Tips for becoming a mindful eater in 2019

This time of year can be overwhelming when it comes to food, especially if you are focused on losing some weight to improve your health in the longer term. In recent years, mindful eating has emerged as a tool to help people achieve a healthier relationship with food. It can empower individuals to make choices for their own best interest, with a focus on eating healthier for the purposes of health in general as well as for supporting a weight loss goal.

Instead of trying the next fad diet which we know can lead to restrictive eating and weight regain for many, listen to your body and mind and reflect on the habits you have and how you are feeling throughout the day, this can help to tune you in to a more mindful approach to eating.

Mindful Eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.
  • Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

 Ten Tips for Mindful Eating

  1. Plan shopping expeditions and always keep to what is on your shopping list.
  2. Avoid shopping for food when hungry.
  3. Eat meals at a pre-set time. Time meals to occur when you are regularly hungry.
  4. Do not engage in any other activity while eating, like watching T.V. or reading; make it an experience in itself.
  5. Confine eating to a specified place in the house e.g. kitchen table
  6. Never eat directly from containers; always place food on a plate. Do not leave serving dishes containing food on the table.
  7. Limit the amount of bingeable food in the house. Always put food away in cupboards out of sight.
  8. Savour your food, concentrate on its flavour. Chew slowly and use your senses to explore and savour the texture, smell, and flavour. Put the fork down between each bite of food.
  9. Prepare a list of alternative activities, incompatible with eating, for times when you know that you are going to be at greatest risk. For example, phoning a friend, going for a run or walk, taking a bath and so on.
  10. Listen to your body. Are you hungry or thirsty – don’t mistake thirst for hunger, sometimes all you need may be a drink of water to stay hydrated instead of a snack.

From the Dietitians at Croí

Stay on track this Christmas

The festive season should be enjoyed, but with temptations all around we may need that extra bit of motivation to avoid overindulging.

Here are some ways to enjoy this holiday season while staying on track with your health goals.

 

Fill up with Fruit & Vegetables

Remember to enjoy the in season freshness of brussel sprouts, parsnips, sweet potato, satsumas, cranberries and other favourites. Bursting with a plentiful supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our bodies need to fend off the cold winter bugs and infections. They are also high in fibre helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer. You may even meet your 5 a day from your dinner plate alone!

 

Less Sugar & More Spice in All Things Nice

Replace some of the sugar you eat with traditional Christmas spices for fabulous flavour and some can even help soothe digestive upsets such as ginger & cinnamon.

 

Cut down on portion sizes

Many traditional foods at this time of year such as the lean meat in turkey, root vegetables like carrots and parsnips and cranberry sauce are actually low in fat but it is the trimmings, extra helpings and constant nibbling that piles on the pounds. So use a smaller plate and don’t feel you have to clear it. Also leave some time before going for more as it can take our bodies 20 minutes to realise that we are full.

 

Stay active

Festive gatherings are not all about food. If we are eating more food, then we need to move more to prevent weight gain. Meet up with friends/family for nice fresh walks or show some moves on the dance floor and do not forget that kids and animals need play time and the fresh air too!

 

Get a good night’s sleep

The party season can be exhausting and if we are tired and low in energy, it can be so much easier to be less active and indulge in the high sugar and high fat foods. Ensure you are getting enough sleep to enable your body to fully recharge so it is ready to rumble again the next day.

 

Healthier Food Swaps to keep you feeling Merry & Bright All Season Long…

Swap:

  • 50g creamy/cheesy dips for 50g salsa (Saving 13g fat, 111kcal)
  • 1 large (70g) chicken goujon for 2 mini chicken satay skewers (Saving 6g fat, 137kcal)
  • 2 small sausage rolls for 2 cocktail sausages (Saving 1g fat, 24kcal)
  • 1 (50g) vegetable samosa for 1 ball (17g) of falafel (Saving 2.5g fat, 61kcal)
  • 2 cheese straws for 1 large breadstick (Saving 6g fat, 75kcal)
  • 25g crackers for 25g of vegetable sticks (Saving 5g fat, 110kcal)
  • 30g Stilton cheese for 30g goat’s cheese (Saving 4g fat, 67kcal)
  • 100g sausage stuffing for 100g chestnut/fruit based stuffing (Saving 15.2g Fat, 90kcal)
  • 100g roast potatoes for 100g Boiled Potatoes (Saving 4.4g Fat, 40kcal)
  • 1tbsp brandy butter for 3tbsp low fat custard (Saving 5.2g fat, 54kcal)
  • 2tbsp double cream for 2tbsp Greek yoghurt (Saving 14.2g Fat, 117kcal)
  • Luxury bread sauce for bread sauce made with semi-skimmed milk (Saving 262kcal)
  • 1 tsp butter/oil on vegetables for herbs/spices/lemon zest to flavour vegetables (Saving 4.1g fat, 37kcal)
  • 150ml Bailey’s for 150ml white wine (Saving 19g fat, 340kcal)
  • 200ml hot chocolate with whole milk & cream for 200ml Hot Chocolate with semi-skimmed milk & mini marshmallows (Saving 9g fat, 42kcal)

 

Have a healthy and happy Christmas!

