Using low calorie sweeteners in your desserts can help control calories during the holidays

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

This post was written as a guest blog for on November 18,, 2014. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

One of the things that makes holidays so special is the food. Even though there is no law against roasting a turkey in February or baking sugar cookies in July, many of us rarely do. Instead, we reserve our favorite recipes for certain days of the year when we can eat them while celebrating with family and friends.

If you’re looking forward to enjoying some traditional holiday fare in the weeks ahead, but dread the holiday weight gain that can often go with it, there is a way to “have your cake and eat it too.” And it can even start with dessert!


An important criterion for any dessert is that it tastes great, preferably by satisfying our sweet tooth. Few of us expect dessert to deliver any key nutrients, but it is possible. As we begin another holiday season, finding desserts that offer the perfect combination of “sweet nutrition” in one delicious dish is a concept worth celebrating.

Let’s start with fall fruit pies. Apples, pears and cranberries are seasonal fruits with high nutritional value, but their benefits are diminished when buried beneath too much added sugar and a rich pastry crust both top and bottom. By turning these fruits into dessert crisps sweetened with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener instead of sugar and topped with a crunchy oats instead of pie dough, we can enjoy them with a lot fewer calories – and that can translate into less weight gain during the holidays.

A few of my favorites from the SPLENDA® recipe files are Cranberry Pear Crisp and Granny’s Apple Crisp. See if you don’t agree.

Another popular holiday pie is made with a very nutritious vegetable – pumpkin. A healthy alternative involves using all the same spices plus the milk and eggs found in the pie, but then replacing the bottom pastry crust with some cubed bread, and using SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener instead of sugar for a delicious Pumpkin Bread Pudding. This combination of sweet nutrition is good enough to serve for breakfast on those special holiday mornings when your family is together. I know mine has loved the smell of this sweet and spicy dish coming out of the oven on those occasions.

Speaking of breakfast, you can serve up some sweetness with these German Apple Pancakes and no one will miss a sugary maple-flavored syrup that can clock in at 200 calories per ¼ cup. Or for a savory version, try this Baked Apple Pancake (see image on the left) that reunites the classic combo of apples and Cheddar cheese in a satisfying morning meal.


Cutting the excess calories from your holiday dessert recipes isn’t all that is needed when it comes to avoiding holiday weight gain, but it’s a good start. Think of it as one step towards some sweet new traditions that you can pass on to your children and grandchildren so their future holiday celebrations can still be as sweet, but a whole lot healthier, thanks to you and to SPLENDA® Sweetener.

You can find more SPLENDA® recipes that offer sweet nutrition and fewer calories at

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.


Learn the habits of those who are successful at managing their weight

Weight Loss Success: Lessons Learned from Successful Losers

Posted on

This post was written as a guest blog for You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows the work isn’t over once the pounds are off. Keeping them off can be an even bigger challenge. That’s because so many people still think all they have to do to lose weight is go “on a diet,” and once they lose weight they can get “off the diet.” Sadly, it’s often just a matter of time before their weight is right back where they started, or even higher.

If this sounds familiar, there’s a group I want to tell you about who have beat that system. They are members of The National Weight Control Registry and they have all lost weight and kept it off – and for most of them, for more than five years!

Whenever I read about this amazing group of successful “weight losers,” one of the first things that always stands out is how few of them credit their success to having gone “on a diet.” Instead, what most of them have done is adopt a new lifestyle. And as we all know, diets have many stops and starts, but lifestyles just keep plugging along.

How to Successfully Lose Weight & Keep it Off

This lifestyle approach is reflected in most common traits used by the Registry members to maintain their weight loss. For example, 78% report they eat breakfast every day of the week and the majority of them follow the same meal pattern on weekends and holidays as they do any other day of the year. Eating meals on a consistent schedule is just an everyday occurrence. They also monitor their weight on a regular basis and deal with any weight gain quickly so it doesn’t get out of control. Stepping on a scale once a day is all it takes. Another routine they’ve built into their daily lives is getting some physical activity, which they apparently have the time to do because they watch less than 10 hours of television per week.

