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New Year – Even Better Me… Setting Resolutions that Work

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A brand-new decade, an even better me?  New Years is usually a time for reflection and optimism for the next year, or even for the next decade – it’s going to be better this time around! Are you someone who takes the opportunity of this proverbial “blank slate” to set one, two, ten… resolutions?  According to Statista, the most common resolution for 2019 was to diet or to eat healthier – not too surprising, right?! A close second place resolution was to exercise more. These were tied for first in 2018 with saving money.  

The focus for a healthier year remains on people’s minds. So why does the same thing happen year after year?  January hits and gym are packed!  The diet industry is advertising at a fever pitch.  You see more green juice, detox teas and celebrity-endorsed cleanses.  And what about the exercise equipment/device/gadget that you just MUST buy – immediately?!  By March all of these resolution habits had dissipated, as well as your motivation.  What gives? 

Three words for you: unrealistic goal setting.

Let's Get S.M.A.R.T.

When surveyed at the end of 2018, only 4% of individuals said they kept all their resolutions. The other 96% of us can attribute our failed resolutions to not having a S.M.A.R.T. goal from the beginning of the year. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is holistic and can “see into your future” to hedge for life challenges and obstacles. For example: “After 4 weeks from today, I want to weigh 6 pounds lighter”. Now let’s break down this resolution using the acronym S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific: Both 4 weeks and 6 pounds are exact.
  • Measurable: The weight on day one compared to the last day is objective.
  • Attainable: It is recommended to lose between 1-2 pounds a week for sustained loss.
  • Relevant: Starting to lose weight will help me achieve my final health goal
  • Time-bound: Four weeks is a set deadline that can be marked on the calendar.

Micro-Changes

Rome wasn’t built in a day.  And whatever you are working on probably didn’t start yesterday. Instead, it is likely something you have been working on/dealing with for quite some time.  Setting small, realistic goals a few weeks at a time will set you up for long-lasting change, just like taking a major project one step at a time. Once you have finalized your S.M.A.R.T. goal it’s time to prepare for the inevitable falling off the horse. 

This could come in the form of eating a diet of strictly donuts and champagne for a week . Or it could be a week of skipping your workouts. But do NOT beat yourself up over this. We all go through loss of motivation!  And those donuts probably tasted really good.  So let it go, because it is in the past and you are living in the present.  Now is the time to get right back to your goal and focus on micro-changes. Whether it is going for a 10-minute walk during lunch, or simply always eating 1 green vegetable at dinner, or adding 3 extra glasses of water per day. Start super small and slowly build back up.  The faster you get back to what you are working on, the better you will feel, and easier it will be to stay on track.. 

Who’s Got Your Back?

Asking for support is an underestimated resource.  Our support system can help to motivate us. Not to mention, asking for help also builds stronger relationships. Having nights when you cook healthful meals with your family or friends or recruit a gym buddy can greatly improve your chances of sticking to a goal. Because when you have accountability to someone else, this can change your mindset from wanting to do something to needing to do something. Tracking your development on social media can be a way to find support in others, even if they are not local.  This can also help you to visualize progress along the way. In the case of the S.M.A.R.T. goal mentioned before, taking pictures each week could eventually be compiled into a year’s worth of change!

Live in the Now

What better time to change than now?  Because the truth is, all we have is right now. Motivation comes in waves; change can start in a moment. This means, we can make our resolutions, our S.M.A.R.T. goals, any day.  Change takes work but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just think, you can be a part of the 4% who follow through on making a lifelong change. 

In the words of Confucius, “the man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.''

Let us know what your S.M.A.R.T. goal is in the comments below.  And for more health and wellness tips follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Nutrition and Food

Meal Prep Guide for Busy People

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A lack of time and a busy schedule are some of the reasons why people don’t cook and instead order take-out. As a result, these habits can cost us money and health.  In comparison, people who eat home-prepared meals have a healthier diet, consume fewer calories and are less likely to gain weight! [1-3] And for those with conditions like high blood pressure, which is about ⅓ of American adults,  meal prep can help be an excellent option. This can help you to create delicious and healthy meals that are lower in sodium and higher in potassium.

What’s the solution? Well, you guessed it (hint: it’s in the title) – Meal Prep.  There are numerous benefits to meal prep and planning. These include saving time and money, maintaining a healthy weight, gaining a nutritious diet, and reducing stress that comes with rushing and having to make last minute meal decisions.  

Meal planning is the key to success
for a nutritious diet.

But if lack of time is the main reason we don’t cook, then you must be thinking, how would meal prep fit into your busy schedule? This post will discuss ways to make meal planning simple, easy and work for you!

Step 1: Set yourself up for success

Lists and Planning

Create a list of healthy recipes you and your family will like.  Use a calendar or spreadsheet to organize meals and shopping lists. “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl” is a wonderful free resource to browse recipes, save them and even add ingredients directly to a shopping list associated with your account.

Use whatever method works best for you.  Here at B.Komplete, we love our Meal Prep Formula for planning healthy, balanced meals. It’s also helpful for understanding portions.

