Don't Let Your Vacation Spoil Those Good Habits...
Summer’s here, and along with it come those glorious vacations! Once that vacation is over, however, you may realize that you left more than your toothpaste or pantyhose behind. Your healthy eating habits may have been forgotten as well. Let's consider some tips on how to get yourself back on track once the fun-in-the-sun comes to an end.
First things first. Remember to eat breakfast!! You know…that little meal you’re supposed to eat when you first wake up and start your day? During vacation, you may have slept in and lunch may have become the first meal of your day. Be sure to get back to eating your breakfast to give your metabolism the jump-start it needs to burn more calories until lunchtime.
Cook for yourself. Cooking at home gives you more control over the calories, fat content and nutrients than eating out can. Plus, it will save on the budget too, something else that might have been left behind on vacation.
Consume the Good Fats. Nutritionists now tell us that mono-saturated fats from foods such as olives, nuts and avocados are essential to good health. So cut down instead on the saturated fats from dairy products, chocolate and red meats as well as the trans-fats from margarine, vegetable oil and shortening, or possibly eliminate these altogether.
Choose Your Oils Carefully. Look for the right omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is a great source, but you may not want to eat it every day. Some of the recommended plant-based oils, such as canola, walnut and flax seed are excellent alternatives.
Read those Labels! Get to know and love that label lingo. The FDA now regulates the use of phrases and terms in food packaging. No-fat and fat-free equate to less than ½ gram of fat per serving. Low sodium means less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. Beware of products with tags like “lite” or "reduced fat", as these can be deceiving. These are typically just compared to the full-calorie version of the same product and are not necessarily any better for you.
Water, water, water. You thought I was going to say drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, didn’t you? No—I'm referring to the version of water that is detrimental to your healthy eating habits. Did you know that if you use too much water to cook your vegetables that you can sap the nutrients right out of them? Unless you are going to drink that water, you will be pouring all those great nutrients right down your drain. A study in Spain showed that microwaving 5 ounces of broccoli in 2/3 cup of water killed off 97 percent of its antioxidants. Boiling reduced antioxidants 66 percent. So stick to steaming, whether cooking in the microwave or on the stove.
Try Some New Recipes. Don't just make those same five dishes over and over again. Venture out with some new tastes by collecting new healthy recipes. An excellent source for delicious, nutritious recipes is Cooking Light Magazine. You can get a subscription and either clip out the recipes that you want to try and put them on recipe cards, or put them into a loose-leaf binder. You might want to purchase some software made for organizing your recipes, one that will automatically perform nutrition analysis for each dish.
Get some Great Protein from Soybeans. Called edamame in Japanese, you can buy these tasty beans frozen and they are ready to eat in 5-8 minutes of boiling. They’re full of goodies like protein, fiber, essential amino acids, calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, lecithin, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids, and they are pretty tasty too!
Consider canned vegetables & fruits. According to the American Dietetic Association, canned vegetables and fruits retain the most nutrients, since they’re usually canned within hours of picking. So refrain from turning your nose up at the quaint ‘50s packaging and give some of those canned veggies and fruits a try. Be sure to select those without added sugar.
Shop Organic. More and more mainstream grocery stores are carrying organic produce, driving the prices down and making them more accessible to everyone. When produce is truly farmed organically, the health benefits can be numerous.
Be Sure to Get Your Fiber. Fiber is nature’s broom. We know we need it. The fiber and bulk in whole grains, fruits and vegetables help you shed pounds, keep your bowels regular, as well as a host of other health benefits.
So if vacation has gotten you off track from your good, healthy eating habits, don't despair. Just consider these tips and get back on track in no time. Your body will thank you for it!