Tag Archives: calories

What’s in 400 calories?

This morning I packed myself a good, healthy lunch.  I made my usual two-egg breakfast, each wrapped in a corn tortilla.  I put some cherries in a container.  And for lunch I had the meat off of two chicken thighs and 1/4 of a potato.  I ate each container of food at their regularly scheduled time, because the only way to keep from eating them all up at once is to be anal about when I am supposed to eat them.  And by 1 pm, all of the food was gone.

And at 2pm, Pop Tarts were calling my name.

I don’t even like Pop Tarts.  They’re 400 empty calories of garbage that do nothing but make me feel guilty while eating them and gross when the deed is done.  They don’t taste as good as they should, making them a huge disappointment when I realize I just wasted all those calories on something that isn’t worth it.  I mean, a Sift cupcake runs around 400 calories.  So does two pieces of sourdough toast with a smidgen of butter on each one.  A huge bowl of ice cream, 1/2 of a California Kitchen Pizza, 4 bananas, almost 3 sodas, a Venti Frappuccino with a piece of chocolate on the side, an 8 oz sirloin steak….all worth 400 calories or less each.  So a yucky untoasted strawberry Pop Tart that has been sitting in the vending machine for God knows how long?  Hardly worth it.

And yet, its siren call was clinging to me and reeling me in.

So I fought hard against the craving.  I was determined not to let it seduce me into its trap.  I filled my water bottle and drank a sip every time I wanted to make the trek up those stairs towards those dry little pastries.  I put a cinnamon Altoid in my mouth to help me forget about the taste.  I averted my thoughts by diving headfirst into work.  And then I grabbed my wallet with $1.25 in change and headed upstairs to buy the damn Pop Tarts and be done with it.

The first bite hit my taste buds and slid down my throat, allowing me to finally exhale the breath I’d been holding all this time.  The Pop Tart fix flowed through my veins as I took bite after bite to appease my craving.  Slowly, my belly expanded over my legs, my thighs suddenly drooping over the sides of the chair like playdough being squished into too small of a container.  My belt strained against the sudden implosion of belly fat that grabbed on to the sneak carb attack of the cardboard-esque snack.  And each bite suddenly seemed less satisfying than the last.  By the time I finished the first one, I knew I shouldn’t eat the second.  I already felt so huge, so gross, so sleepy and lethargic from eating all that white flour.  So I did the only thing I could do.

I devoured the second one.

By the time I was waddling back down the stairs, I was inwardly beating myself up for breaking so easily.  I had lectured myself that very morning to get through today eating only what I had packed, and to leave the snacks in the vending machine and the chocolate in my co-workers desk alone.  And by just giving myself such an order, I rebelled just to show myself I couldn’t be told what to do.

Great job Crissi, you’re a rebel.  You’ve also just gained back the few pounds you worked so hard to lose.

At any rate, tomorrow’s a new day with a new plan.  Pack a healthy lunch, drink lots of water, and when that carving hits hardcore, head outside for some fresh air and a walk around the office building.

Let’s do this thing.

5 tips to curb mindless grazing

As you may remember, I gave up sugar for Lent – not added sugar, but anything that might resemble dessert. And while I’d love to say it was for religious reasons since Lent is a time of meditation, it was more to get over an obscene obsession with sweets following the winter holiday season.

The first couple of weeks giving up sugar were hard. I found myself snacking on anything else I could substitute for sugar. The food victim that suffered the most at my hands was a jar of peanut butter. Yes, you could argue that it has a lot of added sugar and should therefore be considered a cheat. But being that it only has 3 grams of sugar in it and doesn’t fall in the “tasting sweet” category, I used PB as an alternative to gorging on chocolate. Unfortunately, I found myself getting just as addicted to it.  I realized it needed to be on the “do not eat” list as well, especially since the scale was creeping up despite my “no sweets” diet thanks to 16 whole grams of fat in that “tiny” serving of PB.

At any rate, I made it to the other side of Lent with my cravings curbed. I also gorged on candy all day Easter Sunday. One piece of chocolate led to an invite to several more pieces of chocolate. And soon I was hosting an all-out chocolate rager in my mouth. Obviously I still need to keep strict restrictions on my sugar intake. But luckily, I came out of this experience with a few tips for curbing the sugar cravings, as well as mindless snacking that leads to unaccounted calories throughout the day.