When it comes to what they eat, keeping tabs on the caloric and fat content of their diets is a winning strategy for Registry members. Of course this involves reading food labels, being aware of portion sizes and not eating out too often, but that’s just a way of life for them.

A recent study on the use of low-calorie sweeteners (such as SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener) and fat-modified foods by weight loss maintainers (WLM) found these are helpful tools. When compared to normal weight (NW) subjects who reported consuming a low calorie, low fat diet, WLM used more low fat strategies, such as reduced fat dairy products, spreads and sauces, than NW, and they drank more sugar-free beverages and water than those who had never been overweight.

This may come as a surprise to those who have heard about the studies reporting an association between low-calorie sweeteners and increased weight, but it wasn’t a surprise to these researchers. They said their results are consistent with those found in several other randomized clinical trials on obese individuals that found greater weight loss among users of low-calorie sweeteners than non-users. In fact, the authors concluded that the use of sugar-free beverages may actually assist the weight loss maintainers in adhering to their reduced calorie diets when faced with the many triggers to overeat that are all around us.

If you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off, take a look at the successful people in the National Weight Control Registry for inspiration. What you’ll see is it takes more than a diet, and that the use of low-calorie sweeteners, like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, can be a helpful part of your new healthy lifestyle.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.


  • Wyatt HR, et. al (5). Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the National Weight Control Registry. Obes Res.2002;10(2):78-82
  • Phelan S, et. al (3). Use of artificial sweeteners and fat-modified foods in weight loss maintainers and always normal weight individuals. Int J Obes. 2009;33(10):1183-1190
  • Wing R, Phelan S. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;82(1):2225-2255
bored woman on couch eating chips and soda

Beating the Meal-Time Blues


Tired of eating mealy apples, over-priced cucumbers and tasteless tomatoes?

Feel like you’re filling your shopping cart with the same twelve bags of groceries week after week?

Do you dread another meal featuring chicken, broccoli and pasta?

You’re not alone.

In fact, you are suffering from a dilemma that goes back to the days of our pioneer ancestors. They had to get through the long, dreary months of winter making meals out of the foods put by after the last harvest in November. Root cellars were filled with potatoes, turnips and parsnips. Pantries were stocked with sauerkraut, tomatoes and applesauce. Salted or cured beef and venison had to be cooked into stews, and with any luck, traps would provide an occasional rabbit.

Given the winter menu, an orange in a Christmas stocking was a truly sumptuous treat!

But in our global marketplace, there really is no reason to let our meals become boring. Advances in jet travel, climate-controlled storage and high-tech packaging, as well as the wonders of things like hydroponic farming and bioengineered plants have made a greater variety of foods available to us all year round. There are even more options for organically grown produce and farm-raised chicken and beef than ever before.

So why are we in a rut? Because we are creatures of habit. Habits are a very important way we streamline our lives. Instead of getting up every morning and having to think about what we’ll do first, and then what to do next, we fall into routines: shower, get dressed, apply make-up, dry hair, make bed, pack lunch, drink coffee.

Just like putting the car on cruise control when speeding up the Interstate, we put our brains on cruise control to get though many of the tasks we have to perform each day – like planning menus, shopping for food, preparing meals. It’s just a matter of time before we fall into a rut.

Added to the monotony of eating the same foods for months on end is the physical confinement of winter – especially this year! There are no back yard barbecues, picnics in a park or lunches on the beach to break up the mealtime routines. All of which makes us much more vulnerable to uncontrollable cravings and spontaneous splurges to bring some excitement back into our mouths. There are some urges a caramel coated rice cake just cannot satisfy.

But all is not hopeless. Let me show you how you can end your diet doldrums and put some magic back into your meals!

1. REVITALIZE YOUR KITCHEN – Give your eyes a break from the same old scenery; anything can taste good when eaten with the right view. Check the Winter White sales and treat yourself to a new view in your kitchen.

  • Tablecloth or place mats and cloth napkins
  • Kitchen towels and pot holders
  • Slip covers or cushions for kitchen chairs
  • Window curtain or shade
  • Area rug
  • Silk flower arrangement centerpiece

I took down a balloon valance from my kitchen window last month to wash it and never put it back up again. The extra light that streamed into the room without it made it seem a lot brighter and more cheerful. The point is, make your kitchen an oasis, a welcome and comforting place to come home to.

