Monthly Archives: December 2017

5 Tips to Help You Through the Holiday Feasts

December is my favourite time of the year – holiday season! A time to rest, relax, reflect, spend time with loved ones and EAT!

Do you get anxious around the holiday feastings? Are you worried that it will ruin your fitness goals?

Read on for a few tips!

Before we dive into it, I just want to say that it is COMPLETELY ok to relax over this season. If keeping up with your goals is stressing you out, DROP IT! A few days off is not going to ruin your progress (unless days turn into weeks). Having said that, you should not adopt the ALL OR NOTHING approach, thinking that you should go all out till 2018 since you’ve “broken” the rules.

Here are a few things that you can do to have the best of both worlds!

  1. Avoid skipping meals – I know it can be tempting to skip meals because you want to save your calories for the main feast! But this trick can work AGAINST you! You might feel overly hungry and end up binging on ALL the FOOD! A tip is to eat when you’re hungry and focus on having foods that are higher in protein and fibre to help keep you fuller for longer. Also, remember to stay hydrated!
  2. Pick your treats and meals – Look at everything that is provided and be picky about what you want/feel like eating! That way, you can enjoy your meal AND dessert.
  3. Unstructured physical activity – You will probably be too busy running around, getting things done and spending time with your family to fit in a proper structured workout. IF you happen to find the time to do so without much stress, then by all means, GO AHEAD! But if you don’t, something is always better than nothing! Stay active and walk when you can. Running errands, shopping and cleaning up the house all counts! Killing two birds with one stone – WIN!
  4. Go easy on the liquid calories – It is SO easy to drink energy dense drinks that do not fill you up. And these drinks can really push you above and beyond your daily energy requirements. Drink water instead! If you HAVE to have a flavoured drink, opt for diet/light options. As for alcohol, go for high quality ones. Drink in moderation and responsibly!
  5. Focus on your loved ones – The holiday season is about spending time with your loved ones. Focus less on the food and more on creating unforgettable memories.

If ALL else fails, it is NOT the end of the world. You don’t have to fixate, stress or get overly obssessed with what to eat or have already eaten. One meal is not going to make a huge difference.

The next day is a new opportunity to make BETTER choices! Pick yourself up and don’t give up! It is a life long journey.

Happy holidays!

xx

Navigating Food Labels

Let’s talk about food labels.

Have you ever picked up a product, looked at the food label and was left more confused?

What’s with all the rows and columns of numbers? Serving sizes? Per 100g? And what’s with the long list of ingredients?!

You’re not alone. I’ve been there, and I know how you feel! In order for us to make smart choices about our food and to know what we’re feeding our bodies with, we need to be savvy about nutrition.

Here are some tools to help you navigate and decode food labels and nutrition information.


Ingredients list

The FIRST thing that I look at is the ingredients list. I am not a “calories in calories out” person. And we know that QUALITY matters more than just QUANTITY. You can read more about that here. A low calorie product may very well be filled with junk, and you certainly do not want to feed your body with that!

Quick scan: This will only take 10 seconds of your time.

  • Length of ingredients list

Ideally, the shorter the ingredients list, the better! A long list with codes and numbers usually means that the food is filled with artificial flavourings and colourings, sugars, and highly processed fats and oils.

  • Top 3 ingredients

The first 3 ingredients are important as the list is in order of its quantity, from the highest to the lowest. If the first ingredient is SUGAR, it means that most of that product is just sugar.

  • Mumbo jumbo words

If you cannot pronounce most of the words on the product, put it back!


Nutrition Information Panel

  • Servings per package

This tells you how many servings you can get from the product.

The product in the picture says 2 servings. So, if you drink the whole bottle, you will have to multiply the nutrition information section under “per serve” by 2.

It is important to know the servings per package because the nutrition information panel provides information PER SERVE and not the WHOLE product (unless the serving size is 1).

When it comes to beverages, you are more likely to assume that the whole bottle is 1 serve.

*Also note that serving sizes are determined by MANUFACTURERS. They are not regulated and not based on the standard serving sizes found in dietary guidelines etc*

  • per 100g or 100ml

Use this if you want to compare between products. According to labelling guidelines, ideally you should look out for:

  • < 15g of Sugar per 100g
  • > 3g of Fibre per 100g
  • < 400mg (good) per 100g of Sodium or < 120mg (best) per 100g

Health claims and product description

The food industry LOVES using buzz words like “organic”, “superfood”, “gluten free”, “all natural”, “no added sugars”, “wholegrains”, “low fat”, “good source of X” and the list goes on.

Here are some examples and what they mean:

  • Reduced fat

This claim means that the product has less fat than the original product of the SAME BRAND (at least 25% less fat to make this claim). One brand’s reduced fat does not mean that it is lower in fat than another brand’s regular fat product.

  • Low fat

The food (any brand) does not contain more than 3g of fat per 100g.

  • All natural

A product claiming to be “all natural” is very misleading as there are no regulations for making this claim. Funny how natural products do not need to mention that their product is “all natural”.

This gives you a lot of hints as to why marketers feel the need to use this claim to help sell their products. READ the ingredients list and the nutrition information.

  • No added sugar/Natural sugars/Sugar free/Less sugar

All sugar claims have been addressed and explained here.

  • Light/lite

It is easy to associate light/lite with health. BUT this claim can mean that the product is low fat, low calorie or it may just mean that the product is light in TASTE, COLOUR or TEXTURE!

For example, light rye just means that the colour is lighter than dark rye.

  • Baked not fried

Baked goods definitely sound healthier than FRIED but may very well contain highly processed vegetable oils and fats.

  • ¬†Gluten free

Products with the word “free” tend to sound more appealing/healthier. This applies to gluten free products as well. MORE and MORE products are claiming that they are gluten free.

Are they healthier?

Unless you have coeliac disease or are intolerant, the simple answer is NO. You can read more about it here.


Knowledge about food and food products is POWER! This helps you to make INFORMED choices.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions!

xx