them to make sure you cover all the macro-nutrients.

For breakfast, like for everything else when you are establishing a healthy lifestyle, take it one step at a time. If you are used to never eating breakfast, start with a healthy breakfast 2 or 3 times a week. See how you feel, then add 1 extra day, and so on. Pretty soon, you will love your breakfast. Oh, and of course, before you eat anything, don’t forget to drink that delicious glass of water that we have often talked about!

A bit overwhelmed?

If you want more recipes or if you need help with Balanced Meal Planning, let me know, I am here to support you. Contact me via email at stella@allonsycoaching.com or book a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Is milk good for me?

Photo of milk poured in a glassIs milk good for me? Should I quit gluten? Should I go vegan? As a Health Coach, I am asked those questions a lot, and they make good sense. Especially today, as we get bombarded by contradicting stories about what might help us lose weight, reduce our cholesterol, live longer, or have more energy.

Now I don’t hear the following questions very often. Is sausage good for me? Should I quit drinking pop? Should I stop eating muffins? So, I am wondering, why don’t we think twice about breakfast meat, junk food, soda or pastries? We all know that they are not “good” for us, right? But do we end up eliminating them from our lives? A few people do, that’s right, but most of us don’t.

When you ask me whether milk is good for you or not, my first question will be: are you lactose intolerant? Does milk give you diarrhea? If not, then milk is probably not worse for you than a slice of ham or a chocolate chip cookie. Same thing with gluten. Do you have gluten intolerance? Do you start swelling and farting just by looking at a loaf? If that’s the case, then gluten is probably not your best ally. But otherwise, do you really think gluten is worse than a slice of bacon, a portion of chips, or a diet coke?

Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket

In my world, everything is a question of variety and moderation. Unless you have a specific allergy, intolerance, or a condition that makes it better for you to avoid certain foods (talk to your doctor!), nothing (except trans fat) is really bad for you unless you eat or drink too much of it. And by the same token, even the best foods can be damaging if you eat too much of them. Kale is great, right? But if that’s all you eat, your guts won’t like it, believe me! Tuna is great too, but if you go overboard, you might end up ingesting too much mercury.

Photos of eggs in several baskets

Your best bet is to eat a little bit of everything.

When you invest your money, you want a diversified portfolio. Think the same way with nutrition. Branch out, have as many colors on your plate as possible, mix and match, make sure it never gets boring. This will prevent you from thinking too hard about what you should or should not eat. And this will be the safest bet in the long run. Just like with investment, it won’t make you the biggest winner (or loser!) overnight. But over time, you will be safe and sound because you will get all the nutrients you need, and won’t get too much of anything.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that you should eat as much sausage as you should eat fresh spinach. Not all foods are equal when it comes to nutrition and you probably know it as well as I do. I won’t go into details here; this is not the point of this article. If you need more help with what to put in your plate in the first place, feel free to contact me, I’ll be happy to help.

Food choice checklist

Next time you are thinking about eliminating something from your diet, please think twice. Before you make your decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the reasons why I want to eliminate that specific food item?
  • Is this food really bad for me? What are the facts?
  • Am I focusing on that food in order to forget about other eating habits?
  • Is this the food that needs the most attention in my diet?
  • Are there foods in my life that are potentially more problematic?
  • Do I really need to get rid of that food or could I eat it less often or in smaller quantities?
  • What would my life be like without that food?

You might end up keeping the food under scrutiny or eliminating it altogether. But whatever you decide, you will have made the decision after considering your motivations very carefully, and after reviewing the impact that this change might have on you and on your life. And that matters a lot.

That’s it!

If you have eliminated some foods from your diet or consider eliminating some, email me, I’d be happy to hear from you! And don’t forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because together, we are healthier!

Of course, if you feel that you need a little more help with nutrition knowledge and food choices, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

How to feed your children for sports?

Have you decided to be healthier and more active? Good for you! I hope I can support you on this wonderful journey. My previous article “What is the best workout for you” might help you.

But, what about your kids? They look healthy, right? They are full of energy- if only you could find the OFF button sometimes! – You juggle lunch boxes, healthy snacks, trying to fit dinner between soccer practice and ballet.

