Tag Archives: Weight Loss

8 Tricks to Portion Control

You’ve heard it before – one of the easiest things you can do to overhaul your diet, without giving up everything you love, is to scale back on the portions. Kind of like having your cake and eating it too, just that the piece of cake has become a sliver that won’t wreck your waistline.

For anyone that has ever followed a diet program where you have to purchase and eat their food, you’ve experienced portion control. Precise amounts of food are plated so that you eat just that amount and nothing more, allowing you stay within your calorie goal and achieve the desired weight loss. Yes, this method does work (for a period of time). The downsides of this type of weight control program are that they are expensive and they teach you nothing about shopping, cooking, and portioning out your food for yourself. Once you stop following the program, the old habits return, including larger portion sizes, and the weight creeps back on.

Let’s talk about how you can successfully master portion control without feeling like you have to weigh and measure everything.

1. Divide the Plate. Draw an imaginary line down the center of your plate. Fill one half with fruits and/or veggies. Divide the other half of the plate in half again and fill 1/4 with whole grains and the other 1/4 with a lean protein.

2. Pre-portion high-calorie foods. The bigger the package, the more you’ll eat. From this finding, the 100-calorie snack pack was born. Rather than fill up on these store-bought calorie-controlled packs (which are usually just junk food), make your own homemade 100-calorie packs using snack-sized zip top bags and 1/2 cup plastic containers. Keep nuts to around 100 calories by fitting them into an Altoids tin.

3. When you eat, just eat. Turn off the TV, put away the book, close the newspaper, shut down the computer, and stick the cell phone in the other room. Meal time should be devoted to enjoying your meal, uninterrupted. Use the time to notice the taste, texture, temperature, aroma, and visual appeal of your meal. Not only will you enjoy your meal more than usual, but you’ll also be more in tune with your fullness cues. If your brain gets the signal from your stomach to slow down or stop before you’ve polished off everything (this takes 20 minutes), then heed the message and wrap the rest of it up for later. Your waist will thank you.

4. Downsize your plates and cups. Rather than continue to eat off of the typical 12-inch dinner plates, which encourage larger portions, try plating your meal onto 8-inch plates. Same goes for bowls (use 1 cup ramekins) and glasses. Did you know that people drink less out of tall, skinny glasses than short, wide ones?

5. Limit choices. They say that variety is the spice of life, but it also encourages overeating and results in higher calorie intake. This doesn’t mean that your meal has to be Johnny-one-note, rather choose 3 items to feature on your plate, make sure they have lots of great flavor, and enjoy every bite.

6. Out of sight, out of mind. Office workers who kept candy in a clear jar on their desks sampled 71% more often than those who kept the candy in a desk drawer. So, keep the junk out of sight and replace the desk-top candy dish with a bowl of fresh fruit so that everyone can benefit.

7. Don’t drink your calories. If you’re watching your calories in the quest to drop some pounds, skip the juices, smoothies, and coffee drinks that pack in hundreds of calories. Even worse, these liquids empty out of your system quicker than food, leaving you hungrier, sooner. Then you’re left to search of something else to eat, which can result in a higher calorie intake for the day than expected.

8. Super-size good-for-you foods. This is the ultimate in reverse portion control. Think salads (watch the dressing), cooked vegetables, broth-based soups, crudité and healthy dips. Fill up on generous amounts of these foods at the beginning of every meal, which leaves less room for the rest of the food being offered. A few bites of your protein and whole grain and you realize you’re too full to continue.

About the Author:

Erin Macdonald, R.D. is a Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness Coach in southern California where she has a private practice and teaches cooking classes. She is the co-founder of U Rock Girl, a web site full of nutrition, fitness, and wellness information and recipes to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. She also writes a regular column for Oxygen Magazine, called “Easy Does It” and will have a new column in Clean Eating magazine called, “Ask the dietitians.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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Healthy Snacking Prevents Overeating

Making healthy food choices and controlling portions are difficult when you are starving. However, when you eat healthy snacks, they actually prevent you from overeating and may help with weight management. Snacks also help you get essential nutrients in your diet. Even the new MyPlate guidelines recommend eating healthy snacks.

