Maintaining A Healthy Diet On Vacation

Italy is a beautiful country, and you want to take in all the sites and visit the museums, but you have to admit, when it comes to the attractions, food is probably at the top of your list. You’ve heard about the midday Italian soprano; the heaping mounds of spaghetti, the Sicilian pizzas, the succulent meals and tangy cheeses, the rich sauces mopped up with huge hunks of garlic bread, the decadent tiramisu cakes, the thick espresso; you’re already imagining the pictures you’re going to post on Instagram. What you’re not looking forward to is getting back into your skinny jeans when you get home. Here are a few ways of enjoying your vacation without blowing your diet.

Resist the Urge
A study led by Linda H. Clemens of the Consumer Science and Education Department found that women splurge when they eat out and eat normal amounts of other meals during the day. This means they end up taking in many more calories and fat than they need. Clemens advises women to stop thinking of eating out as a special treat which gives us a license to overindulge. She explains, “Many of us grew up thinking of eating out as an event that didn’t happen too often.” However, these days, eating out is much more common. Clemens and other researchers found out that the more women ate out, the higher their total calories, fat, and sodium levels were.

Researchers speculate that there are three main factors contributing to this caloric overabundance from restaurant meals;

  • We choose higher fat and higher calorie menu selections.
  •  Restaurants serve large portions.
  •  We eat all of it.

Melanie Polk, RD, recommends exercising portion control. She says, “Some Americans are now ordering half sized portions, sharing entrees, taking home leftovers, and ordering appetizers as meals,” she says.

Order Meals Your Way
Another thing customers can do to lower their calorie and fat intake while dining out is asking restaurants to customize menu items. According to a National Restaurant Association report, this is happening at 80% of restaurants with meals averaging $25 per person or over and 70% of restaurants with meals averaging under $25 per person. Customer are interesting items prepared in ways other than those that are listed on the menu, are requesting a range of portion sizes, and many are asking to have food “doggy bagged.”

Everything in Moderation
You don’t have to deprive yourself of food, just try to keep it in moderation. Try to sample foods, rather than feast on them.

Walk
While eating is a big part of the vacation, so is walking. Get in some sightseeing, take a stroll after dinner, swim in the hotel pool, or wake up for an early morning hike to burn some of those mealtime calories.

Make Better Choices
Make healthful choices when you find something that appeals to you. Don’t deprive yourself and then resent it. Swap out small things, that you don’t mind sacrificing, such as condiments, sauces, and dressings. Choose Dijon mustard rather than mayonnaise, or marinara instead of white sauce.

How did you do on your vacation calorie count this year? Let us know how you made better choices and came home at the same weight you were when you left.

woman eating carrot cake

Tricks for Controlling Food Cravings

That hunk of chocolate cake. The fork sitting next to it just waiting for you to plunge it into the sweet moist layers, shoveling a huge, rich satisfying heap of chocolate goodness into your mouth, the sweet, decadent icing dissolving on your tongue, the serotonin rushing to your brain Oh, pure joy. Cravings can be hard to deal with, but so can excess calories. If you need some help dealing with temptations, here are a few suggestions.

Drink Water
It may be no match for chocolate cake, but you may find that a few minutes after drinking a large glass of water, your craving may disappear. Water also has health benefits and drinking it before a meal can help keep appetite to a minimum.

More Protein
A study of overweight teenage girls found that eating a breakfast high in protein reduced cravings significantly, and a study of overweight men showed that increasing protein to 25% of daily calorie intake resulted in a 60% reduction of cravings and a 50% reduction in desire for nighttime snacks.

Just Walk Away
One way to beat a craving is by distancing yourself from it. Taking a shower or brisk walk can help to shift your mind to something else, and chewing gum can also help to reduce appetite.

Plan Meals
Knowing what you’re going to eat will help to cut down on spontaneous eating. If you don’t have to think about your next meal, you’ll be less likely to succumb to temptation.

couple prepping food in the kitchen

Don’t Wait to Eat
Hunger is a big reason for cravings. Avoid hunger by eating regularly and keeping healthy snacks close.

Control Stress
Stress can bring on food cravings that lead to binge eating. Studies show that women under stress typically take in significantly more calories and have more cravings than women who are not experiencing stress. Stress can also increase blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can lead to weight gain, especially in the belly. Minimize stress by planning ahead, slowing down, and meditating.

Spinach Extract
Spinach extract is a supplement made from spinach leaves that helps to delay the digestion of fat that increases the levels of hormones responsible for reduction of hunger and appetite. Studies show that 3.7-5 grams of spinach extract taken with a meal may reduce cravings for several hours. One study showed that overweight women who took 5 grams of spinach extract daily were able to decrease cravings for food with a high level of sugar by 88-95%.

Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a type of meditation used to develop awareness about eating habits, hunger and physical sensations, which teaches you to distinguish between craving and real physical hunger. Mindful eating helps you to choose your response to food, rather than acting impulsively. Mindful eating involves being present during a meal, slowing down and chewing food thoroughly, and should be done without distractions such as TVs and smartphones. One study found that episodes of binge eating in individuals were reduced from 4 to 1.5 sessions per week over a 6 week period, and the severity of the binges was decreased, as well.