But what should you really focus on to make sure they fuel properly, feel good during practice, improve in the sports they love, and recover fast after a tough workout?

active children nutrition: girls need fuel for ballet practice

As a mom of 3 myself, I have been sitting on the bleachers quite a bit, chatting with parents, talking with coaches, and observing the kids. So first, let me tell you about usual errors I have seen.

Sports nutrition for kids: 4 common mistakes

– Eating food that’s hard to digest right before practice: fatty meat, anything fried, chips, burgers, nuggets, etc.
– Eating food that creates a sudden burst of energy and then a crash: foods with refined sugar, sweets, soda, candy, etc.
– Not eating regularly during the day before practice or skipping meals.
– Arriving at practice dehydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink WATER!

Good, now we know what NOT to do.

So what do we feed our active kids?

In a nutshell, we have to remember that CARBS provide energy. PROTEINS help with muscle growth and repair. Good quality FATS make everything run smoothly and keep us warm. OK, it’s a bit of a shortcut, but sometimes, it’s good to stick to the basics.

active children nutrition: teen at skate park need a lot of energyBEFORE PRACTICE

A combo of the 4 things below:
– Easy to digest CARBS (applesauce, dried fruits, fresh fruits…)
– Complex CARBS (bread, bagel, crackers, granola, oatmeal, pretzels…)
– A bit of PROTEIN (nut butter, string cheese, plain yogurt, plain milk, fish, lean meat such as turkey or chicken… but nothing fried! )
– WATER!!!

Avoid FAT right before practice: it hard to digest! Stay away from chicken nuggets, chips, fries or burgers just before practice.

DURING PRACTICE:

WATER!!!
If practice lasts longer than 1 hour, you can add a bit of juice in that water, or you can give your child some dried fruits for a quick snack.
If practice lasts over 2 hours, maybe some extra sodium will be required. Either in a drink (such as coconut water for example) or in a salty snack like crackers or pretzels.

AFTER PRACTICE

WATER!!!

If your child is not allergic, a handful of nuts or a string cheese might be a good option right after practice, so that your kid doesn’t starve on the way home from the locker room. But don’t give them too much if dinner is around the corner!

active children nutrition: even young children in sports team need good food for energy

When you get home, you want to feed your children a well-balanced meal with enough water to help them recover faster. By well balanced, I mean, whole foods (REAL foods!) that provide them with carbs, protein, and good fat. What I call “good fat” is, for example, lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado, whole milk and whole milk yogurt, cheese…).

They will be hungry after practice, so why not start the meal with plenty of green vegetables? We are less picky when we are starving 🙂

Of course, all children are different, and their needs will vary depending on their age, where they are on their growth curve, what their allergies and preferences are, etc.

If you remember only ONE thing!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that what is healthy for you is usually healthy for your child, and what is NOT healthy for you, is most of the time NOT HEALTHY FOR YOUR CHILD. So focus on real food (as opposed to highly processed food) and plain water, and you will be stacking all the odds in their favor!

Go feed those champions and if you have questions, ask away in the comment section or email me. I will be happy to try and help where I can.

If you want continuous support with your health goals, join me on Instagram or follow my Facebook Page. You will have access to weekly tips, challenges, strategies, and lots of FREE resources to support you in your health quest.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Should I count calories?

Is it important for you to have a good work/life balance? Or a nice harmony between “me-time” and the demands of others? My guess is, YES, it is vital to you! And yet, to achieve that, you probably don’t record every minute of your time and what it is dedicated to? Or do you?

Having a healthy work/life balance does not mean counting the time spent playing a board game with our kids, or sending an email to our boss. By the same token, having a nice balanced food intake should not require counting every calorie and nutrient.

A balanced diet is like a balanced life

If you had to time everything you did and make sure all the moments of your day are equally distributed among different areas of your life, it would get extremely complicated and exhausting. Actually, your existence would quickly turn into a living hell!

