Five Fat-Loss Friendly Snacks You Will Love

 

The words “weight-loss” and “snacks” often appear in the same sentence.

But that might also bring thoughts of “tasteless,” “cardboard,” and “completely unsatisfying.”

Right?

Let me give you our best weight-loss friendly snacks that aren’t just nutritious but also delicious!

What’s our criteria you ask?

They have to be nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way;  foods that contain protein and/or fiber.

 

1 – Nuts

It’s true – nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening if you eat them in the right amounts.

Well, I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones, of course. I know for a fact they are fattening, I used to eat honey roasted every day when I was overweight.

Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner.

By the way, nuts also contain protein and fiber, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.

Did you know that almonds have been shown to help with weight loss? At least 10% of the fat in them is not absorbed by the body, and almonds can also help to boost your metabolism!

Tip: Put a handful of unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and throw it in your purse or bag. Great to have on hand when you get hungry.

 

2 – Fresh Fruit

As with nuts, studies show that people who tend to eat more fruit, tend to be healthier. (I’m sure you’re not too surprised!)

Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, but whole fruits (I’m not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit) also contain a fair bit of water and fiber; not to mention their nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And fresh fruit is low in calories.

Fiber is something that not only helps to fill you up (known as the “satiety factor”) but also helps to slow the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream and reduce the notorious “blood sugar spike.”

Win-win!

Try a variety of fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) and pair that with a handful of nuts, cottage cheese, or 1 ounce of cheese.

Tip: Can’t do fresh? Try frozen and make a mini smoothie with unsweetened almond milk, scoop of protein powder and handful of berries!

 

3 – Chia seeds

This is one of my personal favorites…

Chia is not only high in fiber (I mean HIGH in fiber), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes THOSE omega-3s!). As well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium.

Can you see how awesome these tiny guys are?

They also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up).

Tip: Put two tablespoons in a bowl with ½ cup of nut milk and blend in high speed blender. Refrigerate overnight then the next day top with some berries, ½ teaspoon of chopped walnuts,  and/or cinnamon and enjoy! (makes a delicious pudding!)

 

4 – Hard Boiled eggs 

Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk.

They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals.

And recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk.

Yup, you read that right!

Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack! Eat them with a handful of veggies (i.e. carrots, celery, and cauliflower) are all great choices.

 

5 – Vegetables

We don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe we need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses.

Veggies contain fiber and water to help fill you up, and you don’t need me to tell you about their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, right?

You can easily open a bag of baby carrots and/or cherry tomatoes and give them a quick rinse (they’re already bite-sized).  Another fun snack can be almond butter on celery!

Tip: Use a bit of dip and spice them up if you like it! How about trying my new hummus recipe below?

 

Conclusion:

Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. They will not be “tasteless,” like “cardboard,” or “completely unsatisfying.”

 

Recipe (Vegetable Dip): Hummus

Makes about 2 cups

Tasty Sesame Hummus

  • 1  can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 dash pepper

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to thin it out with a bit of water, so add it 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and blend. Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Don’t like sesame? Use an avocado in place of the tahini, and olive oil in place of the sesame oil. Mix it up a little – and if you like “heat” add in a few jalapenos!

 

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-most-weight-loss-friendly-foods/

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/almonds/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/almonds/

https://authoritynutrition.com/is-fruit-good-or-bad-for-your-health/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/best-fruits-diabetics/

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/apples/

https://authoritynutrition.com/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables/

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

How healthy is your visit to the bathroom?

 

 Is Your Poop Healthy?

 

Yes, we are very serious! (And don’t you sometimes wonder anyway?)

You already know that your poop can reflect your physical, and sometimes even emotional, health.

You may get constipation or have diarrhea when you eat something that “doesn’t agree with you,” or when you’re super-nervous about something.

And what about fiber and water? If you’re not getting enough, it’ll probably show in your poop.

What about the all-important gut microbes? If they’re not happy, it’ll probably show in your poop.

 

Here’s a trivia question for you:

Did you know there is an “official” standard for poop?

There actually is a university-created chart! One that is used to help diagnose conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

 

Meet the Bristol Stool Scale

The Bristol Stool Scale was created at the prestigious University of Bristol in the UK back in 1997.

You can see the chart here.

The scale breaks down type of poop into seven different categories ranging from type 1 which is very constipated, to type 7 which is diarrhea:

1 – Separate hard lumps (very constipated).

2 – Lumpy and sausage-like (slightly constipated).

3 – Sausage shaped with cracks in the surface (normal)

4 – Smooth, soft sausage (normal).

5 – Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (lacking fiber).

6 – Mushy consistency with ragged edges (inflammation).

