As parents, we’re all overstretched and time crunched–not just during hectic holiday time, but year-round. For many of us–even those who have nutrition degrees!–feeding ourselves and our families in a healthful way sometimes takes a back burner to more pressing things, like going to basketball practice, getting to dance class, or doing something as simple as taking a shower! Fortunately, we don’t have to sacrifice all to get nutritious food on the table–all it takes is a little bit of planning and some help from the pros.

To the rescue is culinary dietitian Michelle Dudash. In her terrific new book, Clean Eating for Busy Families, Dudash helps families whip meal times–and tasty meals–into shape with practical, time-saving ideas. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

EZ: As a mom, what do you see as the biggest challenge parents face when trying to get meals on the table for their families?

MD: I think the biggest challenge parents face when it comes to family meals is trying to fit everything in during the mad early evening rush. The kids need to get picked up or dropped off. Little ones need bathing. Parents want to squeeze in their workout. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared for mealtime by having a stocked pantry and fridge with the staples and simple go-to recipes that produce excellent results with minimal clean up and prep time.

EZ: What do you personally find to be the biggest challenge when feeding your family?

MD: The number one challenge I face is getting dinner on the table at a reasonable time. I try squeezing in a few workouts during the week at the end of the workday, and also pick Scarlet up from school. The smoothest sailing, relaxing nights are those that include meals made in the slow cooker (like my Slow Cooker Beef & Vegetable Tacos), ready to pop into the oven (like my Skinny Chicken Parmesan with Spinach), or the delicious leftovers from the night before (Sizzling Sesame Noodles with Pork, Cabbage & Scallions).

EZ: What advice–or first steps–do you recommend to overextended parents who don’t think they have enough time to prepare healthy meals for their families?

MD: My advice for busy parents is to take three simple steps:

1. Properly stock your kitchen. In the time that you would call in your takeout order, drive in traffic, wait in line and pay, get in and out of your car and back home, you could have prepared a fresh meal at home, provided that you had the needed supplies standing by. My book Clean Eating for Busy Families offers weekly, monthly and quarterly shopping lists, breaking grocery shopping down into manageable pieces to provide healthy meals. I also recommend always having a piece of paper stuck to the fridge where family members can jot down things they need from the store. It’s a running list that is ready when you are.

2. Plan meals ahead and have a go-to recipe arsenal. Planning ahead can be as detailed as writing out a monthly or weekly calendar of dinner menus, or as free-spirited as simply having three fresh proteins and vegetables on hand for the week for dinnertime. So, plan your meals out Saturday, do all of your shopping on Sunday and as soon as you get home, you’ll be ready to get dinner going.

3. Make one-dish or make-ahead whenever possible. One-dish meals that contain a vegetable, protein and starch (complex carbohydrate) are lifesavers..and dish savers! Recipes that you can make ahead in the slow cooker or have ready to just pop in the oven open up space during the mad evening rush.

EZ:Which recipe (or recipes) in your book are your favorites and why?

MD: While I love all of the recipes in the book, my favorites are those that are my husband’s and 3-year-old’s favorites! Scarlet’s favorite recipe is Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Dill Dip (we call chicken nuggets), which tastes even better than deep-fried versions. She also loves the Scarlet-Approved Lemon Cilantro Edamame Hummus. When I gave her a taste, she said, “I want more” and ate it by the spoonful. She also loves the Turkey, Vegetable & Oat Mini Meatloaves with Marinara Sauce (we call them meatballs, since I cut them up for her). When she tried the Toasted Sesame Salmon Nuggets with Sweet-Savory Scallion Sauce, she thought they were chicken nuggets, so of course, she devoured those.

EZ: How does your daughter like to help you in the kitchen? How can families involve their kids in the cooking/prepping process and what do you think the benefits of involving kids in the kitchen are?