Cairn representing balance

Instead, you probably have a pretty good idea of what balance means to you. How many hours you approximately spend at work, what you usually do on weekends, how long you generally sleep, etc. You have a “frame” and you evolve within that frame year after year, incorporating new jobs, new people, new places…

Healthy without “knowing” it

If you want to establish healthy eating habits, you have to look at food the same way you look at life. Unless you have a specific condition that requires it, you don’t need to monitor calories and nutrients closely. Instead, it’s important to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Rather than studying the nutrients and calories in every element of your meals, focus on what makes you feel better, what brings you the most energy, and very important too, what brings you the most enjoyment and happiness. I am not talking instant gratification here, sugar rush, quick fix. I am talking profound pleasure and lasting satisfaction.

A strong frame for more freedom

Baby eating watermelonTo make sure you establish a healthy and balanced food intake that is not going to be jeopardized every time to go out with friends or are stressed out at work, you have to have a structure, just like you have one for your balanced life. A structure that guarantees a healthy lifestyle, but also gives you enough freedom to enjoy your food and life without questioning every choice you make.

Once you have a frame for your eating habits, you can forget about calories and nutrition and focus your energy on everything else in your life. Isn’t that what we all want?

When I work with clients, building this healthy frame is our first step toward a new lifestyle. If you want to know more about such a frame, follow this blog, I will definitely write more about this topic. But if you are eager to start and build a strong structure for yourself right now, reach out to me and I will give you a few tips on how to get started. You can email me or ask questions in the comment section below.

Start with this!

The very first thing I recommend you do though, is fill your plate with REAL FOOD, coming mostly from plants. If you do that, you won’t have to worry much about nutrition facts and food labels. Unless, again, you have a medical condition that requires it. It seems quite simple, and it actually is! Real food – as in unprocessed or very slightly processed – has what we need to fuel our body. So let’s start eating it :-)!

If you want continuous support with your health goals, join me on Instagram or follow my Facebook Page. You will have access to weekly tips, challenges, strategies, and lots of FREE resources to support you in your health quest.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Are nuts really that good?

Hi everybody! Today, I want to talk to you about nuts. No, not your neighbor or the crazy guy at the bus stop. Real nuts! You know, the yummy little things that everybody tells you to eat plenty of, because they are so good for you. Those nuts. Hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, you name them. We can even include peanuts here, even if they are actually not nuts, but legumes (like beans, peas or lentils).

Healthy squirrel eating nuts

Everywhere you read, nuts are treated like the solution to many health problems. They can help lower your bad cholesterol, fortify your bones, help protect you from heart attacks, blood clots, type 2 diabetes, etc. The list is pretty impressive and it’s true that nuts are really good for you, on top of being delicious. Full disclosure, I LOVE nuts!!!

Yet, I would like to encourage you to be very mindful when you add nuts into your everyday life. Because you see…

Nuts can be dangerous!

danger sign on the coast to illustrate dangers of nuts

Why? I see 3 main reasons.

  • First, nuts are fat. Mostly good fat (unsaturated fat), but still, a lot of fat. Rule of thumb: 1 oz of nuts covers about 20% of your daily needs for fat. And it’s great, good stuff, nothing to complain about. But you have to be careful: the fat you get from your nuts, you’d better cut it out somewhere else, as in chips, fried food, bacon, red meat, maybe even cheese (although, as a French native, I am a bit reluctant to that idea!).
  • Second, nuts add a lot of calories to your diet. Imagine you are on an island where all you can eat is nuts. Well, it would only take about 3 cups of nuts every day to cover your daily caloric needs (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). OK, I know, you are not planning on eating 3 cups of nuts tomorrow, but you know what? If you are not paying attention, you might end up swallowing 1 cup of nuts quite easily. If you don’t get rid of other sources of calories at the same time, your waistline might not like it.
  • Third, nuts are way too easy to snack on… and on, and on, and on! If you had to peel, cut, and cook nuts, the fat and the calories I mentioned above would not be much of a problem. But nuts are so easy to nibble on that we often swallow them without noticing. They end up like one of those “add-on” items on Amazon. You don’t really pay attention to them, but in the end, you are still paying for them! Yes, true, nuts are much healthier than chips or candies, no question about this, but the thing with nuts is that there is no guilt, and as a result, fewer limits. “They are so healthy, my doctor told me to eat them!” So we have a tendency to track them less and indulge more; that’s where the danger lies.