7 – Liquid consistency with no solid pieces (inflammation).

 

Other “poop” factors to consider

You probably guessed that the shapes described in the Bristol Stool Scale are not the only thing to consider for poop health.

Think about how often you go. At least once per day, up to 3 times per day is pretty good. Less than one, or more than three can mean there is something going on.

What about how hard you have to try to go? You want it to be as effortless as possible.

And the color? It should be brown from the bile that you need to break down the fats you ingest.

And if it’s green after a day of massive veggies, or red after that large glass of beet juice, you’re just fine.

But if you see an abnormal color, like red or even black, that you can’t explain based on what you ate or drank in the last day or two, you probably want to get that checked out.

 

What do you do when you have “imperfect” poo?

Well, the first thing to consider is how imperfect it is, and how often it is like that? Once in a while, things aren’t going to be perfect, and that’s A-OK.

If you know you need to get more fiber or water, then try increasing that.

If you haven’t had enough probiotic foods, then try getting more of them.

If you’re super-stressed, then try deep breathing, meditating, or having a warm Epson salt bath.

 

Remember the two most basic pieces of nutrition advice:

  • First, eat a variety of nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods, including fruits & veggies (and their “fibrous” skins, wherever possible). The fiber in these is not only helpful for pushing food through your gut, but they also feed those millions of amazing helpful critters that live there (your friendly gut microbes.)
  • The second piece of advice is to eat slowly, and mindfully, chewing thoroughly.

These are good habits for anyone and everyone, even when you have perfect poop!

Of course, long-term issues might require a more thorough review with a qualified health care practitioner. Don’t suffer from poop issues for too long before seeking help.

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_stool_scale

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/poop-health

Do you or someone you love get hot flashes?

 

 Learn tips on how to help reduce them Naturally

It is very typical to get hot flashes at night while you are sleeping.

Do your hot flashes set the bed on fire (but not in a good way)?

Mine have definitely decreased over the years as I began to notice the foods, beverages, and emotions that triggered them. I’ve worked at incorporating many of the tips below into my daily routine so I can help mitigate them as much as I can and feel so much better as a result.

First here is a little bit of information on why hot flashes occur so we can try to effect the root cause of these hormonal symptoms.

 

What causes hot flashes?

As you can imagine it’s all about hormonal balance (or imbalance).

During the menstruating years your estrogen allows for your ovaries to respond when “luteinizing hormone” (LH) says to release those eggs every month.

When it gets to the point where your estrogen levels start dropping (i.e. perimenopause) those ovaries start to simply ignore the LH.

And guess what your body’s response to this is?

It releases adrenaline!

Hot flashes are one of the most common complaints of menopause, as the periods of intense heat, warm skin, and sweating are uncomfortable. This causes your body to heat up for a few minutes until it cools itself back down.

 

What triggers hot flashes?

You may have already identified some of the triggers of your hot flashes as I have.

Perhaps they’re related to the food and drinks you consume (e.g. coffee, sugar, citrus fruit, large meals).   But did you also know that dairy products, red meat, and spicy foods rank among the top triggers of severe hot flashes?.

Maybe they’re related to lifestyle factors (e.g. stress, alcohol, smoking, certain medications or intense exercise – yes intense exercise can induce a hot flash).

Or maybe they get worse as your weight slowly climbs (higher BMI)?

Did you know that some menopausal women who lost weight were able to eliminate their hot flashes?

Win-win!

Now, let’s reduce those hot flash triggers naturally, shall we?

 

Food #1 – Flax

Flax contains a “phytoestrogen” named “lignan”.  Phyto (plant) estrogens are thought to help our bodies better balance hormones by mimicking them and binding to certain hormone receptors.

Flax also contains fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Both are powerhouses for better gut and heart health, additional benefit and an excellent source of fat.

But here’s where it gets interesting.

One study looked at thousands of women who experienced at least 14 hot flashes per week.  Researchers had them add four tablespoons of flax meal to their day.

Yes, just four tablespoons.

After 6 weeks the number of hot flashes they had dropped in half and the intensity of those hot flashes dropped by more than half!

Scientists think that’s due mostly to the lignan content of flax seeds.

That’s a pretty powerful food!

It’s also fairly easy to increase your intake of flax.  You can add one or two tablespoons into your smoothie or sprinkle it on just about anything (breakfast, salad, nut butters, etc.).  Not to mention how easy it is to add to your baking.  (Hint, see recipe below).

Coach Shannon’s Tip:  Flax seeds should be ground up in order to get most of their benefits because much of the healthy compounds in them are securely stored beneath the hard outer shell. You can purchase them whole and store them in the freezer then grind them right before serving. We use a coffee grinder for ease.