MD: Scarlet absolutely loves to help me in the kitchen. She asks, “Can I help?” I let her break eggs (a bit of a mess), stir ingredients, flip pancakes and quesadillas (with my hand over her hand, being very careful), sprinkling cheese and spreading almond butter on toast. Scarlet is now 3 years old. She is better at stirring and aiming ingredients into the bowl. She wants to be so independent and wants to do everything.

I really think kids can be a great help in the kitchen and can save you time, too. Little ones can wash and spin vegetables and set the table. Scarlet recently set the table for the first time—yes! Older kids can chop, clean up, and cook things. When kids help in the kitchen, they feel empowered and are excited to eat things that they make. They love to be helpful and it builds their confidence.

Where can people find your book?

Visit my website www.michelledudash.com for direct links to online stores where you can purchase now, or find the store nearest you like Barnes and Noble, Whole Foods, and independent book stores.

So what are you waiting for? Dudash’s book makes a great holiday, birthday, or hostess gift–or gift for yourself! Check it out!

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If you’re a modern-day parent like me, you’ve likely fed your kids–and yourself–a fair share of chicken tenders. For a delicious, nutritious twist to this often calorie- and fat-laden staple, culinary dietitian Michelle Dudash has whipped up her own unique version for her delectable–and practical–new cookbook, Clean Eating for Busy Families. These chicken tenders make a great lunch or dinner treat, whether served fresh from the oven or cold–the way I like ‘em best!

I’ll admit it. I love to eat breaded, deep-fried chicken strips dipped in creamy ranch dressing, and on rare occasions, I will order them while out running errands all day. I prepare this recipe at home after a decent lapse since my last fix.

Total Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings, 2 to 3 tenders each (with 2 tablespoons  dip)

Ingredients:

For chicken:

½ cup pecans

1/ 3 cup whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon expeller-pressed canola oil

½ cup panko bread crumbs

1 large egg

1 pound chicken tenders, larger pieces cut in half lengthwise

For dip:

¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup light mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon dried dill

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1 pinch salt

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

To make the chicken: Preheat oven to 475°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Whirl pecans, flour, paprika, dry mustard, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor until pecans are ground to a powder, about 30 seconds. Drizzle in the oil with the motor running, blending completely. Transfer mixture to a shallow dish and stir in the panko bread crumbs.

Beat egg in a second shallow dish and add chicken tenders, coating them completely. Transfer each tender to the breading, turning to coat evenly. Arrange chicken on the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and nearly firm, 8 minutes.

To make the dip: Stir all the dip ingredients together in a small bowl.

Enjoy the cooked chicken immediately with the dip.

Recipe note:

Chicken tenders come from the undersides of chicken breasts and are naturally portioned into strips, saving you time in cutting them. If you don’t have chicken tenders, substitute chicken breasts cut into 4 x 1-inch strips.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 418 calories; 20 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 34 g Protein; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 g dietary fiber; 120 mg cholesterol.

 

Reprinted with permission from Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love, by Michelle Dudash, RD (Fair Winds Press, December 2012).

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It’s been one year since I took my last sip of Diet Coke (you can read about why I gave it up on Fooducate). I gave up Diet Coke not because I thought it was the devil, but because I was simply drinking too much of the artificially sweet stuff.

Over the first three months, I pretty much went cold turkey. I initially felt the loss in my energy level, especially because (except for chocolate) I had no other source of caffeine in my diet. Although the initial fatigue eventually ended (thankfully!), I realized that what I missed most was the psychological lift—and the happiness—that Diet Coke brought to my life. I sound like a commercial, I know, but that’s really what I missed most. For some, it’s wine, for others it’s a martini or a coffee. For me, it was diet soda. And I know I’m not alone—so many of my friends also have (or had) a thing for Diet Coke or some other diet soda. It’s kind of sad that when we reminisce about our times drinking it, it’s like we’re talking about a dear departed friend.