2. REORGANIZE YOUR CUPBOARDS – You may not realize how many options you have for preparing food if you continually use the same cookware over and over. Surprises await you in the deep recesses of your kitchen closet.
  • Make the soup tureen accessible and keep parfait glasses handy for yogurt sundaes
  • Dust off little-used appliances and read the user manuals for inspiration – blenders, woks, pressure cooker, bread machine
  • Find the power cords for electric griddles and frying pans and attach labels so they’re ready to use any time

3. WELCOME SIGNS OF SPRING – You don’t have to wait until the ground thaws to enjoy the bounty of summer.

  • Force some flowering bulbs in a vase
  • Plant window sill herb pots for instant flavor in a pinch
  • Sprout beans for added crunch on sandwiches and salads
  • Splurge on fresh raspberries and make shortcake for dessert
  • Buy a soft, ripe mango to cut-up and freeze for a quick sorbet
  • Halve a pineapple, carve the fruit out and refill with a tropical fruit mixture – cubed pineapple, sliced papaya, and banana

4. PLAN A PICNIC – Duplicate the foods, even if you can’t capture the atmosphere. Picnic basket and cooler are optional!

  • Make potato salad with red skinned potatoes
  • Rub herb-infused spread on frozen ears of corn then microwave
  • Toss shredded red and green cabbage with seedless grapes for a tangy coleslaw
  • Squeeze lemons for fresh lemonade
  • Spread a checkered cloth on the living room floor and gather round!

5. EXPAND YOUR RECIPE REPERTOIRE – A widely quoted statistic says most households use the same ten recipes over and over again in a cycle. No wonder we’ve got the blues.

  • Browse through your cookbooks, recipe files, magazines or the weekly paper for new ideas
  • Pick ONE new recipe a week to sample at a meal. It could be a muffin for Saturday morning, a salad dressing for Sunday dinner, a different crumb coating for the chicken cutlets, a seasoning blend for string beans, or a new topping for the apple crisp. Just make a point to try something new every week.
  • At the end of one year you will have tried 52 new dishes. Even if half were losers, you’ll still have 26 new ones to incorporate into your menu cycle again.

6. INDULGE IN THE UNKNOWN – With over 50,000 items on your grocery store shelves there are sure to be some that you haven’t tried yet!

  • Start off with something new from the many varieties of fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle. How many varieties of mushrooms have you tried or Asian vegetables?
  • There are grains galore to choose from, all with cooking instructions right on the package from couscous to quinoa.
  • Don’t forget the dried peas, beans and lentils and many new meat substitutes

7. CHALLENGE YOUR TASTE BUDS – Intensely flavored food is more memorable and more satisfying than one-dimensional tastes in food.

  • Instead of a sweet, syrupy prepared salad dressing, use balsamic vinegar or an herb-infused vinegar mixed with a fruity olive or aromatic nut oil
  • Don’t be afraid to use a little real cheese to boost flavor without a lot of fat. Buy a wedge of Parmesan and grate over your pasta or soup, keep some pungent Roquefort on hand to crumble onto salad, get the sharpest Cheddar you can to shave on to your chili.
  • Fill the pepper mill with assorted whole peppercorns then be sure to pass it round the table at meals–you welcome it when dining out, so why not in your own home?
  • Are sun dried tomatoes a staple in your cupboard yet, and how many types of chilies do you keep on hand?

8. KEEP YOUR JAW BUSY – My biggest complaint about fast food is that is has no texture, and I like to chew. Here are some ways to make your meals more crunchy and chewy.

  • Use multigrain breads and rolls with kernels and seeds and thick hearty crusts.
  • Add dried fruit bits to cereal, rice dishes, stuffings, muffins
  • Snack on corn nuts, roasted chick peas, Dutch pretzels
  • Sprinkle some Grape Nuts® cereal into your yogurt or salad

9. REDISCOVER THE BOUNTY OF BREAKFAST – All the non-breakfast eaters I know are breakfast fans when on vacation or invited to brunch. By keeping more interesting selections available every day of the week breakfast can become your favorite meal of the day.

