Fall has arrived, which means it’s time to see if those jeans from last year still fit! We all know how much we dread those moments. While we all strive to eat and be healthy, saying it and doing it are two totally different things. Between the constant juggle, finding time to actually sit down and eat a meal is a challenge. So how can healthy eating fit into our busy lives so that we can feel good, fit into our jeans, and be positive role-models for our kids? We sat down with Barrie Wolfe, a registered dietitian for a TRAIN MOM CHAT (#TMC) all about carbs, calories and cravings.
Barrie Wolfe MS RD
What are three easy tips every mom can do to help curb the calories?
1) Stop picking food off your kids plates. I have clients take a gallon plastic baggie and put the foods they are about to eat (example:pizza crust or leftover chips) and stick it in the baggie. At the end of the day it is an excellent visual to demonstrate the amount of unaccounted calories they normally would have consumed. That bag may contain a couple of hundred calories and if they stopped that habit, weight loss would result.
2) Sit down when you eat. Moms are always rushing and helping their family survive. It’s common to shove a handful of cereal in when serving the kids breakfast or shovel a spoonful of ice cream in before serving kids their special dessert. I train clients to sit down for a proper meal and slow down. This helps your body register it’s full and helps avoid grazing on extra calories.
3) Don’t drink your calories. Liquid calories won’t provide the fullness solid calories do so use them wisely. Syrup flavored coffees, juices, smoothies and yes alcohol must be limited. I have clients that lose significant amount of weight and all they changed is reducing their weekly alcohol allotment.
For a working mom, what are some good go-to snacks to help alleviate the 4pm cravings?
I always tell clients to have a snack between lunch and dinner. Otherwise you will experience a drop in blood sugar, feel hungry, tired, irritable and reach for the first food you can get your hands on which is often chips, pretzels or cookies which are pretty much void of nutritional value. I tell moms to plan ahead and have a stash of filling protein and fiber rich foods in their office or pocketbook. My favorite snacks are good ole apple and peanut butter (or have small handful nuts instead of peanut butter), greek yogurt with some crunchy high fiber cereal mixed in, a cheese stick paired with a fruit, a fiber rich bar like GNU bar with a fruit or a few slices of turkey rolled up with some high fiber crackers. This way you have energy and stop obsessing about food.
What is the biggest lesson we as moms can teach our kids about eating healthy?
The best thing moms can do is set a good example for our kids in regards to eating healthy. If they see you eating a general healthy diet most of the time and see you eat only occasional treats they will learn to follow your lead. I also believe in teaching kids that “junk” foods like cookies and candy are not forbidden but should be enjoyed sometimes. I believe if kids grow up feeling certain foods are forbidden they will ultimately binge when confronted with them, for example at a friend’s house. I like to teach my kids we can have these foods in the house and it’s “no big deal.” I choose to reach for more healthy foods because they make my body feel better than the sugary/fatty foods. I also think if a parent is trying to lose weight it should be promoted in the house as “mom is trying to take better care of herself by eating healthy and exercising.” Avoid the word “diet” as it will send children the wrong message. We want to teach our kids that eating healthy is a way of life not a punishment or a short-term behavior.
What is the most important meal and why?
I feel everyone should be eating 3 meals daily and they are all important. However, deciding to eat breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day so it is the most important. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a big production of you don’t have time. It can be a fruit on the go and a greek yogurt consumed at your desk. Your body needs fuel to start the day and get your metabolism revved up. When you skip breakfast or any meal for that matter, you will end up ultimately overeating because you are literally hungry and psychologically permit yourself to eat more because you “saved” calories from a meal. This will always backfire and result in eating extra calories than if you ate a solid breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Fad diets, yay and nay?
In my practice I try to preach “eat right and the weight will follow.” Meaning focus on a healthy balanced meal plan that provides all good group groups but in portions that are right for someone’s energy needs. I am anti “diet” and generally against any program that encourages drastic changes to get rapid weight loss. It’s sets women ( and men) up for failure and psychological distress. When people hear “low carb” they don’t realize that carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, milk and yogurt. So I do not preach “low carb” but I usually bring down the amount of starch clients consume ( bread, rice, pasta, etc) as that is a carbohydrate people tend to overeat. The point of seeking guidance from a registered dietitian is to relearn how to eat well without the diet mentality. I try to help end the yo-yo to diet cycle so many smart successful women find themselves in.
Barrie is a registered dietitian with a private practice in Westchester, NY. Her specialty is helping teens and women develop a healthy relationship with food in order to achieve a healthy weight and body image. Follow her on Facebook or visit her website at www.BarrieWolfeNutrition.com.