FiVE WEiGHT-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 my best weight-loss friendly snacks that aren’t just nutritious but also delicious!

What’s my criteria you ask?

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

Nuts   

It’s true – nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening!

Well, I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones, of course. Those probably are fattening.

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.

 

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.

Tip: Can’t do fresh? Try frozen. Plus, they’re already chopped for you.

 

Chia seeds

This is one of my personal favourites…

Chia is not only high in fibre (I mean HIGH in fibre), 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 wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit or nuts, and/or cinnamon and enjoy!

 

Boiled or poached 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!

 

Vegetables

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

Veggies contain fibre 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).

Tip: Use a bit of dip. Have you put almond butter on celery? How about trying my new hummus recipe below?

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.” Trust me!

 

Bonus Recipe: Hummus

Serving: about 2 cups

Ingredients

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.

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/
Nuts: Icons made by monkik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY
Strawberry: Icons made by Baianat from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY
Chia Seed: Vector de Fondo creado por johndory
Boiled Egg: Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY
Carrot: Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

CAN MY SYMPTOMS ACTUALLY BE A FOOD iNTOLERANCE?

 

Food intolerances or “sensitivities” can affect you in so many ways.

And they’re a lot more common than most people think.

I’m not talking about anaphylaxis or immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response. Those can be serious and life-threatening. If you have any allergies, you need to steer clear of any traces of foods you are allergic to, and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about emergency medication, if necessary.

What I’m talking about, is an intolerance, meaning you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves. And symptoms can be located just about anywhere in the body,  this is what makes them so tricky to identify.

Symptoms of food intolerances

There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea; symptoms can start immediately after eating lactose or gluten.

On the other hand, other more insidious symptoms like this ones may not be linked to foods in an obvious way.

  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Sweating, or increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Exhaustion after a good night’s sleep
  • Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rashes or eczema
  • Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is “foggy”
  • Shortness of breath

If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or even cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.

How to prevent these intolerances

The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them.

I know, this sounds so simple, and yet it can be SO HARD but the best way to identify your food/drink triggers is to eliminate them.

Yup, get rid of those offending foods/drinks. All traces of them, for three full weeks and monitor your symptoms.

If things get better, then you need to decide whether it’s worth it to stop ingesting them, or if you want to slowly introduce them back one at a time while still looking out to see if/when symptoms return.

Two common food intolerances

Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerances:

  • 🥛Lactose (in dairy – eliminate altogether, or look for a “lactose-free” label – try nut or coconut milk instead).
  • 🍞Gluten (in wheat, rye, and other common grains – look for a “gluten-free” label – try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & gluten-free oats).

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good place to start because lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.

So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for three weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these, are a source of your symptoms.

Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines, but you absolutely can get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods.

A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it. After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate, and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends.

Click HERE to download from my Freebies Section, a free copy of my Weekly Food Record to help you track.

And, as mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas.

You might be surprised what links you can find if you track your food and symptoms well!

IMPORTANT NOTE

When you eliminate something, you need to make sure it’s not hiding in other foods, or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you’d never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce, and lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements?

When in doubt you HAVE to ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels, and consider cooking from scratch.

What if it doesn’t work?

If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks.

You may need to see a qualified healthcare practitioner for help, and that’s OK. I don’t want you to continue suffering if you don’t need to!

🎁 Bonus

Here it is a delicious recipe for a  (dairy-free milk) Homemade Nut/Seed Milk

Serving: 3 cups

Ingredients

½ cup raw nuts/seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds)
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

1. Soak nuts/seeds for about 8 hours (optional, but recommended).
2. Dump soaking water & rinse nuts/seeds.
3. Add soaked nuts/seeds and 2 cups water to a high-speed blender and blend on high for about one minute until very smooth.
4. Strain through a small mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze if necessary.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can double the recipe and store the milk in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

 

WHY YOUR WAIST CiRCUMFERENCE MATTERS 100X MORE THAN WHAT YOU WEiGH

It can be too easy to think (or worry) about your weight.

But you know what? There is something else that may be more important when it comes to real health: That is your waist circumference.

Ahh, just a minute! It’s not just about the “pinchable” fat under the skin (you know, that “muffin top”), it’s about the internal fat around your abdominal organs that can be the real issue.

That internal fat (AKA “visceral fat”) is known to release a bunch of hormones and inflammatory compounds that can mess with your blood sugar, blood fats (i.e triglycerides), and blood pressure.