When people ask me if I feel any different after having given up Diet Coke—and all diet soda, for that matter—my honest answer is NO. If anything, I don’t feel quite as satisfied, especially when I write for hours on end and need a lift or pick-me-up. Call me crazy!

Although I’ve tried several unsweetened teas, I don’t rely on them for my fix, especially because I prefer them with a little artificial sweetener sprinkled in. I don’t think artificial sweeteners are going to kill us, but I rather keep my intake of them low just to play it safe. I do drink Diet Snapple on most days, but I have much less of that than I used to have Diet Coke. I have even gone up to 10 days at a time without any caffeinated beverage when on vacation, though I’ll admit that on my caffeine-free days I definitely feel like I’m missing something.

Here are 4 Stressipes to help you curb or quit your habit once and for all. It won’t be easy–it certainly wasn’t for me–but it can be done if you choose to do it.

1)   Taper your intake. Instead of going cold turkey, make gradual cutbacks in how much you consume. For one week, keep a record of how much and when you have the diet soda and set a goal to gradually decrease each week. This will help you minimize headaches or dips in energy.

2)   Plan your fix. If you don’t want to give diet soda up altogether, try to figure out what time of day it means the most to you and have it then. If you know you like to have it early in the day when your colleagues are enjoying their coffee, that’s the time to enjoy it. Or you may find you rather have it when you’re out with friends at a restaurant or a party. When you do choose to have it, order or buy just enough to get your fix without going overboard. (Having a lot of ice in it can also help you have less but think you’re having more.)

3)   Drink by day. If you know you want at least some diet soda each day, try to have it before mid-day (12-2 pm, for example) so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. Having it too close to bedtime can theoretically keep you awake longer or not be able to sleep as soundly (not to mention you may need to wake up to go to the bathroom).

4)   Find alternatives. You may find you can swap the diet soda and feel satisfied with sparkling water with lemon or lime squeezed in, or with some fresh fruit slices or 100 percent fruit juice splashed in. Just be mindful that if you replace diet soda with something caloric (like fruit juice or a laced coffee beverage), you’ll have to cut calories elsewhere to maintain a healthy body weight. There are many tasty brands of unsweetened iced tea that you may like, but you may need to try a few before you find one you like—especially if you rather not use artificial sweeteners or real sugar to boost the flavor.

 (Read more about my thoughts on diet soda right here.)

Have you kicked the can? What strategies worked for you?

 

 

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“If you’re like most Americans who want to stay fit and active, there’s a good chance that if you haven’t already (or recently) joined a gym, the thought has likely crossed your mind—especially as the new year approaches.” Read more of my blog post for US News & World Report’s Eat + Run.

 
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In this monthly post, I highlight one person who embodies the concept of #moveitorloseit –a concept I share proudly on both Twitter and Facebook. To me, #moveitorloseit is not at all about moving it in order to lose weight…it’s about staying active and fit consistently, regularly, and enjoyably to stay sane and centered despite—and in the face of—the curve balls life throws you. It’s about not wasting the ability to use your body, and about strengthening (or at least preserving) your muscles and bones, and at the same time, keeping your mind sharp.

In November, 2012, my #moveitorloseit model was 40 year-old Aaron Flores, an LA-based registered dietitian. Read on to see what Aaron’s #moveitorloseit fitness goal was and how he planned to accomplish it–and then see what he has to say now, after meeting his goal!

 

BEFORE…..

"This is picture of me after my most recent training session. What I love about it is seeing how much I sweat after a workout. My sweaty shirt is like a badge of honor for me! I'm so proud that my body can move the way it does!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your specific #moveitorloseit goal, and when do you plan to accomplish it?

My #Moveitorloseit goal is to run the 2013 LA Marathon. It’s my first ever marathon, and I would love to finish in under 5 hours if possible. I run/walk and try to stay at a pace of about 11:00 minutes per mile. In the end, I know I’ll be happy to just finish!