Niamh Arthurs, Student Dietitian

What’s the deal with carbohydrates?

Written by Croí Dietitian Aisling Harris. Extract taken from Aisling’s blog, The Superfit Foodie

Quite often when I hear a person say that they are going to try and lose weight or “the diet starts tomorrow” the first thing they say they’re going to do is “cut out the bread”.

But bread is not the enemy!*

*If you’re eating the recommended portion size.

Portion size is something that a lot of us struggle with. This is mainly because we’ve never really been told what an actual portion size should look like. I certainly got a shock when I found out! The massive portions of rice, potato and pasta or huge bread rolls that we get in restaurants or takeaways has probably distorted our idea of what we should be serving ourselves at home.

Before I explain what portion sizes should look like, I feel it would be helpful to give a quick explanation of what carbohydrates are and why we need them. Carbohydrates are our main source of energy. We need energy to keep our body running, similar to how a car needs petrol. But, like a car, we can only store a certain amount of energy or petrol at a time. Once the tank is full, petrol starts to leak out. Once our carbohydrate storage centres (muscle and liver) are full, any extra carbohydrate is converted to fat and stored in our fat tissue (our bodies are very resourceful and know that energy is a valuable resource. It doesn’t want to just dump it so it stores it where we have the most storage space – our fat tissue). However, like a car uses up petrol pretty fast, we used up our carbohydrate reserves (scientifically called glycogen) pretty fast which is why it is recommended we have a portion of carbohydrates at each meal.

So basically, you need enough energy from carbohydrates to keep your body running but you don’t want too much. But I like carbohydrates you say? I want to eat more you say? Well, thankfully there is a way you can do this…

Exercise!! Yes, just like a car uses up petrol and has to be refilled after a journey, your muscles use up carbohydrate when you exercise meaning that in order to refill them you need to eat more carbohydrates! If you aren’t very active then you’re carbohydrate needs are lower. If you eat more than you need then you will put on weight.

So, now that we, hopefully, know why we need carbohydrates, the next question is what are carbohydrates?

Well, basically they are foods that once eaten and digested are broken down into sugars (don’t panic, sugar isn’t evil either, we need it for energy).

The most common examples include bread, potato, rice, pasta, oats, cereals, grains, beans, peas and lentils. These are often called complex carbohydrates. Other foods that contain carbohydrate are fruits and dairy products. The other group of foods that contain carbohydrates are foods like sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits, bars, scones, buns, sweets etc. These are the only carbohydrate foods that you should avoid or limit.

“But I heard low-carbohydrate diets are good for weight loss?”. Technically this is true. If you don’t eat carbohydrates then your body will break down your fat stores for energy. However, long term this can have unwanted side effects. The main reason is because carbohydrates are our main source of fibre. Fibre is needed to keep things running smoothly through our digestive tract. If you don’t eat enough fibre you’re likely to become constipated and long-term it can increase your risk of developing bowel cancer.

How much carbohydrates do you need? Here I’m specifically talking about cereals, bread, potato, pasta rice and other grains. Even though fruits, dairy products and plant proteins contain carbohydrates, they have their own recommended intakes which I’ll cover in a later blog post.

Using the guide above, you can work out how many servings of carbohydrates you need per day. An inactive person would be someone with an office job who does little to no exercise. Even someone with a job that requires them to be on their feet for the most of the day can still be considered inactive as standing and walking, unless it’s at a brisk pace, does not raise your heart-rate enough to give you benefits (I know this will be disappointing to hear for anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet!).

The minimum amount of exercise adults need to do to maintain a healthy weight is 30 minutes on 5 days of the week. This exercise can be as basic as a brisk walk. If you’re just starting out then it can even be split up into shorter bouts of 10 minutes three times a day (e.g. a longer walk to work, lunchtime lap of the office building and brisk walk back to the car (maybe with a bit of a detour). You just want to get your heart-rate up a bit and your breathing to become slightly heavier.

Continue reading here: http://thesuperfitfoodie.com/2018/02/whats-the-deal-with-carbohydrates.html