5-day Meal Prep Chart
For 400 and 550 Calorie Options
Formula: (1 grain) + (1 Veg) + (1 Meat/Seafood/Veg protein) + (1 Fat)
Grain/Starch Choices
400 cal = ½c cooked
550 cal = 1c cooked
Vegetable Choices
1 c cooked
Protein Choices
Fat Choices
1 Tbsp per 2-3 protein choices
Protein
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Seafood
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Vegetarian
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Black Rice
400 cal: 1c uncooked = 3c cooked
550 cal: 2c uncooked = 6c cooked
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Prepare 2.5 cups each
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Garlic + Rosemary
400 cal: Prepare 5-4 oz breasts
550 cal: Prepare 5-6 oz breasts
Wild Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Thyme Grilled Tofu with Turmeric and Smoked Paprika
400: Prepare 2.5c
550 cal: ~3.75 cups
Olive Oil (good for sauteing)
Brown Rice
400: 3/4c uncooked = 2.5c Cooked
550: 1.5 Cup Uncooked = ~ 5 Cups Cooked
Carrots and Green Peas
Prepare 2.5c each
Grilled Chicken with Ground Ginger
400: Prepare 5 – 4 oz. breasts
550: Prepare 5 – 6 oz. breasts
Wild Salmon with McCormick Salmon Seasoning Chick peas with Olives and Basil
400: Prepare 2.5c 
550: Prepare 3.75c
Canola Oil (All Purpose)
Quinoa
400: 1c uncooked = 3c cooked
550: 2c uncooked = 6c cooked
Asparagus
Prepare 5 Cups for Each
Baked Lemon and Parmesan Chicken
400: Prepare 5 – 4 oz. breasts
550: Prepare 5 – 6 oz. breasts
Baked Red Snapper with Black Pepper, Garlic, and Parsley Lentils with Basil, Sun-dried Tomato and Oregano
400: Prepare 2.5c 
550: Prepare 3.75c
Avocado Oil (Good for Grilling and Roasting)

 

 

Instructions on using the Meal Prep Formula Chart: cook the amount shown under the chosen item within each food group to then have enough meals for 5 days.

Examples of 400 calorie meals using the above formula  (1 grain) + (1 Veg) + (1 Meat/Seafood/Veg protein) + (1 Fat)
  • ½ cup Black rice, 1 cup carrots and green peas (prepared with canola oil), 4 oz grilled chicken with ground ginger
  • ½ brown rice, 1 cup asparagus (sauteed with olive oil) 4 oz wild salmon with lemon, capers and thyme
  • ½ cup quinoa, 1 cup cauliflower and broccoli (roasted with avocado oil), 4 oz grilled tofu with turmeric and smoked paprika

Now it’s your turn! Create your own table to breeze through your week with the magic of meal prep.  If this seems complicated, we have you covered.  Schedule a meal-prep planning session with one of our Registered Dietitians.  

Tools and Supplies

Tools and Supplies

Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need for prepping, cooking, and storage.

  • Large pots and saute pans, large baking/roasting sheet pans
  • Cooking utensils, knives, measuring cups
  • Large casserole dish
  • Meal prep’s best friend is a slow-cooker: Crock-Pot or Instant Pot.
  • Food Processor
  • Food containers to maximize convenience and minimize hassle.  Glass containers are a great option. When choosing containers, consider ones that are:
    • Reusable and dishwasher safe, and microwaveable safe if planning to heat
    • Well sealed to prevent leaks if there are liquids, such as salad dressings added to your meal
    • Able to keep food odors locked in
    • Easy to use and portable
    • BPA-free

Step 2: Schedule day(s) of the week

Choose which day(s) you will 1) plan your menu and meals, 2) write out a grocery list, 3) grocery shop, and 4) cook and prepare the meals. This may be done all in the same day or broken up between a couple days. Do whatever is manageable for you!

Step 3: Plan your menu and meals for the week (or month!)  

First, take inventory of your fridge, freezer and cupboard.  Try to use up leftovers and ingredients you already have — focus on utilizing items about to expire — because you don’t waste food.

Another hassle-free (and fun!) idea is to follow themed meal days such as: Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Breakfast for Dinner Wednesday, Stir Fry Friday, Slow Cooker Saturday, or pick your favorite meal for [insert favorite dish here] Sunday. Themed meals takes the guesswork out and you can choose any day of the week to schedule it a theme.  Need help making sure you are choosing healthy recipes? Check out the Healthy Eating Plate as a simple reference on eating nutritiously. Or schedule a counseling session with one of our B.Komplete Registered Dietitians.

Step 4: Grocery list & shopping

Plan to scale up the recipe so that it will last you a couple days of dinner and/or lunch. Or you can freeze to have another week.  Again, making sure to account for items you already have on hand, create a grocery list. And then, go grocery shopping! Another benefit of using a grocery list is that it will help save time and money and reduce impulse purchases!

You can use already formatted lists like this one to the right (which you can type directly into it, or print it out to hand-write). Another fantastic option is to use a note keeping app for your phone or computer like Google Keep.

