Avoid These New Year’s Diet Blunders

By avoiding these common diet blunders, the New Year will bring a new you!

By avoiding these common diet blunders, the New Year will bring a new you!

The New Year provides a chance to start fresh and dream big. Many people will be making resolutions for 2016, myself included.

If your resolution has anything to do with improving your health or fitness, you’re not alone. Over half of us will make some sort of health resolution. Unfortunately, 90 percent of us will fail to follow through with our goal by Valentine’s Day.

While we can blame lack of willpower, there are a few diet blunders that can easily be avoided to make sure you reach your goal. Don’t let these diet roadblocks ruin your New Year’s resolution:

1. Cut out entire food groups or nutrients.

Low-fat, no sugar, gluten-free—if you’re jumping on board with these elimination diets to drop a few pounds, you’re not going to get lasting results. After all, these diets do not build realistic lifestyle habits.

One of the most common diet trends is to cut out carbohydrates or sugar. First, let me just say that carbohydrates are not to blame. When you choose the wrong kind of carbohydrate (think cookies, candy, and soda) and eat excessive amounts then, yes, that will inevitably end a greater waistline. But it’s also important to remember that carbs are an important source of fuel for your body. If you regularly feel sluggish and fatigued, it may be a good idea to look at your carbohydrate intake and ensure you’re getting the right kind in the right amount throughout the day.

One serving of carbs is about 1 cup (or the size of your fist). Stick with carbohydrates that are a good source of fiber and provide protein as well. Here are a few suggestions: Ezekiel sprouted-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta and bread, and Qrunch Organics quinoa burger. Of course, fruits and vegetables are always good sources of carbohydrates.

2. Skip meals or snacks to cut back on calories.

While it may seem easy to just cut calories by skipping snacks and meals, it’s important to eat every 3 to 4 hours. Go much longer than that and you’ll become hungry and angry, or “hangry” as us Millennials call it. Once “hangry” sets in, a salad with grilled chicken just won’t do.

Keeping healthy snacks on hand is the best way to avoid becoming “hangry.” Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Trail mix with nuts, raisins, wasabi peas, and dried edamame
  • Hummus with bell pepper slices and snap peas
  • Cottage cheese with a bit of salsa and 3 tortilla chips crumbled on top

3. Keep tempting foods in the pantry or refrigerator.

If your kitchen is anything like mine after the holidays, it’s littered with canisters of caramel popcorn and tupperware of homemade cookies. At this point, come to the realization that you’ve had your change to enjoy these indulgences and it’s now time to say goodbye.
The first thing to do when embarking on a health goal is to clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Get rid of any tempting treats that you know will sabotage your diet and instead full your fridge and pantry with delicious, clean foods you’ll be excited to eat. Be sure to put my staple items on your grocery list:

  • Fruit: Berries, Apples, Bananas
  • Vegetables: Lettuce, Broccoli, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Snap Peas
  • Avocado
  • Salsa
  • Almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • Protein bars and shakes
  • Turkey or Ham Lunchmeat
  • Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • String Cheese
  • 100% Whole-Wheat Bread
  • Nuts
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Sparking water

4. Forget about exercise.

What you eat is about 70 percent of the weight loss equation. Exercise is the other 30 percent. If you want to reach your goals quicker and plan for them to stick for years to come, you cannot neglect exercise.

A couple things to consider:

  • Do a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training. Cardiovascular training will get your heart rate up and resistance training will build muscle fast (and in turn, boost metabolism).
  • Go shopping for fashionable workout gear. Use those gift cards you got from Santa to treat yourself to stylish apparel. You’ll be more motivated to workout hard when you feel good about yourself.
  • Don’t have a gym membership? No problem! Run hills at a park near by, check out doyogawithme.com, or follow workout routines found in health magazines like Women’s Health.


ABC segment

I loved sharing these tips on ABC 15 Arizona!


10 Easy Tips to Stay Healthy


With these easy tips, you’ll know how to conquer any diet pitfall.

I’m a sucker for nutrition tips and tricks. I love sharing creative ideas to stay healthy. Here you go!

  1. Double up on veggies: When eating out, ask for a second helping of vegetables instead of a side of pasta, rice, or potatoes.
  2. Buy a set of ramekins: Having small bowls (about ½ cup) in your kitchen is a perfect way for portioning out ice cream or other sweets. The serving may look small, but it will match the serving on the nutrition label.
  3. Pass on bread and chips: Do you really need a basket of tortilla chips or bread at your table? Try to skip these extra calories and enjoy what you order instead.
  4. Eat fish twice per week: Fish is packed with omega-3s, which promote heart health.
  5. Mix sweetened yogurt with plain yogurt or cottage cheese: Sweetened yogurt can be packed with sugar. Mix your sweetened yogurt with plain yogurt (Greek yogurt is great!) or cottage cheese to up the protein and avoid the extra sugar.
  6. Put sweets out of sight: Put sweets and treats behind healthy snacks in your pantry so you are less tempted to overindulge throughout the day.
  7. Bagels—go with mini or thin: Who wants to spend 300-400 calories on a white-flour bagel? Opt for a mini bagel or bagel thin (typically around 100 calories), and make sure that cream cheese is a light swipe!
  8. Make your snacks fruit or veggies: Have fresh fruits and veggies cleaned and cut up so you can grab them for a quick snack. Pair with string cheese or hummus to get some protein in.
  9. Try nuts instead of croutons: Nuts and seeds have plant protein and polyunsaturated fats, however they are calorie dense. Sprinkle them sparingly on salads instead of croutons (which are usually salty, white-flour bread).
  10. No cheese, please: Cheese is on just about very meal at restaurants: sandwiches, salads, pasta, etc. An easy way to control the calories of your meal when you dine out is to ask for no cheese.

Source: Nutrition Action Newsletter, July/Aug 2011


Smart Snacks

I always recommend that people eat a morning snack and an afternoon snack. It is a great way to keep your body fueled and avoid that “I’m-so-hungry-I-could-eat-a-cow” feeling at lunch or dinner time.

For your snack, shoot for about 200 calories and make half those calories from carbohydrate and half from protein. This way you get some energy (carbs=energy) and you feel satisfied (protein’s job). Here are some great carb/protein combos to try. (Make sure you pay attention to portions here!)

  • 1 small apple with 2 tbsp of nut butter (almond, peanut, whatever you like)
  • 3 slices of cheese (or a string cheese) with 4 crackers
  • A handful of trail mix (nuts and dried fruit… skip those tempting M&Ms)
  • 1 slice of lunchmeat and 1 slice of cheese to make a little roll-up
  • 1 slice of bread with 1 tbsp of nut butter… I like to add some sliced bananas on top:)
  • Low-fat yogurt with a sprinkle of granola
  • 1 hardboiled egg with crackers or veggies
  • 6 Carrots (or any veggie you like really) with 4 tbsp hummus
  • Low-fat cottage cheese topped with fruit

A little tip: If you are on a road trip and need to grab a snack at QT, choose turkey jerky! 1 oz is only ~80 calories.

If you have any snacks that you want to share, please post in the comment box!