 

Food #2  – Protein

Our bodies involve complicated balance of hormones that are greatly affected by our environment and the foods that we ingest. Healthy hormonal and emotional balance can be achieved by ingesting healthy foods.

These nutritious foods can provide not only good information for our bodies—it supplies all the raw materials your neuroendocrine (nerve–hormone).

Coach Shannon’s Tip: Protein is one of the raw materials required to make and balance hormones, so it is wise to include some with each meal and snack that you eat.

 

Food #3 – Water

OK, maybe this is not a food but a beverage – please hear me out because it is so very important.

When you get hot flashes you’re losing more water than you normally would.  Similarly to when you exercise.

Make sure you replace those critical fluids by drinking enough water.  A good habit is to make sure that you don’t get to the point of feeling overly thirsty by keeping a bottle, glass, or cup beside you all day long for frequent sips.

Water is definitely something to add (or increase) to your daily intake when you’re experiencing hot flashes.  We strongly recommend that you get in at a minimum half your body weight in ounces of water and eventually increase it to 2/3rds your body weight.

Coach Shannon’s Tip: Remember decaffeinated teas can support your water intake, we know some people have difficulty drinking enough water, so look for ways that you can get it into your day.  In the Smoothie & Juicing Guide that we are giving away in the Be Better You Facebook Coaching Group – Coach Shannon also had several water recipes to help elevate the boredom with regular water.  (p.s. the coaching group is free – everyone is welcome to join – click the link)

Conclusion:

There are just three things you should do if you experience hot flashes: increase your intake of both flax, protein and water. We will spend more time this month learning how we can positively change menopause symptoms for a better quality of life.

Recipe (flax): Strawberry, Banana & Mango Smoothie

In this tasty recipe from EatingWell.com – they combine Greek yogurt and nut butter boost protein, and ground flaxseed adds omega-3s in this fresh fruit smoothie recipe. Use frozen fruit if you like a frosty smoothie.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ medium banana
  • ½ cup diced mango, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon natural nut butter, such as cashew or almond
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (flaxmeal)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup water

 Instructions:

Combine strawberries, banana, mango, yogurt, nut butter, flaxmeal, vanilla and a water in a blender. Puree until smooth.

Serve & Enjoy!

*Tip:  You can blend flax and/or oats to make your own freshly ground flax meal or oat flour.

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/incorporating-flax-into-diet

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-flax

 

Do you eat any (or all) of these three awesome breakfast foods every day?

 

Do you eat breakfast every day?

If you aren’t eating it then would you like a bit of inspiration to start up again?

Did you know that people who skip are up to 5 times more likely to be obese than those who make it a daily habit. According to Precision Nutrition nearly 90% of Americans acknowledge that breakfast is a good idea, still, about half don’t eat it.

If you are working on fat loss and not eating breakfast then we recommend that you get started today.  Did you know when you begin your day with protein it helps with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss?.

Consuming protein may help maintain an optimal body composition (in other words, help you stay leaner and more muscular) and a strong immune system, good athletic performance, and a healthy metabolism. It may promote satiety (i.e. make you feel full longer) and consequently help you manage your body weight.

So we are going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts (along with more tips).

 

Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

We mean actual whole “eggs”.

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Whole Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

And no, the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases.

 

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

You won’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know we are talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds they are perfect with a bag of sliced apples or pear and a few hard boiled eggs.

We enjoy adding a spoonful of nut/seed butter into our smoothies.  On Tuesday, we shared our Free Smoothie & Juicing Recipe book in our the Be Better You Facebook Group – head on over after you finish the blog and pick it up – everyone is welcome in our coaching group. 

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a teaspoon of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.

 

Breakfast Food #3: Veggies

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know we would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?

Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You will never go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast!

And no, you don’t need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don’t want to but you totally can!  You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast. We oftentimes add a few hand fulls of spinach or greens to our morning smoothie.

We’ve included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.

 

Recipe (Eggs & Veggies): Veggie Omelet

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg whites (from carton)
  • ½ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers)
  • dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon goat or feta cheese on top

Instructions

  1. Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).
  2. In a small bowl beat the egg and egg whites with your vegetables of choice and the spices.
  3. Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil.  Pour egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring.
  4. When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny. Top with cheese and enjoy!

Tip:  Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favorite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli, spinach, or cherry tomatoes.

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/

Do you want to know how to mitigate menopause symptoms naturally?

We all know that what you eat and how you move can make a HUGE improvement in some of the symptoms of menopause.  While it can be common for ladies to gain weight at this time of life but please know it doesn’t have to be that way there are action steps you can take on a daily basis to make positive changes in your life.

