Showing posts tagged with: healthy habits

Healthy Upgrades + Homemade Granola Recipes

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Meal Prep Nutrition Recipes Uncategorized

The weekday breakfast is what starts our busy day off on the right, or often totally wrong foot. Most people are rushing out the door & lucky to give their bodies any fuel to power through their mornings. The standard diet is a high carb, high sugar option such as cereal, bagels, pastries & granola. I totally understand the lack of wanting to dedicate much time to dirtying up extra pans. Our brains are on so many to do's that building the perfectly balanced breakfast isn't always feasible. While I do suggest some awesome make ahead meals such as a healthy frittata, sometimes you just have to grab what's on hand & go!My husband is absolutely one of those people & for years grabbed his individual flavored yogurt, topped it with some pre-packaged granola & quickly consumed on the way out the door. Insert Emma...*evil laugh*...Image-1Overtime I started to offer him a few simple swaps to upgrade the nutrition he was getting. I knew he would not be on board with adding any more difficulty to his morning routine so instead of aiming for perfection, we aimed for homemade higher quality.Old Breakfast:

  • 1 Individual Strawberry Chobani:chobani-cacao
140 calories/20g carbs/14g protein/0g fat/19g sugar
  • 1/2c Cherry Vanilla Granola (Back to Nature):
200 calories/38g carbs/5g protein/4g fat/12g sugarMeal Total = 340 calories/58g carbs/19g protein/4g fat/31g sugar

Current Breakfast:

  • 6oz Plain Whole Milk Greek Yogurt (Atlanta Fresh Local)peanut-butter-yogurt
136 calories/12.5g carbs/16g protein/8g fat/12g sugar
  • 1/2c Homemade Granola (recipe below)
152 calories/23 carbs/4g protein/5.2g fat/7g sugarMeal Total = 288 calories/35.5g carbs/20g protein/13g fat/19g sugarStill the same simple breakfast, but with way less sugar & based in single ingredient foods. I buy whole milk yogurt for some healthy fat in the meal & he often include a handful of berries to his bowl. The ingredient list on plain yogurt to the sweetened varieties is WAY shorter, as well as skipping the preservatives from both the yogurt & "healthy" pre-packaged granola.My easy to make granola recipe is just a few ingredients that can be made in a big batch to last for weeks. Not to mentioned be tweaked to your preferences. You can add in nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds & much more!

Classic Homemade Granola:

  • Ingredients:

2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (we use gluten free)

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/4c honey or maple syrup (I use 2tbsp honey + 2tbsp maple)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanila

  • Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees & line baking sheet w/ foil.

2. Whisk together coconut oil, honey, salt & vanilla in a bowl.

3. Add oats & stir to coat throughly.

4. Add granola to baking sheet & cook for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once midway through.

5. Let cool & store in airtight container.IMG_3249

* I have reduced both the oil & honey for a less sweetened version which turned out great. I usually add chopped almonds to this basic mix for extra crunch!

You may not be completey ready to do a full pantry clean, ditch every food habit you're attached to or strive to be the next healthy iron chef. BUT that doesn't mean that the small upgrades over time won't add up! Change your mindset to view it as what nutrition can you ADD to your meals, instead of what has to be taken away!

Small changes over time creates consistency. Consistency trumps perfection every time!

What's one staple in your diet you KNOW is not ideal but need help to upgrade? Let me know so we can troubleshoot it together! Leave me a comment or email me at:

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Nutrition Roadblock: Eating Like Your Spouse

by Emma Hammond 0 comments


nutritionroadblockI decided to start this Nutrition Roadblock Series to address the most common barriers to achieving your sustainable healthy weight that I hear across clients, friends & have personally experienced along the journey. This first topic is near & dear to my heart because I think anyone that's been in a relationship or marriage has struggled with it.396757_679506038216_1320755491_nMy first year dating my husband was amazing! Ok yes I'm going to go all cheese ball on you but bare with me for a moment. We met via a run group going on 5 years ago now, a healthy activity right? Absolutely! But during our courtship we ran a few miles, followed by wine & dining ourselves across most of the restaurants in Savannah. For me, I had been living by myself for several years, mostly ate at home, drank only on occasion & definitely did not indulge in dessert on a nightly basis. Yet I found myself digging into the appetizer he wanted to order. Always finishing my entree just because he did. And definitely enjoying that extra glass of wine we ordered over a shared dessert to end the evening. All super romantic right? Well yes but 10lbs or more later, I was not feeling like myself or good in my body. And what about him? Yea he hadn't changed a bit. Men...530288_10200107659922275_866796432_nAfter a year of dating we moved in together. I was still very much struggling to both fit in to old jeans & say no to the extra servings at dinner or dining out on a daily basis. It wasn't fair! We both ran, I went to the gym far more frequently then he did & yet even switching to more salads still wasn't making the impact on my waistline I wanted. I wasn't at an unhealthy weight by any stretch & he still thought I looked amazing, but that wasn't the point. I didn't feel good in my skin, I wasn't listening to what my body needed, I didn't stop eating when I was full or not eat when I simply wasn't hungry. It was definitely a learning curve I had to work on.So what did I do? Baby steps:

