Tag Archives: food

Follow me at my new site . . .

Just wanted to post another invitation to follow me at my new website, lmwellness.com.  I notice that there are still a number of people who are visiting this site (kimthedietitian.com), yet I have not posted in many months.  I fear they must think I am lazy!  Not so.  I have just been posting in a different place.  Join me there!

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating: Not the Usual List


I don’t know about you, but I am tired of reading the re-runs of holiday eating tips this time of year.  Every time I see the teasers on the cover of every magazine in the grocery store rack, I can’t resist looking to see if anyone has come up with something different than “Bring a veggie tray to the party” or “Don’t go to a party hungry.”

Those who struggle with weight know that the biggest calorie gluts come during the times they feel defeated, hopeless, or simply tired of trying so hard.  “I give up!”  or “It doesn’t matter anymore; I’ve already blown it.”  Strategies for these times and these moods will save far more unnecessary calories than choking down endless carrot sticks and celery at a party while simultaneously exhausting willpower by resisting even the smallest bite of anything pleasurable.

Before the pent-up tension sets the same old pattern in motion again this year, or if you are one who just “punts” until January 1, try my tips instead.  They are not tips for a “perfect” eating plan, but they are tips for improved eating this season, improvements that can continue into the New Year and beyond.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope your feast includes delicious food as well as many happy moments with family and friends.

Life itself is the proper binge. – Julia Child

Kim’s Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating  

1.  Look at your holiday eating beliefs.

  • Are you going into the holidays believing you will gain weight? Do you believe you can’t control yourself?
  • What you believe is powerful! Thoughts can become actions. Try entering the season with a more curious attitude. (“I have had trouble in the past controlling myself around holiday baked treats. This year I will stay more mindful and observe what happens.”)

2.  Consider your stress level and simplify (not just food, but holiday expectations !).  Stress can – and often does – affect eating.

3.  Modify your plan and be “intelligently flexible”.

4.  When facing an eating decision, ask these questions:

  • What am I looking for right now (body nourishment, pleasure, something else)?
  • Does this feel kind?  Please treat yourself kindly.

5.  Do what you can to balance your brain chemistry for better self control.

  • Don’t go hungry.
  • Control blood sugar levels and mood by eating plenty of high fiber fruits and vegetables, along with a good portion of protein.
  • Eat concentrated sweets in moderation.
  • Get plenty of sleep, sunlight, laughter, exercise, friendship, and positive thinking to keep brain chemistry in a happy balance.

6.  Stay present: If you disappoint yourself, remember that you only have this moment to make changes. You cannot have a re-do, but in this moment you can do something more important – forgive yourself and change your long-term thinking.

7.  Try the app I developed to help people with the human side of eating challenges (In the Moment – Mindful Eating).  

Put the entire situation into perspective. How many days of “holiday” are there – really?  What will you do and how will you treat yourself on all of the many other days in between the few special events?

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

We all need them – quick, easy, delicious, healthy, (and YES, pretty!) meals.  I made this last night to go with my baked walleye with almonds.  It took very little active cooking time.  I love creating dishes when inspiration hits!

When the air gets crisp, I crave fall vegetables in hearty dishes with rich flavors.  This combo of butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and white beans really did the trick.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place cubes of butternut squash and halved Brussels sprouts in a roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Add a sprig or two of fresh rosemary (adds such a nice flavor).  Roast 20 minutes and remove from oven.  Add a drained and rinsed can of white beans (navy or other), toss and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until squash and Brussels sprouts are tender.

Remove from oven.  Squeeze lemon juice over the top and add a bit more olive oil if desired.  Add more sea salt to taste.  Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and enjoy!  (I think I will try some toasted walnuts on top next time.)


I’m Back. Oh the Adventures I Had!

It has been over 2 weeks since my last post, quite unusual for me!  My son got married in Seattle on Sunday, October 6, and I decided to give myself a break from technology during my 2 weeks on the West Coast.

Congratulations to Brent and Marina!  May they be this happy for the rest of their lives together.  Once I sort through pictures, I will post a few on my blog, but for now my readers will be saved from this over-enthusiastic mother’s public displays of affection.

Keep reading and I promise a reference to food and eating, but first let me tell you a little about Mt. Rainier!  I spent 3 days there as the third wheel with my brother and his girlfriend.  Despite rain every day and the government shutdown on our second day, we reminded each other how perfect everything was.  (This started as somewhat of a joke, but in reality it turned out to be true.)

From a personal standpoint, it was a nice quiet retreat before the wedding’s high energy excitement.  I have wanted to see the park for a long time, so this was a check mark on my bucket list.