How do you fight your food cravings? Let us know what you do when the urge to indulge hits!

Family enjoying an outdoor picnic

Healthy Meals for Kids

The end of summer is in sight and the stores are packed full of every school supply imaginable. Back to school time usually means that your schedule is fuller and far more hectic than the relaxed days of summer. With all of the running around from school to karate to dance lessons to buy groceries, meal times can become increasingly difficult. Resist the temptation to give into easy, unhealthy options and consider these great meals that are easy to cook, and are perfect for your kids.

Salmon burgers.

Salmon Burgers
Give red meat a rest and serve your kids the burgers they love with the nutrition they need. These quick and easy salmon burgers are ready in under 30 minutes, making them the perfect busy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14.75 oz) salmon – drained and flaked
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ onion – diced
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

First, open and drain the can of salmon. Flake the salmon and be sure that no bones remain. Dice ½ onion and squeeze the juice from the ½ lemon. Next, mix the salmon, oats, onion, egg, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Mix until ingredients until they are evenly combined then divide and separate into 4 patties. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and fry until salmon is cooked through (roughly 5-7 minutes per side).

Buffalo chicken wrap.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Get the taste of wings with serving of veggies with this super quick and easy meal. This recipe is especially great for using leftover chicken in a tasty and fun way.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken breast – shredded
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup juilenned celery
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • ½ cup sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup buffalo style hot sauce
  • 4 whole grain tortillas

Cook rice according to package directions – you can make this step quicker and easier by using a ready rice that takes only minutes to cook. Combine the shredded chicken and buffalo sauce. Place ¼ cup of brown rice on each tortilla and spread across the tortilla, leaving about ½ inch of space. Add ¼ cup chicken to each tortilla and add the sliced carrots and celery. Sprinkle the Cheddar cheese on top of the vegetables and top with shredded lettuce. Fold wrap and roll the wraps and you’re ready to eat. If desired you can serve with bleu cheese or ranch dressing. You can also eliminate the tortillas from this recipe and simply serve a buffalo chicken salad (add more lettuce).

Hummus pizza.

Hummus Pizza
Everyone loves a good slice of pizza, but it isn’t exactly the most nutritious choice to make for your family. For a healthier alternative, make this veggie packed pizza.

Ingredients

  • 1 pre-made pizza crust
  • 1 cup hummus
  • 2 tablespoons black olives – sliced
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers (any color)
  • ½ cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place crust on a baking stone or sheet. Spread the hummus evenly across the crust. Arrange the vegetables over the hummus top with the cheese. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes – until cheese bubbles and crust appears golden-brown.

Healthy meals don’t have to be boring. When you whip up one of these healthy alternatives to food favorites, your kids are sure to enjoy their dinner while you enjoy providing them with added health.

Cabernet filled wine glasses near food plates

Resveralife Eat Well: How to Pair Cabernet with Meals

It’s a big night in your household: you decided to invite your boss and her husband to dinner, and you’ve got the perfect meal and dessert – but then it hits you…you have no idea how to pair a good wine with the meal you’ve prepared. Not to worry – it’s not as difficult as you might think. All it takes is a good palate for tasting flavors and the understanding of how to pair flavors with those which contract.

Resveralife would like to offer you some insight as to how you can become an expert on pairing the perfect wine with your meal – and it won’t be too time consuming or strenuous to understand. We promise.

Compare and Contrast Flavors

The first thing you need to learn when it comes to pairing Cabernet with your meal is how to compare and contrast flavors. If you are making a salty dish, you don’t want to have a wine with salty tones because it will cancel out the flavors within the food. Instead, opt for something with more of a sweet undertone, or with fruity notes. Taking the flavors of the dish into account and finding a wine with opposite notes will always point you in the right direction when choosing a wine.

Choose Wines that Compliment the Dish

This particular article focuses on how to pair Cabernet with meals. Cabernet is typically a full bodied, rich wine which, depending on the location where the wine was made, may have different flavors and notes from one place to another. Some will have smokey notes, while others have black fruit notes. To learn what locations produce which types of flavor, you can do some research of your own on the internet to always know what exactly you are going to get when you buy a bottle of wine.

Decide Whether a Red or White Wine Would be Better

Cabernet wine is typically great to pair with most meat dishes, such as roast beef, prime rib, chicken dishes and turkey. It also pairs well with vegetable dishes and those with robust flavors, such as spaghetti. White wine is typically served with fish, or lighter dishes with less robust flavor. You can, on the other hand, serve Cabernet with foods with minimal flavor to accentuate the meal and set it off. It goes great with salad as well. Sweet red wines are typically referred to as a dessert wine, and most people save them for just that – unless they prefer the taste of sweet wine with their meal. A sweet wine compliments a salty dish very well.

Choose a Brand – Expensive Isn’t Always Better

When it comes to choosing which brand of wine you are going to purchase, and you are new to buying wine, trial and error is the best way to go. Buy a few different types at once to experiment with, and see what your favorites are, and what the favorites of others in your household are. Having a few options available to offer those who are guests in your home will allow them to pick and choose their favorite as well. Once you begin dissecting the flavors and notes within each wine, it will become easier for you to know what to pair with each meal you make.

Resveralife hopes this guide will help you along the road to wine pairing success.