Relationships are great. But sometimes it’s hard to keep up with healthy habits when emotions are involved.
We were lucky enough to sit down with dietitian Jessica Katz, who answered some hard-hitting relationship-nutrition questions. Like: How can you trick your significant other into eating healthily? Is there a way to protect your heart with food? What steps should be taken to upstage a frenemy?
Press play to find the answers, then read on for more tips in Jessica’s blog post, below!
Relationship Nutrition Tips
Now that your sweetie pie has snagged you, he or she doesn’t really have to try to impress anyone, right? So it’s okay for him or her to pack on the pounds, right? Not so fast!
HOW TO: (Sneakily) slim down your significant other.
- The key word here is “sneakily”… sneak in healthy foods without him realizing it. (“Controlling? Who, me?!”). It’s just like with kids…make silent smart swaps to incorporate healthier foods into your favorite meals. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him! For instance, next time you whip up a batch of pesto pasta, try substituting quinoa pasta, shirataki noodles – or even fresh zucchini ribbons – instead of refined, white pasta. Sneak veggies into pasta, omelets, etc. You can even sneak pureed fruit, veggies or beans into baked goods.
- It’s all about convenience: Men tend to go for whatever is easily accessible… in more ways than one, right? So instead of having chips lying around, stock the cabinets with healthier replacements like naked popcorn, seaweed snacks, lentil chips, gluten-free seeded crackers (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers!). Instead of cookies, try FiberLove… Chocolate Brownie, Blondie Bar…a FiberLove bar can be a sweet, filling, low-calorie dessert!
- Comfort foods are allowed: Stock “better-choice” (i.e. less processed, lower sodium, lower calorie/fat/sugar, high fiber… but still good-tasting!) versions of his favorite “comfort foods,” such as frozen pizzas, burritos, chicken nuggets, etc. Rather than order in pizza, serve a big salad with a “better choice” frozen pizza. (Will save $$ and time too!)
- When in doubt, throw it out…Dispose of his favorite junk food (“trigger foods”) in the house…out of sight, out of mind…or at least out of sight. We all know it is much harder to resist indulging in treats when they are in front of us…whereas if we have to go out in this lovely weather to get them, that should deter us (most of the time!).
- Sign him up for spin class with you – rather, ask him if he will go with you because you need him to help motivate you to exercise on the weekends (wink wink!).
- Say OK (he is not expecting this)…as in: “Okay, honey…will gaining weight make you happy and improve your quality of life? If so, then I support you.”
- Have a back-up plan in mind in case he says yes! Such as the gentle reminder that the older we get, the harder it is to lose weight…so best avoid putting it on in the first place.
Looking great can be the best way to shine in a room full of loved ones, but it can also be the best way to shine in a room full of strangers, or even in a room full of less-than-welcoming individuals. If you want to be the belle of the ball at a big event – say, the wedding of a frenemy – follow these tips in the weeks leading up to your eye-catching entrance!
HOW TO: Out-glow your frenemy.
- Eat (nearly) “green and clean” – doesn’t have to be perfect!…focus on unprocessed, high-fiber foods, emphasizing vegetables, fruit, beans, legumes, lean protein, whole grains, and unsaturated fat. Now is the time to fit in lots of fresh produce to give your skin that hydrated glow. Replace your afternoon diet soda with a green juice.
- Do eat! Regular meals and snacks keep your appetite in check and energy levels up.
- Focus on the 2 F’s…FIBER + FLUID! Control your appetite and help flush toxins out of your system with sufficient fiber + water. For instance, you might want to try incorporating a FiberLove bar for your afternoon snack, breakfast, or dessert to ensure you are meeting your daily fiber quota.
- Sleeping beauty was beautiful for a reason! Try a brief (5-7 min) meditation exercise (iPhone app “Take a Break” is a favorite choice) nightly upon climbing into bed to help you fall into a restful beauty sleep. More sleep = greater willpower to eat well, exercise and more easily resist your trigger foods.
- EXERCISE to lift your spirits and increase your confidence and self-efficacy to achieve your nutrition goals. Incorporating any form of daily activity will help de-stress and keep your emotions in check . Exercise can reduce inflammation and increase blood and oxygen flow, helping you to appear more radiant. Plus, the more metabolism-boosting lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn at rest. Exercise-induced endorphins will allow you to enter the wedding with improved posture, muscle tone – and a more relaxed, energetic and confident attitude. Book exercise dates with friends leading up to the event to make exercise more appealing and increase your accountability.
- Incorporate food sources of omega-3’s (wild salmon, sardines, walnuts, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, etc.) to fight inflammation and promote satiety as well as lustrous skin and hair.
- Avoid high-sodium foods that wedding weekend…as well as any foods that you find cause bloat.
- Antioxidize with natural, unprocessed plant-based foods, like vegetables, fruits, and nuts… Avoid antioxidants in supplement form! Too many antioxidants from supplements may be harmful and even become “pro-oxidative”- inflicting the oxidative damage we are trying to avoid.
- Limit your vices. alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners (we know – all the good stuff!) But don’t be too restrictive. Deprivation will just make you want to rebel and indulge.
- Don’t fret:Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to look good for an event – stress will only work against you. A positive, happy demeanor is much more magnetic and attractive! Plus, feeling happier motivates one to eat better, instigating a positive-feedback cycle.
- Be self-competitive, rather than competitive with others, to make yourself better rather than bitter.
- FINALLY…Be a glowing, gracious wedding guest…flash your killer smile! Confidence goes a long way.
Disclaimer: These tips are geared towards healthy adults with no pre-existing medical conditions, and they do not apply to everyone. Individual recommendations vary depending upon age, gender, health history, and activity level. Please check with your health care provider/registered dietitian in regard to tailoring this advice to your individual needs.
Good luck in meeting all of your nutritional goals!