In this post I’ll describe how to measure your waist circumference and then give you a bunch of actionable tips to help you reduce it.

You totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you?

You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”. I mean, it doesn’t define you (obviously) and what you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent.

Let’s look at your Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”)

Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”?

The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.

THAT is what we’re talking about here.

Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases).

Yup – that apple!

And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”. The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.

This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is. It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

So as you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.

Am I an apple or a pear? 🍎🍐

BodyshapesIt’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. You can do it right now.

Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category. Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.

For men the number is 40”.

Of course this isn’t a diagnostic tool. There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases. Waist circumference is just one of them.

If you have concerns definitely see your doctor.

 

Tips for helping reduce some belly fat

 

 

Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways.  First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food.  Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.

 

 

Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer.  It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.

 

 

Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).

 

 

 

Move more. Get some aerobic exercise.  Lift some weights.  Walk and take the stairs.  It all adds up.

 

 

 

Stress less. Seriously!  Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.

 

 

 

Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

PHYSiCAL ACTiViTY

 

Did you know that Kids are spending an average of 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen, inlcuding TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies, and only one-third of high school students get the recommended levels of Physical Activity?

In order to grow up to a HealthyWeight, children need (at least) 60 minutes of play everyday.

Childhood Obesity is a real issue and we, as parents, can make a huge different involving our kids into healthier habits by making little changes in our daily basis routine.

These are some of the tips we can implement right away

  • Walk to school, it isn’t only an excellent way to have physical activity for both parents and kids but also helps kids to get more active to morning classes.
  • By letting your Kid choose an activity that interests her/him, you allow them to be part of the decision and they will stay more interested on it through time.
  • Involve the whole Family. Why not go and take an after dinner walk together?
  • Encourage your Kids to go out and play with your family #Pet if you have one, instead of staying home playing video games.
  • Children are good imitators so if you are active, there is a good chance they are going to be too. Teaching by the example is the best way to involve them in healthier habits, so you should be active as well!

 

 

7 WORST BEVERAGES YOU CAN GiVE YOU KiD

One of the leading causes of obesity is the sugary and processed foods making up many children’s diets.

Research shows that children today are eating more high-calorie, nutrient deficient foods and they are not consuming foods with vitamins, minerals and other healthy micronutrients

According to a 2011 study published in Pediatric Clinics, “14.6 percent of the total energy consumed by Americans aged 2 years and older comes from added sugars.”

Researchers agree that most of these AddedSugars are coming from sweetened beverages like soda and juices.

As parents we can teach with the example, instead of choosing these beverages you can read labels and prefer those ones that have less than 5 grams of Sugar and you can give your kid plenty of water and fresh fruit.

THEY ARE SWEET ENOUGH

At A Green Unicorn we are launching an awareness campaign called TheyAreSweetEnough to promote awareness and help parents to display healthy behaviors to their children at home.

Experts at the World Health Organization estimate that there are over 41 million overweight children who are under the age of 5. Research shows that overweight and obese children are more likely to stay obese into adulthood.

According to research published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, “Childhood Obesity can profoundly affect children’s physical health, social and emotional well-being, and self esteem. It is also associated with poor academic performance and a lower quality of life experienced by the child.”

Did you know that obese children often consume larger food portions but eat fewer fruits and vegetables from an early age?

Research shows that the obesity rates have increased in parallel with increasing portion sizes. When you “supersize” your meal at a fast food joint, you are told that you’re saving money — basically, getting more for your buck. But you’re also consuming a lot more calories than your body needs, or can use, for energy.

Childhood Obesity stems from the consumption of empty calories, which supply little or no nutritional value. So, children are overfed and under-nourished.

With the increasing of portion sizes, young adults are unaware of what appropriate portions look like anymore.

Skipping breakfast can actually lead to weight gain. Studies indicate that regular breakfast consumption will reduce the risk of childhood obesity and improve a child’s physical activity behaviors. Without a proper breakfast, children and adolescents will feel fatigued. They will be less likely to engage in physical activity that burns calories.

A Healthy Breakfast contains protein, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants. Avoid serving children foods that are processed and contain added sugars, like cereals marketed to children.

I know that sometimes we just ran out of ideas and get bored of having the same plain breakfast. Well, it doesn’t have to be like that anymore, go to my Freebies and donwload some of my breakfast recipes for your kids.

Sources: World Health Organization; J Family Med Prim Care: “Childhood obesity: causes and consequences”; www.draxe.com