But wait a minute! I am not telling you that you should not eat nuts. Far from it! I eat plenty myself, all kinds of nuts and on many occasions. And I recommend you do that too, but what can you do to get all the benefits of nuts without the dangers?

Manage your nuts!

  • Eat nuts instead of other fats, not instead of a cup of fruits! Look at the food you eat every day and see where the fat comes from. When you see saturated fat, think about replacing that food item or part of it with nuts. Eat nuts instead of saturated fats… not on top of them! If you need help identifying saturated fats in your life, shoot me an email, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
  • Don’t leave the nuts visible on your countertop. Unless they are not very appealing to you, you don’t want to be tempted nonstop by a jar full of cashews or pine nuts. Store them away in your pantry. If you love them, you will remember to eat them. But make sure you cannot just grab a handful every time you enter your kitchen, it would be a weight loss killer. If you need more tips on how to arrange your kitchen so that it’s supporting you in your health goals, I strongly encourage you to read my blog post “Turn your kitchen into a weight loss lab“.
  • yogurt with fruit and nutsPre-measure and stick with your portions. Decide on a serving size (for instance, 20 almonds) and ALWAYS stick to that serving size. Measure and put your stash away before you start eating your nuts. If you want more, that’s fine, come back and get a second serving (and don’t feel bad about it!). But don’t just dig your hand in the jar full of nuts. Measure, one serving, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Better yet, before each serving, drink a cup of water. This way you will also get the full benefit of all the fibers in your nuts and your stomach will end up being full much faster.
  • Try to choose whole plain (not blanched) nuts, roasted or not. Unless that’s all you like, avoid nuts that are covered in chocolate or in a sweet mix. Ideally, pick them in their shell, so that you eat them more slowly. This way you will eat one nut at a time rather than a handful at once. Remember, the more work it is to eat them, the less you will eat at once. It’s a simple trick but it works every time and it can make a huge difference calorie wise.
  • If you don’t eat much fat or have no saturated fat you can eliminate from your diet (because don’t forget, you NEED fat!), then make sure that when you eat nuts, you are eating a bit less of all the other high-calorie foods in your life. For instance, eat a bit less dairy, a bit less meat, a bit less bread, or maybe drink a bit less alcohol (beer, wine, liquor). Don’t substitute; just eat or drink smaller portions so that the nuts don’t come on top of everything else. Remember: the add-on item is not a free item :-).
  • If you eat peanut butter or almond butter, don’t forget to include that as part of your nut intake. It usually takes less than 2 TBSP of nut butter to get the same nutrients as with 1 oz of nuts. So don’t just dismiss the butter, because that adds up as well.
  • Finally, pick the nuts you really enjoy. Don’t eat anything and everything. Only eat your favorite nuts. Try them all and eat the ones that give you the most pleasure. Nuts are high calorie and high fat, so they should also be high reward for you, otherwise, it’s not worth it!

So you see, I am with everybody else in saying that nuts are good for you. But they are so good for you that they can be tricky to manage. Yet, as is often the case, just being mindful of what you eat and when you eat it will help you keep things under control. Follow the tips above, I know you can do it!

That’s it!

If nuts are already a part of your diet or if you are struggling with them a little, email me, I’d be happy to hear from you! And don’t forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because together, we are healthier!

Of course, if you feel that you need a little more help with nutrition knowledge and food choices, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

The ONE thing to do for your health

Holidays are a tough time for our healthy routines. Some of us have a straightforward attitude toward the season, which can be summed up like this: “No way I’ll deprive myself of the delicious holiday goodies. I’ll check back with my body in January and work twice as hard in the new year.”

And I’ll be honest with you, if that’s YOUR line of thinking, I don’t blame you!

The ONE thing you should focus on

Now if you plan on eating all you want until the end of the year and collapse on the couch rather than sweat on your favorite gym’s elliptical, may I still suggest that you try one thing? Just one thing! Do you think you could keep an eye on your drinks? Oh, I hear some of you already: “I don’t drink! I’m off the hook!” Well, actually, I am not just talking alcoholic beverages here. I am talking juices, sugary drinks, enhanced coffee, etc.