Here is some important advice on choosing healthy snacks from Fit Sugar.

Snacking on the right combination of protein and complex carbs can beat an afternoon slump and help get you through the day. Snacking regulates your blood sugar to combat a drop in energy, which can be the difference between skipping an evening workout or powering through one before dinner.”

One of the most important things to remember with keeping snacking healthy is to make sure that you are prepared. You should plan on eating two snacks a day, says nutritionist Alexa Fishback — one should be under 100 calories and one should be more substantial, 100-200 calories. And, as celebrity trainer Valerie Waters adds, it’s important to time snacks correctly so they help you get from meal to meal.”

NuGo protein bars have between 170 and 200 calories, so you can feel good about eating one each day as a substantial healthy snack. Or, eat half a NuGo bar for a snack that is less than 100 calories. Share the other half with a friend or family member or save it for later. Thank goodness snack time isn’t just for kids!

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Do Artificial Sweeteners Help You Lose Weight?

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen posted this fascinating article, “Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners: Which Is Healthier and Safer?” on the RealAge YOU Docs Daily blog. The two popular doctors coauthored the best-selling YOU books. If you are eating foods with artificial sweeteners, they can have a negative impact on your health and may actually cause you to gain weight, not lose weight!

In fact, sweeteners have been studied far more than most drugs (there’ve been at least 100 studies on sucralose/Splenda alone). The problem is that they subtly mess with how you react to food.

Sometimes it’s a mind game. For instance, diet sodas can cloud common sense, making you think your no-cal drink “cancels out” the fat calories in burgers and fries.

Sometimes they make you eat more, not less. Because no-cal sweeteners essentially don’t register in your brain’s satiety center, instead of satisfying a sweet craving they can send you hunting for something else . . . and then something else. They also train your taste buds to go PING only when they detect intense sweetness.

Sometimes there’s something going on no one even understands yet. Recent Texas research has linked drinking diet soda to bigger waists — 70% bigger than in people who didn’t touch the stuff. “Huh?” That’s what we said. More to come on this. But Dr. Mike, who used to drink a daily diet cola (or six), is glad he gave ‘em all up over a year ago.”

There’s also evidence that fake sugars and diet sodas don’t help you lose weight, and up your risk of metabolic syndrome, which precedes diabetes, heart disease, and more. So it’s hard to be enthusiastic about them.”

NuGO Slim Sample PackDr. Oz and Dr. Roizen recommend significantly cutting back on sugar and eating dark chocolate and fruit as desserts. With NuGO Slim high protein bars, you can enjoy REAL dark chocolate in a low sugar, all-natural snack with no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. We are sure Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen would approve!



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Calorie Control Council Survey: Sugar and Weight Loss Statistics

In April 2011, the Calorie Control Council released statistics that “eight out of ten men and women aged 18 and older are weight conscious.” The data was based on a survey of 1,203 Americans. So, what was the most often mentioned method for weight loss? It was cutting back on foods high in sugar! Additionally, 78% of respondents said they consume sugar-free and low-calorie foods to lose weight. Other popular responses were exercising and reducing portion size. For more interesting diet trends and statistics, view these great charts.

Just cutting 100 calories a day can prevent the gradual weight gain experienced by most Americans. Continuing to increase regular exercise and eating smarter by reducing portions, and limiting fat and sugar intake will help in both losing weight and maintaining it. It is important to realize that these healthy changes need to be ones that can be maintained for life.”

With our new all-natural NuGO Slim bars, it is now easy to make a smarter snack choice. With 180 calories, only 2 grams of sugar from REAL Dark Chocolate, and 9 grams of fiber from chicory root, NuGO Slim high protein bars are a great option for cutting calories and sugar!


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