The trails were actually perfect (really!) in the rain.  We had rain gear and there were almost no other hikers out.  With a little guidance from our cabin’s owners, we were able to identify and gather many chanterelle mushrooms along the way, placing them carefully in our jacket hoods for safe transport back.  The variety and beauty of mushrooms was astounding!

Of course, chanterelles are edible and tasty.  We spent a good amount of time between Yahtzee games planning just the right way to use them for a gourmet feast.

Chanterelles We Collected

Chanterelles We Collected

The result?  Butter and garlic sauteed chanterelles over fried eggs.  Delicious!  We lightly fried patties of leftover mashed sweet potatoes to create a nice slightly sweet bottom layer for our masterpiece.  A simple salad and a glass of white wine on the side.  Beautiful!


As if this getaway was not peaceful enough without cell phone reception, we had the perfect “yoga studio” – the upstairs bedroom of our cabin.  I gave daily yoga classes to my two companions, complete with lavender oil neck massages, which made my status as third wheel all the more tolerable!



Don’t Diet – Change Your Lifestyle . . . Do you get it yet?

I couldn’t agree more.  Why do all of the trendy diets work for a while, and then people often gain back what they lost?  The simple reason is:  How you eat is much more important than what you eat.  The “what” usually takes care of itself when people are developing a “peaceful” eating pattern that is realistic and self-compassionate.

Intellectually we probably all agree about this.  Still, can we internalize this concept and really LIVE it?  This is where I see people struggle.  “Oh yes, I want to change my lifestyle.  I know diets don’t work. . . .  but . . . . I need to lose 20 pounds right away, so what can I do?”

If you find yourself thinking like this, you will want to read this  study that looks at how people fare in both scenarios.  It does help to hear the same message many ways, so add it to your mental library of evidence in favor of realistic lifestyle changes.  One of these days, it’s bound to really click!

Build Strong Mental Skills to Enhance Weight Loss Efforts

I picked up a recent issue of Runner’s World magazine, intrigued by the teaser on the cover:  “Beyond the Mantra – Transform Your Running with Your Mind”.  Hmm, sounds like something I talk about often, but in reference to eating habits and weight loss.  “Transform Your Eating with Your Mind” would be the title I could use to describe what I think is so important about changing habits.

The article is great.  I would link to it, but it requires a subscription to access the online version, so I will summarize the points I think are most helpful.

Coach Dean Hebert gives these tips (Comments in parentheses are mine.):

Select a performance goal.  Decide what you want to achieve by the end of your training . . .  (Yes, set a weight loss goal.  Make it realistic.)

ID your weaknesses.  (Do you habitually eat at night after dinner, even when you are physically satisfied?  Do you eat most meals out?  Maybe you are allowing yourself to get over-hungry too often?)

Set process goals.  These are the specific, measurable actions you do every week to help you reach your performance goal.  (I have my weight loss group members set a weekly goal that is not an end point goal, but a behavior-based goal instead.  It might be not eating after a certain time at night or eating a vegetable and salad with dinner every night.)

Develop focus tools.  (Anything that helps to calm anxiety and keep you in the moment is effective.  Breathing deeply or positive self-talk are a couple of examples.  These tools will not prevent all overeating, but with practice you will improve.  That is the key.)

Sync it up.  Train your brain as you train your body.  (Keep a journal of your successes with weekly goals and which tools were helpful.  Noticing your self-talk will keep you progressing away from negativity.)

Practice, practice, practice.  (This is basic.  You must practice new habits to make them stick.  This includes habitual thought processes.  If you want to be more positive, you have to practice that way of thinking.  As you go, make changes to your eating plan as needed to increase your success rate.  Continued practice – without judgement – with give you the self-knowledge to recognize your needs.)

Reinforce process goals.  (For example, if your weakness has been eating for comfort at night, zero in on this time and take note of techniques that work for you.)

Prep for race day.  (Prep for your meals – and your life.  This means you must make sure you have food available, so go to the grocery store and do a little planning.  When you eat out, check the menu ahead of time so you will have a plan.  This need not be lots of work.  Start where you are and work toward improvement.)

Visualize executing your race plan.  (See yourself making better choices at the grocery store and at home/work.  Visualize yourself stopping when your body has had enough.  Whatever it is you are practicing, it doesn’t hurt to practice mentally as well.)

Stick with routine.  (Routine helps build habits.  You don’t have to eat the same thing day after day, but if you have a general pattern of eating, it will feel easier.  You won’t have to make so many last minute decisions.  That can be stressful!)

I love what Hebert says about what we can control and what we can’t:

You don’t control if you run 3:30.  You only control the steps that improve your chances of hitting that time, from how well you train to whether you take in fluids on race day.

