A Wheel of (Food) Fortune

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You run out the door 2 minutes later than usual and the last thing on you mind is grabbing something for lunch. Does it sound familiar? I think I am a pro of making it to work on time. A pro for bringing lunch – not so much. Although I always have some healthy snacks at work – apples, grapes, nuts – sometimes, I can get insanely hungry. The so called “wheel of fortune” seems to have an answer to all of my cravings.

The first on the list of goodies is Yoplait Original.

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It seems like a semi-healthy snack, right? It has protein, very little fat per serving and only 170 calories. Considering that a snack should be around 200 calories, it is pretty darn good. One ingredient that cancels its all goodness to me is Mr. Sugar. It is the third in line on the list of ingredients. A balanced snack should have a pretty even ratio of protein to carbohydrates. 26grams per serving is nowhere near 5 grams of protein that Yoplait provides. Did I mention that this strawberry yogurt contains more sugar than it contains fruit? Let’s spin the wheel again.

Next – Dole Crisp Pineapple Mango.

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The ingredients don’t look too bad. I can pronounce most of them; however, sneaky sugar made his way into this product as well. Pardon my question but why the heck would I need sugar with awesomely sweet pineapple and mango? Another Debbie Downer – calories. I know, it’s only 150 per serving but this little tiny orange cup is not going to fill me up whatsoever. I guess I pass on this snack as well.

I am looking for something more filling that involves a little more chewing. Here it is  – Bob Evans Snack Size Sausage Cheese Sandwich.
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It looks rather appetizing, has a decent marriage between carbs and protein. But there is always that “but.” If I had eaten the recommended serving size of these bite-size sandwiches, I would have consumed 50% of DI of fat and 33% of DI of sodium. Sorry Bobby – not tonight.

I spin the wheel again, unfortunately, all the prizes seem to look pretty much the same. I end up snacking on baby carrots for the rest of the day. This whole wheel of food fortune turned out to be one big misfortune so far.

I got home and my man and I made salmon with greek yogurt and green beans for dinner. I made sure not to forget to bring leftovers for lunch.
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Downsize your plate
When you try to manage your weight by using a portion-control method, nothing looks sadder than a tiny piece of chicken with broccoli on a huge plate. “How is this supposed to fill me up,” you’re thinking to yourself. Although your belly will be more than happy with the amount of food it will receive, your mind is about scream: “Hell NO!” Upgrading or rather downgrading to a smaller plate will make your brain satisfied too. A lot of people eat “with their eyes” first and having a full plate, regardless the size, mentally satisfies their hunger.

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A Slim Announcement

Since it’s already November, I think it is the perfect time to start a new routine. I will be posting a quick healthy tip on my blog every day until December so feel free to leave me comments with topic suggestions!sugar

If you are to follow only 1 weight-management advice, this one should be your choice. But I am not talking stricktly candy – I mean sweetened yogurts, sodas, pastry and any foods with the magic “sugar” on the list of ingredients. Next time when you’re at the grocery store shopping for pasta sauce, look what it is made of.
90% of sauces that you can find on the shelves have sugar as an ingredient. The sad thing is that in order to beat the system and make your spaghetti without unnecessary sugar, you will have to fork out about 7 or 8 dollars. It is a little bit too much to enjoy dinner semi-guilt-free, me thinks. If you want to indulge in pasta once in a while (insert a whole grain reminder here!!!), try making your own sauce. It will be equally delish and at least you have control over what is in it.

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A Skinny Survival Guide for a Working Woman

A transition to the corporate world straight out of college is difficult, especially while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When I was a student, I used to manage to squeeze in my workouts in between classes, choose salads in dining halls and always carry a water bottle with me (that was after my fitness rebirth, just in case you wondered). Being a working girl now, I realized that maintaining an active/healthy lifestyle became is way more challenging. Not only do I spend 9 hours of my day in a cubicle, but also 1 hour in a car to commute. That’s 10 hours out of 24 of my body being stagnant! On top of a rapid transition into sedentary living, the break room in my office is always full of cookies, donuts, chocolate and other not-so-good-for you snacks. It took me a little while to come up with the best strategy to combat my new weekly routine.

Here are some rules that I live by Monday through Friday:

Snack wisely
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I always try to be armed with something to snack on at work. Otherwise, I would be automatically driven to all the treats provided by my company. I keep almonds or cashews at my desk at all times. Please note: nuts are very tricky; sometimes I have to remind myself that a can/bag is way more than one serving. I would recommend keeping individually sized packets so you don’t go overboard with snacking.
Lately I developed a strong addiction to grapes. I bring them to work in a zip-lock baggies and keep them handy when I am in a mood for something sweet. Way Better than M&Ms from a vending machine!

Breakfast is a must
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I rarely ate breakfast while in college. I always grabbed a large coffee and was fine until lunch. Now I noticed that if I don’t eat something within an hour of getting to work, I overeat for lunch and dinner. I usually go for oatmeal. It is fast and cheap and you can store it anywhere (I keep mine in my desk’s drawer). Half a cup of old-fashion oats, almond milk, 2tbs of PB2 and 2 tbs of sugar free Jelly and my tummy is full until lunch time. Sometimes I just make it with water and some peanut butter but recently I also experimented with Hazelnut butter. Verdict – equally delish!

Stretch
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Although I was used to sitting in class, my body was not nearly adjusted to spending most of the day on my butt. I ended up feeling stiff and lethargic. I try to take some time from my 1-hour lunch break and stretch (office yoga). It relaxes your muscles and helps you calm down when you’re on a verge of literally tackling a coworker! I sometimes like to go to a local park  during my lunch to stretch. It breaks up my day and refreshes my mind.

Work out after work

You’re probably thinking: “But I don’t want to work after work! What the heck!” I know, we are all tired, stressed and all we want to do is to sit down on a couch with a glass of wine and relaaaaax. But I do feel much better when I work out after work (or even before). You don’t have to kill yourself at the gym for hours. 30 mins of cardio and 15 mins of strength training is enough to make you feel physically productive. I am more of a leisure jogger than a runner. 5mph is enough for me to break into sweat provided that I stay on a treadmill for a while. If you don’t have time for a 30-minut cardio session, try doing intervals for 15 minutes. It’s great for your heart and gives you that I-worked-my-butt-off kind of sweat.
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Learn to say “no”
It was one of the most challenging things for me to learn about eating. I didn’t want to be that weirdo who’s always picky about food. I was afraid people would think that I was a food snob, too good to eat processed foods. However, after 2 or 3 times of politely refusing a piece of a leftover birthday cake, people got the point. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what they think, as long as you’re not an asshole about your choices. By “asshole” I mean that one annoying person who is constantly dieting and announces it to the entire world making everybody feel bad about their sugar affair. Simple “no, thank you. I am not hungry” is just enough. When people ask me why not, I always say that I don’t like sweets. A little white lie is not going to harm anybody, is it?

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Let’s talk nuts

I love healthy grocery finds and today I picked up these little guys:

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Let me tell you – they are phenomenal; slightly sweet with a potent flavor of coffee. I just couldn’t resist. There is, however, one downside – I can’t put them away! One serving (approximately 24 nuts) is only 160 calories. It sounds like a perfect work snack if you stick to small portions. So remember to count your nuts!

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