Why did you choose this particular challenge? What will it mean to you to complete the marathon?

Why did I choose to do a marathon? Maybe it’s because I just turned 40. I felt the need to challenge myself. I completed a 100-mile bike ride almost 10 years ago, and that experience taught me that I respond very well to challenges. I also know that staying motivated to exercise on a regular basis is difficult for me.

Having struggled with weight for all of my adult life, I understand how important it is for me to stay active. But to be honest, I get bored unless I change my routine every couple of years. So my latest change came in 2011 when I started running. I found that I really enjoyed it. I ran a couple of 10Ks that year, but never anything longer. I’ve also always been fascinated, inspired and in awe of anyone who ran a marathon. In my head it’s always been the holy grail of races. I used to sit alongside the LA Marathon route and literally be in tears watching people run the race. I was so amazed and inspired that the participants could challenge themselves both physically and mentally.

So it was almost a perfect storm that took place: I’d been running and enjoying it, I’ve always loved the idea of doing a marathon, I needed a new challenge, and I was turning 40.  So after watching the 2012 LA Marathon, I said to my wife, “I’m going to run the 2013 Marathon next year,” and hear I am!

Have there been any bumps in the road so far? What has made training difficult or challenging, and what (or who) helps you stay motivated to continue?

The hardest part of my training so far is that I’ve had some issues with tendonitis in my feet and a sprained ankle that laid me up for about three weeks. It was early enough in my training that I knew that if I just kept my endurance up, I’d be OK. So I dusted off my bike and started riding again which really helped.  I forgot how much I love riding!

The other challenge that always comes up is self doubt. I doubt myself every night before my long run of the week. I think, “Can I really run 10 miles tomorrow?”  But in those moments, what I try to do is remember that my real goal is not just the marathon. It’s something bigger than that. I’m trying to enjoy the process of training and not just the end goal. I try to remember that 15 years ago, at 300 lbs, I could not have run a quarter mile and now I can run ten! That’s amazing right there! I remember that exercising helps reduce my stress, it makes me a better man, father, employee. It’s not about the calories that I burn, it’s about the way moving makes me feel.

What really keeps me going though is the image I have of myself crossing the finish line. I’m sure there will be a few tears of joy shed on that day.

What advice do you have for others thinking of running their first marathon?

Well since I’m a dietitian, I of course would stress good nutrition. Beyond that, my advice would be to turn off that voice in your head that says, “I can’t!” If you continue to doubt yourself, you’ll end up believing it. I believe in the power of positive thinking and if you are going to run a marathon, you have to be positive. The other thing that keeps me going is to remember that my goal is to finish.  Not to win but to finish. It’s not about the time I clock; it’s about the journey.

AFTER…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats on your first marathon!! Describe your marathon experience and what it taught you.

“I can finally say, “I did it!” After months of training, miles of running and many early mornings, I can now say I am a marathoner. Finishing the LA Marathon was something that I thought would literally never happen.  I’ve been asked what was the hardest part of the Marathon and I have to say it wasn’t any specific mile or event on the day of the run. The hardest part was the self-doubt before. I honestly never thought that I could complete the run as I was training. It was not until the morning of the race that I really knew that no matter what, I was going to cross that finish line. I wish I was faster, but I was not. I hoped for a better performance but it was not meant to be.  But despite that, I had a smile as I ran across the finish line. Even two weeks later, I am still amazed at what I’ve done. I am in awe of what I have accomplished and it all seems like a dream.  But this is not a dream. I am a marathon finisher and only because I committed to the journey. It is a choice I made. I chose to Move It so I won’t Lose It! If I can do it, so can you.”

Inspired by Aaron? How could you not be?! If you’d like to share your journey towards fitness and be a future #moveitorloseit Model of the Month, please email me your story (with a photo of yourself doing the activity/activities) at elisa@elisazied.com.

What inspires you to #moveitorloseit ?

