Have you ever heard the saying never trust a skinny chef?  Well, you can trust me on this one.  As soon as I began my career in food, people would always ask how I stayed in shape when food was my business.  It's because of two reasons: 1. Good food is naturally good for you, and 2. I eat pretty much anything I want, just not all I want.  I love fresh fruits and vegetables because they taste good and add color and texture to my plate.  Of course, now and then, I will feel the need to cut back. When I do, I rely on the following strategies to rid myself of any meals that made themselves at home on my hips.  Afterall, I want to eat great food, not wear it!

  1. Define your danger zones. Examples are: when your own the phone, right when you get home from work, or the 3:00pm slump. Be prepared to handle the situation with a healthy snack that will keep you happy and satisfied. (List of Good Snacks Below)

  2. Watch out for the little things that add large amounts of calories. Most hidden calories come from sweet, salty, or high fat, dairy based foods that have lots of calories but no fill power.  Examples, cream in coffee, a few cookies here and there, juice smoothies (about 800 calories each)  Pretzels, Chips, Soda.

  3. If your going to be BAD, be the best BAD you can be. Don't waste calories on bags of stale potato chips, an old doughnut or sweet roll that's been sitting in the office coffee room all day.  If your going to blow it, do it for something worthy of the task. Purchase individual servings of your favorite splurge, such as a slice of cheesecake, a Krispy Kreme Donut, chocolate truffle, pizza, bag of gourmet or homemade potato chips or a cookie.  You'll be more satisfied and feel less deprived.

  4. Consider items made with white flour such as pasta and bread as treats instead of staples. Eat only high fiber choices such as breads and cereals with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.

  5. Practice Portion control for meats such as 4 to 6 ounces, about the size of your palm or a deck or cards.

  6. Shred and slice any high calorie ingredients such as meats and cheese to make them go further.  One ounce of finely shredded cheddar cheese can cover a 7 inch plate of baked nachos.  A once ounce chunk of cheddar is the size of two dice.

  7. Do something that involves moving every day.  Every little thing you do counts.  You don't need two hours a day to go to the gym to be more active. Get off the bus one stop early and walk the extra blocks home. Invest 10 minutes per day and do a few sit ups and push ups followed by stretching. Get off the elevator one floor before your stop and take one flight of stairs.  Add an additional flight every week or so.  Excercise experts say three 10 minute sessions of brisk walking is as good as one 30 minute session, and it's much easier to work it into your day.

  8. Watch out for salad dressings. Regular salad dressing is 120 calories for two tablespoons.  Consider that most restaurant portions are four tablespoons or more, and you'll easily eat 240 calories in dressing alone.  If you love salads, try Onai's Fresh Miso Shitaki Sesame Dressing from Whole Foods. It tastes great and can be used as a dressing or dip.  Four tablespoons has about 116 calories and will cover a decent sized salad.  It can also double as a sauce. Just heat it up in the microwave and pour over vegetables, chicken or fish.

  9. Focus on all of the good things you can eat, not what's off limits.

  10. Eat snacks at mid morning and mid afternoon to prevent becoming ravenous.  Don’t starve all day and go home and eat everything in sight, only to flop on the sofa for the rest of the evening.

[h4]These Products Taste Good, and Just Happen to be Healthy Too![/h4]
  • Natural Ovens, Stay Trim Bread.  It has six grams of fiber per slice and makes nice crunchy toast.
  • Roasted Garlic Hummus, we like Cedar's brand best.  Use it as a dip, or mix in chicken or tuna salad instead of mayonnaise.
  • Onai's Fresh Miso Shitaki Sesame Dressing from Whole Foods.  Use it as a dip, dressing, or sauce.  Add flavored vinegars, extra garlic, or fresh herbs for variation.
  • Baked Gourmet Tortilla Chips. Can't go without chips and salsa!
  • Finely shredded cheeses.  Once ounce can cover a plate of baked tortilla chips, add some flavor to vegetables, or top a baked potato.
  • Skinless rotisserie chickens.  Add some vegetables for quick supper.  Use the leftovers in chicken salad, or add to brown rice and vegetables.
  • Coconut Sorbet and Wax Orchards Natural Hot Fudge Sauce. (Whole Foods) A fabulous dessert you'll never have to wear!
  • Mrs Richards Fat Free Butterskotch Caramel Sauce. Use it sparingly as a dip for fruit.
  • Boca Burgers, roasted garlic flavor.  These remind me of the hamburgers from school lunches.  Load them up with lettuce, tomato, pickles etc..
[h4]Quick Healthy Snacks and Lunches[/h4]
  • Sliced apple with 1 tbs of fat free caramel sauce or vanilla yogurt and a cup of hot tea or coffee. (I like Mrs Richards Butterscotch Caramel)
  • Hot chocolate made with 1 tbs Ghirardelli's Sweet Ground Chocolate and 8 ounces skim or low-fat soy milk.
  • Five crackers topped with garlic roasted hummus and tabouleh.
  • One half a bag of light buttered popcorn (Okay, I admit, I always eat the whole thing!)
  • Hummus, 1/4 cup, with fresh vegetables like celery or carrots.
  • One ounce of whole wheat sesame baked pita chips or baked tortilla chips with 1 ounce shredded cheddar cheese and salsa.  Microwave for 1 minute and eat.  I garnish with some fresh chopped scallions or jalepeno peppers.

[h4]Quick Tasty Breakfasts[/h4]
  • 1 cup instant oatmeal with 1 tbs of brown sugar, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1 tbs dried fruit like raisins or cranberries and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.
  • Lowfat cottage cheese (2/3 cup) with a drizzle of orange flower honey, sprinkle of wheat germ, and cut up fruit or canned fruit in its own juice.
  • Two slices of Natural Ovens Stay Trim Bread, topped with (12 grams of fiber and only 120 calories) 2 tbs of chunky natural peanut butter.  I love this bread because it has lots of fiber and it makes great toast.  It's available at most all of the local grocery stores.  Tip: This brand of breads does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives, which means it will mold quickly.  Store it in the refrigerator and it will last as long as other bread.
  • One slice stay trim bread, one poached egg sprinkled with parmesan cheese, dill, and 1/2 tsp of white truffle oil drizzled on top.

[h4]Five minute lunches[/h4]
  • One, 3-ounce can of tuna mixed with 2 tbs roasted garlic hummus and 2 tbs of lentil or tabouleh salad.  Eat with romaine lettuce or whole wheat pita chips and have piece of fruit or one small snack size of your favorite yogurt.