What do we specifically recommend to help you “eat better and move more”?

Seven Things – here we go:

First – Hydrate:

Drink more water.

The general consensus is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.  And, if you don’t feel you need that much you definitely need to at least drink enough throughout the day so that you’re not thirsty.

We know that’s easy to say but really it’s also easy to do.

Try having a full glass first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.

Don’t like plain water?  Add in some freshly squeezed lemon, fresh strawberries or chopped frozen fruit.

Prefer tea?  Steep some sliced lemon and/or ginger or your favorite caffeine-free herbal teabag.  This counts toward hydration as well.

You can also keep a large bottle or mug beside you all day wherever you work so it’s always easy to grab and have sips throughout the day to make sure you’re not getting thirsty.  Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink water throughout the day.

Second – Bump up your intake of whole plant foods:

Things like (yes, you guessed it) vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds.  We’re going for quantity here.  Try to include them in every meal and even most (if not all) of your snacks.

Want another reason to eat more plants?

Plant-based diets are associated with fewer hot flashes.  Bonus!

Plus, my recipe below is your “no excuse” solution to getting more veggies wherever you go.

Third – Remember high-quality protein:

While you’re eating all of the wonderful plant foods remember to include some good quality protein (and healthy fats) from eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds (and their butters).

With animal foods we’re aiming for quality so try to get organic, wild, and/or pasture-raised if you can.

Fourth – Some things you want to cut back on:

Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and processed foods can have a tremendous impact on balancing your hormones naturally without the help of pharmaceutical medications.

With those increases in hydration, whole plant foods, and quality protein, you simply won’t have as much room for alcohol, caffeine, spicy and processed foods with added salt and sugar.

You already know that’s good news, right?

Fifth – Move:

If you don’t do this already try to move up to 5 hours per week.  You can gradually increase that over time, and believe me, you will thank yourself!

Now, we are not talking about hitting the gym 5-6 days a week. In fact, the best routine for menopausal women is strength training a few days a week and then getting outside for 30-60 minute walks per day to help relieve stress and elevate the level of Vitamin D in the body.

You’ve heard the saying that the best exercise is the one you’ll actually do?

Well, go ahead and do it. 🙂

Sixth – Get enough sleep:

We are talking 7-9 hours per night.  Seriously!

Sometimes menopause can bring on (or ramp up) sleep problems.

The most important thing to do is set a daily routine where you’re relaxing with no screen-time (computers, tablet, phone, tv) at least an hour before your bedtime.  Electronic devices emit strong blue light which can prevent the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone.  Try reading a book or having a bath with Epson salts and lavender oil.  It’s also important to have dim lights in your surroundings to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed.  Regular indoor lighting is usually blue light.  Ideally you would use amber or red lights, or even be ultra-stylin’ with blue-blocker sunglasses.

Seventh – Find great stress relieving activities:

Do whatever works for you.  Just make sure you do it regularly as a preventative measure to avoid accumulated stress.

Have you tried meditating, deep breathing, or having a warm Epson salt bath with Lavender essential oil?  What about the newest craze of coloring?

I’ve recently taken to acupuncture and have been ecstatic with the results that I have been getting, I now barely get hot flashes or night sweats.

Remember and we can’t say it enough – slow walking 30 to 60 minutes per day as a form of stress relief will be a game changer.

Conclusion:

You now have an arsenal of great ideas to stave off those menopause symptoms naturally.   It’s important to always remember to communicate with your spouse, partner, or loved ones on how you are feeling. Our bodies are going through tremendous changes and a hand to hold or a hug can be the best medicine on some days.

Now go ahead and make this delicious mason jar salad to eliminate any excuse of not being able to get fresh veggies when you’re out and about.

 

Recipe (Veggie): Mason Jar Salad

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ½ granny smith apple (diced)
  • 2 radishes (sliced)
  • 1 celery stalks (diced)
  • 3 ounces grilled or rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite nuts or seeds (walnuts, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
  • 3 cups of your favorite greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Add first three ingredients to a small bowl & whisk until smooth.
  2. Add apple to dressing (so it’s covered and won’t brown) and divide between two mason jars.
  3. Layer the radishes, celery, nuts/seeds, chicken and greens on top and seal.
  4. When ready to eat shake up the jar, open and enjoy or if you are at home pour it into a large bowl to mix more thoroughly.

Tip:  Wide-mouth jars work best for this ah-mazing way to bring veggies with you wherever you go!

These are all action steps that Coach Shannon takes and we hope you will put them into action for yourself too!

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/what-can-you-do-hot-flashes-and-other-menopausal-symptoms