  • Omelets filled with salsa and served with warm corn tortillas
  • Frozen Belgium waffles topped with sliced strawberries
  • French toast prepared in a baking dish the night before so it can soak up the batter, then baked in the oven and dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon in the morning

10. FILL THE FREEZER WITH QUICK BREADS – Fruit and nut breads freeze well and are a great way to use up over ripe bananas. Make double batches to enjoy as a healthy snack or simple dessert when smeared with cream cheese.

  • Jack up the cinnamon, cloves and ginger to tempt the taste buds with the flavors of homemade apple pie!
  • Wrap individual slices before freezing for a portable snack

Enjoying our food is our most human quality after language. Like good conversation, eating should be stimulating, thoughtful and entertaining. I hope you found a few ideas to help make the remaining weeks of this miserably snowy winter more enjoyable!

Pancakes can be part of a healthy diet when made with the right ingredients and paired with the right side dishes

Making a Place for Pancakes in Your Diet

This blog was written as a guest post for The Skinny on Low Cal site. You can access the original post here.

The way we judge foods is a lot like the way we judge people – by the company they keep. Pancakes are a great example of that. They are a really good-for-you food made of flour, milk and eggs in their most basic version, but they’re often viewed in a negative way by dieters. My theory is it’s because they frequently hang out with a big dollop of butter and are surrounded by super-sweet syrup. Sometimes they can even be found snuggled up against several strips of fatty bacon. How can anyone’s reputation survive that?

If you’ve removed pancakes from your diet it may be for the wrong reason. It’s time to give them a chance to return with the right makeover.

While it is unknown when or where batter was poured onto a hot stone slab to make the first pancake, the idea quickly caught on and has been replicated in cuisines around the world. They are enjoyed as both a sweet and a savory part of the meal, for breakfast or dinner, flat or leavened and stacked or stuffed. The varieties are as limitless as the cooks who make them since all you have to do to create a new recipe is change the type of flour or grain used, add some signature spices or extracts and top them with an original syrup or sauce. Mistaking the almond extract for vanilla was all it took for me to invent my now famous toasted almond pancakes with Amaretto syrup!

The nutritional value of a plate of pancakes also varies right along with the recipe and the number of pancakes made per batch. That means they don’t all have the same caloric content, either. Fortunately, even if you’re making them from a mix you still have control over some of the ingredients added to it and can make smaller pancakes to help reduce the calories.

Some simple substitutions to cut calories in your favorite pancake recipe include using:

  • fat-free milk instead of whole milk
  • egg substitute instead of whole eggs
  • sugar substitute instead of sugar
  • applesauce instead of some of the oil
  • sugar-free syrup instead of regular
  • light soft spread instead of butter

To help you become reacquainted with this popular food loved by kids and adults alike, try this foolproof recipe for Apple Pancakes. I’d love to know how you liked them and what else you’re pairing up with your pancakes to help improve their reputation!

Registered dietitian and nutrition expert Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN has more than 30 years of experience counseling patients and teaching at the university level. She is also the author of two books on nutrition. Follow her on Twitter @EverydayRD and check out her other posts here.

Studies show a bowl of cereal is an easy healthy breakfast

Is a Bowl of Cereal a Nutritious Breakfast?

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can see the post here.


I’m one of those people who can hardly get down the stairs in the morning – let alone out the door – without eating breakfast. I wake up hungry, so head straight for the kitchen. Lucky for me since more and more research shows the benefits of eating a nutritious breakfast.

But what about the one-third of Americans who do not start their day that way?

The excuses I hear run the gamut from “I don’t have time” to “It’s too fattening.” My response to all of them is, “Eat a bowl of cereal.”

Ready-to-eat cereal is an easy healthy breakfast that’s lower in calories than most other foods people eat in the morning. If you choose a cereal made from whole grains and pair it with skim milk and fruit, it delivers three important food groups to start the day. With them come key nutrients most often lacking in our diets: fiber, calcium, Vitamin D and potassium.

Here’s what else research has to say about the most important meal of the day.