BINGO!  I constantly remind my clients that the scale is not a controllable entity. (Damn scale, right!?)  It does not always make sense.  What you CAN control is what you do to get to your goal weight.  Are  you making healthy food available and keeping over-tempting treats out of your environment?  Are you eating an appropriate amount of food (enough to feel just satisfied) most of the time.

Hebert also encourages looking at the big picture when “keeping score” of your efforts.  I like to tell clients to put away the magnifying glass when looking at how they are doing.  You only need to improve overall, not every single day.  Step back and take a broader look at your progress.  Better yet, think of yourself as the earth and see how things look from the space shuttle.  You will miss the little bumps and disappointments.  Then you can see what you are really accomplishing.

You like jamoca ice cream? You must be a moral perfectionist.

Does your favorite flavor of ice cream accurately predict your personality?  Check it out here and see.  Baskin Robbins claims that your flavor of choice says something about who you are.

Trying to check my favorite brings up a character trait – I hate to choose.  I like them all.  If I had to choose, I guess I would pick chocolate chip.   Apparently that makes me generous, competent, and a go-getter.  (Or maybe I’m just indecisive, open to new things, and tend to view the glass half full.)

Speaking of ice cream, the McDonald’s billboard ad I see every time I go into the city always gets my attention . . . “Yin – Yang” (with a $.49 vanilla ice cream cone on one side and a $1 chocolate-dipped cone on the other).  Besides being a great bargain, these are not terrible choices for a quick portion-controlled treat in the summer.  Nothing tastes quite like cold ice cream on a 95 degree day!

Do we really need a gluten-free Twinkie?!

What next?!  I just read an article debating whether or not food manufacturers should develop a gluten-free Twinkie.  Does anyone else find this completely ridiculous . . . or is it just me?

Peaches . . . Yummy!!

I love peaches when they are in season!  They are so naturally sweet and flavorful – perfect for a healthier dessert option.  This recipe is delicious and plenty sweet.  In fact, I cut the sugar in half and it was sweet enough for my taste buds.  I even roasted the peaches without any of the bourbon sauce and topped with the yogurt sauce.   That was delicious with almost no added sugar.

Bourbon-Glazed Peaches with Yogurt

 1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt

5 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar, divided

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided

3 tablespoons bourbon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

4 firm, ripe peaches, halved and pitted

  1. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a medium bowl. Combine seeds, bean, yogurt, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and a dash of salt. Let stand for 1 hour; discard bean.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining dash of salt, bourbon, and vanilla extract in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add peaches; toss gently. Arrange peaches, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reserve sugar mixture. Bake peaches at 350° for 10 minutes. Turn peach halves over; drizzle cavities with reserved sugar mixture. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until just tender. Serve with yogurt and juices.  Makes 4 servings (Serving size:  2 peach halves with about ¼ cup yogurt).

Per Serving:  201 calories, 1.8g fat (1g sat.), Protein 6.7g, Carb 36.4g, Fiber 2g, Sodium 87mg, Calcium 76mg

From Cooking Light

What’s wrong with the big picture?

This is an important question, one we are too seldom encouraged to ask when we embark on a weight loss plan.  Eating habits are not easy to change.  They are much harder to change when we forget to ask, “What’s wrong with the big picture?”

The approach to obesity and weight loss in the U.S. is much like the practice of treating chronic disease by simply treating the symptoms.  Fixing the “problem” (the symptom) may not solve the real problem.

Like many other health issues, carrying extra weight is not a simple cause and effect situation.  Factors like stress, body image, sleep, mental outlook, personal relationships, environment, and physical activity are so interconnected with each other and with our eating habits.  To think that we can just treat overweight as a simple energy imbalance is like thinking we can always fix a flat tire by putting air in it.

Sometimes a tire is flat because it has a big hole in it.  Few flat tires are fixed by simply filling the tire with air.  Similarly having a diet plan that will cause weight loss (if you can follow it) is seldom the answer.  More often I hear people say, “I know what to do.  I just have lots of trouble doing it.”

Unfortunately, instead of taking a look at the big picture and learning more about personal hurdles – dealing with work stress, incorporating physical activity, or working on a key relationship, for instance – many people will think they simply are not capable of succeeding with the prescription (a diet).

That is so unfortunate!  Eating is such a great window into life balance.  If you struggle with eating habits, you are gifted with a very visible indicator of your life balance.  “Oh yay,” you may say, but I’m serious!  When eating is out-of-whack, you can bet that there is something in your bigger life that needs attention.

By focusing attention – and intention – on the big picture, all of the littler pieces will begin to fall into place, including eating.  Unlike simply pumping a leaky tire with more air, you will be solving the real problem.  You will be patching the hole or getting a brand new tire.  Voila!  Finally the air will provide a constructive purpose.