Step 5: Meal prep time

There is no one method for meal prep. So do what works for you. You can cook and assemble the entire meal or just prep some of the ingredients (eg. chopping veggies, cooking rice and pasta).

Methods

  • Buffet-Style. Prepare ingredients separately. The protein, veggies, and grains can be mixed and matched in meals throughout the week. If you are looking for a little more guidance with this method, the meal prep formula table above is the perfect tool.
    • Ideas: Steam or roast few of your favorite veggies. Then cook some rice or quinoa. And bake chicken or salmon.  Finally, mix-and-match ingredients for a balanced and nutritious dinner.
  • No-cook assembly. This is a great option when using a slow-cooker.  Chop ingredients and throw together in a container or freezer bag to store in fridge or freezer.   Then when you are ready to prepare the meal, just empty the bag into crock-pot. Easy peasy.
    • Ideas for no-cook assembly (and batch-cooking): veggie chili, stews and soups
 
  • Batch-cooking.  Basically, this when you prepare larger quantities of food to last several meals/days. With this method, you’ll cook the entire meal. Now when 6:00 PM on Wednesday rolls around, you just heat and eat.

Step 6: Storage

Storage is the final step (before eating!) and is critical to maximizing the benefits of meal prep. Also a key factor and in food safety.  Make sure you have plenty of large containers if you plan on batch-cooking.  Additionally you will need large freezer bags, and containers in a variety of sizes.

When prepping lunches, portion meals into containers you can just grab and go during the week.  It’s a sure way to enjoy a good lunch break during a busy work day!

Written by Meghan E. Smith, Dietetic Intern

Leave us a comment below and tell us how you incorporate meal prep into your week or share your S.M.A.R.T. goal!

Corporate Wellness

Business Lunch Hour – A Healthy Addition to Your Work-Day?

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It’s 11:00 AM and your stomach starts to growl – do you know where your lunch is?

The business lunch manifests itself in many ways:  the quick lunch, the working lunch, the networking lunch with coworkers, the job interview lunch, or the lunch-with-your-boss lunch!  Whatever type you follow, we recommend making sure it’s a true and healthy break from your busy day.

There are countless benefits of breaking from work for lunch; reducing stress, increasing concentration, sustained energy for your afternoon, feeling better, and many more.  However, unhealthy food choices and overeating can greatly hinder, if not cancel out, those positive results.  By including better-for-you food and beverage choices and being mindful while eating, you can boost the positive benefits and fuel your body to get you through the rest of your workday with energy and vitality.

Mindful eating is a skill that takes practice.  Mindful eating means: avoiding emotional food decisions and distractions at meal time.  When we eat “mindlessly” we are not present during our mealtime, which can lead to weight gain and health problems.  Don’t let emotions, stress, or deadlines sway your ability to maintain healthy eating habits during a busy work day.  Practice being present and enjoy a breather, savor each bite, and come back to work recharged.

Four B.Komplete Tips for Your Mindful and Healthy Business Lunch

#1) When eating out, research the restaurant ahead of time.

Most restaurants have online menus  available for perusal.  You can check out Healthy Dining Finder  to find healthy dining options in your area.  Another tool to use is Calorie King which reveals the nutritional content of many foods.  By figuring out your meal ahead of time, you can avoid the risk of impulse ordering. 

More tips for eating out – Restaurant dining can pinch your wallet and your waistline – choose wisely:

  • Order the smallest size available
  • Choose to drink water, unsweetened tea, or club soda
  • Request that the bread/chips be brought out with your meal, or avoid altogether
  • Ask for dressing on the side
  • Ask for light sauce or sauce on the side
  • Choose grilled, baked, poached, or steamed proteins
  • Aim to make a meal out of a salad and additional protein
  • Share your appetizer, salad, entrée and/or dessert
  • Use lemon, olive oil, and/or vinegar to flavor

#2) Drink a big glass of water before you start your lunch break.

Research has shown that drinking about 16 oz. of water prior to a meal  can help you avoid temptations like dipping into the endless bread or chips offered at many restaurants.  Additionally, thirst and hunger triggers come from the same part of your brain, meaning that while you may feel hungry, you are in fact thirsty.  Drinking water 15 minutes before eating  can help curb your cravings and encourage eating less at meal time.

#3) Pack your lunch the night before.

Your work day is busy enough.  Avoid a hectic morning and try packing your lunch the night before when you’ve had a chance to decompress and can make mindful decisions.  Have you heard about “salad in a jar” – it’s a solution for a healthy, custom, and delicious grab-and-go option.

#4) When eating with others, remember to savor.

It’s easy to get distracted by office chatter when networking with colleagues.  Eating becomes so automatic that you may look down at your plate and notice your food is already gone.  Savor each bite (for example, notice the texture of the food in your mouth or identify the different sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors as you chew) as if it were your last, to help avoid problems like overeating.

There are many reasons to take a lunch break  and keep it sacred.  This is so important that we’ve even mentioned it before in a previous post.  Remember that lunch can be delicious and healthy.  Schedule a daily break for yourself  to refresh your mind and feed your belly.  We promise your body and your company will thank you for it!