Benefits of a Bowl of Cereal

Better Weight Control

Children who regularly eat cereal for breakfast (at least 7 out of 14 days) have lower body mass index (BMI) than children who only have cereal 4-7 times or fewer than 4 times every two weeks, reports the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The same holds true for adults. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found lower BMIs in women who had ready-to-eat cereal rather than higher-fat breakfast foods, and a Harvard study of more than 17,000 men found those who routinely ate breakfast cereal consistently weighed less than those who rarely ate breakfast.

Better Quality Diets

People who rush out the door without eating in the morning have diets that are lower in essential vitamins, minerals and fiber than those who do make time for nutritious breakfast. Even if something is grabbed on the run, the types of foods selected do not make up for the nutrients provided by a breakfast of fortified cereal with milk. In fact, a review of the research on breakfast and health found the diets of people who people who eat whole grain cereal with milk and fruit or fruit juice come closest to meeting the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Better Cognitive Function

Eating breakfast doesn’t just help children perform better in school; it can help adults with recall and memory, too. Many people think they need a jolt of caffeine to clear the cobwebs from their head’s in the morning, but a healthy breakfast is more important.

After an overnight fast of 8-12 hours with no food, your blood sugar level is at its lowest. The only fuel our brains can use is glucose, and the best way to get it is from complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains. They are digested more slowly so deliver a steady supply of glucose that keeps our brains fueled longer. And who doesn’t need more help staying focused these days?

These are just a few of the many benefits to eating breakfast, and the options to make it quick and easy are endless. Whether you eat your cereal dry with a smoothie on the side, stir it into some yogurt, or buy a cereal bar to nibble on with a latte, eating breakfast is the best way to start your day.

Breakfast can be made up of any foods that are part of a healthy diet

Breakfast Myth: Breakfast Foods Are Too Fattening

This blog was written as a guest post for the Bell Institute for Health and Nutrition. You can read the original post here.

It’s easy to understand how some people might believe that certain foods are more “fattening” than others. Classifying foods based on whether they can make you gain weight or not is a far simpler notion to grasp than the concept of energy balance (where calories in should equal calories out)!

So whenever the topic of “fattening foods” comes up, I try to clarify the issue with this brief lesson in anatomy: The stomach does not have eyes.

That’s my way of explaining that the body has no idea what we have eaten. It does not know (or judge!) whether we have had a chocolate éclair for breakfast or a chewy granola bar. It just sorts out the nutrients and calories that were in the food and either uses them, stores them or eliminates them, as needed.

I then explain that since the body continually “sorts” what we are eating all day long, no one food can really be more “fattening” than any other. It’s the sum of all the calories we have consumed by the end of the day that determine whether or not we have exceeded our energy needs, which could make us gain weight over time.

Once that concept sinks in, it’s possible to illustrate how all foods can actually be included in a well-balanced diet complemented by regular physical activity. It also provides an ideal time to introduce the topic of nutrient density – another difficult one to grasp.

My approach is to stress the fact that all of the calories in the foods we eat are exactly the same, but the nutrients are not. And since we need more than 50 distinct nutrients to maintain health and prevent disease, we must choose our foods so they deliver the best nutritional package for the calories they provide.

From there it’s a smooth transition to a discussion of food groups to understand how different types of foods fit together to make an overall healthy eating plan, such as in MyPlate. Any lingering thoughts about “fattening” breakfast foods are then easily replaced by the more important question, ”What are the best breakfast choices for me?”

Consider these important facts about ready-to-eat cereal with fat free milk and fruit when you answer. One serving provides:

  • Less than 200 calories per serving on average
  • Key nutrients many of which are lacking in American diets – calcium, potassium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, folate and fiber
  • Many whole grain options that help meet the goal of making half our grain choices whole grain
  • More nutrients with the fewest calories compared to most other popular breakfast choices
Any food can be eaten for breakfast

Breakfast Myth: Skipping Breakfast Because You Don’t Like Breakfast Foods

This blog was written as a guest post for the Bell Institute for Nutrition and Heath. You can read the original post here.