1. Communication: Yes it was uncomfortable for me to admit & I didn't want to sound like that girl saying I was fat to get a compliment. But I got 100% honest with my husband about how I was feeling & what I needed from him. I told him that constantly going out to eat was a struggle for me, that when I first said no I don't want dessert it made it hard when he insisted & that most of all I needed his support to get back to feeling my best! Also important to note, I did not BLAME him! I am responsible for my own actions & while I wanted his support, ultimately I put the food in my own mouth.

2. Evaluate: I started writing down what I ate every day to become more mindful. I used a journal to not only note what I ate, but how I felt before & after. Was I hungry or stressed when I ate? Did I say "sure I could eat" just because he asked? Did I refill my plate automatically when he did, even if I was satisfied. I worked on making notes without judgement or even making changes. I just needed to become more aware of where the problems were so I could fix it.

3. Action: It was time to take steps to slowly make better choices for ME & my needs.

~ Clean Out: first I emptied the house of any junk food that tempted me. That made the nightly ice cream habit much easier to ditch. How did my husband react? He didn't really care if it made me happy. Happy wife, happy life yes?

~ Portions: I realized my portion sizes had become as big as my husbands. That is a problem because reality is ladies, we don't have the same energy needs as our bigger male counterparts. It may feel unfair but that's a fact that's not going to change. I began eating off salad size plates as opposed to his dinner plates. Smaller bowls for soups & such. That easy swap made a HUGE difference right off the bat!

~ Dining Out: I instituted Sunday meal prep. It's wasn't the meal prep that was so important as it was taking the time to sit with my husband & discuss the week ahead. We each voiced our goals & how we could support each other. We each had a say in what meals we would make that we enjoyed & didn't leave us running for take out because we had no food in the house.

~ Simple Swaps: There were plenty of nights my husband had a specific craving that didn't really fit within my perimeters for MY nutrition needs. I got efficient at make simple swaps to keep up both happy! Spaghetti? Sure! I just may use spaghetti squash or zoodles over regular noodles. He wanted rice? No problem, I had the option of making cauliflower rice or simply doubling up on the veggies. And if he needed to go all out pizza mode, I'm a grown woman & did my own damn thing.

I never went into crazy diet mode, made him feel limited & didn't beat myself up over the occasional overindulgence. Over time I started to feel better, became more in touch with my bodies hunger signals & this became our new normal. Yes, I am lucky to have a supportive spouse who is pretty patient with my needs. Not everyone does & maybe that's a red flag that needs to be considered. But I have found in most cases, a lack of honest communication & support it the problem.181111_4165075575667_2120390017_nCouples can be each others best friends in a health journey or worst enemies. So get real with each other! Focus on the WHY behind the need to clean up your dietary intake. Is it to look good in skinny jeans (which is fine!) or to set a healthy household example? Also consider if you are being the best spouse you can be or are you just as guilty of instigating unhealthy habits. I think we have all convinced our significant other to join in on our treat to make ourselves feel less guilty. Work on changing your own habit first to be the best spouse you can be. A strong healthy team can be unbreakable!Do you struggle with mirroring your significant others eating?Healthy Balance LLC 