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When you have diabetes, it’s hard enough to deal with that, let alone worry about your weight. Thankfully, a new book by registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator Jill Weisenberger called Diabetes Weight Loss: Week by Week is here to help. Check out my interview with Jill about her book below:

EZ: What makes this book different from other books that are aimed at those with diabetes?

JW: Diabetes Weight Loss Week by Week doesn’t give a prescribed diet. There are many paths to a healthy plate. Since everyone’s diabetes, medications, food preferences and life are different, the diet should be different too. Instead of following rules and relying on willpower, my readers develop skills and learn to rely on these skills and strategies. The book spans a full year to give support and structure long enough for the reader to fully integrate their new plan.

EZ: Why is it crucial for those with diabetes to lose weight? What’s in it for them?

JW: The underlying problem behind type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance—when the body doesn’t use insulin efficiently. Weight loss improves insulin resistance. Dropping a few pounds helps people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes prevent or delay complications. Besides, losing weight just makes us more energized. The good news is that even small amounts of weight loss improve health and in a number of ways. It’s far better to lose 10 pounds and keep it off than to lose 50 pounds and gain it back.

EZ: Your book provides a one-year plan to help those with diabetes lose weight. What would you say to those who are anxious to lose weight and think a one-year time frame for doing so is just too long?

JW: Weight loss should never be a race. The one-year plan is important for the structure it offers. Losing weight is just plain hard, and the more structure and support dieters have, the more successful I expect them to be. Weight loss and the lifelong maintenance of that weight loss require lifelong behavior change. Rapid weight loss does little to help people develop the skills necessary for that.

EZ: What would you say to people who think they need to avoid all sugar or starchy foods if they have diabetes?

JW: They will be so happy to know that’s not true. The overall amount of carbohydrate is far more important than the type of carbohydrate. Make an appointment with a registered dietitian skilled in diabetes management to learn how to balance the whole diet without banning any food forever.

EZ: What are 3 takeaways from the book for those with or without diabetes who want to lose weight and keep it off? 

JW: (1) Set behavioral goals. Focus on changing your behavior and the weight loss and health improvements follow. (2) Understand that weight loss is not a race. (3) Expect that sometimes you won’t want to do this anymore. Plan for that now. To build motivation, make a Motivation Kit.  Collect those things that motivate you and keep them handy in a box or notebook. Add to it often. You might collect your list of reasons to lose weight, photos, magazine articles, inspirational quotations, affirmations, a picture of what you plan to reward yourself with— anything and everything that motivates you.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of Diabetes Weight Loss: Week by Week from the publisher.

 

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Here’s a delicious recipe from the latest cookbook, 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes, by culinary dietitian, Jackie Newgent. (And just think–the book packs in 999 others that will likely please your palate and those of your friends and family!)

This is one of my go-to recipes—for myself and for guests. The full-on Asian sensation of sweet heat turns angel hair into a high-flavored entrée topped with a confetti of crisp veggies. The cilan­tro finishes it with fresh aromatic appeal. It’s delicious topped with thinly sliced grilled chicken, too.

Makes 4 servings: 1 1⁄2 cups (1 cup pasta and 1⁄2 cup vegetables) each

Ingredients:

8 ounces whole-wheat or other whole-grain angel hair or capellini pasta
3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
1 1⁄2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1 tablespoon freshly grated gingerroot
1 serrano pepper with seeds, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1⁄2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
1 cup snow peas, ends trimmed, thinly sliced lengthwise
1⁄2 cup matchstick-size sliced purple or white cauliflower or jicama
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, serrano, and garlic in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.
3. Drain the pasta, add to a large bowl, drizzle with the oil, and toss till coated. Add the sauce mixture and scallions and toss again.
4. Just before serving, top with the snow peas, cauliflower, and cilantro. Serve warm, at room tem­perature, or chilled.

Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 55g total carbohydrate, 9g dietary fiber, 12g sugars, 10g protein

Recipe reprinted with permission from 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes by Jackie Newgent, RD (Wiley, 2012).

Full disclosure:  I received a review copy of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes by the publisher.

What’s your favorite way to eat angel hair?

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Below you’ll find a guest post from Stefani Pappas, a nutrition/family studies student at The Pennsylvania State University, Schreyer Honors College, whom I had the pleasure to meet this past Summer. After I met this smart, motivated young woman who LOVES nutrition, I thought, who better than her to review a brand new book that recently landed on my desk—The Teen Eating Manifesto

 

 

 

 

The transition into college or living on your own can be stressful, and it’s during such times that teens tend to put health on the back-burner. Fortunately, to the rescue comes The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy by registered dietitian Lisa Stollman.

In this nutrition bible for teens, Stollman effectively shares many valuable nutrition secrets, such as how to be beverage savvy and how to satisfy a sweet tooth. The book effectively educates teens about the benefits of a nutritious diet and active lifestyle, and at the same time, helps them become nutrition savvy and make practical, doable changes in their day-to-day food and fitness behaviors that can help them look and feel better.

What I find particularly helpful are the sample meal plans, delicious recipes, and exercise tips. All of these components make the book easy to personalize to meet individual nutrition needs.

Aside from addressing our daily lives, Stollman also shares secrets for how to keep health a priority during tricky situations such as when we eat out, go to a party, and go on vacation.

In The Teen Eating Manifesto, Stollman also shares the latest in nutrition technology by giving readers access to countless health apps and websites. Because teens are so tech-savvy, they’re sure to love all the great technological tools that Stollman recommends, including apps that help you track your calories, plan your workouts, or navigate the supermarket.

I think of this book as the college student’s healthy living bible. It’s an educational, easy to read book that is sure to help teens eat and live more healthfully now and in years to come.

 

Full disclosure: The author sent us a free review copy of The Teen Eating Manifesto.

You can learn more about the book and author by visiting her web site here.

 

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Jessica Simpson has been all over the news this past week. As the mother of 4-month old Maxwell Drew, Simpson revealed to USA Today that she “ate what she wanted while pregnant, and indulged in anything and everything including mac and cheese”–something she reportedly hasn’t touched since joining Weight Watchers (she’s a current spokesperson). Today she’ll be Katie Couric’s new show, Katie, to continue the conversation.

While Simpson hasn’t said how much weight she gained–is it really our business, anyway?!–the 32 year-old says she’s eating less, regularly working out with a trainer, and losing weight each week.

As reported in USA Today–and mentioned on the Today Show and other TV programs–Simpson has also said she’s no supermodel. “My body is not bouncing back like a supermodel. I’m just your everyday woman who is trying to feel good and be healthy for her daughter, her fiancé and herself.” As a registered dietitian and mother of two boys, I applaud Simpson for her honesty and relatability as she admits to her current struggle.

I won’t be a cynic by saying Simpson is telling all (or almost all!) to make her future success (which no doubt includes getting into a bikini–and perhaps doing so in a Weight Watcher commercial) that much more noteworthy. I do sense a genuine and authentic spirit in her plight. But let’s be honest– Simpson, a successful fashion designer and singer, is one of the lucky ones. She can afford to get help to get her body back. She’s being paid to follow and represent a reputable commercial weight loss program, and she reportedly works out with a celebrity trainer several times a week. Yes–she is more fortunate than most women post-pregnancy who have minimal or no help to get their bodies back. But to Simpson’s credit, no one can or should take full responsibility for her getting back into shape–after all, she’ll have to work at it like all of us, and she has already started.

Because Simpson is in the public eye, she may feel even more pressure than most to look good–and fast!–after having her baby. Remember how hard many were on her when she appeared in so-called “Mom jeans”–she spoke out then, and now speaks out again. Like most women, I’d be surprised if Simpson didn’t take all the negativity and criticism to heart. I know I would have.