One of the things I love most about being a registered dietitian is all of the fascinating things I learn about food from my clients and consumers. Whether it’s the personal preference of one person I met to put salt on watermelon or the cultural tradition of the entire nation to eat pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, it is people who give meaning to food. The more insight we have into these acquired and ascribed meanings, the better we will be as nutrition educators.

For example, what comes into your mind when you think of “breakfast foods?” You may imagine the foods you enjoyed eating for breakfast when you were growing up or the ones you now prepare for your own family. Simple, everyday fare may come to mind, such as cereal and milk, or a special family recipe for Stuffed French Toast. Either way, they are all foods that symbolize breakfast for you.

The same is true for each of us. So when we talk about the importance of eating breakfast every day, we must remember that will mean different things to different people. And for some, it may mean a very limited menu of foods they no longer enjoy or have time to prepare.

When people tell me they don’t eat breakfast because they don’t like breakfast foods, I ask them what particular foods they are referring to. No matter what is on their list, I always reassure them they don’t ever have to eat those foods for breakfast or any other time of day if they don’t want to. This helps put them at ease and keep them receptive to whatever I might say next.

That is when I tell them that there are no “official” breakfast foods. What each of us eats in the morning is a matter of taste, time and tradition. In northern Nigeria a typical breakfast consists of fried cakes made from ground beans. A traditional weekend breakfast in Japan may consist of miso soup and steamed white rice topped with a beaten raw egg then wrapped in seaweed and eaten with pickles. The message we want to get across is that there are many ways to make a great breakfast.

By dismantling the idea that only certain foods can be eaten – or must be eaten – at breakfast, we can help consumers who may be skipping this important meal because they don’t like the choices. What they will soon discover is the possibilities are limitless!

Now, tell us – what are some of the breakfast challenges you’ve encountered in your practice?


Eating regualr meals makes it easier to control food chocies

Breakfast Myth: Skipping Breakfast to Save Calories

This blog was written for the Bell Institute for Health and Nutrition. You can read the original post here.

After writing my last post about Making Time for Breakfast I realized it covered just one of several reasons given by clients for not eating in the morning. Since there are so many others I thought it would be useful to put together a short series on the Top Myths for Not Eating Breakfast.

Many people believe that if they do not eat breakfast they will consume fewer calories by the end of the day and lose weight. This is one of those ideas that looks good on paper, but might not work out as planned.
Besides all of the nutritional benefits of eating breakfast, starting the day with a meal may help improve weight management. In fact, it is one of the most common behaviors shared by the 10,000+ people who make up the National Weight Control Registry.
In reality, this belief in “calorie saving” can sabotage the unknowing dieter and can even lead to weight gain and frustration. Here are the proof points needed to help you dispel the myth that skipping breakfast= weight loss.
I will eat less by the end of the day.
A recent study suggests that those who skip breakfast may end up eating more when they finally eat, and could make less healthy, more high-caloric choices.
Not eating for 15 hours or more will make me lose weight faster.
Your metabolism is likely regulated by the amount of fuel supplied to it throughout the day. Choosing not to refuel after an overnight fast, may slow down your metabolic rate and affect weight loss.
I like to have plenty of calories left at the end of the day so I can eat all I want.
Hunger is a signal from your body that lets you know you need to eat. You also get a signal that tells you when you’ve had enough so you can stop when you are satisfied. If you learn to respond to these two internal cues, you will be less likely to eat for other “external” reasons and may have an easier time managing your weight.
Eating breakfast doesn't take much time if you plan for it

Making Time for Breakfast

This blog was written for the Bell Institute for Heath and Nutrition. You can read the original post here.

