My 10-week weight loss class is over (what will I do with myself?!), but now I’m sharing some of the FAQs from the series. Last week I posted Part 1, and today I’m posting Part 2 (yes, there were enough FAQs to make this a Two-Part blog post!). Please feel free to leave me comments with any specific follow-up questions you might have, as I’ve tried to keep these very brief and to the point. Also, keep in mind that my answers are general and may not be specific to your personal needs. If you would like to find a Registered Dietitian in your area, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
While I don’t really like to say I have “rules” when it comes to food (who wants to follow rules when it comes to food? Food is meant to be enjoyed!) I do have guidelines (yes, there is a difference). And, I’m very excited to read the book Food Rules, By Michael Pollan, which was given to me by someone in my class. Wasn’t that so nice?! I can’t wait to read it. I don’t know if I’ll follow all of his “rules”, but who knows…maybe I already am!
Ok, here are the FAQs, continued….
Does skim milk have less sugar than other milk? No, but it does have less fat and calories. In fact, skim milk is basically fat free, and typically has about 90 calories per cup, compared to 2% milk, which has about 120 calories and 5 grams of fat per cup. When you switch between different fat percentages (1%, 2%, whole, skim, etc.) the sugar does not change, it’s always about 12-13 grams per cup (and that sugar is lactose).
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Gina, you always talk about getting two serving of fish per week, but what if I don’t like fish? First I like to encourage trying the less-fishy-fish. Some people just don’t like the stronger flavored fish, like salmon, but they can handle a more mild fish, like cod. But if that’s not the case and you really just can’t stand fish (or perhaps you are a vegetarian or have an allergy to fish), my suggestion is to have a meatless meal twice a week instead of a seafood/fish meal. One of the main reasons it’s suggested to have fish twice a week is because it will likely replace a higher saturated fat and cholesterol meal, as well as help you reach your recommended intake of omega-3. By swapping two meat or poultry meals per week with a meatless meal you will most likely be consuming less saturated fat and cholesterol plus more omega-3 (especially if it’s spruced up with extra greens, or foods like chia, flax, walnuts and/or tofu and tempeh ). Another suggestion would be to supplement your diet with omega-3 from a pill. This is definitely not going to be as beneficial as eating fish, but…..it might help. Read more about choosing an omega-3 supplement here (and keep in mind there are plenty of supplements out there that are made from vegetable sources of omega-3).
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Doesn’t light olive oil have less calories? Nope, not at all. The term “light” can refer to calories, fat, or even sodium, but in the case of olive oil or other oils, it’s referring to the color. There is no such thing as a lighter fat or calorie olive oil (that I’m aware of) and even if there was, why would you want it?! The fats found in olive oil are superior fats with many documented health benefits. The key is to just use a small amount (because it does contain a lot of calories), and savor it’s delicate flavor.
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Do you recommend protein powder? Not necessarily, but if you aren’t getting enough protein (as you age it’s more difficult to get enough, and some people with a busy schedule may need help getting protein throughout the day) you may benefit from a simple protein powder. Make sure it’s one that is relatively simple, with a short ingredient list. Watch out for crazy ingredients and special “proprietary blends” because protein powders have a reputation of containing some whacky and potentially dangerous ingredients (example: caffeine in your protein powder? Many times you don’t even know how much they are putting in there!). They are also nice for making higher protein muffins, granola bars and granolas (and check out these protein powder Pinterest recipes!)
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Can I eat frozen meals? Sure. I do have guidelines though. I say, in general, lunches should be about 250-350 calories, less than 400 mg sodium, 20 grams or more protein, and should include some vegetables. For dinner I suggest 400-500 calories, less than 500-600 mg sodium, 20-30 grams protein, and again they should include some vegetables. Also, I like to recommend adding MORE veggies (why not?! This will increase the nutrient density and also the volume of your meal, making the satiety factor a bit higher). Keep in mind just because something is labeled “healthy” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great choice. Some of the “healthier” frozen meals are really not any better than a boxed mac and cheese, for example. It’s important to really look at labels when it comes to frozen meals, and make sure you are getting some nutrients, not too many calories, and especially not too much sodium. Overall I would recommend keeping frozen meals as an every once in a while food, for those times when you just don’t have time to pack a lunch or make a dinner.
How often should I eat out? There is no general rule, at least in my opinion. But I will tell you right now, less is best. The people with whom I meet for weight loss consultations and who have the best results are those who only eat out 1-2 times a week, max. Even during those times they tend to make good decisions (I wrote this post a few years ago about sticking to your goals when eating out. It needs some updates, but it’s helpful!). If you’re lifestyle requires that you eat out more often, meet with a dietitian to help you come up with a game plan for what to order, as many restaurants are making it easier to eat healthy (although the portions and sodium content still need work).
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My suggestion? Go online to read the menu before you go out. Have a game plan and stick with it. This will prevent you from making hasty and often poor decisions at the table.
How do I speed up my metabolism? It’s not true that any specific food can speed up your metabolism. But here is what can; working out and gaining muscle! The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. Another tip? Stay positive on your journey to weight loss, and as you continue your journey with weight management. Read this great article to find out why your attitude can affect your metabolism more than anything.
How can you break a sugar addiction? And how can you give up a food with craving it constantly?! This is a question for next week. Yep, I’m going to make you wait! It deserve an entire blog post.