1. Green smoothies. I have fallen in love with this little concoction. It’s a mixture of veggies and fruit to create a sweet snack without adding sugar, and while also getting the proper amount of veggies in my diet. As someone who is not very good at eating her greens, this has been my lifesaver! I make a large cup of it in the morning and sip it throughout the day to keep me from reaching for the salty or sweet snacks. And because it’s so filling, I’m not tempted to cheat. Of course, I have yet to find the exact recipe to entice my kids to enjoy these as well since I’m trying not add anything to sweeten it besides berries or bananas. But I’m getting closer. My personal favorite is banana and kale with a little almond milk and wheat germ. But you can make it as simple as adding one serving fruit to one serving veggie, and just adding water. For some healthy smoothie ideas (green or not), visit our forum discussion at SantaRosaMom.com.

2. Plan it out. If you take the time out in the morning to list all the foods you are allowed in the day, and even when you can eat them, it will help to keep you from cheating against it with mindless snacking. If you’re going to work, pack a lunch every day to avoid eating out and consuming too many calories. Stagger your eating so that you don’t have a chance to get too hungry. An empty stomach can cause you to make bad food choices, so always allow for healthy snacks like a lower calorie yogurt (my favorites are Light Yoplait at 100 calories, or the Light Dannon at 60 calories), fruit, cut up veggies, or a small plate of lunch meat and a string cheese. And get in the habit of writing down everything you eat so that you’re holding yourself accountable.

3. Water yourself. Always keep a large water at your side, and drink it liberally. Many times when we’re hungry, we’re actually dehydrated. Our bodies need more water than many of us are supplying it with, so increasing your water intake is a great habit to get into. At first, it might be hard. But once you get used to drinking more water, you’ll find that you actually crave it. Also, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of other drinks you’re having as you increase your water intake. Nix the sodas and fancy coffees – drinks that add way too many calories to your diet for being just liquid – and drink water instead.

4. Do something – anything! I found that at times I was sitting around and bored, that’s when I wanted to snack the most. But when I was busy, I didn’t even find the desire to snack. I recently took up running, and the motivation from this simple form of exercise has motivated me to think twice before snacking as I feel more energized and way healthier than ever before. Of course, there will still be times when sitting and doing nothing is necessary. But make rules or habits that will curb mindless snacking – like no eating in the living room (to keep from grazing while watching TV), or busying your hands with knitting or the like.

5. Check out the additional tips we have listed over at SantaRosaMom.com.

What are some ways you curb mindless grazing?

Kids' calories

Mens Health Magazine created a list of statistics and found that kids eat (on average) 165 more calories than they should a day.

According to WebMD, an active child aged 2-3 should be eating 1400 calories a day. An active female aged 4-8 should be eating 1400-1800 calories. An active male aged 4-8 should be eating 1600-2000 calories. An active female 9-13 should be eating 1800-2200 calories. And an active male 9-13 should be eating 2000-2600. (Click HERE for more totals, including totals for kids who are less than active)

I think wherever Men’s Health got that number, they might be lowballing it.

The kids and I went to Applebees the other day for dinner, and were happy to see that the calories were printed right on the menu – even the Kids Menu. I’m a calorie counter, and I’m definitely for restaurants keeping honest about the amount of calories they are putting in their food so that patrons can at least have the option of thinking twice about consuming all those calories. You’ll see on the photo that I included a photo of the Kids Menu with the calorie counts. If a 4 year old got the single mini cheeseburger with all the fixings and fries on the side, plus a strawberry milkshake to drink, they would have consumed 1,810 calories.

That’s 1,810 calories just for dinner alone.

Note: Did you notice the calories if you order two cheeseburgers with no sides compared to one cheeseburger with no sides? Doesn’t that number seem a little odd….that it’s not just double what one cheeseburger is? Do they take a bite out of the second cheeseburger or something?

Needless to say, if you’re not paying attention to what you are feeding your child, you should. If your child is active, seems to be a healthy weight, and has enough energy, congratulations! But if you find that your child is lacking energy, or is under or over weight, start keeping track of the foods they are eating by writing everything down. And once you are aware of the changes that need to be made, make them.

And parents, the same goes for your own diet, too.

Behind us was a table of girls. They were all musing about the calories on the menu, and talking about how they were watching their weight. And then one girl ordered a refill on her root beer – about 200 empty calories. And another ordered a giant margarita (I don’t even know the calorie amount, but I’m sure it’s a lot).

Drinks add up. If the beverage is alcoholic, that is just more empty calories. If you’re watching your weight, pay attention to what you are drinking along with what you are eating. And don’t underestimate the goodness of calorie-free, refreshing water.

Is your family kicking off a healthy lifestyle for the new year? What are some of the things you’ve changed in your day-to-day?