The most common reason I hear from my clients for not eating breakfast is that they aren’t hungry in the morning. Upon further questioning, I usually find this applies on mornings when they have to be up early and out the door for school or work and eating breakfast on weekends and other days off is no problem.
When people say they aren’t hungry in the morning, what they are often feeling is anxiety about being late. Anyone rushing frantically to catch a bus or punch a time clock cannot fathom eating – let alone sitting down to a simple meal.
A solution to this issue is better planning. Here are some “time-tested” steps you can share that help make breakfast a regular part the day. Feel free to use these handy abbreviations to get the message across!
  • GTB = Go To Bed. The best way to avoid the morning rush is to wake up earlier, but that requires going to bed earlier to ensure enough sleep. Turn off the phone, TV, computer and lights at least 15 minutes sooner than usual to gradually work towards an earlier bedtime.
  • WUH = Wake Up Hungry. If you stop eating 10-12 hours before breakfast, you’ll wake up looking forward to that next meal. Make a point to brush and floss two hours before bedtime to prevent late-night eating and you’ll be sure to wake up with an appetite.
  • RTG = Ready To Go. When you organize everything you’ll need to take with you in the morning the night before, you won’t have a knot in your stomach trying to find things at the last minute. This includes the clothes you’ll wear, school assignments, sports equipment, special reports, and anything needed for those after-work errands.
  • PYM = Plan Your Meal. Check to see what’s available for breakfast and decide what you’re going to eat before you go to bed to avoid having to make a decision in the morning. If there’s some leftover pizza, wrap a slice in foil so it’s ready to slip into the toaster oven. Or, set the table with a bowl, spoon, juice glass and your favorite cereal so all you have to do is pour and eat to save precious time.
  • MIP = Make It Portable. Sometimes the best plan is to have something ready to take with you. Combining cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a plastic bag is easy to eat when in transit. Or, bring a granola bar, piece of fruit and a yogurt to eat when you arrive. Whatever travels well will do!
Learn how to avoid overeating at buffets even if the sign says all-you-can-eat

How to Avoid Overeating at Buffets

This post was written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the original post here.


The one question every client who has ever been on a cruise or stayed in an all-inclusive resort has asked before booking the next one is: “How can I avoid overeating at buffets?” Their concern is justified. Any dining establishment that promotes “all-you-can-eat” does not have your best interests in mind.

The whole idea of eating unlimited amounts of food is just plain wrong.

I avoid those places like a failed health inspection sign. But every so often I find myself in a buffet line. It may be the only (or fastest) option for breakfast in a hotel when I’m traveling for business. Or it could be a wedding or other affair where quests are asked to serve themselves from long tables decorated with food.

Unless you know this is going to be your last meal, there’s no need to stuff yourself. Fortunately, research has been done to help identify the traps that can lead us to overeat and the steps that can help slow us down.

Tips to Avoid Overeating at Buffets


  • Select a table as far away from the buffet as possible. The longer it takes to make a return trip, the fewer of them you are likely to make, and the more obvious you feel as you pass through the dining room.
  • Take a seat at the table that does not face the buffet. Seeing what others are taking increases the chances you will feel compelled to get your share.
  • Take the inside seat in a booth so you have to ask someone to move in order to get out.

Food Options:

  • Walk past each table and serving station before taking a plate. Since you don’t get a menu at a buffet, think of this as a virtual menu. Decide what you would take if you could only sample 3 things, and start with those items, even if it’s a chunk of cheese, a fried oyster and gooey dessert. If that satisfies you, the meal is over!
  • Use a small plate to take tasting portions of anything else you’re interested in. You can go back for more if you love it, and should not don’t finish it if you don’t.
  • Plan to eat in courses and serve yourself only one course at a time just as you would be served if ordering from an a la carte menu. As you become satisfied you can opt to stop eating without having piles of food in front of you.
  • Place food on your dinner plate as if you were serving someone else and wanted to make it look appetizing. Don’t pile one thing on top of another.
  • Skip anything you can have anytime, like a plain dinner roll or baked ziti. There’s no need to consume any extra calories.

Social Skills:

  • Pace your alcohol consumption so you don’t lose your inhibitions about the food.
  • Engage in conversation while at the table to help slow down your speed of eating. The more time that passes, the more likely your satiety signals will kick in.
  • If others from your table are still on line, wait for them to return before sitting down to eat.
  • Wait for a server to clear the plates you are finished with before getting up for more food.
  • Don’t worry about “wasting” food by not finishing what’s on your plate. It is a far greater waste to eat something you don’t like, want or need.

And for help when eating in restaurants without a buffet, see Calories Control Means Weight Control When Eating Out.