Hopefully, Simpson can be a role model for those who want to get healthy and get back in shape after having a baby. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll inspire other women to not be so hard on themselves in the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I had my babies, about 14 and 10 years ago, respectively (yikes!), I had gained between 25-27 or so pounds with each. I breast fed both of my sons for 6 months, and it took me about that long to lose all the weight the first time and nearly double that the second time around. Did I feel pressure to lose the weight? I did miss my pre-baby body, but I knew that I would take care of myself by trying to eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep. I ultimately lost all the weight–and even a few pounds more–and have successfully maintained that weight loss for several years. My body is not the same as it was before having babies, but I would never trade in my boys–the best gifts in the world!–for perkier parts (if you know what I mean).

Several Facebook friends were kind enough to share their thoughts on having babies and body weight–check out what they had to say and weigh in right here.

If you’re a new mom out there, my best advice to you is to not pressure yourself to lose weight too quickly–especially if you’re breast feeding. You need extra calories to make milk and stay energized. Try to eat the best you can, and aim for a balanced diet with plenty of healthful, wholesome foods.

Incidentally, a while back I created a healthy get-your-body-back plan for new moms for  Parents Magazine for women who are at least 6 weeks post-partum. Check it out!

Please remember that as a new mom, hormones and lack of sleep contribute to how you feel–and sometimes you will feel badly about or be hard on yourself. Try to cut yourself some slack and not compare yourself to others–and be thankful to have a new baby to nurture and love. And sad as it may be for us in our thin-obsessed culture, when it comes to the human body, some women bounce back more easily than others. And some may never fully bounce back to where they were before they had a baby. It’s important to let the chips fall where they may and to take it one day at a time after having a baby. Try to get as much rest as much as possible, drink plenty of fluids, and most importantly, ask for help when you need it. And try to stay active and fit–#moveitorloseit, as I like to say–as often as possible. Walking is a free and effective activity that can easily be worked into your day both with and without your baby stroller in tow.

With time, and with a little nurturing, you’ll find that you’ll lose the weight. You may never have the exact same body you had before baby, BUT would you want to if that meant not having your baby? I doubt you would!

How did having a baby affect your weight and self image? Join the conversation below and on my Facebook page or forum.

 

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Total Preparation Time:  1-1/2 hours

1 beef tri-tip roast (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 medium mangoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 large Boston lettuce leaves (optional)

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Place bell peppers on metal baking sheet; spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Press 1 teaspoon paprika evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 425°F oven 30 to 40 minutes for medium rare; 40 to 45 minutes for medium doneness. Roast bell peppers in oven with beef about 30 minutes or until tender. Set peppers aside to cool.
  3. Remove roast when instant-read thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare; 150°F for medium. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare; 160°F for medium.)
  4. Meanwhile, cook barley according to package directions. Set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Cut beef into 1/2 inch pieces; season with salt and black pepper. Whisk lime juice, oil and 1/2 teaspoon paprika in small bowl until blended. Toss with beef, barley, roasted peppers, mangoes, green onions and cilantro in large bowl. Serve in Boston lettuce leaves, if desired.

Cook’s Tip: To quickly cool barley and prevent it from clumping, spread on metal baking sheet.

Cook’s Tip:  Mango adds an interesting punch to this salad, both with its sweetness and with a boost of vitamin C.

Nutrition information per serving*: 309 calories; 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 60 mg cholesterol; 246 mg sodium; 35 g carbohydrate; 4.3 g fiber; 26 g protein; 8.4 mg niacin; 0.8 mg vitamin B6; 1.3 mcg vitamin B12; 2.3 mg iron; 27 mcg selenium; 4.7 mg zinc.

*This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc; and a good source of fiber and iron.

What’s your favorite way to eat lean beef?

Posted with permission from The Healthy Beef Cookbook (Wiley, 2005).

 

 

 
 
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