Lady drinking coffee during holiday season

Beverages can add so many calories to your diet!

Yep! Keeping an eye on liquids will go a long way toward staying healthy during the holidays. Here is why.

Know what you drink!

Let’s consider that an average person needs about 2200 calories per day. If you take 3 meals per day, that’s about 700 calories per meal, right? Did you know that a medium size eggnog latte has about 450 calories? Same thing for a peppermint mocha! 12 oz of apple juice have about 180 calories, even more than 12 oz of beer.

I am not asking you to track calories during the holidays. Oh no, far from it! But if you know approximately how many calories are in the beverages you consume during the holidays, it might scare you a bit. And you might end up cutting a few. You know, the ones that are actually not THAT DELICIOUS!

Here is the thing with drinks. We have a tendency to wolf them down without really noticing and without getting much pleasure from them. Yet, drink 1 piña colada and 2 sodas tonight and you will swallow the equivalent of a meal calorie wise. Not to mention the effect of alcohol on your system, but that will be material for another article.

Tweak your drinking habits

So here is what I suggest: write down a list of the beverages you usually consume and their approximate calorie content. Here is a list to help you, with average values:

  • 16 oz hot chocolate: 320
  • 7 oz Gin & Tonic: 200
  • 16 oz latte: 190
  • 12 oz apple juice: 180
  • 12 oz lemonade: 170
  • 12 oz beer: 160
  • 8 oz whole milk: 150
  • 12 oz regular cola: 140
  • 5 oz glass of wine: 120
  • 4 oz Martini: 120
  • 12 oz sports drink: 100
  • 12 oz unsweetened iced tea: 2
  • water: 0
  • sparkling water: 0
  • unsweetened tea: 0
  • black coffee: 0

For more, you can go to USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

You can also use the Alcohol calorie calculator from the US Department of Health and Human Services. Very convenient!

Having your own list will help you identify the most “risky” drinks. Next time you are about to drink one or the other from your list, just think twice about it and ask yourself a few questions:

– Do I really want this drink? Will I really enjoy it?

– Could I pick a smaller size and still be satisfied and happy?

– Is this drink worth the calorie content? If yes, could I cut my snack, or maybe skip dessert?

– Can I replace this drink with one that would be healthier and/or “lighter”?

– Can I make this same drink healthier and lighter by using slightly different ingredients?

– Am I drinking this because I am thirsty? If the answer is yes, drink WATER!

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Are there forbidden drinks?

Holiday celebration with two glasses filled with a wine-based cocktailI won’t go into the detail of each type of drink, but I would like to add a word of caution regarding diet sodas. Yes, their calorie content is very low or negligible. BUT! Because they are so sweet, they make you crave sugar, they make you want more, and they don’t quench your thirst. So don’t try to replace all drinks with diet sodas. It might help a bit, but not that much in the long term. Instead, whenever you can, favor the following beverages: water or sparkling water (plain or with a slice of lime or lemon), herbal tea, unsweetened iced or hot tea, black coffee (decaf or not). If you are hesitating between a cocktail and a glass of wine or a beer, your best bet is usually to go for the wine or beer. And stay away from sports drinks, unless your workout is quite intense and lasts an hour or more.

Again, I am not telling you “stop drinking”, “no alcohol!”, “no sodas!”. Although honestly, I am not far from suggesting the latter, sorry! But be aware of their effect on your health and on your weight. Because sometimes, they are not worth it.

Strategies to drink less

I have very specific strategies that my clients have successfully used to reduce their drink consumption in real life situations. I have summed them up in a 25-minute video that you will soon be able to watch. In this webinar, I give you what I believe is, for most people, THE most efficient technique to stay healthy during the holidays. Stay tuned and follow this blog to make sure you get a heads up as soon as the video goes live!

That’s it!

If you want more tips like this before the holidays, you should like my Facebook Page. You can also follow me on Instagram. And if you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, please share! Together, we are healthier 🙂

As always, if you feel that you need a bit of extra help figuring out what to do and how to do it, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be happy to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.