Fix Portion Distortion with 5 Simple Solutions

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Nutrition Uncategorized

It's easy to find yourself sneaking a bite off your child's plate or adding an extra scoop onto the dinner plate most evenings. Seems innocent enough right? Yet over the course of a day, week & month those extra servings can add up & take away from the hard work you are doing in the gym. In our supersized food world it's easy to lose site of what a reasonable serving size is. Over the past several decades, the portion sizes served at restaurants have more than doubled, not to mention that whole clean your plate mantra has managed to stick around. Leaving most people walking away from each meal feeling overly stuffed & rather uncomfortable.portion-distortion 20 years agoThis is one of the first mindful eating practices I address with new clients, as well as re-evaluate once a plateau has hit in their progress. I personally get in the rhythm of buying healthy food & cooking recipes I know are good for my goals. What I can struggle with is not overdoing the amount I put on my plate! Unfortunately healthy foods can also be over consumed & interfere with our goals too. Not to mention I don't enjoy stepping away from the dinner table with a full uncomfortable belly.Fortunately there are a few quick ways to check your mindful eating habits & adjust accordingly. Here are my top 5 recommended self check ins when you find your portion sizes may be sabotaging your health.Fix Portion Distortion with 5 Simple Solutions:

  • Swap out the dinner plate for a salad plate. We often fill up whatever plate we use to look visually appealing & satisfying. If we only fill that huge 12 inch plate 1/3 of the way we feel deprived & as though we are "dieting" with tiny meals. Simply swapping out the oversized dinner plate for a smaller but very reasonably size salad plated can make a huge difference in our intake. plate sizeThis easy swap made a HUGE difference in my nutrition & I find the same in most clients. Yes it's mostly a mind game tweak but I dare you to try it & not see a difference!
  • Balance your ratio of veggies, protein, carbs & fat. This approach has been super successful with clients who were reluctant to remove certain favorite foods, such as mom's mac & cheese from their meal plan. By simply re-balancing the way they plated up meals without altering food choices left them feeling full, satisfied & kept them from feeling deprived of their favorites. It's a great place to start if you are still trying to dial in the food selection part! How to?
  • Begin with 1/2 a plate of non-starchy veggies (salads, sauteed veggies, mashed cauliflower)
  • Then 1/4 plate of your protein (chicken, fish, eggs, pork & so on)
  • Finally 1/4 plate of starchy vegetables or carbohydrate (sweet potato, rice, risotto & such) Portion-Control-Plate-DistributionIt makes a big difference restructuring your meals from a 3/4 of a plate full of bread & mac & cheese to 1/2 plate of veggies, a 1/4 plate of roasted chicken & only 1/4 plate of mom's mac & cheese. Again start where you are!
  • Break out the measuring utensils instead of eyeballing, especially when it comes to healthy fats. The scoop of peanut butter grows, extra oil thrown in the pan, 1/4 an avocado becomes 3/4, the pat of butter becomes 2-3, a palmful of nuts becomes a handful...ok you get the idea. I love healthy fats & they are a must have in our diet. In fact many people under consume the healthy forms but that's an issue for another post.SimpleTruth_PortionSizes-1This is again about being mindful of our serving size & let's be honest, how easy is it to throw back in extra serving or two of salted cashews? Keep this in check by measuring out a serving size to have a better grasp on what that looks like. No you don't have to weigh & measure every ounce you eat, but having a visual idea is a great reminder.
  • Eating like your significant other or those around you. I'm going to throw this in from personal experience & one of my most common issues women especially encounter. Ladies, the unfair reality is our loving spouses need to eat more food then us. Yes they can even often get away with that extra serving, frosty beer or scoop of ice cream that seems to immediately go to your waistline when you do the same.
    The couple that runs together, drinks to much beer post-run together & can gain weight together. ;)

    The couple that runs together, drinks to much beer post-run together & can gain weight together. ;)

    When I first moved in with my husband, my portions began to match his for all of our shared meals. If he got seconds, I did too. He wants to go for fro-yo, sure let's do it. Unfortunately I am smaller & don't have the same nutritional needs & metabolic rate he does. Does it SUCK? Yes, but so did that extra 10lbs I put on that year. You have to adjust accordingly for your own individual needs. *Insert sad violin playing here*
  • Liquid calories count. Just because you can fit 1/2 a bottle of wine in one glass, doesn't mean you just had a single serving. Sorry...but true...yes I have tested just for accuracy. Depending on the who you are & what are your goal type guidelines, a little booze can fit into a balanced diet. However that nightly glass of wine is often far bigger than the 5oz pour or 1.5oz tossed in a mixed drink. alcohol-serving-sizesDon't fool yourself by ignoring the serving size of those adult beverages. Again stay mindful & make sure your choices reflect your goals.
Take the time to check in with yourself & take an honest look at your eating habits. We all go through periods where we may become less mindful of our hard earned habits! Without judgement take a peak & readjust where needed!How do you keep your portion distortion in line with your goals?